Revisiting quad-gpus and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: quad sli, quad crossfire, sli, crossfire, nvidia, amd

With SLI and CrossFire we all hoped to see direct scaling so that a quad GPU setup would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4x better than a single GPU.  That has proven to be incorrect, not only is the scaling nowhere near that it has been discovered that in some cases going beyond 2 GPUs can actually reduce performance.  

As the hardware and drivers evolve, it is worth revisiting the scaling performance of both AMD and NVIDIA which is why [H]ard|OCP grabbed two GeForce GTX 590s and two AMD Radeon HD 6990s, both dual GPU cards.  In three of the five games tested they ran into at least one issue, a strike right off the bat.  Read on to see how they rate the value of the two manufacturers based on the performance they saw once they'd resolved the problems.

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"How does NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 SLI Quad-GPU compare to AMD's Radeon HD 6990 CrossFireX Quad-GPU? We will find out if these "if-money-didn't-matter dream video card setups" will deliver the gameplay experience we all expect."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Click Here to go to Video Cards   Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Buy an AMD GPU (or two) and get a free copy of DiRT 3

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: xfx, sapphire, powercolor, msi, his, free, dirt 3, amd

If you haven't heard of DiRT 3 by now, you've been missing one of the more technically innovative games developed recently.  Racing fans will go overboard for the choice of cars, spanning 50 years of racing history, which you can compete with in races across all terrain types and the more artistic will like the freestyle gymkhana events. 

The techies will be impressed by the depth of support for DX11 features and we're not just talking about tessellation added on as an afterthought.  The game was designed from the ground up to take advantage of the best graphics cards and to move the way light and shadows interact beyond DX10 HDR and the features other new games have been using. 

Whichever you are, picking up a new Radeon card from Sapphire, Powercolor, MSI, HIS or XFX nets you a free copy of the game! How can you go wrong with that?

 

 

No doubt you’ve heard that the newest addition to Codemasters’ racing games, DiRT 3 has launched today. The reviews are also in, and they’re great, I mean, they’re really great.

Being a Gaming Evolved title, we worked with Codemasters very closely on this one - DiRT 3 makes advances in graphics technologies, taking full advantage of the DirectX™ 11 API, first supported by AMD Radeon graphics. Here’s a glimpse of what DiRT 3 is truly capable of doing – giving players the ultimate visual experience:

  • Shader Model 5.0 Contact Hardening Shadows
  • DirectCompute Accelerated High Definition Ambient Occlusion
  • Optimized Hardware Tessellation

In addition, DiRT 3 has been validated for various Eyefinity configurations, including the brand new 5x1 setup. But the fun doesn’t stop there. You’ll see some examples of it here.

We believe DiRT 3 is such a great game, that we’ve been working with our AIB partners to make this game widely accessible to everyone who buys an AMD Radeon graphics card from our select AIBs, FOR FREE – please visit www.amd.com/dirt3 for more details.

 

Source: AMD

AMD FirePro V5900 & V7900: Professional Card, 3 Displays, Cheap...ish

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: firepro, amd

There exists a breed of video card users who want power, but not in games. They will pay thousands for the best hardware and not measure success in frames per second, but seconds per frame. There exists: professionals. AMD, NVIDIA, Matrox, and others cater to this market’s desire for top performance, features, and reliability in content production, scientific simulation, and engineering applications. AMD just recently updated their professional line with the V5900 and V7900 cards and are lauding some advantages to going red.

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Professionals have standards: Be efficient. That is all.

 

There are four main points that AMD boasts for their latest entries into the professional market.

  • Geometry Boost: doubles the amount of geometry that can be processed per clock by the card which should make using large models a smoother experience.
  • EQAA: a new method of antialiasing which allows graphics cards to raise the level of antialiasing, but only for part of the process, and provide quality close to the higher level with a performance hit only slightly larger than the lower level. NVIDIA had CSAA, which is almost identical, for a while though.
  • PowerTune: a method of raising and lowering the clock rate of various components of the card to compensate for the differing load across the card at different times.
  • Single-card triple-monitor: the ability to connect more than two monitors to a single single-slot card allows professionals to have three (or four for the V7900) displays saving money, heat, and space. This is possibly the most compelling feature of the entire line, especially for the professional market. 
21-amd.jpg
 No ATI to be seen here folks.
 
Obviously outside the professional market there is little use for graphics cards like these as gaming cards are cheaper and faster than their professional counterparts. For professionals, however, these cards look to be very compelling especially since performance is said to be within the same ballpark of and sometimes exceeding NVIDIA’s $4000 Quadro 6000. Troubles still exist for AMD as some professional applications such as After Effects and Premiere CS5 are partially coded in NVIDIA’s CUDA which will not be accelerated on AMD’s offering. Still, for programs not specifically written for NVIDIA, AMD’s latest offering looks to be very appetizing. Keep an eye out for our review coming very soon.
Source: Icronic

AMD discusses "Heterogeneous Computing"

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 22, 2011 - 11:04 PM |
Tagged: fusion, amd, AFDS

In a little over three weeks’ time AMD will host their AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011 (AFDS): a three-day conference with the hopes of promoting heterogeneous computing amongst developers. We have increasingly seen potential applications of using the parts of your computer outside the standard x86 core over the years though much of it was through NVIDIA’s brand. Building up to the summit, AMD’s DeveloperCentral talked with Lee Howes, parallel computing expert and Member of Technical Staff for Programming Models at AMD, about his upcoming session at AFDS.

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I can't get over how much AFDS looks like a diagnosis.

In the short five-question interview, Dr. Howes outlined that the goal of his session is to show developers what to expect, good and bad, from developing for a heterogeneous architecture such as that of an APU. The rest of the interview was spent discussing how heterogeneous computing is currently and will eventually look like. Topics spanned from the slow perceived uptake of parallel computing in the home to the technological limitations of traditional CPUs that APUs and other heterogeneous computing systems look to bypass.

While AFDS is (by its namesake) a developer’s conference it is very much relevant to peer at for the end-user. The support for developers of newer computing architectures will help fuel the cycle of adoption between software and hardware which ends up with a better experience for us. What tasks would you like to see accelerated by heterogeneous computing? Let us know in the comments below.

PCPer v4.0 Giveaway: ASUS GeForce GTX 570 DirectCU II Graphics Card

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 22, 2011 - 09:16 PM |
Tagged: gtx 570, giveaway, contest, asus

As you can no doubt tell, PC Perspective got a HUGE and much needed facelift recently to what we are internally calling "PC Perspective v4.0".  I know there are still some kinks to work out and we are actively addressing any feedback from our readers in this comment thread.  

But we want to celebrate the launch of the new site in style!!  Some of our site sponsors have very generously offered up some prizes for us to give out throughout the coming days...

The tenth (!!) prize is a wicked ASUS GeForce GTX 570 DirectCU II card that is a triple-slot design and that supports 3D Vision Surround out of the box!

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What do you have to do to win this wonderful piece of hardware?

Couldn't be easier: post a comment in this post thanking ASUS for its sponsorship of PC Perspective as well as what feature in a graphics card you would most like to see in the future.  Be creative! You should probably have a registered account or at least be sure you include your email address in the appropriate field so we can contact you!

Source: ASUS

KFA2 Launches Two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 21, 2011 - 03:04 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, kfa2, GTX 560, graphics

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Not to be left out of the slew of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 releases, KFA2 announced two new NVIDIA graphics cards to their current graphics card lineup.  Both are based on the Geforce GTX 560 GPU; however, one card is overclocked and fitted with an aftermarket heatsink and fan combo (the other is a standard single, centered, and shrouded fan design).  Labeled the KFA2 GeForce GTX 560 1GB 256bit and the KFA2 GeForce GTX 560 EX OC 1GB 256bit, the DirectX 11 cards offer the following specifications:

  GeForce GTX 560 1GB 256bit GeForce GTX 560 EX OC 1GB 256bit
CUDA Cores 336 336
GPU Clock 810 MHz 905 MHz
Shader Clock 1620 MHz 1810 MHz
Memory Clock 2004 MHz 2004 MHz
Memory 1 GB GDDR5 on 256-bit bus 1 GB GDDR5 on 256-bit bus
Memory Bandwidth 128.3 GB/s 128.3 GB/s
Texture Fill Rate 45.3 Billion/s 50.6 Billion/s

 

The two new cards seem to be positioned (specifications wise) between purely reference cards and the highest clocked GTX 560 cards of their competitors.  The street price will ultimately determine if they are worth picking up versus other brands with higher clocks or reference clocks but aftermarket cooling.  KFA2 states that the cards will be available online and in retail stores throughout Europe, and are backed by a two year warranty.

Source: KFA2
Author:
Manufacturer: MSI Computers

MSI R6970 Lightning: High Speed, Low Drag

MSI has been on a tear as of late with their video card offerings.  The Twin Frozr II and III series have all received positive reviews, people seem to be buying their products, and the company has taken some interesting turns in how they handle overall design and differentiation in a very crowded graphics marketplace.  This did not happen overnight, and MSI has been a driving force in how the video card business has developed.

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Perhaps a company’s reputation is best summed up by what the competition has to say about them.  I remember well back in 1999 when Tyan was first considering going into the video card business.  Apparently they were going to release a NVIDIA TnT-2 based card to the marketplace, and attempt to work their way upwards with more offerings.  This particular project was nixed by management.  A few years later Tyan attempted the graphics business again, but this time with some ATI Radeon 9000 series of cards.  Their biggest seller was their 9200 cards, but they also offered their Tachyone 9700 Pro.  In talking with Tyan about where they were, the marketing guy simply looked at me and said, “You know, if we had pursued graphics back in 1999 we might be in the same position that MSI is in now.”

Gigabyte Unveils NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Overclock Edition Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 19, 2011 - 04:33 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 560, graphics

Coinciding with the NDA lift on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560, Gigabyte announced its enthusiast class Overclock Edition graphics card based on new the GTX 560 GPU.

GTX560GigabyteOC.jpg

The new Overclock Edition replaces the reference design's cooler with Gigabyte's own WindForce 2X variant, which they claim reduces the noise of the card under full load to 31db. Further, the heatsink used direct heat pipe technology, which means that the heat pipes that carry heat away from the GPU and into the fins physically contact the GPU itself. Both fans produce 30.5 CFM of airflow to quickly dissipate the heat of the overclocked GTX 560 GPU, Gigabyte was able to clock the card at a 830 MHz GPU clock and a 4008 Mhz memory clock from the factory. Gigabyte claims to improve overclocking capability by 10% to 30% thanks to it's "Ultra Durable" copper PCB technology and power switching enhancements.

The full specification of the GeForce GTX 560 Overclock Edition are as follows:

 

 

Model Number GV-N56GOC-1GI
Core Clock 830 MHz
Shader Clock 1660 MHz
Memory Amount 1 GB
Memory Type GDDR5
Memory Bus 256 bit
Card Bus PCI-E 2.0
Process Technology 40 nm
Card Dimensions 43mm (h) x 238mm (l) x 130mm (w)
Power Requirements Minimum 500 Watt PSU required
DirectX Support 11
Outputs

1x HDMI and Display Port via adapter(s)

1x mini HDMI

2x DVI

1x VGA (via adapter)

 

Gigabyte is a popular motherboard manufacturer for enthusiasts and it seems that they are striving to gain that same level of consumer brand loyalty with their graphics cards.  Do you have a Gigabyte graphics card in your rig?

Source: Gigabyte

The vanilla GTX560 arrives, does it fit well between the GTX460 and the GTX 560 Ti?

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 17, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTX560, gtx560 ti

The GTX560 Ti did not receive glowing rewards, not because it didn't perform but because the price was too high compared to the Radeon cards it competes against.  Now with the vanilla card available at $200, and with higher peak pixel fill rates, higher rasterization rates, and more memory bandwidth than the Ti version the card is not simply squeezed into an already tight market segment but actually has some interesting abilities.  The similarly priced Asus Radeon HD 6870 TOP can't keep up with the new GTX560, but the gap is not huge.  The Tech Report recommends waiting a bit before considering this card, they feel it is likely to drop below $200 which would make it a very good deal indeed.

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"Say hello to Nvidia's latest $199 graphics card. Is this a worthwhile step up from the GeForce GTX 460 1GB, and is it a better deal than AMD's Radeon HD 6870?"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

NVIDIA To Release Updated GTX 590 Cards In June

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 17, 2011 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, hardware, graphics

gtx590.jpg

The current GTX 590

VR-Zone reports that NVIDIA is gearing up to deliver a revised edition GTX 590 in June to combat the overheating problems that some overclockers fell victim too using certain drivers.  PC Perspective did not run into the issue when overclocking their card; however, VR-Zone stated in an earlier article that:

"NVIDIA has sent out a cautionary to their partners regarding possible component damage due to high temperature when running Furmark 1.9 as it bypasses the capping detection. . . .  This is something not able to fix through drivers nor it is just applicable to GeForce GTX 590."

Fortunately for overclockers, NVIDIA is planning to re-engineer aspects of the design, including new inductors, which should help with the over-current protection issues.  This new design will also effect the size and dimensions of the current GTX 590 PCB, which means that current third party heat sinks and water blocks made for the (current) GTX 590 will not fit.

It is nice to see that NVIDIA is sticking by it's technology and updating its hardware to fix issues.  Overclockers especially, will benefit from this updated model.

 

Source: VR-Zone