Twelve days ago, NVIDIA announced its competitor to the AMD Radeon RX 480, the GeForce GTX 1060, based on a new Pascal GPU; GP 106. Though that story was just a brief preview of the product, and a pictorial of the GTX 1060 Founders Edition card we were initially sent, it set the community ablaze with discussion around which mainstream enthusiast platform was going to be the best for gamers this summer.
Today we are allowed to show you our full review: benchmarks of the new GeForce GTX 1060 against the likes of the Radeon RX 480, the GTX 970 and GTX 980, and more. Starting at $250, the GTX 1060 has the potential to be the best bargain in the market today, though much of that will be decided based on product availability and our results on the following pages.
Does NVIDIA’s third consumer product based on Pascal make enough of an impact to dissuade gamers from buying into AMD Polaris?
All signs point to a bloody battle this July and August and the retail cards based on the GTX 1060 are making their way to our offices sooner than even those based around the RX 480. It is those cards, and not the reference/Founders Edition option, that will be the real competition that AMD has to go up against.
First, however, it’s important to find our baseline: where does the GeForce GTX 1060 find itself in the wide range of GPUs?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 19, 2016 - 01:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Honestly, when I first received this news, I thought it was a mistaken re-announcement of the contest from a few months ago. The original Order of 10 challenge was made up of a series of puzzles, and the first handful of people to solve it, received a GTX 10-Series graphics card. Turns out, NVIDIA is doing it again.
For four weeks, starting on July 21st, NVIDIA will add four new challenges and, more importantly, 100 new “chances to win”. They did not announce what those prizes will be or whether all of them will be distributed to the first 25 complete entries of each challenge, though. Some high-profile YouTube personalities, such as some of the members of Rooster Teeth, were streaming their attempts the last time around, so there might be some of that again this time, too.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 11:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rx 480, ROG, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10 xt, polaris 10, DirectCU III, asus
Following its previous announcement, Asus has released more information on the Republic of Gamers STRIX RX 480 graphics card. Pricing is still a mystery but the factory overclocked card will be available in the middle of next month!
In my previous coverage, I detailed that the STRIX RX 480 would be using a custom PCB along with Asus' DirectCU III cooler and Aura RGB back lighting. Yesterday, Asus revealed that the card also has a custom VRM solution that, in an interesting twist, draws all of the graphics card's power from the two PCI-E power connectors and nothing from the PCI-E slot. This would explain the inclusion of both a 6-pin and 8-pin power connector on the card! I do think that it is a bit of an over-reaction to not draw anything from the slot, but it is an interesting take on powering a graphics card and I'm interested to see how it all works out once the reviews hit and overclockers get a hold of it!
The custom graphics card is assembled using Asus' custom "Auto Extreme" automated assembly process and uses "Super Alloy Power II" components (which is to say that Asus claims to be using high quality hardware and build quality). The DirectCU III cooler is similar to the one used on the STRIX GTX 1080 and features direct contact heatpipes, an aluminum fin stack, and three Wing Blade fans that can spin down to zero RPMs when the card is being used on the desktop or during "casual gaming." The fan shroud and backplate are both made of metal which is a nice touch. Asus claims that the cooler is 30% cooler and three times quieter than the RX 480 reference cooler.
Last but certainly not least, Asus revealed boost clock speeds! The STRIX RX 480 will clock up to 1,330 MHz in OC Mode and up to 1,310 MHz in Gaming Mode. Further Asus has not touched the GDDR5 memory frequency which stays at the reference 8 GHz. Asus did not reveal base (average) GPU clocks. I was somewhat surprised by the factory overclock as I did not expect much out of the box, but 1,330 MHz is fairly respectable. This card should have a lot more headroom beyond that though, and fortunately Asus provides software that will automatically overclock the card even further with one click (GPU Tweak II also lets advanced users manually overclock the card). Users should be able to hit at least 1,450 MHz assuming they do decently in the silicon lottery.
For reference, stock RX 480s are clocked at 1,120 MHz base and up to 1,266 MHz boost. Asus claims their factory overclock results in a 15% higher score in 3DMark Fire Strike and 19% more performance in DOOM and Hitman.
Other features of the STRIX RX 480 include FanConnect which is two 4-pin fan headers that allows users to hook up two case fans and allow them to be controlled by the GPU. Aura RGB LEDs on the shroud and backplate allow users to match their build aesthetics. Asus also includes XSplit GameCaster for game streaming with the card.
No word on pricing yet, but you will be able to get your hands on the card in the middle of next month (specifically "worldwide from mid-August")!
This card is definitely one of the most interesting RX 480 designs so far and I am anxiously awaiting the full reviews!
How far do you think the triple fan cooler can push AMD's Polaris 10 XT GPU?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 06:37 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Volta, pascal, nvidia, maxwell, 16nm
For the past few generations, NVIDIA has been roughly trying to release a new architecture with a new process node, and release a refresh the following year. This ran into a hitch as Maxwell was delayed a year, apart from the GTX 750 Ti, and then pushed back to the same 28nm process that Kepler utilized. Pascal caught up with 16nm, although we know that some hard, physical limitations are right around the corner. The lattice spacing for silicon at room temperature is around ~0.5nm, so we're talking about features the size of ~the low 30s of atoms in width.
This rumor claims that NVIDIA is not trying to go with 10nm for Volta. Instead, it will take place on the same, 16nm node that Pascal is currently occupying. This is quite interesting, because GPUs scale quite well with complexity changes, as they have many features with a relatively low clock rate, so the only real ways to increase performance are to make the existing architecture more efficient, or make a larger chip.
That said, GP100 leaves a lot of room on the table for an FP32-optimized, ~600mm2 part to crush its performance at the high end, similar to how GM200 replaced GK110. The rumored GP102, expected in the ~450mm2 range for Titan or GTX 1080 Ti-style parts, has some room to grow. Like GM200, however, it would also be unappealing to GPU compute users who need FP64. If this is what is going on, and we're totally just speculating at the moment, it would signal that enterprise customers should expect a new GPGPU card every second gaming generation.
That is, of course, unless NVIDIA recognized ways to make the Maxwell-based architecture significantly more die-space efficient in Volta. Clocks could get higher, or the circuits themselves could get simpler. You would think that, especially in the latter case, they would have integrated those ideas into Maxwell and Pascal, though; but, like HBM2 memory, there might have been a reason why they couldn't.
We'll need to wait and see. The entire rumor could be crap, who knows?
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2016 - 01:10 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rx 470, rx 460, polaris 11, polaris 10, gcn4, esports, amd
At a launch event in Australia earlier this week AMD talked about its Polaris architecture, launched the RX 480 and revealed the specifications for the Polaris 10-based RX 470 and Polaris 11-derived RX 470 GPUs. The new budget GPUs are aimed at 1080p or lower gaming and will allegedly be available for purchase sometime in August.
First up is the AMD Radeon RX 470. This GPU is based on Polaris 10 (like the RX 480) but has some hardware disabled (mainly the number of stream processors). Based on the same 14nm process the GPU has 2,048 cores running at not yet known clocks. Thankfully, AMD has left the memory interface intact, and the RX 470 uses the same 256-bit memory bus pairing the GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 memory on the reference design and up to 8GB GDDR5 on partner cards.
Speaking of the reference design, the reference RX 470 will utilize a blower style cooler that AIBs can use but AMD expects that partners will opt to use their own custom dual and triple fan coolers (as would I). The card is powered by a single 6-pin power connector though, again, AIBs are allowed to design a card with more.
This card is reportedly aimed at 1080p gaming at "ultra and max settings". Video outputs will include DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 HDR support.
Breaking away from Polaris 10 is the RX 460 which is the first GPU AMD has talked about using Polaris 11. This GCNv4 architecture is similar it its larger Polaris sibling but is further cut down and engineered for low power and mobile environments. While the "full" Polaris 11 appears to have 16 CUs (Compute Units), RX 460 will feature 14 of them (this should open up opportunities for lots of salvaged dies and once yields are good enough we might see a RX 465 or something with all of its stream processors enabled). With 14 CUs, that means RX 460 has 896 stream processors (again clock speeds were not discussed) and a 128-bit memory bus. AMD's reference design will pair this card with 2GB of GDDR5 but I would not be surprised to see 4GB versions possibly in a gaming laptop SKU if only just because it looks better (heh). There is no external PCI-E power connector on this card so it will be drawing all of its power from the PCI-E slot on the motherboard.
The reference graphics card is a tiny affair with a single fan HSF and support for DP 1.3/1.4 HDR. AMD further mentions 4K H.264 / HEVC encoding/decoding support. AMD is positioning this card at HTPCs and "eSports" budget gamers.
One other tidbit of information from the announcement was that AMD reiterated their new "RX" naming scheme saying that RX would be reserved for gaming and we would no longer see R9, R7, and R5 branding though AMD did not rule out future products that would not use RX aimed at other non-gaming workloads. I would expect that this will apply to APU GPUs eventually as well.
Naturally, AMD is not talking exact shipping dates or pricing but expect them to be well under the $239 of the RX 480! I would guess that RX 470 would be around the $150 mark while RX 460 will be a sub $100 part (if only barely).
What do you think about the RX 470 and RX 460? If you are interested in watching the whole event, there is a two part video of it available on YouTube. Part 1 and Part 2 are embedded below the break.
Through the looking glass
Futuremark has been the most consistent and most utilized benchmark company for PCs for quite a long time. While other companies have faltered and faded, Futuremark continues to push forward with new benchmarks and capabilities in an attempt to maintain a modern way to compare performance across platforms with standardized tests.
Back in March of 2015, 3DMark added support for an API Overhead test to help gamers and editors understand the performance advantages of Mantle and DirectX 12 compared to existing APIs. Though the results were purely “peak theoretical” numbers, the data helped showcase to consumers and developers what low levels APIs brought to the table.
Today Futuremark is releasing a new benchmark that focuses on DX12 gaming. No longer just a feature test, Time Spy is a fully baked benchmark with its own rendering engine and scenarios for evaluating the performance of graphics cards and platforms. It requires Windows 10 and a DX12-capable graphics card, and includes two different graphics tests and a CPU test. Oh, and of course, there is a stunningly gorgeous demo mode to go along with it.
I’m not going to spend much time here dissecting the benchmark itself, but it does make sense to have an idea of what kind of technologies are built into the game engine and tests. The engine is based purely on DX12, and integrates technologies like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter and multi-threaded workloads. These are highly topical ideas and will be the focus of my testing today.
Futuremark provides an interesting diagram to demonstrate the advantages DX12 has over DX11. Below you will find a listing of the average number of vertices, triangles, patches and shader calls in 3DMark Fire Strike compared with 3DMark Time Spy.
It’s not even close here – the new Time Spy engine has more than a factor of 10 more processing calls for some of these items. As Futuremark states, however, this kind of capability isn’t free.
With DirectX 12, developers can significantly improve the multi-thread scaling and hardware utilization of their titles. But it requires a considerable amount of graphics expertise and memory-level programming skill. The programming investment is significant and must be considered from the start of a project.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2016 - 09:20 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: vulkan, R9 Fury X, nvidia, Mantle, gtx 1070, fury x, doom, amd
We haven't yet benchmarked DOOM on Vulkan Update (immediately after posting): Ryan has just informed me that, apparently, we did benchmark Vulkan on our YouTube page (embed below). I knew we were working on it, I just didn't realize we published content yet. Original post continues below.
As far as I know, we're trying to get our testing software for frame time analysis running on the new API, but other sites have posted framerate-based results. The results show that AMD's cards benefit greatly from the new, Mantle-derived interface (versus the OpenGL one). On the other hand, while NVIDIA never really sees a decrease, more than 1% at least, it doesn't really get much of a boost, either.
Image Credit: ComputerBase.de
I tweeted out to ID's lead renderer programmer, Tiago Sousa, to ask whether they take advantage of NVIDIA-specific extensions on the OpenGL path (like command submission queues). I haven't got a response yet, so it's difficult to tell whether this speaks more toward NVIDIA's OpenGL performance, or AMD's Vulkan performance. In the end, it doesn't really matter, though. AMD's Fury X (which can be found for as low as $399 with a mail-in rebate) is beating the GTX 1070 (which is in stock for the low $400s) by a fair margin. The Fury X also beats its own OpenGL performance by up to 66% (at 1080p) with the new API.
The API should also make it easier for games to pace their frames, too, which should allow smoother animation at these higher rates. That said, we don't know for sure because we can't test that from just seeing FPS numbers. The gains are impressive from AMD, though.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 12, 2016 - 12:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: strix, rx 480, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, asus, amd
Alongside the launch of AMD’s reference design Radeon RX 480, the company’s various AIB (Add-In Board) partners began announcing their own custom versions pairing AMD’s Polaris 10 GPU with custom PCBs and coolers. Asus took the launch to heart and teased its Radeon RX 480 STRIX under it’s ROG lineup. The press release was rather scant with details, but it does look like a promising card that will let users really push Polaris 10 to it’s limits.
Thanks to forum user Eroticus over at VideoCardz, the RX 480 STRIX looks to use a custom PCB and power delivery design that feeds the GPU via two PCI-E power connectors in addition to the PCI-E slot. Asus is not talking clock speeds on the GPU, but they did reveal that they are going with 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 8 GHz. The DirectCU III cooler pairs heatpipes and an aluminum fin stack with three shrouded fans. There is also a backplate (of course, with a LED backlit logo) which should help support the card and provide a bit more cooling.
I would not expect too much of a factory (out of the box) overclock from this card. However, I do expect that users will be able to seriously overclock the Polaris 10 GPU thanks to the extra power connector (allegedly one 6-pin and one 8-pin which seems a bit much but we’ll see!) and beefy air cooler.
For reference, the, well, reference design RX 480 has base and boost clock speeds of 1120 MHz and 1266 MHz respectively. The Polaris 10 GPU has 2,304 cores, 144 texture units, and 32 raster operators. If buyers get a good chip in their RX 480 Strix, it may be possible for them to get to 1400 MHz boost as some of the rumors around the Internet claim though it’s hard to say for sure as that may require quite a bit more voltage (and heat) to reach. I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility though!
Of course it would not be Republic of Gamers’ material without LEDs, and ASUS delivers with the inclusion of its Aura RGB LEDs on the cooler shroud and backplate which I believe are user configurable in Asus’ software utility.
Beyond that, not much is known about the upcoming RX 480 STRIX graphics card. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it gets closer to availability!
- The AMD Radeon RX 480 Review - The Polaris Promise
- PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil Leak
- PCPer Live! Radeon RX 480 Live Stream with Raja Koduri!
- Meet ASUS' DirectCU III on the Radeon Fury
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 11, 2016 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: GTX 1080, GameRock Premium, palit, factory overclocked
Palit's card is certainly unique looking in the GTX 1080 market, that blue, white and silver is not a colour palette used by other manufacturers. That is not the only difference between this card and a stock GTX 1080, it is also overclocked with a core of 1746 MHz and VRAM at 1315 MHz, along with a cooler that covers the entire card and takes up three slots. That extra cooling ability translates into a card that runs at 30dBA under load, and TechPowerUp did not see temperatures exceeding 72°C. It is a little on the expensive side but if you have space in your case this is a worth contender for your hard earned cash.
"Palit's GTX 1080 GameRock uses a mighty triple-slot dual-fan design, which provides excellent temperatures and noise levels better than any GTX 1080 we tested so far. The fans also turn off in idle, and thanks to the large overclock out the box, the card is the fastest GTX 1080 we ever tested, too."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- EVGA GeForce GTX 1070 SuperClocked 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- ASUS STRIX GAMING GTX 1080 @ eTeknix
- ASUS GTX 950-2G “Unplugged” @ Kitguru
- PNY GTX 950 2GB and GTX 960 4GB XLR8 OC Gaming @ Kitguru
- Radeon Software 16.7.1 Performance Comparison @ Tech ARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2016 - 10:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, GTX 1080, ea, dice, battlefield, battlefield 1
Battlefield 1 looks pretty good. To compare how it scales between its settings, DigitalFoundry took a short amount of video at 4K across all four, omnibus graphics settings: Low, Medium, High, and Ultra. These are, as should be expected for a high-end PC game, broken down into more specific categories, like lighting quality and texture filtering, but I can't blame them for not adding that many permutations to a single video. It would just be a mess.
The rendering itself doesn't change too much between settings to my eye. Higher quality settings draw more distant objects than lower ones, and increases range that level of detail falls off, too. About a third of the way into the video, they show a house from a moderate distance. The lowest quality version was almost completely devoid of shadowing and its windows would not even draw. The lighting then scaled up from there as the settings were moved progressively toward Ultra.
Image Credit: DigitalFoundry
While it's still Alpha-level code, a single GTX 1080 was getting between 50 and 60 FPS at 4K. This is a good range to be in for a G-Sync monitor, as the single-card machine doesn't need to deal with multi-GPU issues, like pacing and driver support.