The TU116 GPU and First Look at Cards from MSI and EVGA
NVIDIA is introducing the GTX 1660 Ti today, a card build from the ground up to take advantage of the new Turing architecture but without real-time ray tracing capabilities. It seems like the logical next step for NVIDIA as gamers eager for a current-generation replacement to the popular GTX 1060, and who may have been disappointed with the launch of the RTX 2060 because it was priced $100 above the 1060 6GB, now have something a lot closer to a true replacement in the GTX 1660 Ti.
There is more to the story of course, and we are still talking about a “Ti” part and not a vanilla GTX 1660, which presumably will be coming at some point down the road; but this new card should make an immediate impact. Is it fair to say that the GTX 1660 Ti the true successor to the GTX 1060 that we might have assumed the RTX 2060 to be? Perhaps. And is the $279 price tag a good value? We will endeavor to find out here.
It has been a rocky start for RTX, and while some might say that releasing GTX cards after the fact represents back-peddling from NVIDIA, consider the possibility that the 2019 roadmap always had space for new GTX cards. Real-time ray tracing does not make sense below a certain performance threshold, and it was pretty clear with the launch of the RTX 2060 that DLSS was the only legitimate option for ray tracing at acceptable frame rates. DLSS itself has been maligned of late based on a questions about visual quality, which NVIDIA has now addressed in a recent blog post. There is clearly a lot invested in DLSS, and regardless of your stance on the technology NVIDIA is going to continue working on it and releasing updates to improve performance and visual quality in games.
As its “GTX” designation denotes, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti does not include the RT and Tensor Cores that are found in GeForce RTX graphics cards. In order to deliver the Turing architecture to the sub-$300 graphics segment, we must be very thoughtful about the types and numbers of cores we use in the GPU: adding dedicated cores to accelerate Ray Tracing and AI doesn’t make sense unless you can first achieve a certain level of rendering performance. As a result, we chose to focus the GTX 1660 Ti’s cores exclusively on graphics rendering in order to achieve the best balance of performance, power, and cost.
If the RTX 2060 is the real-time ray tracing threshold, then it's pretty obvious that any card that NVIDIA released this year below that performance (and price) level would not carry RTX branding. And here we are with the next card, still based on the latest Turing architecture but with an all-new GPU that has no ray tracing support in hardware. There is nothing fused off here or disabled in software with TU116, and the considerable reduction in die size from the TU106 reflects this.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 21, 2019 - 07:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC, RX Vega 56, amd
The news is a bit late as NewEgg is currently out of stock, but it is worth keeping your eyes peeled for the Vega 56; a mid-range card at a mid-range price is somewhat rare at the moment.
MSI are selling their Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC card for $279 USD, though keep away from the Canadian site as the price drop has yet to spread northwards. While not availble at the time of this posting you should pay attention as not only is the card likely to come back in the not too distant future but this may prompt a drop in price for other cards.
This particular model sports a Core Clock of 1181 MHz which can hit 1520 MHz on Boost and the 8GB of HBM2 runs at 1600 MHz on a 2048-bit interface giving it an impressive amount of bandwidth. It is admittedly not a new card, you can see how it was received when it initially launched right here.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | February 21, 2019 - 03:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, mx250, mx230, mx, gp108, geforce mx
Two new laptop GPUs launched in NVIDIA’s low-end MX line. This classification of products is designed to slide above the GPUs found on typical laptop CPUs by a wide enough margin to justify an extra chip, but not enough to be endorsed as part of their gaming line.
As such, pretty much the only performance number that NVIDIA provides is an “up-to” factor relative to Intel’s HD620 iGPU as seen on the Core i5-8265U. For reference, the iGPU on this specific CPU has 192 shader units running at up to 1.1 GHz. Technically there exists some variants that have boost clocks up to 1.15 GHz but that extra 4.5% shouldn’t matter too much for this comparison.
Versus this part, the MX250 is rated as up to 3.5x faster; the MX230 is rated at up to 2.6x faster.
One thing that I should note is that the last generation’s MX150 is listed as up to 4x the Intel UHD 620, although they don’t state which specific CPU’s UHD 620.
This leads to a few possibilities:
- The MX250 has a minor performance regression versus the MX150 in the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 had significant driver optimizations in at least the “up to” test(s)
- The UHD 620 that they tested back then is significantly slower than the i5-8265U
- They rounded differently then vs now
- They couldn’t include the previous “up to” test for some reason
Unfortunately, because NVIDIA is not releasing any specifics, we can only list possibilities and maybe speculate if one seems exceedingly likely. (To me, none of the first four stands out head-and-shoulders above the other three.)
Like the MX150 that came before it, both the MX230 and MX250 will use GDDR5 memory. The MX130 could be paired with either GDDR5 or DDR3.
Anandtech speculates that it is based on the GP108, which is a safe assumption. NVIDIA confirmed that the new parts are using the Pascal architecture, and the GP108 is the Pascal chip in that performance range. Anandtech also claims that the MX230 and MX250 are fabricated under Samsung 14nm, while the “typical” MX150 is TSMC 16nm. The Wikipedia list of NVIDIA graphics, however, claims that the MX150 is fabricated at 14nm. While both could be right, a die shrink would make a bit of sense to squeeze out a few more chips from a wafer (if yields are relatively equal). If that’s the case, and they changed manufacturers, then there might be a slight revision change to the GP108; these changes happen frequently, and their effects should be invisible to the end user… but sometimes they make a difference.
It’ll be interesting to see benchmarks when they hit the market.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2019 - 06:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: danger, rtx, bios, flash, nvidia, risky business
So you like living dangerously and are willing to bet $1000 or more on something that might make your new NVIDIA GPU a bit faster, or transform it into a brick? Then does Overclockers Club have a scoop for you! There exists a tool called NVFlash, with or without added ID Mismatch Modified, which will allow you to change the BIOS of your card to another manufacturers design which can increase your cards power envelope and offer better performance ...
or kill it dead ...
or introduce artifacting, random crashes or all sort of other mischief.
On the other hand, if all goes well you can turn your plain old RTX card into an overclocked model of the same type and see higher performance overall. Take a look at OCC's article and read it fully before deciding if this is a risk you might be willing to take.
"WARNING! Flash the BIOS at your own risk. Flashing a video card BIOS to a different model and/or series WILL void your warranty. This process can also cause other permanent issues like video artifacts and premature hardware failure!"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- MSI RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z @ Kitguru
- GeForce 418.91 Driver Performance Analysis @ BabelTechReviews
- Battlefield V DLSS Tested: Overpromised, Underdelivered @ Techspot
- Far Cry New Dawn @ Guru of 3D
- Metro Exodus PC Graphics Benchmark @ Techspot
- AMD Radeon VII @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 18, 2019 - 12:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce
Apparently the latest WHQL driver, 418.81, can cause random application crashes and TDRs (“Timeout Detection and Recovery”) issues on Windows 7 and 8.1. NVIDIA has followed up with a hotfix driver, 418.99, that addresses the issue.
Hotfix drivers do not undergo full testing, so they should not be installed unless you are concerned about the specific issues they fix. In this case, because the bug does not affect Windows 10, a Windows 10 driver is not even provided.
In case you’re wondering what “Timeout Detection and Recovery” is, Windows monitors the graphics driver to make sure that work is being completed quickly (unless it is not driving a monitor – Windows doesn’t care how long a GPU is crunching on compute tasks if it is not being used for graphics). If it hangs for a significant time, Windows reboots the graphics driver just in case it was stuck in, for example, an infinite loop caused by a bad shader or compute task. Without TDR, the only way to get out of this situation would be to cut power to the system.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 16, 2019 - 09:02 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: turing, tuf, RTX 2060, nvidia, graphics card, factory overclocked, asus
Asus recently announced two new Turing-based graphics cards that are part of the TUF (The Ultimate Force) series. Clad in urban camo with shades of grey, the Asus TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming and TUF RTX 2060 OC 6GB Gaming pair Nvidia’s 12nm TU106 GPU and 6GB of GDDR6 memory with a dual fan cooler and backplate. As part of the TUF series, the new graphics cards use Asus’ Auto Extreme manufacturing technology and are put through its 144-hour validation program.
The RTX 2060 GPU features 1920 CUDA cores, 120 TMUs, 48 ROPs, 240 Tensor cores, and 30 RT cores. The standard TUF RTX 2060 6GB Gaming graphics card comes clocked at 1365 MHz base and 1689 MHz boost out of the box with the boost clock jumping to 1710 MHz in OC Mode. The OC model graphics card, however, comes clocked by default at 1365 MHz base and 1710 MHz boost in Gaming Mode and 1740 MHz boost in OC Mode (when using Asus’ software).
The TUF Graphics cards feature one dual layer DVI, two HDMI 2.0b, and one DisplayPort 1.4 video outputs. The dual fan cooler is IP5X dust resistant and uses dual ball bearing fans. A black metal backplate is secured to the card to help PCB rigidity. The cards measure 20.4 x 12.5 x 4.6 centimeters so should be compatible with most cases. The cards are powered by a single 8-pin PCI-E power connector.
The TUF cards use a no-frills design sans any RGB or extra features so should be priced competitively and may go well with a silent PC or sleeper PC build. Unfortunately, Asus is not talking specific pricing or availability yet.
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Review Part One: Initial Testing
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Review Part Two: 1440p and OC
- The Architecture of NVIDIA's RTX GPUs - Turing Explored
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2019 - 01:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 1440p, radeon vii, amd
When The Tech Report initially tested AMD's brand new Radeon VII they focused on 4K performance. This lead to some feedback from those playing at 1440p, which convinced them to revisit the card and the competition, at this resolution. The results remained similar to their previous tests, demonstrating this is a card that is good a multiple things but not the best at any. The price to performance beats a GTX 1080 Ti if you can pick up the Radeon VII at MSRP, but overall the RTX 2080 remains a better card for gaming.
On the other hand if you are doing work which requires large pools of VRAM, the Radeon VII offers a good mix of performance for such tasks and can power your after hours gaming.
"Our initial tests showed AMD's Radeon VII couldn't beat the GeForce RTX 2080 for 4K gaming superiority, but many more enthusiasts have high-refresh-rate 2560x1440 displays to deliver their pixel fix. We retested the RTX 2080 and Radeon VII at 2560x1440 to see which card comes out on top."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon VII Mega Benchmark @ Techspot
- Battlefield V - DLSS PC performance update @ Guru of 3D
- Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q @ Techspot
- OCC Reviews the MSI RTX 2060 Gaming Z 6G @ Overclockers Club
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 06:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Adrenalin Edition, 19.2.2
Along with the adrenaline rush of releasing the new Radeon VII comes a new driver, available everywhere at the low price of $0.00! The 19.2.2 versions offers you the following benefits AMD fans.
- AMD Radeon VII Far Cry
- New Dawn Metro Exodus
- Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm
- Crackdown 3
- Up to 5% performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.2 on a Radeon RX 590
- Using the Alt+Tab shortcut out of a fullscreen application or game may be slow or take longer than expected when using a display connected by DisplayPort.
- Apply and Discard buttons may not appear in some areas of Radeon Overlay under the Radeon WattMan overclocking tab.
- Radeon WattMan may fail to apply memory clock changes on AMD Radeon VII.
- AMD Radeon VII may intermittently experience a system hang when attempting to perform a timeout detection and recovery on Windows7 system configurations.
- Radeon WattMan may display the incorrect max fan/temperature values for AMD Radeon VII.
- Radeon WattMan may experience issues with changed values failing to save or load when multiple changes are applied at once.
- AMD Radeon VII may experience intermittent system stability issues on some X399 motherboards.
- Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds may intermittently experience an application crash when changing post-processing settings.
- Radeon Settings may experience an application hang when loading the performance histogram in a game profile through game manager.
- Update Notifications may sometimes incorrectly list the currently installed driver as an available upgrade.
- Apex Legends may intermittently experience line corruption on AMD Radeon VII.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: whql, rtx, raytracing, nvidia, Metro Exodus, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, driver, DLSS, battlefield V, 418.91
NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 WHQL drivers have brought DLSS support to Battlefield V and both real-time ray tracing and DLSS to the upcoming Metro Exodus, which will be the first game to support the technologies from day one when it is released (now exclusively on Epic's game store) on February 15.
Battlefield V - This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.
Metro Exodus - The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.
NVIDIA has posted a video showcasing the performance improvement with DLSS vs. real-time ray tracing in BFV, where gains of up to 40% are advertised:
As to Metro Exodus, with the additional ray traced components it would seem the upcoming game will end up being a popular benchmark for the technologies, after we have seem most of the ray tracing and DLSS discussion surround BFV to this point (Port Royal notwithstanding). At some future date Shadow of the Tomb Raider will enter the mix as well, but this is still awaiting ray tracing and DLSS support via a planned update.
For its part Metro is only gaining 30% with DLSS (vs. real-time ray tracing + TAA) according to NVIDIA, which is obviously lower than the boost to BFV. We have seen a preview of real-time ray tracing and DLSS performance in the latest Metro game over at Tom's Hardware, where they look at the performance differences and perceived quality between the two. It's also worth noting that both BFV and Metro Exodus are not fully ray traced games, as Tom's explains:
"Battlefield applies ray tracing to reflections. Metro Exodus uses it for global illumination from the sun/sky, modeling how light interacts with various surfaces. Local light sources are not ray traced, though."
The Battlefield V DLSS update is now rolling out, with some early performance numbers already available. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15, and is the latest title to eschew Steam in favor of Epic's new platform.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 12, 2019 - 03:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, ue4, epic games, dxr, DirectX 12, microsoft
The upcoming version of Unreal Engine, 4.22, will include several new features.
The most interesting addition for our audience is probably “Early Access” support for DirectX 12 Raytracing (DXR) on DirectX 12. This includes the low-level framework to cast and evaluate rays in shaders (although they don’t clarify whether that means written shaders, nodes for graph-based shaders, or both) as well as higher-level features that use DXR, such as area lights, soft shadows, and reflections. They have also added a denoiser for shadows, reflections, and ambient occlusion, which will improve image quality with lower sample counts.
If you remember NVIDIA’s RTX announcement, many of their first-party demos were built using Unreal Engine 4. This includes the Star Wars demo with the two Stormtroopers putting their feet in their mouths on an elevator with their boss. It makes sense that Epic would be relatively far along in RTX support, especially just before GDC.
A few other additions include Visual Studio 2019 support (although Visual Studio 2017 is still the default). The new Unreal Audio Engine is now enabled by default for new projects, which was a complete re-write of the original system that started a few years ago. The old audio system was a bit of a mess, and, worse, varied from platform to platform.
Unreal Engine 4.22 also (experimentally) opts-in to the much longer file and paths names that were introduced with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. The previous limit was 260 characters for a full path, which was defined as MAX_PATH in Win32. I’m not sure what the new limit is, but I think it’s 32,767 characters after expansion. I could be wrong, though.
If you have the Epic Launcher installed, whether it’s for Unreal Engine, Fortnite, something from the Epic Store, Unreal Tournament 4, or whatever, then you can check out Unreal Engine 4.22 for free. (Royalties apply under certain circumstances… but, at that point, you are making money off of it.)