Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | July 5, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: supply shortage, shortage, ethereum, cryptocurrency
The cryptocurrency craze is kind-of like the old gold rush. Tokens are just out there waiting to be discovered, and value is applied when people trade it in exchange for goods and services. In this case, these tokens are discovered by doing math, and faster computers acquire more, and the algorithm is quite parallel. Some of the non-Bitcoin currencies are gaining traction, and becoming economically viable to mind with off-the-shelf parts, so gaming parts are being sold out... and not to gamers.
What do the video card add-in board (AIB) partners (as in the companies that take GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD and attach them to things that will actually plug into a motherboard) think of this? Gamers Nexus reached out to a bunch of them and, off the record, got a bunch of responses. The fifteen-minute video is quite interesting, and covers a lot of issues like brand loyalty, the second-hand market flooding, and RMA abuse. It even talks about the abnormal stress the GPU mining could have on power supplies. Most of the responses make sense, but it’s interesting to hear it coming from people in the industry, even if “who specifically said what” has been anonymized.
Of course, this is for the best, because you'll get more candid responses that way.
GTX 1060 keeps on kicking
Despite the market for graphics cards being disrupted by the cryptocurrency mining craze, board partners like Galax continue to build high quality options for gamers...if they can get their hands on them. We recently received a new Galax GTX 1060 EXOC White 6GB card that offers impressive performance and features as well as a visual style to help it stand out from the crowd.
We have worked with GeForce GTX 1060 graphics cards quite a bit on PC Perspective, so there is not a need to dive into the history of the GPU itself. If you need a refresher on this GP106 GPU, where it stands in the pantheon on the current GPU market, check out my launch review of the GTX 1060 from last year. The release of AMD’s Radeon RX 580 did change things a bit in the market landscape, so that review might be worth looking at too.
Our quick review at the Galax GTX 1060 EXOC White will look at performance (briefly), overclocking, and cost. But first, let’s take a look at this thing.
The Galax GTX 1060 EXOC White
As the name implies, the EXOC White card from Galax is both overclocked and uses a white fan shroud to add a little flair to the design. The PCB is a standard black color, but with the fan and back plate both a bright white, the card will be a point of interest for nearly any PC build. Pairing this with a white-accented motherboard, like the recent ASUS Prime series, would be an excellent visual combination.
The fans on the EXOC White have clear-ish white blades that are illuminated by the white LEDs that shine through the fan openings on the shroud.
The cooler that Galax has implemented is substantial, with three heatpipes used to distribute the load from the GPU across the fins. There is a 6-pin power connector (standard for the GTX 1060) but that doesn’t appear to hold back the overclocking capability of the GPU.
There is a lot of detail on the heatsink shroud – and either you like it or you don’t.
Galax has included a white backplate that doubles as artistic style and heatsink. I do think that with most users’ cases showcasing the rear of the graphics card more than the front, a good quality back plate is a big selling point.
The output connectivity includes a pair of DVI ports, a full-size HDMI and a full-size DisplayPort; more than enough for nearly any buyer of this class of GPU.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 30, 2017 - 05:26 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers
Aligning with the LawBreakers “Rise Up” open beta, as well as the Spider-Man: Homecoming VR Experience VR experience, intentionally written twice, NVIDIA has released new graphics drivers!
The GeForce Game Ready 384.76 WHQL drivers were published yesterday on GeForce Experience and their website. Apart from game-specific optimizations, the driver also fixes a bunch of issues, many of which seem very important. First, if you are a fan of Firefall, and your system was unable to launch the game, this driver should remedy that. The driver also claims to remove some or all of the stuttering experienced by GTX 1080, GTX 1070, and GTX 1060 GPUs on Prey 2. Texture corruption in No Man’s Sky, for those who still play the game in an SLI configuration, should be fixed as well, which I believe was a long standing issue, although I could be wrong (as I haven’t been following that game). Vulkan support on Doom (2016) has also been improved.
I should note that, when I tried to custom install the driver through GeForce Experience, the install “failed” three times -- as in, the installed wouldn’t even draw the install button. Eventually, it gave me an install button, and it installed just fine. Not sure what’s going on with that, but I thought you all should know.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 30, 2017 - 02:17 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Vega, radeon, Frontier Edition, amd
Hopefully you have already read up on my review of the new Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics card; it is full of interesting information about the gaming and professional application performance.
But I thought it would be interesting to share the bare card and GPU in its own post, just to help people find it later on.
For measurements, here's what we were able to gleam with the calipers.
(Editor's Update: we have updated the die measurements after doing a remeasure. I think my first was a bit loose as I didn't want to impact the GPU directly.)
- Die size: 25.90mm x 19.80mm (GPU only, not including memory stacks)
- Area: 512.82mm2
- Package size: 47.3mm x 47.3mm
- Area: 2,237mm2
Enjoy the sexy!
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge
- There is a LOT of empty PCB space on the Vega FE card. This is likely indicative of added area needed for a large heatsink and fan to cool 300-375 watt TDP without throttling.
- Benefits of the smaller HBM-based package appears to be at a cost of SMT components on the GPU substrate and the PCB
- The die size of Vega is large - bigger than GP102 even, despite running at a much lower performance level. It will be interesting to see how AMD answers the question of why the die has expanded as much as it did.
Feel free to leave us some comments if anything stands out!
An interesting night of testing
Last night I did our first ever live benchmarking session using the just-arrived Radeon Vega Frontier Edition air-cooled graphics card. Purchased directly from a reseller, rather than being sampled by AMD, gave us the opportunity to testing for a new flagship product without an NDA in place to keep us silenced, so I thought it would be fun to the let the audience and community go along for the ride of a traditional benchmarking session. Though I didn’t get all of what I wanted done in that 4.5-hour window, it was great to see the interest and excitement for the product and the results that we were able to generate.
But to the point of the day – our review of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition graphics card. Based on the latest flagship GPU architecture from AMD, the Radeon Vega FE card has a lot riding on its shoulders, despite not being aimed at gamers. It is the FIRST card to be released with Vega at its heart. It is the FIRST instance of HBM2 being utilized in a consumer graphics card. It is the FIRST in a new attempt from AMD to target the group of users between gamers and professional users (like NVIDIA has addressed with Titan previously). And, it is the FIRST to command as much attention and expectation for the future of a company, a product line, and a fan base.
Other than the architectural details that AMD gave us previously, we honestly haven’t been briefed on the performance expectations or the advancements in Vega that we should know about. The Vega FE products were released to the market with very little background, only well-spun turns of phrase emphasizing the value of the high performance and compatibility for creators. There has been no typical “tech day” for the media to learn fully about Vega and there were no samples from AMD to media or analysts (that I know of). Unperturbed by that, I purchased one (several actually, seeing which would show up first) and decided to do our testing.
On the following pages, you will see a collection of tests and benchmarks that range from 3DMark to The Witcher 3 to SPECviewperf to LuxMark, attempting to give as wide a viewpoint of the Vega FE product as I can in a rather short time window. The card is sexy (maybe the best looking I have yet seen), but will disappoint many on the gaming front. For professional users that are okay not having certified drivers, performance there is more likely to raise some impressed eyebrows.
Radeon Vega Frontier Edition Specifications
Through leaks and purposeful information dumps over the past couple of months, we already knew a lot about the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition card prior to the official sale date this week. But now with final specifications in hand, we can start to dissect what this card actually is.
|Vega Frontier Edition||Titan Xp||GTX 1080 Ti||Titan X (Pascal)||GTX 1080||TITAN X||GTX 980||R9 Fury X||R9 Fury|
|GPU||Vega||GP102||GP102||GP102||GP104||GM200||GM204||Fiji XT||Fiji Pro|
|Base Clock||1382 MHz||1480 MHz||1480 MHz||1417 MHz||1607 MHz||1000 MHz||1126 MHz||1050 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Boost Clock||1600 MHz||1582 MHz||1582 MHz||1480 MHz||1733 MHz||1089 MHz||1216 MHz||-||-|
|Memory Clock||1890 MHz||11400 MHz||11000 MHz||10000 MHz||10000 MHz||7000 MHz||7000 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Interface||2048-bit HBM2||384-bit G5X||352-bit||384-bit G5X||256-bit G5X||384-bit||256-bit||4096-bit (HBM)||4096-bit (HBM)|
|Memory Bandwidth||483 GB/s||547.7 GB/s||484 GB/s||480 GB/s||320 GB/s||336 GB/s||224 GB/s||512 GB/s||512 GB/s|
|TDP||300 watts||250 watts||250 watts||250 watts||180 watts||250 watts||165 watts||275 watts||275 watts|
|Peak Compute||13.1 TFLOPS||12.0 TFLOPS||10.6 TFLOPS||10.1 TFLOPS||8.2 TFLOPS||6.14 TFLOPS||4.61 TFLOPS||8.60 TFLOPS||7.20 TFLOPS|
The Vega FE shares enough of a specification listing with the Fury X that it deserves special recognition. Both cards sport 4096 stream processors, 64 ROPs and 256 texture units. The Vega FE is running at much higher clock speeds (35-40% higher) and also upgrades to the next generation of high-bandwidth memory and quadruples capacity. Still, there will be plenty of comparisons between the two products, looking to measure IPC changes from the CUs (compute units) from Fiji to the NCUs built for Vega.
The Radeon Vega GPU
The clock speeds also see another shift this time around with the adoption of “typical” clock speeds. This is something that NVIDIA has been using for a few generations with the introduction of GPU Boost, and tells the consumer how high they should expect clocks to go in a nominal workload. Normally I would say a gaming workload, but since this card is supposedly for professional users and the like, I assume this applies across the board. So even though the GPU is rated at a “peak” clock rate of 1600 MHz, the “typical” clock rate is 1382 MHz. (As an early aside, I did NOT see 1600 MHz in any of my testing time with our Vega FE but did settle in a ~1440 MHz clock most of the time.)
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 29, 2017 - 01:33 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, gtx 1080 ti, Poseidon GTX 1080 Ti Platinum Edition, poseidon, DirectCU H20, factory overclocked
We've seen the ASUS ROG Poseidon before, the last one that comes to mind being the GTX 980 Ti from Computex 2015. The name refers to the hybrid cooling solution which incorporates both watercooling and aircooling, giving you the option to add watercooling to increase your thermal dissipation or to remain with aircooling. [H]ard|OCP is working on a two part review of the card, this first article covering the performance of the card on aircooling alone. The card exceeded the quoted boost clock of 1708MHz, averaging 1939MHz in the BF1 test on default Gaming Mode clocks, 2025MHz once they overclocked. That is an impressive clock but there are other air cooled cards which are able to reach higher frequencies so it will be interesting to see what adding watercooling to the card will do.
"Air cooling? Liquid Cooling? How about both, the ASUS ROG Poseidon GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Platinum Edition hybrid video card can run them both. In Part 1 of our evaluation we will test the video card on "air cooling" and overclock it as high as possible. In Part 2, we pump liquid through its veins and compare overclocks."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Corsair's Hydro GFX GeForce GTX 1080 Ti @ The Tech Report
- Radeon Vega Frontier Edition launches today for $999 and up @ The Tech Report
- MSI Radeon RX 570 GAMING X @ [H]ard|OCP
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2017 - 11:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: epic games, ue4, nvidia, geforce, giveaway
If you are an indie game developer, and you could use a little more GPU performance, NVIDIA is hosting a hardware giveaway. Starting at the end of July, and ongoing until Summer 2018, NVIDIA and Epic Games will be giving away GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards to batches of Unreal Engine 4 projects.
To enter, you need to share screenshots and videos of your game on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, tagging both UnrealEngine and NVIDIA. (The specific accounts are listed on the Unreal Engine blog post that announces this initiative.) They will also feature these projects on both the Unreal Engine and the NVIDIA blog, which is just as valuable for indie projects.
So... hey! Several chances at free hardware!
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 27, 2017 - 06:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Vega FE, Vega, HPC, amd
AMD have released their new HPC card, the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, which Jim told you about earlier this week. The air cooled version is available now, with an MSRP of $999USD followed by a water-cooled edition arriving in Q3 with price tag of $1499.
The specs they list for the cards are impressive and compare favourably to NVIDIA's P100 which is the card AMD tested against, offering higher TFLOPS for both FP32 and FP16 operations though the memory bandwidth lags a little behind.
|Peak/Boost Clock||1600 MHz||1442 MHz|
|FP32 TFLOPS (SP)||13.1||10.3|
|FP64 TFLOPS (DP)||
|Memory Interface||1.89 Gb/s
|Memory Bandwidth||483 GB/s||716 GB/s|
|Memory Size||16GB HBC*||16GB|
|TDP||300 W air, 375 W water||235 W|
The memory size for the Vega is interesting, HBC is AMDs High Bandwidth Cache Controller which not only uses the memory cache more effectively but is able to reach out to other high performance system memory for help. AMD states that the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition has the capability of expanding traditional GPU memory to 256TB; perhaps allowing new texture mods for Skyrim or Fallout! Expect to see more detail on this feature once we can get our hands on a card to abuse, nicely of course.
AMD used the DeepBench Benchmark to provide comparative results, the AMD Vega FE system used a dual socketed system with Xeon E5 2640v4s @ 2.4Ghz 10C/20T, 32GB DDR4 per socket, on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with ROCm 1.5, and OpenCL 1.2, the NVIDIA Tesla P100 system used the same hardware with the CuDNN 5.1, Driver 375.39 and Cuda version 8.0.61 drivers. Those tests showed the AMD system completing the benchmark in 88.7ms, the Tesla P100 completed in 133.1 ms, quite an impressive lead for AMD. Again, there will be much more information on performance once the Vega FE can be tested.
Read on to hear about the new card in AMD's own words, with links to their sites.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 11:29 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, nicehash, mining, gp106-100, gp104-100, cryptocurrency
In addion to the AMD-based mining graphics cards based on the RX 470 Polaris silicon that have appeared online, NVIDIA and its partners are launching cryptocurrency mining cards based on GP106 and GP104 GPUs. Devoid of any GeForce or GTX branding, these cost controlled cards focused on mining lack the usual array of display outputs and have much shorter warranties (rumors point at a 3 month warranty restriction imposed by NVIDIA). So far Asus, Colorful, EVGA, Inno3D, MSI, and Zotac "P106-100" cards based on GP106 (GTX 1060 equivalent) silicon have been spotted online with Manli and Palit reportedly also working on cards. Many of these manufacturers are also also planning "P104-100" cards based on GP104 or the GTX 1070 though much less information is available at the moment. Pricing is still up in the air but pre-orders are starting to pop up overseas so release dates and prices will hopefully become official soon.
These mining oriented cards appear to be equipped with heatsinks similar to their gaming oriented siblings, but have fans rated for 24/7 operation. Further, while the cards can be overclocked they are clocked out of the box at reference clock speeds and allegedly have bolstered power delivery hardware to keep the cards mining smoothly under 24/7 operation. The majority of cards from NVIDIA partners lack any display outputs (the Colorful card has a single DVI out) which helps a bit with ventilation by leaving both slots vented. These cards are intended to be run in headless system or with systems that also have graphics integrated into the CPU (miners not wanting to waste a PCI-E slot!).
|Base Clock||Boost Clock||Memory (Type)||Pricing|
|ASUS MINING-P106-6G||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6 GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$226|
|Colorful P106-100 WK1/WK2||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|EVGA GTX1060 6G P106||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$284?|
|Inno3D P106-100 Compact||1506 Mhz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|Inno3D P106-100 Twin||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
|MSI P106-100 MINER||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||$224|
|MSI P104-100 MINER||TDB||TBD||6GB (GDDR5X) @ ?||?|
|ZOTAC P106-100||1506 MHz||1708 MHz||6GB (GDDR5) @ 8 GHz||?|
Looking at the Nicehash Profitability Calculator, the GTX 1060 and GTX 1070 are rated at 20.13 MH/s and 28.69 MH/s at DaggerHashimoto (Etherium) mining respectively with many users able to get a good bit higher hash rates with a bit of overclocking (and in the case of AMD undervolting to optimize power efficiency). NVIDIA cards tend to be good for other algorithms as well such as ZCash and Libry and Equihash (at least those were the majority of coins my 750 Ti mined likely due to it not having the memory to attempt ETH mining heh). The calculator estimates these GPUs at 0.00098942 BTC per day and 0.00145567 BTC per day respectivey. If difficulty and exchange rate were to remains constant that amounts to an income of $1197.95 per year for a GP106 and $1791.73 per year for a GP104 GPU and ROI in under 3 months. Of course cryptocurrency to USD exchange rates will not remain constant, there are transactions and mining fees, and mining difficulty will rise as more hardware is added to the network as miners so these estimated numbers will be lower in reality. Also, these numbers are before electricity, maintainence time, and failed hardware costs, but currently mining alt coins is still very much profitable using graphics cards.
AMD and NVIDIA (and their AIB partners) are hoping to get in on this action with cards binned and tuned for mining and at their rumored prices placing them cheaper than their gaming focused RX and GTX variants miners are sure to scoop these cards up in huge batches (some of the above cards are only availabe in large orders). Hopefully this will alleviate the strain on the gaming graphics card market and bring prices back down closer to their original MSRPs for gamers!
- Mining specific cards are real - ASUS and Sapphire GP106 and RX 470 show up
- First look at Pascal-based GPU cryptocurrency mining station @ Videocardz
- ASUS, COLORFUL and MSI showcase their mining graphics cards @ Videocardz
- Riding the Crypto wave @ TechPowerUP Forums (links/info on mining cards collected here)
- Donate to the PC Perspective Mining Pool! A NiceHash How-to
- Let's Talk About Mining - Cryptocurrency Revisited
- Computex 2017: ASRock Launching H110 Pro BTC+ Motherboard With 13 PCI-E Slots
What are your thoughts on all this GPU mining and cryptocurrency / blockchain technology stuff?
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 26, 2017 - 12:21 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, mining, geforce, cryptocurrency, amd
It appears that the prediction of mining-specific graphics cards was spot on and we are beginning to see the release of them from various AMD and NVIDIA board partners. ASUS has launched both a GP106-based solution and an RX 470 offering, labeled as being built exclusively for mining. And Sapphire has tossed it's hat into the ring with RX 470 options as well.
The most interesting release is the ASUS MINING-P106-6G, a card that takes no official NVIDIA or GeForce branding, but is clearly based on the GP106 GPU that powers the GeForce GTX 1060. It has no display outputs, so you won't be able to use this as a primary graphics card down the road. It is very likely that these GPUs have bad display controllers on the chip, allowing NVIDIA to make use of an otherwise unusable product.
The specifications on the ASUS page list this product as having 1280 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1506 MHz, a Boost clock of 1708 MHz, and 6GB of GDDR5 running at 8.0 GHz. Those are identical specs to the reference GeForce GTX 1060 product.
The ASUS MINING-RX470-4G is a similar build but using the somewhat older, but very efficient for mining, Radeon RX 470 GPU.
Interestingly, the ASUS RX 470 mining card has openings for a DisplayPort and HDMI connection, but they are both empty, leaving the single DVI connection as the only display option.
The Mining RX 470 has 4GB of GDDR5, 2048 stream processors, a base clock of 926 MHz and a boost clock of 1206 MHz, again, the same as the reference RX 470 product.
We have also seen Sapphire versions of the RX 470 for mining show up on Overclockers UK with no display outputs and very similar specifications.
In fact, based on the listings at Overclockers UK, Sapphire has four total SKUs, half with 4GB and half with 8GB, binned by clocks and by listing the expected MH/s (megahash per second) performance for Ethereum mining.
These releases show both NVIDIA and AMD (and its partners) desire to continue cashing in on the rising coin mining and cryptocurrency craze. For AMD, this allows them to find an outlet for the RX 470 GPU that might have otherwise sat in inventory with the upgraded RX 500-series out on the market. For NVIDIA, using GPUs that have faulty display controllers for mining-specific purposes allows it to be better utilize production and gain some additional profit with very little effort.
Those of you still looking to buy GPUs at reasonable prices for GAMING...you remember, what these products were built for...are still going to have trouble finding stock on virtual or physical shelves. Though the value of compute power has been dropping over the past week or so (an expected result of increase interesting in the process), I feel we are still on the rising side of this current cryptocurrency trend.