Video Cards Articles
With the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G, the Dragon Army is marching to conquer the high-end graphics card market.
The XFX R7 250E Core Edition is a single-slot gem equipped with Ghost Thermal Technology and offering great value.
The Gigabyte R7 250X OC offers great gaming performance and features for $100.
NVIDIA GTX 980 unleashes the full GM204 Maxwell GPU: Excellent performance at low TDP and lower cost.
A look at the PowerColor R9 285 TurboDuo, built around the new - and quite intriguing - AMD Tonga GPU.
Video Cards News
To say it offers CrossFire in a single card would be an understatement
Dual GPU graphics cards are hardly a new thing, but you haven't seen anything like AMD's new Radeon R9 295X2 which packs two fully unlocked Hawaii XT GPUs onto one PCB. By their powers combined, the R9 295X2 features 5,632 stream processors and delivers a maximum 11.5 teraflops of computing performance in a single card. Oh, and it comes with 8GB of GDDR5 memory on a dual 512-bit memory bus.
This sort of horsepower is enough to convince AMD (and reviewers) that the R9 295X2 is faster than anything out there, including NVIDIA's ridiculous $2999 USD GeForce GTX Titan Z (which incidentally features 12GB memory). What's more, AMD's new card is "only" half the price at $1499 USD but that sort of money is also getting you "powder-coated aluminum" construction and a hybrid air/water cooling solution designed by OEM giant Asetek. That's right, the R9 295X2 is the first reference card to include a built-in, closed-loop liquid cooling system to help keep temperatures (and noise levels) in check when this bad boy unleashes the beast.
Of course with great power comes great power requirements, and the R9 295X2 bends the rules to allow installation in rigs designed by mere mortals by making its dual 8-pin power connectors draw more juice than technically allowed. That means you'll want to break out a power supply with at least 750W capacity and a reliable +12V rail to provide at least 28A of juice per connector. We are talking about a dual-slot card featuring two 250W GPUs, after all.
The R9 295X2 will ship to retailers starting April 21st, and third-party manufacturers will also be releasing their own bundles with the card (currently with no change to the Asetek hybrid cooling solution aside from branding).
Automatically adjusts settings for best experience
Along with the GTX 690 being released today, Nvidia has also created a new GeForce Experience feature that allow gamers to play their games at the maximum settings possible or their GPU and CPU configuration automatically. The GeForce experience works by connecting to a super computer that has stored settings for virtually any combination of Nvidia graphics cards and processors.
To connect to the super computer all that is needed it to hit a simple optimize button, which sends the request to the super computer allowing it to find the best settings for your desktop or laptop. After it finds the best settings for the game, the program takes care of the rest, allowing the gamer to simply enjoy the game without having to dig through a complicated control panel.
The GeForce Experience was first introduced by Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO at Nvidia, during the GeForce LAN event in Shanghai. If you missed it we have included the full introduction to the GeForce Experience below.
Traditionally, graphics cards launches follow a set order. Usually the flagship single GPU solution is released and then followed by the more affordable graphics cards in the stack. However, Nvidia is turning this on its head by releasing the GTX 690 just a month after the GTX 680 launched.
Making today’s announcement even more exciting is the GTX 690 is the most powerful and refined graphics card Nvidia has built to date. This is clear just for the exterior of the graphics card, as it doesn’t use plastic casing or generic materials. Instead it is utilizes a thermal solution constructed of cast aluminum and magnesium alloy with polycarbonate windows and nickel plating, making it the most expensive and solidly constructed graphics card Nvidia has ever built. Beyond the exterior though the GTX 690 is also built on a 10 layer 2oz PCB, has ample 10 phase power supply and two GK-104 graphics processors.
By now most of us are familiar with the GTX 680, and the new features such as Nvidia GPU Boost technology, which is a major factor in the performance of the GTX 690. According to Nvidia the GTX 690 is able to perform nearly 2x faster than the single GPU based GTX 680. This is due to the power efficiency of the Kepler architecture, which allows Nvidia to keep the Boost speed of the dual cores above 1GHz, while staying in an acceptable power envelope. The power efficiency, along with the robust thermal solution also allows the GTX 690 to run at a low acoustic level of only 47dBA, making it as quiet as many case fans.
The GTX 690 also utilizes binned graphics processors that were handpicked for their low leakage and power efficiency. Essentially, this means Nvidia has selected the best of the best graphics processors, which allowed them to keep the base and boost clock at 915MHz and 1019MHz respectively. But like the GTX 680 the Boost clock is just an estimate and it should run at faster than 1015MHz during gaming. In addition the GTX 690 has dual Kepler cores that internally feature 3072 CUDA cores, 64 ROPs, 128 Texture units and a 4GB GDDR5 frame buffer running on a 512-bit interface. So, Nvidia didn’t scale anything back, as the GTX 690 packs in two full GK-104 graphics processors.
So, what is this beast going to cost? Well... at $999 it is double the cost of a single GTX 680. The tradeoff though is it is a single PCB solution that is quieter than dual GTX 680s and comes with massive bragging rights.
Along with the GTX 690, Nvidia also introduced a new program called the GeForce Experience. Essentially, GeForce Experience has been a long term program where Nvidia ran programs and games through a super computer for it to find the best settings for the GPU and CPU configuration being used. When being used the program allows a host system to connect to the super computer allowing gamers that traditionally don’t change the in game settings to enjoy the maximum eye candy available by automatically allowing the program to adjust the settings. There is some user interaction still, but it is only limited to hitting an optimize button, and GeForce Experience takes care of the rest.
Be sure to check back May 3rd for our full launch review.
We have been sent plenty of odd things over the years, but a crowbar for killing zombies might take the cake.
The crowbar is an obvious tease for an upcoming GeForce launch, which is widely expected to be a dual GPU GTX 690. The latest obscure tease comes on the heels of a message post last week on the GeForce Facebook page stating, “Something is coming." The crowbar shown below is inscribed with: “For use in case of Zombies or…”
The "or" could be one of many possibilities, such as being the means to open something GeForce related; that or Nvidia actually plans on starting the zombie apocalypse and just wanted to make sure some of us were prepared. Whatever it is though, we will be here covering it... unless we have already turned.
Nvidia released a teaser image of an upcoming product today via their Facebook page. The image consist only of a vague close up of a mystery product with the following message: “It’s coming."
Vague, much? Speculation of what the mystery product is has been all over the map, with guesses ranging from it being a dual GPU GTX 690 to a GK-100 based graphics card, or even a new case. Whatever it is though, we should know within the next few weeks, and rest assured we will have an in-depth article of this yet to be disclosed product.
In the mean time, feel free to indulge in some rumors.
The graphics segment is perhaps the most competitive in the PC market, and today things are really starting to heat up.
Just three weeks ago, Nvidia launched the GTX 680 to wide spread acclaim, as it was both faster and more affordable than the HD 7970. This of course meant AMD would have to drop the prices of their Southern Islands graphics cards to counter the Kepler launch, but no official word has been released until today.
According to an email sent to us over the weekend, AMD is ready to revamp the pricing structure for most of their current gen graphics cards, effective immediately. However, they are also unveiling a new promotion called the “Three for Free” Program.
Starting with the new pricing structure, the Radeon HD 7970 will now retail for as low as $479, while the HD 7950 has an MSRP of $399. The HD 7770 is also getting an updated price tag, as it now can be found for as low as $139. There was no mention of the HD 7870 or HD 7850, so we expect those graphics cards will remain at $349 and $249, respectively.
The “Three for Free” program is a partnership between Codemasters, THQ, and AMD, where three free games will be bundled with AMD’s high-end graphics cards. The games include upcoming titles DiRT Showdown and Nexuiz, as well as the widely popular Deus Ex: Human Revolution and its DLC expansion, The Missing Link.
It has been no secret TSMC -- the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry -- has not been able to deliver when it comes to producing high yields for their latest 28nm parts.
This shortage, though affecting other companies, is predominately hurting AMD and Nvidia, as neither company can ship their latest 28nm graphics cards in high-volume. In the case of Nvidia, it has caused them to delay the launch of more 28nm models. What this means for you is it could be some time before the GTX 680 becomes readily available and for AMD to reduce the prices of their Southern Islands graphics line to Kepler prices.
The good news is production is expected to pick up in Q3 2012, at which point we should see a dramatic increase is the volume of both AMD and Nvidia products.
NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 680 has high overclocking potential, as even under standard conditions we were able to increase the GPU clock speed to nearly 1300MHz. So imagine what could be possible if the VRM was modified for high voltage AND the core was chilled to -150°C. This is exactly what a team of overclockers from EVGA did.
The team was led by the "Kingp|n" himself, renowned in the enthusiast circle for his overclocking abilities. To achieve the highest clocks possible, the team used an add-on PWM board with additional power connectors and chilled the core using LN2. The end result was a GTX 680 running at an astonishing 1842MHz.
At 1842MHz, the system was capable of scoring 14912 points in the 3DMark 11 performance test. This is over 4000 marks higher than what we achieved in our own labs. However, the real kicker is the 14912 score was achieved with tessellation set to the maximum level. Taking this into account, the actual score in comparison to our results would have been between 5000 and 6000 marks.
Along with the modified GTX 680, the test system utilized an Intel Core i7-3930K processor overclocked to 5.5GHz and memory running at 2400MHz.
Southern Island’s graphics cards have dominated the news cycles since their release early this year, but according to VR-Zone, Kepler is fast approaching and the architecture looks promising.
According to the site, the rumored specifications list the GTX 680 as having 1536 CUDA cores, which is three times more than the GTX 580. Like the previous generation, the GTX 680 utilizes "hotclocks" and the GPU clock speed is set at 705 MHz, meaning the shaders will operate at 1411 MHz. Additionally, the rumored specifications show the card to have a 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6000MHz and running on a 256-bit memory interface. With this sub-system the GTX 680 should have a total memory bandwidth rating of 192GB/s.
Currently this is all speculation, but we will keep you informed on any information relating to Kepler just as soon as we have it.
Nvidia just released their latest WHQL driver, which comes packed with performance improvements, enhanced ambient occlusion support, and SLI profiles.
The 295.73 driver can boost performance in Skyrim by up to 40%, and the ambient occlusion first added in their 290.36 beta driver has been improved to increase the graphical fidelity of shadows while limiting the impact on the overall performance. Additionally, ambient occlusion support is added for Diablo III, and SLI performance in Mass Effect III is boosted and now scales up to 90% in SLI (not that you'll need it).
Other highlights of the R295 driver include new 3D Vision and SLI profiles for over 50 titles and new PhysX software for titles such as Alice: Madness Returns and Batman: Arkham City.
Hit the source for the full details and download.
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