PowerColor today announced its LCS HD 5870 V2, an upgraded version of the original LCS HD 5870 that now "features unprecedented factory overclocked settings."
Calling it "unprecedented" might be stretching things a tad, but not by much. With the GPU factory overclocked to 950MHz, the LCS HD 5870 V2 matches Gigabyte's GV-R587SO Edition card, the only other HD 5870 GPU we spotted on Newegg clocked higher than 900MHz. More surprising, however, is PowerColor's decision not to goose the memory, which comes clocked at 4,800MHz, or 200MHz slower than the original LCS.
Like the previous version, only water cooling gurus need apply. The LCS HD 5870 V2 comes equipped with high-flow 3/8-inch and 1/2-inch fittings with captured o-rings to help prevent leakage.
"We got very positive feedback from the first version of the LCS HD 5870," said Ted Chen, CEO of TUL Corporation. "Now we released an upgraded version with factory overclocked settings and offer a cool working environment. We're sure that it will exceed expectations from gamers."
As with most of PowerColor's HD 5870 line, this newest release will come bundled with a Dirt 2 coupon, though the company didn't say when this will hit retail or for how much.
DIY builders have it good these days, especially gamers. Never before has the return on your gaming dollar been so high, where budget and mid-range videocards come capable of cranking out respectable framerates without dropping the visual quality settings down to a blocky mess. Could things get even better?
It's too early to tell, but citing un-named sources from graphics cards players, Digitimes says AMD's profits from its GPU segment is set to drop in the third quarter as Nvidia cranks up the competition.
In addition to its high-end Fermi parts, Nvidia recently launched its GeForce GTX 460 videocard, a $200 GPU we described as "a relatively affordable videocard that delivers great performance with a 1080p display" in our recent preview (see here). And Nvidia isn't finished putting on the competitive pressure. The graphics chip maker is readying its GeForce GTS 455 and 450 GPUs for an August launch, followed by an entry-level GF100 GPU in September.
Meanwhile, AMD is also prepping more DX11 parts, but doesn't have any plans to launch new cards in the third quarter. While it's all speculation at this point, we wouldn't be surprised if price cuts were forthcoming, hence why Digitimes' sources feel AMD's 3Q GPU profits are about to take a downward slide.
ATI came screaming out of the gate with a competitive lineup of GPU's just in time for the release of DirectX 11, and we now know it's a gamble that seems to have paid off. According to numbers released late last week AMD shipped more than 16 million 5000 series GPU's in the last 9 months, an increase of nearly 87 per cent over the results from the prior year.
Despite the positive sales numbers AMD still posted a net loss of $1.65 billion $43 million in Q2, but with revenues of more than $1.65 billion it shouldn’t take too long to turn this around. "Robust demand for our latest mobile platforms and solid execution drove record second quarter revenue and a healthy gross margin," said Dirk Meyer, AMD President and CEO. "We added Sony as a microprocessor customer and continue to see our existing customers expand their AMD-based platform offerings".
With three new GPU's on the market Nvidia finally has some skin in the game, but this is a far cry from the nearly 12 different offerings from ATI that hit up just about every price point imaginable. Nvidia still controls the lion share of the market, but this is the first sizable dent ATI has managed to put in its competitor.
Given that ATI has almost as many DirectX11 GPU's on the market as Sony has PS3's, we can't help but wonder, where are all the games!
EDITED: To Reflect Proper Sales / Loss Information.
The film Predators opened in theaters over the weekend, and as was the case with several other flicks proceed by Robert Rodriquez -- Shorts, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, Planet Terror, Sin City -- it was AMD hardware that brought the special effects to life.
In this case, Troublemaker Studios tapped into AMD's six-core Opteron processors and ATI FirePro graphics cards, and specifically the V8800 iteration. Representing the flagship GPU in the FirePro Vxxx line, the V8800 comes with 1600 stream processors, a 256-bit memory interface, 2GB of GDDR5, and all the modern standards you would expect, such as DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.2, and Shader Model 5.0.
Six digital artists comprised the core Predators production team. According to Charlie Boswell, AMD's Direct of Digital Media and Entertainment, the AMD-powered workstations allowed the Predators team to render scenes in real-time at resolutions of up to 4,096 x 2,160.
A handful of Dell Precision Workstations are now coming equipped with ATI FirePro V7800, V5800, and V4800 professional graphics cards, AMD announced this week.
"AMD and Dell are working together to offer workstation users a combined solution designed for reliable performance and demanding application support," said Janet Matsuda, senior director, AMD Professional Graphics. :Our new generation of ATI FirePro professional graphics cards enable Dell to offer workstations that accelerate ATI Stream-enabled software applications and deliver unique features, such as ATI Eyefinity technology, enabling increased productivity by way of expanded screen real estate."
On the lower end, ATI's FirePro V4800 features 1GB of GDDR5 memory and is available with Dell Precision R5400, T1500, T3500, T5500, and T7500 Workstations. Moving up to the mid-range, the V5800 also comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory, but double the performance over previous-gen FirePro parts. And on the high-end, the V7800 ups the ante with 2GB of RAM in a single-slot form factor. Both the V5800 and V7800 are available on Dell Precision R5400, T3500, T5500, and T7500 Workstations.
When a new GPU launches, most manufacturers ship videocards that look disturbingly similar. That’s because they’re either based on the GPU manufacturer’s reference design or, in the case of the initial Nvidia 480 GTX release, are actually built by the GPU manufacturer.
As time goes by, board makers become more comfortable with the GPU’s strengths and weaknesses and gain a better understanding of such issues as how memory clocks match to GPU clocks, which voltages work best for performance and/or product longevity, and so on. While all this is going on, the GPU maker either respins the chip or nails down the manufacturing process. And after a few months, we typically see a spate of custom card designs, often factory overclocked, as vendors seek to distinguish their product from the competition.
Nvidia has been promising 3D surround gaming for as long as we can remember, but it looks as though Sapphire is going to beat them to market with a home grown ATI based solution. Using a combination of Eyefinity and 3D drivers from iZ3d, the company was able to showcase a working three monitor configuration running games such as Tom Clancy's Hawx, Left for Dead 2, Battle Forge, and even Dirt 2.
"This technology demonstrates that games and applications can be displayed in 3D on multiple screens, and run smoothly, without the need for multiple graphics cards or expensive shutter glasses," said Bill Donnelly, Global PR Director for Sapphire. "This approach uses low cost glasses, and can be run on any system with an ATI-based Sapphire graphics card that has ATI Eyefinity support."
We expect to see more details emerge in the days ahead for the DIY crowd, but you'll still need 120hz monitors to give this a try. Either way this news can't be sitting well with Nvidia's driver team.
ATI is no greenhorn when it comes to switchable graphics, but the company's version has always required manual intervention on part of the end user. It doesn't need to be that way, and Nvidia proved as much when the rival graphics chip maker introduced the world to its Optimus technology, a switchable graphics solution that automatically determines whether the task at hand requires the additional power of discrete graphics or can get by with the integrated GPU.
From what we're hearing, ATI isn't content to sit on the sidelines and watch Nvidia rule over the switchable graphics market, not with ATI's mobile chipsets so prevalent in the marketplace. Word on the Web is that ATI is working on its own version of Optimus, which notebook manufacturers expect will be ready by the end of the year.
Specifics aren't yet known, though we don't imagine ATI's version will differ much from Nvidia's solution. It will be interesting, however, to see if one of them ends up having a leg up over the other.
AMD has released its Catalyst 10.5 driver suite to the public, which now support 120Hz displays for the ATI Radeon HD 4000 and HD 3000 series. ATI Overdrive has also been enhanced, delivering full support for overclocking functionality on supported HD graphics cards, AMD said.
The latest driver package also resolves a handful of issue across a variety of Windows platforms, including:
Battlefield 2: Badk Company maps no longer takes unusually long to load (all Windows OSes)
Alt-Tabbing to desktop and back into Mass Effect 2 game no longer causes the display to go black (Windows 7)
HBR (high bit-rate) audio now functions properly (Windows Vista)
Resident Evil 5 now launches properly with a HDMI display connected to an AGP card (Windows XP
For entry-level folk, AMD's HD 5670 videcards sell for as little as $90 shipped on Newegg, and even lower if you factor in those annoying mail-in-rebates. What you get in return is a serviceable card for light graphics duties with the following reference specs:
400 stream processors
775MHz core clockspeed
4000MHz memory clockspeed (effective)
128-bit memory bus
4Gb/s data rate
That's not going to blow the side panel off your custom built rig, but will be plenty sufficient for Peggle and other casual gaming chores, as well as more demanding games at lower resolutions (see our performance review here). Now here's where things get interesting. Chinese website Inpai.com seems to believe it has it on good authority that AMD will release an upgraded version of the HD 5670. From what the site knows so far, the beefed up model will sport 640 stream processors instead of the 400 found on the reference design, while the core clockspeed will drop slightly to 750MHz. Everything else looks to remain the same.
If true, and if the price doesn't get jacked up, HD 5670 could suddenly become a very compelling option in the sub-$100 graphics category.