A new generation of GPUs from Nvidia and AMD has hit the streets. Both camps are offering incredible performance and the widest array of features ever before seen in graphics cards. But, inevitably, each side brings its own unique strengths and weaknesses. What better way to determine the performance champ than by letting this season’s new crop of cards duke it out in the various price categories?
The fastest single videocard on the planet belongs to AMD, but that's only because the HD 5970 sports a pair of GPUs under the hood. Nvidia, meanwhile, owns the single-GPU performance crown with its GTX 580 videocard, but it may soon steal the overall performance crown from AMD, too.
According to Tech Report, EVGA is all too happy to show off Nvidia's next dual-GPU monster, though the company isn't willing to give many specifics. As an exclusive Nvidia partner, we suspect what you're seeing is a dual-GPU GeForce 500 series card -- probably a GTX 595 -- equipped with two GF110 GPUs.
From the pictures, we can see there's at least 1GB of memory (and probably much more), three DVI outputs, and a pair of eight-pin power connectors. Cooling is provided by a custom heatsink with three fans.
Earlier this week we learned Nvidia had decided to sell its own branded videocards in Best Buy, which so far appear limited to the GeForce GTX 450 and 460. The move had us wondering how Nvidia's add-in board (AIB) partners would react, who would now be in direct competition with the graphics chip maker.
"No comment," EVGA's Joe Darwin told CNET when asked how his company felt about the news. "It's something [Nvidia] has always talked about, and now it's finally here."
Put another way, EVGA seems perturbed but publicly poised. Darwin also explained what value his company brings to the graphics card business that sets it apart from Nvidia.
"Definitely our level of customer service and our programs and our community. All of our tech support is in house, 24-7," Darwin said. "There are actual EVGA employees that do the support here; it's not sourced out. They get all the training from our product team. Our RMA service averages two to three days to turn around products in to us [for repair]. We haven't seen anyone else that can compete on that level."
EVGA is also known for its robust warranty program. Provided buyers register their cards within 30 days of purchase, EVGA cards carry a lifetime warranty, including overclocking and using third party heatsinks (as long as you don't physically damage the card in the process).
EVGA this week added another X58-based board to an already crowded lineup built around Intel's flagship chipset. It's called the X58 SLI3, which builds upon the X58 SLI LE by adding a pair of USB 3.0 ports and two SATA 6Gb/s ports to the mix.
The board also comes equipped with 6 x SATA 3Gb/s ports and 10 x USB 2.0 ports, as well as a handful of features geared towards overclockers. These include 100 percent solid state capacitors, VDroop control, EVGA's EZ Voltage, and the E-LEET tuning utility software.
The rest if pretty standard fare for a $200 X58 board, including SLI and CrossFireX support, RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD configurations, a pair of Ethernet ports, and support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1600+ in tri-channel form.
After a rocky development period and a delayed launch, Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 480 GPU is finally entering that middle stage: Factory overclocked, not-quite-standard products are emerging, offering better performance, improved cooling, and the potential for even higher overclocks.
This new card doesn’t offer a fully redesigned cooler. EVGA altered the design of the back-plate, enlarging its vents to facilitate more efficient airflow. The back-plate also helps dissipate heat, though there is a small chance that you may encounter thermal issues with some case or motherboard designs.
The Superclocked+ pushes the core clock to 726MHz versus 700MHz stock, and memory to 950MHz memory as opposed to the reference design’s 926MHz. This translates to a shader clock frequency of 1,451MHz, which is just a bit higher than the standard 1,401MHz. The higher clock speeds give you more robust performance—and a higher price tag: The Superclocked+ can be found for around $520, while EVGA’s stock design costs less than $500.
Starcraft fans take note - EVGA's latest update to its Precision overclocking utility -- version 1.9.6 -- comes with a Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty on-screen display profile for Logitech G-series keyboard LCDs.
For those of you who aren't into Starcraft, there's still plenty of goodies baked this latest version. Some of the features include:
Independent or Synchronous control for fan and clock settings in a multi-GPU system
Allows up to 10 profiles, and ability to assign hotkeys to these profiles to allow in-game
Ability to view temperatures in the system tray
Core/Shader Clock Link/Unlink capability
Logitech keyboard LCD display support
Save screenshots from your favorite games
Version 1.9.6 also includes a few fixes which, along with the rest of the features, you can check out here.
With few exceptions, our advice has always been to purchase the fastest hardware you can afford right now rather than wait for something faster to come along when you're in need of an upgrade. Why? As any PC hobbyist will tell you, there's always something bigger, faster, and just plain better on the horizon, and once you get stuck playing the 'waiting game,' it's hard to ever pull the trigger.
We bring this up because EVGA has done something unique with its GeForce GTX 460 line. The graphics card maker recently released a new BIOS, which in and of itself isn't anything new, but this updated BIOS pushes the core/shader clockspeeds to 720MHz/1440MHz, up from 675MHz/1350MHz.
That's a generous 7 percent "Free Performance Boost," as EVGA calls its BIOS update, which only further sweetens the pot (EVGA cards are backed by a lifetime warranty, provided you register your card online within 30 days of purchase). Pessimists will point out that the clockspeed increases aren't going to make a huge difference in gaming performance, but hey, videocards boasting a 7 percent boost over reference clocks typically carry a pricing premium, and here EVGA is giving away performance bumps to existing owners. That's just rad.
You can snag the update here, being extra careful to follow EVGA's directions to a T.
G.Skill didn't just go and release an ordinary 48GB kit of RAM, if such a thing can ever be ordinary, but according to G.Skill, this is also the world's only hand-picked, hand-tested, ultra-high capacity DDR3 memory kit for workstations.
The kit consists of 12x4GB memory modules clocked at 1,900MHz, each one outfitted with the company's Ripjaws series heatsink. Obviously home users need not apply, and further limiting their utility, G.Skill says its new kit is intended exclusively for EVGA's Super Record 2 (SR-2) motherboard.
So what's the point? Bragging rights, for one. But as a workstation kit, 48GB can come in handy for 3D rendering, data modeling, scientific applications, and other specialized tasks.
No word yet on price or availability, but let's be real, we're just here to gawk, right?
GPUs that cost $500 are all well and good, but the sweet spot for high-end graphics cards is in the $350–$400 range. That’s still a good chunk of change, but it can get you a card with close to 90 percent of the performance of high-end cards.
That’s certainly true of EVGA’s GTX 470 SC. Built on a cut-down version of Nvidia’s high-end, DirectX 11 GPU, this card posted eyebrow-raising benchmarks, pretty much putting it into a class of its own.
EVGA’s super-clocked GTX 470 GPU ships with 448 shader processors, running at 625MHz, with a shader clock of 1,280MHz. That’s a 3 percent faster core clock and 2.5 percent faster memory frequencies than the stock GTX 470. (The GTX 480 uses 480 shader processors at 700MHz). The 320-bit-wide memory interface pumps data to 1,280MB of GDDR5 running at 850MHz (3,400MHz effective.) Of course, the card supports the usual set of Nvidia features, including hardware SLI, PhysX acceleration, and 3D Vision Surround video.
The number of Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 videocards in EVGA's stable now sits at four, the latest being the GeForce GTX 480 SuperClocked + w/ High Flow Bracket and Backplate.
Everything that sets this card apart from the rest is laid out in the uber-long naming scheme, starting with the SuperClocked+ frequencies. EVGA goosed the GPU clockspeed from 700MHz to 726MHz, the same as on the vanilla SuperClocked version, and cranked the memory from 3696MHz to 3800MHz, also the same as the standard SuperClocked model.
Unique to this particular card, however is the backplate slapped to the underside of the card. Along with the high flow bracket, EVGA claims temperatures are reduced by up to 7C.
No word on when it will ship, only that it will run $550, at least if purchased direct from EVGA. The graphics maker also sells a reference GeForce GTX 480 for $520, SuperClocked model for $530, and the Hydro Copper FTW version (for water cooling setups) for $650.