Here's a look at how Nvidia's next batch of graphics cards might perform
How about we kick off the work week with some rumors, speculation, and purportedly leaked info, shall we? Sure, why not! What we have tumbling out of the rumor mill today is the notion that Nvidia is going to launch its GeForce 900 Series cards based on its Maxwell architecture on September 19. Specifications are hard to come by, but in the meantime, some supposed benchmark scores of Nvidia's forthcoming GeForce GTX 980, GTX 970, and GTX 980M are making the rounds in cyberspace.
At its “30 Year of Gaming and Graphics” event, which the company broadcast live via Twitch on Saturday, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced the addition of a new graphics card to its Radeon R9 family. While the Radeon R9 285 is very close to its predecessor, the R9 280, in terms of specs, the new card is built around the company’s new Tonga Pro GPU.
EVGA this week added the GeForce GT 720 with passive cooling to its graphics card lineup. Compared to integrated graphics, Nvidia says you can expect up to 2x faster web browsing, 5x faster video editing, and 8x faster photo editing. And when it comes time to game, the jump in performance can be up to 70 percent faster, all while taking up just a single slot in your PC, Nvidia says.
Six entry-level graphics cards battle for budget-board bragging rights
The video-card game is a lot like Hollywood. Movies like My Left Foot and The Artist take home the Oscars every year, but movies like Grown Ups 2 and Transformers 3 pull in all the cash. It's the same with GPUs, in that everyone loves to talk about $1,000 cards, but the actual bread-and-butter of the market is made up of models that cost between $100 and $150. These are not GPUs for 4K gaming, obviously, but they can provide a surprisingly pleasant 1080p gaming experience, and run cool and quiet, too.
Note: This article was originally featured in the May 2014 issue of the magazine.
AMD on Wednesday let loose its FirePro S9150 server card, supposedly the most powerful server GPU ever built for High Performance Computing (HPC) and the first to support double precision and break the 2.0 TFLOPS double precision barrier. Based on AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, the FirePro S9150 is specifically designed for compute workloads and is aided by 16GB of GDDR5 memory on a 512-bit memory interface for up to 320GB/s of memory bandwidth.
aftermarket Radeon R9 290X GPUs are beginning to make the rounds, and this month we had a WindForce-cooled behemoth from Gigabyte strutting its stuff in the lab. Unlike last month’s Sapphire Tri-X R9 290X, this board features a custom PCB in addition to the custom cooler, whereas the Sapphire slapped a huge cooler onto the reference design circuit board. Theoretically, this could allow for higher overclocks on the Gigabyte due to better-quality components, but more on that later.
Note: This review was originally featured in the April 2014 issue of the magazine.
For those who haven’t kept up with current events: Late last year AMD launched its all-new Hawaii GPUs, starting with its flagship Radeon R9 290X that featured a blower-type cooler designed by AMD. In testing, it ran hotter than any GPU we’ve ever tested, hitting 94 C at full load, which is about 20 C higher than normal. AMD assured everyone this was no problemo, and that the board was designed to run those temps until the meerkats came home. It was stable at 94 C, but the GPU throttled performance at those temps. The stock fan was also a bit loud at max revs, so though the card offered kick-ass performance, it was clearly being held back by the reference cooler.
Nvidia on Monday launched new GeForce 337.88 WHQL certified drivers in preparation for today's release of Ubisoft's much anticipated Watch Dogs title. According to Nvidia, this latest release "ensures you'll have the best possible gaming experience for Watch Dogs." In addition, Nvidia promises performance gains of 10 percent or more in several titles at 2560x1400 and 3840x2160 (4K) resolutions.
Market research firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR) said the decline in add-in graphics boards (disrete graphics cards, in other words, as opposed to integrated GPUs) during the first quarter of 2014 was "disappointing, but seasonally understandable." On a sequential basis, AIB shipments dropped 6.7 percent, though on a year-to-year basis, they're only down 0.8 percent, compared to desktop PCs as a whole, which declined 1.1 percent.
PowerColor's next Devil 13 graphics card may require four 8-pin PCI-E power connectors
You might have expected hell would freeze over before you'd ever see a graphics card with the audacity to demand four -- yes FOUR! -- 8-pin PCI-Express power connectors. You'd also be wrong. Maybe, anyway -- if leaked photos posted to a Chinese language web forum turn out to be legitimate, then PowerColor's upcoming Devil 13 Radeon R9 295X2 dual-GPU graphics card will have a hellish thirst for electricity.