AMD’s “Dual Graphics” aka Hybrid CrossFire lets you pair an APU with a GPU for improved performance, so we took it for a spin with a Kaveri APU and a budget GPU
We’ve already written quite a bit about AMD’s third-generation APU family, known as Kaveri. It’s a CPU with an integrated GPU, just like with Intel’s Core i7 parts that contain HD Graphics. The difference is that in the past, AMD paired a relatively weak GPU with the CPU, for predictably lame results. This time around, however, AMD has stepped it up a notch, and put the GPU on equal footing with the CPU, sticking an R7-series GPU inside the package, which is a bit more powerful than anything Intel has to on tap these days (on the GPU side, that is). Also, since AMD makes both CPUs and GPUs, it can one-up Intel by letting both pieces of silicon work together in a partnership dubbed Dual Graphics, which used to be known as Hybrid CrossFire. It’s a dual-GPU setup combining integrated and discrete graphics, and it could be a good way to give your integrated graphics a healthy boost, or it could be a total waste of money. This month, we decided to build a budget-oriented gaming machine to find out for ourselves what Dual Graphics is all about, and to see whether it’s actually useful, or just marketing BS.
Note: This article was originally featured in the June 2014 issue of the magazine.
Update: Now with more screens and information on Nvidia battery boost
When Nvidia unveiled its first Maxwell-based graphics cards during its GAME24 event, the company trumpeted increased performance alongside power efficiency, allowing for high-end video cards that run cooler and quieter. That's the kind of combination that's ideal for mobile gamers, and if you've been waiting for Maxwell to arrive on laptops, your wait is over -- Nvidia this morning launched its GeForce GTX 970M and 980M notebook GPUs.
4K and SLI tested on Nvidia's high-end Maxwell card
Sometimes things don't go according to plan. Both AMD and Nvidia were supposed to have shifted to 20-nanometer parts by now. In theory, that's supposed to get you lower temperatures, higher clock speeds and quieter operation. Due to circumstances largely out of its control, Nvidia has had to go ahead with a 28nm high-end Maxwell part instead, dubbed GM204. This is not a direct successor to the GTX 780, which has more transistors, texture mapping units, and things like that. The 980 is actually the next step beyond the GTX 680, aka GK104, which was launched in March 2012.
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.