We're closing in on Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico's Battle of Puebla fought on May 5, 1862, a victory against overwhelming odds and an important step towards Mexican independence from European rulers. These days, it's a popular holiday for getting drunk, dancing and making loud noises, but maybe that's just me. I think I'm gonna play it low-key this year instead, and take the opportunity to update our Best of the Best hardware with a couple new entries: the EVGA GeForce GTX Titan and AMD's Radeon HD 7850.
Analysts can talk all they want about the demise of desktops and the rise of tablets, we're not buying it. And you know what? Neither are discrete graphics card makers. If they were, Nvidia wouldn't be getting to release a GeForce GTX 780 video card, which if the latest web chatter is true, will be launching in just a few weeks. After that, Nvidia has another GTX 700 Series card to unleash.
Select Haswell parts will feature Intel's supercharged Iris graphics.
Nobody brags about integrated graphics, and that's because there's not much there worthy of boast. That's fine, but if manufactures insist on pushing thin and light platforms on the masses and shrinking the desktop, then is it too much to ask for an integrated graphics solution that either (A) doesn't suck, or (B) is better than just serviceable? Intel doesn't think so, and its Iris graphics might be just what the market needs.
MSI's Radeon HD 7730 breaks cover and gets benchmarked.
A rather active user on the Chinese-language forum Coolaler posted several pictures of an MSI Radeon HD 7730 graphics card. As far as we can tell, the entry-level card's model was supposed to have been kept a secret, as identifying information on the retail box was replaced with a red censor strip, but it's tougher to hide such things from software. In addition to the model number, there are also some benchmark numbers to share.
AMD promises a significant reduction in latency in titles like Skyrim and Tomb Raider.
A new driver package is available for AMD Radeon, Mobility Radeon, and PowerXpress GPUs. It's AMD's Catalyst 13.4 update and it's supposed to "significantly" improve latency performance in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, Guild Wars 2, Tomb Raider, and Hitman Absolution, according to the release notes. it also offers performance gains in several titles across the entire range of Radeon HD 7000 Series graphics cards.
Nvidia’s GTX 690 finally has some serious competition
Today the embargo is lifting on the AMD Radeon HD 7990 that was teased back at GDC, so here’s the TLDR version; yes it’s just as fast and a tiny bit quieter than theNvidia GTX 690, and it includes a mega bad ass eight-AAA-game bundle and costs the same price as its nemesis, making it quite a tempting package for those with the budget for it. Whether or not that will be enough to convince anyone to actually buy it remains to be seen of course, but at least AMD can no longer be knocked for conceding the $1,000 GPU market to Nvidia. It also signifies somewhat of a resurgence for AMD, who first came off the bench late last year and early this year with its totally righteous Never Settle game bundles, then attacked the midrange recently with the surprisingly powerful and quiet Radeon HD 7790 card, and is now going for the jugular with the dual-slot and triple-fan HD 7990. Whether AMD wins or loses that battle is slightly less important than the overall significance of this introduction, as in our minds its designed to not only beat Nvidia’s offering, but also to send a very clear signal to hardcore PC enthusiasts everywhere — AMD is still in the game, and doesn’t intend to give an inch of ground to Nvidia any time soon.
Free performance gain, if you don't mind beta software.
If you like to live on the edge by installing pre-release software, risks be damned, and own an Nvidia-based graphics card, today's your lucky today. Nvidia just released new 320.00 beta drivers for GeForce graphics cards, and if you install them, the GPU maker says you can enjoy performance gains up to 20 percent. Most of the gains won't be quite as high, though several titles receive a shot in the arm from the new drivers.
New graphics cards from Nvidia could be set for a summer debut.
Summer is just around the corner, and with it is the Computex computer expo in Taipei, Taiwan. Are you wondering what the event will introduce to the computing world? So are we, and word on the web is that Nvidia is planning to launch its next generation desktop GeForce 700 Series graphics cards at Computex. In addition to pushing the performance envelope, the GeForce 700 Series is said to be in response to AMD's aggressive game bundles.
A passively cooled Radeon HD 7850 could be the centerpiece of a home theater PC (HTPC).
If you go poking around Facebook long enough, you're apt to run into teaser shots of unreleased products just like we did. Over on one of PowerColor's pages (the company has several), we spied a couple of photos of a passively cooled Radeon HD 7850 graphics card (SCS3), which to the best of our knowledge hasn't been done before. PowerColor didn't post any accompanying specs, though we suspect it will stick with the reference design.
Even with prices going up, it's still a great time to be a PC gamer.
Are you planning to build a gaming PC for the summer? If so, you might want to get started early in order to get the most bang for your buck. Yesterday we told you that desktop DRAM pricing is on the rise as contract chip prices have already jumped 50 percent in 2013, spiking 20 percent in March alone, and now we're hearing that graphics cards are getting more expensive.