Barring any subsequent hotfixes, AMD graphics card owners have one last driver package to download and install before 2010 comes to a close, Catalyst 10.12.
AMD's newest drivers add support for DivX on the Radeon HD 6800 Series of cards, support for OpenGL 4.1, and includes the AMD Stream 2.3 SDK release. Each one of these comes with their own subset of improvements, particularly OpenGL 4.1, which introduces a bunch of new features and performance improvements.
Installing the Catalyst 10.12 driver suite also stomps out several known issues for Windows 7, Vista, and XP, everything from solving random tearing issues (when playing back XVID files on an extended display) to getting rid of the intermittent hanging issue in Dragon Age Origins.
If you're wondering which is the faster videocard, Nvidia's GeForce GTX 580 or AMD's Radeon HD 6970, don't take this as the end-all-be-all. But for what it's worth, Nvidia's crown jewel came out ahead of AMD's upcoming Cayman part in the newly released 3DMark 11 benchmark during Fudzilla's limited round of tests.
Fudzilla said the HD 6970 scored lower than 8,000 at entry settings while the GTX 580 posted 8700 in the same test. The GTX 570 scored just above 8,000.
At the performance level, AMD's Cayman card posted a score around 5,300, while the GTX 580 scored a little below 6,000 and the GTX 570 managed 5,250. Things leveled out a little bit at the Extreme settings, with the HD 6970 posting 1,800, while the GTX 580 scored 1,950.
Like the floppy drive, the VGA port has been one of the mainstays of the PC industry almost from the beginning. And like the floppy drive, the VGA port is on its way out, to be replaced by newer, better technology, TechNewsWorld.com reports.
For the most part, the floppy drive has already been replaced by USB thumb drives. The VGA port is still around, however both Intel and AMD, with the blessing of several computer vendors, said they will phase out support for the soon-to-be legacy connection by 2015.
The reasoning behind this forced retirement is to give DisplayPort and HDMI ports their due. After all, "HDMI and DisplayPort are modern digital interfaces that support higher resolutions and screen sizes," Intel spokesperson Nick Knuppfer points out.
Will you miss the VGA port, or is this move long overdue?
You should have no trouble getting your game on this holiday shopping season. Let's recap your latest options. OnLive just launched its Micro Game console for $99, Nvidia recently outed its GeForce GTX 570 GPU, and according to DigiTimes, AMD is preparing to launch its new Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 graphics cards (Cayman) in the third week of December.
Citing un-named sources, DigiTimes says AMD's HD 6970 isn't quite up to par with Nvidia's GTX 580 videocard, so you can figure AMD's part to cost around $50 to $70 less. Previous rumors suggest this flagship part will come with 2GB of memory on a 256-bit bus chugging along at 1375MHz, 96 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a core clockspeed of 880MHz.
How many of these cards will actually be available in December remains to be seen. There's already talk that initial shipment volumes will be limited, so if you're holding out for one of these parts, get your trigger finger ready starting December 15th.
News and rumor site Fudzilla claims to have received confirmation that AMD's dual-GPU Radeon HD 6990 videocard, otherwise known as "Antilles," won't show up on store shelves until the first quarter of 2011.
As the water cooler banter goes, AMD originally wanted to ship its dual-chip card before the end of the year, and if that's true, it raises of the question of why it's being postponed. It could be that AMD wants to fine tune the architecture and drivers, or maybe there's a problem that requires additional time to address. It's all speculation, with the only thing we know for sure (assuming Fudzilla's sources are solid) is that there won't be any Radeon HD 6990 cards in Santa's sleigh this year.
A recently leaked slide of the HD 6990 part reveals that the card will come with 3840 stream processors, 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and deliver up to 6.0TFLPS. Under load, the HD 6990 is supposed to draw a manageable 300W, and 30W when idle.
As Nvidia often does following the launch of a new videocard, the GPU maker has rolled out updated GPU drivers, version 263.09.
Specific to this release is added support for the GeForce GTX 580 and 460 SE videocards, and presumably the just launched GTX 570 (oddly enough, there's no mention of the GTX 570 in the release notes). Otherwise, there doesn't appear to be much else to the 263.09 driver packages.
For what it's worth, the latest drivers install Nvidia PhysX System Software version 9.10.0514 and HD audio driver version 18.104.22.168, neither of which do we envision making you pump your fist in excitement.
Hey, they can't all be GeForce GTX 580 caliber cards and dual-GPU Cayman killers (which we're still waiting on), and sometimes you have to cater to the professional crowd as well. That's what Nvidia is doing with the launch of its NVS 300 graphics card, a GPU specifically designed for the enterprise with 25 percent more efficient power utilization when compared to the NVS 295, Nvidia claims.
"The NVS is built for demanding enterprises that require high reliability, improved manageability, and tremendous value," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions Group, Nvidia. "The ability to support legacy and current display types provides an upgrade path without disrupting existing, complex installations."
Nvidia is touting versatile connectivity with the NVS 300. The low-profile card supports single and multi-display setups via the nView Desktop Management software and the built-in Mosaic technology, which allows for taskbar spanning and transparent scaling of any app across up to eight displays.
We're slightly perplexed with VisionTek's new "Killer HD 5770" graphics card, which the company touts as the world's first online gaming upgrade card for PCs. We get the marketing behind that statement -- after all, the videocard comes with Bigfoot Networks' Killer E2100 NIC baked in -- but who exactly is this card aimed at?
If you're buying into the hype of a dedicated hardware NIC for lower pings (you can read our review of the standalone Killer 2100 here), then integrating it into a videocard makes perfect sense. Two gaming solutions, one PCI-E slot -- that's a winning combo. Buy why not use a higher end GPU, like the HD 5850, 5870, or even one of the new 6000 series cards?
For those of you interested in a mid-range card from last year with an integrated NIC, the Killer HD 5770 is the "only upgrade card specifically designed to combine high-quality graphics and low-latency networking for gaming," VisionTek says. The combo card comes with 1GB of GDDR video memory and supports DirectX 11, OpenGL 3.1, and everything else you already know about the HD 5770.
The Killer HD 5770 will be available early this month for $200.
Psst, come here. You aren't supposed to know this, but according to a Palit Product Information slide sweclockers.com posted online, it appears Nvidia is readying its GeForce GTX 570 videocard for a December 7, 2010 launch date, the same day as World of Warcraft: Cataclysm.
That's also just a few days ahead of AMD's Cayman launch, barring any last minute surprises. Regardless of how it all shakes out, Nvidia's GTX 570, according to the posted spec sheet, will come with 480 CUDA cores and 1280MB of memory clocked at 3800MHz on a 320-bit bus. The GPU will race along at 732MHz and the shaders at 1464MHz.
The GTX 570 will come with a pair of 6-pin PCI-Express power connectors and carry a 225W TDP, compared to 244W on the GTX 580 and 250W on the GTX 480.
You already know Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors will come with integrated graphics, but there's more to this architecture than just a fused GPU. According to CNet, Intel VP and Director of PC Client Operations Stephen L. Smith confirmed the existence of special media accelerators.
"The other cool thing is dedicated circuitry for media acceleration," Smith said in response to a question at a Wells Fargo Securities conference earlier this month. "All of us in our daily use, whether it's home videos or photos tend to pull things from the Internet, pull things from our own capture devices at home, bring them on to our PC, transform them into different formats...all of that will be dramatically faster if one utilizes this hardware acceleration, media acceleration that we have on Sandy Bridge."
In addition, Smith said Sandy Bridge should allow for slimmer form factors "and potentially longer battery life" on the notebook front.
Looking beyond Sandy Bridge, Smith reiterated that Intel is on track to deliver its 22nm Ivy Bridge architecture by the end of 2011. According to Smith, Ivy Bridge will be a shrink of Sandy Bridge "with some enhancements."