Last month, AMD announced an all-new GPU dubbed the HD 7790 1GB based on new silicon named "Bonaire" that, at $150, was designed to slot in between its HD 7770 and the more-expensive HD 7850. Not surprisingly, Nvidia then announced a revamped “Boost” version of its GTX 650 Ti, with added support for dual-card SLI, higher clock speeds, and a 2GB frame buffer, countering AMD’s effort and shoring up what both companies refer to as the "GPU sweet spot." This month, AMD counterattacks Nvidia's counterattack with a 2GB version of the HD 7790 from Sapphire, leveling the playing field and raising the stakes by including a super-sweet game bundle. Can Nvidia's revamped 650 Ti Boost dominate the midrange GPU field, or is AMD's new silicon the better deal? And how do they measure up to the former champs in this price range? To help settle this feud once and for all, we benchmarked not just the new guys, but all of the cards in this tax bracket.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
40 pictures that will make you wish you were there
AMD recently unveiled its new line of graphics cards that includes its new top tier R9 290X GPU, but this wasn’t some simple press release announcement, not be a longshot. To commemorate the announcement of its Hawaii GPUs, AMD invited over 100 tech journalists from all around the world to Hawaii for its GPU 14 Tech Day conference. For the journalists there, getting to attend the event was just as exciting as the announcements.
The red team says that with Mantle, its new flagship GPU will “ridicule” the GeForce Titan
With AMD unveiling its new series of GPUs, many gamers want to know how well it performs, namely against Nvidia’s flagship GeForce GTX Titan graphics card.
We had a chance to sit down with AMD Product Manager Devon Nekechuck to see how AMD’s new top dog R9 290X stacks up against the green team’s best single-GPU offering. According to Nekechuck, even though the R9 290X uses a 438 square mm die, which is significantly smaller than the Titan’s GK110 offering, which measures in at 550 square mm, it “will definitely compete with the 780 and Titan.” When we asked what this means in real-world terms, he stated, “with Battlefield 4 running with Mantel (AMD’s new graphics API), the card will be able to ‘ridicule’ the Titan in terms of performance.”
Sometime in the near future, AMD will hold a press event to spill the beans on its next generation Radeon graphics card series. In the meantime, we're left to speculate what the Sunnyvale chip designer has up its sleeve, and much of the speculation has pointed to a die shrink to 20nm. As it turns out, however, AMD has no such plans to pursue 20nm GPUs in the immediate future.
We’ve always said that building on a budget takes far more skill and savvy than building without financial constraints. Every single component choice has to be carefully weighed for its potential benefits and drawbacks. As if that weren’t enough, budget builders have to decide between three prospective platforms: Intel’s LGA1155, and AMD’s AM3+ and FM2. With so many permutations possible, and so much room for error, a cash-strapped builder’s got to wonder which thrifty path offers the best all-around performance. We can think of no better way to answer this important question than with a down-and-dirty DIY dust-up.
Note: This review was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Don't be surprised if Nvidia launches another budget GPU in 2013
It was previously rumored that Nvidia might end the year with a bang by unveiling a GeForce GTX Titan Ultra and/or GTX 790 graphics card, but maybe the GPU maker also has something a little more affordable up its sleeve. A GPU-Z screenshot posted to a Chinese-language website indicates that a GeForce GTX 750 Ti is in the works, serving as a successor to the GeForce GTX 650 Ti launched last year.
We don’t pay too much attention to the sub-$200 GPU market, but this month both AMD and Nvidia announced new boards at around the $150 mark that offer features previously only found on more expensive GPUs, including multi-GPU support and GPU clock boosting (for Nvidia). These new features suddenly made these budget boards very interesting, especially when dual-card setups are taken into consideration. Naturally, we pitted the new cards against one another in a Sweet-Spot showdown.
Note: This feature was originally featured in the June 2013 issue of the magazine.
Before you go spending a grand or more on Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan graphics card, you should take a close look at MSI's new GeForce GTX 780 Lightning. This is one hell of a beastly card with MSI's "Triple Force Architecture", dual BIOSes, overclocked specifications, and a 20-phase (16+3+1) power design in case you want to goose clockspeeds even further. It also features MSI's Military Class 4 components.
Add "GeForce GTX Titan Ultra" to your holiday wish list (just in case)
Nvidia hasn't said whether or not more video cards are on tap for 2013, but would anyone really be surprised if there were? You shouldn't be. The holiday shopping season is still several months away and rumor has it Nvidia may end the year with a bang by launching a high-end model such as the GeForce GTX 790. The GTX 790 could end up being a Titan Ultra card or it could be a graphics card with dual GK110 GPUs.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist is now available to purchase for PC (and the usual crop of consoles), and if you've already grabbed your copy or plan to pick it up, you might want to check out the latest beta drivers for your graphics card. It doesn't matter whether you roll with AMD or Nvidia, both GPU makers released new beta drivers aimed, in part, at optimizing performance for Blacklist.