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.
MSI is offering two flavors of its midrange Radeon R9 270 GPU, formerly known as the Radeon HD 7870 GHz edition. There is a standard model and one with an “X” after its name. The difference between the two is the X model has slightly higher core and boost clocks, but otherwise the two cards are the same and are both based on AMD’s Pitcairn GCN core, which is a 28nm part that debuted in 2013.
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.
Work in peace and quiet before jumping into a game
Asus today unveiled its new Strix GeForce GTX 750 Ti OC graphics card, and the first time you install it, you might be inclined to think something's wrong when the fans don't start spinning. Don't fret though, that's by design. Using the company's semi-passive Strix technology, the card's fans will sit there motionless and let the rest of the cooler passively chill the card until thermals reach 65C.
Palit isn't a name you see bounced around too often in the U.S., though if you dig around online, you can find the company's products scattered about. Two of Palit's newest offerings fall under its new KalmX Series of silent graphics cards -- GeForce GTX 750 and GeForce GTX 750 Ti. Both of these Maxwell cards sport Palit's new passive cooler for a 0dB solution (provided there's no electrical noise).
Dell's Alienware Aurora gaming desktop is getting an introduction to Nvidia's mighty Titan Z graphics card, and vice versa. That's to say that you can now configure an Alienware Aurora desktop with a Titan Z graphics card, and to kick off the coming together of two powerhouses, the starting price has been temporarily reduced from $3,799 to $3,609.05, a savings just shy of $190.
A pair of renowned overclockers used an EVGA graphics card to blast through the 2GHz barrier en route to setting a new 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme world record. Vince "K|GNP|N" Lucido and Illya "Tin" Tsemenko accomplished the feat with an EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti graphics card plugged into an EVGA X79 Dark motherboard and powered by an EVGA brand (what else?) power supply.
Big time gaming performance from a small form factor system
Give credit to Origin PC for never letting its lineup of gaming PCs grow stagnant, including its small form factor Chronos option. In the past few months alone, the boutique builder added a micro tower option to Chronos and upgraded its internals with Intel 9 Series Z97 motherboard options. What's next? Try 4K gaming. Origin PC today announced the availability of Nvidia's dual-GPU GeForce GTX Titan Z in its Chronos micro tower, which it now bills as the world's smallest 4K gaming PC.
Join us as we look back at the storied history of multi-GPU cards
The Voodoo-line of graphics cards might be long gone, but their impact is still felt today. They ushered in a new era of consumer PCs with relatively powerful video cards that could power the ultra demanding games of yesteryear like Quake and Unreal. It all started with the 3Dfx Voodoo2 and has continued on with modern cards like the Titan Z and R9 295X2.
Two-headed beast from Team Nvidia is ready to hit the town
We're getting bombarded with press releases from boutique builders and graphics card makers announcing the availability of Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan Z, and with good reason. Today is the day Nvidia is launching the dual-GPU Titan Z, which brings tons of pixel pushing power to the gaming and high-end graphics scene. If you really want to make a statement (and a dent in your bank account), you can grab two and rock a quad-SLI rig.