AMD's dual-GPU card might rock a hybrid cooling solution
It's good practice to take Internet rumors with a healthy dose of skepticism, especially on April Fool's Day. Got it? Good, now we can continue with what are claimed to be the first photos of AMD's rumored Radeon R9 295 X2, a dual-GPU graphics card that some have surmised could carry a massive 500W TDP. If that's true, a gnarly cooling solution would be mandatory, and certainly that's what these early photos show.
It's been nearly a week since Nvidia unveiled its dual-GPU Titan Z, a monster dual-GPU graphics card with 5,760 CUDA cores, 12GB of memory, and a massive $2,999 price tag. Will AMD counter with a dual-GPU card of its own? Of course it will -- we don't want to imagine a world where these two companies don't go back and forth trying to one-up each other. Rumor has it that AMD's dual-GPU counter punch is going to be a rather power-hungry Radeon R9 295.
A dual R9 290X card isn't here yet, but the 7990 is the next best thing
The Mission The ongoing war between Nvidia and AMD for supremacy over the PC gaming landscape has been like the Hatfields and the McCoys of enthusiast computing: long, bitter, and deeply entrenched. AMD's Radeon HD 7990 is the company’s biggest salvo yet, combining two HD 7970 GPUs onto one card. It didn't come out until spring 2013, though, which was long after Nvidia's own dual-GPU behemoth, the GeForce GTX 690, had dug in its heels. And it wasn't until mid-summer that AMD began to address the stuttering issues that marred its multi-GPU setups. With AMD's R9 series arriving in October 2013, this crown jewel didn’t really have much time to shine. Today, we'll try and change that, pitting this Cadillac of a card against nothing less than Battlefield 4, with everything maxed out and running at 1920x1080. With the previous Battlefield regularly favoring Nvidia cards, this might seems like enemy territory. But this time, AMD is working closely with the developer to make sure nothing goes awry. And in December, BF4 will be the first game to feature Mantle, which AMD has positioned to replace Microsoft's DirectX API. In the end, the HD 7990 could set the bar.
Note: This article was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine.
One of Nvidia's hardware partners is getting ready to roll out a line of GeForce GTX 780 graphics cards with twice as much memory as reference. EVGA sent out emails announcing plans to refresh its GeForce GTX 780 family with 6GB models, including at least one SKU that will feature the company's ACX cooling solution. They'll also be featured in EVGA's Step-Up program, which allows users who purchased an EVGA graphics card within the last 90 days to upgrade to the new model by paying the difference in price.
It's time to think about upgrading that GeForce 9800 GTX card
Just as Microsoft is getting ready to end support for Windows XP next month, Nvidia also has an end in sight for its own legacy products, though it's not coming up quite as quickly. When Nvidia gets around to releasing its GeForce 343 drivers, support will officially end for all DirectX 10 generation graphics cards, freeing the GPU maker to focus soley on Fermi, Kepler, and Maxwell products.
Winter is almost over, though depending on where you live (like the midwest), you might not know it by the amount of snow that sits unmelted outside. Nevertheless, Nvidia is ready to welcome the spring season by offering two fresh game bundles with the purchase of select GeForce GTX desktop graphics cards and GeForce GTX-powered laptops. One of the freebie offerings is a downloadable code for Daylight, the first game built around the Unreal Engine 4.
It's a shame the this sexy PCB has to be covered with a heatsink
Under normal circumstances, you'll never see the majority of your video card's PCB (printed circuit board), and that's too bad when it comes to Galaxy's GeForce GTX 780 Ti HOF (Hall of Fame) V20. This recently unveiled card sports a large white PCB, but not only are its looks unique, the card's performance is top notch, especially if you're willing to go the extra mile with some LN2 cooling.
New cards from Sapphire keep their cool by using multiple fans
Nobody knows how to chill better than Jeff Bridges and John Goodman from The Big Lewbowski, though Sapphire's willing to give it the old college try, only in a different way. Sapphire today announced a pair of custom cooled Radeon R9 Series graphics cards, the Dual-X R9 280 with two aerofoil fans and graduated heatpipes, and Vapor-X R9 280X featuring the company's new Tri-X triple fan design.
Nvidia's been on a rampage releasing new graphics cards over the last couple of months, one of those being the GeForce GTX 750. The reference blueprint for the GeForce GTX 750 part calls for 1GB of GDDR5 clocked at 5GHz (effective) on a 128-bit bus, and while EVGA offers such a SKU, it's now offering a couple of models with twice as much memory -- EVGA GeForce GTX 750 2GB and EVGA GeForce GTX 750 2GB Superclocked.
At any given time, we have one GPU in our inventory that holds the title of “loudest card in the office.” The current title-holder is the PowerColor Radeon HD 7970 Vortex, which sounds like a jet engine. That’s just how the Radeon 7970 GHz cards are; their boosted clock speeds drum up a lot of heat, making them much louder than their Nvidia counterparts. Given this pedigree, imagine our surprise when we fired up the Asus Radeon R9 280X, which rocks the exact same Tahiti XT chip used in the 7970 GE boards. As we leaned in close to our test bed expecting to hear that oh-so-familiar fan noise, we were greeted instead with a barely audible whirring sound. It’s truly miraculous what AMD and Asus have done with this formerly unruly chip, making it whisper-quiet and also surprisingly affordable at $310, which is roughly half what it used to cost.
Note: This review was originally featured in the Holiday 2013 issue of the magazine