One hit wonders stick in our collective consciousness, but it pays to diversify – just ask MC Hammer. Along those lines, Zalman – which you probably know mainly for its lineup of cooling gear and PSUs – may be preparing to spread its wings and expand into the ultra-competitive world of Radeon graphics cards, if some slides leaked to the Web over the weekend turn out to be legit.
With a minimum of fuss and fanfare, AMD and NVidia have made some changes to their mobile lineup over the past few days. First off, AMD quietly released seven new Llano A-series APUs to its lineup, but that’s overshadowed by the launch of the new Radeon HD 7000M graphics chips. Actually, the Radeon HD 7000M series only sort of launched. Rather than unveiling new, awesome 28nm GPUs, the HD 7000M models announced yesterday are basically just rebranded 40nm HD 6000M chips. Nvidia's new GeForce 600M series is likewise pretty much rebranded 500M chips.
The only thing missing from Sapphire's new Radeon HD 6970 2GB graphics card is a pack of DoubleMint gum. Otherwise, this card is all about doubling up what it has to offer (outside of the GPU), including a "super efficient" dual-fan cooler with two 90mm fans, and a dual-BIOS design that lets users choose between fast and quiet or really fast and not so quiet to allow for overclocking.
It's said the devil is in the details, but for Powercolor, it's all about the bundle and firery red design. We're talking about Powercolor's new Devil 13 HD6970 graphics card. This Devil edition card tries to tempt enthusiasts and overclockers with an aggressive heatsink design, high end components, and a bundled screwdriver toolkit.
History tells us not to expect a whole lot from entry-level graphics solutions. You're not going to fire up a demanding DirectX 11 title and crank up the settings on a lower end graphics card, for example, and while that holds true for AMD's new Radeon E6460 embedded discrete GPU, this entry-level graphics chip sports other talents, like the ability to support up to four simultaneous displays.
HIS must have figured it wasn't enough to simply squeeze 2GB of DDR3 memory on a Radeon HD 6570 graphics card and call it a day, so it replaced the heatsink/fan assembly with a passive cooler. Not only is this half-height card toting the most memory of any HD 6570 out there, it's also completely silent.
The Radeon HD 6950 often gets overlooked, because it falls into an in-between netherworld of pricing. Typical cards cost anywhere from $240-$300, but most seem to hover around the $270 mark. This MSI overclocked card, built using the company's Twin Frozr III dual-fan cooler, sits at around $280. So high-end buyers overlook this price category and budget buyers feel like it's a little too much.
One of the godfathers of PC gaming, AMD, sweetened the deal on some of its Radeon graphics cards by making an offer gamers couldn’t refuse: buy the card and get a digital copy of DiRT 3 for free. Unfortunately for AMD, rather than drumming up interest and shooting Radeon cards to the top of the sales charts, the offer turned into more of a “horse head in the bed” affair after hackers pilfered 3 million activation keys.
They say fate's a fickle mistress, but destiny's got nothing on the free market. For every Microsoft-esque success story, there's the burnt out husk of Sun Microsystems (R.I.P.). The really interesting tales have nothing to do with overwhelming successes or overwhelming failures, though; any budding novelist can tell you that a good story needs some tension.
OCZ left the system memory market to focus on solid state drives in part because it grew tired of razer thin profits in the struggling DRAM sector. Memory makers choosing to weather the profit drought would probably like it if more vendors packed their bags and left. Too bad for them, AMD has decided to crash the memory party, bringing the weight of its own brand name to the already highly competitive DDR3 memory market.