The barrage of game bundles continues today with AMD announcing that qualifying purchases of Radeon R9 295X2, R9 290X, or R9 290 graphics cards will be score a free copy of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. Purchases must be made from a participating retailer or e-tailer between today and either February 28, 2015, or when AMD's supply of download codes is exhausted, whichever comes first. But wait, it gets better.
While still a rumor until we catch wind of an official statement or product, there are multiple reports that AMD is planning to launch a version of its Radeon R9 290X graphics card with a massive 8GB of GDDR5 memory on-board. We've actually already seen this with Sapphire earlier this year, though it appears AMD wants to see more hardware partners offer an 8GB SKU, including MSI, hence the upcoming relaunch.
It's not the size of the graphics card that matters, but the potency of the GPU inside, right? We'll find out when we get our hands on Gigabyte's mini ITX variant of the GeForce GTX 970 (GV-N970IXOC-4GD). Though it's tiny by comparison to a full size GeForce GTX 970 video card, Gigabyte's mini ITX version is actually overclocked to run at a base clockspeed of 1076MHz and a boost clockspeed of 1216MHz.
I'm back again with another video, since being on camera has made me drunk with power. This time, we're showing off Zotac's shiny AMP! Extreme Editon of the GTX 970, with boosted clock speeds, big cooling, and even a carbon fiber-esque backplate. This card uses Nvidia's new "Maxwell" architecture, which improves power efficiency and performance, in addition to adding features like Voxel Global Illumination and Multi-Frame Sampled Anti-Aliasing. You can read all about that in our review of the GTX 980, which is the 970's big brother (as its numbering probably indicated).
Taking a trip to 'Hawaii' just got a bit more affordable
Competition is fierce in the graphics card market, and while we've seen AMD and Nvidia duke it out with bundled game offers, it's the price wars that truly get our attention. Speaking of which, Nvidia certainly got AMD's attention when it launched Maxwell during the company's GAME24 event, which saw the release of the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 for $329 and $549, respectively (MSRPs). AMD has just responded by cutting the price of its Radeon R9 290 and 290X Hawaii cards.
MSI may release a slower and less expensive version of the GeForce GTX 970
Nvidia has a winning architecture on its hands with Maxwell, and as we've seen in benchmarks, both the GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 are fine graphics cards. As is typically the case, Nvidia's third-party partners have taken to customizing the reference designs with their own cooling solutions and factory overclocks, though interestingly MSI appears to be preparing a Lite Edition of the GeForce GTX 970.
So, you've gone out and acquired one or two of Nvidia's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 or GTX 970 graphics cards, is that right? As our benchmarks show, you'll be happy with your purchase, and you may even see better results than we did when applying the latest WHQL-certified drivers. No need to wait -- Nvidia's GeForce 344.16 WHQL drivers are now to available to download and install.
Are you of the opinion that speed limits are more like suggestions than enforced rules? Do you believe reference designs are for suckers? If you answered yes to one or both questions, you might be interested in the new Strix GTX 980 and Strix GTX 970 graphics cards from Asus. Both of these Maxwell-powered parts sport factory overclocks and custom cooling solutions that are supposedly 30 percent quieter than Nvidia's reference cooler.
4K and SLI tested on Nvidia's high-end Maxwell card
Sometimes things don't go according to plan. Both AMD and Nvidia were supposed to have shifted to 20-nanometer parts by now. In theory, that's supposed to get you lower temperatures, higher clock speeds and quieter operation. Due to circumstances largely out of its control, Nvidia has had to go ahead with a 28nm high-end Maxwell part instead, dubbed GM204. This is not a direct successor to the GTX 780, which has more transistors, texture mapping units, and things like that. The 980 is actually the next step beyond the GTX 680, aka GK104, which was launched in March 2012.
Supposed benchmarks of Nvidia's forthcoming GeForce GTX 980, GTX 970, and GTX 980M GPUs were leaked to the web earlier this week, and presuming they were real, it would seem that Nvidia is planning to skip right over the 800 Series and jump right into the 900s. Lest there be any lingering doubt, what looks to be an official press image of Zotac's GeForce GTX 970 graphics card is making its way through cyberspace.