Nvidia's latest drivers boost performance by up to 38 percent.
Fresh out of the oven and topped with WHQL certification is Nvidia's new 310.70 driver package for Windows. Nvidia's latest drivers deliver big performance gains in some situations, including up to 38 percent better framerates in Far Cry 3 (for GeForce GTX 680 graphics card owners). It also serves up double-digit percentage gains in several other titles, according to the release highlights.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has started talking about its upcoming Radeon HD 8000M GPUs, codenamed "Solar System," which it plans to fully detail next month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. There will be at least four laptops at CES running the new GPUs, which are said to support DirectX 11.1, OpenGL 4.3, and OpenCL 2.1 programming interfaces.
PowerColor's secret sauce to better cooling is to sprinkle in additional fan blades.
TUL Corporation added to its line of graphics cards by announcing the PowerColor HD7850 Fling Force Edition [APAC Limited] with a 910MHz core clockspeed and 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1200MHz on a 256-bit bus. It's not the clockspeeds that make this unique -- it's the "unparalleled cooling technology" that consists of attaching additional fan blades to the original design.
A Spanish website posted a bevy of detailed specs for Advanced Micro Device's (AMD) upcoming Radeon HD 8000 Series graphics card, and assuming they're accurate, there will be a dual-GPU version launching in the second quarter of 2013. That coincides nicely with a recent report that AMD was pushing the launch of its entire Radeon HD 8000 Series into next year, though we're inclined to take the launch dates with a grain of salt.
MSI’s GTX 660 is an all-around great card that includes a healthy dollop of overclocking and a side of Frozr to keep it cool. Its base clock speed is a decent 53MHz over stock at 1,033Mhz, and when running at full load we saw its boost clock speed rise 130MHz over stock to 1,110MHz, which is also higher than the stock boost-clock spec. The Twin Frozr III cooler sports three copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and dual 8cm fans housed in a metal-alloy shroud to direct the airflow. Like the other GTX 660 cards, it uses just a single 6-pin power connector, but unlike the others it sports an extra-long 9-inch PCB (Gigabyte’s board is just 7.5 inches but the cooler is actually 9 inches long).
Gigabyte’s GTX 660 is similar to MSI’s board in that it’s overclocked and has a cooler with a silly name—Windforce. The board is clocked at the same base and boost clock speeds as the MSI card, too, running at 1,033MHz and 1,098MHz, respectively. The cooler features four copper heat pipes, aluminum fins, and two large 10cm fans breathing down on the whole shebang. Even though the board sports a smallish 7.5-inch PCB, the cooling apparatus is so large that it’s 2-inches longer than the PCB and extends the length of the card to 9.5 inches. With a cooler this large you expect it to perform quite well, and it does. It kept the card absolutely silent even when the board was being tortured in the Lab, and allowed it to run at a moderately cool 63 C under full load.
Hello, gorgeous. That’s what we said when we first laid eyes on Nvidia’s reference design for the GeForce GTX 690, which combines two full 28nm GK104 GPUs into one PCB and covers them with the best-looking cooling shroud we’ve seen on any videocard. Our in-depth analysis of the reference card can be found in our August 2012 issue, but we can’t verdictize a reference card. If you’re wondering how this Asus GTX 690 differs from the reference card Nvidia sent us, wonder no more: It’s exactly the same, except the edges of the PCB are a slightly different color.
When Asus’s Zenbook UX31E debuted last year, it seemed to almost single-handedly put Ultrabooks on the map. Its intriguing mix of good looks, performance, and price convinced many a skeptic, us included, that PCs could compete with the likes of Apple’s vaunted MacBook Air—at a price that catered to common folk.
The UX32Vd comes with a protective sleeve, as well as a small pouch for carrying two connector dongles: one USB-to-Ethernet, one Mini-VGA-to-VGA.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) promised performance gains of up to 15 percent with its Catalyst 12.11 driver, which the company announced in conjunction with its "Never Settle" game bundles. Our own evaluation of the driver update using a Radeon HD 7970 yielded mostly minor framerate bumps compared to Catalyst 12.8, though performance did improve in the majority of games and benchmarks we tested it with. If you're interested in grabbing the new driver package, it's now available to download, albeit in beta form.
Nvidia's relationship with the open source Linux community is sometimes strained, such as when Linus Torvalds flipped Nvidia the bird and dropped f-bombs at the GPU maker in frustration over the lack of Linux support. It is what it is, and slowly but surely, things are improving. Proof of that can be found in Nvidia's new 304.51 display driver for Linux, which addresses a whole bunch of issues and adds support for several graphics cards.