It seems like we're always saying it's a great time to be a PC gamer, and certainly that holds true today. Part of what makes that true right now is a series of price cuts by Nvidia on a handful of graphics cards, including the company's GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB, GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB, and GeForce GTX 660. Many Boost cards come with a $75 in-game credit voucher, and most 660s come with a voucher for a free copy of Batman Arkham Origins, while supplies last.
Last month, AMD announced an all-new GPU dubbed the HD 7790 1GB based on new silicon named "Bonaire" that, at $150, was designed to slot in between its HD 7770 and the more-expensive HD 7850. Not surprisingly, Nvidia then announced a revamped “Boost” version of its GTX 650 Ti, with added support for dual-card SLI, higher clock speeds, and a 2GB frame buffer, countering AMD’s effort and shoring up what both companies refer to as the "GPU sweet spot." This month, AMD counterattacks Nvidia's counterattack with a 2GB version of the HD 7790 from Sapphire, leveling the playing field and raising the stakes by including a super-sweet game bundle. Can Nvidia's revamped 650 Ti Boost dominate the midrange GPU field, or is AMD's new silicon the better deal? And how do they measure up to the former champs in this price range? To help settle this feud once and for all, we benchmarked not just the new guys, but all of the cards in this tax bracket.
Note: This article was originally featured in the July 2013 issue of the magazine.
Watch as AMD unveils its new GPU, sponsored games, and more
AMD's GPU14 Tech Day press conference is about to begin and we're live in Hawaii to cover the event. We will update this live blog as more info comes in. You should expect AMD to officially announce its new GPU, codenamed Hawaii (pictured to the right), along with other announcements that include new software tools for developers and new AMD sponsored games.
Hopefully we'll get even more surprises! Stay tuned!
Sometime in the near future, AMD will hold a press event to spill the beans on its next generation Radeon graphics card series. In the meantime, we're left to speculate what the Sunnyvale chip designer has up its sleeve, and much of the speculation has pointed to a die shrink to 20nm. As it turns out, however, AMD has no such plans to pursue 20nm GPUs in the immediate future.
Don't be surprised if Nvidia launches another budget GPU in 2013
It was previously rumored that Nvidia might end the year with a bang by unveiling a GeForce GTX Titan Ultra and/or GTX 790 graphics card, but maybe the GPU maker also has something a little more affordable up its sleeve. A GPU-Z screenshot posted to a Chinese-language website indicates that a GeForce GTX 750 Ti is in the works, serving as a successor to the GeForce GTX 650 Ti launched last year.
Before you go spending a grand or more on Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan graphics card, you should take a close look at MSI's new GeForce GTX 780 Lightning. This is one hell of a beastly card with MSI's "Triple Force Architecture", dual BIOSes, overclocked specifications, and a 20-phase (16+3+1) power design in case you want to goose clockspeeds even further. It also features MSI's Military Class 4 components.
Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Blacklist is now available to purchase for PC (and the usual crop of consoles), and if you've already grabbed your copy or plan to pick it up, you might want to check out the latest beta drivers for your graphics card. It doesn't matter whether you roll with AMD or Nvidia, both GPU makers released new beta drivers aimed, in part, at optimizing performance for Blacklist.
Wouldn't it be awesome if there were do-overs in everyday life like there are in some sports? That's pretty much what EVGA is offering through a line of graphics cards that now feature "Double BIOS," the marketing name for what's essentially a secondary BIOS in case you screw something up. It's also there to support experimentation with custom BIOSes, and should something go wrong, BIOS recovery is a flip of the switch away.
You don't see too many graphics cards that combine a standard heat sink with a water block. One of the most recent companies to take this is approach is Asus, which offered up a sneak peek of its upcoming GeForce GTX 770 Poseidon graphics card under its Rebublic of Gamers (ROG) brand. It features the firm's new DirectCU H2O design which can be used in a standard air or liquid cooled setup, offering gamers a bit of flexibility as their rigs change over time.
We were wrapping up our annual Dream Machine issue so we could only spare three armchair experts this time around: Our host and Senior Editor Josh Norem, Deputy Editor Gordon Mah Ung, and Associate Editor Tom McNamara. We still managed to blather on as usual, however! Our topics for Episode 206 of the Maximum PC Podcast included the new GTX 760 video card from Nvidia, Microsoft's upcomingXbox One console, and AMD's current strategies.