There's a new version of MSI's Afterburner graphics card overclocking software available for download, version 2.1.0. New to this version is support for the latest Nvidia GeForce 500 and AMD Radeon HD 6000 series of videocards, as well as a new "Predator" in-game video capture function. Why it's called Predator is anyone's guess, but nomenclature aside, you can now use MSI's overclocking utility to capture awesome game sequences and upload them to YouTube.
Nvidia hasn't gone public with a release date for its GeForce GTX 550 Ti videocard, but according to VR-Zone, the upcoming graphics card will ship on March 15, 2011. While making predictions, VR-Zone estimated it will come priced around the $200 mark. It's based on Nvidia's mainstream GF116 architecture, which the company will purportedly tweak at the transistor level for a higher performance/watt ratio.
Playing with beta drivers comes with certain risks -- like instability -- but can also be rewarding in not always obvious ways. Those who went and snagged Nvidia's 266.7x beta driver for GeForce videocards, for example, uncovered a couple of interesting lines that seem to indicate Nvidia is on the verge of releasing at least two new graphics cards, including a dual-GPU model. More details after the jump.
AMD this week shoveled out its new Catalyst 11.2 software suite with support for Radeon HD 2400 series on up to the HD 6900 series of desktop and mobiltiy GPUs. It also supports several FireStream products (9170, 9250, 9270, 9350) and AMD chipset product families (300 series on up to HD 4290). Catalyst 11.2 is a more fleshed out driver update than usual with a handful of new features a whole bunch of bug fixes.
Zotac, which claims to be the world's largest channel manufacturer of graphics cards, motherboards, and mini-PCs, took a standard GeForce GTX 560 Ti series videocard, goosed the clocks, spiffed up the heatsink, and released it as an AMP! edition part. Included with new card is a download voucher for the upcoming Ubisoft title, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, as well as the company's Boost Premium software bundle consisting of five various apps and utilities.
If you subscribe the motto that air is for breathing, not for cooling, then MSI's new N580GTX HydroGen is exactly the type of videocard that should float your water cooling boat. MSI ditched the reference air cooling solution and replaced it with its own proprietary HydroGen all-copper waterblock. The rest is up to you. Stick it in your water cooled rig, pop the tubes on the in/outlets, turn on the pump, and enjoy seeing those temps drop by as much as 24C over that of Billy's reference card.
It's hard enough keeping track of all the videocards models in the wild, and even more so when you start introducing OEM variants. And if that weren't enough, there's the whole practice of rebranding older models into new ones. AMD's OEM HD 6750, for example, is basically a rebadged HD 5770, while the HD 6770 is an HD 5750 reborn. Well, AMD up and added three more OEM cards to its HD 6000 series, so where do they fit in?
Let's start with what a stock GeForce GTX 580 videocard should be running at. According to Nvidia, the GPU in the GTX 580 is rated to run 772MHz. Nvidia pegs the shader clock at 1544MHz, and the 1536MB of GDDR5 is supposed to run at 2004MHz (effective). What's the fun in that?
Sure, the GTX 580 is already the fastest single-GPU card on the planet, but that didn't stop overclocking guru Shamino, who works at Asus, from putting the pedal to the metal. Shamino jumped straight into LN2 cooling, and by doing so he was able to crank the GPU all the way to 1519MHz, nearly doubling the stock clock. The memory, meanwhile, was pushed to 2500MHz.
The extreme cooling was necessary, both to accommodate the higher clockspeeds and the handful of volt mods Shamino made to the card.
If you're wondering what the frak "Super Alloy Technology" is, don't worry, we had the same puzzled look when heard about Asus' new GT 440 graphics card. Here's how Asus explains it:
"The Asus GT 440 includes Super Alloy Power technology, featuring a special alloy formula used in power delivery components such as capacitors, chokes and MOSFETs. It instantly lowers average operating temperatures up to 35°C, extends product lifespan 2.5 times, and improves overall performance up to 15%. This gives users access to greater overclocking potential, as the G440 can withstand higher operating temperatures than its reference counterparts."
Savvy? Let's move on. Asus' factory overclocked GT 440 sports an 822MHz engine clock and 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 3200MHz on a 128-bit bus. Other specs include 96 CUDA cores, D-Sub output, DVI-I output, HDMI 1.4a compliance, and a funky looking cooling solution.
Wait a minute, didn't AMD take the ATI brand behind the shed and give it the Old Yeller treatment? Sort of. Barring a special edition throwback or a mulligan of sorts, you won't ever see a new graphics card in the home desktop market carrying an ATI label, but AMD is still using it for some of its professional cards, including the ATI FirePro V5800 DVI, one of two new graphics cards geared for the workplace (the other being the AMD FirePro 2270).
"Because of their superior power consumption and multi-dispaly capabilities, solutions based on the AMD FirePro 2270 and ATI FirePro V4800 DVI deliver strong value for financial, medical, and corporate workstation environments," said Janet Matsuda, general manager, AMD Professional Graphics. "With the AMD FirePro family, we continue to demonstrate our focus on enhancing productivity through an enhanced visual experience."
The AMD FirePro 2270 ( $150) is AMD's only low-profile, passively cooled, dual-display, triple set support solution graphics card, while the ATI FirePro V5800 DVI ($470) boasts added muscle to drive two high-resolution dual-link DVI displays. Both cards are available now.