Who says thin is in? Not Palit, who has just introduced a massive three-slot graphics card based on AMD's dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2. Dubbed the Revolution 700 Deluxe, the new card owes its wide load to a giant heatsink consisting of a two-fan cooling solution outfitted with heatpipes and a plethora of connection options.
The Revolution 700 Deluxe comes equipped with DisplayPort, HDMI, Dual-Link DVI, and D-Sub (VGA) connections, so while you might have to worry about how you're going to cram this card inside your case, you at least won't face any problems connecting it to nearly any type of display.
Other specs include 2GB of GDDR5 slightly overclocked at 3800MHz (compared to 3600MHz reference), 750MHz core clockspeed, DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support, and a 512-bit memory interface resulting in 2.4 teraFLOPS of graphics horsepower.
No price has yet been set for the mammoth videocard, but according to TGDaily, Palit spokesman Darren Polkowski said it sell in a similar price range as other 4870 X2 cards.
Is three slots too much? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
ATI recently updated its Catalyst driver package, and now the company has released a hotfix to address problems gamers might have been having in Far Cry 2, Stalker Clear Sky, and Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway. Specific fixes include:
Performance boost in Far Cry 2 with DX9 and CrossFire
Performance boost in Far Cry 2 with DX10 on both single-card and CrossFire setups
Performance boost in Stalker Clear Sky with DX10 and DX10.1 on both single-card and CrossFire setups when running "higher resolutions"
Addresses a corrpution issue in Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway on the 'Black Friday' level
The hotfix applies to both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Vista and XP starting with ATI's Radeon X1600 series and moving on up to the Radeon HD 4800 graphics cards.
Maybe a plethora of new must-have gaming titles has caused demand to spike, or perhaps the price war between AMD and Nvidia has sparked GPU sales. But whatever the reason, overall GPU shipments in the third quarter reached a staggering 111 million units, according to research and consulting firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR). That's up 22.5 percent from the 91 million units sold this time last year, and 18 percent from the 94 million units sold in the second quarter of this year.
"The third quarter is seasonally up as OEMs place orders for chips to build inventory for the holiday season," said Dr. Jon Peddie, president of JPR. "However, this quarter was up more than any other for some time, and in spite of suggestions of a recession that started from the fourth quarter last year."
The big benefactor in the booming graphics market is Intel, who increased it's overall market share to a dominant 49.4 percent, up from 33.4 percent one year prior. Intel rules both the desktop and notebook sectors with a 43.9 percent share in the former and a 56.2 percent share in the latter.
AMD last week launched its HD 4830 graphics card, a sub-$150 GPU with support for DirectX 10.1 instructions. With a budget price tag and impressive spec sheet, the HD 4830 has been positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT videocard, but some buyers may find that their HIS-branded HD 4830 isn't living up to expectations.
"AMD has identified that, in addition to reference samples of the ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards sent to media with a pre-production BIOS potentially impacting the card's performance, a very limited number of ATI Radeon HD 4830 boards were released to market with the same pre-production BIOS," AMD said in a statement. "This is no way hardware related, and an updated BIOS fully resolves the performance limitation."
Updating the BIOS doesn't perform any voodoo shenanigans on affected cards, and instead enables all 640 stream processors that the HD4830 is supposed to have. For whatever reason, a "small number of HIS-branded" cards sporting the pre-production BIOS only showed 560 stream processors as being enabled, resulting in an undue performance hit.
If you think you might own one of the gimped cards or simply want to verify that your videocard's running at full speed, download and run the GPU-Z utility.
While the merits of DirectX 10.1 support is still being debated, AMD continues to champion the instruction set in its latest generation of videocards, including the new HD 4830. Best of all, the new graphics card carries an MSRP of less than $150.
There was a time when no self respecting gamer would ever dream of owning a sub-$150 GPU, but today's generation of gamers needn't be so discerning. Built using a 55nm manufacturing process with 956 million transistors, the HD 4830 comes equipped with a respectable 640 stream processors, 32 texture units, and 16 ROPs. And unlike some other budget-priced videocards in recent years, the memory bus checks in at 256-bit rather than 128-bit, making it a solid contender for mid-range gaming duties, at least on paper.
The HD 4830 is being positioned to compete with Nvidia's 9800 GT. AMD claims its new videocard "delivers better performance" than the aforementioned competition in several titles, a notion supported by a cursory glance at benchmarks across the web.
It's been a long and arduous wait, but enthusiasts who have dreamed of pairing multiple Nvidia videocards in an SLI configuration on an Intel chipset-based motherboard will soon walk in a silicon field of dreams. No longer the topic of speculation, Nvidia has officially announced that it has licensed its SLI technology to several top-tier motherboard manufacturers - Asus, EVGA, MSI, Gigabyte, and DFI - for upcoming motherboards based on Intel's X58 chipset.
"Asus is bringing many motherboards into production with support for Nvidia SLI technology, and a motherboard worthy of mention is the new Asus Rampage II Extreme which is based on Intel's upcoming X58 chipset," said Joe Hsieh, GM at Asus Motherboard Business Unit.
SLI-licensed motherboards have entered the final production stage and will launch concurrently with Intel's Core i7 processors next month. According to the press release, certified boards will include both those using the Nvidia nForce 200 SLI processor, as well as motherboards designed to run SLI natively through a licensing and certification program. And for you Crysis junkies, look for support for 3-way SLI configurations as well.
By now everyone is familiar with the problems Nvidia has had with its notebook GPUs, which resulted in an "abnormal failure rate" for what remains an unspecified number of graphics chips. But throughout all the speculation, including accusations that whatever problem has been plaguing the chip maker might also be affecting desktop units as well, Nvidia has avoided speaking out on the issue at any length. Until now, thanks to some prodding by AMD.
Earlier this week AMD's Packaging and Interconnect Director, Neil McLellan, went on the semi-offensive and said Nvidia not only uses inferior materials for its chip package design, but that the company just doesn't care as much about packaging technologies as AMD does, according to The Tech Report. Ouch. Those comments didn't sit well with Nvidia, who fired back in a letter in defense of its position.
"In his recent commentary on chip packaging, Mr. McLellan makes a number of speculative assertions about NVIDIA's people, products and philosophy," Nvidia wrote. "In his interview McLellan asserts that High lead bumps are more prone to fatigue. What he fails to note is that AMD currently uses High lead bumps on their CPU line -- a device well known to undergo high thermal stress, and also go through lots of power cycling."
Nvidia went on to talk about High Lead bumps being used in "10s of billions of semiconductor devices" and a whole lot more, but stopped short of saying what exactly caused earlier problems with its 8M series.
Nvidia owners with an SLI setup who have dreamed of running multiple monitors have been left in the cold for quite some time now. Stretching your real estate out onto a second monitor forced GeForce owners to disable SLI and reconfigure settings from scratch each time. This could take up several minutes and in some extreme cases, even a reboot. ATI owners on the other hand have had the ability to run crossfire on multi monitors for quite some time now and even Nvidia’s Quadro lineup has a fix in place. The day of reckoning is at hand however for GeForce owners and the wait for a fix may soon be over. According to leaked drivers which were previewed by VR-Zone an update from Nvidia may put the issue to bed once and for all. Screen shots and even a download link to the driver shows SLI multi monitor support in action.
Version 180.10 which Nvidia dubs “Big Bang II” could be rolling out soon and these drivers show that significant progress has been made on the issue. The site currently only offers the 64 bit version and this “leaked” copy features a few limitations which are important to know. Currently only clone mode is available for the second monitor, and 3D applications will match the resolutions on both displays regardless of compatibility. Additionally, these features come with roughly a 5% performance hit acording to 3DMark. Additional program specific conflicts are also being discussed in forums, and Nvidia (understandably) isn’t saying much.
The company has not confirmed the authenticity of these drivers or given any official release date on “Big Bang II”. The suggested launch date of September has obviously come and gone and ForceWare version 178.24 debuted just last week. Since driver releases are traditionally a minimum of one month apart, I highly doubt we will see anything new before late November or sometime in December at the earliest.
Here's a formula to help boost sales: Take something popular - for example, The Dark Knight - and then apply it to something completely unrelated, like videocards. Of course, copyright concerns could come into play, so be sure and design a character or logo that resembles nothing from which it was borrowed (in this case, steer clear of Batman).
Perhaps we're being too cynical and maybe Asus isn't a fan of DC's comic hero gone big screen. In any event, Asus' new Dark Knight series of videocards will inevitably conjure up thoughts of Christian Bale in his most recent role as Batman, but the new GPUs have no association to arguably the best super hero movie to date. Instead, the "self-designed" Dark Knight branded cards will come with a special heatsink the company claims ups the cooling performance ante while keeping noise levels down.
"The ASUS designed EAH4870 DK and EN9800GTX+ DK Series come equipped with the specially designed Dark Knight Fansink," Asus wrote in a press release. "This innovative fansink is equipped with 4 heatpipes and a large heatsink surface area; and is made of aluminum alloy to deliver extreme cooling while retaining operating levels at only 32dB—almost imperceptible in a quiet room—catering to users who require maximum cooling without excessive fan rotation noise."
The new cards also come with a handful of technologies and buzzwords aimed at attracting the overclocking crowd. These include an EMI shield, DIP spring chokes, LF PAK MOS, and all-solid Japanese capacitors. Put together, Asus claims end users can expect a 9 percent performance improvement while gaming. Utility belt not included.
When it comes time to shop for a videocard, most people are concerned about the pixel pushing power and how well a new GPU can handle Crysis. Yet others are more concerned with a videocard's ability to fit into a home theater PC setup, both physically and functionally. Some GPUs are even sought after for their ability to fold proteins, but apparently there's another use emerging, one with malicious intent.
According to Global Secure Systems, a Russian firm used Nvidia GPUs to break through WPA and WPA2 encryption. Assuming the report is accurate, the implications are nothing less than frightening, as GSS claims the brute force attack managed to accelerate WiFi 'password recovery' times by up to 10,000 percent.
"This breakthrough in brute force decryption of WiFi signals by Elcomsoft confirms our observations that firms can no longer rely on standards-based security to protect their data," noted David Hobson, managing director of GSS. "As a result, we now advise clients using WiFi in their offices to move on up to a VPM encryption system as well."
But even moving to a VPN may not be enough, as many VPNs use AES encryption just like WPA2. And by throwing videocards into the mix (it remains unclear which specific Nvidia GPUs were utilized), accessibility quickly becomes a growing concern.
Does this latest attack concern you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.