amd http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/162/ en AMD Radeon R9 290 Benchmarks http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_290_benchmarks <!--paging_filter--><h3>AMD's Radeon R9 290: A Mid-range Monster</h3> <p><img src="http://www.maximumpc.com/files/u302/amdrad_r9_290_flatangle_rgb_24in_small.png" alt="Radeon R9 290" title="Radeon R9 290" width="250" height="167" style="float: right;" />Today <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/amd">AMD</a> is launching the <strong>Radeon R9 290</strong>, which is the second card in its all-new Hawaii series of GPUs designed to take on <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/nvidia">Nvidia's</a> GK110-based super GPUs. This particular card is extremely similar to its big brother, the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_290x_benchmarks">R9 290X</a>, but has slightly lower clock speeds and fewer stream processors, allowing it to come in at a slightly lower price point of <strong>$400</strong>. Though it was originally designed to take on the formerly $400 GTX 770, AMD is now positioning it to compete with the GTX 780 due to Nvidia's recent price drops on both cards to $500 and $329, respectively. Read on to see how it handles the heat, both literally and figuratively.</p> <h3>Little Hawaii</h3> <p>As the second, lower-priced Hawaii board you might assume this card has been neutered more than a made-for-TV version of The Big Lebowski, but you would be wrong. Thankfully, AMD has left almost everything from the R9 290X intact, choosing to only reduce its texture units from 176 to 160, its Stream Processors from 2,816 to 2,560, and its maximum clock speed from 1,000MHz to 947MHz. It still has the same 4GB of memory, the same 512-bit memory bus, and is otherwise the exact same GPU. It also has the same PowerTune hardware and software that lets you dictate maximum fan speeds and core temps. Before we jump in, let's take a look at the specs for the Hawaii cards along with their Nvidia counterparts:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/specs_take_2_0.jpg" alt="Radeon Specs" title="Radeon Specs" width="462" height="472" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>*We are putting an asterick next to the AMD cards' TDP because it's not a quoted spec but "standard board power."</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">As the spec chart shows, this card is almost exactly the same as the R9 290X, just like the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/geforce_gtx_780_benchmarks">GTX 780</a> and <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/nvidia_geforce_titan_%E2%80%93_benchmarks2013">GTX Titan</a> in that you have two cards with the same die but one is a bit less powerful. The two cards are the same physical size at 11 inches, both require a six-pin and an eight-pin power connector, and both cards draw a bit over 300 watts too. AMD listed the TDP for the 290X as 250w, but it hedged that answer and never gave it as an official number, but rather an estimate. It didn't reply to our emails asking for the TDP of the R9 290, so we'll just put 250w there with an asterick.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><img src="/files/u302/amdrad_r9_290_flatangle_rgb_24in_small_1.png" alt="R9 290" title="R9 290" width="600" height="401" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The R9 290 is exactly the same size as the R9 290X at 11 inches, and it also features the same 250w-ish TDP. </strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">PowerTune, TrueAudio, and XDMA</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Like it's larger, more-powerful sibling, the R9 290 comes with all the baked in features that define the top-tier of this generation of GPUs, namely revamped PowerTune controls, TrueAudio technology, and XDNA Crossfire. TrueAudio and XDMA Crossfire are exclusive to the R9 290/X series of cards, though the current iteration of PowerTune is found on all Rx based cards, and TrueAudio is also found on the $140 R7 260X board.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/powertune_1.jpg" alt="PowerTune" title="PowerTune" width="600" height="701" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The new PowerTune controls let you set maximum limits for fan speeds and temperature. We preferred the sliders though, as we found that moving the reticle in the map caused unpredictable results. </strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Briefly, AMD has changed the PowerTune interface found in the Catalyst Control Center to give you an easier way to control clock, memory, and fan speeds. It also now has a slider that lets you dictate the maximum fan speed and maximum temperature, just like Nvidia is doing with its GPU Boost 2.0 technology found in its 700-series GPUs. You can tell the software to force the card to run at 90C, for example, and it'll throttle the clock speeds in order to maintain those temperatures. Additionally, if you're sensitive to acoustics, you can also set a limit on the fan speed while letting the other settings run at maximum value as well. It's also provided a "2-dimensional heat map" which we found confusing. We also found in testing that moving some of the sliders too far would cause the entire system to hard lock and then experience trouble rebooting, so tread carefully here.<strong> By default the fan on the R9 290 runs at a maximum speed of 47%</strong>.<strong><br /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>TrueAudio</strong> is also found on the R9 290, and whether or not it'll make a big difference in the life of an average gamer remains to be seen as no games that use it have been released yet. Gordon wrote an extremely in-depth article about it however, so <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/everything_you_wanted_know_about_amd%E2%80%99s_new_trueaudio_technology_2013">head on over</a> to it and you'll have all your questions answered.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Finally, <strong>XDMA </strong>is a new technology appearing for the first time in the Radeon R9 290 series of cards. It eschews the ribbon cable we've grown so un-fond of over all these years and instead uses hardware built into the GPUs and also lets the cards communicate over the PCI-Express bus. Though AMD had seemingly wrangled its frame pacing issues with its <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_delivers_frame_pacing_fix_driver_update135">recent fix</a>, it's software-based and still available for R9 280X cards and lower. For the R9 290 series though, those changes are built into the drivers and handled through XDMA. The previous GPUs based on Tahiti and lower will still have to use the ribbon cable as there's no exclusive hardware built into the GPUs to handle that transaction, but this is not surprising. It is also reasonable to assume that going forward all new GPUs will use XDMA.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The main reason for XDMA is to handle the increased traffic resulting from the proliferation of multiple displays as well as 4k panels. If AMD continued using the old ribbon cable there simply wouldn't be enough bandwidth to drive the displays at 60Hz, so XDMA was both a necessity to prepare for the future as well as a great way to allow for smoother CrossFire at super-high resolutions. AMD claims there is no performance penalty at all to this configuration, but unfortunatley there's not really any way to run Apples to Apples testing since the Crossfire connectors are removed on the cards (though the electrical contacts are still intact). We also don't have a second R9 290X or R9 290 card to test Crossfire currently, but we hope to get a second card in soon.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/xdma.jpg" alt="XDMA" title="XDMA" width="650" height="362" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Only the R9 and R9 290X get the built-in XDMA engine for CrossFire over the PCIe bus. Hopefully it'll come to all of AMD's new cards in the future.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Hit the next page for what really matters - benchmarks, power, heat, and overclocking, and our final thoughts.</em></p> <h3 style="text-align: left;"> <hr /></h3> <h3 style="text-align: left;">Testing the R9 290</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Testing the R9 290 was a straight-forward affair as we had already tested the R9 290X, and this new card doesn't have any new features though it does have one semi-notable feature removed, which is the Uber and Quiet modes. The physical switch is still there on the edge of the PCB, and it still lets you toggle between two BIOSes, but it has no effect on fan speed. On the R9 290X the switch would adjust the maximum fan speed from 40 percent in Quiet mode to 55 percent in Uber mode. The R9 290 still has dual BIOSes, and one is write-protected while the other isn't.&nbsp; Otherwise there's nothing new that needs testing on this card that doesn't exist on the R9 290X, so let's get it on.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">To start off, let’s have a look at how things compare at 2560x1600:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>2560x1600 Benchmarks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img src="/files/u302/r9290_2560_1.jpg" alt="2560 Benchmarks" title="2560 Benchmarks" width="321" height="492" /></strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves /> <w:TrackFormatting /> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF /> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> 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<w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Bullet 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Number 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="10" QFormat="true" Name="Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Closing" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Signature" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Default Paragraph Font" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="List Continue 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Message Header" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="11" QFormat="true" Name="Subtitle" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Salutation" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Date" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text First Indent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Note Heading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Body Text Indent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Block Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Hyperlink" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="FollowedHyperlink" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="22" QFormat="true" Name="Strong" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="20" QFormat="true" Name="Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Document Map" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Plain Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="E-mail Signature" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Top of Form" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Bottom of Form" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal (Web)" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Acronym" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Address" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Cite" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Code" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Definition" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Keyboard" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Preformatted" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Sample" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Typewriter" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="HTML Variable" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Normal Table" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="annotation subject" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="No List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Outline List 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Simple 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Classic 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Colorful 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Columns 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 7" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Grid 8" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 7" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table List 8" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table 3D effects 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Contemporary" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Elegant" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Professional" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Subtle 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Web 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Balloon Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" Name="Table Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Table Theme" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Placeholder Text" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="1" QFormat="true" Name="No Spacing" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" SemiHidden="true" Name="Revision" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="34" QFormat="true" Name="List Paragraph" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="29" QFormat="true" Name="Quote" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="30" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Quote" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="60" Name="Light Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="61" Name="Light List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="62" Name="Light Grid Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="63" Name="Medium Shading 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="64" Name="Medium Shading 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="65" Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" Name="Dark List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" Name="Colorful List Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" Name="Bibliography" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" SemiHidden="true" UnhideWhenUsed="true" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="41" Name="Plain Table 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="42" Name="Plain Table 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="43" Name="Plain Table 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="44" Name="Plain Table 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="45" Name="Plain Table 5" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="40" Name="Grid Table Light" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 Colorful Accent 1" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="46" Name="Grid Table 1 Light Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="47" Name="Grid Table 2 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="48" Name="Grid Table 3 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="49" Name="Grid Table 4 Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="50" Name="Grid Table 5 Dark Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="51" Name="Grid Table 6 Colorful Accent 2" /> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="52" Name="Grid Table 7 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{mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:8.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:107%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} --><!--[endif] --><!--[endif] --></p> <p class="MsoNormalCxSpFirst" style="line-height: 150%; text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color: black; border: none windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-alt: none windowtext 0in; padding: 0in; background: white;">Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard with 16GB of DDR3/1600 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1,050W PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 8. All games are run at 2560x1600 with 4X AA except for the 3DMark tests.</span></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">At 2560x1600 the R9 290 trades blows with the more-expensive GTX 780, making it the better alternative considering it costs $100 less. The two cards were more or less equal throughout testing, though the GTX 780 was noticeably faster in Far Cry 3, which is odd considering this is an AMD title. The GTX 780 also held the upper hand in Unigine Valley, Metro, 3DMark, and Battlefield 3, with the other tests going to the R9 290. Of course, one area where the GTX 780 is a clear winner is in watts consumed and overall noise, as it was much quieter and also sucked less juice from the wall socket as well. This is nothing new, as the R9 cards run ridiculously hot, and though the R9 290 isn't annoyingly loud, it's certainly louder than the GTX 780. It also ran about 10C hotter than the GTX 780 as well. If the cards were evenly priced, we'd say the Nvidia card gets the nod due to its acoustics and power consumption, but given the $100 price disparity between the two we have to say the AMD card is the better value. Heat and power consumption don't matter that much on the desktop, and the R9 290 card is rock stable, so given its price advantage it takes the win in this category.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Now, let's look at how the R9 290 stacks up to all the cards in this class at 2560x1600.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>2560x1600 Benchmarks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/r9_group_bench.jpg" alt="R9 Group Benchmarks" title="R9 Group Benchmarks" width="524" height="492" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color: black; border: none windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-alt: none windowtext 0in; padding: 0in; background: white;">Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard with 16GB of DDR3/1600 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1,050W PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 8. All games are run at 2560x1600 with 4X AA except for the 3DMark tests.</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">As you can see from this chart the R9 290X is faster than the R9 290 by quite a bit in many tests, and also beats the GTX Titan in several tests as well. None of this is new information, but when we ran the R9 290X tests before we didn't have enough time to test with Nvidia's latest 331.65 driver, so this chart represents the current leader board in the GPU world. It's all the fastest cards, tested with the latest drivers. You can see the R9 290X and Titan trading blows, which is a situation Nvidia hopes to correct with its <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_announces_gtx_780_ti_launch_date_price_shield_update_and_780770_price_cuts_2013">GTX 780 Ti</a> launch later this week.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">We also received some requests for a few benchmarks showing what this card can do at <strong>1080p</strong> going up against the less expensive GeForce GTX 770, so here they are:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>1080p Benchmarks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/1080p_benchmarks_0.jpg" alt="1080p Benchmarks" title="1080p Benchmarks" width="326" height="428" /></p> <address style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color: black; border: none windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-alt: none windowtext 0in; padding: 0in; background: white;">Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard with 16GB of DDR3/1600 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1,050W PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 8. All games are run at 1920x1080 with 4X AA.</span></em></address> <p style="text-align: left;">Not much explanation is needed here as this card is the clear winner over the GTX 770 at 1080p. It is absolutly perfect at this resolution as it hits that silky-smooth 60fps target in most of the games we use for testing. Metro: Last Light barely runs at 30fps, but that's not too surprising as it can punish even the burliest GPU, and it's heavy use of PhysX favors Nvidia cards. Overall though, this card crushes it at 1080p, but costs $70 more than the GTX 770 so it's a trade-off for sure.</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">4k Benchmarks</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Both Nvidia and AMD are pushing 4k big time with their latest GPUs, so naturally we've run some tests at this resolution. Games at 4K look absolutely amazing, but boy oh boy do you need some serious firepower to run any of the latest games at full detail. In fact, they are so demanding at this 3840x2160 resolution that we have to disable AA otherwise it is simply unplayable, even on these premium GPUs. As an aside, it's interesting to see what they can do at 4K but it's also not terribly relevant right now due to the cost of the panels. The panel we used in the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/dream_machine_2013">Dream Machine</a> cost $3,500, and the Sharp panel we used for these tests (which we believe is the exact same unit) costs $5,300, so we seriously doubt even hardcore gamers are running these bad boys yet. It is simply too bleeding edge, unless you can run dual or three-way Titans or R9 290X cards. We never though we'd say it, but that's even too rich for our blood. Regardless, here are the numbers:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>4K Benchmarks</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u302/4k_r9_290.jpg" alt="R9 290 4K" title="R9 290 4K" width="333" height="428" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><span style="font-size: 10.5pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;; color: black; border: none windowtext 1.0pt; mso-border-alt: none windowtext 0in; padding: 0in; background: white;">Best scores are bolded. Our test bed is a 3.33GHz Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition in an Asus Rampage IV Extreme motherboard with 16GB of DDR3/1600 and a Thermaltake ToughPower 1,050W PSU. The OS is 64-bit Windows 8. All games are run at 3840x2160 with AA disabled.</span></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In our 4k tests there is not a clear winner as it's five wins for AMD, and four wins for Nvidia, though, once again, the fact that the R9 290 costs $100 less than the GTX 780 gives it an advantage considering their performance parity. The R9 290 is the clear winner is Crysis 3, Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider (all AMD games, by the way), Battlefield 3, and Hitman, whereas the GTX 780 is only significantly faster in Metro: Last Light, which is an Nvidia title with physics that are not friendly to AMD's cards at all. All in all though, it's an impressive showing for a $400 GPU.</p> <h3>Power, Heat, and Overclocking</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">Just like its big brother R9 290X the R9 290 ran hot, made a little bit of noise, and wasn’t able to be overclocked beyond its base "max" clock of 947MHz. AMD lists its clock speed as “up to 947MHz” and in testing that is how it goes, spinning up to 947MHz when it can, then backing off that clock a bit when temperatures get too extreme. Once it has achieved that delicate balance, it continues to throttle clock speeds up and down by 50Mhz or so under load always staying around 93 or 94C the entire time. Yes, it’s very hot, especially compared to Nvidia’s cards, which typically never get hotter than 83C or so overclocked, but the R9 290 was totally, 100 percent stable throughout testing. Once again we looped Heaven 4.0 over the weekend, and our test bed had no issues whatsoever. The R9 290 sat there at about 94C the entire weekend, and never crashed. Overclocking though, is out of the question. The card already runs hot enough to make the GPU throttle in stock trim, so it's not possible to push the card any further at its stock settings. We could have pushed the fan beyond 47 percent, sure, but it gets very loud very quickly, even at 50 percent, so we don't imagine most users will want to run this GPU at that noise level.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">The stock cooling mechanism AMD built for this card does a good job of exhausting heat however, even though it looks a bit plain, especially in comparison to the sleek coolers on the GTX 780/Titan. When the card is hovering over 90C you can still put your hand one half-inch away from it and feel almost no heat whatsoever, so it seems to exhaust well and run totally fine despite its sky-high temperatures. We know it's weird seeing a card run at 94C, and it takes some getting used to. AMD has assured us that is how the card is designed, so it should be able to run at those temps for its entire life without issues. We certainly had no issues in testing, and it was always stable, so we have to give it a passing grade. Just like with the super-hot R9 290X we cannot wait to see what aftermarket cooling mechanisms do for this card's heat output and overclocking potential. Just like how you can overclock a GTX 780 to match a Titan, we're sure the R9 290 could be pumped up to match the 290X with enough cooling. We will have to wait and see if those cards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, Sapphire, XFX, and others ever materialize, but we believe they will, and we're excited to check them out when they do arrive, hopefully before the holidays.</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;"><strong>Final Thoughts</strong></h3> <p style="text-align: left;">When AMD launched the R9 290X last week it was an assault on Nvidia's single-GPU dominance in the premium video card space, and it was a shot that certainly hit its target. The R9 290X exceeded the GTX 780's performance while costing $100 less, so that is a clear-cut victory for AMD. Undaunted, Nvidia responded by dropping the GTX 780's price down to $500, essentially wiping out the R9 290X's advantage in that matchup. The Titan is still threatened by the R9 290X though, but Nvidia doesn't seem to bothered by it, so for now it's leaving the Titan alone. Now that we have the R9 290 though, the GTX 780 is once again under some serious pressure from AMD because the 290 is just as fast, and once again, costs $100 less. If you have $400 burning a hole in your pocket, the R9 290 is clearly the fastest GPU at that price point. We didn't test it against the GTX 770 simply because that is a card we test at 1080p, and the R9 290 is a 2560x1600 card, but it would certainly be faster than the GTX 770 as well since it can beat a GTX 780 in many tests.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Overall, the R9 290 is another excellent GPU from AMD with a tremendous price-to-performance ratio that Nvidia simlply cannot match at this time. It definitely runs hotter and makes a bit more noise than it's next of kin on the green team, but for $100 we would bet most consumers would be willing to put on some headphones. Plus it's almost winter, so the heat will probably come in handy for a lot of folks. On a serious note though, we did not find the heat or noise created by this card to be a problem, so don't let it scare you off.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">From here we wait for two events to occur - the GTX 780 Ti launch later this week, which Nvidia is hoping will allow it to once again wrest control of the trophy for "fastest single GPU" since the R9 290X has muddied the waters a bit and put its Titan in peril, at least when it comes to gaming. Also, it's possible that the R9 290 launch will cause Nvidia to lower the price on the GTX 780 even further to be more competitive. As always we will have to wait and see what happens.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Finally, there are still unknowns in both camps at this time. AMD has its <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_r9_290x_will_be_much_faster_titan_battlefield_4">Mantle</a> API and <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/everything_you_wanted_know_about_amd%E2%80%99s_new_trueaudio_technology_2013">TrueAudio</a>, both of which are untested at this time. Nvidia has <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_announces_nvidia_g-sync_gamestream_and_much_more">G-Sync monitors</a>, ShadowPlay, its <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidias_geforce_gtx_holiday_bundles_feature_free_games_and_shield_discounts2013">Holiday Game Bundle</a>, GameStream/Shield, and of course, better acoustics and lower overall temps due to Kepler's efficiency. We've yet to test frame pacing using AMD's new XDMA setup, but reports indicate it's finally as good if not better than Nvidia's SLI at this time. Regardless, both AMD and Nvidia have very unique and exclusive features at this time, making the choice between one camp or the other more difficult than it's ever been.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">All in all, we can't remember a time when competition has been as white hot and fierce between AMD and Nvidia as it is right now. AMD has really come out swinging for the fences with its Hawaii GPUs, which have already resulted in both price drops and a new GPU on the way in the form of the GTX 780 Ti. Whether or not today's launch of the R9 290 results in even more price cuts or GPU offspring remains to be seen, but one thing is certain -- it's an awesome time to be in the GPU market.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_radeon_r9_290_benchmarks#comments amd r9 290 radeon Video cards Reviews Videocards Tue, 05 Nov 2013 06:17:58 +0000 Josh Norem 26610 at http://www.maximumpc.com MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition is First AMD Motherboard with USB 3.1 http://www.maximumpc.com/msi_970a_sli_krait_edition_first_amd_motherboard_usb_31_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/msi_970a_sli_krait_edition.jpg" alt="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" title="MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Introducing USB 3.1 to AMD</h3> <p><strong>MSI is laying claim to the world's first AMD motherboard with USB 3.1 support</strong>. The board in question is MSI's new <strong>970A SLI Krait Edition</strong>, which sports a black and white tuxedo theme that would probably look pretty nifty inside a white theme enclosure. But behind the looks is a USB 3.1 interface that allows for transfer speeds of up to 10Gbps, double that of USB 3.0, and 20 times faster than USB 2.0.</p> <p>Earlier this year MSI rolled out the <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/msi_z97s_sli_krait_edition_motherboard_sophisticated_builds_2014" target="_blank">Z97S SLI Krait Edition</a> based on Intel's Z97 chipset. It too brought a black and white color theme but no USB 3.1 support. Now AMD is getting the fancy pants treatment.</p> <p>The 970A SLI Krait Edition is a socket AM3+ board with support for AMD FX, Phenom II, Athlon II, and Sempron CPUs. It has four DIMM slots supporting up to 32GB of DDR3-2133 (OC) memory, two PCI x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two standard PCI slots, six SATA 6Gbps ports, a single GbE LAN port, and an assortment of USB 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 ports.</p> <p>MSI touts high quality components and build quality such as solid capacitors, "Dark Choke" with a special core design that allows it to run a a lower temp with a higher capacity, isolated audio PCB, and so forth.</p> <p>No word yet on when the <a href="http://www.msi.com/product/mb/970A-SLI-Krait-Edition.html#hero-overview" target="_blank">MSI 970A SLI Krait Edition</a> will be available or for how much. As a point of reference, the aforementioned Intel version runs about $110 street.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/msi_970a_sli_krait_edition_first_amd_motherboard_usb_31_2015#comments 970 A SLI Krait Edition amd Build a PC Hardware motherboard msi usb 3.1 News Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:46:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29645 at http://www.maximumpc.com PC Gaming Week: Maximum PC Editors' Rigs http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3>We invite you in to check out our personal systems</h3> <p>In celebration of <strong>PC Gaming Week</strong> by our sister publications, we at Maximum PC thought it would be good to contribute to the cause, with an article dedicated to exploring the rigs of our editors. The bunch of us gathered together, and you could tell it was a battle of testies. Truth be told, it wasn’t really about who had what system, but rather, why did things get built that way and for what purpose. We hope you’ll see how diverse we are in terms of builds, and each build will be accompanied by the editor’s comments, on why they put together what they did.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/maxpc_bros.png" alt="MaxPC Staff" title="Maximum PC Staff recording a podcast" width="619" height="473" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In the media world, people like to talk about how we should remain unbiased. But truth be told, there’s some amount of bias in everything. And you know what? That’s great, because if you didn’t want valuable insights and opinions, you would read an article written by a robot. Bias, under appropriate moderation, allows you as a reader to come away with a level of awareness that help lead you toward either a better buying decision, or a better understanding of what helps and what’s just garbage.</p> <p>We hope you enjoy reading about each of our personal rigs and the insights into why we picked the stuff we have.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">If you want to jump to different systems, click one of these links to check them out:</p> <ul> <li>Alex Campbell's system (this page)</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,1">Tom McNamara's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,2">Jimmy Thang's system</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015?page=0,3">Tuan Nguyen's system</a>&nbsp;</strong></li> </ul> <h3>First up: Alex Campbell, Associate Editor</h3> <p style="text-align: left;">CPU: AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz<br />CPU cooler: ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-F2A88X-D3H<br />GPU: EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 1GB<br />RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3/120G 120GB<br />HDD: Seagate Barracuda ST500DM002 500GB 7200RPM x 2, Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003 1TB 6,200rpm<br />Audio: Creative Labs SoundBlaster X-Fi<br />PSU: Rosewill RX850-S-B Extreme Series 850W<br />Case: CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced<br />Keyboard: Logitech K800<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: An unimpressive 1080p display<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"> </p><p><img src="/files/u99720/alex_campbell_pc_1.jpg" alt="Alex Campbell home rig" title="Alex Campbell home rig" width="620" height="465" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Alex Campbell's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My machine at home is a bit of a Frankenstein monster that I built in early 2014, from a combination of new-ish parts and cannibalized bits from my old desktop built in 2010. In early 2014, I was still in school finishing up my bachelor’s, which was focused on photojournalism.</p> <p>In case I turned photography into a business, I needed a new machine to handle some photo editing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I also wanted a machine that could handle some video editing. I knew my budget wouldn’t be able to handle a 4K load, so I didn’t even try to reach that level. Instead, I focused on making sure I had enough storage to keep all the hefty RAW files from my Nikon D90.</p> <p>I play games, too, so I needed a card that could render decent framerates with a some RTS and FPS games I could find on Steam. Primarily, though, my goal was to create a midrange digital workstation to produce media. </p> <p>I’ve been an AMD builder most of my life, so I looked for a decent mid-range FM2 chip to do the number crunching, and settled on an AMD A8-5600K Trinity Quad-Core 3.6GHz. I dropped it into a GIGABYTE GA-F2A88X-D3H that I chose for its price, USB 3.0 ports, and decent reviews on Newegg. The fact that it sports 8 SATA 3 ports was a big plus, as I was planning on packing it full of spinning drives. I transplanted my ARCTIC Freezer 7 Pro Rev. 2 CPU Cooler onto my new chip, and used the stock AMD fan for my old CPU, which is now the heart of a SAMBA file server.</p> <p>Video is powered by an EVGA GeForce GTX 550 Ti, which was a solid card, and can still play many games at a decent framerate. While it’s still a great card for what I paid, the 550 Ti doesn’t support many of the latest features of NVIDIA’s drivers and software.</p> <p>I grabbed a couple of 8GB DDR3 1866 GSKILL Ripjaw X Series RAM sticks to run my apps. Sure, 1866 wasn’t the fastest speed available, but again, my starving-student budget didn’t give me much wiggle room.</p> <p>Storage was the name of the game for this build, so I nabbed a 120GB Kingston HyperX 3K SH103S3 SSD for my system partitions. The SSD houses both Windows 8.1 and Arch Linux. A pair of 500GB Seagate Barracudas house my “active” video and photo files. One drive serves as the “main” working disk and the other is the backup. In case you’re wondering, they’re not linked in RAID 1, because RAID is not a backup scheme, it’s a drive redundancy scheme. Using the second drive as a backup ensures that if something happens to my work, I can get the next most recent version of my working files back.</p> <p>Media and personal live on a 1TB Barracuda, which is split between an NTFS partition for Windows and an Ext4 partition for my Linux /home directory.</p> <p>I threw all of this into a CM Storm Scout 2 Advanced case. The case is nice because the built-in front LEDs have their own toggle switch and the carrying handle on top is quite comfortable to use. When I moved up to the Bay Area, it was much easier to pack into my car than my server was. It also has decent space for cable management on the back panel and plenty of fan-mounting options.</p> <p>I powered the rig with a 850W Rosewill RX850-S-B Xtreme Series I transplanted from the server box. The power supply is 80 Plus Bronze, which helps with my power bill. The thing is also surprisingly silent, which is nice if I sleep with the computer on in my room.</p> <p>My storage solution also includes my server, running on a quad-core Athlon X2 Black Edition with two cores unlocked in BIOS. The server’s Arch Linux image lives on a 60GB SanDisk SSD. A pair of 2TB Barracudas serve as photo-archive drives. One drive serves as the primary and the other as backup, just like the working drives in my main box. Backups are automated with rsync and cron. The server also has a 3TB Barracuda for NAS use and is encrypted with dm-crypt/LUKS. I really should buy a couple more for a RAID array, though. The server is powered by a 650W Cooler Master GX.</p> <p>My peripherals and display are rather lackluster and in dire need of replacement, but I do like my illuminated Logitech K800. It’s not mechanical or great for gaming, but the backlighting is gentle and fades in and out as you move your hands over it, which is great for working at night, or just adjusting the system volume while watching Netflix from across the room.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tom McNamara, Technical Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K @ 4.2GHz<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X40<br />Motherboard: Gigabyte GX-Z77-UD5H<br />GPU: MSI Gaming 4G NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980<br />RAM: Corsair LP 16GB (4x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Crucial M500 480GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Onboard<br />PSU: Thermaltake TPG-675M Toughpower 675W<br />Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2<br />Keyboard: Logitech G710+<br />Mouse: Logitech M310<br />Display: Dell S2340M 23-inch<br />Accessories: None</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tom_mcnamara_pc_1.jpg" alt="Tom McNamara's home rig" title="Tom McNamara's home rig" width="620" height="836" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Tom McNamara's home rig.</strong></p> <p>My overall strategy with this system was to create something that would be fairly quiet, spacious, and understated. I don't go for case windows because they let more noise through, and I get over looking through them after a few days anyway. So, the Fractal Design Define XL R2 fit the bill. It has sound-absorbing panels and three 140mm fans pre-installed.</p> <p>For the CPU, I wanted something with eight threads, so I went with the Intel Core i7-3770K. It gets me better performance than AMD's FX-8350, and it draws much less power. I cool it with an NZXT Kraken X40, since I'm not going for particularly high clock speeds. I still use the original "Kraken Control" software instead of CAM, because I prefer the simpler interface. The radiator is mounted in the top of the case. The GA-Z77-UD5H motherboard has served me pretty well so far. I might try an Asus board in the future, because I like their fan control software, and I tend to get pretty high overclocks out of them, and with less fiddling in the BIOS. I use low-profile RAM because you never know when you might need the physical clearance, and I don't need fancy heatsinks. DDR3 just doesn't get hot enough to warrant them, in my experience.</p> <p>I went with the MSI GTX 980 Gaming 4G because I wanted something beefy, but not noisy. This GPU is rated to pull around 165 watts under load, so the card's cooling fans don't have to make much noise. I can also add a second 980 without stressing out my 675-watt power supply, whereas two Radeon R9 290Xs would call for about 850 watts.</p> <p>For storage, I got a good deal on a 480GB Crucial M500, but I ended up running out of room for my Steam games, so I got a 1TB Samsung 840 EVO to give me some breathing room. I was using my 4TB Seagate HDD to copy games over when I needed room; copying them back later is much faster than re-downloading. It's also good to have for system and file backups.</p> <p>For input, I've been using the Corsair M65 for a while now. Its finish doesn't rub or flake off, which I've had happen with other mice. That flaking makes the texture feel weird and like the mouse is dirty even though it looks fine. I'll probably be trying out the Logitech G303 soon, though, for some variety.</p> <p>I got a good deal on the Dell S2340M monitor, and I liked it so much that I bought another. The back of it is a bit awkward, though; bulky DVI connectors simply can't fit. It also doesn't do HDMI. The image quality is great, and the bezels are thin, but 23 inches is just a bit too small for my tastes. I'll probably be getting a 2560x1440 monitor soon, now that we're going to be getting things like 144Hz IPS and FreeSync. Unfortunately, the S2340M doesn't rotate into portrait mode, and I don't currently have enough desk space for two of those and a 1440p display. First-world problems.</p> <p>I've had good luck with Logitech's keyboards, so I bought a G710+ a while back. It has white LED backlighting, Cherry MX brown mechanical switches, and some macro keys that I never use. But it's quiet and hasn't let me down yet. I tried the Corsair RGB keyboard, but I found its keys too springy for my taste. Before this, I was using a Tesoro Durandal G1NL, which is also Cherry MX Brown, but with a reddish-orange backlight similar to the Sidewinder X4 that I had before that. I stopped using the G1NL because it wouldn't initialize until Windows had booted, meaning I couldn't access the BIOS. No amount of tweaking would fix it. I keep hoping that Microsoft will enter the mechanical keyboard fray, but they don't seem to be interested in enthusiast keyboards or mice anymore.</p> <p>I play a variety of games on this rig. Lately, it's been Cities: Skylines, which some people have described to me as the de facto sequel to Sim City 4. I think it's pretty great, especially for $30. I've also been dabbling with Star Citizen; its very transparent and publisher-free development process has been fascinating to watch. Shadow of Mordor has also been great fun, and I'm looking forward to testing my system's limits with The Witcher 3.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Jimmy Thang, Online Managing Editor</h3> <p>CPU: Intel Core i7 3770K<br />CPU cooler: Hyper 212<br />Motherboard: Something useful<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan<br />RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR3<br />SSD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB<br />HDD: Seagate Desktop HDD 4TB <br />Audio: Creative Sound Blaster Z<br />PSU: A car battery<br />Case: Fractal Design Define R4<br />Keyboard: Razer Black Widow<br />Mouse: Logitech Daedalus Prime<br />Display: ASUS VG248QE 24-inch 144Hz</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_1_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's home rig" title="Jimmy Thang's home rig" width="420" height="682" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Jimmy Thang's home rig.</strong></p> <p>At the heart of my current home rig, I’m using a 3770K CPU, GTX Titan GPU, and 16GB of Corsair Vengeance RAM. In addition to gaming, I dabble in photo and video editing, and my i7 processor and 16GB of RAM are good enough for my amateur needs there. I’ve also got a 4TB Seagate HDD that allows me to store the copious assets. Of course, that isn’t my only storage drive. For the OS, I’m running a Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD, which allows my PC to boot up in under 15 seconds. All of this is wrapped in a white Define R4 chassis, which I like because of its clean aesthetics. </p> <p>Currently, my main display is a 24-inch 144Hz 3D panel from Asus. I don’t use the 3D features at all, but I do like having super high framerates (for when 60fps simply won’t do). I also have a separate 24-inch IPS display from Dell, which I use as a secondary monitor to help with productivity work. My GeForce GTX Titan may seem overkill for a 1080p display, but I’m also playing around with an Oculus Rift DK2, which has demos render 1080p scenes twice for each eye, and demands experiences be a consistent 75fps. VR games like space simulator Elite Dangerous really put my Titan to work here.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/jimmy_thang_pc_2_s.jpg" alt="Jimmy Thang's displays" title="Jimmy Thang's displays" width="620" height="362" /></p> <p>When I’m not running around in VR, I find myself playing a lot of different indie games like Darkest Dungeon or Transistor. I was also really into League of Legends for a while. Yes, these games don’t tax my hardware at all, but I’ll occasionally play more demanding games, such as Evolve or Shadow of Mordor, and I like knowing that I have a relatively future-proof rig capable of maxing out any game I throw at it. This, of course, will change when I make the eventual move to a 4K monitor (I’m mostly waiting for the scaling issues to be resolved before I dive in). </p> <p>The accessories I’m using to play these games include Razer’s Black Widow mechanical keyboard (I like the really loud and clicky feel of it) and Logitech’s Daedalus Prime mouse, which was originally designed for MOBAs with its quick click-actuation time. For audio, I’m using Corsair’s Vengeance 2100 wireless headset. It can be a burden to charge every now and then, but the audio quality and sound isolation are great, and I really enjoy the freedom of being able to walk around my room untethered as I listen to music. I’m also using a wireless Xbox 360 controller, which I feel is the best controller for PC gaming at the moment, but that could change with Valve’s Steam Controller that’s coming out this November.</p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>Tuan Nguyen, Editor-in-Chief</h3> <p><strong>System 1, The Workhorse:</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 3970X<br />CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken X41<br />Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition<br />GPU: EVGA 04G-P4-2986KR NVIDIA GTX 980<br />RAM: Samsung “Green” Low-profile (8 x 4GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 256GB x 2<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB x 4<br />Audio: Onboard + Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 5.1, Astro Gaming A40 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: NZXT H440 Black/Blue<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech MX Master<br />Display: Dell UltraSharp U3011 30-inch, Dell UtraSharp 2311h 23-inch<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1500 UPS, Fujitsu U2300 Magneto-Optical drive, Logitech C920 webcam</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u99720/tuan_nguyen_pc_3.jpg" alt="Tuan's workhorse" title="Tuan's workhorse PC" width="620" height="827" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Gigabyte X79A-UD5 mobo has since been replaced with an ASUS Rampge IV Black Edition.</strong></p> <p><strong>System 2, The Decapitator:</strong> <strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong><br />CPU: Intel Core i7 4790K<br />CPU cooler: Digital Storm HydroLux Liquid<br />Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII Impact<br />GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X<br />RAM: Corsair Dominator Platinum (2 x 8GB) DDR3 <br />SSD: Samsung 850 Pro 512GB<br />HDD: Western Digital Black WD4003FZEX 4TB<br />Audio: Onboard + [Below], Astro Gaming A50 headset<br />PSU: Seasonic Platinum-1000 1000w<br />Case: Digital Storm Bolt 3<br />Keyboard: Das Keyboard 3 Ultimate<br />Mouse: Logitech G502<br />Display: Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB Projector<br />Accessories: APC Smart-UPS 1000 UPS, Xbox 360 controller (wired)<br />Audio: Pioneer Elite VSX-82TXS receiver, Aperion Audio Verus Grand HD speakers</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_4.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="776" /><br /><strong>Tuan's Decapitator:</strong><span style="text-align: start;">&nbsp;</span><strong>Digital Storm Bolt 3</strong></p> <p>I’ve been a gamer for as long as I could remember. I gamed on Atari’s old systems, 286 PCs with yellow monochrome CRT monitors, and a huge array of everything available, up until today. I grew up on all the consoles. I actually don’t own any of the recent consoles, but I do own a first-generation Sony PlayStation running over SCART RGB video into my receiver—I know, it’s pretty nerdy, but I love it. The last console I bought was an Xbox 360. There just aren’t enough great games on the current consoles to warrant getting them. But there are many, many great games on the PC. My setup consists of two different PCs for two different purposes, although one could argue that the two systems could swap duties just fine.</p> <p>The first system is called The Workhorse. It’s used for… you guessed it, work. I’d wager though, that it could play games decently, too. I do play a limited number of games on it, but I save the real entertainment for another system. </p> <p>I went with an NZXT H440 chassis because I enjoy having a minimalistic and clean setup, at least on the outside. On the inside, however, I’ve crammed just about the best components that I could into the system. It’s using a Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition only because I haven’t the chance to move into the new CPUs, but the Core i7 3970X is still a beastly six-core CPU. The motherboard is a loaded ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, and I chose it because I ended up preferring ASUS’s EFI over Gigabyte’s. Previous to the Rampage, I was using a Gigabyte X79A-UD5 board, which wasn’t quite as stable. And honestly, Gigabyte really needs to do a better job with their firmware. One of the photos shows my old Gigabyte motherboard, but the more recent photo of the entire computer shows the ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition.</p> <p>I’d like to point out that the RAM you see in the photo doesn’t look like much. In fact, it may even look like old DIMM sticks before heatsinks became all the rage. In the overclocking community, these Samsung DDR3 sticks are considered the “golden” standard. They run so cool and clock so fast, you don’t even need heatsinks. I’ve never been a fan of decorative heatsinks, instead I prefer simple ones with actual fins that are efficient at removing heat. A lot of the stuff that’s out there today is all about grabbing your attention. Give me stability over that any day.</p> <p>Other than that, the components I picked are what I feel are best in class. From the SSD to HDD, to GPU and PSU, the components I have in The Workhorse are essentially the best. The Dell UltraSharp U3011 was the company’s previous flagship 30-incher. Dell now has the U3014, which delivers a 30-inch display backed by LED instead of the CCFL backlighting in the U3011. Still, it’s a beauty, but it’s not a “gaming” display by any means. It doesn’t do any of the faster refresh rates, nor does it have the best response time for some types of games, and it doesn’t come with G-Sync either. I use an Acer XB280HK 4K 28-inch display at work that has G-Sync, and I can honestly say, I want G-Sync or FreeSync in all my future displays. </p> <p>To round out the system, I use a Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate for input nirvana. I actually have 3 of these keyboards. Once for this system, one for the entertainment system, and one for my PC at the office. I’m just a really big fan of Cherry MX blue switches. And yes, all the keys are blank on these keyboards.</p> <p>OK, enough work, let’s play.</p> <p>For my entertainment duties, I was really attracted to Digital Storm’s Bolt series of PCs. No only does Digital Storm build really good PCs, they do so with the best components that you and I can buy. Thus exists the Bolt 3. </p> <p>Digital Storm co-designed a chassis, with Lian Li, that I feel is an excellent fit for the living room—that is, not too big, and looks great laying horizontally. At this point, you might be asking why didn’t I just build another rig. Good question. My answer is, this publication is called Maximum PC, not Maximum DIY. I think as fans of PCs, and fans of technology in general, <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/its_ok_buy_pre-built_column_2015">we should appreciate and embrace all types of technology</a>. There are plenty of reasons why someone would choose to build or not to build. Since I’ve been building all my life, I figured: why not see what’s going on the other side? And you know what? It’s awesome! Funny how life works.</p> <p>The Bolt 3 is loaded to the gills with the best parts: an NVIDIA Titan X, Core i7 4790K, Samsung 850 Pro SSD, and more. The best part of the rig, though, is the design. It’s sleek, black, and has a huge plane of dark tempered glass covering one side of the system. It’s slightly larger than the outgoing Bolt 2, but the slight increase in volume allows better airflow, as well as maintenance. In fact, there’s space for two Titan X cards, but I have yet to figure out how to cram that second card in.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u191083/tuan_nguyen_pc_5.jpg" alt="Digital Storm Bolt 3" title="Digital Storm Bolt 3" width="620" height="574" /></p> <p>For its duties as a home-theater gaming rid, the Bolt 3 is connected via HDMI to my Pioneer receiver, which in turn is connected to a monster of a projector: an Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 5030UB. This is one of the best prosumer 1080p projectors you can buy. It’s extremely highly rated, and outputs a mind-blowingly good picture, even with ambient lighting. </p> <p>I play (or have played): Battlefield 4, Titanfall, League of Legends, Starcraft 2, Diablo 3, World of Warcraft, Supernova (alpha), and a bunch of other titles. Right now though, the game I enjoy playing the most is Ori and the Blind Forest. If you haven’t played it, get it. If you don’t know it, get it. My game library is a mixed bag of different genres, and we know that different games require different hardware to get maximum fidelity. So, going with a Bolt 3 configured as it is allows me to enjoy any title on the market in my living room without fuss. Of course, we’d be just as happy and supportive if you built your own, too.</p> <p>Other than games, I use the Bolt 3 for all other duties, such as movie playback, and the occasional web browsing.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10px;"><strong>And that's a wrap</strong></span></p> <p>We hope you enjoyed having a deep look into what we use for our own personal systems at home. We try to keep things varied, and all of us have different things that we do with our PCs. No matter what each of us use though, one thing is clear: we love to build stuff. I'd like to point out though that Alex only showed a photo of his PC from the outside because his system is horrendously dusty on the inside. Awful!</p> <p>We're interested in what you guys have in your builds, or if you bought a pre-built, what did you configure it with and why? Why one CPU over another? Why 64GB of RAM instead of 32GB? Is there a brand favorite you have and why? And, if you have questions for our editors about their specific setup, hit us up in the comments!</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/pc_gaming_week_maximum_pc_editors_rigs_2015#comments amd build PC Campbell intel McNamara Nguyen nvidia Thang Gaming Editor Blogs Systems Tue, 24 Mar 2015 21:36:26 +0000 Maximum PC Staff 29636 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Announces Four New FreeSync Monitors http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_announces_new_freesync_monitors_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u166440/benq_xl2730z.jpg" alt="benq xl2730z" title="benq xl2730z" width="200" height="216" style="float: right;" />AMD claims that Nvidia G-Sync technology can negatively affect FPS</h3> <p>Shore up your homes everyone, it appears that another battle is about to be waged between AMD and Nvidia consumers. The resulting storm is going to be over AMD’s FreeSync and Nvidia’s G-Sync technologies. While&nbsp;<strong>AMD announced that four new monitors with FreeSync support are now available</strong>, it didn’t stop there. The company went on to claim that Nvidia’s G-Sync can negatively affect a game’s FPS.</p> <p>Simply put, both technologies allow graphics cards to synchronize the display of a video game’s frame with the output of a video card. In addition, they both eliminate tearing and stuttering in games though AMD claims that, through internal studies, Nvidia’s G-Sync can negatively affect a game’s FPS by 1.14 percent (Alien: Isolation was the game used for the study). For the same study, the company claimed that FreeSync saw an improved affect of 0.16 percent FPS. Another issue that AMD pointed out is that consumers can disable FreeSync (or adaptive sync) off on FreeSync monitors while G-Sync monitors cannot turn off VSync which can reduce the mouse’s latency.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u166440/amd_gsync_chart.jpg" alt="amd gsync chart" title="amd gsync chart" width="600" height="226" /></p> <p>The company didn’t stop there as it pointed out some of the benefits of manufacturers using its technology compared to Nvidia’s. AMD’s FreeSync will not require a proprietary module, will have no licensing fees, is open source, use DisplayPort, be compatible with standard monitor features (audio, scaling, OSD), and have a refresh rate range of 9-240Hz. All of which would make the tech more appealing to manufacturers compared to Nvidia’s G-Sync which AMD points out requires a proprietary module, charges a licensing fee, is not open source, and has a refresh rate range of 30-144Hz.</p> <p>But while fanboys can argue to their hearts content about these differences, there are four new monitors that are currently available that supports AMD’s FreeSync tech. The cheapest monitor will be the LG 29UM67 29-inch monitor featuring an In-Plane Switching panel that will start at $449 with 2560x1080 (21:9 ultrawide) resolution and 48-75Hz refresh rate. For $499, there is the Acer XG270HU 27-inch monitor with TN Type Panel, 2560x1440 (16:9) resolution, and 40-144Hz refresh rate. Next is the BenQ XL2730Z 27-inch monitor with a TN Type Panel, 2560x1440 (16:9) resolution, and 40-144Hz refresh rate that will retail for $599. Finally, there is the LG 34Um67 34-inch monitor IPS with 2560x1080 (21:9 ultrawide) resolution and 48-75Hz refresh rate for a starting retail price of $649.</p> <p>Additional monitors supporting FreeSync will be available soon.</p> <p><em>Follow Sean on&nbsp;<a title="SeanDKnight Google+" href="https://plus.google.com/+SeanKnightD?rel=author" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Google+</span></a>, <a title="SeanDKnight's Twitter" href="https://twitter.com/SeanDKnight" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Twitter</span></a>, and <a title="SeanDKnight Facebook" href="https://www.facebook.com/seandknight" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff0000;">Facebook</span></a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_announces_new_freesync_monitors_2015#comments amd FreeSync FreeSync monitors g-sync monitors nvidia Gaming News Monitors Fri, 20 Mar 2015 01:45:47 +0000 Sean D Knight 29616 at http://www.maximumpc.com Possible Look at Specifications and Performance for AMD's Radeon R9 390X http://www.maximumpc.com/possible_look_specifications_and_performance_amds_radeon_r9_390x_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_radeon_1.jpg" alt="AMD Radeon R9 290X" title="AMD Radeon R9 290X" width="228" height="170" style="float: right;" />A potentially beastly card in the making</h3> <p>Go ahead and apply the standard disclaimer about leaked specs not being verified or official, because that's certainly the case here. Disclaimer aside, we hope that <strong>unconfirmed specifications of the AMD's forthcoming Radeon R9 390X graphics card</strong> turn out to be accurate, because if they are, it's going to be a potent part that's up to 60 percent faster than AMD's Radeon R9 290X.</p> <p>The folks at <a href="http://videocardz.com/55146/amd-radeon-r9-390x-possible-specifications-and-performance-leaked" target="_blank"><em>Videocardz</em></a> asked their source if he could share additional information about AMD's new flagship graphics card, and to the site's surprised, he responded in kind with a few more goodies to digest. One of those goodies is that AMD scrapped plans to run with 4GB of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) Gen1 (1GB per stack) after Nvidia unveiled its Titan X graphics card. Now the plan is to release the Radeon R9 390X with 8GB, but Gen2 (2GB per stack), on a 4,096-bit bus (1,024-bit per stack). That should give the card around 1.25TB/s of memory bandwidth.</p> <p>The GPU is said to be a 28nm Fiji XT part with 4,096 unified cores and 256 Texture Mapping Units (TMUs). There's no mention of ROPs or core clockspeed, though the boost clockspeed is reportedly 1,050MHz. Other specs include a 1,250MHz memory clock, 8.6TFLOPS of compute performance, and either a 6+8 pin or dual 8-pin PCI-E configuration.</p> <p>There's also a performance slide that was leaked, and if it's accurate, performance will be up to around 1.65 times that of the Radeon R9 290X in 4K gaming.</p> <p>Reports from elsewhere on the web have the card debuting at around $700, which is also unconfirmed.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/possible_look_specifications_and_performance_amds_radeon_r9_390x_2015#comments amd Build a PC Fiji Gaming gpu graphics card Hardware Radeon R9 390X Video Card News Mon, 16 Mar 2015 15:41:48 +0000 Paul Lilly 29588 at http://www.maximumpc.com XFX Radeon R9 370 Core Edition Leaks to Web, Higher End R300 Series Cards to Follow http://www.maximumpc.com/xfx_radeon_r9_370_core_edition_leaks_web_higher_end_r300_series_cards_follow <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/xfx_card.jpg" alt="XFX Card" title="XFX Card" width="228" height="143" style="float: right;" />AMD R300 Series is around the corner</h3> <p>We know that AMD is getting ready to refresh its graphics card lineup -- a refresh that's long overdue, as far as we're concerned -- though it looks like the first of the upcoming Radeon R9 300 Series won't be a flagship part. At least that won't be the case if, as rumored, <strong>XFX launches its Radeon R9 370 Core Edition video card</strong> powered by AMD's Trinidad Pro processor next month.</p> <p>The rumor <a href="http://videocardz.com/55051/xfx-radeon-r9-370-core-edition-leaks-out-coming-early-april" target="_blank">originates at <em>Videocardz</em></a>, which caught wind of the forthcoming card by a reader of the site claiming to work for XFX. According to the supposed XFX employee, the first GPU of the R300 Series will be Trinidad Pro, and the site believes him to be telling the truth after a new leak from XFX seemed to corroborate his story.</p> <p>If true, the R9 370 Core Edition (R9-370A-ENF) will come in 2GB and 4GB GDDR5 versions, both with a 256-bit memory bus, single 6-pin PCI-E power connector, and two Dual-Link DVI ports flanked by HDMI and DisplayPort.</p> <h3>R300 Series</h3> <p>Based on the rumors so far, the R9 370 Core Edition will be a mid-range card. Here's a look at the full lineup:</p> <ul> <li>AMD Radeon R9 390X: 28nm Fiji XT GPU, 3,584 cores, 224 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 4GB memory, $599</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 390: 28nm Fiji Pro GPU, 3,328 cores, 208 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 4GB GDDR5, $399</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 380X: 28nm Hawaii XTX GPU, 2,816 cores, 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 4GB GDDR5, 512-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 380: 28nm Hawaii Pro GPU, 2,560 cores, 160 TMUs, 64 ROPs, 4GB GDDR5, 512-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 375X: Tonga XT GPU, 2,048 cores, 128 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 2GB GDDR5, 384-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 375: Tonga Pro GPU, 1,792 cores, 112 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 2GB GDDR5, 256-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 370X: Trinidad XT GPU, 1,280 cores, 80 TMUs, 32 ROPs, 2GB GDDR5, 256-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R9 370: 28nm Trinidad Pro GPU, 1,024 cores, 64 TMUs, 24 ROPs, 2GB GDDR5, 256-bit, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R7 360X: Bermuda GPU, 896 cores, 128-bit GDDR5, price unknown</li> <li>AMD Radeon R7 350X/340X: Oland GPU, 320 cores, DDR3 and GDDR5 memory, 128-bit</li> <li>AMD Radeon R5 300: Caicos GPU, 160 cores, DDR3 memory, 64-bit</li> </ul> <p>None of these are official or set in stone, and as you can see, more is 'known' (rumored) about the higher end GPUs than the lower end ones. So, take these specs with a block of salt.</p> <p>There are also a few benchmarks scattered around the web, though their legitimacy is a huge question mark, expecially when putting up numbers <a href="http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-r9-300-gpu-alleged-3d-mark-benchmarks-leaked/" target="_blank">like this</a>.</p> <p>Regardless, it looks like we won't have to wait long to see what kind of performance AMD's R300 Series brings to the table.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/xfx_radeon_r9_370_core_edition_leaks_web_higher_end_r300_series_cards_follow#comments amd Build a PC graphics card Hardware R300 Series Radeon R9 370 Core Edition Video Card xfx News Thu, 12 Mar 2015 15:12:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 29574 at http://www.maximumpc.com Biostar Rolls Out TA970 Plus AMD Motherboard for Budget Buyers http://www.maximumpc.com/biostar_rolls_out_ta970_plus_amd_motherboard_budget_buyers_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/biostar_ta970_plus.jpg" alt="Biostar TA970 Plus" title="Biostar TA970 Plus" width="228" height="187" style="float: right;" />Low cost board for overclockers</h3> <p><strong>Biostar this week released its TA970 Plus motherboard</strong>, its latest AMD socket AM3+ offering with AMD OverDrive and a feature called ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration), which is supposed to help with overclocking efforts. Built around AMD's 970 chipset, the board supports AMD six-core and eight-core socket AM3 processors, including the AMD FX, Phenom II, and Athlon II lines.</p> <p>It's a full-size ATX motherboard with four DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 64GB of DDR3-2133 (OC) memory and an mSATA/mini PCI-E combo connector. It also has two PCI-E x16 2.0 slots (x16, x4), two PCI x1 2.0 slots, and two standard PCI slots, as well as five SATA 6Gbps connectors with support for RAID 0/1/1/10.</p> <p>As for the overclocking features, here's Biostar's marketing pitch:</p> <p>"To get every power advantage the TA970 Plus features the AMD OverDrive and the ACC (Advanced Clock Calibration) function. This allows power users to overclock their system by precisely calibrating the clock timings between the processor and RAM chips," Biostar says. "These timings are critical in maintaining system stability when overclocking, otherwise you will end up with a system that crashes often. As they say, 'Timing is Everything' and the TA970 Plus allows you to get it right."</p> <p>Biostar also focused its efforts on onboard audio. According to Biostar, the board sports a noise-blocking multi-layer PCB layout for a cleaner signal to go along with a sampling rate of 192kHz/24-bit.</p> <p>The company didn't mention a price, though <a href="http://www.fudzilla.com/news/motherboards/37227-biostar-releases-budget-am3-board-for-enthusiasts" target="_blank"><em>Fudzilla</em></a> seems to think it will sell for $79.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/biostar_rolls_out_ta970_plus_amd_motherboard_budget_buyers_2015#comments amd Biostar Build a PC Hardware motherboard TA970 Plus News Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:31:41 +0000 Paul Lilly 29566 at http://www.maximumpc.com GDC 2015: Oxide Games and Stardock Discuss Mantle, DirectX 12, and Vulkan [VIDEO] http://www.maximumpc.com/gdc_2015_oxide_games_and_stardock_discuss_mantle_directx_12_and_vulkan_video <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/oxide_gdc.jpg" alt="Oxide GDC" title="Oxide GDC" width="228" height="125" style="float: right;" />Take a peek at the first game using Oxide's Nitrous engine</h3> <p>The future of AMD's Mantle is up in the air since AMD recently <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_developers_focus_your_efforts_directx_12_not_mantle_2015">told developers</a> to focus on DirectX 12 instead. However, it doesn't appear as though AMD is ready to completely dismantle its API, which will have a future in Vulkan, the next version of the OpenGL API. You may recall that Oxide Games was a big proponent of Mantle -- check out <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/AMD_Mantle_Interview_2014">our interview</a> from a year ago. How does Oxide feel today? To find out, <strong>we headed to Oxide's booth at GDC</strong> and talked about a number of things.</p> <p>The first thing Oxide showed us was a forthcoming game called Ashes of the Singularity. It's a massively large RTS game developed with Stardock and the first to use Oxide's Nitrous engine, which the company claims can render 10,000 individual units at the same time. The goal with Ashes of the Singularity (other than to make money, of course) is to bring "an unprecedented scale" to the RTS category.</p> <p>Oxide tells us the Nitrous engine has been ported to DX12. The company is also working with Vulkan to make sure it emerges as a top class API. Unfortunately, Oxide wasn't willing to divulge much about Vulkan at this early stage.</p> <p>One thing gamers with high-end rigs will be happy to know is that Oxide developed Ashes of the Singularity to take advantage of top-shelf hardware, if you have it. The beefier your rig, the more settings you can crank up. On the flipside, owners of lower end hardware can dial things down for a playable experience.</p> <p>Early Access will be available this summer, and if all goes well, the game will release this winter. Here's more.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ljeBu7-vKI4" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/gdc_2015_oxide_games_and_stardock_discuss_mantle_directx_12_and_vulkan_video#comments amd directx 12 dx12 games GDC 2015 mantle Oxide Games Software Stardock Vulkan News Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:40:50 +0000 Jimmy Thang and Paul Lilly 29554 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Announces LiquidVR SDK (GDC 2015) http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_announces_liquidvr_sdk_gdc_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u154082/dsc03051.jpg" width="250" height="141" style="float: right;" />We interview AMD Graphics CTO&nbsp;Raja Koudari about the company's VR initiative</h3> <p>Providing presence inside a virtual reality headset, or trying to make you feel like you are somewhere you aren’t, is a difficult challenge for developers. AMD is trying to help VR headset maker like Oculus VR and other head-mounted display (HMD) manufacturers better solve that issue with its newly announced LiquidVR SDK.&nbsp;</p> <p>A big VR obstacle in the way of achieving presence pertains to latency. Minimizing motion-to-photon latency, i.e., having the image properly update as you move your head around, is critical to achieving presence. It also helps you keep your lunch down. Another challenge is that VR can be extremely taxing on hardware. Because VR has to render two separate images for both eyes, this essentially cuts your framerate in half, as your system has to render the scene twice. In addition, VR experiences demand a high resolution to avoid screen-door effects and a high framerate/refresh rate for user comfort. All of this amounts to a ton of challenges. With LiquidVR, AMD aims to help developers solve latency, comfort, and compatibility issues.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vjn-df18suI" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Check out our interview with AMD CTO of Graphics&nbsp;Raja Koudari above.</strong></p> <p>AMD is pushing four pillars to topple these challenges. The first of these is what the company refers to as “latest data latch.” Essentially, what this does is use the GPU to provide the HMD the latest possible image data when rendering to the display. When old data is sent to the headset, users get the feeling of judder when the image is outdated.</p> <p>AMD calls its next pillar “Async shaders for VR.” This allows for asynchronous time warp and essentially predicts the next pixels to be rendered based on head movement/trajectory. AMD says this will also help minimize latency, stuttering, and judder.</p> <p>The third pillar pertains to CrossFire. With dual-GPU setups (this includes Nvidia cards at the time of this writing), users should expect optimizations for throughput (that is raw power), but dual-GPU setups are not currently optimized for latency, which is vital for good VR experiences. As a matter of fact, according to Oculus VR, dual-GPU setups currently hurt VR experiences in this regard. With LiquidVR, not only will AMD cards be optimized for VR, but in a dual-card setup, each GPU can be used to render the feed for each eye.&nbsp;</p> <p>AMD calls its fourth pillar, “Direct to Display” rendering. This is a rendering technique that enables direct front buffer rendering to the headset, without having to go through Windows first. It will also be platform-agnostic and able to work with a variety of HMDs, not just the Oculus Rift.</p> <p>AMD acknowledges VR has a tough road ahead, but thinks VR is the next frontier of computing and wants to accelerate the process. The company outlined several uses for VR headsets that include: education, medical, big data visualization, training/simulation, entertainment, gaming, virtual-social world, and remote presence.</p> <p>The company is currently in talks with several HMD manufacturers, and time will tell if AMD’s tools will help and be adopted or will just be another cog in this ever-fragmenting world of VR.</p> <p>What do you think of AMD’s VR initiative? Let us know in the comments below.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_announces_liquidvr_sdk_gdc_2015#comments amd GDC 2015 liquidvr nvidia oculus rift virtual reality News Features Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:25:59 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29530 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD to Developers: Focus Your Efforts on DirectX 12, Not Mantle http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_developers_focus_your_efforts_directx_12_not_mantle_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/mantle_rip.jpg" alt="Mantle R.I.P." title="Mantle R.I.P." width="228" height="159" style="float: right;" />Goodbye Mantle, we hardly knew ye</h3> <p>In a blog post on Monday, AMD's Raja Koduri waxed nostalgic on Mantle and how it "revolutionized the industry's thinking on low-overhead/high-throughput graphics," among other things. But at the end of what reads like a reluctant death sentence, <strong>AMD told developers that if they're interested in Mantle 1.0's functionality, they should focus their attention on DirectX 12 or GLnext</strong>.</p> <p>AMD never outright declares that Mantle is dead, and it even vowed to support its partners that have committed to Mantle in future projects, such as Battlefield Hardline. Likewise, <a href="http://community.amd.com/community/amd-blogs/amd-gaming/blog/2015/03/02/on-apis-and-the-future-of-mantle" target="_blank">AMD talked</a> about a need for Mantle to take on new capabilities, to "evolve beyond mastery of the draw call," and that it will continue to serve the company as a graphics innovation platform available to select partners with custom needs.</p> <p>So technically, Mantle isn't dead, it's just largely been rendered expendable with DirectX 12 in the wings. Rather than fight it, AMD is encouraging developers to move one, save for those with very specific needs. Or at least that's how we're reading the blog post.</p> <p>Koduri also said that AMD no longer plans to release Mantle as a public SDK. Instead, the company is making available Mantle's 450-page programming guide and API reference, which developers will be able to download sometime later this month.</p> <p>It's a very odd announcement, as Koduri tells developers interested in Mantle to focus on DX12 instead, and then ends things by saying, "Join AMD this week at Game Developer Conference 2015 to see not just the future of Mantle, but the future of PC graphics as well."</p> <p>We'll have more details later this week as they emerge.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_developers_focus_your_efforts_directx_12_not_mantle_2015#comments amd api directx 12 GLnext mantle Software News Tue, 03 Mar 2015 16:45:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29526 at http://www.maximumpc.com Should AMD Jump on the Chromebook Bandwagon? http://www.maximumpc.com/should_amd_jump_chromebook_bandwagon_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/chromebooks_2.jpg" alt="Chromebooks" title="Chromebooks" width="228" height="175" style="float: right;" />Chromebooks and AMD don't currently mix</h3> <p>You have options when it comes to Chromebooks. Some have touch displays, a few are rugged so they can endure a day at the playground, many are relatively inexpensive at around $200, while others like the Chromebook Pixel ($1,300) are quite a bit more. But one option you don't have is buying a Chromebook powered by AMD -- it's either ARM or Intel. That may change someday, but for now, <strong>AMD simply isn't interested in the Chromebook category</strong>.</p> <p>We know this because AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster said as much earlier this week during the International Solid State Circuits (ISSCC) conference.</p> <p>"You have to really look at the Chromebook, and what Google's objective with it is," Papermaster told a small group of reporters at ISSCC, <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/2888434/amd-will-skip-chromebooks-until-prices-features-match-better-cto-says.html" target="_blank">according <em>PCWorld</em></a>. "For us, it's just a business decision, when you need our type of CPU and graphics technology that can make a difference."</p> <p>For now, it isn't hurting AMD to ignore Chromebooks -- only around 4.6 million units were sold in 2014, representing a mere 1.5 percent of the PC market. However, the category is growing, with double the number of Chromebooks sold in 2014 compared to 2013.</p> <p>AMD is gambling that Chromebooks never become anything more than a niche product, or if they do, that it can jump in and become a player. And the Sunnyvale chip designer might be right. I've pointed out several times in the past that the top selling notebooks on Amazon are Chromebooks, but a glance today shows that's no longer the case.</p> <p>Instead, the top selling laptop is now a 15.6-inch Asus machine running a dual-core Celeron chip for $249, followed by the HP Stream 11 (No. 2), HP Stream 13 (No. 3), a 15.6-inch Acer Aspire (No. 4), and another HP Stream 13 (No. 5). None of these are more than $250, which suggests that customers weren't necessarily interested in Chromebooks for many of the reasons Google laid out other than price.</p> <p>Now that Windows laptops can be had at similar price points, Chromebooks aren't as popular, at least on Amazon. They only comprise the No. 7 and No. 8 spots out of the site's 10 best selling notebooks, whereas before they led the pack.</p> <p>"For us, it’s when do you need our CPU and graphics capability that can make a difference," Papermaster added. "Again, you’ll see that there’s these rock-bottom markets... so those don’t have our value proposition."</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/should_amd_jump_chromebook_bandwagon_2015#comments amd chromebook Google laptop notebook News Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:33:28 +0000 Paul Lilly 29480 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Details Carrizo Architecture, Promises Big Gains in Battery Life http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_details_carrizo_architecture_promises_big_gains_battery_life_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/carrizo_0.jpg" alt="AMD Carrizo" title="AMD Carrizo" width="228" height="183" style="float: right;" />Carrizo's coming to town</h3> <p><strong>AMD has high hopes for its energy-efficient Carrizo System-on-Chip (SoC) for laptops and low power desktops</strong>. The Sunnyvale Chip designer wants you to be optimistic as well, and so it shared several details about Carrizo's architecture at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), saying that Carrizzo will deliver a bunch of advanced power management technologies while also delivering substantial performance by way of new Excavator x86 CPU cores and a new generation of Radeon GPU cores.</p> <p>On the technical side, Carrizo will feature 29 percent more transistors (3.1 billion total) in nearly the same die size as its predecessor, Kaveri. AMD also says its Excavator x86 cores provide an uplift in instructions per clock at 40 percent less power, hence the claim that Carrizo will offer double digit percentage increases in both performance and battery life.</p> <p>The new GPU cores will have a dedicated power supply. In addition, there's a dedicated on-chip H.265 video decode for true 4K resolution support. And for the first time ever on a high performance AMD APU, there will be an integrated Southbridge, the company said.</p> <p>AMD had to be a bit creative to cram several new technologies into Carrizo. As the company explains, microprocessor designs typically supply excess voltage -- up to 10 to 15 percent -- to account for transient drops in voltage known as droop. To avoid having to go that route, AMD said it developed a number of technologies to optimize voltage. In addition, Carrizo compares the average voltage to droops on the order of nanoseconds,</p> <p>"Since the frequency adjustments are done at the nanosecond level, there’s almost no compromise in computing performance, while power is cut by up to 10 percent on the GPU and up to 19 percent on the CPU," AMD said.</p> <p>Carrizo will also be HSA 1.0 compliant, which translates into the GPU being able to perform compute tasks.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_details_carrizo_architecture_promises_big_gains_battery_life_2015#comments amd apu carrizo Hardware mobile News Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:02:08 +0000 Paul Lilly 29465 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD's Inexpensive A8-7650K Kaveri APU May Launch This Week http://www.maximumpc.com/amds_inexpensive_a8-7650k_kaveri_apu_may_launch_week <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_a-series_1.jpg" alt="AMD A-Series" title="AMD A-Series" width="228" height="192" style="float: right;" />A chip for budget overclockers</h3> <p>Rumor has it that <strong>AMD is getting ready to release its A8-7650K APU on February 20</strong> in Japan, and presumably other parts of the world soon after. The chips is based on AMD's Kaveri architecture and features an unlocked multiplier. Combined with a price tag that's estimated to be around $117 in Japan, the A8-7650K will be a relatively affordable option for overclockers working with a budget.</p> <p>The chip's rumored February 20 release appears to originate from <a href="https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&amp;tl=en&amp;js=y&amp;prev=_t&amp;hl=en&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.gdm.or.jp%2Fvoices%2F2015%2F0212%2F103468&amp;edit-text=&amp;act=url" target="_blank"><em>Hermitage Akihabara</em></a>, though <a href="http://www.fudzilla.com/news/processors/37061-amd-confirms-new-kaveri" target="_blank"><em>Fudzilla</em> claims</a> AMD has "confirmed" the date, adding that prices are typically a bit higher in Japan. We haven't been able to confirm the launch, but if it does happen on Friday, we suspect it will be in the neighborhood of $105, the number that was floating around last month.</p> <p>AMD's A8-7650K sports four Steamroller cores on two dual-core modules running at 3.3GHz to 3.9Ghz. It also has 4MB lf L2 cache, Radeon R7 graphics with 384 stream processors, a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, and a 95W TDP. The chip will work in FM2+ motherboards.</p> <p>One thing that's interesting about the release is that, on paper, it's slower than the A8-7700K that AMD stopped selling last year.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amds_inexpensive_a8-7650k_kaveri_apu_may_launch_week#comments A8-7650K amd apu Build a PC cpu Hardware kaveri processor News Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:03:00 +0000 Paul Lilly 29440 at http://www.maximumpc.com AMD Takes a Chip Shot at Nvidia's GTX 970 Controversy, Cuts Radeon R9 290X Pricing http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_takes_chip_shot_nvidias_gtx_970_controversy_cuts_radeon_r9_290x_pricing <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_4gb.jpg" alt="AMD 4GB" title="AMD 4GB" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Did anybody <em>not</em> see this coming?</h3> <p>What do you do when you see your enemy <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/gamers_petition_geforce_gtx_970_refund_over_error_specs_2015">twisting in the wind</a>? You strike, of course, and that's exactly what AMD predictably decided to do as rival Nvidia goes into damage control concerning the memory controversy on its GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. <strong>AMD and its partners have lowered the price of their Radeon R9 290X graphics cards to as low as $280 after rebate, or $300 without</strong>.</p> <p>Credit AMD for waiting until precisely the right time to drop pricing. Had AMD done this when news first broke that there were performance issues on the GTX 970 when accessing onboard memory above 3.5GB, it would have been jumping the gun. From a strategic standpoint, it's brilliant to roll out the price cuts immediately after an Nvidia employee said he would help GTX 970 customers <a href="http://www.maximumpc.com/nvidia_will_help_disgruntled_gtx_970_owners_get_refund_says_driver_update_coming_2015">obtain a refund</a> on their card, if they in fact decide to return it and are unable to get a refund on their own.</p> <p>AMD's price cut could end up being the deciding factor for anyone who was on the fence about keeping their GTX 970 card. In reality, Nvidia's card is still a fantastic GPU for the money, at least for most users, and Nvidia originally said it's working on a driver update that should improve memory performance. That bit has since been edited out of the original post, though we suspect Nvidia will still try to fine tune things.</p> <p>Nevertheless, picking up a competitive card for as much as $50 less than the GTX 970 will be tough for some gamers to ignore, especially those who have yet to upgrade. And to make sure the point is driven home, AMD's technical communications lead, Robert Hallock, took a jab at Nvidia on Twitter by <a href="https://twitter.com/Thracks/status/560511204951855104" target="_blank">posting a picture</a> of the Radeon R9 290 with the caption, "4GB means 4GB."</p> <p>Speaking of which, the Radeon R9 290 can be found on Newegg for as little as $250 after rebate, or $270 without.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/amd_takes_chip_shot_nvidias_gtx_970_controversy_cuts_radeon_r9_290x_pricing#comments amd Build a PC Gaming geforce gtx 970 graphics card Hardware nvidia price cut radeon R9 290x Video Card News Fri, 30 Jan 2015 16:49:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 29341 at http://www.maximumpc.com Leaked Roadmap Details AMD's Unreleased 'Godavari' APU Line http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_roadmap_details_amds_unreleased_godavari_apu_line_2015 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/amd_a_series.jpg" alt="AMD A Series" title="AMD A Series" width="228" height="136" style="float: right;" />A dozen APUs are planned for this summer</h3> <p><strong>A Chinese-language website has posted what it claims is a legitimate roadmap of AMD's forthcoming "Godavari" APUs</strong>. You can think of Godavari as a Kaveri refresh, as the new parts will feature the same Steamroller architecture for both the CPU and GPU portions. If the leaked roadmap proves accurate, AMD is planning to release a dozen Godavari APUs this summer, culminating in the A10-8850K.</p> <p>That unlocked part will feature four cores (and a four thread design) clocked at 3.7GHz base and 4.1GHz boost. It will also have a Radeon R7 graphics core based on AMD's Sea Islands GCN architecture with 512 streaming scores and 856Mhz clockspeed. Other bits include 4MB of L2 cache, DDR3 memory support up to 2,133MHz, and a 95W TDP. According to <em><a href="http://wccftech.com/amd-godavari-apu-lineup-leaked-a108850k-lead-pack-12-apus-planned-summer-2015/" target="_blank">wccftech</a>, </em>pricing will close to the current generation A10-7850K APU at about $149.</p> <p>Most of the 12 new chips will be branded as AMD's A-8000 series and will remain compatible with current boards based on the FM2+ platform via BIOS updates. It's not yet known what internal optimizations AMD might be making with Godavari, though from the roadmap, the new chips will feature faster clockspeeds without bumping up TDPs. Performance should improve anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent.</p> <p>Two of the new chips will be branded as Athlon parts. They include the Athlon X4 870K, a quad-core part clocked at 3.5GHz base and 3.7GHz boost with 4MB of L2 cache and a 95W TDP, and the Athlon X4 850K, also a quad-core chip but clocked at 2.9GHz base and 3.2GHz boost and with a 65W TDP.</p> <p>You can view the <a href="http://chinese.vr-zone.com/141759/codename-is-godavari-include-a10-apu-and-athlon-cpu-will-released-by-amd-in-first-half-01292015/" target="_blank">full roadmap here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="https://plus.google.com/+PaulLilly?rel=author" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="http://www.facebook.com/Paul.B.Lilly" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/leaked_roadmap_details_amds_unreleased_godavari_apu_line_2015#comments amd apu Godavari Hardware processor roadmap News Thu, 29 Jan 2015 17:44:52 +0000 Paul Lilly 29333 at http://www.maximumpc.com