Far Cry Primal Graphics Card Performance Analysis

Introduction


The Far Cry franchise gained notoriety for its impeccable graphical fidelity and enthralling open world environment. As a result, each release is incredibly useful to gauge the current state of graphics hardware and performance across various resolutions. Although, Ubisoft’s reputation has suffered in recent years due to poor optimization on major titles such as Assassin’s Creed: Unity and Watch Dogs. This means it’s essential to analyze the PC version in a technical manner and see if it’s really worth supporting with your hard-earned cash!

Far Cry Primal utilizes the Dunia Engine 2 which was deployed on Far Cry 3 and Far Cry 4. Therefore, I’m not expecting anything revolutionary compared to the previous games. This isn’t necessarily a negative concept though because the amount of detail is staggering and worthy of recognition. Saying that, Far Cry 4 was plagued by intermittent hitching and I really hope this has been resolved. Unlike Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon, the latest entry has a retail price of $60. According to Ubisoft, this is warranted due to the lengthy campaign and amount on content on offer. Given Ubisoft’s turbulent history with recent releases, it will be fascinating to see how each GPU this generation fares and which brand the game favours at numerous resolutions.

“Far Cry Primal is an action-adventure video game developed and published by Ubisoft. It was released for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on February 23, 2016, and it was also released for Microsoft Windows on March 1, 2016. The game is set in the Stone Age, and revolves around the story of Takkar, who starts off as an unarmed hunter and rises to become the leader of a tribe.” From Wikipedia.

Rise of the Tomb Raider Performance Analysis

Introduction


Rise of the Tomb Raider originally launched on November 10th and received widespread critical acclaim from various press outlets. Unfortunately, the game went under the radar because Fallout 4 released on the same day. This was a strategic error which hindered the game’s sales and prevented consumers from giving it their undivided attention. It’s such a shame because Rise of the Tomb Raider is a technical marvel when you consider the Xbox One’s limited horsepower. Even though it’s not technically an exclusive, PC players had to wait until after the Christmas period to enjoy the latest exploits of everyone’s favourite heroine.

The PC version was created by Nixxes Software who worked on the previous Tomb Raider reboot as well as a number of other graphically diverse PC games. The studio is renowned for creating highly polished and well-optimized PC versions featuring an astonishing level of graphical fidelity. Prior to release, NVIDIA recommended a GTX 970 for the optimal 1080p experience and 980 Ti for 1440P. Since then, there have been some performance patches from the developer and driver updates to help with scaling across various hardware configuration. This means it will be fascinating to see the performance numbers now that the game has matured and gone through a large number of post-release hot fixes.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series. It was released for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in November 2015 and for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. It is set to release for PlayStation 4 in late 2016.

The game’s storyline follows Lara Croft as she ventures into Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh, whilst battling a paramilitary organization that intends on beating her to the city’s promise of immortality. Presented from a third-person perspective, the game primarily focuses on survival and combat, while the player may also explore its landscape and various optional tombs. Camilla Luddington returns to voice and perform her role as Lara.” From Wikipedia.

So, let’s get to it and see how some of the latest graphics cards on the market hold up with the latest from Crystal Dynamics!

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Thank you Cyberpower for providing us with this incredible prize!

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Nvidia Prepping Full GM204 990M for Gaming Laptops

With the inevitable march towards efficiency due to improved architectures and process technology, laptop GPUs have never been closer to their full-fledged desktop cousins. Right now Nvidia’s top mobile GPU, the GTX 980M, only has 1536 shaders, less than the number found in the GTX 970. That’s all set to change with the arrival of the 990M, based off the same GM204 as the once flagship GTX 980.

With 20148 shaders, the 990M will have 33% more shaders than the 980M. While clocks will likely be below that of the desktop 980, performance should still be on par with the 970. This would put performance below previous rumours but should still be respectable for 1440p gaming though 4K is still a ways away. Even with the lower clocks and Maxwell’s inherent efficiency, laptops boasting the 990M will likely still require a substantial power delivery system and an equally beefy cooling system.

With 28nm long in the tooth and 16nm just a few months away, it begs the question why Nvidia is introducing a new mobile flagship. One possibility is that Nvidia wants to target gamers who want both performance and mobility. Another reason might also be AMD’s Nano GPU. With the Nano, AMD has substantially improved their efficiency, meaning a cut-down Fiji die may very well compete in the same segment as the 990M. Nvidia may simply be introducing this card to retain their mobile crown. Whatever the reason, the card is set to launch later this year.

Thank you TechRival for providing us with this information

NVIDIA adds Batman: Arkham Knight to GeForce GTX Bundle

Nvidia is currently bundling keys for the upcoming Witcher 3 game with their GeForce GTX 970 and GeForce GTX 980 cards, but they decided to add one on top of that and give their customers even more freebies.

There will be a second game code added with the cards and this time it’s for the new Batman: Arkham Knight that is set for release in June. This is a great deal with a retail value of £100 MSRP on top of a great graphics card. Both these games are of course built on the NVIDIA GameWorks and as such should present themselves in full glory on the GTX 980 and GTX 970 cards. We all love free stuff, so this is nothing but great news.

“Both Batman: Arkham Knight and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt raise the bar for graphics, rendering two very different open worlds with a level of detail that we could only dream of last decade. On the PC, each game is also bolstered by NVIDIA GameWorks – increasing fidelity, realism, and immersion.”

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is set to launch on May 19th while Batman: Arkham Knight will be available on June 23rd 2015. Two great games to tie you over for the summer holidays, bad weather, or just for some extra free fun and gaming.

GALAX Reveal Custom GTX HOF Water Cooled Edition Graphics Cards

Do you like your graphics cards to be a faster and cooler? Of course you do! GALAX have signed on the design held of Diamond Cooling to create their stunning Custom GTX HOF Water Cooler Edition graphics cards, something that will no doubt please the enthusiast gaming/system building crowd amongst you.

The Hall of Fame (HOF) series of cards are already well known for their blazing fast, high-end performance and impressive cooling capabilities, but the new custom water cooling blocks are set to take that even further.

“Working in-conjunction with Diamond Cooling based in Europe, specialists in all things custom and cool, KFA2 has developed a water cooling solution designed to fully unleash the raw potential of the GTX 980 and 970 HOF graphics cards with the unprecedented cooling capacity needed for extreme overclocks.”

The cards will feature full PCB coverage water blocks, a stunning design, high-quality materials and will be available in two styles, one with a white acetal top and another with PETG acrylic top.

Key Features:

  • Fits both KFA2 GTX 970 and GTX 980 Hall Of Fame graphics cards
  • Custom engineered design to maximize coolant flow and heat transfer
  • Pure copper blocks
  • Nickel plating
  • PETG acrylic / white acetal top
  • Full PCB coverage including power connectors
  • Coolant channel specially built for optimal flow with bidirectional hookups

The custom GeForce GTX 980/970 HOF water cooled editions are available in limited quantity by special order. Click here for more information.

Will you be ordering one of these gorgeous new graphics cards?

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt GeForce GTX Bundle Now Available

NVIDIA has previously indicated that they will be shipping a copy of the most anticipated RPG game of the year, The Wither 3: Wild Hunt, along with select graphics solutions. For those who are not familiar with the game, The Witcher titles are excellent storytelling RPGs, with a lot of branching quests and morally ambiguous choices.

In the latest title, NVIDIA made sure that the game uses advanced graphics. By ‘advanced graphics’ we mean that CD Projekt Red, The Witcher’s developer, has teamed up with NVIDIA to add its new techniques and the latest effects in order to bring fantastical scenes to life with the help of NVIDIA GameWorks effects, including HBAO+, HairWorks, and PhysX.

NVIDIA is apparently giving a copy of the title bundled with its “Undeniably Epic” GeForce GTX 980, 970 or 960 graphic cards, for both desktop and notebook solutions. A list of retailers can be found here.

Source: GeForce

ASUS 20th Anniversary Edition Graphics Cards Coming Soon

This year marks the 20th anniversary for ASUS in the graphics cards business and that will be celebrated with a couple special graphics cards. Little is known about the cards so far, but the GTX 980 is said to come in the same Tyrant gold colours as the Z97 series while the GTX 970 will come in a black and red themed DirectCU version, but surely with a special and highlighted 20th anniversary addition of some sort.

The cards are still in the development stage and both the release date and other specifications are still unknown, but sources said to prepare for something awesome. We are prepared, now it’s ASUS turn to show what they got planned.

Thanks to VR-Zone for providing us with this information

“We’ll Do a Better Job Next Time”, NVIDIA Admitting Defeat

 

Over the last few weeks we’ve all heard of the scandal relating to the 3.5GB VRAM buffer on the GTX 970 graphics cards. Yes, the card comes with 4GB, but the last 512mb is extremely slow compared to the rest. Well today, NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun, came forward to elaborate on this unfortunate turn of events.

“We invented a new memory architecture in Maxwell. This new capability was created so that reduced-configurations of Maxwell can have a larger framebuffer – i.e., so that GTX 970 is not limited to 3GB, and can have an additional 1GB. GTX 970 is a 4GB card. However, the upper 512MB of the additional 1GB is segmented and has reduced bandwidth. This is a good design because we were able to add an additional 1GB for GTX 970 and our software engineers can keep less frequently used data in the 512MB segment. 

Unfortunately, we failed to communicate this internally to our marketing team, and externally to reviewers at launch.”

So they tried to push the boundaries with as little as possible, resulting in a very fast and usable 3.5GB VRAM, but failed to tell anyone outside of the company of this groundbreaking memory architecture; something that could have played so well to their advantage has seemed to have backfired.

“The 4GB of memory on GTX 970 is used and useful to achieve the performance you are enjoying. And as ever, our engineers will continue to enhance game performance that you can regularly download using GeForce Experience. This new feature of Maxwell should have been clearly detailed from the beginning. We won’t let this happen again. We’ll do a better job next time.”

Good guys NVIDIA for admitting defeat, let’s hope future driver updates will increase the speed of the last 512mb.

Have you returned or received any form of refund for your GTX 970? Are you content with the performance and think this has been blown massively out of proportion by a small population? Let us know on Facebook and our Forums.

Thanks to NVIDIA for sharing this with us.

Amazon Offering Partial Refund to Some NVIDIA GTX 970 Users

Over the past few weeks, we’ve all heard massive amount of hype over the mis-advertisement of the GTX 970 range in the VRAM department. Even though they were shown to have 4GB VRAM, in some very demanding benchmarks, users found the card topping out at 3GB and then becoming very slow towards the 3.5GB mark and not exceeding. Well in a recent update, Amazon has granted some of the consumers who requested a refund, a partial refund of around 20% and allowed them to keep the card. Two consumers have sent in screen shots of their chat logs with confirmation of the refund.

This confirms refunds for both Amazon US and Amazon UK users who bought from Amazon. Newegg has also started giving similar refunds in the US too.

Now with this confirmation, I wonder if the flood gates will now open and we will see many more returns or refund of this card.

Thanks to kitguru for providing us with this information

Nvidia Reporting Less than 5% Returns on GTX 970s after VRAM Controversy

Amid all the controversy that has been surrounding NVidia, the aftermath seems much less severe than was to be expected. So how bad is it actually? President of Jon Peddie Research, Jon Peddie, has stated not that bad. He had this to say: “I have had heard as many as 5 per cent of the buyers are demanding a refund from the AIB suppliers.” By comparison, retailers are only reporting 1-2%, including two of the biggest in the UK offering full refunds through till the end of the month.

If you missed out on the controversy, although the GTX 970 does have a full 4GB of VRAM, the last 512MB is accessed differently and therefore runs at a slower rate. This causes slowdowns and stuttering in games when the extra 512MB is accessed. This design additionally affects the ROPs (Raster Operating Pipelines), reducing them from 64 to 56, and the L2 cache falls from 2048KB to 1792KB.

Source: Tweaktown

MSI Announced Limited Edition GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 960

A couple of weeks ago we could report that MSI was getting a Limited Edition green GTX 970 ready to celebrate the milestone of 100 million Nvidia cards sold. Now they’ve expanded upon it and are also releasing a GeForce GTX960 in the same colour scheme.

Both cards feature the great Twin Frozr V cooler with Zero Frozr technology, Torx Fan design and also come with a backplate to improve structural stability and complement the appearances. A special gift is also included ‘as a token of our appreciation’, but what that gift is remains unknown.

MSI also released the specifications of both cards as seen above. The new cards are starting to become available and Overclockers UK has the GTX960 listed for £179.99 and the GTX970 for £319.99.

Thanks to MSI for providing us with this information

Nvidia Release Statement Regarding GTX 970 VRAM Issue

There’s been a hot debate on this last few days, why is the GTX 970 on showing 3.5GB of VRAM, instead of the full 4GB?

As far as we know, the VRAM is split between two sections. The first houses 3.5GB of high priority memory, the second holds 500MB. Games can still use all 4GB, but it switches back down to 3.5GB when not needed.

Nvidia moderator ManuelG made the following statement.

“The GeForce GTX 970 is equipped with 4GB of dedicated graphics memory. However the 970 has a different configuration of SMs than the 980, and fewer crossbar resources to the memory system. To optimally manage memory traffic in this configuration, we segment graphics memory into a 3.5GB section and a 0.5GB section. The GPU has higher priority access to the 3.5GB section. When a game needs less than 3.5GB of video memory per draw command then it will only access the first partition, and 3rd party applications that measure memory usage will report 3.5GB of memory in use on GTX 970, but may report more for GTX 980 if there is more memory used by other commands. When a game requires more than 3.5GB of memory then we use both segments.

We understand there have been some questions about how the GTX 970 will perform when it accesses the 0.5GB memory segment. The best way to test that is to look at game performance. Compare a GTX 980 to a 970 on a game that uses less than 3.5GB. Then turn up the settings so the game needs more than 3.5GB and compare 980 and 970 performance again.”

They also released the following chart, which shows that there is no performance drop when addressing the extra 500MB of VRAM.

So there you have it, there’s no issues here and that’s how the card is supposed to operate; it just looks a bit strange.

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of DSO.

EK Release Full-Cover Waterblock for MSI GTX 970 Gaming G4

The well renowned liquid cooling manufacturer EK Water Blocks has released a full-cover water block for the successful MSI GTX 970 Gaming G4 graphics card, the EK-FC970 GTX TF5.

Working together with MSI’s engineers, EK created what looks to be a great water block that active cools all the vital parts including GPU, RAM and VRM. It features EK’s unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reverse water  flow without affecting performance. It’s further designed to work great with low-pressure pumps as well.

The base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper, while the top is made from either POM Acetal or Acrylic depending on which variant you chose. The screw-in brass standoffs allow for safe installation procedure without damaging neither the card nor the water block.

The new water blocks have started to ship and should arrive at retailers very shortly. An active backplate will arrive as well in early December to finish the setup with cooling for the memory IC on the backside of the circuit board.

Both the Acetal+Nickel and Nickel-only versions have an MSRP of €107.95 while the backplates will cost €29.95 as black and €37.95 as Nickel version.

Thanks to EK WB for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of EK WB

MSI Revealed GTX 970 Gold Limited Edition Graphics Card

MSI are looking to add a little extra bling to your next upgrade or system build. They’ve just announced a special limited-edition GeForce GTX 970 Gold graphics card.

The card is still a GTX 970 Gaming graphics card, but they’ve swapped out the old aluminium heatsink for one made of pure copper. The exposed stack and copper heat pipes sure look unique thanks to the cards golden-orange tinted cooler shroud. The cards back-plate has also been given a tweak. It features a unique vent pattern and a golden “dragon” logo.

There are no words on clock speeds right now, but it seems the card has been designed with overclocking headroom in mind, rather than coming with a massive factory overclock.

There are no words on price, which markets the card will be available in or how many of these will be made. However, we expect you’ll have to pay a premium given the unique cooler design.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of KitGuru.

GIGABYE Release a Mini-ITX Ready NVIDIA 970

GIGABYTE has just announced the release of their new compact 970 video card, the GV-N970IXOC-4GD. Designed for Mini-ITX applications, the card utilizes the WindForce 3X heat sink for cooling but has been modified to use only one fan – this is due to the original 3 fan configuration being too large for the compact nature and design of this beast. The two heat pipes measure 8mm and 5mm respectively and once again attached to the classic GIGABYE ‘Triangle Cool Technology” as seen in their larger editions.

GIGABYTE has claimed this new card will run semi-intensive games such Metro: Last Light whilst maintaining a steady temperature of 62 degrees Celsius, but we’ve heard claims that the public version of this card reaches something closer to 76C.

Do not be fooled by the compact nature of this card, it still packs a tough 970 punch whilst maintaining the classic low power consumption that this model is becoming famous for. The cooling could possibly be an issue, especially if you’re running your mini-ITX system jam packed full of hard drives and a large CPU coolers in preparation for sharing many gigabytes of freeware at your local LAN party.

The core of this card is said to be clocked at 1076-1216MHz, with the public version checking in at more like 1051-1178MHz. Powered by an auxiliary dual 6-pin into a single 8-pin and checking in at 12cm in length, the card doesn’t skimp on the width – taking up dual slots, with a small bit of room to spare.

Outputs include two DVI ports, three display ports and one HDMI and will be coming to stores for around $329.99 USD.

Image courtesy of MyDrivers

Gigabyte Silently Launches New GTX 970 Graphics Card

Just a week ago Gigabyte launched their GTX 980 and 970 G1 Gaming edition and now they’ve silently launched their second factory overclocked GTX 970 version. The Gigabyte GeForce GTX 970 WindForce 3X OC (GV-N970WF3OC-4GD). While their press room didn’t mention the new card, it has appeared under the available products and some shops already stock them ready to ship.

The new card features a factory-overclocked GPU with a core speed of 1114 MHz and a boost to 1253 MHz. The 4 GB memory runs at 7.00 GHz (1750 MHz). The base clock is slightly lower than the G1 Gaming Edition, but the boost stays the same; the reference version runs on 1050 MHz with a boost to 1178 MHz, just as comparison.

The cooling is taken care of by the newest generation of Gigabyte’s dual-slot WindForce 3X cooling solution. The three axial 80 mm fans couple with the effective heatsink can handle a lot higher thermal loads than this card can provide; a meagre 145W TDP.

Based on the 28 nm GM204 silicon, the GeForce GTX 970 features 1664 CUDA cores, 104 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 256-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB of memory. It performs 370 GFLOPS (Single) and 154 GFLOPS (Double)

There should be plenty of connection options for everyone on this card with two DVI, a HDMI 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.2. With the Flex Display four of these can be used at once. The card measures 310 x 129 x 43 mm and allows multi-SLI setup.

While I couldn’t find it listed in neither UK nor US, German retailers have started to list it this morning starting at €339 plus shipping and handling.

Thank you Gigabyte for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Gigabyte

Nvidia Shuts Down Rumours About Adaptive Sync Support

There have been rumours going around the internet the last couple of days, that the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 and 970 might support Adaptive Sync. Those rumours have been shut finally down after the Chinese technology page Expreview reached out to Nvidia for a comment. Nvidia made it clear in their reply that they want to focus on their own G-sync. This isn’t very surprising, especially with the long range of compatible monitors hitting the market from Acer, Asus, AOC and other companies.

The Adaptive Sync is a royalty free and open standard developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) and supported by AMD. The technology does about the same as Nvidia’s own G-Sync, but without any additional hardware. Both technologies let the GPU and monitor keep the display refresh rate in sync with the GPU frame-rates. The end-result is a more fluent picture and an overall smoother result.

The rumour itself should never really have started, but once something like this takes off, it gets around. The two new Nvidia GeForce cards in question only have a DisplayPort 1.2 according to their specifications, and DisplayPort 1.2a is needed for the Adaptive Sync technology. AMD’s current R7 and R9 Radeon cards all feature the DisplayPort 1.2a and thereby already support the Adaptive Sync technology.

This might have been a very deliberate move from Nvidia to boost their own technology. When we look at the new cards, they have the newest of technology everywhere, including the HDMI 2.0 port. Using an older DisplayPort version effectively forces owners of the cards to use Nvidia’s own G-Sync technology, if they want their frame-rate synced.

I honestly have to say, I haven’t seen the two technologies side by side. So I can’t say if one is better than the other. I have however seen both demonstrated separate next to a non-synced setup, and there is a distinct difference.

Update:

After having received some comments on this article, I’d like to clarify it a bit more.  AMD FreeSync, that is part of the new VESA Adaptive Sync standard, is still a prototype system. There aren’t any actual products for it yet.

The base and support for it is there in the DisplayPort 1.2a on the graphics cards, but it requires the monitors to support it too, thus FreeSync isn’t an actual product yet. FreeSync has been demoed and it will come, but G-Sync is here today.

Thank you Expreview for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nvidia

 

 

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 Extreme OC Graphics Card Revealed

The new Zotac GTX 970 Extreme OC graphics card has been revealed this week, which features a new cooler design to help the card reach higher factory overclocks. The card is equipped with five heat pipes, three large fans, a built-in overclocking module and it’s one of the few Maxwell based cards that requires 8+8 power connectors (most are 6+6), which should be some indication of the extra performance that this card offers. The card comes with a 1203 base clock, 1355 boost and 7200 Mhz memory, so there is no doubt that this card is going to be one of the fastest GTX 970’s around.

The only downside to all of this performance is that the card is incredibly ugly, of course that is just my opinion, but the cooling solution looks very closed in with lots of weird carbon fibre panels and an extended shroud over the heat pipes; making the card look incredibly wide. The card is equipped with customisable LED lighting, but as you can see in the images, this looks pretty cheap and nasty overall and perhaps a more understated design would have been better.

No details on price or availability just yet, but expect to pay a small premium over the stock card for the extra speed and cooling features.

Thank you Chiphell for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Chiphell.

EVGA Respond to Possible Design Flaw on GTX 970 ACX

Recently, we covered a story on the new EVGA GeForce GTX 970 ACX having a possible design flaw or manufacturing defect where the GPU die only makes contact with 2 of the 3 heatpipes included in their cooler design. You can check out the full story here. Since then, we’ve contacted EVGA and asked for a response to give any substance to the claims and if the cooler design was intentional.

EVGA have given their response below:

“The way the EVGA GTX 970 ACX heat sink was designed is based on the GTX 970 wattage plus an additional 40% cooling headroom on top of it. There are 3 heat pipes on the heatsink – 2 x 8mm major heat pipes to distribute the majority of the heat from the GPU to the heatsink, and a 3rd 6mm heatpipe is used as a supplement to the design to reduce another 2-3 degrees Celsius. Also we would like to mention that the cooler passed NVIDIA Greenlight specifications.

Due to the GPU small die size, we intended for the GPU to contact two major heat pipes with direct touch to make the best heat dissipation without any other material in between.

We all know the Maxwell GPU is an extremely power efficient GPU, our SC cooler was overbuilt for it and allowed us to provide cards with boost clocks at over 1300MHz. EVGA also has an “FTW” version for those users who want even higher clocks.

Regarding fan noise, we understand that some have expressed concerns over the fan noise on the EVGA GTX 970 cards, this is not a fan noise issue but it is more of an aggressive fan curve set by the default BIOS. The fan curve can be easily adjusted in EVGA PrecisionX or any other overclocking software. Regardless, we have heard the concerns and will provide a BIOS update to reduce the fan noise during idle.

Our take on the above quote is a bit of a strange one, as EVGA claim that the heatsink is based on the GTX 970 wattage + 40% extra cooling performance to give more headroom giving us a total cooling power of 200W TDP, but as the reference GTX 970 uses essentially the same cooler as the Titan Black which has a 250W TDP, we can only assume that EVGA’s GTX 970 ACX could it fact be a worse performer than a reference model.

It is also worth noting upon the part of the quote which talks about the fan curve being so “aggressive” and the cooler being oversized for the GPU and TDP – If this is the case, why does the fan curve have to be so aggressive that the card has such a noisy idle of around 30dbA?

Even after the official response above, someone has brought it to our attention that the 3rd heatpipe isn’t even sealed off therefore having no functioning operation whatsoever as shown below.

So there you have it, but is this enough to satisfy you, or do you think EVGA are using this as an excuse for them clearly trying to cut costs by using the same cooler from other model cards? Only you can decide that, but as always, we invite you to let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Does the EVGA GTX 970 Feature a Manufacturing Defect?

The new Nvidia cards are finally here and they’ve launched with great success; the cards are performing well at a competitive price range and this is very good news for Nvidia. Obviously, not all of the new cards hitting the market are created equally and early suggestions are saying the new EVGA GTX 970 ACX cooler isn’t being used to its full potential.

The images of the new card and its cooler suggest that they’ve used the cooler from a bigger card to save on manufacturing costs; the problem here being that one of the three heat-pipes barely makes any contact with the GPU. Rival cards are out pacing the EVGA card in the cooling department and it’s likely that the card could be performing better in benchmarks if the cooler was used to its full potential.

As you can see in the picture below the chip is barely touching the first heat pipe, although it may not be touching at all as most of the thermal paste on the pipe looks like excess from around the edge of the chip. The 2nd (middle) heat pipe is fine and so is the 3rd on the right; but you can clearly see that the chip is overhanging the heat-pipes by several millimetres on the right. It definitely appears that the chip and the pipes are poorly aligned.

Could EVGA recall the cooler? Or perhaps they’ll be releasing an updated model in the near future? We’ll have to wait and see.

EVGA have yet to comment on this matter, but we’ll update you if we find out more.

UPDATE: EVGA have responded as seen here.

Thank you Reddit for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Reddit.

Nvidia Discontinues Cards and Cuts Prices in The Wake of GTX980 Launch

In the highly unlikely event that you should have missed it up until now, Nvidia just launched their brand new GeForce GTX 980 and 970 graphics cards during their GAME24 event. These new cards are so powerful that they’ll render the old cards completely obsolete. This is further aided by the fact that the new cards are a lot cheaper to manufacture.

The GeForce GTX 980 is launched at just $549 in the U.S. and £439.99 in the U.K. The new cards are cheaper to make than the previous models as they have 2 billion transistors and four memory chips less. They also have a lighter VRM now, due to the decreased power consumption. This cannibalizes the GTX 780 Ti and GTX 780. The GeForce GTX 970 targets the sub-$350 products and is launched at a price of £259,99 here in the UK, simply blasting the GTX 770 out of the way.

Nvidia has also tweaked the price on their GeForce GTX 760 down to just $219, in order to keep the price versus performance ratio. This is only a temporary meassure until the replacement will be launched sometime in October, the GeForce GTX 960.

If you’re interested in seeing how great these new cards are, head over to our review section and check them out. We already had the Nvidia stocker version and the Gigabyte G1 Gaming edition on the bench, and we’ve also tested them in SLI for you.

Thank you techpowerup for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Nvidia

 

Unseen GTX 9xx Cards Spotted

It’s complete graphics card overload today, the launch of the new Nvidia cards is obviously approaching fast and dozens of pictures have started to leak online. Most of the cards below haven’t been seen yet, so let’s get started and see what is on offer.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980 OC

The stock GTX 980 from Gigabyte is based on a reference design, so nothing too exciting here, but we have it on good authority that they’ll also be launching their custom G1 Gaming series of cards, unfortunately no images have leaked, yet.

Colorful iGame GTX 980

The Colorful GTX 980 certainly stands out from the crowd, it’s packed with a completely over-the-top cooler, 12+2 phase design and no doubt a monster sized overclock; certainly one to watch out for, but expect it to be one of the most expensive 980s on the market.

Colorful iGame GTX 970

The iGame GTX 970 is another interesting one, the card is a non-reference design with two fans, but no factory overclock, so it’s likely focused on cool and quiet performance.

Galax GeForce GTX 970 GC

Galax (previously known as Galaxy) have created a full custom PCB, with a 6+1 phase design and a custom fan. Why on earth they put a blue PCB on a premium card is unknown, but they did!

MSI GeForce GTX 980 & 970

These MSI models may not be pretty, but the cheap plastic cooling solution means this model will be cheaper than those that feature the reference cooler. Planning on stripping the card down for a water cooling block or simply need to save a little extra money? This might be the best card for you.

ASUS STRIX GTX 980

Another ASUS card has leaked today, a factory overclocked GTX 980 with their popular 0dB DirectCU II cooling solution. It’s rumoured that this card will not be available at the 9xx launch date, but will follow shortly afterwards.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of VideoCardz.

Galax First New Graphics Card Leaked

Some of the new Nvidia GeForce GTX 9xx series cards that have been leaking this week have been branded Galax, which at first may seem like a new GPU manufacturer, but it is in fact Galaxy acting under a new, if only slightly different name.

Galaxy’s European brand KFA2 are also being renamed Galax as the company looks to unify their brand. This means that we will likely see Galax branded GC and HOF series graphics cards. I really like the KFA2 branded cards, so fingers crossed that Galax will continue their legacy of completely crazy card designs under the Galax brand name.

A Galax GTX 970 card has leaked and appears to feature a GC-style cooler, which you can see below.

Hopefully this also means that company is going to make both Galaxy and KFA2 series cards available in more markets and in greater numbers. If you want a card that still says KFA2 on it, you best be quick, because it’s likely that retailers are already clearing out the old stock to make way for the Galax branded cards.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

More MSI GeForce GTX 970 Gaming TwinForz V Details Revealed

MSI have been teasing their new graphics cards for a few weeks now. First they teased images of their new TwinFrozr V graphics card cooler and more recently they teased their new GTX 9xx graphics card design; now we have even more details to share with you!

The new MSI Geforce GTX 970 Twin Frozr V graphics card is easily the best 970 we’ve seen so far; it features two 100mm propeller-blade fans fitted into a new black and red shroud. The new cooler design looks like complete overkill for the 148W TDP this card produces, but that extra cooling should allow for extra overclocking headroom.

The card features 1664 CUDA cores, a factory overclock of 1140 MHz and a boost clock of 1279 MHz, 4GB of GDDR5 memory and a 256-bit interface. Interestingly this is the first GTX 970 card I’ve seen that features 8+6 power connectors, compared to the 6+6 connectors featured on all the other cards we’ve seen so far.

Connectivity is handed by DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI and a DisplayPort connector. The card is expected to launch on Friday, but prices for this model are currently unknown.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of VideoCardz.

ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970 Design Revealed

After much anticipation, the first images of Nvidia GeForce GTX 9xx cards have started leaking online. One of the first images to come our way is of the new ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970; unfortunately, it doesn’t look all that different from the current GTX 780 series cards.

The new design, or should I say old design, has been tweaked a little bit to better meet the needs of the graphics card. There are less heat pipes near the PCI-E interface; this is no surprise given that the new graphics card has a significantly reduced power consumption over the current generation of hardware.

The card features the popular DirectCU II cooling fans, these only start spinning when the card reaches 65 C to help keep thing nice and quiet when you’re not gaming; the fans can even start as low as 500RPM.

On the box you can see a few of the specifications for the card, such as the DIGI+VRM, 4GB of GDDR5 memory and a factory overclock; although the new clock speeds are still unknown.

Prices are estimated to cost between $400 – 450, with a release date of September 19th.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VideoCardz.

Final GeForce GTX 980 Specifications Revealed

The new flagship GPU from Nvidia; the GeForce GTX 980, has been rumoured for some time now. When Nvidia announced their Game24 event, it didn’t take much to put two and two together and figure out that it would be presented during that show. Actually, they will be presenting two new cards, but it will be the GTX 980 that steals the show while the GTX 970 is more of a gap filler.

Since then we’ve seen a steady stream of leaks, photos and specifications. We’ve seen both the stock-card itself and some of the after market coolers. Now thanks to videocardz.com we have the final specifications to share with you.

The new Nvidia flagship is a card that deservers to carry this title, at least when you look at the pure specifications. The card uses the new GM204 processor and it is the first GPU based upon the Second Generation Maxwell architecture. The new processor still uses the 28 nm fabrication node, something many people had hoped to be smaller.

It features 16 Streaming Multiprocessors and has 64 Raster Operating Units (ROP), that’s twice that of the Kepler GK110. With 5.2 billion transistors packed into the GM204 the GPU has a die size of 398 mm². The L2 cache has also grown quite a bit, it has actually quadrupled into 2 MB.

Some of the new features mentioned are Dynamic Super Resolution, which is basically a new up-scaling technology advertised as “4k Quality on a 1080p display”. It also has Third Generation Delta Colour Compression; a technology that will help increase memory efficiency on the limited 256-bit interface. The last new technology we get teased with is the Multi-Pixel Programmable Sampling; a technology that improves sample randomization and reduces quantization artefacts.

The above was the processor specific numbers and while relevant, they’re not the most important thing for us now, so lets summarize what the GTX 980 really packs. It has 2048 CUDA cores, 128 TMU’s and 64 ROP’s. The card is equipped with 4 GB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit interface. The memory will run at 7012 MHz effectively (1750 MHz) while the GPU itself has a base clock of 1126 MHz and a boost of 1216 MHz. 

These are some really nice figures for a card that only draws 165W TDP. This is only two-thirds of the power consumption the GK110 has, with its 250W. We also get confirmation that the GTX 980 will support HDMI 2.0 among its five display outputs, making them a DVI, a HDMI 2.0 and three DisplayPort 1.2 connectors.

The retail price, while still only a rumour, seems to be set at a MSRP of $599; about the same price as the current GTX 780Ti.

Thank you Videocardzfor providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Videocardz