After a few rumors about the Maxwell chipset and its release date in February, we now hear about statistics regarding the GeForce GTX 750 Ti suggesting that NVIDIA’s first Maxwell GPU is slower than the current GTX 660, according to WCCF‘s article. Take the news with a grain of salt though, nothing official has been released regarding the Maxwell GPU, nor its performance. However, nobody can confirm, nor deny its authenticity.
We see the GeForce GTX 750 Ti is around 10 to 15 percent slower than the GTX 660. A bit of a good news comes from WCCF, stating that the benchmarks were made using Single Precision format, while the new Maxwell GPU is known for its Double Precision GPU. Also, it makes no sense for NVIDIA to release a graphics card which is slower than its previous series.
Whether the benchmarks are valid or not, it remains to be seen. In the meantime, we are awaiting more official information about the Maxwell GPU and possibly some more benchmarks of the GTX 750 Ti after its release. Maybe we will even see the GTX 750 Ti perform in the new PCMark 8 that was released a few days ago.
Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information Image courtesy of WCCF
Battlefield 4 has been one of the biggest game releases so far this year for gamers on all gaming platforms. The FPS title from EA and DICE has got off to a relatively shaky start with numerous audio, graphical and gameplay problems across the various platforms it was released on. In fact for many Battlefield 4 owners the game is still in a dysfunctional or buggy state, but you can expect (or hope) that EA and DICE will begin to patch and fix the majority of the problems within the coming weeks as they have said they will. The shaky launch aside, what most PC owners/gamers want to know, if they haven’t already found out, is how do current generation GPUs perform in Battlefield 4 on the PC?
Today we put that question to the test with an extensive, albeit not entirely complete, range of current generation AMD and Nvidia GPUs. On the AMD side we have the R7 260X, R9 270, R9 270X, R9 280X, R9 290 and R9 290X while on the Nvidia side we have a few more offerings with the GTX 650 Ti Boost, GTX 660, GTX 760, GTX 770, GTX 780, GTX 780 Ti and GTX Titan. All of the aforementioned graphics cards are current offerings and to the sharp-minded readers you will notice some graphics cards are missing. Mainly the current generation lower-end graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia are absent, that includes the Nvidia GTX 650, GT 640 GDDR5, GT 640 DDR3 and the AMD R7 250 and R7 240. The main reason for not testing these graphics cards, other than that we didn’t have most of them, is because they simply aren’t that capable of running such a high end gaming title. Of course that’s not to say they can’t but given the nature of the resolutions we test (mainly 1080p or above) and the quality settings our readers like to see (very high or ultra) these GPUs simply aren’t cut out for the test. Arguably they are more aimed at gamers with 1366 x 768 monitors tackling medium-high details but I digress. The system requirements for Battlefield 4 reveal a similar picture, if you want a smooth gameplay experience then you need an AMD Radeon HD 7870 or Nvidia GTX 660 or better. However, those system requirements show you very little about what you can expect at different resolutions. So without any further ado let us show you our results and show you exactly how AMD and Nvidia’s offerings stack up!
If you’re wondering why AMD’s R7 260X received such lacklustre reception both here at eTeknix and at many other review sites, well it is down to the fact that Nvidia have aggressively cut the prices of their cards which compete with the R7 260X – namely the GTX 650 Ti Boost but also to an extent the GTX 660.
Anandtech reports that the GTX 660 has been given a price cut from $200 MSRP to $179 meaning it can better compete with the R9 270X and the R7 260X by sitting in the middle of the two. Next the GTX 650 Ti Boost 1GB has been cut to $129 and the GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB has been cut to $149. This means Nvidia now has the GTX 650 Ti Boost available for cheaper than the AMD R7 260X, which costs $139, if you need less VRAM and only $10 more if you need 2GB of VRAM. Of course the GTX 650 Ti Boost is clearly a better card and these price cuts have made AMD’s R7 260X even more obsolete as our review showed.
If you were hoping for price cuts on other cards then you will disappointed. Nvidia thinks its GTX 760, GTX 770 and GTX 780 graphics cards are all priced competitively enough to compete at $249, $399 and $649 respectively – I would be inclined to agree with them and I think Nvidia’s line up is still very strong indeed. Though AMD’s new R9 280X does put some serious pressure on Nvidia’s GTX 770 which costs $100 more without delivering much more performance while the $199 R9 270X is capable of keeping pace with the $50 more expensive GTX 760.
Despite a flurry of new video card releases from Nvidia under the GTX 760 series, the majority of the lower ends of the GTX 600 series remains. The GTX 660 Ti, GTX 670 and GTX 680 are all but discontinued while the GTX 660 and below remain current. MSI has decided to capitalise on this and give its GTX 660 GPU a bit of a revamp. That revamp consists of equipping the new TwinFrozr IV cooling solution as well as adding the MSI Gaming Series branding.
MSI is adding two new cards, both use the same cooling solution but one is an OC Edition and the other a Lite Edition. Both use a fresh PCB design for GK106 which has an 8 phase VRM using a 8pin and 6 pin for power. The Lite Edition card sticks to stock clocks of 980MHz core, 1033MHz boost and 6GHz memory while the OC edition runs at 1033MHz core, 1098MHz boost and 6GHz memory.
The Lite edition is expected to be priced very closely to reference solutions while the OC Edition may be around 5-10% more.
A report from a Chinese technology publication has revealed details of the next card to be arriving in the Nvidia GTX 700 series. The GTX 750 Ti, or GTX 760 SE, will come in to replace the Nvidia GTX 650 Ti Boost but will also be designed to be faster than the GTX 660. The GPU is based on GK104 and uses 960 CUDA cores putting it below the 1152 on the GTX 760 and making it the same as the GTX 660 which also has 960. It has the same 80 TMUs that the GTX 660 has but has more ROPs, 32 instead of 24, and a wider memory bus of 256 bit instead of 192 bit.
Clock speeds are expected to be quite high with 1033MHz on the core, 1098MHz on the GPU boost speed and 6GHz/6008MHz effective on the memory. There are no details on when Nvidia will launch the GPU but it is expected to come well in time for the flurry of FPS shooter releases later on this year (Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty: Ghosts) to capitalise on PC gamers wanting new video cards. It isn’t yet known what pricing will be and what the official launch date will be but we will of course bring you those details as we get them. We also don’t know what the fate of the GTX 660 and GTX 650Ti Boost will be when this card is released, one may get the chop or both may get the chop.
According to one user on the Chiphell forums the GTX 660(Ti)/670/680 video cards can be flashed to support GPU Boost 2.0 through the BIOS. GPU Boost 1.0 is currently equipped on the GTX 660, GTX 660 Ti, GTX 670 and GTX 680 and the GPU Boost 1.0 calculates clock speeds and voltages based on a power target. Unlike GPU Boost 2.0, GPU Boost 1.0 has no consideration of temperatures in addition to the power factor thus the card can run potentially very hot which can be dangerous for the longevity of the card particular when paired with mediocre cooling solutions. GPU Boost 2.0 on the other hand utilises a combination of temperature and power levels to calculate boost levels making it a much safer solution.
The BIOS in question, discussed on the Chiphell forums, allows you to update to GPU Boost 2.0. “Cherubim” has been working on this BIOS for a while and it supports the previously mentioned cards. He demonstrates the BIOS used on a GTX 680 and shows the difference it makes to performance. The BIOS is currently not available but will be made available in a few weeks. Using NVFlash you can easily change out your BIOS on your Nvidia card but for most this is risky and will probably void your warranty so this certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. Though it does make you wonder that if Nvidia will continue selling the GTX 660 alongside the GTX 700 series, why don’t they update it to GPU Boost 2.0 out of the box?
While nowhere the standards of AMD’s Never Settle Reloaded, Nvidia does often try to bundle a game with some of its cards here and there in a bit of a piecemeal fashion. The latest attempt comes with select Nvidia graphics cards and the game Splinter Cell Blacklist. The eligible graphics cards will be the GTX 660, GTX 660Ti, GTX 670, GTX 680, GTX 760, GTX 770 and GTX 780. However, the key thing to note is you must buy from a participating retailer. In the UK our friends at Overclockers UK and Scan Computers are both involved in this promotion so be sure to hit these guys up if you are looking to cash in on the promotion.
The game developer of Splinter Cell Blacklist, Ubisoft, has been working closely with Nvidia during the making of the game so it will be heavily optimised for Nvidia GPUs notably the latest Kepler architecture. This means features like Nvidia HBAO+ and TXAA will run more optimally on Nvidia graphics cards because of the way the game has been designed. Even if you aren’t interested in the game it could be a good incentive to buy as you can easily sell off the game code as a small rebate on the amount you pay for your game. For North American buyers see here for availability details.
According to a leaked report by Chiphell the Nvidia GTX 760 will feature 1152 CUDA cores, unlike any other Nvidia GK104 card on the market currently, meaning it is not based on a rebranded version of the GTX 670, GTX 660Ti or a GTX 660. The GTX 760 is a completely “new” Kepler design and features 1152 CUDA cores which sits in between the 960 of the GTX 660 and the 1344 of the GTX 660 Ti/GTX 670. Furthermore, Nvidia is continuing the trend of aggressive clock speeds and they opt for a 1072MHz stock base clock and 1111MHz GPU boost clock. The RAM is also clocked at an impressive 7012MHz.
The design then is essentially a GK104 GPU with 3/4 cluster units enabled. This gives 1152 CUDA cores, 96 Texture Mapping Units, 32 Render Output Units and a 256 bit GDDR5 memory interface. With it being a new card it should feature GPU Boost 2.0 and expect its TDP to be around the 150-170W region. Another key feature is that unlike the GTX 660 and GTX 660 Ti this card is not constrained by a 192 bit memory interface so should be able to achieve better performance as a result.
Nvidia’s new GTX 700 series has already launched and it has been dominated by the GTX 780 and GTX 770 video cards. Now the speculation moves towards the unreleased graphics cards and today we are addressing some rumours that have emerged about the GTX 760 courtesy of VideoCardz.com. In their report they say that we can expect the GTX 760 to be released on either Tuesday June 25th or Thursday June 27th. The launch was reportedly going to take place next week and as there was a mid-June launch expected. Though apparently AIBs managed to delay the launch as they were not ready for a transition to the new card that week.
Now apart from that details are still sketchy in terms of what the GTX 760 will actually be. Though most reports seem to agree on the rebrand and “drop-down” concept, that is that the GTX 760 will be a rebranded GTX 660 Ti. Though there have been conflicting reports that suggested the GTX 760 would just be a rebadged GTX 660 (the 1152 CUDA core model not the 1344 CUDA core GTX 660 Ti). In which case then it seems the GTX 660 Ti may vanish from Nvidia’s portfolio as the GTX 670 will form the GTX 760 Ti while the GTX 660 Ti is phased out. However there is also a third possibility which is that both the GTX 760 Ti and the GTX 760 will be based on the GTX 670 GPU but the GTX 760 Ti will obviously have a faster version of it.
Either way even with all the conflicting rumours that have probably made you as confused as I am it is reported Nvidia are planning just one GPU launch this month and it is definitely going to be the GTX 760 according to this report. We will have to wait and see as most rumours have a tendency to only be partially correct.
With the release of the GTX 780 just a few days ago also came the release of some new drivers from Nvidia. The newly available 320.18 WHQL drivers are recommended for anyone with a GTX 780, but they also bring some hefty performance boosts on “older” cards like the GTX 660. There is an extra 20% of performance on offer in Tomb Raider and Dirt Showdown compared to the 314.22 WHQL drivers. Metro Last Light, Assassin’s Creed 3, Far Cry 3 and Bioshock Infinite also get performance boosts of 10%, 8%, 6% and 5% respectively.
Here you can see a demonstration of the performance boost on a GTX 660.
Nvidia’s new drivers also boost GTX 660 SLI performance too.
In addition there are also new and updated SLI profiles:
According to BSN, Nvidia knows it needs to respond to the fact AMD’s $149-169 HD 7790 will outperform its current GTX 650Ti which costs around $169. Consequently, Nvidia is not going to just sit around and watch itself being made uncompetitive at certain price points in the market. In our previous article we speculated on the possibility of clock speeds being raised to support this increased performance that is needed and it seems that assumption was correct. Although there is indeed a lot more to it than previously thought.
Nvidia will be taking the GTX 650Ti and creating a second more powerful skew called the GTX 650Ti Boost, which ironically has a codename of the GTX 655 but won’t actually be called that in the retail channel. As expected the GPU die remains physically the same, it is still based of GK106 and it still features 768 CUDA cores. However, the fundamental difference is Nvidia has shifted the base clock to 980MHz, up from 928MHz on the current model, and Nvidia has added GPU boost technology supporting further dynamic overclocking up to 1030MHz. That is not all, it is also believed Nvidia will raise the memory from a 128bit interface to a 192bit interface and will increase the memory frequency from 5.4GHz effective to 6GHz effective. Those two memory changes combined shift memory bandwidth up from 86.4 GB/s to 140.63GB/s.
Examining where this GTX 650Ti boost will fit in was shown nicely by BSN who used 3DMark’s to demonstrate that the GTX 650Ti currently scores 2200 marks and the GTX 660 scores 4100 marks which is the large gap that the HD 7790 will exploit. If Nvidia can raise performance by about 30% they can then put a product in the middle of this gap.
It is also reported that Nvidia partners aren’t happy because they now have a stack-load of GTX 660 and GTX 650Ti GPUs that are put under threat by this new middle GPU. It is reported Nvidia is recommending the use of a reference GTX 660 PCB with this new GTX 650Ti boost graphics card.