FreshTech Solutions Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

FreshTech Solutions is one of the leading system integrators in the UK and forged an impressive reputation for their huge range of pre-configured PCs. Whether you’re on a tight budget looking to try out PC gaming for the first time, or a content creator seeking the absolute best performance, there’s something to suit your requirements. Each PC is backed by generous warranty period and it’s even possible to purchase additional cover for further peace-of-mind. For example, on systems costing £1000 and above, you can increase the warranty length from 3 years to 5 years for £25. If you’re opting for a cheaper rig under the £1000 mark, then it’s possible to select three years cover for £25 and five years support at a cost of £50. This level of flexibility allows you to protect your investment for a period which you expect to use the system for.

When selecting a custom PC, the number of configurations and pricing variation means it’s extraordinarily difficult for novices to judge which model to go for. It’s not always a sensible approach to spend more if you’re unlikely to reap the benefits. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of custom PCs from FreshTech Solutions that we are happy to recommend at various price points. Hopefully, our readers will find this useful and those without technical knowledge can make an informed decision about which unit suits their usage scenario.


£529.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6400
  • 8gb Crucial DDR4 2133MHz
  • 120gb Kingston V300 SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • Nvidia GTX 950 2GB
  • Gigabyte H110M-S2H
  • Falcon Blue Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour)

The first machine we’re taking a look at targets consumers on a very tight budget who want to enter into the Intel ecosystem. While you could compile a cheaper build using an AMD CPU and AM3+ motherboard, it doesn’t offer much headroom in the future if you suddenly demand additional horsepower. The majority of games are GPU bound but there’s some examples including ARMA III and more recently, Black Desert Online which rely heavily on a system’s CPU performance. This particular build features a large enough capacity boot SSD to install the operating system and enjoy a snappier feel in Windows.

Also, the GTX 950 2GB graphics card is a great choice for 1080P gaming providing you turn down a few settings. On another note, the lack of overclocking isn’t an issue at this price and won’t impact on the user experience during graphically intensive games. Ideally, I’d recommend paying extra for the next tier, but this is a great choice for beginners moving away from consoles for the very first time.


£699.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 8GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • EVGA 500w 80Plus White PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 960 2GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Blue Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next system which retails for £699.00 offers overclocking functionality due to the unlocked K processor and Z170 chipset. Furthermore, the Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3 contains an illuminated LED strip on the PCB to create a more ostentatious appearance. This higher end model includes the GTX 960 2GB GPU to maintain improved frame-rates at higher settings. It’s a significant boost over the GTX 950 and worth considering given the constant influx of modern titles requiring additional graphical grunt. Of course, it’ s still a budget option and pales in comparison to higher end graphics cards, but it should provide an enjoyable user-experience with a 1920×1080 display. Also, the boot SSD’s higher capacity allows you to store your favourites games and benefit from faster load times.


£899.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • WD 1TB WD10EZEX HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair CX600 80Plus Bronze PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Titan Red Case with Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 1 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 1 Year Parts, 1 Year Labour )

The next tier’s system costs £899.99 and has a number of key improvements including a secondary mechanical hard disk, 16GB RAM and GTX 970 graphics card. When discussing the previous systems it’s important to remember that I’d recommend adding a mechanical drive to store large sums of data. This allows you to easily install various games while ensuring the boot SSD doesn’t fill up rather quickly. Thankfully, this doesn’t increase the asking price by an exponential amount. On another note, the 16GB memory is useful when working with video, photo editing and other complex workloads. It’s not really necessary in games just yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if 16GB becomes the standard in the next few years.

NVIDIA’s GTX 970 offers absolutely stunning performance even with a 2560×1440 monitor and can exceed 60 frames-per-second in various titles including the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot. It’s unquestionably one of the best price to performance GPUs on the market and a suitable choice for a powerful gaming system.


£1049.00

 

Specification:

  • Skylake i5 6600K Tested Overclock to 4.6GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 250GB SSD
  • Seagate 1TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB
  • Gigabyte Z170-Gaming K3
  • Falcon Gaming Case With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Moving towards the higher end market is a system which retails for £1049.00. This model contains a higher wattage power supply and Corsair water cooling unit to attain better temperatures. Furthermore, FreshTech Solutions guarantees the system will reach 4.6GHz and tests each overclock extremely carefully. This will be incredibly useful to consumers who feel apprehensive about overclocking their CPU and haven’t got any experience in this field. They really shouldn’t be concerned because the process is ridiculous simple. However, whenever anything goes awry, it’s important to have an excellent level of after-care support.


£1599.00

Specification:

  • Skylake i7 6700K Tested Overclock to 4.5GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX 3000MHz
  • Samsung EVO 500GB SSD
  • Seagate 2TB HDD
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

The £1599.00 system swaps out the i5 6600K for Intel’s enthusiast flagship i7-6700K on the LGA1151 chipset. Once again, FreshTech Solutions guarantees an impressive minimum overclock to reach significant gains compared to stock values. Also, the 500GB SSD is a great addition which allows you to install various applications without constantly checking on the remaining capacity. The system is housed in the highly regard Fractal Design R5 chassis which creates a more premium feel. Clearly, the main improvement revolves around the GTX 980Ti and is a major step up when compared to the GTX 970.

Even though the GPU isn’t capable of running games at maximum details on a 4K display, it’s able to really reach high figures on a 2560×1440 or 3440×1440 monitor. If you want to improve the performance even further, it’s possible to add a second GTX 980Ti due to the power supply’s 750 watts rating. The Gigabyte Z170X-Gaming 5 motherboard supports USB 3.1, SATA Express, multi-GPU configurations and opts for a superb audio solution. Once combined, this offers an absolutely staggering user-experience.


£1938.00

Specification:

  • Intel Core i7 5930K 3.50GHz
  • Corsair H80I V2 Water Cooler
  • 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3000MHz
  • 512GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Seagate 2TB Hard Drive
  • 24x DVDRW
  • Corsair RM750x 80Plus Gold PSU
  • NVIDIA GTX 980TI 6GB
  • Gigabyte X99-SLI
  • Fractal Design R5 With Side Window
  • Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 3 Year Collect and Return Warranty ( 1 Year Collect, 2 Years Parts, 3 Years Labour )

Up to this point, we’ve focussed on the consumer LGA1151 chipset which offers great value for typical desktop tasks. Unfortunately, the platform only supports up to a 4-core 8-thread CPU. This severely limits the computational power during multi-threaded workloads. As a result, many professionals opt for 2011-v3 powered systems because they can leverage extra performance using 6-core or even 8-core processors. The next system totalling £1938.00 utilises a hex core processor with 40 PCI-E lanes and a 2TB hard disk.

Not only that, the Samsung 950 Pro NVMe boot drive is capable of an astounding maximum read of 2500MB/s and maximum write reaching 1500MB/s. This allows games to load faster and helps to process huge 4K video projects in a more efficient manner. Of course, this elite-grade PC opts for the best possible hardware including the GTX 980Ti and Gigabyte X99-SLI motherboard. This means you can have a powerful workstation and play demanding games in your leisure time.

If you’d like us to review any of the systems mentioned above, please let us know in the comments section below.

Ashes of the Singularity DirectX 12 Graphics Performance Analysis

Introduction


Ashes of the Singularity is a futuristic real-time strategy game offering frenetic contests on a large-scale. The huge amount of units scattered across a number of varied environments creates an enthralling experience built around complex strategic decisions. Throughout the game, you will explore unique planets and engage in enthralling air battles. This bitter war revolves around an invaluable resource known as Turinium between the human race and masterful artificial intelligence. If you’re into the RTS genre, Ashes of the Singularity should provide hours of entertainment. While the game itself is worthy of widespread media attention, the engine’s support for DirectX 12 and asynchronous compute has become a hot topic among hardware enthusiasts.

DirectX 12 is a low-level API with reduced CPU overheads and has the potential to revolutionise the way games are optimised for numerous hardware configurations. In contrast to this, DirectX 11 isn’t that efficient and many mainstream titles suffered from poor scaling which didn’t properly utilise the potential of current graphics technology. On another note, DirectX 12 allows users to pair GPUs from competing vendors and utilise multi graphics solutions without relying on driver profiles. It’s theoretically possible to achieve widespread optimization and leverage extra performance using the latest version of DirectX 12.

Of course, Vulkan is another alternative which works on various operating systems and adopts an open-source ideology. Although, the focus will likely remain on DirectX 12 for the foreseeable future unless there’s a sudden reluctance from users to upgrade to Windows 10. Even though the adoption rate is impressive, there’s a large number of PC gamers currently using Windows 7, 8 and 8.1. Therefore, it seems prudent for developers to continue with DirectX 11 and offer a DirectX 12 render as an optional extra. Arguably, the real gains from DirectX 12 will occur when its predecessor is disregarded completely. This will probably take a considerable amount of time which suggests the first DirectX 12 games might have reduced performance benefits compared to later titles.

Asynchronous compute allows graphics cards to simultaneously calculate multiple workloads and reach extra performance figures. AMD’s GCN architecture has extensive support for this technology. In contrast to this, there’s a heated debate questioning if NVIDIA products can even utilise asynchronous compute in an effective manner. Technically, AMD GCN graphics cards contain 2-8 asynchronous compute cores with 8 queues per core which varies on the model to provide single cycle latencies. Maxwell revolves around two pipelines, one designed for high-priority workloads and another with 31 queues. Most importantly, NVIDIA cards can only “switch contexts at draw call boundaries”. This means the switching process is slower and gives AMD and a major advantage. NVIDIA has dismissed the early performance numbers from Ashes of the Singularity due to its current development phase. Finally, the game’s release has exited the beta stage which allows us to determine the performance numbers after optimizations were completed.

Gigabyte Joins 75W Party With Latest GTX 950

Even with pascal so close, Nvidia and their partners are still pushing out new Maxwell based cards. Over the course of the last month or so, ASUS, MSI, and EVGA have all come out with new 75W TDP GTX 950 graphics cards. These new cards delete the PCIe 6 pin power connector, making them a more flexible option. Today, Gigabyte has quietly joined the party with their own 75W GTX 950 offering.

The GIGABYTE GV-N950D5-2GD graphics card is based on the same old GTX 950 GM206 core with 768 stream processors, 48 texture units, 32 ROPs,  and a 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface. Somehow, Nvidia has been able to reduce the TDP from 90W to 75W without reducing base performance. Unlike the versions with power, the new card features a tamer factory overclock, with only 1051 Mhz base and 1228 MHz boost clocks respectively. The cooler is a relatively standard slot with 1 fan. Without the need for a PCIe power connector, it allows the card to be used to upgrade systems that feature a weaker PSU. The value of such a card is diminished though with Pascal being so close. In my view this suggests that Nvidia may leave the low end untouched for a while, with only GP104 launching anytime soon. This may leave AMD with the Polaris 11 relatively unchallenged, only doing battle with older Maxwell cards.

EVGA Announces Low Power Nvidia GTX 950

Even with Pascal just around the corner, Nvidia and their partners are continuing to release some new Maxwell GPUs. Today, we’ve been treated to a new lineup of Nvidia’s GTX 950 from EVGA. The biggest and one of the few differences between the new GTX 950’s and the old ones are the reduction of TDP from 90W to 75W. In all other regards, the cards are just the same old GTX 950 we’ve come to expect.

Like the ASUS and MSI cards from before, these new GTX 950’s are somehow able to reduce their power consumption from 90W down to 75W while using the same die. Some of the 75W TDP models retain the 6pin PCIe power connector, allowing them to reach 1127Mhz base and 1317Mhz boost clock. For the ones that delete the 6pin PCIe power connector, they peak at a lower 1075Mhz base and 1253 boost.

For the segment of the market the GTX 950 targets, any reduction of power consumption is important. Not everyone has a PSU with a 6pin connector and removing it makes sense if you can keep the same performance characteristics. There is a total of 8 new cards EVGA has launched today and they are all available now.

MSI Releases 75W GTX 950 GPUs OCV2 and OCV3

For graphics cards, 75W is a golden number as it dispenses with the need to have a separate power. This allows users to avoid a PSU upgrade and broadens the market for the card. Originally launched at 90W, it looks like Nvidia has managed to trim an additional 15W savings to produce 75W GTX 950s. First started off by ASUS, MSI is getting into the 75W GTX 950 as well with 2 new additions to their lineup.

Dubbed the GTX 950 2GD5 OCV2 and GTX 950 2GD5T OCV3, they will replace/supplement the 90W GTX 950 2GD5 OCV1 and GTX 950 2GD5T OCV2 respectively. Both cards are based on NVIDIA’s GM206-251 GPUs, with the 251 indicating either a special bin or a new process that Nvidia is using. Of course, the chips are still the same GTX 950 with 768 CUDA cores, 48 TMUs, and 32 ROPs with 128-bit GDDR5 memory interface fed by 6.6Gbps of 2GB GDDR5. Both cards are factory overclocked to 1076Mhz stock and 1253Mhz Boost.

Between the OCV2 and OCV3, the only difference is in the cooler and form factor. The OCV2 uses a single fan and is geared towards mITX of other small form factors. The OCV3 sports a larger dual-fan cooler and is longer to boot. Both cards feature hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding, making them good choices for HTPC or to upgrade an existing desktop system for some moderate gaming. No word yet has been revealed about pricing but expect it to fall near MSI’s current offerings.

Asus Reveals TUF Echelon GTX 950 Graphics Card

If you’re gonna go for an entry-level gaming graphics card, you might as well go for one that looks awesome. Asus has just unveiled its special Echelon GTX 950 graphics card, which not only looks nice but also comes with a rather impressive clock speed of 1329MHz, which means that it delivers up to 10% faster performance in 3DMark 11 when compared to reference cards. When it comes to cooling, this card is equipped with Asus’ own DirectCU II cooling technology, which includes dual-ball-bearing fans that deliver 20% cooler performance and a 4X-longer lifespan. Other highlights include TUF Components, which guarantee outstanding durability and reliability, as TUF capacitors last 2.5X longer when compared to standard ones.

During the manufacturing process, the card went through rigorous testing procedures, including thermal shock testing and burn-in tests at temperatures of up to 55°C for 48 hours in extreme humidity levels. Needless to say, the Asus TUF Echelon GTX 950 graphics card will last you for quite some time even in challenging conditions. The Echelon GTX 950 was also tested with over 1,000 devices in order to ensure that it is fully compatible with a wide range of hardware, and it even went through more than 7000 hours of strict validation.

The GTX 950 is not the most powerful graphics card in the world right now, but it’s definitely good enough for casual gaming. The Asus Echelon looks better than most GTX 950s out there thanks to its arctic camouflage coloring, and this might give it an edge over its competitors.

Colorful Launches Two New GTX 950 Graphics Cards

The GeForce GTX 950 series is a nice mid-way product both in terms of performance and price. As such it is a go to card for a lot of people, especially MOBA gamers that don’t require the horsepower that comes from the flagship cards. Colorful just launched two new cards based around just that GPU, the Colorful 950-2GD5 and the iGame 950-2GD5 Ymir-U graphics cards. Both of these cards feature the second-generation Maxwell GPU from NVIDIA that brings a high efficiency per watt and thereby a lower power bill and a need for less wattage from your power supply.

The Colorful iGame 950-2GD5 Ymir-U is the latest member of the iGame family and comes with features that usually are found on high-end cards. The iGame features include high-performance GDDR5 memory, Silver Plating Technology for improved stability compared to regular PCBs together with the iGame Pure-Power Inductance (IPP) assuring stable power delivery, low operating temperatures, and reduced electromagnetic interference.

To further aid in performance, the custom iGame cooler features Bio-Shark design fans for 30% more cooling efficiency in tandem with the sand-blasted cooling module. The iGame 950 2GD5 Ymir-U also feature a semi-passive cooling solution that won’t start up until the temperatures reach 60 degrees. The final extra touch in this edition is the hardware overclock button located on the rear of the card and allowing the user to gain higher clock speeds instantly and without any expert knowledge.

The Colorful 950-2GD5 graphics card is basically the same card, but without the bells and whistles. It’s a basic GM206-based graphics card for mid-range and MOBA gaming. The card still features the shark fin fans that are rated for maximum cooling for up to 30,000 hours and the same cooling design.

 

Colorful didn’t reveal any pricing or availability at this time, but I’m sure they’ll follow up with that shortly.

New ASUS GTX 950 Ditches PCIe Power Connector

Maxwell has been Nvidia’s most efficient GPU architecture to date, offering great performance/watt. While the lower end cards aren’t quite as power efficient as some of their bigger siblings, the GTX 950 is as good as it gets, offering decent 1080p performance at 90W. That, however, is set to change as Nvidia is preparing a 75W GTX 950, one that ASUS is launching first.

Due to the fact that it only requires 75W, the ASUS 950 can afford to draw all of its power straight from the PCIe 3.0 x16 slot, cutting down on cable clutter and PSU requirements. Despite losing out on power headroom, ASUS has still managed to give the card a factory OC mode of 1051 MHz Base and 1228 MHz Boost A more tame default Gaming mode has it at 1026 MHz Base and 1190 MHz Boost. This all the while keeping the same GM206 core of 768 CUDA cores, 64 texture mapping units, 32 ROPs and a standard 2GB of GDDR5 VRAM.While the boost clocks are pretty good, it’s important to keep in mind that those are the max figures and with the cut-down power delivery, it’s unlikely the card will keep or even hit those numbers, especially under load. As with all silicon, Nvidia and ASUS is either binning chips heavily, 28nm is getting much better (unlikely this late into the node) or simply cutting enough voltage while maintaining base clock speeds.

This late into the generation, it looks like Nvidia is prepping for an efficiency battle with AMD’s upcoming Polaris which set to be many times more efficient than current GCN cards. The new GTX 950 may have to do battle on it’s own for a while till Nvidia get their own competing Pascal cards out.

Vibox Defcon 3 Red Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Selecting any pre-configured PC can be a daunting experience especially if the end-user feels overwhelmed by the huge array of options. Thankfully, Vibox is one of the leading system builders in the industry and adopts a basic scoring system to help novices gauge the suitability of each configuration. More specifically, the company even outlines typical gaming performance and quantifies the difference between each specification in a transparent manner. This is an essential tool to put people at ease and ensure they purchase the right system for their personal requirements.

Recently, we reviewed the Vibox Element X Green and couldn’t believe how well it performed in a number of demanding games for the price point. Out of all the systems so far, it’s probably the best value proposition I’ve seen and the perfect choice for a console gamer trying out PC gaming for the first time. However, the system’s CPU performance was inhibited somewhat by its AMD FX-6300 processor and wasn’t ideal for non-gaming workloads. The beauty of PC hardware means you can prioritize CPU performance, memory capacity, or graphical grunt. Although, it’s important to create a balanced system and eliminate any bottlenecks.

Vibox decided to send out for review purposes the Defcon 3, which features an Intel 6500 quad-core processor, 8GB DDR4 2800MHz memory and GTX 950 2GB. This basic setup is accompanied by an Aerocool 500 watt 80+ Bronze power supply, 120GB solid state drive, Thermaltake closed-looped liquid cooler, and 1TB data drive. The package is housed in the highly acclaimed, Corsair Carbide Spec-01 chassis and backed by a lifetime support service. As you can see, this particular build opts for a better CPU and lower-end graphics solution. As a result, it will be fascinating to see how it compares to the Element X, and I expect it to perform much better in synthetic benchmarking tasks.

Specifications

  • Name: Vibox Defcon 3
  • Case: Corsair Carbide Spec-01 Red LED
  • Motherboard: MSI Z170A PC Mate Motherboard
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 6500 Quad Core CPU @ 3.2GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Thermaltake Water 3.0 Performer
  • System Memory:  8GB Patriot Viper Xtreme DDR4 2800MHz
  • Main Boot Drive: Patriot Blast 120GB SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Seagate ST1000DM003 Barracuda SATA 6Gb/s 7200rpm 64MB Cache 8ms
  • Graphics card: MSI GeForce GTX 950 Gaming 2GB
  • Power Supply: Aerocool Integrator 500W 80+ Bronze
  • Peripherals: None
  • Monitor: None
  • Optical Drive24x DVD-RW Optical Drive
  • Wireless: None
  • OS: Windows 10 64-bit
  • Warranty: Lifetime Evolution Warranty – Build Charge, Shock-Proof Packaging, Express Delivery, 2 Year Parts Cover, Lifetime Labour & Tech Support
  • Price: £699.92

Packing and Accessories

The system is packaged in a 15Kg box containing precautionary fragile labels and two handles to make the carrying process remarkably easy. Additionally, the cardboard is relatively thick and helps to reduce any impact during shipping.

Once opened, there is a UK power lead, Vibox leaflet and ample supply of padding. Underneath this section, is the main chassis box.

It’s always recommended to reinforce the main chassis with an external box as this holds it in position and stops the chassis’ edges from scraping against anything. As a result, this should reduce the probability of cosmetic damage occurring during transit.

In terms of accessories, the Defcon 3 comes with a user’s guide, hardware manuals, driver disks, DVI to VGA adapter, fan adapter, and standard UK power cable. The user’s guide is superb and walks you through the installation in simple English without using technical jargon. Additionally, it also includes all the contact details you need in case of any system faults.

CPU-Z


GPU-Z

BIOSTAR Announces GeForce Gaming GTX 950 Graphics Card

There are quite a few people who don’t need the best of the best graphics card to play the games they are playing or do the work they are doing, and luckily there are a lot of options on the market for them. There is one more now as BIOSTAR announces their new GeForce GTX 950 based gaming graphics card, the VN9505XPX1.

While the card isn’t top of the line, it still supports all the technologies you’d want for the next few years such as DirectX 12, PhysX and DSR technologies and would be perfectly suited for 1080p MOBA games such as League of Legends and DOTA players. The new BIOSTAR GeForce GTX 950 graphics card comes with a 1026MHz base clock speed and a turbo up to 1190MHz. The card has 768 CUDA cores and comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory that runs at 6610MHz on a 128-bit memory bus.

You can connect up to four monitors at the same time via the two DVI ports, one DisplayPort, and one HDMI connector. The maximum supported resolution is 5120 by 3200 pixels, which naturally isn’t a resolution you should try to game in with this card. A card with a GPU like this also comes with a low power consumption and it generates less heat, which in return means that the card will run silently and eco-friendly.

BIOSTAR GeForce GTX 950 GPU Features:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX950 GPU
  • 2GB GDDR5, 128bit with ultra-speed memory
  • Low noise, heat pipe cooling design
  • NVIDIA super 768 CUDA processing
  • Dual DVI/display port/HDMI output support
  • PCI Express 3.0 x16 bus interface
  • Support NVIDIA Surround with up to Four Monitors
  • Complete DirectX 12 support
  • Support NVIDIA PhyX and DSR Technology

Nvidia May Drop 2GB Model of GTX 960

Originally launching in both a 2GB and 4GB variant, Nvidia is reportedly planning to discontinue the lower capacity model. By offering only a 4GB tier, Nvidia is hoping to make the card more attractive to buyers as they will only see the 4GB version. At this point in time, there is no word yet if the 4GB 960 will keep its current price or drop to fill in the void left by the departing 2GB model.

The GTX 960 features the full GM206, Nvidia’s budget Maxwell die. While the card does decent against AMD’s R9 380, it does fall behind a bit in terms of overall performance. With the launch of the GTX 950 as well, the 960 has become even more of a niche product. The 950 features only 256 fewer shaders and 12 TMUs, not a large margin by any means, placing its performance to near 960 levels. With such competition, it is understandable why Nvidia will try to differentiate the card more by only having a 4GB model.

The biggest question is whether or not the GTX 960 will actually need 4GB of VRAM. While 4GB might be needed for 1440p, the 960 is solidly a 1080p performing card. That has historically been the domain of 2GB of cards and by the time 4GB is required for 1080p, the GPU core of the 960 may well be lacking. One also must consider the fact the 950 also has a 4GB model and would age about the same as the 960. Both cards are also limited by the 128bit memory interface which may hinder the use of such a large frame buffer.

Undoubtedly though, the extra frame buffer would make the 960 more future proof if only just. It will be interesting to see if Nvidia does follow through with this move in the end. We will follow this story as it develops and bring you more information as it arrives so stay tuned!

Thank you HWBattle for providing us with this information

Gigabyte Reveals New XTREME GAMING Series With a GTX 950 Card

Gigabyte revealed their brand new XTREME GAMING series with the announcement of the new GB-N950XTREME-2GD graphics card built around the Nvidia GTX 950 GPU. The new series is designed to deliver extreme gaming experience for dedicated enthusiasts with great overclocking performance and rock-solid durability.

The GB-N950XTREME-2GD comes with an impressive overclock. The base clock has been pumped up to 1203MHz from 1016MHz and the Boost clock has been pushed from 1190MHz to 1405MHz. The 2GB DDR5 memory has also been overclocked to 7GHz.

The card comes with one Dual-Link DVI-I, one HDMI and three DisplayPort connectors. It supports the latest DirectX 12 and only requires a single 8-pin power connector. The card promises some great performance and 4K gaming in 45 fps in Heroes of the Storm, 58 fps in Dota2 and 186 fps in League of Legends, an easy 65% or more improvement over the popular GTX 750Ti graphics card.

Gigabyte built the GB-N950XTREME-2GD with their WINDFORCE 2X cooling system with pure direct-touch copper heat pipes and the 3D-Active fans that only are powered up when needed. The built-in LED will show when the card is running,but the fans are parked as well as allowing you to set your colour of choice. The card also features a sturdy backplate to help with the cooling and increase the overall structural integrity of the card.

The GTX 950 XTREME GAMING graphics card would make a great card for the casual MOBA gamer and it is the first of many gamer-focused products that Gigabyte will be rolling out this year.

Inno3D Reveals iChill GeForce GTX 950

Hong-Kong-based PC hardware manufacturer Inno3D has unveiled its new custom-designed NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 graphics card, branded the iChill GeForce GTX 950. The custom card has a revised PCB and a 4-phase VRM, powered by a 6-pin PCIe connector.

The iChill GTX 950 boasts factory-overclocked speeds of 1178MHz core and 1329MHz GPU Boost, with 6.80GHz (GDDR5-effective 2GB 128-bit) memory. For comparison, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 has reference speeds of 1024MHz core, 1188MHz Boost, and 6.6GHz memory.

Cooling for Inno3D’s GTX 950 is handled by a monolithic aluminium heatsink, with GPU die contact being made by a copper core, and is ventilated by two 80mm “HerculeZ” fan units suspended on a metal cooler shroud. The shroud is detachable via unfastening thumb-screws that connect it to the heatsink, allowing for easy cleaning.

Video out ports include a DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0, and DL-DVI-I.

Inno3D is yet to reveal the release date or the retail price of the iChill GTX 950, but expect it soon, and it is likely to fall within the £150-£200 price range. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 was released last week to strong reviews; we highlighted the Inno3D iChill custom in particular as the strongest in the GTX 950 range.

Thank you TechPowerUp and Inno3D for providing us with this information.

Gigabyte Geforce GTX 950 Unboxed Before Launch

NVIDIA’s GTX 950 is allegedly set to launch on August 20th but this hasn’t stopped YouTube channel Discos Duros y Mas from opening an aftermarket model, prior to release. The video features Gigabyte’s small form-factor GTX 950 which utilizes a single 90mm fan for cooling. While this particular card isn’t particularly powerful, it should cope with popular games without huge graphical demands. Unfortunately, the video is in Spanish and I’m unable to deduce anything that’s been said. Although, according to my Portuguese friend, the video title translates to,

“We present you the unboxing of the NVIDIA video card, a worth successor of GTX750ti.”

The GTX 950 is based on NVIDIA’s GM206 core and contains 768 Compute Unified Device Architecture (CUDA) cores with 2GB VRAM on a 128-bit interface. Early reports suggest the core clock will be 1089 MHz while the boost speed ramps up to 1266 MHZ. Perhaps the most impressive feat is this can be achieved through a 90W TDP. This is 30W less than the GTX 960 so it will be interesting to compare the raw performance numbers.

AMD intends to counteract the GTX 960’s release with the R9 370X. This is because the current R7 370 is extremely underpowered and performs poorly in compute benchmarks. I’m looking forward to the GPU showdown to see which card ends up on top.

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More Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Pictures and Specifications Leaked

While many of you may prefer high-end cards like the Fury and 980 Ti,  AMD and Nvidia sell more and make more from the below $200 segment. Right now, Nvidia has mostly rebrands in this segment. That is about to change on August 20th with the launch of the GTX 950. Today, we bring you more leaks about AIB partner cards.

First off, Gigabyte looks to have 2 cards launching right away. Both are factory overclocked, but we have now word yet on the clock speeds. One features a WindForce 2X cooling solution and the other with a single 90mm fan. You can see the SLI finger meaning SLI will be possible with the 950. You can also see the 6 pin power meaning it won’t fit the niche the 750 Ti did with lower end power supplies.

Moving on, we have a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 950 (ZT-90601-10L) which is the reference clocked model while the GTX 950 OC (ZT-90602-10M) is factory overclocked @ 1102/1279 MHz with a custom cooling solution. Last of all, we have the GTX 950 AMP! @ 1203/1403 MHz with 7 GHz GDDR5 (up from 6 Ghz) with a backplate for added measure.

Given the similarity between the 90mm Zotac, PNY, and Gigabyte, that might be what the reference Nvidia 950 might look like, with the partners differentiating slightly with different fans and shrouds. The 950 should be a pretty cool card as even the factory OC WindForce 2X shuns heatpipes. Overall, the card looks to be a pretty good successor to the 750 Ti though the power requirements look set to increase. Hopefully, we receive more information about the 950 Ti as well.

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Nvidia Reportedly Developing a GeForce GTX 950 Ti

While various reports and rumors have suggested that the GTX 950 is well on its way, additional details have come out about the card and it’s GTX 950 Ti older sibling. First of all, the report suggests that the GTX 950, which we had long known would arrive in late August, is scheduled for a launch on the 20th, a little under a week away.

Bigger news though is the confirmation of the GTX 950 Ti. According to the source, Nvidia is still developing the GeForce GTX 950 Ti. This card will be based on the GM206 and slot in between the GTX 950 and GTX 960 given its name and might receive a 4GB version. Given that the GTX 950 has 768 shaders and the GTX 960 has 1024 shaders, the 950 Ti is pretty much guaranteed to have 896 shaders. This means Nvidia will have 3 cards packed tightly together in terms of performance. TMU count is expected to be the same between are 3 GM206 siblings but ROP counts for the 950 Ti are still unknown.

With 3 cards so tightly packed together, Nvidia risks confusing consumers and can only really differentiate on price. The shader deficiency between the 980 and 970 hasn’t kept the 970 from nearly matching the 980 and the smaller differences between the GM206 cards probably means even smaller performance disparity. The cut down 950 and 950 Ti will allow Nvidia to get rid of imperfect GM206 dies though. While more budget cards are welcome, Nvidia would probably be better served with a card to slot in the large gap between the 960 and 970, served only by AMD.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Listed and Pictured

With Nvidia’s GTX 950 expected later this month, it’s not surprising to see that some listings and pictures of the card have started to emerge. Today we bring you the first listing for a GTX950, the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 DC2OC. As expected from the model name, the card should be quite similar to the GTX 960 Strix with an oversize DirectCUII cooler on a small PCB. There are multiple listings out now at about €240+, but we can expect the launch price to be closer to €150 to replace the 750Ti as the currently listed prices surpass those of the 960.

More interesting is the first glimpse of the GTX 950 from PNY. From the packaging, we get the usual 3 years PNY warranty along with “High-Resolution Graphics Cards” which probably means it can support 4K output. The cooler is relatively simple and we can see that the PCB is larger than that of the 750Ti and closer to the 960 though we don’t know if it’s a custom PCB. The low power nature of the 950 does betray itself as we can see that the cooler is a simple radial aluminum heatsink, likely without any heatpipes. Given that the 960 has a much beefier heatsink, the extra PCB is probably there to support more power delivery components and support the larger heatsink.

The GTX 950 is based on the GM206 with 768 Maxwell shaders on a 128bit bus with 64 TMUs and likely 32 ROPs. With performance likely to fall around the R7 370, we can expect pricing to be about the same as well. Nvidia has already cut the price on the 750Ti so the 950 should be arriving imminently.

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AMD Radeon 370X Built on Full Pitcairn GPU

Details have emerged about AMD’s upcoming 370X graphics card. This budget-friendly GPU is designed to compete with NVIDIA’s GTX 950 which should arrive in retail stores within the next 2 weeks. According to GPU-Z stills from Expreview, the card will feature 1280 Stream cores and 2GB GDDR5 on a 256-bit interface.

This specification shows the GPU is utilizing AMD’s full Pitcairn graphical processor, which first came on the scene in 2012. Annoyingly, the Subvendor information is obscured, but I would expect the GPU clock to be virtually identical to AMD’s last generation, 270X. Expreview suggests AMD have simply created a BIOS revision and this new card shares the same Device ID as the 270X. This corresponds with AMD’s rebrand plans on lower-tier GPUs.

There is a strange anomaly from the screenshots which I find hard to comprehend. You might notice, the graphics card contains the R9 branding which is usually reserved for higher-end GPUs. Perhaps, the Fury range has made AMD alter their naming scheme and allow for budget cards in the R9 series. Whatever the case, it will be interesting to see how AMD’s 370X compares to the GTX 950. While the performance numbers of the GTX 950 are still unknown, it doesn’t take a lot of time to work out the 370x’s gaming performance.

Do you think NVIDIA will begin offering better performing GPUs on a strict budget, or will AMD continue to be the value-orientated proposition?

Nvidia Cuts Price on 750 Ti Ahead of 950 Launch

Just after we’ve received word on Nvidia’s new GTX 950, it looks like Nvidia is prepping things up for the card’s arrival. According to Hardware.fr, Nvidia is set to cut prices on the 750 Ti by about €10 – €15. It looks like Nvidia wants to clear out as much of the 750 Ti stock before the replacement 950 arrives.

Given how close the specifications are between the 750 Ti and 950 are, it’s not surprising Nvidia wants to get rid of the 750 Ti as fast as possible. The 750 Ti comes with a core configuration of 640:40:16 which is only a tad less than the 768 shaders the 950 is armed with. While I don’t know how many TMUs or ROPs the 950 has, it likely falls around between 40:16 and 64:32. With the 960 above at 1024:64:32, there is little room for a 950 Ti though Nvidia has not been shy about filling up every possible niche, even if it means cannibalizing its own cards.

With 768 Maxwell 2.0 shaders, the 950 should do battle at the old 750 Ti price point of about $120-$150 USD. This should put it right against the R7 370 for low/medium 1080p which performs a bit ahead of the 750 Ti. Given the large gap in price between the 950 and the 960, Nvidia may end up launching a 950 Ti with 896 shaders or with 768 shaders and improved TMU and ROPs. With Pascal not likely to come till late 2016 especially for the low end, the 950 may be here to stay for quite a while.

NVIDIA GTX 950 Price and Release Date Revealed

NVIDIA’s 900 series is characterized by class-leading performance which ekes out every inch of power from the efficient Maxwell architecture. Initially, NVIDIA focused on extending their stronghold in the enthusiast market and now want to offer a competitive range for the budget-conscience user. This is an area where AMD have thrived in the past, so it makes sense for NVIDIA to refresh the lower-tier offerings from the GTX 750 and 750Ti. The GTX 950’s specifications have been leaked by HardwareBattle ahead of the August 17th launch:

This particular card is manufactured on the GM206 code, containing 768 cores, 2GB VRAM and a 128-bit Bus. Additionally, the core clock ranges from 1150-1250MHz with a boost between 1350-1450MHz. Given the overclocking headroom from other Maxwell GPUs, it’s clear the GTX 950 will reach higher clocks on custom models. In terms of connectivity, there is support for DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 2.0 (AMD take note), Dual-link DVI-I and Dual-link DVI-D which makes it a suitable option for Korean 2560×1440 unbranded panel owners.

The exact retail price is unknown, but it’s expected to remain under $150. This is a very aggressive pricing policy and designed to compete with the R7 360 whilst operating with a 90W TDP versus 100W on the AMD card.  If you’re looking for a cheap, console-killer GPU which runs games perfectly fine at 1920×1080, then the GTX 950 might be worth waiting for. However, AMD’s price to performance ratio at the lower end is hard to beat and usually the better option than the competition.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of HardwareBattle.

More Details For Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Emerge

We brought you news last week that Nvidia was preparing a more budget friendly cards in the form of the GeForce GTX 950 and 950Ti. Now, more information has been revealed about the upcoming cards, pointing to a singular release for the GTX 950 alone. As expected the GPU will be the GM206-250, supposedly a cut-down version of the GM 206-300 used in the mainstream GTX 960.

No information about the core configuration has been revealed yet, but we can make some educated speculation. As replacements for the Maxwell 750/750Ti, it is unlikely the 950 will be the same as the 750 which has a core configuration of 512:32:16 (Shaders:TMU:ROP:). That either points to 640:40:16 like the 750Ti or something with more oomph like 768:40:24. Remember, if Nvidia does plan on a 950Ti in the future, it has to leave enough room for it to make sense, so the 950 launch may be a good indicator to see if we ill get a Ti version in the future. The GTX 960 comes in at 1024:64:32 so at the very least, the 950 likely won’t hit higher than 896:40:24 in order to get the most out of imperfect GM206s. On the other hand, purposefully lasering off parts, especially on the 28m process where yields are high is also suboptimal.

On the memory side of things, the information suggests that the 950 will come in either a 2GB or 4GB configuration, much like the 960 it is based on. That would put memory capacity at double the 750/750Ti and the previous 650 series. The memory numbers suggest a 128Bit bus, and it is unlikely it will be any higher as the 960 only comes with a 128Bit bus. The 2GB-4GB frame buffer points to a target resolution of 900 or 1080p like the 960 but likely at a lower playable quality. Final specifications are DVI, HDMI and 3 DisplayPorts, similar to the 960. With no launch date yet, it will be interesting to see what Nvidia brings to the table as the AMD side of things with the R7 370 is less than optimal.

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