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.
Winding down production of a soon to be discontinued product is industry standard practice. When you see production of current models cease, that’s when you know the next generation is just around to corner. Two weeks ago, we brought you news that Nvidia may have stopped GTX 980Ti production. Now it seems that Nvidia has also ceased production of 2 other Maxwell-based GPUs in preparation of Pascal.
According to HWBattle, both of the GM204 based GPUs are no longer being supplied to AiB partners. This means the GTX 970 and 980 will disappear off store shelves sometime between the next 2 months given a normal logistics situation. At the same time, this means the replacements for GM200 and GM204 are well on their way and may arrive within 2 months as well. This is perfect for the late May launch at Computex.
As we’ve reported before, the replacements will be the 3 GP104 chips that will be called GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060Ti. These are the GP104-400, GP104-200 and GP104-150 respectively. Furthermore, the usual practice of launching reference cards first followed by custom ones will not be followed by the GTX 1070. Instead, the custom cards will launch at the same time as the reference models. With Computex just around the corner, we’ll all find out soon what GeForce Pascal truly is like.
EVGA launches the Hybrid Faceoff Program and offers their existing Hybrid Card customers a free upgrade in the form of a new and improved shroud for their cards. For a limited time, and while supply lasts, all EVGA customers who have one of the three participating cards are eligible for this upgrade.
The free does have one small hitch, you will have to pay for shipping and handling. But the new shroud in itself is free of charge. The offer applies to customers who have purchased an EVGA GeForce Titan X Hybrid, GTX 980 Ti Hybrid, or a GTX 980 Hybrid graphics card.
The new shroud will give the cards a fresher look and lighter look. EVGA removed the X-shaped design and opted for a more simple approach. The new shroud also updates the look with an LED, allowing you to light it up and show off your fancy hardware with pride.
The trade-in should be very simple and you only need to head over to the EVGA mini-site and log in with your EVGA account, fill in a few details and you should be good to go.
I like the new EVGA Hybrid shroud design quite a bit more than the old one. It looks more like a Nvidia card and generally just lighter. Would you opt for the new shroud if you had one of these cards or do you like the old versions better? Let us know.
Chillblast is one of the most prestigious custom-PC builders in the industry and offers peace-of-mind with an unparalleled 5-year warranty. This impeccable customer service and sensible component selection makes each system a worthwhile investment and reassures the less technically-minded customer. In the past, we’ve reviewed a number of intriguing designs including the cube-sized Fusion Nano 960 and value-orientated, Fusion Barbarian. Today, we are looking at the company’s top-tier Skylake system which features the mod-friendly, Cooler Master MasterCase 5 chassis.
The Fusion Master Skylake incorporates an i7 6700K overclocked to 4.6GHz, 16GB Corsair 3000MHz DDR4 RAM, GTX 980 graphics card, 512GB Samsung M.2 PCIe SSD and the highly-rated Cooler Master V750 power supply. Additionally, the CPU’s manual overclock is tamed by a Nepton 240M all-in-one water cooling unit which dissipates in an efficient manner. Chillblast also opted for a 2TB SSHD data storage drive which combines the affordability and some speed benefits from a traditional SSD. I’m also pleased to see the Asus Z170 PRO motherboard which provides exceptional voltage control, and overclocking headroom without costing too much. In total, the Chillblast Fusion Master Skylake is a well-rounded, high-end gaming system and perfect for UHD resolutions.
Name: Chillblast Fusion Master Skylake Gaming PC
Case: Cooler Master MasterCase 5 Gaming Case
Motherboard: Asus Z170 PRO GAMING Motherboard
Processor – Intel Core i7 6700K Overclocked to 4.6GHz
Processor Cooler: Cooler Master Nepton 240M CPU Cooler
System Memory: 16GB Corsair (2×8) 3000MHz DDR4
Main Boot Drive: 512GB Samsung SM951 M.2 PCIe Solid State Drive
Warranty: 5 Years including 2 Years Collect and Return in the UK
Packaging and Accessories
The system is bundled in a humongous outer box containing thick brown paper which surrounds the chassis’ main packaging. This keeps the inner box perfectly in position and prevents the system from moving around during transit. I have to applaud Chillblast for going the extra mile here as they could have just used the case packaging to cut costs. Thankfully, their attentive and professional approach means cosmetic or mechanical damage should be virtually eliminated.
On the side, there are two large stickers indicating the fragile nature of this system and directions for the courier. With such a massive parcel, these small touches help to prevent any major accidents and demonstrate the company’s careful planning.
The MasterCase 5 is supported by two extremely durable polystyrene blocks which feel remarkably strong and quite difficult to tear. Each side is labelled front and rear, which makes it surprisingly easy to reassemble the case in its original packaging. Unfortunately, there was a slight rip to the top cover but this didn’t result in scratches or small mishaps.
Once the case has been removed, the user is greeted with a precautionary message from Chillblast. This is just a simple safety procedure as a foam insert surrounds the main components to stop any cables or fittings becoming misaligned. I’m a huge advocate of using these internal foam supports as they often ensure the system arrives safely. Rather interestingly, the foam piece must have received a small degree of impact, as the taped section had come undone and started to peel away. As a result, this emphasizes how vital it is to use these foam sections when sending out an expensive, and heavy system.
The accessories are included in a plain, cardboard box and divided into sections using polythene bags. There is also a wonderful troubleshooting guide which provides a checklist in-case the system has difficulty booting. Chillblast decided to use close-up colour images to help diagnose any malfunctions and make the user more confident when fixing system problems.
In terms of accessories, there is a UK power cable, driver discs, component manuals, SLI bridge, additional power connectors, cable-ties, and a host whole of other fittings. I’m overjoyed when custom PC companies bundle all the retail accessories together and presume you might need these extras in the future when upgrading the internal components. Thankfully, Chillblast provides everything you need to change the stock setup.
NVIDIA has made a rather surprising announcement which could signify a new era of mobile notebooks with the level of graphical prowess usually consigned to Desktop PCs. The power efficiency and extraordinary heat dissipation on Maxwell GPUs has allowed NVIDIA’s engineers to incorporate the full Desktop chip into notebooks. In theory, this means other desktop GPUs could follow and produce magnificent performance across a wide price range. As a result, supported notebooks will adopt a no compromise approach and features an unlocked core. Therefore, the integrated GPU is designed to be overclocked and shouldn’t encounter any thermal throttling.
This also means the notebook models will be fully VR-compliant and contain the required horsepower to run 90 FPS, low-latency gaming experiences. NVIDIA has already listed a number of manufacturing partners which include:
Along with Aorus, ASUS, MSI and Clevo, they’ll be available from a number of local gaming brands such as Origin PC, Maingear, Falcon NW, Digital Storm , Sager, XMG, PC Specialist, LDLC, Hyperbook, G-Tune, AfterShock, BossMonster, Metabox, ThunderRobot and Terrans Force.”
Gaming notebooks traditionally included mobile versions of their desktop counterparts and involved higher temperatures, louder operating and reduced performance. According to NVIDIA, the manufacturers have constructed each notebook completely around the GTX 980 full-chip design. Perhaps, this could make people ditch their desktop PCs for a very capable notebook system. However, the pricing and lack of upgradability could be a deal breaker for some.
Despite already dominating the dGPU landscape, Nvidia seems to keep wanting to push the limits. According the latest rumors, Nvidia is planning a mobile GPU that is set to surpass the current 980M SLI. Dubbed the 990M, the new chip is set to also beat out Nvidia’s desktop GTX 980, making it the strongest mobile GPU ever, being able to beat out two of the current top chips in SLI. As the chip surpasses the MXM specification, the 990M will likely be soldered on directly.
While not much is known, the most important fact is that the 990M will beat the 980M SLI. The 980M SLI has 2 GM204 chips with 1536 shader ALUs and 96 TMUs each. Despite having a combined total of 3072 shaders, this SLI setup barely beats the GTX 980 by 10% and is barely more power efficient. With the single chip 990M though, Nvidia should allow the top-end mobile GPUs to regain their efficiency. Given that we can expect performance at least 10% higher than the 980, we can assume the chip will probably have more than the 2048 shader.
As it is generally better for efficiency to have more shaders and lower clock speeds, we can expect at least 2304 or more shaders clocked about 1.1 Ghz. Given the efficiency gains over the 980M SLI, we can expect the TDP to be about 150-180 Watts which while high for a single chip, may be doable. While Nvidia may hold the lead with the new 990M, AMD may find their own answer in the R9 Nano, which hits almost the same TDP range, though no news about a mobile variant has surfaced.
Acer has unveiled the Predator G6-710 pre-built PC which utilizes Intel’s 1151 socket and a Core i7-6700K processor. The CPU is manually overclocked via a liquid cooling solution and should allow for a core clock around 4.5GHz using 1.35V. However, no concrete details have been provided about the pre-overclocked speed or cooling apparatus used. Although, it’s probably going to be a 240mm or 280mm Corsair AIO.
Bizarrely, Acer have opted for a ridiculously overkill 64GB of DDR4 RAM which is a complete waste of money, considering 16GB is more than enough to run modern games. Furthermore, the GPU is a GTX 980 with 4GB VRAM instead of the 980Ti which offers a significant boot in frame rates. This shows a lack of care when selecting components for the gaming market.
The chassis design adopts Acer’s “belligerent armour” and uses an aggressive, gaming-centric look. Personally, I think the case is quite ugly but aesthetic preferences are always subjective. From the image, we can see 2 USB 3.0 ports, microphone/headphone jacks, and an SD card reader. On the other hand, the Predator logo is quite striking without being overpowering. Overall, I’m not very impressed with the case design, specification or ghastly visual choices. Currently, the Predator G6-710 is without a price point but this should be confirmed very soon.
For those of you debating on whether or not to snag a card from the green team, now may be the time. Following the launch of AMD’s R9 Fury many of Nvidia’s AIB partners are cutting prices on their 980 and 980Ti cards. MSRP are dropping about $20 for both cards, with the 980 dropping from $499 USD to $479 while the 980Ti falls from $649 to $629. This time around, the price drop is silent, with no official announcement coming out from anyone.
While a price cut of $20 isn’t much, that’s another extra $20 that can be put to a larger SSD, better case, CPU or power supply. With this price cut, it looks like Nvidia and it’s AIB partners want to have their cards be more competitive. The R9 Fury currently has an MSRP of $550 and the R9 Fury X at $650. While the 980 won’t make too much difference, dropping the price of the 980Ti below the Fury X will make more of an impact.
These price drops will be sure to put more pressure on AMD. Nvidia appeared to have been planning these prices drops for a while already, waiting till AMD had launched their new lineup. It’s important to note that while the MSRP has dropped, not every card has dropped by that amount, with some hitting above and below $20. AMD may not be able to afford to drop prices yet on the Fury’s given their new launch and tech. It will be interesting to see how AMD will react to this price drop in the near future.
A lot of titles are taking advantage of fur or hair simulations. Whether its AMD’s TressFX or NVIDIA Hairworks, users still want to enjoy those simulated little things that bring life to a character inside the game.
However, NVIDIA might have taken the lead with their latest Hairworks version 1.1. The updated version seems to be able to simulate more hair strains at a lower performance cost than ever before. Don’t expect to see groups of characters with fully fledged ‘fluffy’ hair, but the test really is exciting.
In the video below, the NVIDIA Hairworks 1.1 demonstrates how it is able to simulate a High Quality human-like hair using around 500,000 hair strains. But want to know the best part about it? It seems to have been rendered on a single NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card. The video has been captured by Tarkan Samir using NVIDIA’s Shadowplay technology.
If you’ve played Far Cry 4, The Witcher 3 or other titles that boast NVIDIA’s Hairworks technology, then you know how cool it makes the game look like. However, the latest update seems to add even more kicks for less performance drawbacks. All we need now is wait and see how this new update is used and what developers can do with it to enhance their titles.
Thank you DSOGaming for providing us with this information
Palit Microsystems has unveiled the latest of its GTX 900 series GeForce product line-up, the GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream.
The Ti SuperJetStream boasts 2816 Maxwell cores clocked at 1152MHz (base) and 6144MB with 384 bits 7GHz memory, pushing it well beyond NVIDIA’s 1000Mhz stock reference design. A modified JetStream cooler and thermal design, plus dual 10CM-10CM Smart Fans, keeps the card cool and quiet, dropping its temperature by12oC and decreases noise by 8dB while under heavy load, while it 0-dB Tech renders it silent while handling general workload.
The card can handle 4K at high settings with a single VGA card, with technologies that reduce latency and can double performance scaling in SLI, and has five display connectors: DVI-I, DisplayPort x3, and HDMI.
A full list of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream’s key features:
Keep Silent while you are experiencing the multimedia application and general workload. The operating fans only occurs while working on heavier loading such as gaming that the GPU temperature surpasses 60°C.
With its three DisplayPort ports, the Palit JetStream provides a flawless, jaw-dropping experience at 4K monitors surround.
5 display connectors – DVI-I, DisplayPort *3, HDMI
Provide flexibility of Display combination, four concurrent displays on a single board. And, dual DVI monitors system with bundled HDMI to DVI adapter.
A Dual Fan design offers double the cooling performance, and combined with the 10CM-10CM Smart Fans, heat is effectively drawn away from hot spots.
Fancy LED lighting on the Palit JetStream’s thermal solution provides ambient lighting to further immerse gamers into the gaming world.
Inspired by the power of jet engines, the TurboFan Blade is designed to improve cooling performance by generating a powerful air stream and air pressure.
DrMOS, originally only available for high-end server CPUs, is now available in all its glory in the next generation of Palit graphics cards. DrMOS offers high current circuits, low noise operation, and effective reduction of heat generation.
Optimized Air Flow
The 10CM-10CM Smart Fan system consists of two fans with alternating blade rotations. Each adjacent fan rotates in a different direction to reduce airflow conflicts and effectively improve overall cooling performance.
Palit GeForce GTX 980 Ti Super JetStream specifications:
Computex 2015 – Gigabyte might be mostly known for their great motherboards and graphics cards, but they also build systems from SSF to laptops and we stopped by to check out what they brought along to Computex.
Among the displayed systems were some pretty amazing ones powered by Intel Core i7 processors, Nvidia GTX 980 graphics cards with up to 8GB VRAM, fast storage with RAID options as well as stunning high-density displays. With systems like these, you hardly need a stationary system anymore.
8Pack is without a doubt one of the most skilled overclockers and as such it’s no surprise that some of the best hardware manufacturers want his input on how to create the best product with that in mind. We’ve previously seen the impressive 2000W PSU from Super Flower, and this time it is KFA2 that teamed up with 8Pack to create a beast of a graphics card.
The new card resembles the latest KFA2 cards with the triple fan cooler, but this time we also get the 8Pack branding on both the fans and the good looking backplate. The backplate helps both with the cooling of the card when those heavy clocks speeds are running as well as improving the overall sturdiness of the card and prevent PCB warping and bending from the cooler weight.
The selection process of the components to assemble the 8Pack Edition graphics cards is said to be unique, allowing only the highest GPU core and memory types to be used, but the card also uses uprated capacitors and VRM components to allow for even faster and more stable clock speeds.
All this power has to go somewhere and the 8Pack Edition comes with a factory set boots speed of 1440 MHz that is guaranteed, but how high you want to take the clocks yourself is your choice.
Base core clock: 1304 MHz
Boost clock: 1440 MHz
Memory clock: 7010 MHz
Memory: 4096MB GDDR5
Power: two 8-Pin connectors
Dimensions with Bracket: 308 x 129.1 x 49 mm
Dimensions without Bracket: 294 x 116 x 46.1 mm
The new KFA2 GeForce GTX 980 “8Pack Edition” 4096MB GDDR5 PCI-Express Graphics Card will be available exclusive from Overclockers UK for £589.99. The 8Pack GTX 980 HOF also qualifies for NVIDIA’s new Batman Arkham Knights and The Witcher 3 bundle.
GALAX already has five Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 based graphics cards, but that doesn’t stop them from creating two more. The new GTX 980 HoF DUCK Edition and GTX 980 HoF TecLab Edition take the Nvidia chip and pushes it even further thanks to the custom PCB design, components and coolers.
The GALAX HOF Duck Edition currently holds the second place in official Fire Strike competition with an impressive score of 10580 points. The record was placed by Duck-OC who also helped to design this card and make it what it is. It is still unknown what clock speeds the card will come with, but Duck-OC overclocked the card to 2123 MHz for his record.
The Duck Edition features the same design as the other HOF cards with its triple-fan cooling solution, white PCB and backplate and it comes with the easy overclocking button located on the rear IO.
The second new card was created together with the guys from TecLab, which is kind of obvious with the GALAX GTX 980 HoF TecLab Edition name.
The TecLab card is a little thicker than the other cards and takes up another half slot beside the default two, and it comes with a darker theme of black and grey. It also comes with a backplate and OC button as the other cards and this will most likely be the new flagship in the GTX 980 series.
Sadly we don’t know any further specifications at this time, but I’m looking forward to learning about them. These look like some serious graphics cards, but they’ll most likely also carry a serious price.
Thanks to VideoCardz for providing us with this information
EVGA announced today that it was launching a line of SLI bridges that will help to bring a bit of style and class to your SLI setup. The new bridges are for two, three, and four way SLI with a back-lit white EVGA logo on black and it is shrouded with aluminum.
The standard ribbon and bare PCB bridges that are normally supplied by board makers often leave those with windowed cases wanting something more elegant. Nvidia came to market with some earlier nice black and aluminum bridges within the last year and they did great, so obviously EVGA is wanting to get in on that market and came up with their own design. No word currently on pricing and the release date is “coming soon”, but you can bookmark the webpage to keep watch for the release.
Next Generation Features:
Separate models to support 2-Way (Short), 2-Way (Standard), 3-Way SLI or 4-Way SLI.
High pixel clock design optimized for 4K+ and 120Hz+ gaming.
EVGA logo illuminates on select GeForce GTX graphics cards.
Compatible with all SLI enabled graphics cards.
Looks super awesome!
SLI functionality works on all SLI enabled graphics cards. LED functionality works on the following cards:
We could bring the tease not long ago, that ASUS was working on a special limited edition GTX 980 for their 20th anniversary. That hard has finally been presented, and it looks like one amazing graphics card. It is the fastest GTX 980 card on the market and comes packed with just the best of features.
So let’s dive right into what the card has on features and we’re starting with the cooler. The Gold themed DirectCU II cooler has 10mm heatpipes and comes with 0dB fan technology that only spins up the fans when they’re needed. It also runs 15% cooler with three times quieter than a reference card. The DIGI+ VRM and 14-phase Super Alloy Power provide 30%-less power noise and five times greater durability and the Japanese-made 10K black-metallic capacitors also provide five times longer lifetime and 20% better temperature endurance.
The Memory Defroster is an instant defrost that lets you say goodbye to cold bugs. The Safe Mode allows you to reload your Video BIOS with just one press of a button while the Color-coded Load Indicator will allow you to see how your card is doing at-a-glance.
Now let’s get down to the specifications. The ASUS 20th Anniversary card has a base clock of 1317 MHz and a Boost clock of 1431. The 2048 CUDA cores GTX 980 has 4GB of 7GHz memory to worth with. All that performance also needs some power and the card has two 8-pin PCIe connectors to provide the up to 375W the card can draw.
The gold theme isn’t just applied to the top, the backplate features the same and it looks great.
Included in the package is also a GOLD 20th Mouse Pad as a bonus, but they didn’t show how that looks yet.
The information was released before the 1st, so this isn’t an April fools’ joke. Sadly no word on pricing or availability yet.
Thanks to ASUS for providing us with this information
EVGA has introduced their new version of the Nvidia GTX 980 card and this time it’s Hybrid. The all-in-one liquid cooling solution significantly lowers the GPUs temperature and thereby allowing for more overclocking potential, quieter operation, and better performance. The self-contained liquid loop is connected to a 120mm radiator/fan and features a full copper plate for the GPU.
The EVGA GTX 980 Hybrid has 2048 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1291 MHz, and a Boost speed of 1393 MHz. The card is SLI ready for up to four cards, if you should be one of them who can’t get enough. It features the normal 4GB GDDR5 VRAM running at 7GHz and with a bandwidth of 224.3GB/s.
The card supports up to four monitors with three DisplayPorts, one HDMI 2.0 and one DVI port. Maximum supported refresh rate is 240Hz, analog resolution maxes at 2048×1536 and the digital at 4096×2160.
EVGA also added their black back plate to the card, improving the cooling and stability, as well as improving the overall optics of the card. The MSRP of this card is $649.99 and it should be available very shortly.
If you already got the normal card and want to get a hybrid version instead, then you’re in luck. EVGA also offers an upgrade kit with just the essential parts.
For $99.99 you get a new shroud for your card with the right cut outs and the AIO GPU cooler with fitting mounts for your card. An upgrade with such a solution shouldn’t take long to install, as it’s mostly just plug and play.
Thanks to EVGA for providing us with this information
Inno3D announced their new iChill Black Series Accelero Hybrid S graphics cards with a hybrid air and liquid cooling based on the GTX 980 and GTX 970. The all-in-one solution has a 200% the cooling performance of the stock cooler while operating 9 times quieter.
The liquid cooler takes care of the GPU and comes with a 120mm fan for the radiator while an active fan cools the RAM and VRM on the card itself. Hassle free liquid cooling for your graphics cards, something more and more people are looking for. Inno3d’s new cards also come with an aesthetic black back-plate and also support multi-SLI setups with its two headers.
iChill Black GeForce GTX 980 Specs:
CUDA cores: 2048
Base Clock (MHz): 1304
Boost Clock (MHz): 1418
Memory Clock (MHz): 7280
Memory Size (MB): 4096
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Interface Width: 256-bit
iChill Black GeForce GTX 970 Specs:
CUDA cores: 1664
Base Clock (MHz): 1228
Boost Clock (MHz): 1329
Memory Clock (MHz): 7280
Memory Size (MB): 4096
Memory Type: GDDR5
Memory Interface Width: 256-bit
Thanks to Inno3d for providing us with this information
While NVIDIA tends to keep information about its latest Titan X graphics solution at bay, there are more and more sources coming forth with information about the card. This time, VideoCards comes forth with new benchmark results for the Titan X.
However, VideoCards is said to have revealed information such as testbed configuration, driver versions or other details about the tests performed on the card, nor whether the information comes from their testers or third-parties. Based on the results revealed by VideoCards, we see the following alleged results for the GeForce GTX Titan (performed at default clock speeds of 1GHz GPU and 7GHz memory):
22903 points in 3DMark 11 Performance, which is 34.8 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
7427 points in 3DMark 11 Extreme, which is 39.9 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
17470 points in 3DMark FireStrike, which is 36 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
7989 points in 3DMark FireStrike Extreme, which is 36 per cent faster compared to reference GeForce GTX 980
If the information above proves to be accurate, then NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX Titan X would perform as expected, namely 33% faster than the GTX 980 in most cases.
Thank you KitGuru for providing us with this information
EVGA teased us two weeks ago, and now it’s here. EVGA has released what is called the world’s most advanced GeForce GTX 980 graphics card, the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 K|NGP|N edition; entirely designed for extreme overclocking results.
The card features a 14+3 power phase design with a digitally controlled VRM capable of delivering up to 600A current. It has three power inputs, two 8-pin and one 6pin and the well known and great ACX 2.0+ cooler. Water cooling enthusiasts also have the option to go single slot with the included single slot bracket, making it one of the sleekest graphics cards.
“The power designs for both the GPU and memory on the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 K|NGP|N graphics card should allow some insane overclocking and some of the highest clockspeeds seen to date. Also, with the new multi-color LED cooler, you can customize the look of the card to fit any system,” said Vince “K|NGP|N” Lucido.
Customizable Lighting – Full-colour control allows you to fine-tune the LED colors to your liking using EVGA PrecisionX 16.
14+3 Phase Fully Digital VRM – Improved efficiency and power capacity and an average of 28C cooler operating temperature.
Single Slot Ready – Included single slot bracket allows you to convert to a true single slot card with a water block.
12 Layer PCB – Robust PCB layout with extra copper for smooth power delivery.
ACX 2.0+ Cooling & Metal Shroud – Improved cooling with lower fan power consumption and 400% longer fan lifespan. All surrounded in a premium metal shroud.
EVBot Onboard – Allows robust tuning and control over all aspects of the graphics card.
Included Backplate – Built on backplate with backlighting allows full control over brightness and color.
MMCP+ – Memory MOSFET cooling plate provides direct contact with memory and MOSFETs reducing temperature. MMCP+ comes in two separate pieces, allowing you to cool the GPU separately while still using the MMCP on the MOSFETs.
OTS – Onboard thermal sensors allow for automatic real-time extreme overclock tuning to achieve the highest overclocks possible.
QST – Quick Switch Triple BIOS allow you to switch to the second or third with the flick of a switch.
SHP – Straight Heat Pipes offer 6% better heat dissipation than bent heat pipes with reduced thermal resistance.
dBi – EVGA’s ACX 2.0+ fan turns off below 60C generating 0dB of noise
At $749.00 this card is far from the cheapest, but in return you’ll get one of the most impressive GPUs on the market. Orders can be placed at EVGA directly. It runs with a 1291MHz base clock and has a 1393 turbo speed. The 4GB memory runs at 7010MHz and has 224.3GB/s bandwidth. Despite the single slot design, the card packs a DVI-I, an HDMI, and three mini DisplayPorts for up to four simultaneous displays.
Thanks to EVGA for providing us with this information
Most of the focus has been on the new GTX 960 series lately, but good things are still happening for the GTX 980 too. EK Water Blocks has released a full-cover water block compatible with the popular GIGABYTE GTX 980 Gaming G1 and WindForce 3X series graphics cards.
The EK-FC980 GTX WF3 is a high-performance Full-Cover water block that actively cools the GPU, RAM as well as VRM (voltage regulation module) with direct liquid flow. As with all EKWB cooler, it features the unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance that works equally well with reversed water flow.
The Base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of either quality POM Acetal or acrylic depending on the variant. Screw-in brass standoffs are pre-installed and allow for a safe installation procedure.
The EK-FC980 GTX WF3 is available now and will set you back €112.95 for both the Nickel and Acetal+Nickel versions. The Black Backplate has an MSRP of €29.95 while the Nickel Backplate will cost €37.95.
Thanks to EKWB for providing us with this information
Galax and Diamond Cooling have come together to create a magnificent looking card that packs an amazing punch. At the base, we find the great GTX 980 HOF card with its white PCB while the cooling is being taken care of a white full cover water block designed by Diamond Cooling.
“We have changed the design internally slightly after initial testing. But this block has good cooling performance. We expect to be taking pre-orders very soon. We do this to get a certain idea of how big the demand is so we can create a first batch,” Diamond Cooling said.
These are the first prototypes and will come as both a full copper base and nickel plated base versions. The full cover water block takes care of all components on this card that in return should allow this record-breaking card to achieve new heights.
Full copper base
Nickel plated base
Microfin cooling solution
Active cooling of all components
White POM top
Water channels designed to have a similar flow no matter which port is used as the in- or outlet of the block.
There are also plans for a similar water block for the GTX 970 Hall Of Fame (HOF) card. Diamond Cooling said that they put a little easter-egg on the card. Can you spot it? I’ll give you a hint, it’s plugged into the rear of the PCB.
The new GALAX GTX 980 HOF WC graphics solution should go on sale in January or maybe February 2015, a short wait for an amazing looking card.
Thanks to Galax for providing us with this information
Christmas time is almost here and as we wrap up warm over winter, we’re also wrapping up on a year of incredible products here at eTeknix HQ. We’ve had hundred of reviews this year, but no doubt many of you are eagerly writing your letters to Santa, or at least dropping hints to your parents, partner or friends for what you want for Christmas. Of course, there’s no doubt a fair few of you who are eager to treat themselves to something cool this Christmas. We’ve scratched our heads and had a really good think about what some of our favourite bits of technology are from this last year, and if you’ve still got some money left after the manic Black Friday sales, perhaps some of these products will be perfect for you.
While I admit that I couldn’t fit all of our favourites onto this list, its certainly a killer list of great products and they’ve all won awards from us here at eTeknix for one reason or another. If you’re after a headset, a chassis, a new keyboard, graphics card, or other cool gadget, you’ll find something that’s right for you in our guide.
Astro A38 Wireless Gaming Headset
The Astro A38 headset really stood out for me, not only is it one of the more stylish looking headsets I’ve ever reviewed, but the sound quality is nothing short of incredible. They’re a little expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for and Astro have yet to create a product that was anything less than stunning. They’re a perfect gift for yourself or someone else and ideal for those who love to listen to music and play games on the go, and the wireless technology and NFC pairing makes them very user friendly.
A great PC deserves a great chassis and the H440 is certainly one of my all-time favourites. It’s not the biggest, and it may not even be the best chassis ever, that much is subjective, but it’s certainly got a lot of great features. From the PSU shroud that helps keep cable management looking neat and tidy, to the comprehensive set of dust filters, thick sound dampening material lined panels and the large side panel window; you’ll find a lot to love about this chassis.
Not all chassis’ are created equally, the Core V71 packs an incredible range of features that make it an ideal choice for high-end systems. The Thermaltake Core V71 looks great, but the real magic comes from its extreme flexibility. It has class leading radiator and fan mounting support and there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to build a stunning air-cooled system thanks to its array of 200mm pre-installed fans, or an incredible custom water cooling loop thanks to its modular interior. If you need extreme performance without spending crazy amounts of money, this chassis needs to be at the top of your list.
Treating yourself to a high-quality mechanical keyboard is a solid investment for anyone who uses their computer a lot. Mechanical keyboards are expensive, but their overall build quality and performance goes a long way to justifying the cost. The NovaTouch TKL isn’t your average mechanical and features something called Hybrid Capacitive Switches that offer a truly premium and luxurious typing experience. If you want to treat your fingers to a more enjoyable typing experience, try out this keyboard!
I have yet to use a Zowie mouse that wasn’t impressive and the FK1 is by far one of their best. While this mouse only offers minor revisions over its previous model, such as a slightly larger body and an improved sensor, it’s performance is second to none. It’s ambidextrous, has one of the best performing sensors available, great ergonomics and a stylish design. If you’re serious about your gaming and want something that offers eSports levels of performance, then you’ll love what the Zowie FK1 has to offer.
Mobile gaming is something that never really excited me, but Nvidia have really pulled out all the stops with their Shield Tablet. It’s powered by the incredibly powerful Tegra K1 graphics chip and it’s one of the fastest tablets on the market. It recently received an update that added the latest Android 5.0 operating system, as well as enabling Nvidia’s GRID cloud gaming service and all this comes on top of features like in-home game streaming, 4K video output, wireless controller support and a whole lot more. The Shield Tablet is easily one of the most versatile portable on the market.
Nvidia are on our list once again, first they dominate the mobile gaming market, now they’re showing their worth once again in the desktop GPU market. While we admit that the GeForce GTX 980 is an incredible graphics card, you’ll not be disappointed by their GTX 970 as it offers most of the performance of its bigger brother at a much more affordable price tag. This card is packed with the latest features, it looks fantastic and for gaming, it’s one of the best cards you can buy right now. If you want to welcome your computer into the world of high-end PC gaming, this is a great place to start.
Intel really set a new standard for PC performance this year with the launch of their consumer X99 chipsets. It’s not a cheap upgrade right now, but a new support for the latest high-end CPUs, DDR4 memory and a wave of new features make this motherboard perfect for the enthusiast and professional markets. The Asus Rampage motherboard series has long been a popular choice and the V Extreme is certainly one of the best available right now.
Extreme motherboards are one thing, but they’re a little out of the reach of your average consumer. The Gigabyte X97X Gaming 5 series of motherboards offers a lot of exciting features that make them a great choice for high-end gaming PCs, without the colossal price tags that you’ll find with enthusiast grade products. We loved this motherboard when we review it and while the black and red colour scheme is getting a little bit repetitive in the gaming market, it’s still a great looking board that is perfect for a wide range of systems.
A lot of the fame and glory goes to big gaming rigs with multiple graphics cards, loads of hard drives, water cooling and all that other crazy stuff, but this system turns all that on its head. The Brix may be small, but it packs enough power to be worthy of our Extreme Performance award! When space is limited, this little rig will fit on the back of your monitors VESA mount and it packs enough performance to get through a heavy workflow with ease. It’s a little expensive, but for a full-fledged PC that’s small enough to fit in a backpack, it’s a bargain!
If you’re looking to upgrade to an X99 equipped system, then it’s likely that you’ll also be investing in DDR4 memory, a new CPU and a whole host of other components, so why not take all the fuss out of the process and invest in one of the best systems we’ve reviewed this year, the PC Specialist Vortex 440. We loved this system, partly because it was packed full of high-end hardware, but also because it was incredible value for money. Despite what the high price tag may suggest, the Vortex 440 actually worked out cheaper to buy than it would to build it yourself; now that’s a deal we can get behind!
There’s a lot of SSD hard drives on the market right now and there are so many great ones that it’s now very easy to find one suitable for your system. The OCZ ARC 100 really stood out for us as it offers excellent performance, solid reliability, lots of features and it’s also competitively priced (per GB). Upgrading to an SSD is a great way to give your system a new lease of life, your system will boot faster and all of your games will benefit greatly from the speed boost. There is a cheaper 120GB model available, but the 240GB is the best balance of storage and value, making it a great choice for a boot drive.
A really great router is something a lot of people overlook, it can be daunting spending a lot of money on tech like this, but the rewards soon pay for themselves. With more and more devices becoming internet connected, it’s likely that you’re not reaching the full potential of your devices networking capabilities. If you’re wanting to stream movies around your house from a NAS, play games online, while browsing the web from smartphones, tablets, consoles and other devices, then you’re going to see huge benefits from a router that can handle the most demanding workloads without sacrificing performance. The Asus RT AC68U looks great and offers a simple way to improve your home network. It’s expensive, but you certainly get what you pay for.
DDR4 memory marks the first major update to RAM memory formats in desktop systems in years, but it comes with a steep price tag. However, should you choose to make the leap for your high-end X99 platform build, then you should really consider the Crucial 32GB 2133MHZ kit. If you’re not too bothered about the aesthetics, this memory really does impress in terms of performance and offers excellent value for money vs many of the other DDR4 products on the market.
Are you a fan of the Hall of Fame series of graphics cards? Then you’ll be pleased to hear that GALAX have just released the latest and greatest in the series; the GALAX GTX 980 HOF and the GTX 970 HOF.
Each of the new cards comes factory tuned with the highest core clocks in its class. Everything has been stripped down and rebuilt for speed on these cards. They’ve got the custom white PCB, ultra-premium components, 7 heat-pipes with a triple fan cooler, Hyper Boost technology, dual BIOS and a whole lot more.
The 980 HOF comes equipped with 2048 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1304 MHz and a boost clock of 1418 MHz. The GTX 970 HOF features 1664 CUDA cores, a base clock of 1216MHz and a boost of 1380 MHz.
Completely redesigned PCB layout from the ground up, optimized for GM204
10 layer manufacturing process in HOF signature pure white color
Extended PCB width for optimized layout and cleaner signal
It has been an exciting few months for PC enthusiasts. We’ve seen the arrival of Intel’s new flagship Haswell-E CPUs, high-performance DDR4 memory and Nvidia’s Maxwell GTX 980. Those three things combined have the potential to produce one hell of a system and that’s exactly what we have on our hands today with PC Specialist’s Vortex 440. The basis for this custom PC is Intel’s X99 platform paired up with some truly enthusiast-grade Kingston 3000MHz DDR4 memory, Intel’s six-core i7 5820K with a hefty overclock and Nvidia’s flagship GTX 980 graphics card. NZXT’s H440, which gives this system part of its name, keeps everything looking sleek and tidy. Corsair are in charge of power delivery with their new RM series 850W power supply, and cooling, with their tried-and-trusted H100i liquid CPU cooler. To appeal to gamers and speed-demons alike an SSD and HDD combination provides a good balance between system responsiveness and storage for games and other media. As you might expect the price you have to pay for all that hardware is fairly steep, £1599 to be exact, but as we’ll see later on this is surprisingly good value for money and gives you a lot of performance.
Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 1 Year Parts and 1 Month Collect & Return (upgrades available)
Price: £1599 as configured
Packaging & Accessories
Packaging may be an after-thought to many buyers but the packaging a system integrator chooses is crucial to the end user experience. Bad packaging equals a broken PC – not something you want to be faced with when buying a new PC. With that said I am pleased to report that PC Specialist’s Vortex 440 comes excellently packaged with soft cell foam and an adequately sized box.
Inside the system expanding foam ensures that the internal components aren’t dislodged during transit. In the past we have been sent a PC (from a system integrator I won’t name) who learnt the hard way that internal expanding foam is essential. When the system arrived the graphics card had ripped the PCIe slot off the motherboard , killing both the motherboard and the graphics card in the process.
The accessory box includes all of the documentation and manuals for all of the system components as well as motherboard, graphics card and PSU accessories. To inform users about their purchase PC Specialist provide a guide with their systems.
A Closer Look
The aesthetic characteristics of the Vortex 440 are dominated by the NZXT H440 which comes in red and black. PC Specialist put their own logo at the top of the front panel to give the case a bit of sneaky customisation.
The entire case is coated in a soft-touch black, the top I/O offers dual USB 2.0 and 3.0, audio ports and power/reset buttons.
The side reveals a beautiful window showing off the internal components. One thing that I noticed was that PC Specialist use a white motherboard when the case is red and black – strange huh? Especially considering the default NZXT H440 comes in black and white – the same colour scheme as the ASUS X99-S motherboard used. Personally I would like to see PC Specialist ship the system with the white H440 or use a red motherboard instead.
The back reveals the plentiful I/O of the ASUS X99-S and the Nvidia GTX 980. The rather large blank space on the rear I/O derives from the fact the ASUS X99-S is a cut-down version of the ASUS X99-A which has a WiFi antennae at that particular location.
The obverse side of the case is plain black lined with the red trim and some ventilation for the front fans.
The bottom of the case helpfully uses four non-slip rubber feet and a removable dust filter for easy system maintenance. Despite being one of the cheapest parts of the build, the case is probably the most important for determining the user-experience.
NZXT’s H440 was praised for its ability to make tidy builds thanks to the bottom PSU shroud and the PC Specialist Vortex 440 makes great use of this. Corsair’s RM850, which has all-black cables, and PC Specialist’s exemplary cable-management job results in a tidy build.
Aqua Computer might not be a name that is widely known, but liquid cooling enthusiast know them very well. They’ve created many great products and they got a lot of praise for their Airplex Modular Series of radiators. They have now taken what they learned from these and reduced them to the essentials. This allows them to keep the performance and great workmanship, but at a more attractive price. The new line is called the Airplex Radical 2 series and is built without soldered joints which means the radiator comes without any tin residues that can contaminate your cooling fluid.
When we purchase a radiator it is an investment for a longer time period and as such it should withstand being mounted many times. A common problem is that the screw holes get worn down over time. To combat this Aqua Computer introduces a new protected mounting system that is based on threaded sleeves made of nickel-plated brass. These are just plugged into the radiator and can be replaced individually with a new one if they ever should get worn down. Additionally these threaded sleeves aid in mounting the fans by being slightly extended. At the same time they help to prevent long screws from damaging the fins. These threaded sleeves can be turned around and on the other side they’re flat. This is useful when mounting the radiator without fans, allowing it to align right up to the case.
The 360 mm model is available now while the 120, 240 and 480 mm will follow over the next weeks. A thicker model will be made available in form of the Radical 4 series with four tubing rows. Both variants will be available with either copper or aluminium fins.
There isn’t so much to describe on a radiator besides the materials, and size: 40 mm thick, 140 mm wider and 400 mm long, the 360′ model that is. The outer parts are made from stainless steel and it features the company logo. It is available for €74,90 as aluminium and €89.90 as copper variant.
Aqua Computer also launched a full row of Kryographics GPU coolers for the new GTX 980 cards. It will be interesting to see what these new top-of-the-line GPUs can do when put into a custom loop system. They’re breaking one record after another on air.
The block is CNC milled from a 10 mm thick copper block and the cover is also CNC milled from a solid block. While this is a full-cover-block that also cools the RAM, it leaves part of the voltage control free for those who want to tamper a little more with that. It also allows the use of thermal grease for both CPU and RAM instead of thermal pads. That in return should give a much better contact and cooling effect.
The coolers come with pre-assembled distance pieces so the screws can be tightened as far as they’ll go. This will achieve optimal contact pressure and prevent accidental damage. They use regular G1/4″ fittings and offers threads into both directions. For SLI users the connection terminal can be replaced with one that connects multiple cards directly.
There will be a total of six different models and it will be available in a plain copper and in a nickel-plated base version. The top cover is either made from stainless steel, transparent or grey acrylic glass. The first one to be available is the copper version that should be ready at the end of the week. The nickel-plated version will arrive in about two weeks time. The price starts at €89.90 for the basic version and goes up to €109,90 for the nickel-plated grey acrylic glass edition.
To achieve the total finish of your beautiful setup, Aqua Computer will release both a passive and active backplates within the next couple of weeks. Both will be made from black anodized aluminium and will cost 24.90 and 39.90 respectively.
Aqua computer has released a great combo of new liquid cooling accessories with enough options to please most people and setups. I for one am getting restless to get started with my custom loop build.
EVGA is going all out with the new Nvidia series of cards, and are now getting ready to release their 5th and 6th GTX 980 card. We’ve already seen the reference version as well as the one with the new ACX 2.0 cooler, both in normal and Superclocked versions. While these cards already impressed in benchmarks, the next ones will do so even more; I think it will be some time before these cards are forgotten.
The first new card is the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Classified. The GPU of course has 2048 CUDA cores but it runs with a 1291 MHz base clock and has a boost all the way up to 1405 MHz; the classified version still uses 4 GB memory that runs on the given 256-bit interface. It’s clocked at 7010 MHz with a speed of 0.28 ns and a bandwidth of 224.3 GB/s. The card supports up to 4-way SLI and it’s also worth mentioning that the card features a triple BIOS.
The design is very simple, yet beautiful; for the most part it’s just black, but with some slight red accents around the company and brand logo. The cooler is the ACX 2.0 with optimized and swept fan blades, double ball bearings and an extreme low power motor. It delivers more airflow with less power draw than its predecessor, thus unlocking additional power for the GPU.
If you liked the ACX 1.0 cooler, you’ll love this one, it runs 26% cooler, 36% quieter, draws 250% less power and has a 400% longer lifespan; that’s improvement right there!
The second card is the GeForce GTX 980 Hydro Copper, a water cooling ready version of the new flagship. The cooler is created by EK and has a beautiful black finish with the EVGA logo cut out. EVGA wants to tease us some more and still keep the cards tight when it comes to clocks speeds; the card is already rumoured to break several records, so expect it to be impressive.
Thank you EVGA for providing us with this information
With the Nvidia GAME24 event kicking off all around the world, something magical has happened for one lucky gamer in Stockholm, Sweden. Much like anticipating fans of the new iPhone 6 have been doing, he decided to queue for the event which starts later on tonight. The staff at Nvidia noticed this, especially as winter is drawing closer and he has a whopping 13+ hours to wait.
Nvidia took the above picture and uploaded it to the Nvidia United Kingdom official Facebook page with the following caption:
“Meet the first person in our #GAME24 queue in Stockholm, ready for tonight’s event! We LOVE this dedication. To make sure he survives the 13+ hour wait, we’ll fill him up with some snacks during the day”
On top of this, we’ve had a word with Jen Andersson; PR Manager Northern Europe, who told us the following:
“We absolutely LOVE our fans and this shows true dedication. To wait for over 13 hours for the love of PC gaming is truly incredible. Thankfully, the sun is shining and together with a GeForce GTX 980, he’ll feel that it was worth the wait, I’m sure!”
At the time of writing this, the beloved fan has no idea that a brand spanking new GeForce GTX 980 will be landing in his lap later on today, but we can already tell that he will be overjoyed. If you know him, maybe keep quiet as to not ruin the surprise for him.
Nvidia are clearly pulling out all of the stops for this launch, as some industry pals of mine have already won various prizes including GTX 980’s and a Nvidia Shield gaming tablet at the California event several hours ago.
Have you ever queued for anything as long as this guy, and been rewarded for it? Let us know in the comments below.