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.

EK Releases Gigabyte GTX 980 Ti XTREME GAMING Water Block

EK is one of the most prestigious names when it comes to water cooling hardware and evokes a sense of confidence whenever you purchase any of their products. Some time ago, Gigabyte unleashed the GTX 980 Ti XTREME GAMING featuring a superb cooling solution, OC BIOS mode, striking RGB illumination and much more. It’s arguably one of the best custom designed GTX 980 Ti cards on the market and geared towards overclocking. However, if you want to leverage extra performance or simply prefer a slimmer design, EK has released a full water block for this particular GPU. The EK-FC980 GTX Ti XG is a high performance water block which actively cools the GPU, VRAM and voltage regulation module as the water flows over essential components. The water block covers the entire PCB to create a visually stunning appearance and there’s also a stylish backplate from EK’s web shop.

The EK-FC980 GTX Ti XG water block features EK’s unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine design for best possible cooling performance, which also works flawlessly with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance, allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps. On another note, the base is constructed from nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top section is made of premium POM Acetal or acrylic depending on which model you choose. By default, screw-in brass standoffs are installed to allow for a safe and painless install.

To simplify the search for suitable and compatible water blocks, EK is adding newly released products from various manufacturers to their Cooling Configurator database. This allows you to see if there are any blocks for motherboards, memory or graphics cards right now. In terms of pricing, the Nickel model will retail for 119.95 Euros. This is also the price for the unit sporting both Acetal and Nickel. If you just want the blackplate, it can be purchased for 29.95 Euros.

Colorful Announces GTX 980 Ti iGame KUDAN

Even though the current Maxwell line-up is set to be replaced by Pascal relatively soon if recent revelations are true, it hasn’t stopped new custom models from entering production. Colourful, a vendor offering high-end solutions primarily in the Chinese market has announced their latest product based on the GM200 core. This particular GPU entitled, the GTX 980 Ti iGame KUDAN utilizes an overclocked core of 1203MHz and boost reaching 1304MHz. On another note, the graphics card is powered by two 8-pin PCI-E connectors and includes three DisplayPort connectors, one HDMI and a DVI-I port. Of course, it’s built on the 28nm process and comes with 6GB GDDR5 memory using a 384 bit bus.

The GTX 980 Ti iGame KUDAN opts for a unique cooling solution with an integrated water cooling loop and five heatpipes. Furthermore, the densely packed fin array provides exceptional thermal dissipation and should allow for some impressive manual overclocking performance. The water cooling aspect even allows you to add the GPU to a custom loop via the embedded block mount.

Colourful have employed silver plating technology to improve the PCB’s reliability compared to traditional copper alternatives. This also reduces oxidation and should allow for a longer lifespan.

The graphics card employs an impressive power delivery to enable large overclocks, and there’s EMI shielding throughout. This hefty cooling solution and impeccable components makes it a great choice of users demanding the ultimate in performance. While the timing is a little strange given the upcoming release of Pascal, I highly doubt the GTX 980 Ti is suddenly going to become outclassed by lower end options. However, its price might reduce by a decent amount once the new cards arrive.

Leaked Images Show Nvidia GTX 1000 Shroud

The latest graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia are on their way, and that means one thing, someone has them! The new cards are no doubt undergoing a lot of development, testing and manufacturing in various parts of the world, so leaked information is always inevitable. The latest batch of images show us what appears to be a new shroud design for the 1000 series of cards from Nvidia, namely their GTX 1070 and 1080 designs.

The revised NVTTM cooling solution design features a similar design to the current crop of cards,  but with a much more aggressive and angular design. Of course, we’ve seen many leaks in the past and for the most part these days, they’re often right on the money. However, after the whole Nintendo NX controller fiasco, we have to advice you all to take these images with one more pinch of salt than usual.

That being said, we’re about two months away from Computex, and only a week away from Nvidia GTC, so it makes sense that some cards would be getting produced, at least in terms of visual design, to be featured at these shows. Nvidia are going to want to show off something at their own event and Computex, it just makes sense.

You can see the metal housing in the images, as well as CNC machines and cutting fluid. Could this be an Nvidia production line, or just part of an elaborate hoax? My gut instinct is saying these are real, but with any luck, we won’t have much longer to find out the truth.

Are you looking forwards to the 1000 series of cards from Nvidia? Let us know in the comments section below.

Far Cry Primal Graphics Card Performance Analysis

Introduction


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

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

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

Don’t Drill Your Graphics Card or Receive This Expensive Lesson

We have all done something stupid at one point or another, but some people’s actions make ours look pale in comparison. Such a case showed up this week where the victim of stupidity was nothing less than a Zotac GeForce GTX 980Ti Amp graphics card. At this point, you might want to either get the tissue box for your tears and put away the drink so you don’t risk spitting it all over from laughing; because one of those two things are bound to happen.

A user named Zanderlinde had purchased a Zotac GTX 980 Ti AMP! graphics card for his new rig, but having a custom built case, the giant heatsink on the card became an issue and he decided to get an aftermarket cooling solution instead to help that issue. So far everything is like it should be, right? But here we go.

Zanderlinde got himself a Corsair HG10 GPU cooler for his graphics card and tried to mount that to his card, only to find out that it didn’t fit properly, one of the mounting holes didn’t align properly. Being a DIY man, as he calls himself, he attempted to fix this issue; sadly he did so in the worst possible way. Instead of trying to modify the mounting bracket or create a new one himself to fix this issue, he took his power drill and made a new hole in his $1000 CAD graphics card. Yes, you read that right, he drilled another hole in the PCB of a Nvidia GTX 980 Ti graphics card.

Motherboard and graphics card PCBs are usually multi-layered and even tho you can’t see any visible connections where you drill, there might be more between the layers and it looks like Zanderlinde drilled through multiple of those. Now at this point, the card wasn’t fully destroyed yet, but it was before he was done with his stupid ideas. Realising that he might have cut some internal connection within the PCB, he got the idea to solder it up to reestablish the connection. To simulate this before actually doing it, he put a screwdriver through the hole in order to bridge the cap. Oh boy, and yes you already guessed right what happened next. Smoke started to rise from the card.

Before the last stupid attempt, parts could have been salvaged from the card, but now everything is more or less fried. To finish the card off completely, he went ahead and broke it in two. But he admits to his stupidity and called himself out for it, so there is a chance that he learned from his expensive lesson and will ask for help first before attempting something as stupid as this again.

Gigabyte GeForce GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming Graphics Card Review

Introduction


NVIDIA’s cogent strategy to launch the Titan X at $999 and subsequently release the GTX 980Ti with similar performance at a significantly reduced price was a master stroke. This made the 980Ti compelling value and a great choice for high-end consumers wanting the best possible experience at demanding resolutions. Admittedly, there isn’t a GPU on the market capable of driving a 4K panel at maximum details but you can attain 60 frames-per-second with reduced settings. Evidently, the 980Ti has proved to be a popular choice especially when you take into consideration that factory overclocked models can easily pull away from NVIDIA’s flagship graphics card. While there is some competition from the Fury X, it’s not enough to dethrone custom-cooled 980Ti models.

Some users might argue that the upcoming Pascal architecture built on the 16nm manufacturing process and utilizing HBM2 ultra fast memory is reason enough to hold off buying a top-tier Maxwell solution. However, the current estimate suggests Pascal won’t launch until Q2 this year, and there’s no indication regarding pricing. As always, any new product has a price premium and I expect enthusiast Pascal cards to retail at a high price point. This means purchasing a Maxwell-based GPU right now isn’t a terrible option unless you require additional power to enjoy 4K gaming and have deep pockets. One of the best custom-designed GTX 980Ti cards on the market is the Gigabyte G1 Gaming. This particular GPU rapidly gained a reputation for its overclocking ability and superb Windforce triple fan cooling hardware.

The latest addition to Gigabyte’s graphics range is the GTX 980Ti Xtreme Gaming sporting a 1216MHz core clock, 1317MHz boost, and memory running at 7200MHz. One major improvement is the use of illuminated RGB rings behind the fans which creates a very unusual, and stylish appearance. Gigabyte’s GPU Gauntlet is a binning process which selects the best performing chips with impressive overclocking headroom. Once discovered, the top chips are incorporated into the Xtreme Gaming series, and G1 Gaming. By default, the Xtreme Gaming is bundled with a hefty overclock and should offer sensational performance. Although I expect to see some further gains due to the excellent cooling and stringent binning procedure. Could this be the best 980Ti on the market thus far?

Specifications:

Packing and Accessories

The product comes in a visually appealing box which outlines the extreme performance and gaming focus. I really like the sharp, dynamic logo with bright colours which draws you into the packaging.

On the rear side, there’s a brief description of the Windforce X3 cooling system, RGB illumination, GPU Gauntlet, and premium components. The clear pictures provide a great insight into the GPU’s main attributes and it’s presented in such a slick way.

In terms of accessories, the graphics card includes a driver disk, quick start guide, case badge, sweat band and PCI-E power adapter. It’s quite unusual to see a sweat band, but I’m sure it could come in handy during a trip to the gym or intense eSports contest.

Nvidia Reveals Tom Clancy’s The Division GTX Bundles

Tom Clancy’s The Division is almost here and to celebrate this, Nvidia has revealed their latest GTX gaming bundle that will add even greater value to their graphics card range. Those who are planning to purchase an Nvidia Geforce graphics card will soon find a bundled code for upcoming tactical FPS, Tom Clancy’s The Division. This is great news for gamers, as the early beta testing of the game has been mostly positive, showing great potential and a good return to form for the franchise.

Of course, it the best news for those upgrading their graphics hardware, as you’re most likely upgrading to play the latest games, but with this bundle you won’t have the extra burden on your budget to purchase the game as well as the graphics card. The bundle is only available for a limited time, however, so it would be good to grab one while stocks last. How long the promotion will last is currently unknown, but I’m sure there will be plenty available.

Nvidia is still set to release more details on the bundle but for the most part, its pretty straight forward. Buy one of the valid cards from any retailer participating in the promotion and you’re good to go. The current deal covers the GeForce GTX 970 or above, but will also cover notebooks, so long as they feature a GeForce GTx 970M or above.

With Tom Clancy’s The Division currently preparing to go into free open beta on February 18th, you’ve got time to prepare to play it. While the game is available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with this promotion in place, it’s clear that PC is going to be the ultimate place to play it.

Are you looking forward to playing Tom Clancy’s The Division and will you be snapping up this offer to play it on a new Nvidia graphics card? Let us know in the comments section below.

Nvidia Pascal Launch May Be Sooner Than We Thought

Last month we received word that the first Pascal chips would be launching a bit sooner than expected. At that time, GP100 was expected to drop in April and GP104 in June. According to the latest rumors, it looks like that timetable was accurate, with the GP100 based Tesla chip coming in April around GTC. What’s more, we’re getting more details about when the rest of Nvidia’s Pascal lineup will launch.

As with the previous report, GP104 will arrive in June and it looks like the GTX lineup will be based off that, with both the GTX 1080 and 1070 being GP104 chips. Near the end of the year in Q4, we can expect GP106 and GP107. These will be longer end chips and likely power the GTX 1060 and 1050. Finally, we have the Titan which will use GP100 and a GP108 in early 2017. This follow’s Nvidia’s new trend of releasing a GTX x80 first, followed by the Titan, then finally a GTX x80Ti. While it’s good for Nvidia’s sales, it moves high-end users into a quicker upgrade schedule than if all the cards launched at the same time.

The Tesla launching first makes a whole lot of sense as enterprise users can pay the high premiums for early HBM2 and 16nm. A June launch for GP104 may point to them using HBM2 as the timeline is a bit tight for GDDR5X though it is doable. The biggest question is how well Pascal will perform as it is a stopgap architecture between Maxwell and Volta, like a Maxwellv2 though the die shrink to 16nm should make some great gains in and of itself.

EVGA Introduces GeForce GTX 980 Ti VR Edition

Virtual Reality is the new thing for 2016 as there is more than one VR device on its way. To pull this kind of hardware you need the rest of your hardware to play ball too, at least if you want the best possible experience. EVGA now released two new graphics cards that are the same except for the attached cooler. The new cards are called the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti VR EDITION and come either with a reference cooler or the much beloved ACX 2.0+ cooler.

The new GTX 980 Ti VR EDITION is built around Maxwell architecture and comes with 6GB GDDR5 memory and 2816 CUDA cores, much like any other GTX 980 Ti card. The difference with this one is that one of the HDMI ports have been moved to the other end of the card and thereby acts as an internal connector rather than a rear one.

What might look silly at first does have its reason as the VR EDITION comes with an included 5.25-inch drive bay. This unit offers you a front HDMI 2.0 port that will be connected to the internal one on the graphics card as well as two USB 3.0 ports. The idea behind this is to give you easy access for connecting and disconnecting your VR device and input devices used at the same time.

EVGA didn’t reveal a pricing or availability at this time, but we can expect it to be priced very similar to existing GTX 980 Ti cards and with a slight premium added for the extra functionality.

 

Key Features

  • Built for VR: Included 5.25-inch Drive Bay with Front HDMI 2.0 and USB 3.0.
  • Internal HDMI: Connects to a 5.25” Drive Bay, no visible external wires!
  • ACX 2.0+ Cooling: EVGA’s latest cooling solution offers improved cooling, reduced fan noise and better overclocking.
  • 6GB of GDDR5 Memory: Gives you access to higher texture qualities in games, improved 4K gaming performance and optimized for the next generation of gaming.

EVGA Bundles Action-RPG Bombshell With Select GPUs

Everyone likes to get things for free and you will if you purchase one of EVGA’s graphics cards Nvidia GTX 900 series graphics cards. For a limited time, EVGA will bundle codes for action role-playing game Bombshell with the purchase of EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN X, 980 Ti, 980, 970, 960, and 950 graphics cards.

Bombshell comes from the creators of Rise of the Triad and legendary game maker 3D Realms. Some of our readers might not be old enough to remember Rise of the Triad, also known as ROTT, but it was a groundbreaking first person shooter game back in the 90s. There was a recent remake of the original game that came out in the end of 2013, but the original is what I’ll remember.

“Bomb disposal technician turned mercenary for hire, Shelly “Bombshell” Harrison must strong-arm her way across 4 planets in an Unreal Engine-powered galactic adventure to rescue the president from an apocalyptic alien threat. With out-of-this-world enemies, a never-before-seen arsenal of devastating weaponry and a host of genre-crossing mechanics, Bombshell is set to blow you away.”

The basic story plot of the game is pretty generic in its form, you have to save the president. But other than that, it looks pretty fun. You travel the dying world of Kyrron as it’s consumed by its neighboring sun. You’ll then have to shell, shock and shatter your way through vicious, bloodthirsty predators, an augmented alien species, and the remnants of an ancient race re-animated, with more than 10 weaponized arm modifications.

Your hero, Shelly Bombshell Harrison, has fierce finishing moves and can use the interactive environments make to make her as dynamic as she is deadly. The game is described as a brutal shooting game mixed with classic role-playing mechanics, which both should speak to a lot of people. Those are two of the biggest game genres.

The game is enhanced for use with Nvidia based graphics cards, which is why it comes bundled with those and not the entire EVGA lineup. The game has been enhanced with NVIDIA HBAO+, PhysX and Turbulence Technologies for lifelike physics effects and realistic shadows.

Normally the game will set you back €35.99 on Steam, so it is a nice gift to get along with your new graphics card as well as something to test your new found capabilities thanks to the GTX 900 series graphics cards. You can check the long list of participating cards here where you also can redeem your code. The promotion is valid purchases made on or after January 29th, 2016.

Rumours Suggest Upcoming NVIDIA GeForce Price Cuts

AMD has gained some foothold on NVIDIA as of late and we’ve also recently heard that the long-awaited new Fury-based dual-GPU card might make its appearance soon. That leaves the ball in NVIDIA’s corner and it is time for the to hit back. The latest rumours now suggest that NVIDIA might be preparing a series of price cuts on their GeForce GTX 900 series graphics cards. The price cuts, if the rumour is true, will affect the GTX 980 and below graphics cards, so should you want a GTX 980 Ti, then the price might stay the same for a bit longer.

The price cuts should make the holiday shopping a little nicer for those who are in the market for a new NVIDIA-based graphics card. With the new pricings, you should be able to get the GeForce GTX 960 for $179 USD, the GeForce GTX 970 for $299 USD, and the GeForce GTX 980 for $449 USD.

All three cards that are set to be discounted have their own market aspect. The GTX 960 is perfect for League of Legends or DOTA gamers that don’t require a large amount of GPU horsepower while the GTX 970 is perfectly suited for 1080p to 1440p gaming of all sorts. The GTX 980 is a really sweet card that can pull 1440p with the best of settings in most games and even makes some games playable in 4K.

A price cut could also tempt many people to opt for a second graphics card to their already existing and get a sweet SLI setup going. Would a price cut like this tempt you to get a new NVIDIA graphics card or are you holding back a little longer? Let us know in the comments.

Vibox is Offering an Amazing “Level up” Deal!

Are you in the market of a new pre-built gaming computer? With the current Black Friday deals, it would be hard to ignore how good some are and system builders Vibox have jumped on the band-wagon with an incredible deal.

Buy one of the appropriate computers from them and checkout with the code “LEVELUP” to upgrade your graphics card to the next model up in the range. So buy a GTX 970 will be bumped to a GTX 980 or R9 380 will be bumped to the R9 390. This excludes the AMD R9 Fury range and the NVIDIA Titan X.

This is an incredible offer meaning you could potentially save yourself hundreds. An example of an incredible saving would be to buy the WARPATH gaming computer, which currently comes in at £1659.59 with a GTX 980 graphics card. This would be bumped up to a GTX 980Ti for free.

If you are on a bit of a budget, the Element PRO at £629.94 would be a logical choice. Currently equipped with an R7 370, this deal allows you to upgrade to a much better R9 380 graphics card.

If I was in the market for a new computer, I know where I would be looking this holiday season. Be quick, limited to just 100 codes!

Nvidia to Launch GTX 960 Ti to Tackle R9 380X?

OK, let’s get one thing out of the way, this is a rumour and should be taken with a pinch of fist full of salt. According to some leaked information, it would seem that Nvidia is cooking up a new graphics card to compete with AMD in the mid-to-high end GPU ranges. The new card, expected to be the Nvidia GTX 960 Ti, would most likely be made from a cut-down GM204, which would be perfect to take on the affordable powerhouse that is the AMD Radeon R9 380X.

So where would this card sit in the current Nvidia line-up? The GTX 960 is already sporting 1024 CUDA cores/8 SMMs and the higher up model, the GTX 970 has 1664 CUDA/13SMMs, so it would make sense that the GTX 960 Ti would sit snug between the two in terms of performance and price. Best guess would be around 1280-1408 CUDA cores, with around 10 SMMs, and a retail price of around $250.

No doubt the new card will feature MX 2.0 architecture, DX12 support and will buy some time for Nvidia to keep working on their new Pascal architecture, but still keep new Maxwell products coming to market. AMD are currently putting up a hell of a fight at this price range, beating out many Nvidia cards in price and performance, so it makes sense that Nvidia will counter attack this, which certainly adds weight to the already plausible rumours.

What the new card will be called remains to be seen, but GTX 960 Ti seems like a safe bet.

Win a Syber Vapor K Steam Machine Worth £999!

To mark the OFFICIAL launch of Steam Machines, we’ve joined forces with the awesome people at Cyberpower to give away a Cyber Power Syber Steam Machine Vapor K worth £ 999 inc. VAT!

Included in the spec is the latest 6th Gen Intel Core i7, an NVIDIA GTX 970 4GB GPU, Steam OS and the groundbreaking Steam Controller. Full specifications here.

With such great gaming hardware, there is no doubt that someone is going to be very happy with this prize, giving you a super fast Steam Machine to play on this Christmas. If you’re ready to enter this fantastic competition, just hit up the link below. Good luck!

Thank you Cyberpower for providing us with this incredible prize!

ENTER HERE

Windows 10 Drivers Gives AMD R9 Fury X Advantage Over Nvidia 980 Ti

We only have two major players left in the consumer graphics card market, AMD and Nvidia, and Nvidia has had the lead for quite some time now. The new AMD Fury, Fury X, and Nano cards are impressive on their own, but they still couldn’t quite beat Nvidia’s cards on the full scale.

The newest Windows 10 drivers seem to have given AMD an edge again as they have shown performance increases on all current generation AMD cards. However, the most impressive result to come out of this is that the Fury X managed to leap ahead of the Nvidia GeForce 980 Ti according to the latest comparisons by TechPowerUp via WCCFtech.

With the older test setup, Nvidia was ahead of AMD most of the way. The GTX 980 Ti was 8% ahead of the R9 Fury X, and the GTX 980 was 2% ahead of the R9 390X at 1440p. Moving up to 4K resolution and the GTX 980 Ti and R9 Fury X come in at the same result and so do the GTX 980 and R9 390X.

Older drivers and test setup

After the move to the newest Windows 10 drivers, which aren’t the recently announced Crimson update, Nvidia’s lead shrinks. At 1440p, the GTX 980 Ti that previously was 8% ahead of the R9 Fury X now comes in at the same result while the R9 390x makes up 5% and gets 3% ahead of the GTX980. Even the R9 290X gets a huge boost of 9% over the GTX 970 card.

Again, moving up to 4K resolution and we see that AMD takes the full lead. The R9 Fury X jumps ahead of the GTX 980Ti by 5%, the R9 390X and 290(X) also stay ahead of the GTX 980 and GTX970/GTX780 Ti respectively. This is pretty impressive and really shows what a driver optimising can do.

New Windows 10 AMD Drivers

MSI Launches 27-inch AIO Gaming PC

MSI has gone big with their newest All-In-One Gaming PC, the MSI Gaming 27. It isn’t just a big screen with 27-inch, it is also full of the latest technology. The 27-inch Full HD display offers fast response times and it can also be used for other devices thanks tot he HDMI input. The display also comes with MSI Anti-flicker, which prevents screen flickering and blue light emission through a smartly stabilized power current to reduce eyestrain and fatigue.

The MSI Gaming 27 features the new and 6th generation Intel Core i7-6700 quad-core CPU with hyper-threading technology and support for up to 64GB dual-channel DDR4 memory. The graphics card isn’t without either as the MSI Gaming 27 comes with a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M with 8GB GDDR5 memory.

For connectivity, the MSI Gaming 27 features the Killer DoubleShot Pro with a wired Killer E2400 Gbit and Wireless-AC 1535 connection that can be paired up for the best possible high-speed connection. The Nahimic sound technology should also provide a great audio experience while gaming.

Other connections include 3 USB 3.1 Gen1 ports where one has the Super Charger function and another USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C connection. There are also two USB 2.0 ports, microphone and earphone out, and two HDMI out. There are also the previous mentioned Gigabit LAN port and HDMI in. A built-in 2MP Full HD camera is also present. If you’d like the added bonus of a touchscreen, MSI launched the T model that features Projected Capacitive Touch (MSI Gaming 27T).

One thing should be forgotten about the MSI Gaming 27 and that’s its storage abilities, especially the Super RAID 4. This shouldn’t be confused with a new mode but rather refers to a RAID 0 setup that combines the power of two PCI-E Gen 3.0 x4 NVMe SSDs for a read speed that goes above 3300MB/s. There’s also a 3.5-inch HDD option and a tray-in DVD Super Multi/Blu-ray writer.

Gigabyte Launch Geforce GTX 980 WaterForce

Gigabyte has just announced their new GeForce GTX 980 WaterForce graphics card, known as the GV-N980WAOC-4GD, if you want to get technical. Gigabyte are known for their premium cooling solutions when it comes to graphics cards and this one is no exception. It features an all-in-one liquid cooler that is going to let the card run harder, longer and cooler, which is always a great thing for a gaming system.

The card boards high-quality components and has gone through “GPU Gauntlet Sorting” so that only the best GPU cores are picked for this lineup, giving you the best chips for overclocking and performance. The AIO cooler and its top cover don’t just sit on the GPU either, and will bring benefits to the VRAM and MOSFET, helping further enhance the performance of the card.

The 120mm silent fan, as well as a low-noise pump mean that the WaterForce will perform up to 38.8% cooler than the reference cooling solution.

Super Overclock – GPU Gauntlet Sorting
The GTX 980 WATERFORCE is fitted with only the top-performing GPU core through the very own GPU Gauntlet Sorting technology that guarantees superior overclocking capabilities in terms of excellent power switching and thermal efficiency. Only the strongest processors survived can be qualified for the GTX 980 WATERFORCE, which can fulfill both gaming enthusiasts’ and overclockers’ expectations with greater overclocking headroom, and higher, stable boost clocks under heavy load.

More Experience-Optimizing Features
GIGABYTE takes multi-display further by utilizing its patented technology to provide dual DVI support in addition to the 3 DisplayPort and 1 HDMI. Compared to the reference, the GTX 980 WATERFORCE offers more flexible output connectivity options. Gamers could optimize their gaming experience at ultra high resolutions with extended flexibility in arranging multiple-monitor configurations and making future system upgrade extremely easy.

You’ll also find an LED Gigabyte logo on the card, a microfiber gaming mouse pad included and support for OC GURU II. No specific details on price right now, but we expect they’ll crop up very shortly.

NVIDIA GTX 950 SLI Graphics Card Review

Introduction


Here at eTeknix, we strive to give the consumer the best possible advice in every aspect of technology. Today is no different as we bring you the SLI review of the latest budget pleaser from NVIDIA, the GeFoce GTX 950.

The NVIDIA GTX 950 is the newest card to be released based on the Maxwell architecture and aimed to bring solid 1080p performance for under £150. Sub vendors went completely nuts with this card and produced some simply great options that have put the squeeze on AMD in the budget gaming segment.

Now we don’t really ever consider low-end options for SLI for cost effectiveness reasons, but some consumers may only have £150 now and £150 next month and want to play straight away.

Because I had the choice of three different cards, the smart move would be to test the two most powerful options, the Inno3D iChill GTX 950 and MSI Gaming GTX 950. These both can be purchased for under £140 each through a wide range of retailers and work extremely well together. However, a matching set would give the best possible performance as the computer wouldn’t need to throttle one card to match the others performance.

That’s enough of an introduction, let’s find out how well this compact duo performs in the real world.

PNY GTX 950 2GB Graphics Card Update Review

Introduction


Following on from our GTX 950 round-up article, PNY has sent a model which looks extremely promising. We have already seen that the GTX 950 range performs extremely well and the price is extremely attractive for a cheap gaming build.

The PNY GTX 950 is the cheapest GTX 950 that PNY offers and features a single fan design. This is a step away from the usual dual fan designs that PNY produce and personally I really like the subtle design on this.

This card is essentially an unmodified NVIDIA version with an improved cooling design as it features the same base and boost clock speeds as the reference model or 1024MHz base and 1188MHz boost.These speeds don’t sound that impressive, but the overclocking capability of Maxwell and the GTX 950 range, in particular, will see this overclock well into the 1400MHz range.

Packaging and accessories

The outer box is simple and follows the design that everyone can relate too from graphics cards manufacturers by donning a ‘mascot’.

It’s refreshing not to be bombarded with information when you flip the box over. Instead, a few key features are outlined and a quick link to visit if you need more information.

Accessories are simple, with a quick installation guide, driver disc and DVI to VGA adapter.

MSI Unveils Limited Edition GTX 980Ti Golden Edition

MSI has announced the GTX 980TI Golden Edition to celebrate its successful launch of the GTX 980Ti range. Some of you might remember the eye-catching GTX 970 Golden Edition which adopted a similar aesthetic design to MSI’s latest entry in the graphics card market. This particular card features a core clock of 1190 MHz and factory overclocked boost reaching 1291 MHz.

Obviously, this can be improved further via manual overclocking and I would expect around 1450MHz on the boost clock. Although, your results may vary due to the silicon lottery. Furthermore, this compares rather nicely to the MSI Gaming 980Ti which utilizes a 1178/1279 configuration. The 980Ti Golden Edition is equipped with 6GB GDDR5 RAM operating at a speed of 7096 MHz. In terms of connectivity, the GPU has three DisplayPort connectors, HDMI and Dual Link DVI-I.

The MSI GTX 980Ti Golden Edition opts for dual 10cm Torx fans and the highly-acclaimed Twin Frozr V cooling design. This includes an all-copper heatsink and heatpipe with anti-oxidation treatment. As a result, the GPU is cool, quiet and has headroom for large core, boost and memory overclocks.

It will be interesting to see how the graphics card performs compared to other high-end models from Gigabyte, Asus, EVGA and more.

What is your favourite aftermarket board partner?

EVGA Bundles Exclusive Heroes of the Storm Kaijo Diablo With Selected GPUs

It is that time of the year again, no it’s not Christmas yet, but rather the time where we see a lot of new games and codes bundled with selected graphics cards. Yesterday we could report that MSI bundled Assassin’s Creed Chronicles codes with selected AMD cards and today EVGA has something for Nvidia fans. For a limited time, EVGA is bundling an exclusive Kaija Diablo Bundle for Heroes of Storm with the purchase of selected graphics cards.

The exclusive Kaijo Diablo Bundle includes the Diablo hero, Kaijo skin, and a 7-day Stim Pack. The bundle comes with the purchase of a qualifying EVGA GeForce GTX 950 or 960 graphics card. The list below will show which cards are eligible for the bundle.

For MOBA gamers, the GeForce GTX 950 provides the competitive edge in every battle with blazing fast performance and an incredible level of responsiveness. Get 3x the performance of a GeForce GTX 650 and the power of NVIDIA Maxwell architecture to transform your PC into a full-HD gaming rig capable of playing the latest titles. Or choose the GeForce GTX 960 for even faster performance!

The deal is valid for a lot of retailers and you can check up on that here. The promotion runs from the 23rd September 2015 and until the supply runs out of the promotions gets canceled again.

Nvidia Prepping Full GM204 990M for Gaming Laptops

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

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

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

Thank you TechRival for providing us with this information

Corsair & MSI Launch Water-Cooled GTX 980 Ti SEA HAWK Graphics Card

MSI is already known for their high-performance graphics card and the 980Ti has certainly proven to be a popular choice for the enthusiast gamer. Custom coolers are certainly nothing new to the GPU market, a great cooler is what separates the men from the boys in terms of hardware, as high-end cooling can make a huge difference in terms of how hard you can push the graphics cards in terms of overclocks. Of course, custom cooling also has other benefits, lower temperatures, less noise and even longer life expectancy.

Corsair is well known for their high-end range of AIO water coolers, so it makes sense that they would team up with MSI to create a Corsair AIO water-cooled GTX 980Ti. The two companies have created the 980Ti SEA HAWK, it features a hybrid cooling design that uses a 120mm Corsair H55 AIO cooler to boost the cooling performance of the card.

Huge overclocks right out of the box, high-end components for stable voltages and much more are to be found, the only thing we don’t know right now is the price, but you can expect it to be one of the more expensive 980Ti’s on the market; of course, you get what you pay for.

What do you think, will the SEA HAWK be your next graphics card?

Thank you LegitReviews for providing us with this information.

Gigabyte Unveils Skylake-Powered Gaming Laptops

Gigabyte has announced an updated gaming laptop range featuring Intel’s latest 6th generation, i7 processors, M.2 PCIe storage, DDR4 RAM, USB 3.1 with Type-C connectors and HDMI 2.0 which outputs HDCP 2.2 to provide a stunning 4K experience. The 17″ P37, 15″ P35 and 14″ P35 offer unrivalled gaming performance in such a slim, portable form factor. This continues Gigabyte’s focus on thin but powerful laptops such as the P34W v3 which we reviewed not so long ago. There is a wide array of options when it comes to selecting a graphics card including the GTX 965M, 970M and 980M.

The P37 and P35 also feature a hot-swappable ODD/HDD bay which enhances the device’s storage capabilities. Interestingly, the P37 contains exclusive Macro Keys and a Macro Hub which allows for a whole host of unique and complex commands.  The 15″ P55 and 17″ P57 adopt a beautiful matte black finish and choice between the GTX 956M or 970M. In terms of optical media, both laptops can be fitted with an optional Blu-Ray drive.

Moving onto the 15″ P15 and 17″ P17 which provides a superb gaming experience on a tight budget. Both of these models are powered by the GTX 950M GPU and includes a swappable HDD/ODD tray. Additional, each version contains an attractive cover with sleek angular diamond lines.

Are you looking to get a Skylake-powered laptop?

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Nvidia GTX 950 Round-Up Review: Three Cards Go Head to Head

Introduction


With all of the hype surrounding the GTX 900 series recently, it has been hard to imagine what the lower end of the graphics card market would hold for the refined Maxwell architecture. We originally saw Maxwell in the mighty GTX 750Ti, but it was only when the GTX 900 series was released that we received the Maxwell that we know today. Our reviews and news have focused heavily on the GTX 980Ti and Titan X graphics cards, so information on the GTX 950 has been scarce to say the least; that is about to change. In today’s review, there is not one, not two but three GTX 950’s in for punishment; the ASUS STRIX GTX 950 2GB, Inno3D iChill AIRBOSS ULTRA GTX 950 2GB and the MSI GAMING GTX 950 2GB.

The GTX 950 is hot off the manufacturing line and features some lack-luster, but pokey specifications; knowing NVIDIA, less is more and we should see a stormer of a graphics card here regardless. Most of the options will feature 2GB of VRAM due to the product placement, but we will see some 4GB models which should make for a very capable SLI configuration for not a great deal of money. So with a price tag of around £120 depending on the manufacturer, performance isn’t going to be outstanding compared to the bigger options. However, the estimated performance and price tag makes this an extremely attractive option for 1080p and online gamers. Personally, I feel that this GTX 950 will be the final piece in the puzzle for NVIDIA; it will then have a great graphics option at almost every price point.

Now just because the GTX 950 is aimed at the lower price market, do not assume that you are not getting the full NVIDIA treatment. As with almost every NVIDIA GPU you will get the following:

  • NVIDIA Surround
  • NVIDIA SLI
  • GPU Boost 2.0
  • NVIDIA G-Sync
  • DX12 Support

The GM206 GPU core makes its second appearance here since the GTX 960 options; however, it seems to have had a shave to bring the performance down. Would this be enough or will we see another Titan X and GTX 980Ti scenario here, let’s find out shall we.

ASUS Partners with SplitmediaLabs for Bundled XSplit Gamecaster v2

ASUS and SplitmedaLabs have announced a new partnership where they will be bundling the popular streaming software XSplit Gamecaster V2 along with most of their graphics cards. However, not all types of cards will get an equal amount of free time with the software that requires yearly subscriptions.

Pretty much anyone with a AMD Radeon R7, R9 or Fury based graphics card as well as GeForce GTX 600, 700, 900, and Titan series will get the basic 14-days trial with premium features while those with the best of the best cards get even more. After all, those are the likely ones to be streaming. If you got an NVIDIA GeForce 900 or Titan series, or an AMD based R9 or Fury series, then you can sign up for the full year of free premium features.

XSplit Gamecaster V2 is a live streaming and recording application created by SplitmediaLabs that also features a special ASUS GPU Tweak integration. It allows users that are running the ASUS GPU Tweak utility to be able to set custom profiles and view GPU statistics all from within the XSplit Gamecaster overlay. XSplit Gamecaster uses a discreet and unobtrusive in-game overlay, and allows users to add a webcam, activate a green screen transparency effect and share their broadcast to Twitch, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ all without leaving the game.

Both ASUS and SplitmediaLabs have their own dedicated mini-page for this, where you can read more on the terms or get started with your free XSplit Gamecaster V2 streaming.