Nvidia Reportedly Stopped Maxwell GM204 and GM200 Production

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.

NVIDIA DRIVE PX2 Powered by Two GP106 Chips

NVIDIA showed of its DRIVE PX 2 system – the new iteration of its autonomous and driver assistance AI platform – at last week’s GTC 2016 conference, and eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the board shown to the audience by CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was sporting a pair of integrated GP106 GPUs, eschewing the two Maxwell-based NVIDIA Tegra X1 chips that powered the original DRIVE PX, and confirming a rumour that we reported last week.

The GP106 runs on NVIDIA’s new Pascal architecture – set to hit the market in the latest line of GeForce graphics cards this Summer – which can perform at 24 DL TOPS or 8 TFLOPS, and features up to 4GB GDDR5.

NVIDIA hopes that the new DRIVE PX 2 will power the next generation of driverless cars – the DRIVE PX has so far only be used to power the ‘infotainment’ system on-board a Tesla, for example – and has already shipped to a number of unnamed Tier 1 customers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnVVJSIiKpY

“DRIVE PX platforms are built around deep learning and include a powerful framework (Caffe) to run DNN models designed and trained on NVIDIA DIGITS,” according to NVIDIA. “DRIVE PX also includes an advanced computer vision (CV) library and primitives. Together, these technologies deliver an impressive combination of detection and tracking.”

EVGA Announces Low Power Nvidia GTX 950

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

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

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

Take a Look at the New Nvidia Pascal Architecture

With the reveal of the Tesla P100, Nvidia has taken the wraps off of their new Pascal architecture. Originally set to debut last year, delays with 16nm kept Pascal from being a reality, leading to Maxwell on 28nm. Now that Pascal is finally here, we are getting an architecture that combines the gaming abilities of Maxwell with much improved compute performance. The new Unified Memory and Compute Pre-Emption are the main highlights.

First off, Pascal changes the SM (Stream Multiprocessor) configuration yet again. Kepler featured 192 CUDA cores per SM, Maxwell had 128 and Pascal will now have 64. By reducing the number of CUDA cores per SM, it increases the fine grain control over compute tasks and ensure higher efficiency. Interestingly, 64 is also the same amount of cores GCN has in each CU, AMD’s equivalent to SM. The TMU to CUDA core ratio remains the same as Maxwell with 4 per SM instead of 8, in line with the drop in cores/SM.

For compute, the gains mostly come from increasing the number of FP64 or Dual Precision CUDA cores. DP is important for scientific and compute workloads though game rarely make use of them. Kepler started cutting out some FP64 units and Maxwell went even further, with virtually no FP64 even in the Tesla’s. This was one reason why Maxwell cards were so efficient and Nvidia only managed to hold onto their leadership in compute due to CUDA and their Single Precision performance.

With Pascal, the ratio of SP to DP units goes to 2:1, significantly higher than the 32:1 of Maxwell and 3:1 of Kepler. GP100 in particular has about 50% of its die space dedicated to FP32, about 25% to DP and the last 25% split between LD/ST and SFUs. This suggests that Pascal won’t be changing much in terms of gaming performance. The only gains will be from a slight increase in efficiency due to the smaller SMs and the die shrinking from 16nmFF+. GeForce variants of Pascal may have their FP64 units trimmed to cram in more FP32 resources but again, most of the gains will be due to increased density.

Lastly, Pascal brings forward unified memory to allow threads to better share information. This comes along with improved L2 cache sizes and the more than double register file sizes. P100, the first Pascal chip, also uses HBM2, with 16GB of VRAM over a 4096bit bus for a peak bandwidth of  720 GB/s. For CUDA compute tasks, a new Unified Memory model allows Pascal GPUs to utilize the entire system memory pool with global coherency. This is one way to tackle AMD’s advancement with HSA and GCN and Intel’s Xeon Phi’s.

Overall, Pascal looks to be an evolutionary update for Nvidia. Perhaps, Nvidia has reached the point that Intel has, making incremental progress. In other ways though, the reduction in SM size has great potential and provides a more flexible framework to build GPUs. Now all we are waiting for is for the chips to finally drop.

Nvidia May Have Stopped GeForce GTX 980Ti Production

One of the inevitable signs of an imminent  release of new products is when the old model starts becoming hard to find. A seamless transition to the new version is a mark of good logistics and something Nvidia is known for. In line with the expectations for Pascal, Nvidia has reportedly stopped shipping GTX 980Ti’s to their AiB partners, which indicates that Nvidia is winding down the supply chain for the high-end card.

A stop in GTX 980Ti production points to a Pascal chip to replace it coming soon down the line. Usually, shipments to stores are ahead by a month and production a month or so before that. If Nvidia stops supplies now, there will still be about 2-3months before supplies run low. This puts the timeframe smack dab during Computex where Pascal is expected to be launched. It seems like perfect timing for GTX 980Ti supply to dry up just as Pascal launches and becomes available.

Given the movement to 16nmFF+, we can expect the GTX 1080 to at the very least match the GTX 980Ti. With a replacement product, it makes sense for the GTX 980Ti to cease production now. For now, it seems that Nvidia hasn’t started supplying their partners with Pascal just yet but that should happen shortly if Pascal is to arrive at Computex. The leaked shrouds suggest that the AiB partners have already tooled up in expectation of Pascal. Of course, this is still an unconfirmed report, released on April 1st to boot, so take this with a fist full of salt.

NVIDIA Pascal Rumoured to Struggle with Asynchronous Compute

NVIDIA’s new Pascal GPU micro-architecture – billed as 10x faster than the previous Maxwell iteration, and set for release in retail graphics cards later this year – is rumoured to be having problems when dealing with Asynchronous Compute code in video games.

“Broadly speaking, Pascal will be an improved version of Maxwell, especially about FP64 performances, but not about Asynchronous Compute performances,” according to Bits and Chips. “NVIDIA will bet on raw power, instead of Asynchronous Compute abilities.”

“This means that Pascal cards will be highly dependent on driver optimizations and games developers kindness,” Bits and Chips adds. “So, GamesWorks optimizations will play a fundamental role in company strategy. Is it for this reason that NVIDIA has made publicly available some GamesWorks codes?”

This report has not been independently verified, but if it is true, it could spell bad news for NVIDIA, especially since, despite fears to the contrary, its Maxwell architecture was capable of processing Async Compute, and AMD’s Radeon graphics cards currently leading all DirectX 12 benchmarks

We shouldn’t have to wait too long before we find out, though, with WCCFTech reporting that NVIDIA’s flagship Pascal graphics card, the “GTX 1080”, will be unveiled at GTC 2016, which takes place in Silicon Valley, California, from 4th-7th April.

NVIDIA Ramping Up GeForce Now to be “Netflix of Gaming”

NVIDIA is expanding its GeForce Now game on-demand service, which streams PC and console games to the NVIDIA Shield set-top box. The service currently has over 100 games available, for a monthly subscription fee, and has plans to not only expand its library, but also improve the quality of streamed games when it moves its cloud data centres to Maxwell-based GPUs, replacing its old Kepler-based units, later this year.

“We are still on the path of being the Netflix of gaming,” Phil Eisler, General Manager of GeForce Now cloud gaming at NVIDIA told VentureBeat. “The cloud gives us good analysis and data. About half of our customers are millennial gamers, and half are parents who enjoy playing games with their children.”

“Gamer dads who are 35 and older struggle to find time to play games with their kids. They like the convenience of the system and the retro content. The millennial gamers, meanwhile, are very impatient and like to get their games quickly,” he added.

Following the data centre upgrade, “[GeForce Now] will be the highest-performing system that you can get access to in your living room by the end of the year,” Eisler said. “Our focus is getting games to work in 30 seconds and we are working on ways to cut that in half. Other services may take minutes. So we focus on the most convenient way to play.”

Nvidia May Launch Confusing GT 930 in Early 2016

For the longest time, both AMD and Nvidia have taken to rebranding their low-end cards in order to present something “new” at low cost. While rebranding has become the norm, Nvidia’s GT 930 may be setting a new standard when it comes to that. Set to launch in Q1 2016, the GeForce GT 930 will reportedly come in 3 widely different flavours spanning 3 generations over 6 years in total.

From what we know right now, the 930 will use either Fermi, Kepler or Maxwell based chips. These will also be paired with either GDDR5 or DDR3 VRAM, accessed over either a 64bit or 128bit interface, meaning a lot of variation in performance. Due to the different chips used, the features offered and power consumption characteristics will vary widely as well.

The oldest chip is the Fermi one, the GF108 released back in 2010 with 96 CUDA cores. Slightly newer is the Kepler-based GK208 which was released in 2013 and features 384 CUDA cores. Finally, there is the new chip which is the Maxwell-based GM108 featuring 384 CUDA cores, offering the most features and performance. With such great variation, it won’t be surprising if consumer end up being confused and won’t be sure which GT 930 they are getting till they start gaming.

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.

Gigabyte Expand “XTREME” High End Graphics Cards

For a long time, Gigabyte has held the top spot for the most outrageous yet powerful graphics cards on the market. Just look at the simply huge 300+mm G1 Gaming series which has some of the best benchmarks that we’ve seen and then they can be overclocked to an entirely different level.

Today Gigabyte has officially announced the full line-up from the G1 Gaming, “XTREME GAMING”. On the face of it, the cards just look like a rebranded G1 Gaming line-up, using a similar Windforce style cooling solution, but these cards have been redesigned from the PCB out to give enthusiasts the very best chance to attain the best performance. This follows the extremely well-received GTX 950 XTREME GAMING edition released previously.

The most notable addition to the range is the custom cooling design for the NVIDIA Titan X, but the most interesting features are equipped to the GTX 980Ti model which features an additional 6 Pin power connector (yes on top of the pre-existing dual 8-pin) and LN2 BIOS for the ultimate overclocking experience.

The entire range up to the GTX 980Ti will feature RGB lighting to the WINDFORCE logo and an addition ring around the fans. Currently the only images of the range we can source are for the XTREME GAMING GTX 970.

“XTREME Performance

The XTREME GAMING Series graphics card are forged with the top-notch GPU core through the very own GPU Gauntlet Sorting technology that guarantees an exceptional overclocking proficiency in terms of power switching. Along with the substantial factory overclock compared to the reference design, the memory is also overclocked to deliver the sharpest and smoothest gameplay results.

Built for ultimate overclocking, the GTX 980 Ti XTREME GAMING is further equipped with LN2 BIOS and an extra 6-pin PCI-E power connector, giving overclockers the maximum freedom to tweak the performance to the extremes with the simple press of a button.

XTREME Cooling

Each air-cooling XTREME GAMING graphics card features the WINDFORCE 3X triple-fan system with composite copper heat-pipes, special fin architecture, unique blade fan design, and GIGABYTE ‘Triangle Cool’ technology, together keeping the graphics card nice and cool even when reaching its peak.

The WINDFORCE 3X triple-fan system also features 3D-Active fan, the first 0dB semi-passive fan design introduced by GIGABYTE back in 2007 and has been leading the way to date. This technology allows gamers to enjoy gameplay in absolute silence during light gaming or idle without any distraction by noise. Users can be well aware of the fan status with the LED indicator on the top of the card while gaming.

Both the TITAN X and the GTX 980 Ti XTREME GAMING WINDFORCE edition further adopt the alternate spinning fan design, as the middle fan spins in the reverse direction to optimize air flow to dissipate heat more effectively. This innovative design significantly enhances the thermal efficiency of the available cooling area, delivering a heat dissipation capacity up to 700W for accomplishing higher performance at a lower temperature.

The GTX 980 Ti XTREME GAMING also offers the WATERFORCE edition for those favor the liquid cooling solution. The exclusive all-in-one, closed-loop water cooling system features the full-coverage cooling module covering not only the GPU, but also the heat-generating VRAM and MOSFET. This design requires no additional fan like other competitions in its class for a much superior acoustic performance.

The robust FEP tubes can effectively prevent the leak and fare a lower coolant evaporation rate. Coupled with the 120mm silent fan and the low-noise pump, the graphics card is able to perform up to 38.8% cooler than the reference cooling in operating temperature for ultra-stable gaming in near silence.

XTREME Protection

Armored with a metal back plate, each XTREME GAMING graphics card is thoroughly applied with a breathable coating to shield against moisture, dust, and corrosion for a complete protection. This aerospace-grade coating is ideal for users who live in regions with high humidity, salt air pollution or extreme temperatures. Hardcore gamers who practice water-cooling or even LN2 overclocking could also benefit from this unique feature to reduce the risks of damages caused by coolant residue or leaks.

The XTREME GAMING graphics cards are also fitted with a smart power LED indicator next to the power connectors (available on selected models). When experiencing any power abnormality, the indicator will alert gamers by flashing light. Abnormal power-related events will recorded in the system as well through OC GURU utility software as a useful reference for troubleshooting.

XTREME Outlook

In addition to the stylish metal back plate, the stealth aesthetics of the XTREME GAMING series graphics cards is now backlit with brand new RGB LED illumination, which corresponds to the excitement of XTREME GAMING with a premium gaming look.

The exclusive LED angle eyes are first seen in graphics cards that light up the cooling fans along with the WINDFORCE emblem (available on selected models). Gamers are able to customize their own builds that best suit their gaming ambience with multiple color options and light effects using OC GURU.

XTREME Durability

Compared to the reference design, the XTREME GAMING series graphics cards are equipped with extra power phases to make the MOSFET working at a lower temperature, whilst providing more stable voltage output. The featuring over temperature protection and load balance to each MOSFET can also effectively extend the card life.

The XTREME GAMING graphics cards are all reinforced with top quality components to bring gamers with the extreme durability ever. Using the highest-grade chokes and capacitors, these graphics cards deliver the ultimate integration of thermal, electric characteristics, digital signals, power circuitry for enhanced results and longer system lifespan.

XTREME User Friendliness

The XTREME GAMING graphics cards support GIGABYTE OC GURU to provide gamers with an unlimited OC capability and full control through its intuitive interface. Users can easily perform precise control on the graphics card, including core clock adjustment, fan speed, power or temperature targets, and LED illuminations. These main features not only increase the overclocking ability but also deliver superior presentation to let gamers enjoy the all-around gaming experience.

Built with fully automated manufacturing process, which eliminates human interventions, the XTREME GAMING graphics cards remove all sharp edges of the solder connectors and pins to provide a rather smooth PCB surface for a more user-friendly DIY experience when building or modding gaming PCs.”

For more information on the XTREME GAMING range, check out the product pages here.

Nvidia NVS 810 Digital Signage Card Released – Supports 8X 4K

Are you tired of the limitations of your current graphics cards video output options? If you’re trying to create a large-scale video wall to watch all your favourite media, perhaps you’re having trouble getting all eight of your 4K monitors connected? Don’t worry, it looks like Nvidia have the almost-perfect solution for you.

The new Nvidia NVS multi-display lineup has just launched, starting with the NVS 810, which is based around the ever-popular Maxwell hardware. With a pair of GM107 GPUs on the card, each with 2GB of memory and a total of 1024 CUDA cores between them, it has plenty of power to push video through its impressive connectivity options; 8 mini-DP 1.2 ports on this single slot card.

While it’s obvious this card isn’t for gaming, its low profile, low-power, design is perfect for the market they’re intended for. The profile and lower heat generated means it shouldn’t be too much trouble using four of these cards together, giving you a maximum 4K display output of 32. If you’re building a display setup for digital marketing, financial trading, sports events and a whole host of other things, that’s going to be a handy feature.

Prices are expected to be around $650 – $750, not cheap, but still good value for money given the functionality.

Cyberpower Zeus Mini EVO I-970 Gaming PC Review

Introduction


Cyberpower is one of the most recognizable system builders in the industry, renowned for creating a huge array of stylish and unique builds. The company includes a 3-year warranty with every system as standard regardless of the specification or price. Additionally, Cyberpower utilizes their buying prowess to deliver astonishing prices which legitimately rival self-builds. Their adept design team spearheads the focus on unusual and distinctive custom PCs which look spectacular. This allows consumers to opt for something special instead of the traditional ATX form factor.

One perfect example of Cyberpower’s approach is the Zeus Mini EVO I-970 which features an Intel Core i5-6600K, 16GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM, MSI Armor OC GTX 970 and highly efficient Gigabyte Z170N-WiFi. This stunning setup is housed in a slim and portable Cyberpower Zeus Mini II mITX chassis. Other key specifications include a 120GB Kingston SSD boot drive, 1TB Seagate data disk and Corsair CX600M modular power supply. On another note, the CPU frequency is overclocked in a proficient manner and set to 4.2GHz. This is a significant boost from the base figure of 3.5GHz and should provide some impressive performance gains. Given the Zeus’ wonderful aesthetic design and excellent core specification, I expect the system to exceed its price point and offer a marvelous gaming experience.

Specifications

  • Name: Cyberpower Zeus Mini EVO I-970
  • Case: Cyberpower Zeus Mini II mITX Gaming Chassis w/ USB 3.0 Black
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WiFi ITX
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-6600K Quad Core 3.50 GHz 6MB Cache LGA1151 @ 4.2GHz
  • Processor Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H55 Quiet Liquid Cooling
  • System Memory: Corsair 16GB DDR4 Vengeance LPX 2666MHz CL16
  • Main Boot Drive: 120GB Kingston SSDNow V300 SSD
  • Additional Storage Drive(s): 1TB Seagate 7200RPM 64MB mechanical disk drive
  • Graphics card: MSI Armor OC GTX 970 + Bullets or Blades game coupon
  • Power Supply: Corsair CX600M 600W Modular
  • Peripherals: None
  • Monitor: None
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC 8260
  • OS: Windows 10 64-Bit
  • Warranty: 3 Year Labour, 2 Year Parts, 1 Month Collect and Return plus Life-Time Technical Support
  • Price: £999.00

Packing and Accessories

Despite opting for a fairly compact design, Cyberpower dispatched the sample in a massive box which caught me by surprise. However, you can’t be too careful when trying to protect sensitive PC components.

The external packaging is surrounded by a huge quantity of airbags, which cushions the accessory box and main chassis. This is splendid and ensures the system arrives without any mechanical damage or cosmetic flaws.

Here we can see how small the chassis is and standard packaging. Notice how there’s no buckling to the cardboard sides or tape coming apart. This illustrates how well the system has been protected and I’m very happy with Cyberpower’s attentive approach.

On the inside, there is some heavy-duty bubble wrap, a protective cover and flexible foam inserts. These combine to reduce any damage if the system is dropped or mishandled.

In terms of accessories, the PC contains user manuals, driver disks, WiFi antennas, SATA data cables, additional SATA power cable, UK plug and chassis stand. I personally didn’t feel the need to use the stand, but it helps to keep the system upright on certain surfaces.

CPU-Z


GPU-Z

AMD & Nvidia Cards Working Together in DX12 Benchmarks!

While much of the talk around DX12 recently has been around the reduced CPU/driver overhead and AsyncCompute, another feature is getting its first real world test. Dubbed Explicit Multi-Adapter in Microsoft’s material, the feature allows multiple GPUs that support DX12, irrespective of vendor, to work together on the same task. Developer Oxide has created a Multi-Adapter demo from their now famous Ashes of the Singularity title, using the in-house Nitrous engine.

While DX12 continues to allow the GPU drivers to allow multi-GPU setups like SLI and Crossfire, Microsoft has decided to build in a more powerful feature right into DX12. This means if the developer takes the time and effort to implement it, any DX12 title will allow any 2 DX12 card work together and boost performance. This is exactly what Anandtech tested when Oxide provided a custom build of Ashes of the Singularity with early support.

Using the built-in DX12 Multi-Adapter, top end cards like the Fury X, 980Ti and Titan X were able to show gains of between 46 to 72%. While lower than what Crossfire can offer at about 80% gains, this is pretty crazy considering the fact that it is using two cards with vastly different architectures at times from 2 different vendors. Interestingly enough, combinations with the Fury X as primary card out did those with the Nvidia card as the main one, even when the Titan X was used. This held true of older cards like the 7970 vs the 680, with the 680+7970 doing worse than just the 680 or 7970 alone. This may be due to the inherent nature of AMD’s GCN architecture being better suited to the task, but it’s still early in the game.

If developers choose to make use of this feature later on, it could make big performance boosts in teh future. Instead of having to buy two of a card, gamers can just use 1 higher performance card with a lower end one. When it comes time to upgrade, the weaker card can be tossed out and a new top-tier card takes control of the old master card. This extends to pairing up mostly unused iGPUs to get that extra bit of eye candy and fps. With control in the hands of developers and not hardware vendors, it will be interesting to see if this feature takes off.

 

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.

Gainward Phoenix GTX 970 4GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


The GTX 970 has been with us for around a year now and in that time it has cemented itself as possibly one of the best Maxwell-based cards available. Obviously the Titan X is the most powerful and the GTX 980Ti is the obvious option if you have £600 to spend, but the GTX 970 is the right amount of power to sustain consumers into the next generation of cards without taking a massive hit come resale when Pascal and HBM v2 is released.

Today in the test bench is the Gainward Phoenix GTX 970. It’s nice to see manufacturers still pushing this lower line considering how popular the GTX 980Ti has been and how saturated the market already is with competing cards.

I can’t really go into a GTX 970 review without at least touching on the issues that were present with the VRAM and miss advertised specifications. When it was first released, the GTX 970 seemed like the perfect card, 980 performance at a reduced price, then reviewers and consumers started to notice the drop in performance at high VRAM loads even though it was well within the VRAM limit of the card. NVIDIA decided to utilise an altered DDR5 memory architecture on this card which increased the speed of the first 3.5GB, but severely hindered the last 512MB. Along with that, the cores, ROP and TMU’s were all advertised higher than they really were. All that being said, the GTX 970 is still a cracking card and one of my all time favourites.

Packaging and accessories

When I opened the shipping box, I was surprised to how large the actual retail box was; the bright colours are certainly enticing.

The rear of the box is simple with key information listed. Some of the more important features regarding NVIDIA and the power of the GTX 970 are outlined with graphics.

The accessories are the usual lot, molex to PCIe 6-pin connector, DVI to VGA adapter, driver disc and installation manual.

Nvidia Prepping Dual-GPU Graphics Card

Dual GPU graphics card have been common over the [ast few generations and it looks like Nvidia is about to launch another one. Set to use the Maxwell architecture, the new dual-GPU card will feature 2 GM200 class GPUs, the same ones that power the GTX 980Ti and Titan X.

Back in the Fermi generation, Nvidia had the GTX 590 which was followed up by the GTX 690 with Kepler. Both cards were relatively well received. Looking to make use of their Titan brand, Nvidia then pushed for the Titan Z, essentially 2 Titan Blacks. That card, unfortunately (or, fortunately, depending on where you stand) flopped heavily due to an exorbitant $3000 price tag. This time around, we will likely see a return to more sane pricing, with two GTX 980Ti equivalents priced about $1500.

Given the tight time frames, a Maxwell based dual-GPU flagship likely means Pascal won’t be dropping for a while. After all, Nvidia won’t want those who shelled ou top dollar for the new card to feel burned with Pascal drops with a new architecture, memory interface, and better performance. This does cement the fact that Nvidia will probably launch most of Pascal with HBM2, with maybe a few select cards using HBM1, similar to what AMD has done.

It’s interesting to hear of this Nvidia now so close to AMD’s dual Fury GPU. The R9 Fury X2 is set to feature two of AMD’s top line Fiji chips and would have likely dominated the market for single board graphics cards. With this new card, Nvidia will be able to offer some stiff competition given Maxwell’s strength. It is important to note that Crossfire does scale a bit better than SLI, leading to AMD’s 7990 and 295X2 doing quite well.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

ASUS Announces the Poseidon Platinum GTX 980Ti

Something that we know about the GTX 980Ti range is the completely absurd performance that this one graphics card can deliver. When the sub-vendors were allowed to customise the card, the performance increased and the variations are so diverse that choosing only one to buy is a difficult choice.

Today ASUS has announced the Poseidon Platinum GTX 980Ti, adding onto the pre-existing RoG range is the Hybrid cooled monster. Based on the GM200 core, it will come with a factory boost OC clock speed of 1228MHz. This might not be the highest clock speed of all of the GTX 980Ti’s on the market, but something we have come to learn is that a strong core with a lower clock speed can outperform a poorer core and higher clock speed.

The cooling design features a unique, dust free dual fan design with a built-in water block for future cooling upgradeability; named DirectCU H2O. The design features the most common G¼-inch threaded fittings for the best possible compatibility with most of today’s water cooling products. On standard air cooling, you can expect up to 5°c lower temperatures and up to 30°c better when under water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnDpSlx6q68

The new manufacturing process, Auto Extreme, has almost completely removed humans from the production line, coupled with Super Alloy Power II components, this adds up to one efficient, powerful and high quality graphics card that is set to last.

Along with the physical features, ASUS will also include a download to the in-house GPU Tweak II; probably one of the best GPU tuning software options available and a 1-year subscription to X-Split Gamecaster premium. Based at $99 for the year, this software allows gamers to easily stream and/ or record gameplay via a lite in-game overlay. Along with those, ASUS also bundles in a 15-day World of Warships premium account with an exclusive Diana Cruiser ship code.

I can’t wait to test one of these and compare it against the other GTX 980Ti’s we’ve had in. Are you still torn about a new graphics card purchase? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

MSI GeForce GTX 980Ti Lightning Launched

MSI has launched their much-anticipated GeForce GTX 980Ti Lightning, one of the premier overclocking GTX 980Ti’s around. As part of the overclocking Lightning lineup, the card is designed to push the GPU to the limit and is the flagship OC product of MSI. To meet those high expectations, the card features a whole host of features and tools.

Starting off the bat, the specifications are actually a bit better than previous leaks had alluded to. A minor improvement is in the number of power phases to 16 in total, up from the 12+3 from the leaks. Other than that, the board largely remains the same, with Military Class 4 components, dual BIOS (LN2 tweaked). Cooling is provided by 5 nickel-plated 8mm “SuperPipes” paired with a massive heatsink cooled by new Torx fans in a TriFrozor setup and directional airflow. While technically a dual slot card, the Lightning pretty much will take up 3 due to the massive cooler. The card also features a memory and MOSFET heatsink as well as a backplate.

On the GPU side of things, the core is clocked to 1304 MHz boost but can drop down to 1203 MHz. The 6GB of GDDR5 will run at an effective rate of 7096Mhz. Interestingly enough, these speeds are the exact same as those offered by rival EVGA’s GTX 980Ti K|NGP|N Edition, another overclocking-focused offering. Given these similarities, it might be that Nvidia is restricting their partners to certain limits, or that this is simply the sweet spot for the GTX 980Ti. One allure that the K|NGP|N offered was ASIC binning so it will be interesting to see if MSI did any ASIC binning themselves as well. Given the fierce competition in the overclocking world, it will be interesting to see if the Lightning will surpass the K|NGP|N.

Nvidia Reportedly Developing a GeForce GTX 950 Ti

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

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

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

Thank you Hermitage Akihabara for providing us with this information

Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Listed and Pictured

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

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

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

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

MSI Gaming GeForce GTX 980Ti ‘OC’ 6GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction and Packaging


MSI is one of those names you think of when compiling a list of computer components. You know that the amount of testing and quality control that goes into each product released will shine through in performance and longevity. MSI produces some of the best looking, cooling, sounding and performing graphics cards on the market thanks to the military grade components that go into every card.

Today on the test bench is the MSI Gaming GTX 980Ti OC edition. MSI has given this card the magic touch with a custom PCB and the epic Twin Frozr V cooling solution. The new design features a brand new fan design called TORX fan, this includes a fan blade that forces air down into the heatsink and out faster than conventional fan blades.

Since the launch of the GTX 980Ti, it has been adored the world over by enthusiasts of both AMD and NVIDIA. Based on a cut-down version of the GM200 GPU found in the Titan X, the GTX 980Ti seemed like it would lag behind the Titan X by around 10%, however, that never was the case. This graphics card pretty much dethroned the Titan X overnight thanks to the sub-vendors ability to customise the cooling designs and huge price difference.

The outer box resembles the rest of the GeForce range of graphics cards made by MSI. A small amount of information on the front with the MSI Gaming dragon dominating in terms of colour.

The back of the box is filled with key MSI features, mainly focusing on the Twin Frozr V cooling solution.

Inside the main box, you’ll find a slimmer box containing the accessories.

The accessories include a user guide, product series ‘catalogue’, driver disc, DVi to VGA adapter and a 6-pin PCIe power to 8-pin adapter.

Stanford University and NVIDIA Working on Depth of Field VR Headset

The major players in the virtual reality headset market have based their gear on stereoscopic technology – splitting images into two, one for each eye, to simulate 3D visuals – but a new joint initiative by Stanford University and GPU maker NVIDIA, under the banner Magic Leap, is hoping to push beyond stereoscopic alignments with its new “light field” VR display.

The headset offers users a more realistic experience by simulating depth-of-field, allowing the eye to switch focus between foreground and background, rather than tricking it in-image. It achieves this by layering two screens on top of one another, both being translucent with a backlight behind them, allowing the rear screen to be visible through the front screen.

“The way we perceive the natural world is much more complex than stereoscopic,” said Gordon Wetzstein, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford. ”Our eyes can focus at different distances. Even one eye can see in 3D. It does that by focusing the eye.”

The image shown to each eye, constructed of a combination of 25 separate images through its LCD screens, is akin to a hologram. The prototype kit, currently connected to a high-end PC, is powered by an NVIDIA Maxwell GPU, while the program it runs is constructed using NVIDIA’s CUDA programming language. In development since 2010, the current headset marks the third generation of the light field technology. “This is as good as we can make it from off-the-shelf components purchased on eBay and 3D-printed housing,” Wetzstein said.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information.

Inno3D iChill X3 Ultra GeForce GTX 980Ti Graphics Card Review

Introduction and Packaging


The GTX 980Ti, the card that has taken the world by storm, is finally to have manufacturers install their own custom cooling solutions. Since the launch of the GTX 980Ti, it has been adored the world over by enthusiasts of both AMD and NVIDIA. Based on a cut-down version of the GM200 GPU found in the Titan X, the GTX 980Ti seemed like it would lag behind the Titan X by around 10%, however, that never was the case. This graphics card pretty much dethroned the Titan X overnight thanks to the sub-vendors ability to customise the cooling designs and huge price difference.

Today in the test bench is the Inno3D iChill x3 Ultra GTX 980Ti. This card is an absolute monster, measuring 300mm long and 3 slots wide; it’s not for the small case. We know that the GTX 980Ti is a great card, but Inno3D has taken the reference PCB to a whole new level with upgraded components. Fitted to this card is the renowned iChill Ultra x3 Airboss cooling design, which is completely modular and covered by warranty to take apart and clean; assuming you don’t take off the heat sink.

We already know that the GTX 980Ti has outstanding performance, but let’s see if Inno3D has added to the performance in today’s review.


The outer box is very plain, with minimal branding. On the right side is what you can find inside the box.

The rear of the box is very generic, multiple languages stating the features.

The inner box is of strong construction with just the iChill logo on top and Inno3D logo on the base.

Accessories include 1x 3Dmark licence, 1x mouse mat, 1x Molex to 6-pin adapter, 1x VGA to DVI connector, 1x iChill case badge, 1x power supply guideline leaflet, 1x quick installation manual and 1x driver disc.

Nvidia Cuts Price on 750 Ti Ahead of 950 Launch

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

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

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

More Details For Nvidia GeForce GTX 950 Emerge

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

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

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

Thank you Videocardz for providing us with this information

EVGA Announces Their GeForce GTX 980 Ti Classified ACX 2.0+ Graphics Card

Whether you are looking for an upgrade to your gaming rig or want to build a new one, it’s important to know what’s available on the market. EVGA knows this and hopes to offer everything you need to improve your gaming experience. That’s why they just revealed their own GeForce GTX 980 Ti Classified graphics solution.

The card comes with 6GB of GDDR5 memory and 2816 NVIDIA CUDA Cores, so it will undoubtedly have your back in the latest and upcoming game titles. In addition, the 384-bit memory width, 7010 MHz memory clock and 336.5 GB/s bandwidth specs just speak for themselves in terms of performance. The Maxwell GPU clocks look promising too, having the base clock at 1140 MHz and boost clock going for up to 1228 MHz. But the best part about it? It can go to up to 4-way SLI, so even if you’re an extreme gamer, you can get everything you need out of this baby.

EVGA tells that the 14+3 Power Phase on the card will bring improved efficiency, power capacity and lower average operating temperature, while the dual 8-pin Power Inputs deliver increased power capability. When it comes to the cooling solution, EVGA’s ACX 2.0+ cooling technology along with its MOSFET Cooling Plate show a 13% temperature, while the Straight Heat Pipes are said to further decrease the card’s temperature by 5ºC. This all adds up to a 20% temperature reduction compared to other cards. The ACX 2.0+ cooling solution also helps in delivering more airflow while eating up less power with the help of its optimized swept fan blades, double ball bearings and the low power motor.

The card certainly looks great and from what I see, EVGA is really pushing a lot of juice to deliver the necessary performance while also providing the right cooling for the card. More information about the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti Classified ACX 2.0+ can be found over at its website here.

Images courtesy of EVGA

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980Ti 6GB Graphics Card Review

Introduction


When you think of graphics cards and manufacturers, you automatically think of NVIDIA and the GTX range; regardless of what side of the fence you are on. Without a doubt, they produce some of the best graphics cards in the world, but that performance comes at a hefty price, the current most powerful single GPU card sits at around $950; not exactly sofa change. Today we have the newest Maxwell based graphics card and the first (and likely only) Ti model of the GTX 900 series; the GeForce GTX 980Ti.

We know that Maxwell are the go-to graphics card options of early 2015, they offer amazing performance in the GTX Titan X, great bang for buck in the GTX 970 and awesome budget gaming in the GTX 960; so what are NVIDIA doing by offering up a brand new high-end graphics card? My thought is to cement the fact that NVIDIA is a formidable force in the graphics card marketplace and a new memory technology (High Bandwidth Memory) isn’t going to beat them without a fight.

The GTX 980Ti will be based on the mighty GM200 GPU with some slight modifications to bring the performance down from the Titan X. It is around 90% of the specification in regards to cores and TMUs; so let’s see if it’s around 90% of the performance too.

The retail packaging is very high-end, very strong construction and dense foam for the perfect shipping box to keep your new pride and joy safe.

The card is almost identical to that of the rest of the GTX 900 series reference coolers.

The PCB look very similar to the Titan X, but without the rear mounted VRAM and a few components missing.

Very minimalistic output end, 1x DVi port, 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI port.