Biostar Releases GeForce GTX750Ti Graphics Card

There is no doubt that most of us dream of that high-end rig with just the best of the best components, but the truth is that a lot of people don’t need that much power. For a lot of people, less is sufficient. You don’t need triple GTX980 setups to run League of Legends or surf the web for YouTube videos. So why waste money on something that never really will be used. For these people, and anyone else that might want it, Biostar released a new GeForce GTX750Ti (VR75T5XUX1) Gaming/OC graphics card.

The new Biostar GTX750Ti is built with Nvidia’s first-generation Maxwell architecture and comes with 2GB GDDR5 memory on a 128bit memory bus and a full-size PCB. The card offers dual DVI output together with a mini-HDMI for up to 4K displays. It has a 1059MHz base clock and a turbo of 1137MHz. The memory is clocked at 5400MHz.

There is no official DX12 support, but the card does support DirectX 11, Nvidia PuroVideo HD Technology, and PhysX and CUDA Technology. The dual-fan cooling design should keep this already cool card at an optimal temperature versus noise level that is a welcome bonus for anyone.

Biostar has set the MSRP of their GeForce GTX750Ti graphics card at $149.00 which is something more people will be able to afford than the flagship graphics cards that easily run in around the $1K marker.

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.

EVGA Launches Pre-binned GeForce GTX 980 Ti K|NGP|N Tommorrow

Overclockers looking for the top clocking 980Tis won’t have to wait much longer. EVGA is launching their overclocking focused GeForce GTX 980 Ti K|NGP|N Edition GPU tomorrow. Designed in partnership with renowned overclocker Vince “K|NGP|N” Lucido, the card features 14+3 digital phase VRM, 12 PCB layers, cooling plates, triple BIOS and an impressive ACX 2.0+ copper heatsink.

While CPU overclockers have long had the opportunity to buy chips with nearly guaranteed overclocks, getting pre-binned GPUs direct from AIB partners is much more rare. With the 980 Ti K|NGP|N, EVGA is allowing customers to choose their own ASIC quality, which determines the leakage level of the GPU and can influence overclocking. By buying cards with higher ASIC levels, overclocking has more potential to reach higher clocks. Unlike the Silicon Lottery though, EVGA does not guarantee any specific overclock, so buyers are still taking a pretty heavy risk.

Prices for the 980 Ti K|NGP|N are pretty high as well, with the base 72% ASIC priced at $849.99 USD. It only goes up from there with 74% at $899.99, with 76% and 80% at $999.99 and $1049.99 respectively. That is quite a premium over other 980Tis that usually come in at about under $700, even for custom models. For those seeking the best overclocking performance though, they may be more than willing to pay the price.

Binning chips by ASIC does raise an interesting question. EVGA may be diverting all the high ASIC cards to the 980 Ti K|NGP|N, meaning regular 980 Ti from EVGA may on average, have lower ASIC than 980 Ti from other AIB partners. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen but those high ASIC chips have to come from somewhere. If true, those looking to overclock on a budget may want to focus on non-EVGA 980 Ti and gamble with the silicon lottery. You can find the page with the card details and purchasing information here.

OpenGL Vulkan May be Better Than DX12 Says Paradox

WorldsFactory interviewed the developers of Magicka 2 – Pieces Interactive this week.

They asked the developers what they thought of DirectX version 12 from a development point of view. Turns out they have a very positive view on it. However at the same time, they said that Vulkan may be even better.

“DX12 is a big improvement over DX11, it enables games to move to the next generation of graphics. But we’re also eagerly awaiting the official release of OpenGL Vulkan, which might even be better than DX12. Currently we are only experimenting with the API’s but we will of course support them eventually.”

If Vulkan could indeed offer further improvements remains to be seen. It is understandable that Vulkan could indeed prove to be as effective if not more so than DX12, as it retains some of Mantle’s most essential components. Adoption of the new APIs is what would be the deciding factor though, as both offer huge advantages over the previous generation. DX12 will be available with Windows 10 this summer.

Vulkan also has the advantage that it supports several operating systems. Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Whereas DX12 can only function on windows operating systems. Either way, it works out well for us gamers. We can expect a much better performance increase and a decrease in CPU requirements.

Thank you to WorldsFactory for providing us with this information

G.SKILL Announces 2nd Annual “OC World Cup 2015” Overclocking Competition

G.SKILL announced the 2nd annual “OC World Cup 2015” overclocking competition with a total of $16,200 in prizes and where the best overclocker will go home with $10,000. The event is split into three rounds where the first is a online qualifier held on HWBOT. The second level will be a live qualifier after which the Grand Final is held during Computex 2015.

The Online Qualifiers will be held on HWBOT from 9th March to 13th April 2015 and consists of three benchmarks: SuperPI 32M, MaxxMem Read Bandwidth, and 3DMark Fire Strike Physics on specified hardware. These selected benchmarks and specified hardware are chosen to challenge the memory tuning skills of contest participants.

The top 6 online participants will later battle it out at the OC World Cup 2015 Live Qualifiers at Computex 2015. The two best will then move on to the Grand Finals for a chance at the $10,000 prize for first place. The rest of the prizes aren’t without either and include both cash and hardware. All 6 contestants in the live event will receive one G.SKILL Ripjaws 4 DDR4 3200MHz CL15 16GB memory kit and a sponsorship of G.SKILL’s new upcoming DDR4 series memory for the next-gen DDR4 platform.

Prizes include:

  • Champion: $10,000 USD
  • 2nd: $2,500 USD + F4-3300C16Q-16GRKD
  • 3rd: $1,500 USD + F4-3200C16Q-16GRKD
  • 4th: $1,200 USD
  • 5th: $1,000 USD

More information can be found at both HWBOT and OC eSports, if you think you got what it takes to claim the OC throne.

Thanks to G.SKILL for providing us with this information

ZOTAC GeForce GTX 970 Extreme OC Graphics Card Revealed

The new Zotac GTX 970 Extreme OC graphics card has been revealed this week, which features a new cooler design to help the card reach higher factory overclocks. The card is equipped with five heat pipes, three large fans, a built-in overclocking module and it’s one of the few Maxwell based cards that requires 8+8 power connectors (most are 6+6), which should be some indication of the extra performance that this card offers. The card comes with a 1203 base clock, 1355 boost and 7200 Mhz memory, so there is no doubt that this card is going to be one of the fastest GTX 970’s around.

The only downside to all of this performance is that the card is incredibly ugly, of course that is just my opinion, but the cooling solution looks very closed in with lots of weird carbon fibre panels and an extended shroud over the heat pipes; making the card look incredibly wide. The card is equipped with customisable LED lighting, but as you can see in the images, this looks pretty cheap and nasty overall and perhaps a more understated design would have been better.

No details on price or availability just yet, but expect to pay a small premium over the stock card for the extra speed and cooling features.

Thank you Chiphell for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of Chiphell.

ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970 Design Revealed

After much anticipation, the first images of Nvidia GeForce GTX 9xx cards have started leaking online. One of the first images to come our way is of the new ASUS STRIX GeForce GTX 970; unfortunately, it doesn’t look all that different from the current GTX 780 series cards.

The new design, or should I say old design, has been tweaked a little bit to better meet the needs of the graphics card. There are less heat pipes near the PCI-E interface; this is no surprise given that the new graphics card has a significantly reduced power consumption over the current generation of hardware.

The card features the popular DirectCU II cooling fans, these only start spinning when the card reaches 65 C to help keep thing nice and quiet when you’re not gaming; the fans can even start as low as 500RPM.

On the box you can see a few of the specifications for the card, such as the DIGI+VRM, 4GB of GDDR5 memory and a factory overclock; although the new clock speeds are still unknown.

Prices are estimated to cost between $400 – 450, with a release date of September 19th.

Thank you VideoCardz for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VideoCardz.

MSI Launch New Z97 OC Series Motherboards

Intels Haswell refresh is almost here, bringing with it a few new features and now you can purchase the latest range of MSI motherboards which not only support the new range of CPU’s, but also introduces the new Z97 chipset. The new motherboards come in two choices, the MSI Gaming Series and the MSI OC Series.

The Gaming Series ranges from $100 to $220, bringing with it a range of features that are ideal for gaming PC builds, with good memory and CPU overclock capabilities. The OC series takes things further, allowing professional levels of overclocking that will no doubt appeal to the enthusiast market, with prices ranging from $200 to $400.

The Z97 XPower AC will be the flagship of the range, supporting up to 4-way overclocked GPUs, thanks to a PEX8747 bridge chip from PLX which allows four PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, as well as a single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot that is wired directly to the CPU root complex, bypassing the bridge chip completely. Everything else on this board is top of the line, the CPU is powered by an 8-pin EPS and 4-pin CPU connector and a 16-phase VRM with a water cooling compatible VRM cooler. There are 10 x SATA 6 Gb/s ports, an M.2 slot, 12 x USB 3.0 ports, AudioBoost, 802.11 ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, and gigabit Ethernet.

The Z97 MPower MAX AC is just the next model down in the range. It only features a 12-phase VRM for the CPU, doesn’t feature the PCIe bridge chip, but it will still offer up three PCIe 3.0 x16 slots running in x8/x4/x4 when fully populated. Connectitivty is still pretty robust too with 8 x SATA 6 Gb/s, 1 x M.2, 10 x USB 3.0, 802.11 ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, gigabit Ethernet, and the AudioBoost headphone amp built in.

Finally the sub $200 Z97 MPower MAX offers most of the features of the MAX AC, only missing out on the 02.11 ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.0, liquid-cooled VRM heatsinks, and onboard OC fine-tuning buttons, something I know many gamers and system builders will not have a need for anyway.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Sapphire Radeon R9 290 Vapor-X OC Released

Sapphire have just added another exciting product to their already awesome line up of graphics hardware, the AMD based Radeon R9 290 Vapor-X OC. The new 290 is packed with several industry leading technologies and some tasty factory overclocks that should set it apart from the rest of the competition, but those of you familiar with Sapphires higher end products will already know this.

The Sapphire R9 290 Vapox-X features 2560 Stream Processors, 4GB of GDDR5 memory at 1400 Mhz (4.6GB/s effective), and high speed engine clocks of 1030 MHz. This is all delivered through specially designed high quality component, most importantly the power control circuitry with uses Digital Power Control and the new Aero6 VRM section, delivering 6-phase power with high power Direct-FET technology for the GPU, memory and control circuits. All of this is kept in check by the Vapor-X series cooler.

“The new Vapor-X cooler uses SAPPHIRE’s latest and highly acclaimed Tri-X structure comprising five heatpipes and three efficient fans. The core heatpipe is an industry leading 10mm pipe, flanked by two 8 mm pipes and two 6 mm pipes ensuring even heat distribution across the cooler. The three 90 mm fans use aerofoil section blades for maximum airflow with minimum noise, and are each equipped with two sets of dust repelling ball bearings.” Said Sapphire in a recent press release.

The Vapor-X style coolers have already proven to be some of the coolest and quietest performing graphics thermal solutions on the market, so we’ll expect great things from their latest card. Not only does it promise to perform well, but it also looks stunning and the mixture of black with blue trim and that hefty back plate gives their new card a premium quality appearance.

“The SAPPHIRE R9 290 Vapor-X is equipped with a Dual BIOS – so at the touch of a button it can be switched between compatibility with the latest UEFI or for use in legacy based systems. For optimum performance this card should be used in a mainboard with PCI Express Gen 3.0 expansion slots. Multiple cards can be used in AMD CrossFire in a compatible mainboard.”

We look forward to checking out this card in the near future, expect it to start popping up at most popular online retailers over the next few days with a 15-20% premium over the stock R9 290 cards.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechPowerUp.

Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280X Vapor-X OC 3GB Graphics Card Review


AMD’s new series of graphics cards, the RX 2XX series, is split up into the R9 Enthusiast class and the R7 mainstream class. Both segmentations feature impressive levels of value for money and top end performance at each price point but today we are looking at one of the higher end models. We have with us the Sapphire AMD Radeon R9 280X Vapor-X OC Graphics card in this review but we’ve also reviewed the AMD R7 260X and AMD R9 270X for today’s launch. While this is a Sapphire branded card we are using this as an opportunity to to also look at AMD’s Radeon R9 280X as AMD were not able to provide us with a reference design. The reference design of course is identical to Sapphire’s model other than the cooler is different and Sapphire have added a mild factory overclock taking the clock speed up from 1GHz to 1.07GHz, and the memory from 6GHz to 6.2GHz.

The Radeon R9 280X card we received from Sapphire and AMD is simply an OEM graphics card so it comes with nothing other than the card which is pictured above. Below you can see a GPU-Z screenshot of the new AMD graphics card which reveals those overclocks I mentioned earlier. A couple of other things to point out are that this card supports Direct X 11.2, OpenGL 4.3 and AMD’s new “Mantle” technology.

Looking at the AMD R9 280X more broadly it should have the following specifications:

Of course for those who don’t know, the AMD Radeon R9 280X is based on an optimised version of the AMD HD 7970 GPU. It features increased clock speeds and uses a more refined 28nm process as well as a redesigned cooling solution for the reference cards. The main advantage is that AMD is shipping the new R9 280X with a price of $299 compared to the HD 7970 which when it first shipped had an MSRP of $549. With the R9 280X, AMD hopes to take on Nvidia by offering a card that is faster than the GTX 760 and on par with the GTX 770 but costs $299 instead of the $249 of the GTX 760 or $399 of the GTX 770. Of course Nvidia will undoubtedly respond with price cuts but as things stand the R9 280X is seeking to be the GTX 770 killer by offering equivalent performance for a staggering $100 less. Let us proceed with this review and see if the R9 280X delivers.

Gainward GeForce GTX 770 Phantom OC 2GB Graphics Card Review

While the GTX 780 and 770 were both released recently, there has been more focus from brands on the 770 counterpart as it offers much better value for money when looking at a price vs performance argument than pretty much any other card on the market from both AMD or Nvidia, and with that we’ve had a lot more GTX 770’s come through our door, than we have 780.

As we start plowing through these cards, we also found a chance to start working with a brand that is fairly new to us, and perhaps doesn’t have the biggest presence in the UK market, unlike other key manufacturer’s and this is Gainward. Today we find their GTX 770 Phantom OC landing with us which is said to offer all of the benefits of a GTX 770 with an increased clock speed thanks to the overclock and their patented Phantom cooling solutions which provides extreme silence and extreme cooling with a unique design behind it too.

With a slightly higher price point than a reference GTX 770, we’re here to find out if the extra £30 is worth spending, and if the overclock really does help push performance while remaining cool and quiet at the same time. We will be comparing this directly to a reference GTX 770 among other key cards that are currently on the market.

Before we get straight into the performance though, there are a few things we need to look at which includes the packaging and what Gainward bundle in with the card, before we take a detailed look at the card itself and its Phantom cooling solution. Once we’ve covered the design aspect, then we can get down to the nitty gritty and look at the specs in comparison to a stock card, and then find out if the performance increase really makes a difference while focusing on the performance of the cooler as well.

Of course, in natural eTeknix fashion, we will see if the overclock can be pushed even further by manually increasing the clock speed and memory speeds on the card, but lets start by taking a look at what the GTX 770 Phantom comes in and exactly what’s included.

The box itself is nice and includes a panel that flaps open to reveal a first view of the card. There are a few spelling errors on the packaging and some words are split between two lines, but this is no real problem to be honest. Inside we find a quick install guide, driver installation CD, twin 6-pin PCI-Express to single 8-pin PCI-Express power adapter, DVI to VGA adapter and a welcome addition; a HDMI to DVI adapter.

XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition OC 1GB Graphics Card Review

There’s been a whole heap of 7790’s coming through my door recently and it doesn’t look like the flow is going to stop just yet. Never before have I had so many partners eager to get their products tested and reviewed for a particular launch, but as we know, Bonaire has stirred the entry level market right up and consequently every one wants a slice of the pie when it comes to sales. When it comes to the review side of things, what this means for both myself and you, the reader, is the I can give a better representation and judgement on how different cards perform and show their worth.

Next to come to the table with their version of the 7790 is XFX. After a little time of not seeing one of their cards with the Double Dissipation cooling system, Ghost thermal technology and in the case of the particular card that I’m looking at today, hand picked and binned components which mean that they have been selected for the Black Edition moniker that XFX pride themselves for as their top of the line range.

So what’s the advantage of chip binning I hear you ask; well only a few manufacturers sell cards that have hand picked and selected components, but these components that have been selected are in essence the cream of the crop and perform the best when tested, which for you the user means that when it comes to performance, they have just the little bit more to give. For the over clocker it means that there is potential for pushing it that little bit further as I will come on to later whilst consuming less power.

XFX tend to keep their bundles quite simple, but whilst this means that the box contains mostly paperwork, along with a Black Edition case badge, it also means the cost of having to include accessories that most users will keep in the box is eliminated, bringing the cost to the end user down at the same time.

Asus Radeon HD 7790 DirectCU II OC 1GB Graphics Card Review

Having looked at a number of choices for the 7790 from MSI, Sapphire and Club3D, its time to see what is on offer from Asus and when we mention Asus, what comes to mind is DirectCU. We’ve seen some manufacturers use their own design of coolers across their own product ranges, but no-one it seems has been more successful at this over Asus. Bar only minor design tweaks to cater for different cards, the DirectCU II coolers inherently all look pretty much a part of the same family, each shrouded by the iconic black metal frame and three red stripes that run along the breadth of the cooler.

So what sets DirectCU apart from the competition ? Well we’ve found time and time again that they are some of the most efficient when it comes to cooling, especially on the acoustics front, with the top four spots on the charts taken up by a cooler of this design. This naturally gives this cooler a chance to join that group. On the basis of Bonaire, we’ve seen some impressive results to date and knowing that Asus don’t like to displease their huge following of users, I’m sure there is going to be something special hidden somewhere inside this card.

In a standard Asus fashion, we find the box decorated with an artistic breakdown of the cooler and the moniker three claw slashes that run to the top right hand corner. Inside we also find a standard accessory set that includes a legacy display adaptor, CrossFire bridge, driver CD with GPU Tweak and a setup guide.

MSI Radeon HD 7790 OC Edition 1GB Graphics Card Review

Having seen that AMD’s new Bonaire core has taken to the market a lot better than anticipated with its high level of performance, relative to its price, its very much worth looking at what other options that there are to chose from over the Sapphire and Club3D cards that I’ve already looked at. Next to the line with their over clocked edition card is MSI. Whilst I’ve typically looked at cards from the upper end of the graphics spectrum from MSI, including their GTX670 Power Edition and GTX680 Lightning, its been a long while since I’ve look at a card that sits lower down in their range, let alone an AMD offering at that.

Like many other cards that I look at, this one as mentioned has had an overclock giving it a boost of power over what AMD provide, and with a core clock of 1050MHz and a memory clock of 1500MHz, we should be seeing this card sit mid point between the cards from the brands mentioned above. What could be potentially interesting later on is seeing how well this card over clocks. Whilst this is not normally hot topic of a review, like all other cards that I review, this will be pushed further using MSI’s own afterburner software and given the response I’ve had from their own cards in the past within Afterburner, there is the pre-empted expectation that this will clock better than the other 7790’s that I’ve already pushed – this though is to be found out, after all I could be proved wrong as a lot of it is down the old fable of the silicon lottery.

Afterburner is the buzz word on the front of MSI’s blue and white box with the main focus around displaying the over clock that comes on the card and inside with the card we get a fairly standard set of accessories including driver CD and guide, power adaptor and legacy display adaptor.