With the reveal of AMD’s Rx 300 lineup at E3 today, more details about the specifications have been revealed. One of the most surprising moves was the chip AMD chose to power the R7 370. Among all the cards AMD has launched so far, the R7 370 will be the sole member still running GCN 1.0., and has now been twice rebranded. Rebranding is fine but 3 years later, it’s pushing it.
While most of the attention has been focused on Fury, the rest of the Rx 300 series have been rebrands. The most important clue to the 370’s origin is the features or lack thereof the card supports. As expected the up and coming APIs of DirectX® 12, OpenGL® 4.58, Vulkan, Mantle and OpenCL 2.0 are all supported. However, VCE (Video Codec Engine), TrueAudio and the much vaunted FreeSync are all missing. These features are tied to GCN 1.1/1.2, meaning the 370 is GCN 1.0. This point is hammered home by the presence of a Crossfire finger, a requirement that GCN 1.1/1.2 forgoes.
Another point is the branding for the card. With 1024 SPUs (Stream Processing Units) across 16 CUs (Compute Units), the R7 370 is the successor to the 2012 HD 7850 and the R7 265 with a speed bump to 975Mhz core and memory bandwidth improved to 172.2 GB/s. Even with the speed increase, the 370 will likely still be slower than the R9 270 it sounds similar to. Buyers may very well be more fixated on the 370 part of the name rather than the more critical R7/R9. Those thinking the 370 is the successor to the 270 are going to be disappointed.
AMD now has a sizable gap between the R7 370 and the R9 380 in their product line. While an R9 370 to fill in the gap might make sense under AMD’s logic, that will only serve to confuse buyers. With a lack of features the rest of the lineup boasts as well, AMD has made a surprising choice with the R7 370. One good move though is cutting down Bonaire for the 360 which helps diffreniate the cards as the cap between the R7 260X and 265 was sometimes too narrow. Despite all this, these handicaps won’t be too important as long as the price is right.
Here at eTeknix we serve a wide range of readers: from casual to hardcore PC users as well as gamers, overclockers and more. As a result our readers have differing levels of technical knowledge about a range of different things: today we are covering the field of graphics card overclocking. This article is aimed at a specific set of people, those who have little or minimal knowledge about graphics card overclocking, but we hope that even more experienced overclockers may be able to pick up a few tips or tricks from this article.
To the seasoned PC enthusiast graphics card overclocking is a self-explanatory term but for the casual PC user it may be an alien term, so what does it actually mean? In its simplest form it is about increasing the clock speed (which is measured in frequency) at which your graphics card operates. By default all graphics will ship with two different clock speeds: a clock speed for the graphics card’s core (or engine) and a clock speed for the memory that the graphics card uses.These default clock speeds are referred to as stock speeds. The process of overclocking entails trying to raise any combination of those clock speeds above their stock level, whether that means the core clock, the memory clock or both. Hence the term overclocking is formed from the presumption that you will be clocking your graphics card over its stock levels.
That is of course a very basic explanation so we will bring more details in as we progress through this guide. The layout of the guide is as follows:
Firstly, we will answer the question why should I overclock my graphics card? We will present the case for overclocking and what you stand to gain from doing it.
Secondly, we will explore and elaborate the risks that entail from overclocking as well as ways you can minimise or correct for these risks.
Thirdly, we will explore some graphics card overclocking software to show you the options for overclocking and how you go about achieving an overclock
Fourthly, we will discuss how to find the right overclock for you and how you can go about testing whether a selected overclock is stable
Finally, we will benchmark our test graphics card in overclocked and stock mode to show you what difference overclocking makes
For our overclocking guide we will be using the Gigabyte R9 270 OC 2GB graphics card. This was kindly provided to us by AMD and it makes a great choice for an overclockable graphics card thanks to its large overclocking potential and very competitive price of just $180/£125 (prices accurate at the time of writing). It is also a fairly cool running graphics card that doesn’t consume too much power meaning it should be compatible with a broad range of systems. If you’re new to the ways of graphics card overclocking then the AMD R9 270 is certainly a great place to start.
MSI’s TwinFrozr Gaming series of graphics cards are becoming hugely popular among gamers – and rightly so. MSI offer the same high end dual 100mm fan TwinFrozr IV cooling solution on all the Gaming series graphics cards, even the more affordable GPUs. The TwinFrozr IV runs cool, deadly quiet and gives you bags of overclocking potential, as well as looking down-right awesome. Today we have a graphics card that will sell like Lightning (MSI branding pun intended), equipping AMD’s sweet-spot R9 270 GPU, which is essentially a underclocked R9 270X, MSI’s R9 270 TwinFrozr Gaming looks set to be a winner among gamers. It offers a super-attractive price point, great looking custom cooler and a factory overclock of 50MHz on the GPU core. The 2GB of memory is kept at the default 1400MHz/5600MHz effective reference clock speed.
The box comes with MSI’s Gaming series branding. Included inside, other than the card itself, is a power supply adapter, VGA adapter, quick user’s guide and driver CD.
Battlefield 4 has been one of the biggest game releases so far this year for gamers on all gaming platforms. The FPS title from EA and DICE has got off to a relatively shaky start with numerous audio, graphical and gameplay problems across the various platforms it was released on. In fact for many Battlefield 4 owners the game is still in a dysfunctional or buggy state, but you can expect (or hope) that EA and DICE will begin to patch and fix the majority of the problems within the coming weeks as they have said they will. The shaky launch aside, what most PC owners/gamers want to know, if they haven’t already found out, is how do current generation GPUs perform in Battlefield 4 on the PC?
Today we put that question to the test with an extensive, albeit not entirely complete, range of current generation AMD and Nvidia GPUs. On the AMD side we have the R7 260X, R9 270, R9 270X, R9 280X, R9 290 and R9 290X while on the Nvidia side we have a few more offerings with the GTX 650 Ti Boost, GTX 660, GTX 760, GTX 770, GTX 780, GTX 780 Ti and GTX Titan. All of the aforementioned graphics cards are current offerings and to the sharp-minded readers you will notice some graphics cards are missing. Mainly the current generation lower-end graphics cards from both AMD and Nvidia are absent, that includes the Nvidia GTX 650, GT 640 GDDR5, GT 640 DDR3 and the AMD R7 250 and R7 240. The main reason for not testing these graphics cards, other than that we didn’t have most of them, is because they simply aren’t that capable of running such a high end gaming title. Of course that’s not to say they can’t but given the nature of the resolutions we test (mainly 1080p or above) and the quality settings our readers like to see (very high or ultra) these GPUs simply aren’t cut out for the test. Arguably they are more aimed at gamers with 1366 x 768 monitors tackling medium-high details but I digress. The system requirements for Battlefield 4 reveal a similar picture, if you want a smooth gameplay experience then you need an AMD Radeon HD 7870 or Nvidia GTX 660 or better. However, those system requirements show you very little about what you can expect at different resolutions. So without any further ado let us show you our results and show you exactly how AMD and Nvidia’s offerings stack up!