How the Radeon Pro SSG Works - The Basics

By Published July 30, 2016 at 8:30 am

We recently had a chance to speak with AMD's Robert Jameson about the Radeon Pro SSG, or “solid-state graphics,” that was announced earlier this week. This isn't a technical deep-dive by any means, but we did get some additional top-level information as to how the Radeon Pro SSG works. As a reminder, the SSG is targeted at professional production users and is not a gaming card; that said, the technology is interesting and new, and worth exploring for potential future implications.

Here's a quick run down of how this thing works.

We received a user report at 11:50AM EST on July 29 that the new AMD 16.7.3 drivers were limiting memory overclocks to 2050MHz, down from the original 2250MHz limit that we approached with our launch overclock. We spent the next several hours validating the new 16.7.3 drivers versus the previously certified 16.7.2 drivers, and reached-out to AMD via email for support.

During the ensuing tests – including some tests conducted after the below video was filmed – we discovered that the AMD 16.7.3 drivers cause blue screens as a secondary effect from hard crashes. As we state in the video, the overclock limitation on memory is not something to go “burn down the towers” over, as it seems likely a mistake, but we would strongly urge users to stay on 16.7.2 or roll-back if issues present themselves.

(Video pending upload)

Almost every PC component comes decorated with RGB lights nowadays – it was only a matter of time before PSU manufacturers started incorporating RGB lights into their products. Thermaltake's doing that, following the success of the Riing RGB fans, and has recently announced the Toughpower DPS G RGB 650W PSU.

The new, colorful PSU is a modular 650W (and 850W) unit with an LED ring around its 140mm fan. The circular LED ring can output 256 different colors and can be changed with Thermaltake’s DPS G PC App.

The power supply comes with a 10-year warranty and an 80 Plus Gold efficiency rating. The long warranty challenges most PSUs, which usually only offer 3- to 5-year warranties. Thermaltake says the PSU is rated to be “91% efficient under real-world conditions.”

MSI Aegis Ti Specs Include Dual GTX 1080s

By Published July 29, 2016 at 11:00 am

MSI recently announced that they will be launching a new addition to their Aegis PC line dubbed the Aegis Ti. The new PC will be the company’s flagship desktop gaming PC. The Aegis Ti is a black mid-tower sporting vibrant RGB LEDs on its front panel.

Let’s get to the specs: the Aegis Ti comes with either an i5-6600K or i7-6700K CPU, a Z170 motherboard, up to 2 GTX 1080s in SLI, and an 850W 80 Plus Platinum PSU. For networking, you get a Killer LAN E2400 network adapter coupled with a Killer WiFi 1435 AC wireless card and Bluetooth 4.1. The Aegis Ti can support up to 64GB of DDR4 2400MHz RAM.

AMD RX 470 & RX 460 Full Specs, New Release Date

By Published July 29, 2016 at 12:00 am

AMD says the majority of its buyers prefer GPUs in the $100-$300 price-range, and as such, the company has shifted its launch away from “halo” products and toward that affordable segment. The focus for the RX 470 is on players sticking with 1080p, allowing the RX 480 to focus on the 1440p gamers.

The RX 470 uses the Polaris 10 GPU and has the same architecture as the RX 480, including compute pre-emption and asynchronous shaders, but is cut-down in stream processor count and clock-rate. The RX 470 will host 32 CUs, as opposed to the 36 CUs of the RX 480, and that puts us at 2048 stream processors. Knowing that each CU has 64 stream processors, none of this is actually new information yet – we'd already reported/calculated all this in our RX 480 review.

It's crazy to think that we've done 24 Ask GN episodes. The very first episode didn't even use our current video set – it was set in the temporary set, which featured a gray sheet against a wall and a folding card table. Content quality and quality of questions have both gone up. Be sure to leave your questions on the YouTube video for inclusion in next week's episode.

We're back today with Episode 24, which addresses diminishing returns on overclocking (and why reducing the clock can improve performance), safe RX 480 temperature targets, PCIe lanes between the chipset and CPU, and limited GTX 1080 AIB partner card differences.

Phanteks PH-GB1080-X GPU Waterblock Specs Revealed

By Published July 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

Phanteks has become known for making PC cases, fans, and CPU coolers. The company recently introduced their first custom GPU waterblock, the PH-GB1080-X, designed to fit the Founders Edition GTX 1080. AIB partners using the same reference PCB as the FE 1080 will also support the PH-GB1080-X mounting. In theory, that includes the EVGA SC models and MSI's lower SKUs, but check with Phanteks for official support.

The new waterblock features a silver design with matte black accents. The waterblock also has RGB lighting, all the rage right now. The three RGB lights on the waterblock plug into a proprietary power adapter

The past week has been major for hardware news. We've seen the announcement of the Titan X and AMD's new Radeon Pro SSG with 1TB extended framebuffer (learn about that here), but there's also been news of Intel's Kaby Lake shipping to OEMs, and of AMD's boosted earnings.

AMD's new GPU news is interesting in its own way, and so we produced a separate video for that content. The new Radeon Pro SSG ("Solid-State Graphics") is coupled with a 1TB extended framebuffer that operates via PCIe, and bypasses some of the slow-downs encountered when dealing with memory transactions that exceed normal on-card memory. As for the rest of the week's news, our hardware recap below will run through it all swiftly. The topics include: (1) Kaby Lake architecture CPUs shipping to OEMs, (2) AMD earnings recovery, (3) DDR3 price drops, (4) Titan X announcement, (5) Phanteks 1080 waterblock with LEDs.

The video transcript is located below that, if you'd prefer written content.

Sapphire RX 470 Platinum Edition and RX 460 Leaks

By Published July 26, 2016 at 10:55 am

Sapphire, a Hong Kong technology company, has been making Radeon video cards for the better part of a decade. Leaked details about Sapphire’s RX 470 Platinum Edition and RX 460 have been reported by Videocardz.com, whose track record on reporting similar leaks has been generally reliable.

The leaked Sapphire RX 470 Platinum Edition photos show a cooler that looks almost identical to AMD’s RX 480 reference design. The RX 470 Platinum Edition has a silver-colored reference blower cooler and includes a custom backplate. One last difference is Sapphire’s name branding, which is printed in white on the side of the RX 470 Platinum instead of AMD’s red Radeon logo. You can read our thoughts on the RX 480 reference cooler in our review here.

The GTX 1060 Hybrid series has come to a close. This project encountered an unexpected speed bump, whereupon we inserted a copper shim (changing the stack to silicon > TIM > shim > TIM > coldplate) to bridge contact between the CLC and GPU. This obviously sacrifices some efficiency, as we're inserting two layers of ~6W/mK TIM between ~400W/mK copper, but it's still better than air cooling with a finned heatsink.

Our previous Hybrid projects (see: 1080, RX 480) axed the baseplate, thereby losing some VRAM and VRM cooling potential. For this project, we filed down the edges of the GPU socket to accommodate the protruding EVGA coldplate. This allowed us to keep the baseplate, granting better conduction to the VRAM and VRM. The blower fan is also still operating, but by removing the cover from the shroud (“window”), we're losing some pressure and air before it reaches the VRM. After speaking to a few AIB partners, we determined that the cooling was still sufficient for our purposes. An open air bench case fan was positioned to blast air into the “window” hole, keeping things a little cooler on average.

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