Hardware

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.

With no warning whatsoever, we received word tonight that nVidia's new version of the Titan X has been officially announced. The company likes to re-use names -- see: four products named "Shield" -- and has re-issued the "Titan X" badge for use on a new Pascal-powered GPU. The Titan X will be using GP102, a significantly denser chip than the GTX 1080's GP104-400 GPU.

GP102 is a 12B transistor chip with 11 TFLOPs of FP32 COMPUTE performance, 3584 CUDA cores clocked at 1.53GHz, and the card leverages 12GB of GDDR5X memory at 480GB/s memory bandwidth. We're assuming the Titan X's GDDR5X memory also operates at 10GHz, like its GTX 1080 predecessor.

Here's a thrown-together specs table. We are doing some calculations here (a ? denotes a specification that we've extracted, and one which is not confirmed). Unless nVidia is using an architecture more similar to the GP100 (detailed in great depth here), this should be fairly accurate.

New video cards are coming out furiously and bringing with them new manufacturing processes and better price-to-performance ratios.

One of newest memory technologies on the market is HBM (High Bandwidth Memory), introduced on the R9 Fury X. HBM stacks 4 memory dies atop an interposer (packaged on the substrate) to get higher density modules, while also bringing down power consumption and reducing physical transaction distance. HBM is not located on the GPU die itself, but is on the GPU package – much closer than PCB-bound GDDR5/5X memory modules.

Colorful GeForce GTX 1060 X TOP Specs

By Published July 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Add-In Board (AIB) partner Colorful has announced the imminent release of its GTX 1060 “X-TOP” graphics card, using a tri-fan GPU cooler and large aluminum heatsink. The GTX 1060 X TOP's cooler easily exceeds the total PCB length, which we previously catalogued as 6.75”, a good deal shorter than the 9.5” total length when counting the FE cooler. The 1060 X TOP will pre-overclock to 1620MHz / 1847MHz (boost) using a 5+2-phase power design, resulting in a +147MHz offset (boost-to-boost) from the stock GTX 1060 Founders Edition card.

Colorful has also announced a few other models in its lineup, all bearing the cumbersome “iGAME” branding. The cards presently announced include:

Enermax ETS-T50 AXE CPU Cooler Auto-Expels Dust

By Published July 13, 2016 at 12:06 pm

We just received news that Enermax will launch a new flagship CPU cooler, the ETS-T50 AXE. This new cooler sports Enermax’s new VEGAS fan. The VEGAS fans do a reverse spin-up when they power on to force air out of the unit, expelling dust along with it. That means less cleaning maintenance for the heatsink and PC overall.

This latest episode of Ask GN (#22) celebrates our achievement of 50,000 subscribers, thanks to viewers spreading the word, readers who've been with us for years, and years of hard work by our team. It's taken us a while, but our YouTube channel is now achieving parity in view count with the website, and we're finally getting into a good swing of things with video production. It's fun to add that extra content to the pipeline, produce, and find new ways to expand the website's hardware projects.

This episode answers why undervolting on an RX 480 can help sustain more stable frequencies and higher performance, talks the GTX 1080 VRM/phasing and why they're not all magical overclockers, and addresses a few other questions. All questions are in the timestamps below.

NVidia's new GP106-equipped GeForce GTX 1060 has been announced as of today, alongside partial specs, a release date, and some software. The GTX 1060 will utilize nVidia's new GP106 GPU, a Pascal rendition which cuts down on SM and CUDA core count from preceding GP104 chips (GP104-400 and GP104-200, detailed in our GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 reviews).

The GeForce GTX 1060 uses the same Pascal architecture, with the same improvements we've already discussed heavily. That includes 16nm FinFET, delta color compression advancements allowing 8:1 compression on some memory transactions, and pre-emptive compute functions that aid in asynchronous tasks. New to the GTX 1060 is GP106, which is a cut-down Pascal chip that houses 1280 CUDA cores, operating at a maximum Boost frequency of 1.7GHz. For comparative purposes, a chart with known 1060, 1070, and 1080 specs has been pasted below. The GTX 1070 has 1920 CUDA cores and the 1080 has 2560 CUDA cores.

We've already had hands-on experience testing AMD's new 16.7.1 driver update, following the 16.6.2 release with the RX 480 cards. Our testing instituted an early beta version of the driver for our 4GB vs. 8GB RX 480 benchmark, which showed that initially reported GTA V stuttering issues have since been resolved.

Unknown to us at the time of the 4GB vs. 8GB benchmark, the 16.7.1 update also aims to resolve some of the PCIe bus power draw concerns. AMD's pre-weekend statement indicated an update on July 5, which was released as below:

A few of the first AIB partner models of the AMD RX 480 were revealed last week, and should be hitting the market within the next few weeks. Following our recommendation to dodge the reference RX 480 design – except for in specific SFF use cases – the AIB partner cards promise better cooling minimally, or different power setups maximally.

Thus far, we've seen the Sapphire RX 480 Nitro (the company's “gamer” line), the ASUS RX 480 Strix, and the PowerColor PCS RX 480 Devil. Coolers have been revealed in most detail for the Nitro and Strix cards, detailed more below.

AMD has issued a statement regarding purported issues with excessive power draw across the PCIe bus, resultant of a single, limiting 6-pin power header from the PSU. We are researching this issue independently and allocating resources to new power testing equipment. We also just purchased a retail RX 480 Reference card, which we will use to determine if the issue occurs on non-review products. So far, it seems to be the case.

Our RX 480 Hybrid mod, which utilized a liquid cooler rather than reference cooler, found that the RX 480 will draw upwards of 192W GPU power, as validated by software. The additional board components are rated for 40W pre-OC, so our overclocked card was likely drawing towards 250W. In such an instance, the GPU will overdraw power through the motherboard, which is potentially harmful to 24-pin headers (rated at 300-350W), the PCIe slot, and board power components. Our motherboard is capable of handling this extra power because we've taken measures to improve delivery, mainly by tapping into PSU power with an EVGA Boost cable and using an additional 6-pin board header for the PCIe bus.

On setups without these precautions, there may be an issue.

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