It’s been a months-long journey of GTX 800, then GTX 900 rumors, broken embargoes, questions, and anticipation. The GTX 750 Ti saw the debut of NVidia’s Maxwell architecture almost 7 months ago, making for one of the first times the company has ever unveiled a low-end product before its architecture flagship. Then things went silent. Time passed, and as mobile 800-series GPUs began shipping, we still hadn’t heard about what would eventually become the GTX 900 series.
Then a box showed up.
“The World’s Most Advanced GPU” was written on the hefty black and green box, a few phone calls were made, and we knew it was time.
NVidia’s 900 series is rumored for an October launch, but AMD is ramping into more GPUs in the interim. AMD has another graphics card up its sleeves that they’ve been keeping tight-lipped about. The NDA on AMD’s R9 285 expired last week while we were returning home from PAX. VisionTek was quick to send us their press release to us detailing their custom-cooled R9 285. The R9 285 is an interesting card that is focused on improving performance and power efficiency compared to AMD’s R9 280 and nVidia’s GTX 760.
VisionTek prices their R9 285 at $250, which is exactly what AMD’s MSRP is for the card.
AMD continues to perpetuate its FX-series line-up on 2011's AM3+ platform. The company today announced the new FX-8370 CPU, an eight-core X86 processor that ships stock at 4.3GHz, alongside a new “E Series” of FX CPUs. New prices were announced for the entirety of the FX line-up.
AMD's FX-8370 stands as a slight step up from the 8350 at 0.1GHz higher max operating frequency. The unit is marked for $200 flat retail, up against the 8350's MSRP of $180. The E Series of FX CPUs – including the new FX-8370E and FX-8320E – are a lower TDP alternative to eight-core CPUs, shipping at 95W TDP with a 3.3 and 3.2GHz (respectively) modified BCLK. Max frequency is rated as 4.3GHz and 4GHz (respectively). The FX-8370E sells for $200 and is effectively identical in all aspects to the FX-8370, sans lower TDP and lower BCLK. The same goes for the FX-8320E, which is a lower TDP version of the FX-8320. The FX-8320E sells for $147.
FRAPS has been in the gameplay capture business for over a decade now, inarguably serving as the best solution for early gameplay video recordings. The advent of casual streaming and competitive eSports has finally pushed recorded game content to widespread consumption. ISP-provided datarates have mostly stabilized to usable levels, which helps in production and consumption of high bit-rate content.
ShadowPlay was announced as a FRAPS alternative last year by nVidia, and is only compatible with nVidia devices. The tool uses an integrated H.264 video encoder on Kepler and Maxwell hardware, ensuring most the performance drag is loaded on the GPU rather than the CPU; moreover, it's being loaded on specific components of the GPU that are built for video encoding and largely unused while gaming.
FRAPS does no live encoding and only records raw data output, which theoretically means it will have the best quality (lossless), but also demands the most resources in storage and CPU cycles.
NVidia debuted its Fraps-like ShadowPlay video capture technology alongside the GTX 780 almost a year ago, further announcing updates to enable desktop and Java application support in April, 2014. ShadowPlay comes packaged with a suite of nVidia software (GeForce Experience), a bundle that attempts to add extra weight to purchasing decisions when considering AMD's oft-affordable alternatives. AMD has made similar moves with Mantle and game optimization, though hasn't yet moved into the gameplay capture space. Until now.
AMD has included Raptr's "Gaming Evolved" application in its recent driver install packages as an optional add-on. The two companies announced today their "Game Video Recorder," or "GVR," in direct competition to nVidia's ShadowPlay. The GVR shares some similarities to ShadowPlay in its processing, which we'll discuss before getting into AMD specifics.
With the beginning of the third fiscal quarter for 2014, we see analysts filing revenue reports and public companies announcing performance. We recently posted about the boon to desktop PC sales for 2014 -- recovering nearly 6% of a projected 7% decline -- and now it looks like Intel has similarly good news for the PC industry.
The semiconductor giant has reported 2Q14 revenue as $13.8B -- an 8% hike over 2Q13's $12.8B -- netting a $2.8B profit. Intel's quarterly profits have risen 40% over its 2Q13 reports of $2B. Promisingly for the world of PCs, Intel showed an $8.7B revenue in its PC Client Group (including desktops), a 6% increase over last year.
AMD updated its Catalyst Control Center and GPU drivers fresh on the release of Watch_Dogs (which we benchmarked), but quickly pulled the 14.6 download due to instability and other unpublicized reasons. The company has now posted its 14.7 beta drivers publicly for download on Windows 7 and 8.1. Windows 8 is not supported.
AMD has been teasing a new FX processor with a bundled liquid cooler, instilling hope that AMD would be releasing an updated -- or even completely new -- FX-series enthusiast CPU. To the disappointment of the enthusiast community, myself included, the release was just an FX-9590 with a bundled Asetek AIO CLC.
This weekend's sales roundup features an LED controller for $28, case fans at $16, an AMD CPU for $170, and a 1 TB SSD for just $400. If these deals don't whet your appetite for improving your system, first - get a better appetite, then keep posted to our Twitter and Facebook accounts for more sales and deals throughout the week. Also subscribe to our YouTube channel for build tips, interviews, and reviews.