Ubisoft launched all its AAA titles in one go for the holiday season, it seems. Only days after the buggy launch of Assassin's Creed Unity ($60) – a game we found to use nearly 4GB VRAM in GPU benchmarking – the company pushed Far Cry 4 ($60) into retail channels. Ubisoft continued its partnership with nVidia into Far Cry 4, featuring inclusion of soft shadows, HBAO+, fine-tuned god rays and lighting FX, and other GameWorks-enabled technologies. Perhaps in tow of this partnership, we found AMD cards suffered substantially with Far Cry 4 on PC.
Our Far Cry 4 GPU FPS benchmark analyzes the best video cards for playing Far Cry 4 at max (Ultra) settings. We tested lower settings for optimization on more modest GPU configurations. Our tests benchmarked framerates on the GTX 980 vs. GTX 780 Ti, 770, R9 290X, 270X, 7850, and more. RAM and VRAM consumption were both monitored during playtests, with CPU bottlenecking discovered on some configurations.
Update: For those interested in playing Far Cry 4 near max settings, we just put together this PC build guide for a DIY FC4 PC.
Server GPUs for HPC (high-performance computing) applications aren't exactly within the realm of our gaming coverage, but the Tesla K80 is worthy of note purely from a technological standpoint. Nvidia's new Tesla graphics accelerator hosts dual-GK210 Kepler GPUs capable of double-precision floating-point performance of approximately 2.91 TFLOPs, or single-precision FP performance at a staggering 8.74TFLOPs. Strictly for reference – because the Tesla is not comparable to gaming cards – the GTX 980 GM204 pushes about 4.6TFLOPs single-precision FP performance.
It's “Black November” again – presumably next year will be “Black 2015,” at the rate we're going. Regardless, there are legitimately worthwhile sales in the gaming hardware and software worlds. We've got full round-ups coming in short order, but for the meantime, we'll just highlight VisionTek's R9 290 “CryoVenom” sale.
We hope you all had a great, Star Citizen-filled Halloween! Now that it's over and the sugar rush is subsiding, let's see what goodies are still out there. This week, we decided to focus on video card sales, having found some great deals on both AMD and NVIDIA cards.
GPU overclocking changed with the release of Maxwell's updated architecture. The key aspects remain the same: Increase the clock-rate, play with voltage, increase the memory clock, and observe thermals; new advancements include power target percent and its tie to TDP. We recently showed the gains yielded from high overclocks on the GTX 980 in relation to Zotac's GTX 980 Extreme and the reference card and, in some instances, the OC produced better performance than stock SLI pairing.
This GTX 980 overclocking tutorial will walk through how to overclock nVidia's Maxwell architecture, explain power target %, voltage, memory clock, and more.
The Zotac GTX 980 Extreme ($610) is the most disappointing, saddening attempt at a high-end overclocking device I've ever seen. I've never been so resonantly disheartened by a review product. I've also never seen an aftermarket product perform worse than the reference model while being priced more than 10% higher. The added cost is justified – on paper – by several factors, including a better cooler and higher bin (better GM204).
Testing Zotac's GTX 980 Extreme overclocking card began with excitement and anticipation, rapidly decaying as despair and uncertainty took hold. When the card failed to overclock higher than my reference GTX 980 ($550), I first suspected error on my end – and proved that suspicion wrong – and then went to Zotac with strong emphasis that the BIOS needed a serious overhaul. A BIOS update should have been quick and easy if no hidden problems existed in the hardware, as other video card manufacturers have proven in the past. We published all of this about a week ago, firmly stating that no one buy the GTX 980 Extreme until we could revisit the topic.
We're revisiting it.
Welcome to another edition of our weekend hardware sales roundup. This weekend, we decided to get back to our low budget-minded roots. With the ongoing Great GM204 shortage of 2014 in full swing, I decided to focus on the best deals on low-budget video cards. We found three NVIDIA GPUs and one AMD GPU, as well as a great deal on an Intel upgrade bundle.