The latest AMD Catalyst driver resolves a memory leak issue found in AMD’s 15.9 update. Users who installed 15.9 during its brief availability should upgrade immediately to improve performance.
AMD’s new Catalyst 15.9 drivers added optimizations for Fable Legends and Star Wars Battlefront (the beta), with the 15.9.1 patch retaining these improvements alongside the memory leak resolution. CrossFire users should expect flickering in Battlefront for the time being; disabling CrossFire eliminates this issue.
Our most recent interview with Cloud Imperium Games' Chris Roberts became a two-parter, following an initial discussion on DirectX 12 and Vulkan APIs. Part two dives deeper into the render pipeline, network and render optimization, zoning, data organization, and other low-level topics relating to Star Citizen. A lot of that content strays from direct Star Citizen discussion, but covers the underlying framework and “behind-the-scenes” development operations.
Previous encounters with Roberts have seen us discussing the game's zoning & instancing plans in great depth; since then, the Roberts has brought-up the system numerous times, expressing similar excitement each time. It is clear to us that the zoning and instancing architecture have required a clever approach to problem solving, evidenced to us by a previous pre-interview conversation with the CIG CEO. In a pre-shoot talk, Roberts told us that he “loves engineering problems,” and had considered the instancing system to be one of the larger engineering challenges facing Star Citizen. The topic of instancing was again revisited in this sit-down, though at a lower, more technical level.
We've recently encountered a number of questions pertaining to the maximum display frequency supported by HDMI, primarily with readers wondering if 1080p / 120Hz will work through HDMI. This has been in pursuit of some of our monitor content, including our monitor overclocking guide (which advises against HDMI).
The market's domineering display interfaces are DisplayPort, HDMI, and (still) DVI; for high-frequency output, DVI dual-link and DisplayPort are almost always used and recommended.
A notebook-desktop graphics disparity has generally relegated portables to custom, low-performance silicon when matched against desktop alternatives. The limitation is almost entirely tied to the thermal and energy limitations sanctioned by a small box – especially for laptops aiming for a sub-1” thickness. For all the laptops we've helped readers reflow and for which we've refreshed thermal compound, it's clear that there's good reason to reduce the thermal envelope of a mobile GPU.
CPU-GPU thermal equilibrium is often achieved in notebooks resultant of a shared cooling solution, normally a single copper heatpipe that feeds into a single fan for dissipation. Until recently – the revolution of lower-TDP components spurred on by nVidia, Intel, and now AMD – the primary bottleneck to a notebook's performance has been that thermal headroom. Manufacturer optimizations in the silicon have improved per-Watt performance to a point of seeing tremendous gains with, for instance, the GTX 980M – but even the 980M exhibited a performance deficit of 35% against a “real” GTX 980.
NVidia aims to change that. The newest product in the company's lineup is actually a year old – it's the GTX 980, but in notebooks. Until this point, there's been the GTX 980M, but the GTX 980 “proper,” we'll call it, hasn't been unleashed in notebooks in a fully unlocked form. We recently met with nVidia to get an in-person hands-on with the new GTX 980 notebooks and have first impressions, a full review is due once we've got laptops in-hand in the next week or so.
Challenging EVGA's $750 GTX 980 Ti Hybrid is a tough fight right now. The card, in our eyes, is one of the best graphics solutions on the market, and it's largely because of the liquid cooling integration. We've recently seen a surge of liquid in GPU products, like the Fury X, and the thermal envelope is mitigated massively as a result. MSI seeks to join that fight with Corsair's assistance.
ASUS is reasonably well-known for their motherboards and graphics cards at budget and high-end price ranges. Today’s topic is the latest ROG motherboard – so it fits into the high-end category – and graphics card. ASUS showed off their Z170 ROG Maximus VIII Extreme/Assembly alongside their Matrix GTX 980 Ti Platinum at IFA in Germany.
It's fitting that, following our giant post about AMD's recent downturn, I'd encounter my old ATi X800 Pro video card. I'd owned machines equipped with VGAs before this one, but this was the first standalone video card I ever bought. The model I purchased came equipped with a massive, top-of-the-line 256MB of GDDR3, a memory technology that ATi – independent of AMD at this time – had recently introduced.
The ATi Radeon X800 Pro used ATi's R420 GPU and was released in 2004, shipping in 256MB and 512MB capacities. For those complaining about the current stagnation on the 28nm process node, this GPU sat on 130nm process. Massive in comparison to today.
The market stability of nVidia’s GTX 980 Ti has given way to the usual suite of ultra high-end overclocking cards. We’ve already looked at the liquid-cooled GTX 980 Ti Hybrid, which won two of our awards and tops our charts, but soon it’ll be time to explore MSI’s new GTX 980 Ti Lightning. PAX saw the first public showcase of the card – concealed behind heavy glass – and allowed for some hands-on.
The Lightning is MSI’s long-running OC line of ultra high-end cards, priced at $800 for the GTX 980 Ti version. A pre-overclock of ~200MHz puts the 980 Ti Lightning in close proximity to EVGA’s liquid-cooled GTX 980 Ti Hybrid, a difference between 1203MHz and 1228MHz (respectively).
One video card to the next. We just reviewed MSI's R9 390X Gaming 8GB card at the mid-to-high range, the A10-7870K APU at the low-end, and now we're moving on to nVidia's newest product: The GeForce GTX 950.
NVidia's new GTX 950 is priced at $160, but scales up to $180 for some pre-overclocked models. The ASUS Strix GTX 950 that we received for testing is a $170 unit. These prices, then, land the GTX 950 in an awkward bracket; the GTX 750 Ti holds the budget class firmly below it and the R9 380 & GTX 960 hold the mid-range market above it.
The new GeForce GTX 950 graphics card hosts Maxwell architecture – the same GM206 found in the GTX 960 – and hosts 2GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface. More on that momentarily. The big marketing point for nVidia has been reduced input latency for MOBA games, something that's being pushed through GeForce Experience (GFE) in the immediate future.
This review benchmarks nVidia's new GeForce GTX 950 graphics card in the Witcher 3, GTA V, and other games, ranking it against the R9 380, GTX 960, 750 Ti, and others.
The hardware industry has been spitting out launches at a rate difficult to follow. Over the last few months, we've reviewed the GTX 980 Ti Hybrid (which won Editor's Choice & Best of Bench awards), the R9 Fury X, the R9 390 & 380, an A10-7870K APU, and Intel's i7-6700K.
We've returned to the world of graphics to look at MSI's take on the AMD Radeon R9 390X, part of the R300 series of refreshed GPUs. The R300 series has adapted existing R200 architecture to the modern era, filling some of the market gap while AMD levies its Fiji platform. R300 video cards are purely targeted at gaming at an affordable price-point, something AMD has clung to for a number of years at this point.
This review of AMD's Radeon R9 390X benchmarks the MSI “Gaming” brand of the card, measuring FPS in the Witcher 3 & more, alongside power and thermal metrics. The MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8G is priced at $430. This video card was provided by iBUYPOWER as a loaner for independent review.