Steve Burke

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

It’s hard to intentionally get scammed – to set out there and really try to get ripped-off, outside of maybe paying AT&T or Spectrum for internet. We still tried, though. We bought this GTX 1050 “1GB” card that was listed on eBay. At least, that’s what it was called. The card was $80 and was advertised as a new GTX 1050, and even came with this definitely-not-questionable CD and unbranded brown box. Opening up GPU-Z, it even thinks this is a GTX 1050, and knows it has 1GB of RAM. Today, we’ll benchmark the card and explain how this scam works.

We’ll keep this one short; despite benchmarking a full suite of games, you really sort of get the point after 3-4 charts. The more important thing – the only important thing, really – is what’s under the cooler. We’ll take the card apart after a couple of charts and talk about what’s really in there, because it sure doesn’t behave like a GTX 1050 would (not even one with “1GB” of VRAM, which doesn’t exist).

A quick note: There is no officially sanctioned or created GTX 1050 “1GB” card, and so the usual board partners (and nVidia) have no part in this. This is sold as an unbranded, brown box video card on eBay.

Lian Li’s O11 Air is one of the most awaited cases this year, first shown at CES in January. The O11 Air is advertised as an airflow-focused case, the counterpart to the O11 Dynamic (~$130). This is done by removing the tempered glass on the O11 Dynamic (reviewed here), and instead opting for two intake fans and a grill. Our performance test results for the O11 Air might surprise you, though.

The Lian Li O11 series uses the same tooling for both the O11 Dynamic and O11 Air, with some subtle changes to tooling on the O11 Air. Other primary changes include, obviously, the inclusion of fans and front/top-panel grills for airflow, contrary to the Dynamic’s glass focus.

A quick outline of the differences between the O11 Air and O11 Dynamic are below:

  • Mostly the same core tooling, but there are some new screw holes in the back (to support 2x 80mm or 1x 92mm rear fans)
  • 2x80 or 1x92mm rear mount (noise is an issue)
  • Adds 3x120mm or 2x140mm front fan mounts
  • Includes 2x 120mm fans at 1500RPM max
  • O11 RGB includes 2 1500RPM 120mm fans and 3 Bora Lite fans to install wherever you want, but costs an extra $20-$30 (which isn’t bad, really).

Most of the build quality and ease-of-installation features remain the same, and our analysis and review of those features also remains the same. We’d encourage you to check our “The Build” section of our Lian Li O11 Dynamic review for more thoughts on overall quality.

This is something we haven’t seen before. NVidia has taken a relatively successful card, the GT 1030, and has implanted DDR4 in place of GDDR5. It’s actually getting system memory on it, which is a tremendous downgrade. The memory bandwidth reduction is several-fold, dropping from 48GB/s to about 16GB/s with DDR4, but the part that’s truly wrong is that they used the same product name.

The GT 1030 has always been an interesting product, and that’s only true because of the mining boom and GPU scarcity issues of earlier this year. Typically, the GT 1030 – or similarly ultra-low-end cards – would not get our recommendation, as a GTX 1050 or RX 550 would make more sense and be close in price. Earlier this year, even GTX 1050s and RX 550s had evaporated, leaving only overpriced GT 1030 GDDR5 cards (that we were somewhat OK with recommending). Fortunately, performance was decent. Was. Before the DDR4 surgery.

It’s time to benchmark the GT 1030 versus the GT 1030 Bad Edition, which ships with DDR4 instead of GDDR5, but has the same name as the original product. In a previous rant, we railed against these choices because it misleads consumers – whether intentionally or unintentionally – into purchasing a product that doesn’t reflect the benchmarks. If someone looks up GT 1030 benchmarks, they’ll find our GDDR5 version tests, and those results are wildly different from the similarly priced GT 1030 DDR4 card’s performance. On average, particularly on Newegg, there is about a $10 difference between the two cards.

The GT 1030 with DDR4 is one of the most egregious missteps we’ve seen when it comes to product marketing. NVidia has made a lot of great products in the past year – and we’ve even recommended the GT 1030 GDDR5 card in some instances, which is rare for us – but the DDR4 version under the same name was a mistake.

There's been some online internet outrage about a leaked nVidia NDA, as published by Heise.de previously. Some of the online comments got a little out of hand and were severely misguided, so we decided to get on a call with a US-based, licensed lawyer, rather than continue to watch as armchair "experts" tried to extract any nefarious meaning they could from the document.

We'll leave this one to audio format. Our call with our legal correspondent goes through the document line-by-line and should answer any remaining questions. Overall, we think this was a mountain made of a molehill, and that little language in the document is abnormal or 'dangerous.' Note also that parties may terminate at any time (despite what some commenters will tell you), and that such an NDA  doesn't somehow magically "prevent GPP2" from getting out because, remember, that wouldn't be covered under "Confidential Information." GPP was never disclosed to press by NV -- that was all third-party sources, and so that information is not covered under the agreement.

Audio/video below -- you can just tab away from this one, it's primarily audio:

One of our Computex advertisers was CableMod, who are making a new vertical GPU mount that positions the video card farther back in the case, theoretically lowering thermals. We wanted to test this claim properly. It makes logical sense that a card positioned farther from the glass would operate cooler, but we wanted to test to what degree that’s true. Most vertical GPU mounts do fine for open loop cooling, but suffocate air-cooled cards by limiting the gap between the glass to less than an inch or two. The CableMod mount should push cards close to the motherboard, which has other interesting thermal characteristics that we’ll get into today.

We saw several cases at Computex that aim to move to rotating PCIe expansion slots, meaning that some future cases will accommodate GPUs positioned further toward the motherboard. Not all cases are doing this, leaving room for CableMod to compete, but it looks like Thermaltake and Cooler Master are moving this direction.

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