Hardware

It's crazy to think that we've done 24 Ask GN episodes. The very first episode didn't even use our current video set – it was set in the temporary set, which featured a gray sheet against a wall and a folding card table. Content quality and quality of questions have both gone up. Be sure to leave your questions on the YouTube video for inclusion in next week's episode.

We're back today with Episode 24, which addresses diminishing returns on overclocking (and why reducing the clock can improve performance), safe RX 480 temperature targets, PCIe lanes between the chipset and CPU, and limited GTX 1080 AIB partner card differences.

Phanteks PH-GB1080-X GPU Waterblock Specs Revealed

By Published July 27, 2016 at 11:10 am

Phanteks has become known for making PC cases, fans, and CPU coolers. The company recently introduced their first custom GPU waterblock, the PH-GB1080-X, designed to fit the Founders Edition GTX 1080. AIB partners using the same reference PCB as the FE 1080 will also support the PH-GB1080-X mounting. In theory, that includes the EVGA SC models and MSI's lower SKUs, but check with Phanteks for official support.

The new waterblock features a silver design with matte black accents. The waterblock also has RGB lighting, all the rage right now. The three RGB lights on the waterblock plug into a proprietary power adapter

The past week has been major for hardware news. We've seen the announcement of the Titan X and AMD's new Radeon Pro SSG with 1TB extended framebuffer (learn about that here), but there's also been news of Intel's Kaby Lake shipping to OEMs, and of AMD's boosted earnings.

AMD's new GPU news is interesting in its own way, and so we produced a separate video for that content. The new Radeon Pro SSG ("Solid-State Graphics") is coupled with a 1TB extended framebuffer that operates via PCIe, and bypasses some of the slow-downs encountered when dealing with memory transactions that exceed normal on-card memory. As for the rest of the week's news, our hardware recap below will run through it all swiftly. The topics include: (1) Kaby Lake architecture CPUs shipping to OEMs, (2) AMD earnings recovery, (3) DDR3 price drops, (4) Titan X announcement, (5) Phanteks 1080 waterblock with LEDs.

The video transcript is located below that, if you'd prefer written content.

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.

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