Rounding-out our Best Of coverage from Computex 2016 – and being written from a plane over the Pacific – we're back to recap some of the major GTX 1080 AIB cards from the show. AMD's RX480 was only just announced at Computex, and so board partner versions are not yet ready (and weren't present), and the GTX 1070 only had one card present. For that reason, we're focusing the recap on GTX 1080 GP104-400 video cards from AIB partners.
Until a point at which all of these cards have been properly in our hands for review in the lab, we'd recommend holding off on purchases – but we're getting there. We've already looked at the GTX 1080 reference card (“Founders Edition,” by new nomenclature) and built our own GTX 1080 Hybrid. The rest will be arriving soon enough.
For now, though, here's a round-up of the EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI AIB GTX 1080s at Computex. You can read/watch for more individualized info at each of these links:
Computex is one of the few shows that meshes with unscheduled drive-bys. We made an unplanned stop at the ASUS ROG booth to get hands-on with the company's new GTX 1080 Strix card, targeted slightly toward overclockers and enthusiast users.
The ASUS GTX 1080 Strix ships with a pre-overclock applied, so the card operates at 1936MHz in “OC mode” and 1898MHz in “Gaming mode” (all caps optional). That's a fair increase over the ~1733MHz boosted speed of the reference GTX 1080 from nVidia. Like MSI with its Twin Frozr VI Z-series card, nVidia has increased the VRM phase count to 8+2 – rather than the 5+1 reference phases or MSI's 10+1 phasing – and leverages this voltage regulation improvement to sustain stable overclocks. We were not able to live OC the Strix card, though.
The last week's worth of computer hardware news contained a few disappointments – the removal of non-K overclocking from some boards, for one – and a few upshots. One of those upshots is on the front of VR, headed-up by Epic Games in a publicly released video reel of unique implementations. Virtual reality's use cases also expanded this week, as developers Epic Games have learned new means to utilize the technology (something we think needs to happen).
Our weekly hardware news recap is below, though the script has been appended for the readers out there. Topics for this week's round-up include Intel's crack-down on non-K overclocking, editing games within VR, AMD's Wraith, a Sony SSD, and some new peripherals.
Since the dawn of the membrane switch, “gaming” keyboards have invested heavily in design choices that would make a Transformer self-conscious. An unrivaled dedication to excessive plastic and edgy aesthetics have driven keyboards to a market position that rivals cases, opposed only by an equally over-done and dutiful worship of brushed metals and deified simplicity. There's little middle-ground with keyboards, and ASUS has managed to violate as many design standards as possible with its Horus GK2000 keyboard.
Our hardware news recap for the week of 11/14 is now live on YouTube, covering a few primary topics: GPU shipment volume, a new Cherry MX Nature White switch, ASUS' move to Augmented Reality, nVidia's GameWorks VR / UE4 integration, and Corsair's HG10 updated for the 900 series.
You can find the video news recap below. This week, for those who stay up on the site, we'll primarily be working on Star Wars Battlefront content. We've also got some power supply stuff going live shortly, alongside the video version of our Black Ops optimization guide (live in a few hours from this posting).
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.
This short posting comes following a reader question pertaining to motherboard selection. Some recent Intel-based motherboards now offer support for USB3.1, which operates at an impressive 10Gbps (equivalent to Thunderbolt 1.0) and uses an insertion-agnostic header. The speed boost is easily utilized when driving external SSDs, which will throttle on the 4.8Gbps cap of USB3.0 – especially after overhead.
MSI was the first to introduce USB3.1 on motherboards earlier this year, demoing the Krait white/black boards at CES 2015. Other manufacturers have moved to offer firmware updates on existing platforms for “unlocking” USB3.1. ASUS is among these, shipping its X99-S motherboards with a natively-supported USB3.1 add-on card.
NVidia and AMD both define the ~$200 price-range as a zone of serious contention among graphics cards. The launch of the 960 held the card to high standards for 1080 gaming, a point nVidia drove home with data showing the prevalence of 1920x1080 as the standard desktop resolution for most gamers.
Our GTX 960 review employed ASUS' Strix 960, a 2GB card with a heavy focus on silence and cooling efficiency, but we've since received several other GTX 960 devices. In this round-up, we'll review the ASUS Strix, EVGA SuperSC 4GB, MSI Gaming 4GB, and PNY XLR8 Elite GTX 960 video cards. The benchmark tests each device for heatsink efficacy, framerate output (FPS) in games, and memory capacity advantages.
Following the launch of 2GB cards, major board partners – MSI and EVGA included – have begun shipment of 4GB models of the GTX 960. Most 4GB cards are restocking availability in early April at around $240 MSRP, approximately $30 more expensive than their 2GB counterparts. We've already got a round-up pending publication with more in-depth reviews of each major GTX 960, but today, we're addressing a much more basic concern: Is 4GB of VRAM worth it for a GTX 960?
Our initial review of nVidia's new GTX 960 looked at ASUS' Strix model of the card, a $210 unit with a custom cooler and an emphasis on silence. We declared the GTX 960 a formidable competitor at the price range, remarking that its software-side support and power made it a primary choice for 1080p gaming. AMD's closest competitor is the R9 280 – a powerful alternative for users who don't mind a bit higher TDP and less frequent driver updates – priced closer to $170 after rebates.
As nVidia continues to push SLI as an actionable configuration, the question of SLI compatibility with video games is raised once again. Not all games adequately support SLI and, for this reason, we've historically recommend a single, more powerful GPU in opposition to two mid-range options in SLI.
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