We recently posted about an alleged slide leak from AMD that, if real, seemed to suggest the end of the line for FX-series CPUs and the AM3+ socket. The slide stirred a great deal of concern throughout major social networks and enthusiast websites, and so I attempted to bring things back down to earth in our original analysis. I reached out to AMD for comment prior to publication, but we weren't able to speak with the company until yesterday.
AMD Manager of APU/CPU Product Reviews James Prior was quick to negate the slide's legitimacy: "I've never seen that slide before, I don't know where that came from," he told me in our call, and quickly followed-up by stating that "it's not real. FX is not end-of-life." Prior pointed-out that it's rare to ever see more than a year into the future with roadmaps, and that the real AMD roadmap looks like this:
Update: AMD has commented on the slide.
Rumors abounded earlier this year that AMD would be ditching high-end / enthusiast-class CPUs in favor of a heavier focus on APUs and mainstream CPUs. With large thanks to its console adaptation, AMD posted its first profit since 2012 in Q3 this year, making for a promising future for the company. The same earnings report indicated that AMD's desktop computing solutions have dwindled in profitability over the course of the last year, meanwhile their GPU and APU solutions have nearly doubled in revenue.
Given this information, the rumors earlier this year made sense: If AMD can pump its R&D into graphics and hybrid solutions (Mantle, HSA, and Hybrid Graphics are all promising), then perhaps the best move would be to cut the FX line. Intel hasn't produced a mainstream mid-range or better processor without an IGP in several years (the i-series CPUs are effectively APUs, though Intel doesn't define the fusion as such); buying one of the go-to Intel CPUs (4670K or 4770K) also means you're getting an IGP with it that, frankly, very few readers in our audience even want or care about.
A new leaked slide allegedly from AMD could indicate that the company is terminating their FX line of CPUs and the AM3+ socket type, and with speculation whirling, let's bring some reality to the scene.
Continuing our Black Friday sales coverage (previous: gaming CPU sales), we now look to what is arguably the most critical component of any pure gaming PC: the video card. In this round-up, we'll cover some of the best video cards for gaming in 2013 (and the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sales), including GPUs specifically for Battlefield 4, Assassin's Creed IV, and other games.
This coverage spans the budget range through the high-end and enthusiast options. We're mostly focusing on single-card setups, but will make SLI/CrossFire suggestions as things move along. First, a list corresponding to the below items:
NZXT's new Kraken G10 video card cooling bracket is now available at $30. The housing bracket is meant for use alongside any Asetek-supplied CLC, including NZXT's own Kraken X40 & X60 coolers, Antec's Kuhler 920 & 620 products, and Thermaltake's Water-brand coolers.
The Kraken G10 is simply a mounting bracket for a liquid cooler, but also contains a 92mm cooling fan for the video card VRM. Standalone, the G10 does not ship with a liquid cooling solution, so you'll have to mount one of your Asetek-supplied coolers to the G10 for use as a video card CLC.
After our coverage of nVidia's GTX 780 Ti -- a $700 enthusiasts-only monster -- we turn now to AMD for a reality-check. For nearly a full year now, we've been recommending AMD's 7850 and nVidia's GTX 650 Ti Boost in the low-end, and given all the shifting of the high-end market, those suggestions have remained stable. We won't see nVidia's entry-level cards until next year, but AMD isn't waiting around: they've announced the R9 270, a card that aims to compete with existing mid-range cards at a significantly lower price-point.
We'll cover the AMD R9 270 specs, price, and preliminary benchmarks against the 7850 and GTX 760 below; new information on the Never Settle Bundle is also included.
We've covered several of nVidia's video card announcements this year, including the 780 + ShadowPlay, 770, and 760. With the launch of the GTX 760, NVidia's final slide stated that -- from memory -- there would be no further cards launched in a SKU lower than the 760 this year. At GN, we saw it as an indicator that no GTX 750 or 750 Ti would be released this year, but higher cards were still likely (at the time, the GTX 760 Ti seemed feasible, but never happened, and now we have the GTX 780 Ti).
Update: The 780 Ti is now posted on Newegg.
The 750 & 750 Ti models might launch next year, but we have no solid evidence of the existence of either card.
Regardless, nVidia's GTX 780 Ti now stands between the 780 and TITAN as a high-end video card. Where Titan aims to be used in professional computationally-intensive applications (with double-point precision), the 780 Ti is meant to be more "gaming-grade." In this post, we'll cover the nVidia GTX 780 Ti specs, some benchmarks vs. AMD's R9-290X, and the release date and MSRP.
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