A new pair of hypnotically-decaled ASUS video cards claim to cool passively unless exceeding a thermal threshold of 65C. Named for the Latin word for "owl," the ASUS Strix video cards are equipped with a large heatsink, heatpipes, and two fans that are controlled based on thermals.

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Let's get into more of the detailed specs on the ASUS Strix video cards:

For those who heard about the recent price drop for AMD cards, we have a deal for you this weekend as a result (and those who were unaware should really read that article). Our weekend sales round-up covers a 1000W PSU for $160, a 3TB HDD under $100, a 240GB SSD at $90, and an R9 280 for only $190. Have no fear, as always, we will post additional deals throughout the week on our Facebook and Twitter accounts as we find them. 

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AMD stated yesterday in a press statement that the Radeon R9 280 would see price cuts to $250 from a previous $300+. The cryptocurrency craze caused a severe spike in retail prices of AMD cards (far exceeding MSRP) for a number of months, but with pressure from AMD and the frenzy dying down, we've seen a return to original MSRP. With prices firmly stabilized, AMD has issued price cuts across the board for several members of its family -- including the R9 280.

Video Card New Price
NVIDIA GTX 780 Ti $720
AMD R9 290X $510
NVIDIA GTX 780 $510
AMD R9 290 $380
NVIDIA GTX 770 $300
AMD R9 280X $290
NVIDIA GTX 760 $255
AMD R9 280 $250
AMD R9 270X $200
AMD R9 270 $170

The weekend sales round-up is here. It features a 24” monitor for $270, a $130 high-end PSU, an R9 280 3GB card for $230, and a 480GB SSD for $230. Our Twitter and Facebook accounts will keep you up to date on other specials as they occur throughout the week, so keep your eyes open; we generally make it a rule to only share sales that our own staff find interest in.

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It wasn't long ago that AMD updated their Never Settle Forever bundle to include several new games. In the usual return fire, today we see nVidia offering the impending Watch_Dogs game with their GTX 760, 770, 780, and 780 Ti.

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We've previously spoken about the Watch_Dogs PC system requirements and recommended specs over here, but to refresh everyone (including updated info):

In this weekend's hardware sales round-up, we picked out an unlocked i5-4670K for $210, a GTX 760 for $240, a high-end Z87 board for $150, and a price-slashed mechanical keyboard. As always, keep eyes on our twitter and facebook pages for deals throughout the week days.

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NVIDIA and AMD constantly go tit-for-tat on GPU + game bundles, each attempting to add that extra bit of value to sway buyers of new cards. How much that effects buying decisions is questionable, but I won't fight free games.

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Anyway, we're keeping this one a lot quicker than previous AMD press conference write-ups. Here's the slide you care about:

In late 2013, AMD came out with their new GPU series that included the R9 290 and R9 290X, both of which ran quite loudly and at 95C. This has led to a plethora of custom coolers for these two cards being released by third-party vendors. One of the most unexpected being VisionTek’s CryoVenom, a liquid-cooled 290 for $600.

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As our regularly-scheduled content continues out of GTC & GDC, we turn toward e-tailers for our weekend hardware sales round-up. Noteworthy this weekend are combo discounts on Intel Extreme Series CPUs, Crucial's 480GB M500 for $200, an XFX R9 270, and a 23.6” LED LCD.

m500-ssd

Day one of GTC saw the presentation of nVidia’s refreshed lineup of VisualFX SDK tools, including GameWorks, FaceWorks, HairWorks, WaterWorks, and other *Works software. These Software Developer Kits are used in aiding the development of games, including the optimization of graphically-intensive dynamic elements, like fur, fire, and smoke. Graphics and CPU technology companies are often behind many of the game industry’s visual advancements, but as PC gamers, we don’t see much of it actually in-game for several years. Development time is part of this, adoption is part of this, and consoles are responsible in part.

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Let’s look at some of nVidia’s more recent changes for character faces, real-time smoke and fire effects, pre-baked lighting effects, subsurface scattering, deep surface scattering, and fur/hair technology. It seems pertinent to recommend watching Epic’s Unreal Engine tech demo as well, since it utilizes many of these technologies and render methods; you can read our full article on UE4 here.

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