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Alienware announced its new Alienware 13 gaming notebook not too long ago, but has just taken the wraps off of its new "graphics amplifier". Alienware's new contraption is capable of taking a high-end desktop GPU, with anything that uses up to 375W, and plugging it into Alienware's proprietary PCI Express-based cable.
This proprietary cable only works on the Alienware 13 notebook, so you won't be using it with your normal gaming notebook. The graphics amplifier itself also includes four powered USB ports, so you can plug in any of your USB-based devices directly into it, as well as your desktop video card. Not only that, but the Alienware head on the front of it glows for a nice effect.
It won't sell like hotcakes, but for anyone who is in the market for a new gaming notebook, this might swing your decision toward Alienware. If you were in the market of buying a new Alienware 13 gaming notebook, this is a nice accessory if you wanted some serious grunt at your desk, and then rely on the built-in GPU when you're on the road, or at a LAN. Alienware will be selling the graphics amplifier for $300, and will be showing it off at PAX Australia later this week, where we will get a hands- and eyes-on with it.
Mini-ITX PCs are about to get much faster thanks to GIGABYTE's new card based on the GeForce GTX 970 GPU, but arrives in a dual-slot, single-fan design that is much shorter than the standard GTX 970, perfect for tiny, but very powerful gaming PCs.
The new mini-ITX based video card has an overclocked GTX 970 GPU, 4GB of RAM, a custom PCB from GIGABYTE, and a WindForce-like cooler. The custom design allows for a single 8-pin PCIe connector, versus the two 6-pin PCIe required on the normal GTX 970. GIGABYTE's custom designed cooler is quite compact, with a single, shrouded fan. We have a slight overclock on the Core and Boost speeds, from 1051MHz on the Core to 1076MHz on the GIGABYTE card, while we have Boost of 1178 on the reference GTX 970, but 1215MHz on the GIGABYTE slab.
Some other GTX 900 series cards actually ditch the multiple DisplayPort connectors, but not this card: we have three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one DVI-D and a DVI-D port to finish it off. GIGABYTE says the custom cooler provides lower temperatures than the reference, with temperatures dropping from 76C to just 62C on the GIGABYTE card. Small form factor PCs have just received notice of their next GPU purchase.
When NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z back at GTC 2014 in March, it was an expensive beast at $3999, but now Overclockers UK has dropped the price on some of its Titan Z's, radically.
Just last week, the site dropped it from its launch price of $3863, to $3219, which is a decent drop. But, the company has just taken a massive $900 off its price, dropping it down to 'just' $2415. For $2415, you're getting a triple-slot, dual GPU card with 12GB of RAM, two full GK110 GPUs with 2880 stream processors, 240 texture units, an 48 raster operations pipelines.
You'd still be better off with two GeForce GTX 980s in SLI, but for some people a single card is what they want, and no single card can compete with the Titan Z right now.
Back when we reported that AMD was dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in reaction to NVIDIA's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs, we thought it was AMD which was dropping the prices of its high-end Radeons, but it's actually their partners who are doing the price reductions.
In the meantime, AMD has a new CEO in Lisa Su, with the company laying off some 710 employees after a tough quarter, some big changes and news for the company. During AMD's recent earnings call, the fresh CEO said that NVIDIA has released some very competitive products with their second generation Maxwell GPUs, and that the company needed to adjust to "some competitive dynamics", or repositioning other products. Su said: "We have certainly adjusted to some of the competitive dynamics, and we have made some positioning changes as well as some new marketing activities that you will see from us in the fourth quarter".
During an interview between AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy and KitGuru, Huddy had the following to say about the Radeon price cuts: "We have not issued any price cuts, nor price protection and we have not announced any for the future. We are conducting some promotions with our AIB partners that enables them to reach such competitive pricing on the Radeon R9 290 and 290X". How long will the cheaper Radeons last? According to Huddy: "The best news is that we have very healthy stock levels for both the Radeon R9 290 and 290X in the channel and the time to buy is now, with channel promotions bringing such great deals. We've got phenomenal products in the market and there's plenty of it around".
It was reported earlier that AMD Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs are now available with a reduced price of $299 and #369 respectively. But as its turned out, the price cuts are made by AMD's AIB partners who manufacture these cards.
It was also pointed out that these price cuts are not permanent. The GPU manufacturers have introduced these price cuts to promote the sales of these cards, while the stocks last.
Though the timing of providing price cuts is considered to be a response to NVIDIA's Maxwell-based GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs that was launched not too long ago. Its unclear if AMD would be tempted to make these price cuts from their side irrespective of cards. AMD may even throw in a new Never Settle bundle along with it to sweeten the deal as they did before. As of now, GTX 970 can be purchased with a price tag as low as $329 to as high as $409 (for the Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Edition 4GB). R9 290X could be found for $369 to $399, and some AIB partners have bundled Star Citizen and Alien: Isolation as a limited offer.
It feels like we're very close to the Radeon R9 300 series of GPUs, with AMD dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in the last week, but now news is floating around of the Pirate Islands-based architecture, AMD's next-generation GPU.
The news is coming courtesy of AMD's just-released "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver, which is something that will form the base of Closed Source (Catalyst) and Open Source (Gallium3D) drivers for Linux. Within all the deep-dive on the technical side of things, AMD mentions that the AMDGPU kernel driver is being tested on Sea Islands, as well as unreleased hardware.
The current DRM driver for Linux is known as 'Radeon' which won't be supported by the upcoming AMD GPUs, with the driver not supporting current, or older generation cards. This means that AMD must be in the testing phase of its Pirate Islands GPUs, which will arrive to us as the Radeon R9 300 series, with the flagship card being the R9 390X. We could hear AMD announce these new cards before the end of the year, with a roll out in early 2015, we hope.
NVIDIA Editor's Day 2014 - Last month I was in Monterey Bay for NVIDIA's unveiling of their Maxwell architecture, where we saw the GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 unveiled. I was blown away at what Maxwell was able to do with the GTX 980, but even more impressed with what NVIDIA is now doing to notebooks with the mobile version of the Maxwell GPU, in the GTX 970M and GTX 980M.
Notebook gamers have been asking for "desktop class performance" from NVIDIA, and now they have it. This is where the new second-generation Maxwell architecture steps in.
NVIDIA's Fermi architecture was introduced in 2010, with the GeForce GTX 480M providing around 40% of the performance that the desktop version, the GTX 480, provided. Moving onto the Kepler architecture, where the GTX 680M provided around 60% of the performance of the full-blown GTX 680 on desktop, but now the Maxwell-powered GTX 980M is delivering around 80% of the performance of the insanely-efficient GTX 980 GPU on the desktop.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M allows for 'beyond 1080p' gaming on a notebook, compared to 1080p Ultra gaming on the GTX 680M from last year.
The Maxwell floodgates are well and truly open, with some delicious GeForce GTX 980s currently on offer, but I think one of the showstoppers is going to be Palit's new GeForce GTX 980 Super JetStream card.
The GTX 980 Super JetStream features a new cooler, with a new color scheme, with a nice overclock. Palit is offering up two GTX 980s, with the standard GTX 980 JetStream, coming with 1127/1216 MHz clocks while the memory is untouched. The Super JetStream on the other hand amps it up, with 1203/1304 MHz, and the memory sitting at 7200 MHz. As for features, we have:
- LED lightning
- 8-phase PWM
- 0dB technology (same as MSI Zero Frozr or ASUS STRIX)
- Turbofan Blade
- Master Mode and Thunder Master OC modes
NVIDIA has launched its new Maxwell GPUs, with the new GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 taking the world by storm, but what has AMD got? No new GPUs for now, but the company is now slashing the prices of its current Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs, considerably.
The Radeon R9 290 has dropped from its $399 price to $299, while its more powerful brother, the R9 290X drops from $549 to $399, a drop of $150. The R9 285 has also dropped to $229 or so, while the 280X is down to around $269. The new price cuts are effective immediately, with Newegg and Amazon prices being adjusted already.
NVIDIA's new second-generation, Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 has been out for a couple of weeks, with the 3DMark FireStrike Extreme world record now broken thanks to an insane new overclock.
Elmor, an overclocker with the SweClockers.com team has used the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Direct CU II card, clocking up the GPU Clock to 2208MHz, an increase of 81.58%. The GDDR5 on the card was also overclocked, by 19.27% to 8392MHz. Elmor used LN2, with the core voltage cranked up to 1.2120V.