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GDC 2016 - Just as I'm getting ready to leave my Airbnb accommodation and pick up my GDC pass, and then later in the afternoon head to AMD's Capsaicin event - the company will reportedly be teasing its Polaris 10 GPU at the event, running on a SteamVR benchmark.
The company will be unveiling its new Radeon Pro Duo video card during the event, with it based on two Fiji GPUs offering 12TFlops of performance - making it the perfect card for VR and 4K gaming. AMD will be using the next-gen Polaris 10 GPU running on Valve's Aperture Science Robot Repair which will be powered by the HTC Vive Pre headset.
Polaris 10 looks like the same GPU showed off at CES 2016 and the RTG event in Sonoma in December, which will compete against the likes of GeForce GTX 950. The Polaris 10 will be an entry-level/mainstream part based on the 14nm FinFET process with GCN 4.0 enhancements. As for availability, it should launch in mid-2016 right around the time of Computex - so expect plenty of new entry-level/mainstream laptops to be powered by Polaris 10.
AMD is livestreaming its Capsaicin event which kicks off today at 4PM PST, which you can check out here.
Up until this very moment, we haven't had the slightest idea what AMD would call its upcoming dual-GPU. But according to VideoCardz, it will be called the Radeon Pro Duo - a large departure from what we thought it would be called, which was the Radeon R9 Fury X2.
We don't know what the Radeon Pro Duo will end up as, apart from rocking dual Fiji GPUs and I'm guessing 8GB of HBM (4GB per GPU). We are expecting a huge 18TFlops of performance, with the card being teased quite a bit by AMD cool guy Roy Taylor over social media for months now. We should expect the Radeon Pro Duo to be unveiled next week on March 14 at AMD's Capsaicin event, and we will be there live covering it.
GALAX has just announced their latest member of the Hall of Fame lineup, with the new GeForce GTX 980 Ti HOF GOC. The new GTX 980 Ti HOF GOC competes against the likes of EVGA's GTX 980 Ti Kingpin which has 14+3 phase power, and against MSI's GTX 980 Ti Lightning with a 12+3+1 power design.
GALAX has provided 3 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which can consume a total of 525W of power - for the serious enthusiasts and overclockers out there. The card features a dual-slot design, with two fans to keep it cool. It features a beautiful white theme, with the card being longer than usual cards - so it can handle the two large 10cm fans that keep the GM200 core and VRMs nice and cool.
The heat sink contains five heat pipes that keep the card cool, which are hidden under a new HOF-branded cooler shroud. The GALAX GeForce GTX 980 Ti HOF GOC has a GPU clock of 1203MHz, with a Boost Clock of 1304MHz, with the 6GB of GDDR5 RAM not overclocked at all.
When the rumors first started flying about NVIDIA's next-gen video cards, I was one of the first to say that the mid-range cards would not be using the super-fast HBM2 VRAM, but they would use GDDR5 (and it was later revealed, GDDR5X was on its way). Well now we're here again, with rumors on NVIDIA's purported GeForce GTX 1080.
The GeForce GTX 1080 will be built from the GP104 GPU that NVIDIA should unveil at its GPU Technology Conference in April, where it should rock 8GB of GDDR5X. The new GDDR5X standard is capable of 14Gbps of bandwidth, compared to just 10Gbps from the current GDDR5 technology. We should expect the GeForce GTX 1080 to be unveiled next month, with a shipping date of somewhere in May/June.
ASUS has just unveiled their new GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming Ice video card, something that is water cooled courtesy of a huge water block from Bitspower.
The new GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming Ice from ASUS features the usual GM200 GPU with 2816 CUDA cores, 176 TMUs and 96 ROPs - the GPU is clocked at 1216MHz with a Boost Clock of 1317MHz. There are two profiles on the card, with the gaming profile clocking the GTX 980 TI STRIX Gaming Ice at 1190MHz with the Boost hitting 1291MHz.
When the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 TI STRIX Gaming Ice is in its gaming mode, it will use slightly less power, but in OC mode it will suck down everything it can from the huge 14-phase PWM design. The power consumed by the card is courtesy of 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which will let the card consume as much power as it requires in OC mode. We have the usual 6GB of GDDR5 RAM which is clocked at 7.2GHz compared to the stock 7Ghz on most other brands. This provides the card with 345.6GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
We all want to be to able game on our laptops, even if we don't necessarily admit it readily. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to fire up one of our favorite games for a quick spin when we're bored in a hotel room. It's possible, and gaming laptops exist that are both powerful and also not that massive, but they too are still limited in their abilities. And mobile GPU's aren't exactly the most powerful chips even if they can provide a good framerate. You can upgrade them, but an MXM module is far more expensive than a typical GPU. It's a problem that really wasn't being asked, but the solution to that might
AMD is introducing their XConnect technology that allows any laptop with Thunderbolt 3 to be able to have a discrete GPU connected to it. And there's a huge market for thin and light laptops out there because they're far more convenient to lug around. External graphics is actually a sound idea, too. When traveling, the external enclosure can be completely separate and safely ensconced in another piece of luggage completely, setup only when you're at your destination or when you really absolutely must have that extra GPU power, and AMD is the first to bring you this power. Plug-and-play GPU's are finally here, and they don't require a reboot anymore.
And they've done this by partnering with Razer and Thunderbolt in order to do this. Their innovations in allowing for graphics information to be passed via this interface isn't a closed-source method, either. They're staying true to their GPUOpen initiative and pushing their innovations out to be available to everyone. That means that yes, NVIDIA, can make use of their plug-and-play GPU technology.
AMD has just released its new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 drivers, which include a bunch of new features, optimizations and more. The new drivers from AMD also include support for Hitman, which launches on March 11.
The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 drivers include performance improvements and a Crossfire profile for Hitman, as well as an updated Crossfire profile for The Park. We also have performance improvements for Rise of the Tomb Raider (16% improvement on Fiji-based cards), Gears of War Ultimate Edition (which is up a huge 60% on Fiji hardware, and even 44% on R9 380 series cards).
The 16.3 release also has AMD providing full support for Vulkan's initial release, which supports compatible GPUs to make good use of a low-overhead API in supported games and applications. There are some new features with the 16.3 release, including per-game display scaling, support for two-display Eyefinity configurations, as well as the ability to disable some of the power efficiency optimizations through a 'Power Efficiency Toggle' on Radeon 300 and Fury X series GPUs.
As we inch closer to the Game Developers Conference next week, and NVIDIA's own GPU Technology Conference in the first week of April, we're hearing more on NVIDIA's next-gen Pascal-based video cards.
According to a listing on the Zauba database, there are four different variants that we could see shown off in the very near future. They're priced at $600, $700, $900 and $1100 - where I think the $900 and $1100 cards could be Pascal-based GeForce GTX Titan X successors. I think we'll see a consumer-orientated card with 16GB of HBM2, while there'll be a higher-end Titan X successor with 32GB of HBM2 - remember, that HBM2 provides up to 1024GB/sec of memory bandwidth, up from the 334GB/sec on the 384-bit memory bus on the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X.
NVIDIA co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang kicks off his opening keynote to GTC on April 5, where we should be introduced to a Pascal video card at the time. I can barely contain my excitement, as by then we'll be introduced to something "spicy" from AMD, and not even two weeks later NVIDIA will come out stomping with Pascal.
Yesterday's GeForce 364.47 driver from NVIDIA was reported to cause major crashing and prevent booting into Windows. Thankfully, NVIDIA has responded promptly with its 364.51 beta driver (a WHQL-certified driver is on the way), which they say fixes the issues altogether. User reports indicate it does indeed install as normal.
In light of yesterday's issues, be sure to go for the clean install option with the new driver, which you can grab here.
AMD will be teasing their next-gen Polaris architecture, the Radeon R9 Fury X2, and latest software improvements for Radeon video cards during the Game Developers Conference next week - but, there's a larger event that I feel AMD will be shining a spotlight on - its Capsaicin party, in San Fransisco on March 14, and we will be there - but now you can join us, through a live webcast!
AMD has announced that there will be a live webcast of the Capsaicin event, where the company will be showcasing the latest innovations from the Radeon Technologies Group. RTG Marketing Director Chris Hook posted on Twitter that they will be showing off some very hot and spicy new innovations during GDC 2016.
Last year, AMD announced their LiquidVR software program during GDC 2015, but this event is called "Capsaicin", which is a marquee developer and press event hosted by RTG's Senior VP and Chief Architect Raja Koduri. We will be there in person, bringing you everything live from the event.