An interesting tidbit has hit the internet, with Hardware.fr's Damien Triolet claiming that ASUS and MSI are sending GTX 1080s to the press with modified BIOSes. The modified BIOS is enabling more power on the review samples, which are provided boosted performance - and thus, better reviews.
The report claims that the optimized BIOSes are common in the industry, with manufacturers encouraging GPU reviewers to enable special overclocking presets before reviewing the cards, reports VideoCardz. Now, I've been reviewing GPUs for nearly two years with TweakTown, and I've never been approached once by a company asking to do this - so I don't know where that part of the claim is coming from.
Hardware.fr's Damien Triolet adds that he asks manufacturers to provide retail BIOSes for his testing, with manufacturers not being too happy about having to provide the software. The two cards on the table in the middle of this debacle are the new MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G (with our review on that card here) and the ASUS GTX 1070 Strix. We tested the MSI card and our sample was being overclocked past a certain speed, but I underclocked it to its advertised Boost clocks for my testing. I presumed it was the EVGA Precision X software playing around with the clocks, but maybe MSI has sent an overclocked card - so I thought I'd do some digging on my own.
We've had a few of the custom GeForce GTX 1080 cards come through our labs so far, with our first review being the MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G, and it being a totally silent GTX 1080 experience. Well, GIGABYTE is now teasing their upcoming GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming video card, which will be one of the fastest GTX 1080s released yet. GIGABYTE's new beast is teasing a huge GPU overclock, right up to 2.3GHz on the GPU... which is simply amazing.
GIGABYTE has used a totally custom PCB with Titan X style chokes and capacitors, with a dust/moisture/corrosion resistant PCB coating. The company has also used a 12+2 phase VRM that makes great use of GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable class components so that the card doesn't buckle under the pressure of the extreme overclocking. But we're not even at the best part yet.
GIGABYTE's new GeForce GTX 1080 Xtreme Gaming has an AIO liquid cooler, which allows the GP104-powered GPU and its 2560 CUDA cores to be cranked all the way up to 1936MHz on Boost, out of the box. The 8GB of GDDR5X is cranked up from 10GHz to 10.4GHz, providing 333.4GB/sec of memory bandwidth over the GTX 1080 Founders Edition memory bandwidth of 320GB/sec.
In the midst of NVIDIA experiencing stock shortages of the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 in our exclusive story, news has just broken that AMD's upcoming Radeon RX 480 can hit 1.5GHz, and higher. The Radeon RX 480 is expected to fight directly against the HBM1-based Radeon R9 Nano, and the GTX 980 which just had a $25 price drop.
If we think about AMD hitting the $199 price point with the RX 480, and it being able to be toe-and-toe with the R9 Nano and GTX 980, we're looking at one of the best price/performance video cards ever released. Additionally, with some huge OC headroom included, it could be an even better card - especially if gamers can hit 1.5GHz+. The new Radeon RX 480 will supposedly reach 1.4GHz on its GPU easily, with 1.5GHz not far away and only a little additional tweaking required.
The RX 480 "Beast Mode" cards will include 6+8-pin PCIe power connectors for additional juice and overclocking headroom, and will be able to hit 1.5GHz right out of the box. We should expect the likes of SAPPHIRE, ASUS, MSI and the rest of the AIB partners to really hit these speeds. Considering the Radeon RX 480 only consumes 100W of power under gaming loads, and only hits 60C, we should be in for quite the surprise from AMD in a few weeks time.
NVIDIA is going on the offensive with its Maxwell-powered video cards, cutting the price of the GeForce GTX 970, GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti. Now that the GeForce 10 series is here, it only makes sense for NVIDIA to clear out the inventory of 900 series cards, and that's a big benefit to gamers, too. NVIDIA has dropped the price of the GTX 980 Ti by $125, the GTX 980 by $75 an the GTX 970 by $25 - all priced in USD.
I wrote an exclusive story yesterday that GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 stock will not improve until late-July or even early-August, and now that NVIDIA has dropped the price on the enthusiast level GTX 900 series cards, it begins to make even more sense. The GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 cards are also way above the $699 price of NVIDIA's own GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition, with the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0 listed on Amazon for a wallet-busting $1999.
With these price drops, AMD aren't in trouble with their unreleased Radeon RX 480 just yet - as they're pricing that at a very lucrative $199... but it does put the pressure on slightly. AMD need to ensure their stock levels of the RX 480 are far higher than the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, but these new nodes aren't easy. AMD is using the 14nm FinFET process for its new Polaris-based Radeon RX series, while NVIDIA is tapping some of that 16nm FinFET for its Pascal-based GeForce 10 series. These recent price drops on the GTX 900 series however, are going to really spur some sales up, and hopefully keep consumers and gamers happy until the stock levels of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 improve late next month.
Exclusive: It was only yesterday that we reported on NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 cards selling above the $699 price of the Founders Edition, where we asked if there were supply issues on the GP104.
Now we've had an industry source tell us that there won't be a huge flood of GeForce GTX 1080 cards, from all partners, until late July or even early August. This makes sense, but it also means that the price gouging that is happening now, will continue - and could even get worse. The EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW ACX 3.0 is selling for $1999 on Amazon right now, which is absolutely nuts.
But where to from here? If NVIDIA is going to have stock shortages on the GP104-powered GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, then that means that AMD could come in and really fling things around with the release of the Radeon RX 480. The reason being, is that the RX 480 is going to cost just $199 - but then there's a huge issue here. For AMD to be successful for that month of NVIDIA's low stock, they need to have plenty of RX 480s to go around, and not have shortages of their own. This is only going to result in a price war between NVIDIA and AMD, and it could lead to NVIDIA releasing the GeForce GTX 1060 earlier than anticipated, to fight off the RX 480.
Over the past few days, many of my friends (inside, and outside of the industry) have been asking me "where are all the GeForce GTX 1080s?" and I haven't taken much notice, until now. One of my friends has been eyeing off the awesome MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Gaming X 8G, simply because he couldn't find one in retail, or online anywhere in Australia.
Well, the Australian market for enthusiast level hardware at launch is always... bad, very bad. We get a handful (less than 10) on a good launch, and I experienced this first hand for 10 years working IT retail selling these exact cards. So I decided to check Amazon, and lo and behold - the price gouging is HUGE. The big surprise is is the custom card from EVGA in the form of the EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW GAMING ACX 3.0 card, which is freakin' $1999 right now... this is absolute insanity.
Remember that NVIDIA unveiled the GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition for $699, but there is a huge premium on the cards right now - and this could be one of two reasons. The first, is that NVIDIA hasn't got enough supply of their 16nm FinFET-based GP104, and that's why the GTX 1080 is so expensive because retailers are wanting as much money as they can, while they can, as the stock levels are low. Second, it could be retailers doing their usual and price gouging - but this price gouging is on another level right now - especially at $1999 for a single GTX 1080 from EVGA.
It wasn't long ago when we found out that AMD's new Radeon RX 480 would run at 60C under load, drawing just 100W. Well, now we have the PCB shots of both the Radeon RX 480 and RX 470, and they're a sight to behold.
The Radeon RX 480 and RX 470 are shorter cards with a single PCIe power connector, and 4 x display outputs consisting of 3 x DP 1.3/1.4 HDR ports and a single HDMI 2.0 port. We're expecting 2304 stream processors on the RX 480, and both a 4GB version that will cost $199, and the 8GB version set at $229. All three of the Radeon RX series cards are based on the new Polaris architecture, baked onto the 14nm FinFET process from GlobalFoundries.
E3 2016 - With more details now available on AMD's range of Radeon RX series cards, we've stumbled across some Steam VR benchmark results on the Radeon RX 480, which scores just 6.3 in the Steam VR benchmark.
How does 6.3 on the Steam VR benchmark stack up? Well, considering the Radeon R9 390 scores around the same, AMD are positioning themselves incredibly well for VR. The Radeon R9 380 in comparison scores only 3.6, so AMD are comparing the RX 480 against it, and it really shines. The RX 480 should deliver R9 390 level performance, with it being compared to the HBM1-based R9 Nano in a recent story of ours, with the RX 480 set to consume 100W of power and run at 60C under load.
We've just reported on the AMD Radeon RX 480 consuming just 100W of power, and running at 60C under gaming load, with the Polaris 10-based card keeping up with, and beating the HBM1-based Radeon R9 Nano. Not too bad for $199, right? Well, now we have more details on not just the Polaris 10 GPU, but the Polaris 11 GPU which will be powering the lower-end cards.
Starting with the Polaris 10, we have 2304 stream processors all clocked at 1266MHz, with the Polaris 10 powering both the RX 480 and RX 470 cards. The RX 480 is going to be a beast of a card, offering R9 Nano/GTX 980 levels of performance with 4GB/8GB variants ($199/$229 for the reference models). It'll be great for 1080p and 1440p gaming, as well as VR gaming - with FreeSync support, and DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 (and HDR, too).
The Polaris 11 GPU will power the lower-end, eSports-aimed RX 460 card, which will feature 1024 stream processors, with no GPU clock speed numbers confirmed just yet. We know that there will be 2GB and 4GB models of the RX 460 offered, with a 128-bit memory bus and memory bandwidth of somewhere around 112GB/sec. The RX 460 features a pretty damn good 2.8x performance per watt improvement over the previous GCN cards like the Radeon R7 360. The Radeon RX 460 will also have a TDP of only 75W, so you don't need to use a PCIe power connector - which is going to be awesome for gamers who don't have a huge budget in terms of money, and power consumption/bills.
We've already seen leaked benchmarks on AMD's Radeon RX 480 where it beat the GeForce GTX 980, but now we have some more information to share - GPU clock speeds, temperature under load, and even the power consumption of AMD's new Polaris-based video card. AMD just unveiled the new RX 470 and RX 460 cards during E3, with pricing to follow on those cards shortly.
The Radeon RX 480 will arrive in both 4GB and 8GB variants, with the RX 480 4GB version costing $199 - and we can exclusively reveal the 8GB version will cost $229 according to our industry insiders. The partner cards will cost more obviously, but they'll have better coolers and higher clock speeds. Both of the RX 480 offerings will feature a base clock speed of 1080MHz, while it will boost up to around 1266MHz out of the box.
Under typical gaming loads, the RX 480 reportedly consumes around 100W of power, hitting 60C on an open-air test bench. The reference design incldues a single 6-pin PCIe power connector, and together with the PCIe 3.0 x16 port consumes up to 150W of power. Custom cards will include an additional PCIe power connector, while the "beast mode" AIB cards will feature a single 6-pin or single 8-pin depending on the card. But how is the performance?
In some leaked benchmarks that WCCFTech has gotten their hands-on, the R9 480 8GB at 1266MHz beats the R9 Nano, which is hugely impressive considering the engineering feat AMD achieved with the R9 Nano. Remember that the R9 Nano is a Fiji-powered enthusiast level card with HBM1 technology, but on the 28nm process. The RX 480 on the other hand is a next-gen 14nm FinFET-based design, with GDDR5 memory.