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We don't normally see a behind the scenes look at the hardware powering a gigantic event like the Super Bowl, but we now know what powered the show. This year's Super Bowl half-time show was powered by MAINGEAR, with a system that packed quite a punch in the performance department.
According to 'Bulwerk' on the Octane forums, they needed to render animation at a huge 3780x3024, which requires a serious amount of number crunching power. So they asked MAINGEAR to construct an insane PC that featured four NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z GPUs, which were all liquid cooled using EK Water Block products.
On top of that, we have an ASUS X-99E WS motherboard, Intel Core i7-5930K processor, 16GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR4 RAM, a Samsung 850 PRO 256GB SSD, and two Corsair AX 1200i PSUs.
The last couple of weeks have been filled with, well I guess you'd call it "controversy" over the VRAM on the GeForce GTX 970. If you haven't read up on it just yet, you can play catch up here.
But how are the return rates on them? Well, according to analyst firm Jon Peddie Research, not many. Jon Peddie from JPR has said: "I have heard as many as 5 per cent of the buyers are demanding a refund from the AIB suppliers". Retailers are reporting just 1-2%, with two of the UK's biggest retailers offering refunds for the GPU, where they have until the end of this month to box up their GTX 970 and return it.
So why are people up in arms over this? Well, the GTX 970 technically features 4GB of VRAM, with the final 512MB part of this running at a far slower rate than the first 3.5GB. So when a game fills up the first 3.5GB and spills into the remaining 0.5GB, it can cause slowdowns and stuttering in games. But it's not just the VRAM, as the ROPs (Raster Operating Pipelines) have been cut from the previous official specification of 64 ROPs, to 56, as well as the L2 cache being dropped from 2048KB to 1792KB.
Have you got a GeForce GTX 970? Returning it? Keeping it? Still love it?
It looks like Google Glass will soon be getting a major revamp under its new leadership, with Tony Fadell taking over the project. Various people familiar with the matter told The New York Times that Google Glass will be completely redesigned.
One of the sources has said that Fadell is a product person, so he won't be releasing the new version of Glass until it is near perfect. Fadell said in a statement to the Times that the early version of Glass broke ground, allowing the company to learn what is important for consumers and enterprise users when it came to their revolutionary wearable device.
Fadell added that he is excited to be working with fashion guru Ivy Ross, who will be providing direction and support for the new version of Glass, and other devices that will be rolled out in the future. This means that we most likely won't hear about a new version of Google Glass for a while yet, until the company is much closer to a final, consumer version.
We know it's coming, but AMD is beginning to acknowledge its forthcoming Radeon 300 series more and more. First, we had company CEO Lisa Su confirm the new GPUs for Q2 2015, but now the official AMD Facebook page has said they're coming.
In a response to someone asking about whether AMD would reveal its next-gen GPU shortly, they replaced with "We don't have an official date to share just yet but hte second we know, we will definitely announce it on Facebook". Another reply added "We're still putting the finishing touches on the 300 series to make sure they live up to expectation. Can't wait to reveal them though. We're pretty excited".
We should expect AMD to reveal the new GPUs in the near future, which should feature the exciting new High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) which should provide a huge memory bus. 4GB of RAM is expected, but I think we'll also see 8GB models coming thorugh, too.
NVIDIA caught headlines last week with its VRAM issues on the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970, but it's a new week, with new memory-related issues. This time, it's AMD and its Radeon GPUs and a very specific game, on a very specific OS.
Radeon users are seeing memory leak problems on Battlefield 4 with Windows 8.1, with WCCFTech confirming the issue with AMD's Head of Global Technical Marketing, Robert Hallock. Hallock acknowledged the issue in Battlefield 4, of which it only affects gamers running Windows 8.1. AMD is working directly with DICE on the issue, but with the game being over a year old and many DLC packs in, and the fact that AMD were and still are heavily partnered with DICE, this shouldn't be happening.
AMD will address the memory leak issues in a new beta driver that will arrive soon.
We know that AMD is currently preparing the launch of the Radeon R9 300 series, but between now and then what to add-in board (AIB) partners do? Do they continue ordering Radeon R9 290X, R9 290 and other 200 series GPUs from AMD? Well, that's where we are today.
DigiTimes is reporting from a source close tro them that some of AMD's AIB partners are reducing orders for current-gen Radeon GPUs as there is growing anticipation for the next-gen from AMD, as well as citing reduced demand for Radeon R9 200 series cards. DigiTimes has said: "Since AMD is already planning to unveil its next-generation GPUs in the second half, the sources believe the GPU vendor will have a chance to regain some of its lost market share in the second half of 2015".
The bigger tease is that AMD would reportedly launch its Radeon R9 380X as early as late this month, or early March according to VideoCardz. We might not see that happen, but with less Radeon R9 200 series cards on shelves around the world, AMD could surprise NVIDIA and the world by capitalizing on the GeForce GTX 970 VRAM issues.
Sure, your flashy new GeForce GTX 980 has 4GB of VRAM, and so does the one next to it in SLI. But while you have a total of 8GB of VRAM between two cards, only one set of VRAM is being used, it's not being combined. That is, for now. Things could change according to a recent tweet from AMD's Robert Hallock.
Hallock teased that with the upcoming APIs in Mantle and DirectX 12, two GPUs in SLI or Crossfire could possibly act as 'one big' GPU. Hallock said: "Mantle is the first graphics API to transcend this behavior and allow that much-needed explicit control. For example, you could do split-frame rendering with each GPU ad its respective framebuffer handling 1/2 of the screen. In this way, the GPUs have extremely minimal information, allowing both GPUs to effectively behave as a single large/faster GPU with a correspondingly large pool of memory".
"Ultimately the point is that gamers believe that two 4GB cards can't possibly give you the 8GB of useful memory", he continued. He added: "That may have been true for the last 25 years of PC gaming, but thats not true with Mantle and its not true with the low overhead APIs that follow in Mantle's footsteps". This isn't confirmation that memory stacking is going to happen, but it's a much better direction to be heading in, that's for sure. Especially with 4K and beyond gaming, VRAM is more important than ever and wasting 4-8GB of VRAM on SLI/Crossfire setups is just silly.
We've been hearing the rumbles of an insane video card from EVGA for quite a while now, but here it is: the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 KINGPIN ACX 2.0. From the name alone, you can see that this is the top tier Maxwell-powered GTX 980 from NVIDIA, but the entire package is going to blow you away.
First and foremost, we have a custom designed PCB which has been tailor made to push things right to their breaking points. Under LN2, the new EVGA GeForce GTX 980 KINGPIN ACX 2.0 was capable of an insane 2.2GHz GPU clock, and 8.9GHz on the memory. Comparing this to the stock speeds of 1291MHz for the GPU and 7GHz for the GDDR5 RAM, this is an impressive result for EVGA and KINGPIN. The custom designed PCB is showing its strength here, but it'll be more interesting to see what it does with its ACX 2.0+ cooler.
Speaking of the custom designed PCB, we have a 14+3 Fully Digital VRM which will increase the stability, efficiency and the overall power capacity of the board, all while it runs at low temperatures of an average of 28C. The custom designed PCB has been made from 12 layers of copper, with two 8-pin PCIe power connectors backed up by a third, 6-pin PCIe power connector. All of this power will ensure that the EVGA GeForce GTX 980 KINGPIN ACX 2.0 has enough power when it is receiving a total thrashing in the overclocking department.
Just how is 4K gaming affecting AMD internally right now? According to Robert Hallock who is part of the Technical Communications division for AMD Radeon graphics, he said that gamers are adopting 4K gaming nicely, but the R&D department for AMD is already planning for the future.
For Hallock, the Radeon R9 290X was a major step in that direction, allowing for gamers to play at 4K with a single GPU. Lower-end parts of the market aren't quite there yet, so GamingBolt asked him some questions where he replied with the future of 4K gaming is an evolution of GPU horsepower, which is something AMD is working on. He said: "If you think back to the launch of the AMD Radeon R9 290X, our video card marked arguably the first time anyone could reasonably expect to play games at 4K on a single GPU. Sure, there were some games that needed two for peak image quality, but one was and is pretty solid for the majority of titles. We were also the first company to offer full support for 4K SST displays in our driver".
"4K adoption is very popular amongst the elite enthusiasts, but understandably slower being adopted in lower-end segments. I couldn't characterize the rates with hard numbers as that's not my area of expertise, but this is the sense I'm getting from interacting with the AMD community every day", he continued. Hallock added: "Ultimately, the evolution of GPU horsepower is the biggest factor in driving 4K forward. Graphics being such an important part of our business, of course, you can count on great progress on that front as the years wind on".
By now I'm sure you've read about the VRAM issues surrounding the GeForce GTX 970, and AMD taking a stab at NVIDIA because of it, but now the former is offering gamers special discounts if they return their GTX 970s and pick up a Radeon card.
AMD's Roy Taylor has taken to Twitter, offering GTX 970 owners who return their cards special discounts if they swap them out for Radeon cards, including the R9 290 and R9 290X. Taylor tweeted "Anyone returning their GTX970 and wanting a great deal on a Radeon with a full 4GB please let us know" and even tagged the @NVIDIAGeForce Twitter account at the time.
Are you a GeForce GTX 970 owner? Will you be trading in your GTX 970 for the Radeon R9 290X?