AMD appears to be ringing in the New Year bell a little early this year, with a tease on the official Twitter account for Radeon, with a simple tweet of "New Year. New architecture", teasing its next-gen Vega GPU architecture.
AMD recently held their Tech Summit 2016 event in Sonoma, California - with our first look at a Vega 10-based graphics card with 8GB of HBM2, capable of driving DOOM at 4K 60FPS+ on its highest graphics settings.
It was only a week ago that a Vega 10 GPU of some sort received RRA certification, but so did a 'Polaris 12' graphics chip, too. Performance wise, we should expect Titan X level performance from a Vega 10 graphics card with 8GB of HBM2, and most likely ready to compete against NVIDIA's unannounced and unconfirmed - but teased GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
We know what to expect from the GTX 1080 Ti - faster than GTX 1080, slightly slower and much cheaper than Titan X. AMD on the other hand, is rocking a next-generation, enthusiast level GPU architecture with the next step in VRAM for graphics cards with HBM2 - capable of 1TB/sec of memory bandwidth on a 4096-bit memory bus. AMD will certainly have the edge when it comes to technology prowess with Vega and HBM2 together, while NVIDIA will stand with its nearly year-old GPU architecture and the cheaper, more mainstream GDDR5 or possibly new GDDR5X technology.
ZOTAC has had a strong GeForce GTX 10 series line up in 2016, but they're about to release something SFF gaming PC lovers have wanted for a while: their new GeForce GTX 1070 Mini graphics card.
ZOTAC's upcoming GTX 1070 Mini sports a shorter PCB, and a dual-fan cooler - with ZOTAC's new GTX 1070 Mini featuring a small 17cm custom PCB and their new Ice Storm cooler and Freeze Tech that features 2 x 8mm copper heat pipes that are connected directly to the GPU, with a heat sink that is cooled down by dual 80mm fans.
NVIDIA's reference clocks of 1518/1708MHz for base/boost, respectively are applied - all through a single 8-pin PCIe power connector. There's 8GB of GDDR5 RAM on-board, clocked at 8GHz, while display connectivity is served through 3 x DP, 1 x HDMI 2.0 and 1 x DVI.
AMD is preparing for a massive GPU push in 2017 with their Vega GPU architecture, with our good friends at Fudzilla reporting that there will be "top to bottom designs based on Vega architecture arriving soon".
AMD will utilize HBM2 technology to power its high-end cards that will compete against the likes of NVIDIA's current flagship GeForce GTX 1080 (and possibly even Titan X), as well as the waiting-in-the-wings GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. But the news that AMD will use GDDR5X and GDDR5 on its Vega graphics cards is interesting, something I've been saying for a while now. We've already seen Vega 10 with 8GB of HBM2 running DOOM at 4K 60FPS+ on Ultra/Nightmare settings, which is awesome.
HBM2 is too expensive to use on all Vega graphics cards, and the yields aren't perfect yet - so the use of GDDR5X with its 10Gbps bandwidth makes sense, while GDDR5 is an obvious choice for the lower- and mid-range cards based on the Vega architecture.
Prediction on pricing of AMD's next-gen Vega graphics cards:
- Dual Vega with 16/32GB HBM2 - $1499 (please!)
- Vega with 16GB HBM2 - $1199 (Titan X competitor)
- Vega with 8GB of HBM2 - $899 (GTX 1080 Ti competitor)
- Vega with 8GB of GDDR5X - $699 (GTX 1080 competitor)
- Vega with 8GB GDDR5X (less GPU cores) - $499 - GTX 1070 competitor)
- Vega with 8GB GDDR5 - $399 (GTX 1060/1060 Ti competitor)
Futuremark is preparing for the next wave of API benchmarking, with TechPowerUp reporting that there's some new Vulkan-based benchmarks on the way, as well as some love for DX12 coming to 3DMark very soon.
Starting with the Vulkan benchmark, it will be released onto both the Windows and Android versions of 3DMark. This will allow people to easily compare laptops and PCs against tablets and smartphones in Vulkan.
Next up, we have DX12 - which TPU tease as "Its target hardware is notebook graphics and entry-mainstream graphics cards. It will be to 'Time Spy' what 'Sky Diver' is to 'Fire Strike'".
We all know that AMD's next-gen Vega 10 GPU is getting closer and closer to becoming a reality, but now both Vega 10 and the upcoming Polaris 12 chip have received RRA certification.
First off: what's this RRA certification? South Korea's National Radio Research Agency is a regulatory body that approves any silicon-based electronic product before it can be pushed out into the consumer market. AMD's upcoming Vega 10 and Polaris 12 GPUs have received RRA certification, which means they're getting much closer to being physical products and not just pre-production boards like we were teased with during the AMD Tech Summit 2016 running DOOM at 4K 60FPS+ on Ultra settings on Vega 10.
So now the game becomes a question of what graphics cards we'll see from Vega 10 and Polaris 12. First off, let's tackle Polaris 12 - which should arrive as a highly tuned Radeon RX 460 which we've been teased about over the last couple of months. AMD stated there would not be a faster GPU under the Polaris family, so don't expect a Radeon RX 490 which blows the hinges off the doors of performance.
Moving onto Vega 10, which I expect to be in better physical form in the coming months - and with this new RRA certification, we could expect a bigger and better tease at CES 2017 in early January. But... and this is a big but... we might not see much new at CES, and rather GDC 2017. AMD could do a big tease of Vega 10 at the Game Developers Conference between February 27 and March 3, during what I'm sure will be a new Capsaicin event, this time featuring Vega and Ryzen.
AMD has released their new Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 16.12.2 drivers, taking care of some of those bugs and problems that some Radeon graphics card owners have been complaining about since the ReLive Edition drivers launched.
First off, we have fixes for the flashing and corruption issues found in Battlefield 1 when using Radeon RX 400 series graphics cards in CrossFire, various recording issues, and issues relating to the overlay/toolbar when Frame Rate Target Control is enabled, on the Radeon ReLive Edition drivers. The new driver also takes care of the performance-related issues with Borderless Fullscreen application mode when using FreeSync-enabled monitors.
The new drivers can be downloaded here.
NVIDIA is wanting to get more people into the PC gaming space, with a tease of something it is calling the PC Gaming Revival Kit - and it includes a graphics card, SSD, PSU, and even a game.
Inside, you'll get an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card, a 240GB SSD from Corsair, and a 450W semi-modular PSU - as well as a free copy of Gears of War 4. The only thing is, if you purchased all of these products and Gears of War 4 separately, it would be cheaper - NVIDIA is just making it much more convenient to buy the gear in one place, at one time, in a single box.
The upgrade box will cost 399 EUR, which converts to around $415.
NVIDIA's PC Gaming Revival Kit includes:
- MSI GTX 1060 3GT OC - 229 EUR
- Corsair Force Series LE 240 SSD - 77 EUR
- Corsair CX450M - 51 EUR
- Gears of War 4 (in Germany)- 45 EUR
VideoCardz only found the PC Gaming Revival Kit in Spanish-speaking countries, with no details just yet on whether it'll float on over to other countries. I'm sure it will, and I think we'll see something teased at CES 2017 in the first week of January.
GALAX has hit a milestone with its GeForce GTX 1060 HOF GOC used to reach a record breaking 3GHz GPU clock, beating the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 performance in pixel fill rate - but the company had a surprise for the world at its event.
GALAX teased a single slot GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card, with a slick metallic shroud that has an exposed area on the left of the card that teases its pure copper heat sink. GALAX has equipped the single slot GTX 1070 with a blower-style cooler that pushes the air out of the exhaust vent on the back, with the PCB smaller than the Founders Edition card, and it uses an extended shroud cover.
We can expect dual SLI connectors, 1 x 8-pin PCIe power connector - and display connectivity that consists of 1 x DisplayPort, 1 x HDMI, and 1 x DVI. GALAX is expecting to launch the card in early 2017 with a retail price of around $379.
A few hours ago I wrote about AMD's great success throughout 2016, but it has been both Team Red and Team Green that have exploded this year - with NVIDIA hitting a record high $100.21 per share (at the time of writing).
NVIDIA started the year with its shares at $32.37, but reached $45 or so at the time of the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 unveiling in May. But it was on November 10 that NVIDIA stock skyrocketed from $67.77 per share, to $87.97 per share on November 11. Why? NVIDIA released their analyst-beating Q3 2016 results, riding the success of their GTX 10 series graphics cards, dominance in machine learning, AI, deep learning, and more.
And now, NVIDIA stock has reached a record $100.21 per share, with Evercore ISI's CJ Muse expecting NVIDIA shares to reach $120 soon, with machine learning "making more and more use of NVIDIA GPUs". NVIDIA has been pushing into the deep learning market for a couple of years now, unleashing their HBM2-powered Tesla P100 graphics card, powered by the Pascal architecture, during GTC 2016 earlier this year.
NVIDIA launched a massive enthusiast offensive this year with the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080, offering unprecendented performance - absolutely nailing the high-end market. If you're a pro-gamer, or enthusiast who wants to hit 120/144/160/180/240Hz (yeah, there's a lot of high-end monitors out there) - you're going to go NVIDIA. There are not many high-end AMD Radeon graphics cards that can maintain 165FPS at 2560x1440 in games like Overwatch or Battlefield 1, which is where NVIDIA placed its bets.
When NVIDIA launched the GeForce GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards in Texas earlier this year, the company teased that its GP104 GPU could hit 2.1GHz, and that has been true - most samples can run between 1.9GHz and 2.1GHz - but 3GHz? Yes, please.
The GALAX GeForce GTX 1060 HOF GOC was used to hit 3010MHz (3.01GHz) on its Pascal-based GP106 core, with the same card reaching 2.8GHz under LN2 last month, but the 3GHz milestone is a big one. Inside, the GALAX GTX 1060 HOF GOC features 1280 CUDA cores, 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, and a 1620MHz clock that gets boosted to 1847MHz. The 8GB of GDDR5 is clocked at 8GHz, providing 192GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
GALAX provides a TDP of 120W, but includes improved PWM and VRMs that require more power to the card for improved stability and overclocking. But where does it help? At the 3GHz barrier, GPUPI (10M) calculations were just 21.685 seconds, and the overclocked GTX 1060 was able to hit higher texture and pixel fill rates than a GTX 1070, and even beating the pixel fill rate performance of a GTX 1080.