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GamesCom 2011 Our first stop for Day 1 of GamesCom 2011 in Germany was over at the Sapphire booth where they were showcasing their range of new video cards, motherboards and mini PC systems as well as a cool AMD Eyefinity demo showing off the flex, so to speak, of their latest Flex Edition Series video card.
Setup in an interesting dual system case, Sapphire has a three screen Eyefinity setup running Dirt 3. The video card powering the show was the Radeon HD 6950 Flex Edition. This video card supports up to five outputs whereas a standard video card only usually support three.
Just as a side note, Sapphire also had some other errm... "stuff" on display of the human kind, but you'll have to wait for that.
eVGA has just made available for purchase via their website a new back plate specifically suited to owners of reference GTX 560 Ti graphics cards.
Made of brushed metal, the back plate is designed to reinforce the PCB in order to reduce bending, while also speeding up heat dissipation. At the same time, it would indeed give an improved look of the card inside a windowed case, hiding all those solder points on the PCB.
While this accessory is a little late to the party, the GTX 560 Ti was quite the popular attraction in NVIDIA's lineup at launch thanks to the aggressive performance/price ratio and a bit of a physical facelift along with a method to try for slightly higher clock rates should be of interest to some folks, especially considering this will only set you back $20 US.
AMD beat NVIDIA to the punch with the stellar 5000-series, with the Fermi taking the literal, hot seat in the competition and requiring a refresh to keep up technologically. Rumors have been flying that their 28nm-based Kepler GPU would see a launch this year (even if it were a paper launch) but it seems that is now out of the question. Ken Brown, a spokesman for NVIDIA has come out and said:
Although we will have early silicon this year, Kepler-based products are actually scheduled to go into production in 2012. We wanted to clarify this so people wouldn't expect product to be available this year.
Keep in mind that AMD are still hammering away at their Southern Islands, HD 7000-series of GPU and should make a launch before years end. Just in time for Battlefield 3. However, if you want to stay on Team Green, you'll have to wait that little bit longer.
A particularly interesting looking HD 6850 graphics card has been found in Japanese stores by a company unheard of to most, AFOX. It's not just the brand name and box design that stands out, though. More interestingly, this card is quite a big step away from the reference design in that it is of low-profile stature and without the need for external power.
The low profile heatsink/fan design is also a standout feature with its dual-fan aluminum setup. AFOX appears to have left the stock clock rates on the card alone, however, which are 775MHz on the core and 4000MHz on the GDDR5 memory.
A company by the name of Village Instruments has become the centre of attention for many folks as of last week when CEO, Hubert Chen wrote an open letter to Facebook in efforts to guage Mac customer interest in an external PCI-E graphics card enclosure that would connect via the Thunderbolt IO interconnect.
His promise was that if there were 50 or more people to have commented in return showing interest in a product like this, the company would begin developing the device. It's not surprising to find out that a little over a week later, there wasn't only 50 positive comments made toward the idea, but now well into the hundreds.
Chen has since confirmed development would begin soon. We can only assume at this point that it will be at least partially similar in construction to Village Instruments' existing ViDock product (pictured), although it is limited to the ExpressCard interface which is only capable of around 2.5Gb/s. Thunderbolt should prove to be much more suitable for a device like this with its 10Gb/s of bandwidth on tap.
Following the launch of its DisplayPort to dual HDMI adapters yesterday, ZOTAC makes headlines again today with a couple more products.
In collaboration with water cooling specialists CoolIT, ZOTAC has introduced the liquid-cooled GeForce GTX 580 Infinity Edition which has CoolIT's OMNI self-contained water cooling system mounted.
ZOTAC ships the card with increased clock rates of 815/1630MHz on the core and shader, and 4100MHz on the 1536MB of GDDR5 memory. The card itself is otherwise much a standard fare with its 512 CUDA cores, 384-bit memory interface and dual-DVI and single mini HDMI outputs.
There have been rumors flying about NVIDIA's upcoming next-gen Kepler-codenamed GPU for a while now, that it would be delayed until 2012 because of issues with the adaption of the 28nm-based process. But, Chris Malachowsky spoke at their GTC Workshop Japan event, saying that Kepler is still on track for launch this year. Chris was careful with wording, saying only that the parts would begin "shipping" by the end of the year which could mean a paper launch and not an actual card-in-your-hands-giving-you-sexy-times launch.
Kepler is meant to deliver a threefold increase in double precision performance per watt over the previous Fermi, as well as being easier for developers to utilize GPGPU applications. Whatever, NVIDIA, just give me the damn cards now please.
As many of us know, the next big move we're waiting for from NVIDIA since Fermi came about is the release of its next-generation 600 series cards, dubbed Kepler. As the days roll on following a somewhat uneventful past 8 months or so in the VGA market, it's looking pretty certain that Kepler should come about around the start of 2012.
Kepler will be one of the first products to use TSMC's new 28nm process (with them getting a warmup session on some mobile 28nm GPU parts initially). Of course, it's safe to assume there will be a number of additional features on tap from NVIDIA with these next-gen cards, one of which looks to be in the way of better multi-monitor support.
As reported via the source, NVIDIA is apparently taking serious notice of the clear success that is Eyefinity with so many folks jumping aboard and making use of 3-screen gaming bliss since its inception.
ASUS has just dished up a standout graphics card under its DirectCU family with an all-passive cooled HD 6770 powered model.
The first thing that catches your eye with the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent is indeed that chunky passive cooler, which ASUS claims to be 16% more efficient than the reference cooler, while of course being completely silent.
To help with the coolers efficiency, it uses four direct touch copper heatpipes pulling heat away from the GPU. Meanwhile, the card itself boasts a Super Alloy Power design which basically means higher-grade componentry in terms of the capacitors, chokes and MOSFETs, while the rest of the specs shape up with 800 Stream processors, a 128-bit memory interface, 1GB of GDDR5 memory and D-Sub, DVI and HDMI outputs. The out of the box frequencies on the model are not yet known.
In a repeat of what we saw two years ago when AMD launched the HD5000 series and slipped down to the slender 40nm process, it seems as though AMD will beat NVIDIA to the punch again and have 28nm GPUs by the end of the year. AMD let slip that they'll have 28nm GPUs in the following quote:
We also passed several critical milestones in the second quarter as we prepare our next-generation 28-nanometer graphics family. We have working silicon in-house and remain on track to deliver the first members of what we expect will be another industry-leading GPU family to market later this year. We expect to be at the forefront of the GPU industry's transition to 28-nanometer.