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I'm a sucker for GPU-related anything, really. I've reported a few times on rumors or news of NVIDIA's upcoming 28nm spin dubbed "Kepler", with the GK104 part being the mid-range power-house that should have the socks of most people being knocked off, if they can get it right. NVIDIA have been rumored to launch some cards in the March/April time frame and it seems this could be correct.
First off, as always, here's some salt. Let's get into it: SemiAccurate are reporting that GK104 Kepler GPUs are in the wild, and are being testing by AIB's (add-in board partners).
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PowerColor have teased everyone on their Facebook page with a glimpse of their new AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPU. Nothing more than it's "our new HD 7970 design posing for the camera" has been said from PowerColor.
What we can see though, are multiple video outputs, looks like the new HD 7970 from PowerColor sports dual DVI, HDMI, and dual DisplayPort. The card is still a dual-slot card, with two big fans on the front of it and a decently thick heatpipe design behind it.
More information on this bad boy as it comes. I do like the black/blue design of it. Reminds me of getting a bruise. This could could be powerful enough to punch the lights out of other HD 7970s, and give them... bruises? We'll find out soon enough. Hopefully our VGA editor is out of hospital by then, but I'm sure he's enjoying his Razer Blade gaming laptop too much, eh? ;)
First up, here's some salt. See your shoulder? Throw some over it. Now we can get into the news, SemiAccurate have luckily enough, had their eyes on NVIDIA's Kepler/GK104 chip. The chip they saw, they measured, which is great news for us.
Measurements of GK104 come in at roughly 18-19mm * 18-19mm, putting the range from 324-361mm^2. This is bigger than SA were expecting, but compared to AMD's Tahiti, it actually measures in smaller. Performance on GK104 is said to be quite good, and it should be around the same efficiency as AMD's current chips, but this time, in favor of Team Green, will reportedly draw a fair bit less power.
GK104, if priced correctly, could be the 2012 mid-range super GPU. That is, if NVIDIA can keep GK104 together and not let anything slip from its current yield. Things can change rapidly, but if they don't, we could see some very amazing things from Team Green. It's almost time to get out those green flags, people.
Nearly twelve months ago, I wrote a news piece about the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 6990 where I said it "punches all other GPU's in the nuts", and it seemed to be a catchy title, that just spilled out of my mind, into my hands, and onto the screen. A lot of what I type happens this way, I guess it's just my hektik writing skillz, maybe.
Anyway, a leaked roadmap for AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series has found its way onto the tubes, and it unveils the Q2 2012 launch of AMD's dual-GPU HD 7990, which will most likely kick every other GPU in the nuts this time. Exact launch timing, is "TBD", but there are some other tid bits included in the roadmap.
We should expect the HD 7870 "Pitcairn XT" to sport 2GB of RAM, and the HD 7850 "Pitcairn Pro" to also sport 2GB of RAM. Launch timing on these two GPUs are an expected March launch, which isn't too far away. Next up we have the HD 7770 "Cape Verde XT" and HD 7750 "Cape Verde Pro", both sporting 1GB of memory and have launch times of just two weeks from now on the 15th of February.
Pictures of Sapphire's non-reference, single fan Radeon HD 7950 have floated onto the surface of the web and it looks quite interesting indeed. It's reported that the single fan model will most likely stick to AMD's reference clock speeds of 800MHz core, 1250MHz (5GHz GDDR5 effective) speeds.
The PCB is Sapphire's usual sexy blue color, with the cooler quite compact and as previously mentioned, just a single fan design. Display output wise, we have two mini-DisplayPort, one HDMI and one DVI. It has also been reported that the maximum factory overclocking permitted by AMD to AIB (Add-in Board) partners is 900MHz for the core, and stock memory clocks.
Does this card cater to your needs? A single fan, non-reference HD 7950 is quite good for those who want to build HTPC's. Will you get one?
OMGTT: PowerVR are making a PC comeback, releasing PCI-Express GPGPU card that provides real-time ray-tracing
Wow. I remember the PowerVR days so fondly. Yes, they didn't make the same impact as 3dfx did in the day, but I remember as a young PC gamer, wanting their hardware so bloody bad it hurt. I remember getting my Dad to import me a 3dfx card (Orchid Righteous 4MB Voodoo card for those who would remember) and it being THE BEST THING EVER.
PowerVR cards were always something I never had, and now there's news they're returning to release a discrete GPU card, in the complete opposite of what they used to do. Imagination Technologies are the team behind it, and last year, they acquired Caustic Graphics.
Caustic Graphics are a San Francisco-based start-up who were (before the acquisition) working on an accelerator that would make real-time ray-tracing, a reality. They managed to make two generations of products which were more technology demonstrators than real-world products, but their FPGA chips worked.
After Imagination Technologies acquired them, they continued to work on building commercial purpose for its technology and at CES 2012, they began to see the finish line. VR-Zone talked to representatives of both Caustic and Imagination Technologies, where they were told to expect the introduction of the new card in the second half of 2012, more specifically, they have a goal of Siggraph 2012.
This is getting me excited. During CES 2012, NVIDIA knuckled down to show off their mobile systems processors, like Tegra. They didn't have much to say (officially) about their upcoming 28nm Kepler-based GPUs, but they did take the opportunity to talk to Nordic Hardware about Kepler, with some very interesting things to say.
Nordic Hardware confirmed in those talks with Team Green that they could not say more than a launch schedule of "first half of 2012." Post-launch of AMD's first GCN-based card, the Radeon HD 7970, NVIDIA were positively surprised, for their benefit. A high-up representative revealed that NVIDIA before launch, had a likely performance estimate of the Radeon HD 7900, an estimate that they have been preparing to beat.
Post-launch, NVIDIA are even more confident that Kepler will have no problem kicking AMD's HD 7900 series in the nuts, and running past it. NVIDIA can be all-talk sometimes, but if they are right, and I have confidence they are this time, we could be in for an amazing year of GPUs.
Want to get in on that Graphics Core Next business, but don't want to shell out the cash for the HD 7970? Well, pre-orders for the GIGABYTE-branded HD 7950 are up on PROVANTAGE, where it's been spotted at a price of $481.58.
The specs provided are just a tease: "HD 7950 3072MB DDR5 384BIT PCI Express DVI". Lazily, they've used a picture of the HD 4850, which is really bad in my opinion. If you're going to go as far as listing the card, maybe get a picture from GIGABYTE? Or at least have "TBD" or something in its place.
Rumor has it that the post-launch pricing of the HD 7950 will stick to the $400 mark. If they can get to this point, Team Green will need to change gears, and quick.
AMD have had quite a good launch with their Graphics Core Next bizzo, the Radeon HD 7970. But Team Green have a juicy new rumor today, that they might release their Kepler-based products early, and not in the earlier-reported March-April timeframe.
It would launch as early as next month with reports coming from ChipHell.com, where they say it will launch in February. The GTX 680 is rumored to sport the same performance as the AMD Radeon HD 7970, with a clock speed of 780MHz, but only 2GB of video memory. NVIDIA seem to be cheap on the video memory these days, which could indicate that the new cards might not do multiple monitors from the single card.
AMD's always thinking a few steps ahead, so throwing 3GB on the cards is great for Eyefinity users, and the 4K monitor support. NVIDIA only using 2GB is a worry, especially for 3-screen setups, or 3D Vision Surround setups that suck up that RAM like a GPU vacuum cleaner. Time will tell, and as usual, enjoy some TweakTown Salt.