AMD has the mid-range market tied up with its Radeon RX 480, which we reviewed right here - and then again with Radeon RX 480s in CrossFire which destroyed the GeForce GTX 1080 - but what about the high-end, enthusiast market?
Now we have news from our friends over at Fudzilla, who are reporting that we'll see AMD's first HBM2-based product in early 2017, rocking the next-gen Vega architecture. There will not be any HBM2-based GPUs released this year, as HBM2 yields are not high enough to hit consumer video cards. Right now, NVIDIA has all of the HBM2 to itself, using it on its high-end Tesla P100 video card.
What memory standard will the Vega 10 card use? We suspect it'll use GDDR5X, which scales up to 10GHz, and was recently used on the GeForce GTX 1080 from NVIDIA. The Vega architecture should deliver some large improvements over the Polaris architecture, and I'm sure it's going to be a monster that will battle NVIDIA in the high-end arena with its purported Titan X successor which is reportedly going to drop next month.
AMD has released an update regarding the impending release of their new Radeon Software 16.7.1 drivers, which will fix the Radeon RX 480 from drawing excess current from the PCIe bus. If you haven't seen it, we just posted up an article on the Radeon RX 480s in CrossFire beating out the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080.
The company posted on their AMD Gaming Facebook page that they are "confident that the levels of reported power draws by the Radeon RX 480 do not pose a risk of damage to motherboards or other PC components based on expected usage, we are serious about addressing this topic and allaying outstanding concerns. Towards that end, we assembled a worldwide team this past weekend to investigate and develop a driver update to improve the power draw. We're pleased to report that this driver-Radeon Software 16.7.1-is now undergoing final testing and will be released to the public in the next 48 hours".
AMD's upcoming Radeon Sofware 16.7.1 drivers include a tweak that will handle the power distribution on the Radeon RX 480, which will decrease the current drawn from the PCIe bus. Not only that, but AMD has included an option to reduce the total power drawn from the Radeon RX 480, with a "minimum performance impact". This new option will be found in the "compatibility" UI toggle in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings.
Microsoft is in quite the position with Windows 10, but it hasn't fully realized what it can do with DX12... yet.
The company has just announced it will be offering game developers a new abstraction layer that will allow developers to have better multi-GPU support in DX12 games. This new layer will also allow game developers to add multi-GPU support into their games with minimal additional code required.
Developers will still have to work much harder to add Explicit Multi Adapter, which is Microsoft's way of allowing multi-GPU setups to work under DX12 from NVIDIA and AMD... combined. That way, you can use something like a GeForce GTX 980 alongside a new Radeon RX 480, with both of the GPUs working together under Explicit Multi Adapter and DX12.
The leaks continue on NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060, which is reportedly set for an official announcement for July 7. The latest leak is from a 3DMark performance result, which gives us a taste of what to expect from NVIDIA's upcoming GP106-based mid-range video card. NVIDIA will want to hit AMD where it hurts, which is with their new Radeon RX 480.
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1060 will reportedly feature 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs, and 6GB of GDDR5 RAM at 8GHz on a 192-bit memory bus. As for the nitty gritty, it'll feature the GP106 GPU which is a different ASIC than the GP104 used on the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070 - and for clock speeds, we're set to see 1506MHz on the Base clock, while we have 1708MHz on Boost.
Now what about that 3DMark performance? XFastest has leaked out some results of the GTX 1060, with it scoring 3014 in 3DMark FireStrike Ultra (the 4K run of the benchmark) which is higher than the 2712 that the AMD Radeon RX 480 scored in our benchmarks of the card. 1080p performance is just as good, beating out the AMD Radeon RX 480 once again - with 11,225 on the GTX 1060, while the Radeon RX 480 manages 10,600.
There are new reports out that AMD's new Radeon RX 480 4GB cards can be upgraded to 8GB through a BIOS upgrade, meaning that AMD is shipping each and every RX 480 with 8GB of RAM, and then using a BIOS to downgrade/hide the additional 4GB of framebuffer.
Right now it's only confirmed on the early retail cards, so this might change in the coming weeks - so do not buy an RX 480 with 4GB of RAM absolutely, 100% hoping it has 8GB of RAM as this will change. Right now, WCCFTech purchased a retail Radeon RX 480 4GB model and flashed it with the vBIOS for the 8GB model, and 8GB of RAM appeared - a nice, free upgrade, eh?
Considering the 4GB model costs just $199 and the 8GB model costs $239, this is quite the savings - and makes the RX 480 an even better purchase at this price. As it stands, AMD is looking at losing $40 per RX 480 sold if it's using a vBIOS to downgrade the RAM to 4GB in order to meet the demand from consumers.
NVIDIA has been on a roll lately with its new Pascal architecture, with the huge releases of the new GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 cards, while the rumors of an imminent launch of the mid-range GTX 1060 could be around the corner.
How does it get better? Well, news is now arriving on the next-gen Pascal-based Titan X successor. VR World is reporting that they've had hands-on time with the GP102-based GeForce GTX Titan card, with a few details on NVIDIA's new monster.
NVIDIA's next-gen Titan X successor will feature both 8+8 and 8+6-pin PCIe power connectors, with the PCIe power connectors being found at the front of the card, and not on top. The 8+8-pin power connectors will provide up to 375W TDP, while the 8+6-pin version will provide 300W. Performance-wise, it should be a monster with around 50% more horsepower over the already lightning quick GTX 1080.
The new Pascal-based Titan X successor will reportedly be 12 inches long, while the new Titan X successor will arrive in 12/16GB versions (as we've previously reported) rocking HBM2 memory. VR World's sources say that the new GPU is actually now bound by the CPU, with NVIDIA's engineers reportedly saying that even Intel's new Core i7-6950X isn't powerful enough to deliver the performance the new Titan cards need in enthusiast level scenarios.
We should expect NVIDIA to unveil its new Titan P at Gamescom, which takes place in Cologne, Germany between August 17-21, 2016.
If you haven't heard about the power consumption issues on the Radeon RX 480, you might want to read our article on it here. To bring you up to speed quickly, some reputable sites like PC Perspective and Tom's Hardware have discovered that AMD's new Polaris-based Radeon RX 480 is consuming too much power over the PCIe slot, above and beyond the specification of 75W.
Well, AMD has come out defending the Radeon RX 480, saying: "As you know, we continuously tune our GPUs in order to maximise their performance within their given power envelopes and the speed of the memory interface, which in this case is an unprecedented 8Gbps for GDDR5. Recently, we identified select scenarios where the tuning of some RX 480 boards was not optimal. Fortunately, we can adjust the GPU's tuning via software in order to resolve this issue. We are already testing a driver that implements a fix, and we will provide an update to the community on our progress on Tuesday (July 5, 2016)".
We had this update in our original story, but I felt it needed it's own headline and special attention. Remember that it's the 4th of July weekend in the US right now, but there's a fix on the way. I dare say that the custom RX 480s won't have this problem, so by the time you get your hands-on the RX 480, the issues should be fixed.
NVIDIA's GeForce cards are a dominant force on the latest Steam hardware survey, with 56.7% of gamers using a GeForce GPU of some kind. AMD has lost a little of its steam in the last 12 months, with 25% of gamers using Radeon.
You can see that in January 2015 that AMD had 28.9% of users, but has declined over the last 18 months down to 25%. I'm sure the numbers will increase for AMD, now that it's next-gen Radeon RX 480 is here. In that same amount of time, NVIDIA went from 51.6% to its new lead of 56.7% - all of those users buying GeForce 900 series cards, like the GTX 950 through to the GTX 980 Ti.
It was only a couple of weeks ago that we reported on the leaked photos of the SAPPHIRE Radeon RX 480 Nitro, but now we have some high-res shots of the RX 480 Nitro that look positively gorgeous. Our review on the reference AMD Radeon RX 480 is right here.
In the new photos we can see the beautiful detail that SAPPHIRE has used on the RX 480 Nitro, with a black and silver backplate - but also a button that reportedly switches the LED illumination from temperature to GPU load mode indicators. You should be able to turn it off completely, too.
SAPPHIRE's new Radeon RX 480 Nitro will have its Polaris 10 GPU running at between 1325 and 1350MHz, while it also rocks removable fans. Why would you want removable fans? Well, for cleaning - it makes total sense. Secondly, if one of the fans becomes faulty over your years with it, you can easily replace it instead of replacing the entire card.
The DX12 patch for Total War: WARHAMMER has been released, with Alien: Isolation developer Creative Assembly stating that the DX12 renderer is still in a beta stage.
Right now, there's no benefits for NVIDIA GeForce owners in DX12, as GeForce cards perform worse under the DX12 renderer. DSOGaming did some testing using the Extreme scenario, and the in-game benchmarking tool on their Intel Core i7-4930K, GeForce GTX 980 Ti system.
The GTX 980 Ti on DX11 in WARHAMMER forms at 96FPS while in DX12 we have 27% less performance, with just 70FPS average. We will be doing our own testing in Total War: WARHAMMER in the near future, testing out my entire suite of video cards.