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ASUS has just unveiled their new GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming Ice video card, something that is water cooled courtesy of a huge water block from Bitspower.
The new GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX Gaming Ice from ASUS features the usual GM200 GPU with 2816 CUDA cores, 176 TMUs and 96 ROPs - the GPU is clocked at 1216MHz with a Boost Clock of 1317MHz. There are two profiles on the card, with the gaming profile clocking the GTX 980 TI STRIX Gaming Ice at 1190MHz with the Boost hitting 1291MHz.
When the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 TI STRIX Gaming Ice is in its gaming mode, it will use slightly less power, but in OC mode it will suck down everything it can from the huge 14-phase PWM design. The power consumed by the card is courtesy of 2 x 8-pin PCIe power connectors, which will let the card consume as much power as it requires in OC mode. We have the usual 6GB of GDDR5 RAM which is clocked at 7.2GHz compared to the stock 7Ghz on most other brands. This provides the card with 345.6GB/sec of memory bandwidth.
We all want to be to able game on our laptops, even if we don't necessarily admit it readily. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to fire up one of our favorite games for a quick spin when we're bored in a hotel room. It's possible, and gaming laptops exist that are both powerful and also not that massive, but they too are still limited in their abilities. And mobile GPU's aren't exactly the most powerful chips even if they can provide a good framerate. You can upgrade them, but an MXM module is far more expensive than a typical GPU. It's a problem that really wasn't being asked, but the solution to that might
AMD is introducing their XConnect technology that allows any laptop with Thunderbolt 3 to be able to have a discrete GPU connected to it. And there's a huge market for thin and light laptops out there because they're far more convenient to lug around. External graphics is actually a sound idea, too. When traveling, the external enclosure can be completely separate and safely ensconced in another piece of luggage completely, setup only when you're at your destination or when you really absolutely must have that extra GPU power, and AMD is the first to bring you this power. Plug-and-play GPU's are finally here, and they don't require a reboot anymore.
And they've done this by partnering with Razer and Thunderbolt in order to do this. Their innovations in allowing for graphics information to be passed via this interface isn't a closed-source method, either. They're staying true to their GPUOpen initiative and pushing their innovations out to be available to everyone. That means that yes, NVIDIA, can make use of their plug-and-play GPU technology.
AMD has just released its new Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 drivers, which include a bunch of new features, optimizations and more. The new drivers from AMD also include support for Hitman, which launches on March 11.
The Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3 drivers include performance improvements and a Crossfire profile for Hitman, as well as an updated Crossfire profile for The Park. We also have performance improvements for Rise of the Tomb Raider (16% improvement on Fiji-based cards), Gears of War Ultimate Edition (which is up a huge 60% on Fiji hardware, and even 44% on R9 380 series cards).
The 16.3 release also has AMD providing full support for Vulkan's initial release, which supports compatible GPUs to make good use of a low-overhead API in supported games and applications. There are some new features with the 16.3 release, including per-game display scaling, support for two-display Eyefinity configurations, as well as the ability to disable some of the power efficiency optimizations through a 'Power Efficiency Toggle' on Radeon 300 and Fury X series GPUs.
As we inch closer to the Game Developers Conference next week, and NVIDIA's own GPU Technology Conference in the first week of April, we're hearing more on NVIDIA's next-gen Pascal-based video cards.
According to a listing on the Zauba database, there are four different variants that we could see shown off in the very near future. They're priced at $600, $700, $900 and $1100 - where I think the $900 and $1100 cards could be Pascal-based GeForce GTX Titan X successors. I think we'll see a consumer-orientated card with 16GB of HBM2, while there'll be a higher-end Titan X successor with 32GB of HBM2 - remember, that HBM2 provides up to 1024GB/sec of memory bandwidth, up from the 334GB/sec on the 384-bit memory bus on the GTX 980 Ti and Titan X.
NVIDIA co-founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang kicks off his opening keynote to GTC on April 5, where we should be introduced to a Pascal video card at the time. I can barely contain my excitement, as by then we'll be introduced to something "spicy" from AMD, and not even two weeks later NVIDIA will come out stomping with Pascal.
Yesterday's GeForce 364.47 driver from NVIDIA was reported to cause major crashing and prevent booting into Windows. Thankfully, NVIDIA has responded promptly with its 364.51 beta driver (a WHQL-certified driver is on the way), which they say fixes the issues altogether. User reports indicate it does indeed install as normal.
In light of yesterday's issues, be sure to go for the clean install option with the new driver, which you can grab here.
AMD will be teasing their next-gen Polaris architecture, the Radeon R9 Fury X2, and latest software improvements for Radeon video cards during the Game Developers Conference next week - but, there's a larger event that I feel AMD will be shining a spotlight on - its Capsaicin party, in San Fransisco on March 14, and we will be there - but now you can join us, through a live webcast!
AMD has announced that there will be a live webcast of the Capsaicin event, where the company will be showcasing the latest innovations from the Radeon Technologies Group. RTG Marketing Director Chris Hook posted on Twitter that they will be showing off some very hot and spicy new innovations during GDC 2016.
Last year, AMD announced their LiquidVR software program during GDC 2015, but this event is called "Capsaicin", which is a marquee developer and press event hosted by RTG's Senior VP and Chief Architect Raja Koduri. We will be there in person, bringing you everything live from the event.
Both sides of the video cards war will be using HBM2 (High Bandwidth Memory) with the new super-fast HBM2 going into mass production later this year, kicking off with 4GB HBM2 dies in Q3 2016, followed up by 8GB HBM2 dies in Q4, reports Golem.de.
With AMD expected to unveil its new Polaris architecture in more detail at GDC next week, and NVIDIA following up with its reveal of Pascal at its own GPU Technology Conference in early April, the GPU scene is heating up. SK Hynix setting off its 4GB HBM2 die mass production in Q3 2016 signifies when the next-gen GPUs will launch, where I think we'll see a launch in June/July and availability in the months proceeding their launch.
The professional-orientated next-gen cards will require the 8GB HBM2 dies to get things kicked off in a higher fashion, as that's when we'll see 32GB of HBM2 on a video card - and by just typing that, there's feelings in my body that I've never felt before. 32GB of HBM2? Freakin' incredible, isn't it? We will be at both GDC and GTC, so expect some quick and plentiful coverage from both events in the coming weeks.
Users are reporting some strange issues when they try to install NVIDIA's latest WHQL drivers, version 364.47. When installing over a previous driver version you might experience a crash while trying to install them, resulting in a black screen. You won't be able to boot properly into Windows afterward, either.
Quickly after they were released several users took to the feedback thread to share their disdain for the new driver. Once installed, you'll have to boot into safe mode in order to uninstall the drivers. Once completely removed, however, they should reinstall without issue.
The new driver is supposed to bring performance improvements to Ashes of the Singularity, The Division, Hitman, Need for Speed and Rise of the Tomb Raider. It also adds support for the only Vulkan game available right now, The Talos Principle.
NVIDIA is reportedly preparing a big gaming notebook push for Computex 2016, which kicks off in June in Taipei. According to SweClockers, NVIDIA will be launching their new Pascal-based mobile GPU at the show, with a big focus on portable Pascal-powered gaming notebooks.
Computex 2016 starts on May 31, and runs through to June 4. We should expect NVIDIA to show something off during the show, with a bigger event to showcase Pascal sometime either slightly before Computex, or in the weeks after. NVIDIA focusing on the gaming notebook market makes sense, as they've made a huge dent in the market recently - as they noted a huge 34.2% increase in mobile GPU shipments in the last quarter.
NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 950 was already a pretty damn efficient video card, but with a more efficient GTX 950 rumored to be in the works, ASUS seems to be the first AIB partner with a super-efficient GTX 950.
ASUS has introduced a new GTX 950, which features the same GM206 core with 786 CUDA cores, 64 TMUs and 32 ROPs. This is an NVIDIA reference design card with 2GB of GDDR5 @ 6.6GHz on a 128-bit memory bus, but the GPU and Boost clocks have been changed. The reference GTX 950 from NVIDIA has a GPU clock of 1024MHz versus the 1051MHz on the ASUS GTX 950, while the Boost clock is the same 1188MHz on both variants.
The difference between NVIDIA's reference board and the new ASUS GTX 950 is that the former requires a 6-pin PCIe power connector and has a TDP of 90W while the new ASUS GTX 950 requires no PCIe power connector, and has a TDP of just 75W (the maximum power provided by the PCIe 3.0 x16 port). ASUS does splash in some overclocking profiles, with "OC Mode" and "Gaming Mode" on the new GTX 950 video card. Gaming Mode has a default GPU clock of 1026MHz and 1190MHz Boost while the OC Mode pushes it up to 1051MHz.