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It looks like the refreshed 16nm-based GPUs from NVIDIA could be delayed, due to TSMC not being able to hit its scheduled 16nm FinFET mass production schedule - which was due for Q1 2015. The reason? TSMC is busy pumping out A9 chips for Apple and its new iPhones, which is seeing volume 16nm production shifted a few quarters deeper into 2015.
For NVIDIA, this means that the company won't be able to bring its "Big Daddy" GM200 chip to fruition, at least on 16nm, until late 2015 or early 2016. The process shift is a lengthy one, something we saw with "Big Kepler" a couple of years ago. 28nm went into mass production over at TSMC in October of 2011, but the GTX Titan was released in February 2013. Two years of waiting for NVIDIA, with TSMC finally getting its act together for 28nm volume production, in order to built a chip that was reasonably priced, which resulted in the GeForce GTX 780.
TSMC has said that its 16nm process will result in around 7-9% of its total revenue in Q4 2015, which means that if any 16nm-based GPUs make it to consumers late next year, the amount of them will be quite small.
During NVIDIA's earnings call a few days ago, the company teased its upcoming next-gen GPU, even though it only released its GeForce GTX 900 series a couple of months ago - cards that are still kick ass. These cards are based on the GM204 GPU, but the new one coming is the GM200 core, which should provide a big boost in performance.
Previously, we thought that NVIDIA would release this GPU on 16nm, but the 16nm process is being chewed up at TSMC. NVIDIA's Maxwell architecture is so efficient, it could fit on the 28nm process, and be re-released next year, or early 2016 when the 16nm FinFET process is ready for it. This would allow for even more performance, allowing NVIDIA to strike at AMD twice, and probably still win all sides of the battle.
Just how fast should we expect these new GPUs to be? We could expect around 50% more performance than the GeForce GTX 980, which is already a damn impressive card, but 50% more performance? Yes, thanks, NVIDIA.
NVIDIA and Ubisoft have teamed up for a new gaming development partnership that will give consumers who purchase new NVIDIA desktop GPUs or gaming laptops a free video game. NVIDIA also is promoting its GameWorks technologies, including HBAO+ used for realistic shadows, TXAA for smoothness, and 4K support, which developers can include in future video games.
The "Pick Your Path" promotion allows gamers who purchase a new GeForce GTX GPU, from the GeForce GTX 980, 970, 780 Ti, or 780 video cards - or a gaming laptop with GeForce GTX 980M or 980M - will receive a free copy of Assassin's Creed Unity, Far Cry 4, or The Crew.
"NVIDIA has worked hard, hand-in-hand with our development teams, to help provide the best experience for our PC players," said Jean-Francois St. Amour, Ubisoft Montreal Lead Graphics Programmer, in a press statement. "Their support and insight is even more important now, as we make a big technological leap into the next-generation of Assassin's Creed games."
SweOverclockers is reporting that three of AMD's partners are preparing Radeon R9 290X cards with 8GB of RAM, something that will arrive in November. The new Radeon R9 290X cards with 8GB of RAM will be released by PowerColor, Sapphire and Club3D, but an MSI R9 290X with 8GB of RAM has also been spotted.
The new cards are expected to directly compete with the second-generation Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 from NVIDIA, but with AMD owning the 4K market right now, the 8GB of RAM should really help, especially in upcoming games like Star Citizen with its 4K and 8K textures, and built for the PC only. The new cards should arrive with a 10% price hike on them, which isn't too bad considering the crazy amount of VRAM included.
Alienware announced its new Alienware 13 gaming notebook not too long ago, but has just taken the wraps off of its new "graphics amplifier". Alienware's new contraption is capable of taking a high-end desktop GPU, with anything that uses up to 375W, and plugging it into Alienware's proprietary PCI Express-based cable.
This proprietary cable only works on the Alienware 13 notebook, so you won't be using it with your normal gaming notebook. The graphics amplifier itself also includes four powered USB ports, so you can plug in any of your USB-based devices directly into it, as well as your desktop video card. Not only that, but the Alienware head on the front of it glows for a nice effect.
It won't sell like hotcakes, but for anyone who is in the market for a new gaming notebook, this might swing your decision toward Alienware. If you were in the market of buying a new Alienware 13 gaming notebook, this is a nice accessory if you wanted some serious grunt at your desk, and then rely on the built-in GPU when you're on the road, or at a LAN. Alienware will be selling the graphics amplifier for $300, and will be showing it off at PAX Australia later this week, where we will get a hands- and eyes-on with it.
Mini-ITX PCs are about to get much faster thanks to GIGABYTE's new card based on the GeForce GTX 970 GPU, but arrives in a dual-slot, single-fan design that is much shorter than the standard GTX 970, perfect for tiny, but very powerful gaming PCs.
The new mini-ITX based video card has an overclocked GTX 970 GPU, 4GB of RAM, a custom PCB from GIGABYTE, and a WindForce-like cooler. The custom design allows for a single 8-pin PCIe connector, versus the two 6-pin PCIe required on the normal GTX 970. GIGABYTE's custom designed cooler is quite compact, with a single, shrouded fan. We have a slight overclock on the Core and Boost speeds, from 1051MHz on the Core to 1076MHz on the GIGABYTE card, while we have Boost of 1178 on the reference GTX 970, but 1215MHz on the GIGABYTE slab.
Some other GTX 900 series cards actually ditch the multiple DisplayPort connectors, but not this card: we have three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, one DVI-D and a DVI-D port to finish it off. GIGABYTE says the custom cooler provides lower temperatures than the reference, with temperatures dropping from 76C to just 62C on the GIGABYTE card. Small form factor PCs have just received notice of their next GPU purchase.
When NVIDIA announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z back at GTC 2014 in March, it was an expensive beast at $3999, but now Overclockers UK has dropped the price on some of its Titan Z's, radically.
Just last week, the site dropped it from its launch price of $3863, to $3219, which is a decent drop. But, the company has just taken a massive $900 off its price, dropping it down to 'just' $2415. For $2415, you're getting a triple-slot, dual GPU card with 12GB of RAM, two full GK110 GPUs with 2880 stream processors, 240 texture units, an 48 raster operations pipelines.
You'd still be better off with two GeForce GTX 980s in SLI, but for some people a single card is what they want, and no single card can compete with the Titan Z right now.
Back when we reported that AMD was dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in reaction to NVIDIA's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs, we thought it was AMD which was dropping the prices of its high-end Radeons, but it's actually their partners who are doing the price reductions.
In the meantime, AMD has a new CEO in Lisa Su, with the company laying off some 710 employees after a tough quarter, some big changes and news for the company. During AMD's recent earnings call, the fresh CEO said that NVIDIA has released some very competitive products with their second generation Maxwell GPUs, and that the company needed to adjust to "some competitive dynamics", or repositioning other products. Su said: "We have certainly adjusted to some of the competitive dynamics, and we have made some positioning changes as well as some new marketing activities that you will see from us in the fourth quarter".
During an interview between AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy and KitGuru, Huddy had the following to say about the Radeon price cuts: "We have not issued any price cuts, nor price protection and we have not announced any for the future. We are conducting some promotions with our AIB partners that enables them to reach such competitive pricing on the Radeon R9 290 and 290X". How long will the cheaper Radeons last? According to Huddy: "The best news is that we have very healthy stock levels for both the Radeon R9 290 and 290X in the channel and the time to buy is now, with channel promotions bringing such great deals. We've got phenomenal products in the market and there's plenty of it around".
It was reported earlier that AMD Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs are now available with a reduced price of $299 and #369 respectively. But as its turned out, the price cuts are made by AMD's AIB partners who manufacture these cards.
It was also pointed out that these price cuts are not permanent. The GPU manufacturers have introduced these price cuts to promote the sales of these cards, while the stocks last.
Though the timing of providing price cuts is considered to be a response to NVIDIA's Maxwell-based GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs that was launched not too long ago. Its unclear if AMD would be tempted to make these price cuts from their side irrespective of cards. AMD may even throw in a new Never Settle bundle along with it to sweeten the deal as they did before. As of now, GTX 970 can be purchased with a price tag as low as $329 to as high as $409 (for the Zotac GTX 970 AMP! Edition 4GB). R9 290X could be found for $369 to $399, and some AIB partners have bundled Star Citizen and Alien: Isolation as a limited offer.
It feels like we're very close to the Radeon R9 300 series of GPUs, with AMD dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in the last week, but now news is floating around of the Pirate Islands-based architecture, AMD's next-generation GPU.
The news is coming courtesy of AMD's just-released "AMDGPU" Kernel Driver, which is something that will form the base of Closed Source (Catalyst) and Open Source (Gallium3D) drivers for Linux. Within all the deep-dive on the technical side of things, AMD mentions that the AMDGPU kernel driver is being tested on Sea Islands, as well as unreleased hardware.
The current DRM driver for Linux is known as 'Radeon' which won't be supported by the upcoming AMD GPUs, with the driver not supporting current, or older generation cards. This means that AMD must be in the testing phase of its Pirate Islands GPUs, which will arrive to us as the Radeon R9 300 series, with the flagship card being the R9 390X. We could hear AMD announce these new cards before the end of the year, with a roll out in early 2015, we hope.