The battle of the Radeons begins, right here, right now. We have a bunch of SAPPHIRE's Radeon R9 290X 8GB Vapor-X GPUs, and we plan to put them to the test over the coming months. One of the first things we're doing is seeing how they fare against the GIGABYTE Radeon R9 290X 4GB WindForce GPUs, before we retire the GIGABYTE cards for these 8GB beasts.
I thought I would throw both of the cards under a high-resolution bus, cranking the resolution up to 4K and applying maximum AA within our suite of benchmarks. This will give us a nice look at whether 8GB on a GPU is doing much these days.
Note: There are various other games and modifications that can be used for testing, and we will be playing around with those in the New Year. These include Grand Theft Auto IV and a huge list of mods, as well as some of the insane mod packs and upgrades to Skyrim.
We've been using our LGA 2011 build for the better part of 2014, but with the X99 platform now replacing it as the HEDT (High End Desktop), we simply had to update our most used Tweakipedia test bed. Well, here we are and thanks to our usual partners, we're back again with a brand new test bed that will see us well into 2015.
We teamed up with GIGABYTE this time around for the motherboard side of things, using their impressive X99 Gaming G1 Wi-Fi motherboard. This motherboard has eight DDR4 slots, on-board Wi-Fi (that is incredibly good), a Creative Sound Blaster Core3D sound card, and so much more.
We've got two CPUs to use on this board, where for now we're using Intel's Core i7 5820K, but we have an i7 5830K on its way. Corsair helped out once again providing 16GB of its DDR4 memory, as well as providing a Hydro Series H110 cooler and AX1200i power supply. SanDisk SSDs are something I've been using for over a year now, so they make the cut with this new system. We're using Extreme II SSDs, with a 240GB drive for our OS and a 480GB drive for all of our games and benchmark installations.
The rumors from last week were true, AMD had a powerhouse new set of drivers to show off to the world in the form of the Catalyst Omega drivers. These new drivers pack quite the punch in terms of performance, but it's not only performance being delivered. You can download those drivers directly from AMD's website.
There's a slew of new features that the new Omega drivers have to offer, which is a great thing to see. AMD is already on the cutting edge of features with its Eyefinity technology, just to name one, but there are a few surprises - even to Eyefinity - which you'll find satisfying.
We've already seen how the new Catalyst Omega drivers perform at 1080p on our Radeon R9 290X Crossfire setup, so why not test them out at 4K? 4K provides us with a much harsher test environment, pushing four times as many pixels down onto the cards.
Let's see how the new Catalyst Omega drivers handle that type of pressure, and whether we see a redemption from the Omega drivers, as we didn't see much in the way of increased performance at 1920x1080, so let's see how 3840x2160 goes.
You might be wondering why I'm writing this article, but our GPU Editor, Shawn Baker, is currently quite ill and in hospital. Some of you may know this, but for those of you that don't, he's currently unable to write a performance analysis of the new Catalyst Omega drivers.
I'm stepping in to test these drivers, but this is my first time with a set of drivers under NDA that I only had less than 48 hours to work with. So, this isn't a full run with all resolutions, with all of the bells and whistles enabled. I'll explain some more about that below, but first let's get you acquainted with the new Catalyst Omega driver suite.
We've all been there, something has happened to our HDD, or our NAS, or you've accidentally wiped a folder from your cloud storage account. Well, for those who have multiple forms of backup, having your cloud storage backed up onto your local network attached storage (NAS) device, is definitely the best, and most secure way of having your precious data stored.
Google Drive is a great point to start with, and while there are plenty of other cloud storage services available, I choose to use Google Drive for its robust set of features, ease of access across virtually every desktop and mobile operating system, and much more. I own a QNAP TS-639PRO NAS, which is getting really quite old now, but it still does the job. I'm going to replace it in the new year, but for now, I thought I would backup my precious data from my Google Drive account, back down to my NAS.
I've been waiting patiently for Alien: Isolation to be released, holding back on reading reviews on it, or watching too much gameplay footage of it. After the absolute train wreck that was Aliens: Colonial Marines, I didn't have hesitations per se, but it looked so good from that first video, that I knew this wasn't going to be another mess.
Holding off until just last night, I gave it my first play. I decided to record my gameplay using NVIDIA's ShadowPlay, something I looked at not too long ago. I'm playing the game on my gaming rig, which consists of:
In the last week or so, I've written two popular articles that have involved AMD's cheap FX-8350 processor, running at 2560x1440 and 3840x2160 (4K). Both of these tests have involved the use of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 780s in SLI, as well as the new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980s in SLI.
The first test, at 2560x1440, was interesting, as it showed that the $319 setup that consisted of the AMD FX-8350 CPU and a GIGABYTE 990FXA-UD3 motherboard, could somewhat keep up with the Intel Core i7-4930K and ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition, which costs $1052.
At 1440p, the Intel system beat the AMD system in virtually every test, and in some of those tests, by a large margin. But, for 300% more cost, so it should have. Moving up to 4K though, presented an entire new world of possibilities for AMD, with the underdog actually taking swings, and beating Intel at the higher resolution.
Earlier on in the week, we pitted our AMD and Intel systems against each other, in a battle at 2560x1440. The GPUs in question were NVIDIA's reference GeForce GTX 780s in SLI, and the new GTX 980s in SLI. For $300, the AMD represents super value, and what most would think, the loser out of the two setups.
Especially when we're talking about Intel's still-powerful Core i7-4930K, which features 12 threads (6 physical cores and 6 Hyper-Threaded cores) in total. It is the company's LGA 2011 socket, and meant for enthusiasts. Mix this with a high-end ASUS motherboard, we're talking $1052 worth of goods compared to the $319 cost on the AMD gear.
These CPUs and motherb
Shawn has been cranking out reviews of the new GeForce GTX 900 series GPUs since their launch, and on the day of launch I took a look of something a little different: GeForce GTX 780 SLI versus GTX 980 SLI on Intel's LGA2011-based Core i7-4930K CPU.
Well, we're back again with a new benchmark, testing the GTX 780 SLI vs GTX 980 SLI cards on AMD's more budget-friendly FX-8350 eight-core CPU. We did a similar test a few months ago which was quite popular, so now we're going to continue flicking between AMD and Intel on our flagship GPUs, to see the differences between performance, and whether the CPU is holding us back.
First up, let's introduce you to what systems we'll be comparing today - where we have most of the hardware identical thanks to our partners. The only thing that has changed between the two PCs is the CPU and motherboard, with every other part that matters (RAM, SSD, OS, drivers) identical to the other.