Computer & Tech Guides, Tips and How To's from TweakTown's Tweakipedia - Page 1
We've been playing around with our various GPUs here in the TweakTown VGA labs in the past few weeks, throwing them into battle against each other in various combinations. First, we started playing around by using an AMD-powered system with the AMD FX-9590 processor. We thought we'd play around with some Radeon GPUs, so we tested out the Radeon R9 290X 8GBs in Crossfire against the Radeon R9 295X2 dual-GPU card.
For our second test with the AMD CPU powering the system, we wanted to see how two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980s in SLI would go against two Radeon R9 290X cards in Crossfire. Both of these tests were performed at 4K, so where can we go from here? Before we begin our testing with the Intel Core i7-5960X when it gets here in the coming weeks, we thought we would see how we'd go by really pushing the in-game details up to their maximum, and pitting all three set ups against each other. Oh yes.
It hasn't been too long since we had our AMD Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 295X2 in the benchmarking ring, taking swings at each other in the battle of 4K dominance. The dual GPU card came out on top of course, but that wasn't the point, as we knew the R9 295X2 would dominate. What we're here to do, is just see how these two cards are doing with the latest drivers, at 4K, after all this time.
Well, here we are again but now we have two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 cards against two of SAPPHIRE's Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X 8GB cards, yeah - those 8GB cards that we all know and love. The two NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980s have 4GB of VRAM, while the SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X Vapor-X cards have 8GB of VRAM. At 4K, VRAM usage is up much more than most other resolutions.
When AMD launched the Radeon R9 290X in October of 2013, it was one serious powerhouse of a GPU. Based on AMD's latest architecture, codenamed Vesavius, it was and still is to this day, one of the best GPUs the company has crafted.
A bunch of AIB partners made some seriously powerful versions of the R9 290X, with the likes of SAPPHIRE, MSI and ASUS throwing their expertise behind the GPU and making even better cards from an impressive GPU. Nearly six months later, AMD unveiled its dual GPU in the form of the Radeon R9 295X2. The Radeon R9 295X2 is still, again, to this day one of the best video cards you can buy.
They're both still very relevant cards, and with myself planted in the position of Video Card Editor, we're going to play around with our new found toys. Starting with Tweakipedia, we're going to see how well these cards scale with the latest drivers at 4K in our suite of benchmarks. We're going to follow this up with another article showing off how Mantle performance is with Battlefield 4 and a few others, and then we're going to verse these Hawaii-based R9 290X and Vesavius-based R9 295X2 cards against the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 from NVIDIA.
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.
Introduction & Test Setup
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.
Introduction & Test Setup
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.
Introduction & Our Setup
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:
- CPU: Intel Core i7 4930K processor w/Corsair H110 cooler
- Motherboard: ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition
- RAM: 16GB of Corsair Vengeance 2400MHz DDR3
- Storage: 240GB SanDisk Extreme II and 480GB SanDisk Extreme II
- Chassis: InWin X-Frame Limited Edition
- PSU: Corsair AX1200i digital PSU
- Software: Windows 7 Ultimate x64
- Drivers: GeForce 344.07 (early release)