The New GPUs are Great, but the Opinions are Terrible
There’s been so little time and so much going on that’s it’s killing me to not cover all the great things happening in the GPU market lately. The GTX 1080 easily conquered the most powerful graphics card spot, the GTX 1070 fits perfectly into the affordable high performance spot, and now the Rx 480 is a great mid-range main stream card. I want to focus on what NVIDIA and AMD has done for the market, but I also want to bring up how the fan boy wars seem to be destroying the PC building communities as we know them.
The GTX 1070 is easily the unsung hero of 2016 release segment so far. While it’s ideally propositioned as a 1440p card, 4k isn’t a stretch with some settings tweaks. The Pascal architecture not only destroys DirectX 11 titles with ease, but much like Maxwell, it overclocks extremely well. The close release after the 1080 overshadowed the card, although it will likely be more popular than the 1080 in the long run. The only serious drawback is that because supply isn’t as high for the time being, retailers are selling the cards at a pretty high price over suggested retail values. Asynchronous support has come up a few times, but Async isn’t widely enough used to be an issue for the time being. My hope is that if Async becomes a boon for game development, that NVIDIA doesn’t keep muddying the waters with their “support.”
Of course, this week was the big week for the RX 480 release. I think many of us in the hardware world felt like a big “Finally” was due. The Polaris architecture actually feels like a legit competition for the juggernaut that’s NVIDIA right now. It’s beginning to look like a wise move for AMD to target the mainstream segment before tying to go head to head with top tier competition. The 480 is delivering good performance, is far more power efficient than Hawaii, and actually seems to have overclocking head room. These are the standards that NVIDIA set, but for a while AMD hasn’t felt like it ever came close. Now, AMD looks like it’s actually going to force NVIDIA to reconsider pricing, especially since the GTX 970 has dropped under $300 in a lot of places. That was unheard of up until now!
For me, this is an incredibly exciting time. The FinFET process was long overdue and watching performance swell, while power draws shrink is pretty amazing. This is where we come to dark and terrible place in all of this good news. With all the stories releasing, I’ve kept going through the comments and I can’t understand what’s happening. I’m going to digress a bit now. Since when did the comment sections in hardware sites turn into the same kind of vitriol that you get from 13 years olds in LoL matches? I understand that certain places are that all the time, but it seems like I’m catching that vibe everywhere. The mature comments that actually use facts to back up their claims are few and far between. The people who are just excited, whether they are NVIDIA or AMD fans, are almost nonexistent. Am I the only one here who sees everything happening as a great thing for the industry as a whole? I know I’m not, but my personal theory is that too many people have let the competitive nature of online games spread to every other walk of life.
So what can we do about this? The current crop of releases are literally some of the best we’ve seen, ever. One thing that would help is trying to find positives, rather than focusing entirely on negatives. There’s no such thing as a perfect release, but I still feel like we’ve seen way more positive from both Red and Green than we have negative. Second, quit treating the other side as the enemy. I understand that companies are in competition, but consumers can only benefit from both sides doing well. Encourage the good and constructively criticize the bad. Finally, everyone needs to have a low opinion of their own opinions and assume they could be wrong. The majority of us are not engineers, do not own a hardware company, and don’t even play one on TV. This will cause us to to think through our statements carefully, and express opinions as more of a thought than an attack. We’re the PC Master Race! Our PCs are the best because we built them! Consoles are the true enemy here!!!