It has been several months since AMD shook up the GPU market a bit with its R9 series of GPUs. Now that the dust has settled there has been time for AMD partners to design better cooling solutions for the Hawaii based GPUs at the top end of the R9 lineup. When the 290 and 290x first released there was a firestorm of complaints surrounding the massive amounts of heat generated and the lack of significant cooling solutions. Basically the reference design cooler was a major flop that actually caused performance loses. The 290 and 290x GPUs were known to throttle down to lower core speeds to stay within the thermal envelope. In some cases, this resulted in a 290 outperforming a 290x in benches or other counter intuitive results... OUCH! AMD partners proved to be up to the challenge though, releasing GPUs with their custom cooling solutions that offered better heat dissipation without adding to the noise penalty suffered by the reference cooler. This is all fine and dandy, but where does any of this leave the hardcore water cooling enthusiast? It leaves many researching to see which GPU from each manufacturer is and is not compatible with certain water blocks and adding additional cost to an already costly product. One of those OEMs, VisionTek, wanted to lend a hand in this process by taking away all guess work, and even the installation. They are now offering a GPU which comes ready to be incorporated into a custom waco system out of the box. I am happy to introduce the Cry...
We recently had the opportunity to meet with Nvidia to hear some of the upcoming newly minted features of their popular GeForce Experience software, and Nvidia is promising even better features to reach a wider audience, and are now calling this their GFE 2.0, presumably the new and improved version. Notebooks are getting the love this time around, receiving the full treatment like the enthusiast desktop brethren, and mobile gaming is looking to get a boost as well with Nvidia's new Gamestream. As an added bonus, we've got some new drivers from Nvidia as well, version 337.50, which promises performance increases. Not ones to blindly believe the claims, we get a GTX 780 on the bench and see what these drivers can do.
Today we're specifically looking at the Gigabyte GTX 750 Ti Windforce, a budget-oriented card that comes with a factory overclock out of the box and a cooler design that promises very low temperatures, while looking to trounce AMD's R7 260X not only in performance, but also power efficiency. Let's take a closer look and get it on the bench to see if real world tests can fulfill Nvidia's aspirations.
Today we're looking at a premium gaming card from Gigabyte in the form of the GTX 780 GHz Edition. As you can probably guess, its approach comes in the form of aggressive overclocking, by juicing up the core past 1GHz, one of the fastest on the market. Gigabyte doesn't normally just overclock their products, and indeed this model sports a stunning cooler that we've seen before: the Windforce. We've been impressed in the past with Gigabyte Windforce graphics cards, and we suspect this new one will be no different. It's constructed in metal rather than cheap plastic, comes with three fans, heatpipes, and a boatload of cooling potential in a stylish gaming package. Factor in a very aggressive overclock on this card, and we are eager to see just how fast this thing can go. Let's take a closer look.
Today marks the launch of Maxwell, Nvidia's latest product architecture, set to take the budget-oriented market with better power efficiency and strong gaming performance at the lower end of the spectrum. We're specifically looking at the MSI GTX 750 Ti Twin Frozr Gaming, a card that comes with an aggressive factory overclock out of the box, and looking to trounce AMD's R7 260X. This card looks very promising on paper. And MSI looks to have put quite a bit of tech into the budget-oriented card, so let's take a closer look and get it on the bench to see if real world tests can fulfill Nvidia's aspirations.
We're focusing on the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP, an upper-range peformance card that retails around $420. ASUS is a company that continues to challenge notions and offer cutting edge technology for enthusiasts, and as a result, we've come to expect big things from ASUS. In terms of competition, the R9 280X is positioned against Nvidia's GTX 770, but as you'll see in testing, it's not quite that simple, as there are some apples and oranges comparisons here in terms of features; after all, gaming framerates only tell part of the story. So, let's take a closer look at the ASUS R9 280X DirectCU II TOP to find out how it measures up.