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Just in case PCIe 3.0 wasn't fast enough for you.

A quick blurb article from Engadget last Wednesday shared an announcement from PCI-SIG: PCIe 4.0 is coming, and soon (release is projected for 2015). While the information that's been shared on the evolved PCIe could fit onto a single notecard, full specs are expected to be available in 2014. Check the Engadget link for the full announcement and get ready to upgrade your motherboards (in 3 years).

New Radeon HD 6930 set to crush sub-$200 market.

As if in response to Nvidia's latest offering (the limited edition GTX 560 Ti), AMD is reportedly prepared to release the HD 6930 just in time for last-minute Christmas shoppers. The HD 6930 falls just short of the HD 6950, and at the rumored $180 pricepoint may provide new competition for the HD 6870. It's curious why AMD would release a new card to compete with their existing product in the same price range, though it's likely Nvidia's recent release was the impetus.

For those who appreciate having options (or Eyefinity), this reference card is expected to offer one HDMI, two DVI, and two mini DisplayPort outputs. Although the overall specs of this card are reduced from the HD 6950, it supposedly has an increased maximum power consumption of 225W, up from 200W on the HD 6950. The details provided in the article by techPowerUp! were sufficient to add the HD 6930 to our reference card database, and you can read the original article here.

Radeon HD 6930 

The NVIDIA 12 Days of Gear Up Giving Facebook Promotion.

NVIDIA 12 Days of Gear Up Giving

It looks like Santa has some elves undercover at NVIDIA, because they've got some goodies to give away to holiday gamers. Here's the scoop:

Starting December 12th (today!) and ending on the 23rd, each day NVIDIA will be giving away prizes on Facebook. Prizes are sorted into tiers based on how many new fans they've gained, so the more new fans the better. On top of that, anyone who refers a friend to become a GeForce fan will receive extra entries to win for each friend that accepts that invitation.

These are the tiers:

Tier 1 (2000 fan increase): Winner's choice between a 3DV 2 Kit  or a GTX 550 Ti

Tier 2 (3000 fan increase): GTX 560

Tier 3 (4000 fan increase): GTX 560 SLI

Tier 4 (4500 fan increase): 3DV 2 Monitor and Glasses

Tier 5 (5500 fan increase): GTX 580 SLI and an x79 motherboard

To enter, navigate yourself to the NVIDIA GeForce Facebook fan page, then look on the left side for "12 Days of Gear Up Giving". Click there, follow the directions to enter, and invite your friends to better your chances.

Remember the last day for prizes is the 23rd of December, so the sooner you get in, the better.

Legal note: This is only open to legal residents of the United States of America (excluding Puerto Rico and its other territories and possessions), Canada (excluding the province of Quebec), the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Australia, and Brazil. All entries, whether online or by mail, must be received no later than between 9:00 AM on December 12, 2011, Pacific Standard Time and 5:00 PM on December 23, 2011, Pacific Standard Time.

Alan Wake for the PC set to emerge from a six year coma.

Way back in late 2006 DirectX 10 was considered to be the next big thing in the world of PC gaming. It was going to be an exclusive feature of Windows Vista (due to be released in early 2007) and many a PC gamer was all a twitter. In October of 2006, the games that Microsoft was using to pimp DirectX 10 included Flight Simulator X, Unreal Tournament 3, Crysis and Alan Wake. Alan Wake was announced at E3 2005 with a trailer that showed off the game's very impressive day to night cycle and its beautiful outdoor vistas. At the next E3 they showed a new trailer and announced that the game would be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and PCs running Vista.

The game was not released in 2007 (alongside or even after Vista) and it was not at E3 in 2007 or 2008. It did return to the show 2009 where it was deemed impressive enough to make IGN's '10 most significant PC games of the show' list. A scant 36 days later there were rumors that the game would not be coming to the PC from people like the game's lead writer. Seven months later Microsoft finally commented on the rumor by giving a really weak reason for stopping the development of the PC version:

"Some games are more suited for the intimacy of the PC, and others are best played from the couch in front of a larger TV screen. We ultimately realised that the most compelling way to experience Alan Wake was on the Xbox 360 platform, so we focused on making it an Xbox 360 exclusive. Both Microsoft and Remedy have long histories in PC game development. This decision was about matching this specific game to the right platform."

Why would they cancel the PC version? Well the game was hyped as one of the quintessential DirectX 10 games that would help Microsoft sell Vista to gamers. When the game did not come out in 2007 (or 2008) as a DirectX 10/Vista launch title Microsoft knew that the PC version's ship had sailed, and then sank. It was also supposed to be an open world sandbox style game like GTA before the developers scrapped that idea and made the game we now know. A Vista PC would have been much easier to develop a sandbox game for, so when they decided to give up on the sandbox design, they probably saw no reason to continue making the PC version. Or it could have happened the other way. Once they decided to give up on the PC version, they needed to change the design to make them game easier to develop for the 360.


The first pic from the new PC version from IGN.

So, 666 days after Microsoft gave their shitty reason for cancelling the game, they have announced that they changed their minds! The game will reportedly "have the high resolution polish that longtime fans will expect." and it will also contain the The Signal and The Writer DLC packs. Does this mean that people are now playing their PC games on large TV screens while sitting on the couch? Nope. Microsoft was just lying to us.

All signs point to the PC version of Alan Wake finally emerging from the darkness in early 2012. Why did MS decide to release the game now? It might have something to do with the early 2012 release of the new Alan Wake XBLA game.

On a personal note, I had the PC version of Alan Wake on my video game wishlist up until I finally bought the 360 version a few months ago. I haven't started playing it yet though, so I'll probably ditch my 360 copy and get myself the PC version instead. I also want to know if the game will still be a DirectX 10 game. I would be very surprised (maybe even gobsmacked) if it ends up being a DirectX 11 game.

Size matters and AMD is smaller than ever.

Luckily for AMD, smaller is better in the GPU fabrication business. They announced on Tuesday that they have begun shipping their first 28nm GPUs. These new chips will be showed off in AMD's new Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards at CES, which is being held in Las Vegas and begins January 10th.

The first unofficial pics of the new 'Tahiti' cards (presumably a HD 7900 series card) are packing 12 GDDR5 chips which suggests that it will have a 384-bit memory bus. The cards are very long and require two 8-pin power cables.


Unofficial pics of new HD 7900 series

AMD is dropping lots of news, and some of it is hot.

According to VR-Zone the 'release' of the HD 7970 will happen in two days. Apparently this only be a paper launch so don't expect to actually be able to buy the card until January 9th. Here is a leaked slide to whet your appetite:


Leaked HD 7970 slide from OBR-HARDWARE

Oh you want some more leaked slides? I wish I could help you out.

In other news, the HD 7970 returns a number value in 3DMark 11 that is larger than the HD 6970 but smaller than the HD 6990, which I think is kinda lame.

In other other news, the HD 7770 has been spotted with its cooling solution both on and off.

And lastly, that HD 6930 is kinda sorta being launched. Apparently this card will only show up in a few countries and only a few manufacturers actually bothered making an English version of their press release. I will keep the card listed on the site unless it is never possible to buy the card at a US or UK website.

The HD 7970 is the king of these here single GPU streets.

I gave you the skinny two days ago and now you're back for the whole scoop eh? Well listen up sweet heart cause I'm only going to say this once. AMD will be pushing a new product to the streets in a few weeks and from what I've heard on the grapevine, it will be the cat's meow. If you're looking for the real deal, something with a lot of kick then the HD 7970 will be right up your alley. Now scram sister! I got a lot of work that needs doin' around here and I don't need no ditsy dame distracting me.

Reference HD 7970

GPUReview's HD 7970 overclocking roundup!

I actually started gathering the overclocking figures very early today since there are no retail cards to add to the database yet. Out of the 19 reviews I found, (one was only a preview and one was about CrossFire performance) 12 of them featured overclocking results. It looks like the HD 7970 (average increase of 18.33%/12.445%) is a lot more overclockable than the HD 6970 was (average increase of 8.051%/7.284%). In fact, the HD 7970 overclocks better than any other AMD video card that I have ever posted a roundup for!


GPUReview's Overclocking Roundup

As you can see, Legit Reviews was the only site that managed to break the 1,125/1,575 (6,300) barrier that is imposed by the AMD Overdrive software. AMD Overdrive determines what the limit of the GPU and memory speed sliders should be by looking at the video card's BIOS. Legit Reviews was able to obtain an updated BIOS file from AMD that increased the slider limits to 2,000/2,500 (10,000).

Legit Reviews unlocked AMD Overdrive sliders

According to Legit Reviews, AMD will provide the BIOS update to their customers as an executible (.exe) file. Hopefully the BIOS will be a little more stable by then.

A few HD 7950 specifications have been leaked.

According to a really shitty looking site called XTReview, (you can call me the kettle btw) the HD 7950 will be released on January 9th (UPDATE: The release has been pushed back to February) with 1,792 stream processors, 3GB of GGDR5 memory running at around 5GHz, and a 384-bit memory bus.

I have added the card to the site by guessing at the power needs, MSRP, and clock speeds. I will of course correct my guesses once the official specs become available.


HD 7950 Picture from XTReview

The HD 7950 will now capture your heart in February.

Guru3D got their hands on a leaked confidential email from AMD that stated that the HD 7950 will be launched and available for purchase in February of 2012, instead of the previously reported date of January 9th. I'm glad that this card will be launched and available on the same day unlike the HD 7970 which is still 5 more days away from commercial availability.



PowerColor's HD 7970 gets sucked in by a Vortex.

The intrepid reporters over at Fudzilla have some pictures of PowerColor's non-reference HD 7970 design. The card will have 'beefier' RAM and it will sport PowerColor's Vortex cooling fan.


PowerColor's Vortex HD 7970

Nvidia Kepler 104 and 110 tidbits.

Nvidia is rumored to be rushing out (February is the word on the street) a high-end card featuring the Kepler 104 GPU in order to compete with the recently released HD 7970. So far this mysterious card is said to have 2GB of GGDR5, a clock speed of 780Mhz, a 225W TDP, and (only) a 256-bit memory bus.

A 256-bit memory bus seems a little weird to me. Nvidia has used a 384-bit bus on their GTX 480 and 580, and a 320-bit bus for their GTX 470 and 570. The 256-bit cards have all been strictly mid-range parts in the last two series.

The Kepler 104 is supposed to be competitive with the HD 7970, but the sources are saying that it is not the highest-end GPU being developed by the green team. The real new flagship is said to be the Kepler 110, which will be released sometime in March or April.


Nvidia logo on a chip

Galaxy GeForce GT 440 2GB Performance Review

Today Galaxy is launching the first 2GB GT 440 exclusively at Best Buy and Best Buy.com for $107.99. That might seem a bit pricey when compared to online prices, but at Best Buy it is actually a decent price for a card of this caliber. Although Galaxy's 1GB GT 440 is currently priced at $129.99...

In this performance review you will find out what you can expect from Galaxy's 2GB GT 440 in some of the latest PC games.


Read The Full Article

Radeon HD 7950 will not share a common design with the HD 7970.

Thanks to images released by OBR-Hardware.com, we now know that the Radeon HD 7950 will not share a common reference design with the HD 7970, meaning the chances of "unlocking" the card into a 7970 have all but dissipated.

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