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AMD launches the HD 7950 to rave reviews.

Yesterday the new Radeon HD 7950 was released and I was nearly drowned in a tsunami of reviews for the new card. At least 4 websites had 3 different reviews up for various HD 7950 cards and I found a total of 52 reviews that I added to our HD 7950 page. I spent so much time adding the cards to the site, adding the reviews to the site and recording all the overclocking data (for the upcoming overclocking roundup) that I didn't have time to make this post yesterday.

The HD 7950 is just as fast as the GTX 580 in most games, but once you get to a resolution of 2560x1600 (which most people can't afford) the HD 7950 comes out on top. It doen't hurt that the HD 7950 overclocks like crazy either. In every single review that I read the reviewer was able to overclock the HD 7950 to speeds well above the stock HD 7970. More on that in the overclocking roundup post.

Here are two of the most handsome HD 7950s available today. The overclocked Sapphire and PowerColor PCS+.

Sapphire HD 7950 OC
PowerColor HD 7950 PCS+

Launch plans for the rest of the HD 7000 series leaked.

An MSI slide featuring the names and launch times for the rest of the HD 7000 series was accidentally included in a public document. Someone at CPU World found this slide and posted the image and info on their site. They complied when the 'document owner' asked them to remove the slide and information, but by then the content had been posted elsewhere.

This slide confirms that there will be a dual HD 7970 card which will be called the HD 7990 and that the HD 7700 parts will be ready in only two weeks. March will apparently be the launch month for the HD 7800 cards. Here is all the info:

Roadmap

"Coming up first will be the boards targeting the $99-159 price tag, both based on a GPU chip codenamed "Cape Verde". Cape Verde Pro will become AMD Radeon HD 7750 1GB, while Cape Verde XT will become Radeon HD 7770 1GB or 2GB on February 15, 2012.

For those paying attention, Cape Verde Pro and XT carry 128-bit memory interface, but there will be odd combinations such as half-height HD7750 with 64-bit interface and odd amount of memory, such as 512MB DDR3 for special market projects.

AMD-sanctioned boards will utilize 1GB of DDR3 or GDDR5 memory, while the custom boards will vary from 512MB to 2GB and we would even wager a 4GB DDR3 board from one of Chinese vendors by Computex timeframe (as a way of raising product's price).

Following the launch of Radeon HD 7750 and HD 7770, AMD plans to unveil Pitcairn, its $179-249 targeted GPU board for performance consumers. Pitcairn will get the name Radeon HD 7850 (Pitcairn Pro) and HD 7870 (Pitcairn XT). Pitcairn Pro and XT both carry the 256-bit memory controller, keeping the performance envelope in check, on the level of former high-end Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 at a new price point. The launch date is set for March 6, 2012 as the first day of CeBIT 2012 trade show in Hannover, Germany.

Remember that due to AMD Fusion APU i.e. Heterogeneous System Architecture (former Fusion System Architecture), AMD is no longer making dedicated chips from the x100, x200, x300, x400, x500 and now, x600 architectures. Radeon HD 7100/7200/7300/7400/7500/7600 are all based on older Evergreen (VLIW5) and Northern Islands (VLIW4) GPU architectures and either embedded inside the APU chips, or rebranded old generations.

Expect the same trend to continue going forward with the 8000 and 9000 generations, while there is a rebrand coming for the 10000 series, which won't see the light of the day in the five figure form."

GPUReview's HD 7950 overclocking roundup!

This has to be the largest roundup that I have ever put together. Out of 52 reviews, 46 of them had overclocking data. It is important to note that at the bottom of the list is a Sapphire HD 7950 OC CrossFire result from Hexus. Both cards were set to 900/6,000 in that case. If a review stated that the voltage was kept at stock levels, or if I could see that the voltage was unchanged (from a screenshot) then I wrote 'Stock' in the table. If they did not mention any voltage changes, I entered question marks in the voltage cell for that card.

The winners here were Earthdog at Overclockers.com with a massive core speed of 1,229MHz (that is a 53.6% increase!) and W1zzard from TechPowerUp with a huge memory speed of 7,140Mhz (a 43% increase!). The man with the highest core and memory clocks was James Prior from Rage3D.com.

The average overclock for the HD 7950 was 1,081/6,104 which is pretty damn close to the HD 7970's averages of 1,095/6,185. The average increase for the HD 7950 is waaay above the average increase for its big brother. We are talking 35.14%/22.08% for the HD 7950 and 18.33%/12.45% for the HD 7970. Wow!

 

GPUReview's HD 7950 Overclocking Roundup

Two HD 6770s for less than $95 at Newegg.

Whenever Newegg sends us some good deals on graphics cards or PC games we are going to share them with you. Let us know if you guys want us to post deal for other PC components. Here are the first two!

ASUS HD 6770 1GB GDDR5 Video Card - $94.99 (after using the $10 off code "ASUS202" & $20MIR) + Free Shipping, exp. 2/14

XFX HD 6770 1GB GDDR5 Video Card with free copy of DiRT3 - $94.99 (after $15MIR) with $7.56 shipping, exp. 2/15

Newegg logo.

The release date and price for the PC version of Alan Wake have been revealed!

Presumably, they were revealed by Alan's flashlight. You may recall that huge ranting article I wrote about the PC version of Alan Wake back in December. Well now we know that Alan Wake will be venturing through the dark, crisp Pacific Northwest nights on your PC starting on February 16th. For $29.99 (on Steam) you will get the game and its DLC and for $34.99 you will get the Limited Collector's Edition which will include a (digital) copy of The Alan Wake Files book, developer commentary, and the extended game soundtrack.

 

Alan Wake

A great deal on two Superclocked Evga GTX 570s at Newegg.

Thanks to the discount code and the mail in rebates, these two highly overclocked GTX 570s are now cheaper than most of the reference speed GTX 570s listed on Newegg. Please note that the second card below (without the free shipping) has a full sized DisplayPort and HDMI output, whereas the card in the first link has a mini-HDMI port but comes with an adaptor that allows you to connect a full size HDMI cable.

EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5 Video Card - $324.99 (after $15 off code "EVG202A" & $20MIR) + Free Shipping, exp. 2/9

EVGA Superclocked GeForce GTX 570 1280MB GDDR5 Video Card - $329.99 (after $20MIR) $7.56 Shipping, exp. 2/9

Newegg logo

NVIDIA Kepler line specifications revealed.

New information from Lenzfire.com revealed detailed specs and price points for the NVIDIA Kepler line coming out later this year. The new 600-series cards - utilizing the PCIe 3.0 slot - are expected to compete with AMDs recent 7950 and 7970, with the GTX 680 boasting a performance increase of up to 45%. A quick breakdown is available below, and full details can be found by following the link above. (Note that the GTX 690 is a dual 680 card.)

GTX 600 Series Specs

The GTX 600 series cards have been added to the site.

I looked at all the information that was leaked and I determined that the only missing pieces of information that I need to make a complete addition to the database were the Texture Unit count, specific Release Date and the Max Power Draw. Those missing details were not enough to stop me, so I made some educated guesses so that our readers can compare these cards to HD 7000 series and the rest of the cards in our database.

I won't go into how I estimated the Release Dates and Max Power Draw, but I will describe how I chose the Texture Unit (TU) counts that I did. There is always a relationship between the Stream Multiprocessors (SM), Stream Processors (SP) Texture Units (TU) and Raster Operators (ROPs). For example, the GeForce GTX 580 had 16 SMs. On each SM there was 32 SPs (16 x 32 = 512 total SPs), 4 TUs (16 x 4 = 64 total TUs), and 3 ROPs (16 x 3 = 48 total ROPs). So for every 4 TUs there were 3 ROPs.

According to the leaked information, the GTX 680 will have 32 SMs, 1,024 SPs and 64 ROPs. That means that each SM will contain 32 SPs and 2 ROPs. Now if the ration between TUs and ROPs for the GTX 680 is the same as the ratio for the GTX 580 (4:3) then that would mean that the GTX 680 would have 85.33333 TUs. 85 and 1/3 is not a round number so that means that the TU:ROP ratio for the GTX 680 will probably not be 4:3. So what will it be then?

How about 5:4? That would give us 80 TUs (which sounds like a good number) but then how would those 80 TUs be divided amongst the 32 SMs? 80 divided by 32 equals 2.5, which besides not being a whole number means that each SM would have two full texture units and then it would split a full one between itself and its neighboring SM. That does not sound very efficient to me.

How about 3:2? That would give us 96 TUs to be split amongst our 32 SMs. 96 divided by 32 equals 3. Well looky there boys! We got ourselves a whole number of TUs per SM! That sounds like a good candidate but if you look at the texture fill rates of a 96 TU GTX 680 and compare it with the HD 7950 the GTX 680 loses 81,600 to 89,600 MTexels/sec. I think the GTX 680 will probably have the same if not more texturing power than the HD 7950 so I think I need to try again.

How about 4:2 (or really 2:1)? That would give us 128 TUs (the same as the HD 7970!) and 128 divided by 32 is a nice even 4 TUs per SM. 128 texture units gives the GTX 680 a texture fillrate of 108,800 MTexels/sec which is more than the HD 7950 and equal to the HD 7970 when you overclock the GTX 680's core to 925 to match the HD 7970 core speed. That is why I think this might be the right amount of texture units.

Now that I have exhaustively explained my math, please let me know how many texture units you think will be on each stream Multiprocessor!

Best Buy is having an online midnight sale tonight.

Best Buy is having an online midnight sale tonight and it looks like there are going to be some pretty sweet deals on some things. I need to replace my current Logitech Harmony 880 remote and it looks like this Logitech Harmony 700 will be less than $119.99 come midnight EST.

I know you guys have powerful desktop computers, but you might need a laptop for travel or bathroom surfing. There's a 14" Asus laptop for less than $379.99 and a 15.6" Asus laptop for less than $399.99. They both have the Intel i3 2.2Ghz processor, 4GB of RAM, a Double-layer DVD±RW/CD-RW drive and media card reader. The 14" model has a 500GB hard drive while the 15.6" model has only a 320GB hard drive. 

For those looking for a HDTV, there will be a Toshiba 46" 1080p LCD for less than $649.99 and a Toshiba 40" 1080p LCD for less than $399.99. The 46" model has 4.2 stars and 51 reviews and the 40" model has 3.3 stars and 53 reviews.

If you need a new digital camera, you can get a 14MP Nikon Coolpix S4100 for less than $89.99. That link leads to the red model, but there are 3 other colors as well.

Best Buy Midnight Sale Items

Tim Sweeney says that 5,000 teraFLOPs is a good approximation of reality.

At Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain 2012 (D.I.C.E 2012) Tim Sweeney gave an interesting presentation about the future of graphics in video games. Tim is the founder of Epic games by the way. One of the most interesting statements that he made is that for computer graphics to reach a 'good enough" approximation of our reality it will take graphics hardware that can perform 5,000 trillion floating operations per second or 5,000 terraFLOPs. To put that into perspective, the HD 7970 can perform 3.788 terraFLOPs and if the leaked GTX 690 specs are true, it will be able to perform 6.144 terraFLOPs.

So a graphics card will have to be over 800 times more powerful than the GTX 690 to be able to perform 5,000 terraFLOPs. How long do you think it will be until that happens?

 

GameSpot video of Tim Sweeney's presentation

AMD launches the HD 7770 and HD 7750.

I guess yesterday was a day for love and a day for launching some midrange graphics cards. I would have posted about it yesterday but I was too busy getting some lovin'.

Well anyway, the HD 7770 and the HD 7750 are here and they are... okay I guess. I say that because the HD 6850 is more powerful than the HD 7770, and it costs less. The HD 7750 is only a little cheaper than the HD 5770 and the GTX 550 Ti and it's lower performance matches the price difference.

Here is MSI's overclocked HD 7770.

 

MSI HD 7770 OC
 

GPUReview's HD 7770 overclocking roundup!

I found 32 reviews (so far) and I captured 21 different overclocks from those reviews. The core speed of the HD 7770 is already at 1GHz, but it looks like it can go even further than that. The memory seems to overclock pretty well too, with some cards topping the 6GHz mark!

Here are the numbers:

GPUReview's HD 7770 Overclocking Roundup

GPUReview's HD 7750 overclocking roundup!

On the HD 7750 side of the fence we have 19 reviews and only 11 overclocking results. The HD 7750 is not as overclockable as its bigger brother because it does not have a power connector to receive additional power from your PSU. This also does not allow you to increase the voltage of the card.

Here are the numbers:

GPUReview's HD 7750 Overclocking Roundup

Today's Newegg Video Card Deals

Here are the latest video card deals happening over at Newegg. 

GTX 570s:
Galaxy GeForce GTX 570 $294.99 (after $30 MIR card) + Free Shipping, exp 2/19
MSI N570GTX Twin Frozr III PE/OC $339.99 (after $30 off code "MSI582") + Free Shipping, exp. 2/22 


GTX 560 Tis:
Galaxy GeForce GTX 560 Ti $174.99 (after $35 MIR card) + $7.87 Shipping, exp. 2/19
EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti DS Superclocked $209.99 (after $20 off code "EVGA651" & $20MIR) + Free Shipping, exp. 2/22


GTX 460:
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 1GB GDDR5 $124.99 (after $10 off code "EVGA749" & $15MIR) + Free Shipping, exp. 2/22

Newegg Logo

Nvidia's Mass Effect 3 Contest

Nvidia sent me some information about this Mass Effect 3 contest that they have started. Right now the contest is in its second week, but I don't know how many weeks the contest will run for. I will try to find out. 

Here’s your chance to show off your knowledge on all things Mass Effect. All you have to do is complete the five Mass Effect 3-based trivia questions for your chance to win. Just for participating, you’ll get access to an exclusive Mass Effect 3 digital asset. There’s a new one each week, so keep playing! Plus, you can win awesome prizes like graphics cards—or even a complete gaming rig. Make the right choice. Enter today and gear up for victory!

Week 1 is now over, but Week 2 just started!

Week 1 prizing: Zotac 560 Ti, 570 and 580 (1 winner each) Complete
Week 2 prizing: 3 GTX 570s (1 winner each)
Week 2 Grand Prize: A MAINGEAR gaming PC valued at over 3K!

Official Rules link.
The US Contest link.

 

ME3 Contest

Counter-Strike Global Offensive Beta Opportunity

If you like Counter-Strike and you want to try out the beta for Counter-Strike Global Offensive then you should totally answer this survey from Valve. Fair warning, you will need to be on a machine that has Steam installed to be able to access and answer this survey. The survey must be answered today so don't put this off.

 

Counter-Strike Global Offensive
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