Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ati Radeon Hd 7970 Ghz edition


Amd has released a card that's just, well, better: the Amd Radeon Hd 7970 GHz Edition.

Since it released the original Radeon Hd 7970, in december last, the top single-GPU graphics card crown has slipped from its once mighty, and once mightily expensive, head. 

Nvidia waited, holding its breath until March, when it released its top consumer spin of the new Kepler architecture, the Nvidia GeForce Gtx 680.

That came in slightly undercutting the Radeon card and just about pipping it to the benchmark crown in most of our tests. 

Not just that but the Nvidia GTX 680 managed it with a far smaller and more efficient GPU.

To most of us that came as something of a surprise.

AMD traditionally had the reputation of releasing the more efficient GPUs of a generation with Nvidia usually the ones employing a brute force approach with a big, hot and powerful chip at the heart of its latest architecture.

That switch wasn't the only one of this latest generation either. 

AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture which makes up the Southern Island series of HD 7000 graphics cards was conceived with a view to creating a much more compute focused card. 

Previous to this architecture Amd had focused on creating pure gaming cards with only a faint nod towards GPGPU processing.

Nvidia, on the other hand, chose performance per Watt for its consumer cards and sacrificed the GPGPU computing power that had been central to the Fermi architecture. 

This cut-down GPU though was still a great gaming chip, as the Nvidia GeForce GTX 680 showed, leaving the Tesla team, with the GK110 K20, to the pro-graphics compute shizzle.

Still, it managed to best AMD's top card in most gaming benchmarks leaving it with the runners up prize.

Until now.

Architecture

The AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition is the Texan company's counter offer to gamers in light of the slight lead Nvidia managed with the GTX 680. 

And to be fair, it's come up with quite an interesting proposal.

The salient point here though is that AMD has reclaimed the outright single-GPU performance crown of this generation. 

Obviously that's discounting the twin-GPU toting Nvidia GTX 690, which has almost cheated its way to the top of the graphics card pile.

Though AMD had planned an assault on even that position, promising us the card once code-named as New Zealand. 

You know, the place that has two Southern Islands making up the country.

Still, for whatever reason that card is off the table now with AMD focusing its efforts on bolstering the Tahiti GPU-sporting HD 7970 and making it the top single-GPU card around.

How has it managed this feature?

Well, the simple answer is overclocking. 

We told you it was simple.

But this isn't quite the traditional card speed bump, or manufacturer-supported factory overclocked card you might normally expect. 

Nothing has actually changed regarding the GPU itself.

AMD is still taking them from the same wafers, with the same designs, but it has taken the six months of learning that went into the subsequent Pitcairn and Cape Verde GPUs and applied it to the flagship chip. 

Basically the GPU manufacturing process has matured and so has the technology and, most importantly, the software.

This has enabled AMD to get more top-end Tahiti cores out of the wafers and so is offering the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition with a clockspeed of, you guessed it, 1GHz.

Though that's not strictly true.

In reality the clockspeed you're realistically going to get when gaming is actually 1.05GHz.

That extra 50MHz coming from something AMD is calling PowerTune with Boost. 

The idea being similar in concept to Nvidia's GPU Boost, with some new hardware on the PCB monitoring the voltage and offering extra power, up to that 1.05GHz mark, when the thermal headroom allows.

In our testing that was all of the time, even with the standard reference cooler design. 

Our reference AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition sat at a stable 1.05GHz for the entire time the GPU was pushed to 100% load.

The only other real addition of note to the card is the 3GB of GDDR5 graphics memory has been given a bit of a speed boost too. 

The stock card has a 1,375MHz speed for its memory while the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition comes with the VRAM running at a healthy 1,500MHz.

That's not all though as the type of memory used has been changed too. 

This time it is using the faster 6Gbps VRAM over the 5.5Gbps chips it had been rocking, the same speedy memory the Nvidia GTX 680 is sporting then.

Thanks to AMD's faster 384 bit memory bus though the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition has a massive 288GB/s memory bandwidth compared with the 192GB/s of the top single-GPU Nvidia card. 

That means at the higher end of the resolution spectrum the AMD card now seriously has the edge.

This video card is great because it has : 

Lightning fast performance
Great compute performance
Top GPU on the block
Ant it is incredibly expensive
And has a great value with it

Capabilities  : 

GPU - Tahiti XT
Process - 28nm
Clockspeed - 1,050MHz
Memory capacity - 3GB GDDR5
Memory bus - 384-bit


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Asus has never been a company to shy away from offering over-the-top, custom products that command a price premium. 

Here's proof. Perhaps it’s because the company is large enough, and thus, has the resources to cater to virtually all market segments, big or small. 

Or perhaps the top brass at Asus just likes inducing slack-jawed stares from PC enthusiasts. Whatever the reason, we hope they keep it up because testing this kind of stuff and showing it to you all is freakin’ fun.

A case-in-point is the Asus MARS II graphics card, which packs a full GeForce GTX 580, dual-GPU SLI configuration onto a single PCB. 

A quick glance at this monolith should reveal to even the most casual PC users that the MARS II is no ordinary graphics card. 

Heck, there isn’t a single thing about the Asus MARS II, from its specs, to its sheer size, and its huge price tag, that can be considered mainstream. 

The MARS II is as over-the-top and as custom as they get and it’s also going to be a limited edition, with only 999 cards slated for production.

Luckily, one of those 999 cards (number 545 to be exact) found its way into the HH labs and we’re able to give you the full scoop on this beast. 

Dissect the Asus MARS II and evaluate its performance, here’s a look at its packaging and accessory bundle. 

For the most part, it’s pretty standard fair.  

Included with the card are a couple of 8-pin PCI Express power adapters, a DVI-to-VGA adapter (for the insane user who uses a $1500 graphics card with an analog display), a driver and utility CD (with Asus' excellent GPU Tweak tool), a RoG case badge, a speed-setup guide, and an extended length SLI bridge.

In addition to the aforementioned items though, Asus also throws in a couple of noteworthy goodies. 

First is an aluminum plate that’s individually laser-engraved and sequentially numbered to certify the card’s limited edition status. 

Second, there are a couple of spacers that Asus calls “PCIe Sustainers”. 

These spacers adhere to the bottom of the card and rest upon adjacent expansion slots to ensure the MARS II sits perfectly straight and upright in its slot. 

Why would you need spacers to help keep the card sitting upright? 

Because the thing weighs over 5lbs. 

Specifications : 

Model MARS II/2DIS/3GD5
Graphics Engine NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 x2
Bus Standard PCI Express 2.0
Video Memory 3GB GDDR5 
Engine Clock 782MHz
Memory Clock 4008MHz (1002MHz GDDR5)
Memory Interface 384-bit x2
D-sub Max. Resolution 2048 x 1536 
DVI Max. Resolution 2560 x 1600 
D-sub Output Yes x 1 (via DVI-to-D-sub adaptor) 
DVI Output Yes x 2 (Native dual link DVI x2) 
HDCP compliant Yes
HDMI Output Yes x 1 (Native HDMI 1.4)
Display Port Yes x 1 (Regular DisplayPort)
Adaptor/Cable Bundled 1x Limited Edition aluminum ID plate
2x 8-pin to 6-pin Power Cable
1x DVI-to-D-sub adaptor
1x Exclusive 12cm SLI bridge
Software Bundled ASUS utilities and drivers; GPU Tweak
Dimension 13 inch x 6.2 inch x2.5 inch(3slot)

To have the best cooling performance ASUS ROG MARS II extends the Fan sink to 3 slot, please check your motherboard slot space and Chassis Dimension before Purchasing.

ASUS ROG Rampage III Extreme or Rampage III Extreme Black Edition Mainboard is recommended for best Synergy.