Posts Tagged ‘graphics’

AMD Radeon RX 460 review: A bargain or just bad?

Multi-bazillion-transistor behemoths like Nvidia’s Titan or the AMD Radeon R9 Fury are all well and good, but it’s rare when you meet someone who actually bought one in the wild. ut the stats suggest hardly any of us actually buy them. Very few, if the latest Steam surveys are anything to do by, with not a single Titan showing up in the list. That said, even Nvidia’s mid-range GTX 1070 card is only used by 1.93% of Steam gamers these days, and that’s after a year on sale. Indeed, the second most popular GPU after Nvidia’s last-gen GTX 960 is its old budget board, the GTX 750Ti, proving that cheaper cards are still by and large the most popular choice among the majority of gamers.

AMD’s RX 460 is yet another attempt to capture that end of the market, but since we first looked at it a year ago, AMD’s gone and updated it with a slightly newer variant, the RX 560. You can still buy an RX 460 if you scout around – Scan still sell the 2GB version for around £100 – but it’s the RX 560 that should be your prime consideration. They’re both based on the same GPU, but the RX 560 has a slightly higher clock speed, giving it a small boost to performance. We haven’t looked at the RX 560 in detail just yet, but you can still get a pretty good idea about what to expect based on our following thoughts about the RX 460. Aspirational it ain’t, but could this entry-level board make for good-enough gaming graphics? There’s only one way to find out.

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Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti review: The best budget card under £200

When we last looked at AMD’s entry-level Radeon RX 460, I wasn’t too impressed, so can its nearly-but-not-actually competitor from Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 1050, do any better? Well, the answer to that is slightly muddled, as I’ve actually got the GeForce GTX 1050Ti – the 1050’s slicker, slightly more expensive sibling. So, can the Ti win where the 460 failed and deliver good-enough gaming at a budget price?

For starters, you’ll have to pay a lot more for a GTX 1050Ti than an RX 460, as the cheapest 1050Ti cards rock in at about £135 in Brexit tokens or about $160. This particular 1050Ti from MSI, meanwhile – the GeForce GTX 1050Ti Gaming X 4GB – really blows the budget at just under £160 in the UK and $180 in the US according to Newegg. This is getting on for an entry-level 3D board, even if you do get a little extra for your cash in the form of a factory overclock of around 8% over a standard 1050Ti and the promise of some additional overclocking headroom thanks to improved cooling and power supply.

Still, when your typical GTX 1050 costs around £120 / $130, the RX 460 (and its closely related successor, the RX 560) can be found cheaper still at around or just under £100 / $120, the GTX 1050Ti has a lot to prove to make it worth your time. Let’s see how it holds up, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 review: The 1440p Graphics Card Of Choice?

Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1070 neatly occupies what is normally my favoured slot in the overall hierarchy of any given GPU family, namely one rung down from the top graphics chip that’s actually bought in much more significant volumes. Except, Nvidia’s Pascal family isn’t entirely normal. We’ve already touched base with the GTX 1080 and the GTX 1060, and the GTX 1070 inevitably slots in between.

Things get even more complicated when you take the recently announced GTX 1070Ti into account, which nestles between the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. We’ve yet to test the 1070Ti, so it’s difficult to say exactly how it compares to the rest of Nvidia’s Pascal pack, but with prices currently hovering around the £420/$449 mark (and regular 1070 prices not that much lower), it could end up being a much better buy than its non-Ti counterpart, especially if you’re after a card that’s capable of super smooth 1,440p gaming. We’ll be updating this article with more thoughts on how the 1070 compares to the 1070Ti in the very near future, but for now, let’s focus on the 1070 proper. After all, when Nvidia claims it can outperform its £1,000 Titan X mega beast, that’s reason enough to sit up and take notice.

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Update: AMD’s new graphics and CPU awesomeness

AMDVega2

It’s all kicking off at AMD, peeps. The new Vega graphics chip is now more than merely a press release and has finally been released into the wild. Meanwhile, the insane ThreadRipper CPU with 16 cores and 32 threads has also landed. It’s all a far cry from just a few months ago when AMD was soldiering on with an elderly graphics product and a deadbeat CPU line up. Time to catch up with AMD’s latest hardware awesomeness. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Nvidia is overcharging us all off, just a bit

As I was saying, Intel’s CPU strategy has gone into meltdown. As a consequence, the cynicism of its approach in the face of weak competition – right up until AMD pulled its new Ryzen out of the proverbial – has been laid bare. But it’s not just Chipzilla that’s worthy of your scorn. For some time now, Nvidia has essentially been ripping us all off just a little bit. Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

Intel’s 18-core CPU and, er, other exciting stuff

As I was saying, an 18-core CPU is obviously irrelevant for PC gaming. Actually, I was speaking then of AMD’s then-staggering 16-core Threadripper CPU. Two weeks later, Threadripper is already ancient news. It’s been comprehensively gazumped by a new 18-core CPU from Intel and suddenly the PC hardware landscape looks a little potty. I know I’ve been bleating for literally years about Intel’s sandbagging and how we needed AMD to spice things up. But this is a bit ridiculous. Be careful what you ask for… Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s 16-core CPU and other exciting stuff

Yes, yes, a 16-core CPU is likely-going-on-definitely irrelevant for PC gaming. But it’s an exciting notion in simple technological terms and it represents something that certainly is important for gaming, namely that the PC as a platform has woken up again. Along with that mega-CPU from AMD, we also have the imminent prospect of new graphics card families from both AMD and Nvidia, new CPUs from Intel in response to AMD Ryzen assault, an intriguing new APU, again from AMD, that could just make for some nice cheapo laptops with genuine gaming chops and, well, plenty more. And the annual Computex tech shindig hasn’t even kicked off yet…

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Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1050Ti: Affordable Graphics That’s Actually Gaming-Worthy?

Last time, we had a sniff around AMD’s latest entry-level pixel pumper, the Radeon RX 460. It was not impressive. This week, it’s time for the 460’s nearly-but-not-actually competitor from Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 1050. Except I’ve actually got the 1050Ti, which is in turn the 1050’s slicker, slightly more expensive sibling. So, can the Ti win where the 460 failed and deliver good-enough gaming at an affordable price? Read the rest of this entry »

AMD’s Radeon RX 460 Graphics: Bargain or just bad?

Multi-bazillion-transistor behemoths like Nvidia’s Titan or the AMD Radeon R9 Fury are all very well. But the stats suggest hardly any of us actually buy them. Not a single Titan shows up in the latest Steam survey. If that’s some kind of driver-related GPU flagging anomaly, the next rung down in the form of Nvidia’s GTX 1080 clocks a mere 0.3 per cent of Steam gamers. On the other hand, the third most popular GPU on Steam is Nvidia’s old budget board, the GeForce 750 Ti. Enter, therefore, AMD’s latest attempt at a parsimonious pixel pumper, the Radeon RX 460. Aspirational it ain’t. But could it be that an entry-level board now makes for good-enough gaming graphics? There’s only one way to find out.

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Nvidia’s GTX 1070: The 1440p Graphics Card Of Choice?

Hello. Good evening. And graphics. After a brief excursion into the delights of HDR screens, it’s back to This Week in Graphics in which I deliver my subjective, benchmarkless verdict some months behind almost everyone else in the Alpha Quandrant. Being first is so easy, so obvious, after all. This time around we’re filling in the final slot in Nvidia’s new Pascal family of GPUs. If you discount the crazy money Titan X, at least. Yup, it’s the GeForce GTX 1070. As it happens, the 1070 neatly fills what is normally my favoured slot in the overall hierarchy of any given GPU family, namely one rung down from the top graphics chip that’s actually bought in significant volumes. Except, Nvidia’s Pascal family isn’t entirely normal…

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Stop That, It’s Silly: Nvidia’s New Titan X Graphics Card

Sooner than anyone expected, Nvidia has rolled out its latest uber graphics card. It’s the new Titan X. It’s undoubtedly the fastest and bestest PC graphics board ever and probably by some margin. And it will cost you $1,200 and probably a similar post-VAT sterling figure back in the old, disintegrating empire. Call me a desiccated old cynic, but this is getting silly…

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AMD’s New $200/£175 VR-Friendly Gaming Graphics

It’s not quite the full disclosure I’ve been hoping for, but AMD semi-announced its new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card at the Computex trade show, t’other day. Yep, it’s that new Polaris graphics tech we’ve mentioned previously and as predicted the new board isn’t a mega money irrelevance, like Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080. It’s affordable and, among other things, claims to deliver 3D rendering performance for virtually reality headsets that’s comparable to $500 GPUs. VR for the masses, in other words. Sounds promising, but also strangely familiar… Read the rest of this entry »

Nvidia’s New GeForce GTX 1080 Graphics

Hate to say I told you so. Or rather, I don’t and so I’m going to gloat. Contrary to numerous comment protestations, Nvidia’s 2016 graphics awesomeness has begun in the shape of its new GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 cards. Based on the new Pascal architecture and teensy 16nm transistors, the new GPUs are exactly as expected. And yet also quite different. Meanwhile, AMD has dropped some hints regards the shape of Radeons to come. It all adds up to an exciting summer for PC graphics and a very good reason to put your GPU purchases on temporary hold, especially if VR is your bag… Read the rest of this entry »

2016 Awesomeness: Nvidia’s New Pascal Graphics

If it was a car it would be a gold-wrapped, kleptocrat-owned Bugatti Veyron ostentatiously double parked outside a Knightsbridge hotel. It’s still bloated, it’s still overly complex and you still can’t afford it. But it’s a graphics chip and a harbinger of things you might actually be able to buy. I give you Nvidia’s new Pascal GP100, a 15.3 billion transistor beast and the beginnings of that 2016 awesomeness I promised for the new year. In other words, if you’re thinking of buying a new graphics card, you might want to hold fire. Meanwhile, Intel has also taken the wraps off a massive new chip you can’t afford and the final piece the Laird Gaming Dungeon™: Driver Edition has arrived. Yup, I’m liking 2016.

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Vulkan API: It’s Gaming, Jim, But Not As We Know It

One API to rule them all. Wrong fantasy franchise, perhaps, but that’s the idea behind Vulkan, the snazzy open-source successor to OpenGL, alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX and something that might shake up gaming on everything from PCs to phones. But what’s an API? And why should you care? We’ll come to that. For now, if Vulkan is everything it’s cracked up to be, it’ll make games run faster and look better on your existing PC. It might make that SteamOS thing a goer, too. Anyway, version 1.0 is out, so the chattering weberati will be casually trading Vulkan references to prove their PC gaming prowess. Time to bone up. Plus I’ve just sat through a five-hour keynote stream on Vulkan from GDC 2016. So humour me. This stuff is actually quite interesting.

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Is Your Feeble PC Ready For VR?

This is not virtual. This is reality. The two big beasts of the coming VR revolution are lumbering into view. It’s actually happening. By the end of April both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive VR headsets will be on sale. Things you can actually buy. Yes, yes, virtual reality has had several false starts. But this time, you can sense it. This time, it’s different. Well, probably. Oh, OK, nobody knows how big an impact VR is going to have in the next few years. But what I can do is help you to understand how much PC power you’re probably going need to get the most out of the new headsets.

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Why 2016 Will Be A Great Year For PC Gaming Hardware

2016 is going to be great for PC gaming hardware. Of that I am virtually certain. Last time around, I explained why the next 12 months in graphics chips will be cause for much rejoicing. That alone is big news when you consider graphics is arguably the single most important hardware item when it comes to progressing PC gaming. This week, I’ll tell you why the festivities will also apply to almost every other part of the PC, including CPUs, solid-state drives, screens and more. Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a SATA cable in my eye, 2016 is looking up.
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2016 Will Be Great For Gamers: Part 1, Graphics

This year. Soon to be so last year

Four long, desolate years. Yup, it really was 1,460 sleeps ago, almost to the day, that the very first 28 nanometer graphics chip was launched, allowing card-makers to squeeze billions more transistors into their GPUs – meaning better performance for theoretically lower costs as a result. But here we are and 28nm is still as good as it gets for PC graphics. That’s a bummer, because it has meant AMD and Nvidia have struggled to improve graphics performance without adding a load of cost. It’s just one reason why 2015 has kind of sucked for PC gaming hardware. But do not despair. 2016 is going to be different.

In fact, it’s not just graphics that’s getting a long overdue proverbial to the nether regions. Next year is almost definitely going to be the best year for PC gaming hardware, full stop, for a very long time. So strap in for what is merely part one of my guide to the awesomeness that will be 2016.
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Nvidia GTX 950: The Cheap GPU We Were Waiting For?

Monster GPUs, 4K screens, zillions of pixels pumped per picosecond. These things are exciting. But are they relevant to most of us? When a top graphics card costs over £500 and arguably has an optimal working life of about 18 months to two years, I’m not so sure. Either way, most of us simply don’t buy that kind of clobber. Instead we buy things like the Nvidia’s new budget offering, the £120 / $160 GeForce GTX 950. And we buy them because, well, they’re actually affordable. But what exactly is life like at the more prosaic end of the pixel-pumping spectrum? To find out, I’ve been slumming it with the new 950. This is what I have discovered.
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Photorealism Is Crucial To Games

Global illumination.
Volumetric clouds.
Sub-surface scattering.

These are words that make me hot.

But I know this feeling is forbidden. I should care about games, not the empty pursuit of photorealism. But oh my, it’s so exciting, and not empty. In fact, I think that right now photorealism is becoming crucial to games, and that we should celebrate it.

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