Tag Archives: ati

AMD add Catalyst Update to latest drivers

AMD adds Catalyst Update to latest drivers.New Catalyst drivers have been released for Radeon HD 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and 6000 series graphics cards.

Catalyst 11.4 resolve a whole host of game issues, while bringing to the table a few new features; like new task based display management controls, a refreshed Eyefinity setup and AMD Catalyst update, which is similar to what Nvidia added to their drivers back in March. AMD’s Catalyst Update informs you when new drivers are available.

There are also some performance improvements in Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battleforge, Batman Arkham Asylum and a few others, see below:

Performance Enhancements
A number of performance enhancements are seen with the AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series and AMD Radeon HD 6800 Series:

  • Call of Duty Black Ops – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single GPU configurations.
  • Battleforge – gains of up to 15% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Batman Arkham Asylum – gains of up to 20% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Aliens vs. Predator – gains of up to 8% with Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Civilization 5 – gains of up to 15% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Far Cry 2 – gains of up to 6% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Just Cause 2 – gains of up to 9% on single and multiple GPU configurations.
  • Lost Planet 2 – gains of up to 10% on single and multiple GPU configurations.

Download the new Catalyst drivers here.

F.E.A.R. the one month delay
Valve confirms Portal 2 DLC
Portal 2 scores big with critics, ordinary gamers not happy with short gamehours and DLC
Buffy joins all-star cast for Black Ops DLC
Call of Duty: Black Ops, best-selling game ever
Gamestop offering Gears of War 3 beta keys on preorders
Darkspore now available on Steam
EA raises over 1 million for Japan
Nintendo confirms Wii 2 launch in 2012

Radeon HD 7000 hitting mass production next month

AMDJust when you thought you couldn’t get more confused trying to remember all the names of the vast quantities of graphics cards being pumped out by AMD and Nvidia this past year, AMD are bringing out 3 more that fall squarely in the entry-level to mid-range section of their 6000 series.

The 6670, 6570 and 6450 will be launched in 7 days time on the 19th of April.

But wait, if you’re holding out for the latest and greatest you might want to hang on to your cash for a little longer. According to a source close to DigiTimes AMD’s 7000 series a.k.a. ‘Southern Islands’ is scheduled for mass production in May. The 7000 series is based on the 28 nm manufacturing process.

With its Radeon HD 6000 series product lines fully filled, AMD is already in preparation for the next generation Radeon HD 7000 series (Southern Islands) GPUs and is set to mass produce the GPU in May this year.

No details have been leaked that clarify any specifications of the 7000 series cards.

AMD’s Radeon range on Amazon
AMD’s 6790, the new mid-range sweet-spot
Nvidia prepping new GTX 560
Kingston announce critical firmware update for V100 SSDs
EVGA announce GTX 590 ‘Hydro Copper Edition’
AMD taunts Nvidia, challenging their ‘fastest card’ declaration
Nvidia’s GTX 590 is smokin’, literally
Nvidia shows off “engineering marvel”, the GTX 590
EVGA selling Crysis 2 Edition GTX 560 Ti
Nvidia shakes up GeForce drivers with auto-update and more

AMD wages war against Nvidia’s midriff

AMDIt looks like AMD is seeing the GTX 550 Ti as a threat and wish to compete directly with Nvidia’s mid-range graphics card. According to Nordic Hardware the company is readying a new mid-range GPU based on AMD’s 40 nm Barts GPU, slated for an April 5th release.

The HD 6790 will consist of a memory interface of 256-bit wide GDDR5 VRAM, a core speed of 840 MHz, and 1050 MHz RAM speed. The card will have a low-power draw of 150W derived from 2 6-pin power connectors.

As the HD 6790 is based on the same architecture as the 6950/6970 the specs are very similar. Nordic Hardware has the low-down:

6790 specs revealed

Kingston announce critical firmware update for V100 SSDs
EVGA announce GTX 590 ‘Hydro Copper Edition’
AMD taunts Nvidia, challenging their ‘fastest card’ declaration
Nvidia’s GTX 590 is smokin’, literally
Nvidia shows off “engineering marvel”, the GTX 590
EVGA selling Crysis 2 Edition GTX 560 Ti

Catalyst 11.2 drivers available


AMD has released new drivers for their HD 2000 to HD 6000 range of GPUs. The drivers add a few new features, like Tessellation Controls and options to change video quality settings in Blu-ray 3D playback.

Some performance gains can also be found in CoD: Black Ops and Batman Arkham Asylum. For a list of changes and download links head on over to AMD.

Zotac release GTX 560 Ti with 950Mhz core speed
MSI adds water-cooled HydroGen GTX 580 GPU
Nvidia set to launch GTX 590, dual-gpu to counter Antilles
Zotac GeForce GTX 560 Ti OC, price drop on Amazon

PowerColor PCS+ HD6870 Video Card Review

Powercolor AMD 6870

PowerColor PCS+ HD6870 Video Card

AMD’s new Radeon HD 6800 series occupies a brand new position in the product hierarchy. The HD 5830 GPU only made economic sense if you had awful yields at the wafer fab, and the Cypress chip, with 334 square millimeters of silicon, is way too big for just 1120 shaders and 16 ROPS. The new Barts GPU uses just 255 mm2 to do the same job only better, with twice the number of ROPs as the 5830. The first HD 6870 cards on the market were all based on the AMD reference design, which used the tried-and-true blower in a box design for cooling. Some of us prefer axial cooling fans, and have been anxiously awaiting some original designs to hit the marketplace. PowerColor saw the need for a different interpretation on the Barts theme and have launched their PCS+ version that has potentially better cooling, and certainly quieter cooling if nothing else. They’ve also applied the traditional overclock, which is a standard feature for this series.

Although AMD was denied the opportunity to roll out 32nm-based chips for this product cycle, they were able to go back to the drawing board with relaxed design rules for the 40nm process at TSMC. With one full year of volume production under their belts, they optimized this latest generation of GPUs for the current manufacturing constraints. In the HD 5000 series, they had to use estimates for defect density, maximum L/D ratios, and a whole host of other design guidelines that are supposed to ensure you get usable chips at the end of the production line. AMD did a better job of interpreting the rule book last product cycle, and as a result their full line of 40nm chips was first out of the gate, and stayed out in front for a full 6 months.

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

AMD Powercolor 6870 $319.99 on Amazon.com

PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video Card

PowerColor Radeon HD 6970

PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 Video Card Review

Featuring a 1536-Core Cayman GPU, AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 competes against NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 470.

With the introduction of AMD’s Cayman GPU, the Radeon HD 6870 video card becomes their flagship DirectX-11 desktop graphics product. Aside from the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970, gamers can expect the new Radeon HD 6970 to quench their thirst for demanding graphics power. The Cayman GPU features dual graphics engines with an asynchronous dispatch and off-chip geometry buffering to 96 tessellation units using a new VLIW4 shader core architecture. Equipped with a 2GB GDDR5 256-bit video buffer, the Cayman GPU can offer up to 24 SIMD engines and 96 Texture Units. Additionally, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 introduces several new MSAA modes including Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing (EQAA).

The PowerColor Radeon HD 6970 takes advantage of improved anti-aliasing features to enhance the DirectX 11 gaming experience. PC gamers are looking for their best value for the money, while producing top-end frame rates to help them build a killstreak. AMD didn’t set out to build the fastest graphics card imaginable, likely producing a product so expensive that only the most affluent enthusiasts could afford. Instead, the AMD Radeon HD 6970 was designed for the large majority of consumers, who want top-shelf performance at a fair price. While accomplishing this, they managed to also add accelerated multimedia playback and transcoding, AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology, and the 3D Blu-ray multi-view CODEC (MVC).

This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

HIS Radeon HD 6970, $472.64 on Amazon.com

AMD roll out Catalyst 10.12, add GPU acceleration support for DivX

Catalyst 10.12

It’s that time again, AMD have rolled out new graphics drivers for AMD desktop and notebook GPUs. 10.12 Catalyst are now available for download.

One of the big selling points of this release is DivX for laptop users. DivX is now GPU accelerated which is supposed to reduce CPU time and extend battery life. AMD are also letting users get a preview of the new Catalyst Control Centre UI.

AMD Catalyst 10.12 Preview for Windows 7– Featuring the new Catalyst Control Center

We’re letting our customers try out the brand new Catalyst Control Center before it’s officially part of the AMD Catalyst package!
- The New Catalyst Control Center enables a simplified user experience to help users get the most out of their AMD product
-  Easily enable 3D settings to enhance game image quality
-  Setup multiple displays to increase productivity
-  Adjust power settings to increase battery life
Let us know what you think of the new Catalyst Control Center on the AMD Catalyst 10.12 Preview forum
Catalyst Software Suite (32 bit) English Only

Package Includes:
Display Driver
ATI Integrated Driver
Catalyst Control Center
(English Language Only)
For the 32 bit version of Windows Vista and Windows 7
AMD Catalyst™ Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) Technology Edition

Package Includes:
Display Driver
OpenCL Driver
ATI Integrated Driver
Catalyst Control Center
(English Language Only)
For the 32 bit version of Windows Vista and Windows 7
ATI Catalyst Application Profiles

This release of ATI Catalyst™ delivers support for the latest ATI CrossFireX™ profiles in a separate executable file ensuring users have access to the absolute latest set of profiles installed on their PC.
New profiles added to this release:
- HomeFront – Improves CrossFire performance
- DvaMira 2.0 (Russion version of Two World 2) – Improves CrossFire performance
- Final Fantasy XIV – Forced on Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center has been disabled
- Track Mania Nations Forever – Forced on Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center has been disabled

As always, head on over to AMD for downloads and full specs.

XFX Radeon 6870 price-drop on Amazon, down to $215.99

Valve’s hardware statistics for October, has anything changed?

Valve's Hardware & Software Survey

It’s been a while since I’ve taken a look at Valve’s PC hardware statistics. As I’m sure most of you already know, Valve periodically releases results of a hardware survey they conduct from within the Steam software. Information is gathered from a user’s machine – like what processor they use, how much system ram they have, hard drive space etc. It can be fun to see the demographic you yourself fit into in the overall hardware pallet. Let’s take a brief look October’s results.


Intel vs AMD

Unsurprisingly Intel has a monopoly on processors, but you might be surprised at just how much. According to Valve’s October Hardware & Software Study, 72.37% of its users have Intel processors. This dwarfs AMD’s small footprint of a mere 27.63%.

Processor Cores

As more and more PCs are equipped with multi-core CPUs, let’s take a look at the percentages. Single-core processors still make up 11.22%, that’s down from over 14% 2 months ago. Dual-core seems to be the dominant blend with a whopping 56.97% share. Quad-cores are on the rise but still only account for 33.13, up from 27.24%. With hex-core still in its infancy, only 0.57% (up from 0.43%) are booting up their Steam-based machines with 6 processing cores. This is obviously bound to change with AMD’s low-cost Phenom II x6 processors and whatever lower-priced variants Intel unleash next year.

Graphics Cards:

As with Intel, Nvidia also makes up a larger share of the pie with 59.11% of users having their GPUs, compared to AMD’s 32.98% market share. Tragically 6.22 % still use on-board Intel graphics. Maybe we should take a moment’s pause to reflect on their pain. Why are they even using Steam?

Interestingly enough only 0.56% of users have 1.5Gb of Vram. It looks like Nvidia’s GTX 480 is not too popular among users of Steam.

System Ram:

Ram is not quite as important as it once was when it comes to gaming with 4-6 Gb being the mainstay for most avid gamers. 24.04% (down from 26.9%) are still on 2Gb, with 27.02% using 3Gb. 4Gb users are a slightly smaller bunch with 26.00% (up from 22.9%) of the chart. Do you use more than 4Gb of ram? You’re in an illustrious club of  14.06%.

Operating systems:

It seems that Windows XP just won’t die. Microsoft has cut off the life-support machine, and many PC vendors have already stopped supporting the aging OS. But like a stubborn old man, XP fights on with 26.55% (down from 31.49%). I should note that Windows 7 64-bit has surpassed XP with 33.37%  (up from 29.62%). The 32-bit version of Vista still has a surprising 13.65% of users, but this is on the decline as you would expect.


Has anything changed? Well, not a whole lot since August. Single-core CPU usage is slightly down while dual-core hasn’t changed at all. Quad core has made a promising gain of 5%, although 6 core gaming clearly has along way to come.

No real push on the GPU front but this may change over the next few months with newer cards from both ATI and Nvidia already released with more on the way.

I’m convinced there is a deity operating chest-paddles on Windows XP. Microsoft’s aging OS has had its life-support machine cut off, no more care has been given to it, but XP must have a stronger heart than Microsoft realized and is not looking likely to call it a day any time soon. I guess a lot of people running Direct x 9 titles are still happy with the plucky little senior citizen.

Windows 7 is on the rise, with a lot more people adopting the 64-bit variety to take advantage of all that RAM they invested in.

AMD release Catalyst 10.11

Radeon GraphicsAMD have rolled out new Catalyst drivers that offer some performance gains in Stalker: Call of Pripyat and Battle forge, for their 5800 series cards. They have also resolved some stability issues affecting Windows 7 and Vista.

This section provides information on resolved known issues in this release of the AMD Catalyst 10.11 software suite for Windows 7. These include:

  • Running fullscreen DirectX 9 applications/games after enabling Aero effects and rebooting no longer causes the system to randomly stop responding
  • Primary display no longer blanks out intermittently during “World in Conflict™: Soviet Assault” DirectX10 gameplay with CrossFire and Dual Monitor enabled
  • “Stone Giant” DirectX 11 demo no longer intermittently fails in fullscreen mode with CrossFire enabled under Multi-GPU configurations on some cards
  • Task switching out of “Battlefield: Bad Company™ 2″ and then back into the game  no longer causes CrossFire to become disabled
  • Enabling in-game Anti-Aliasing and utilizing Edge-Detect filters no longer causes smoother lines but blurry textures when compared to the Standard filter on some cards
  • Desktop line corruption is no longer observed after hotplugging the HDCP display on some cards
  • Enabling Overdrive through the Catalyst™ Control Center for single display systems no longer results in GPU clocks running at high levels in non-GPU intensive scenarios
  • Resolved Known Issues for the Windows Vista  Operating System

  • Running fullscreen DirectX 9 applications/games after enabling Aero effects and rebooting no longer causes the system to randomly stop responding
  • When “World of Warcraft” is launched via TriDef® 3D and hardware cursor is enabled, the mouse cursor no longer intermittently flickers and disappears
  • Hot swapping a HDCP display panel with a non-HDCP display no longer  causes the  display to turn blank after resuming from sleep/hibernate during Blu-ray disc playback
  • Download them here.

    NVIDIA Endless City Tessellation Demo
    Win an MSI R6870
    Nvidia launches GTX 460 SE, hopes to compete with 5770
    3DMark Vantage, world record broken. Who cares?

    If you only knew the power of a custom-built gaming PC!

    AlienBEware Episode V: The Wallet Strikes Back

    If you only knew the power of a custom-built gaming PC!

    Back in August I set out to build a decent PC gaming rig without breaking the bank. I wanted to show how much money can be saved when purchasing all the parts separately and assembling it yourself. For the price comparison I chose Alienware as they are pretty well-known for making high-end gaming PCs and Notebooks but with a hefty price-tag.

    Since the PC is now built, I figured I’d follow the last post up with some performance benchmarks and updates on the changes made (notably the price). It has pretty much remained the same apart from the graphics card and a few minor changes. But the few minor changes have saved even more money. All the parts arrived about 2 weeks ago and I have found the time to put it together and run some benchmarks. So if you’re interested in building your own rig, read on if you want to see the kind of performance that can be attained on this budget.

    The previous build came to a total of 1,534.79 Pounds Sterling, with Alienware costing almost double for practically identical specs. My slight hardware revision shaves even more off that price and weighs in at a more pocket-friendly 1,251 Pounds Sterling. That equates to $1,970.67 USD, but these parts are much cheaper in the U.S. as opposed to here in Europe so it would be even less expensive than that for my Yankee comrades.


    Processor: Intel i7 950 Quad CoreIntel Core i7 950

    This is a great Quad-core processor with Hyper-threading. All cores run at 3.06GHz but individual cores can be bumped up in speed when applications don’t make use of all the cores. It has come down in price literally by 50% in the past few months, so as I was going i7 anyway, this was a no-brainer for me. Plus if you’re into overclocking the CPU, I’ve seen people reach 4GHz with ease (with a decent air/water-cooler).

    Graphics card: MSI Cyclone GTX 460 1GB MSI Cyclone GTX 460

    I can’t begin to praise this card enough. It cost me under 200 Euro; it runs silent, even while in game and has more than enough beef to handle any game I’ve thrown at it so far. The desktop temps are in the mid 20s and when I get out of a long stint of gaming, the card never gets hotter than 44 degrees. Plus this little mid-ranger is a Herculean overclocker, but more on that later.

    The original build included an ATI 5970 but for one 22″ monitor that was a little overkill in retrospect.

    Motherboard: Asus P6X58D-EAsus P6X58D-E

    This board is basically the same as the Premium variant but with a few minor features missing. It’s the perfect budget-board for anyone interested in building an X58 system. It supports 3-way SLI and Quad-CrossfireX and has support for USB 3.0 and SATA 6GB/s, with all the usual ASUS features you would expect. Obviously it can house any Intel i7 processor, including the 6-core Gulftown.

    System RAM: Corsair Dominator 3 x 2GBCorsair Dominator 1600MHz 3 x 2GB

    This RAM performs very well. Although I had to adjust the frequency in the BIOS settings in order for the Corsair Dominator to run at its native speed of 1,600MHz.  But that was painless and literally took seconds.

    Power supply: Cooler Master Silent Pro M850

    I went with the Cooler Master Silent Pro because it has an 80 Plus Bronze rating and got rave reviews pretty much across the board. It is extremely quiet (as the name
    Cooler Master Silent Pro m850would imply), comes with a 5 year warranty and has ample power to feed my rig, even when I add another graphics card sometime down the line.

    Modular PSU ftw!


    PC case: Cooler Master HAF 932

    Cooler Master HAF 932The Cooler Master HAF 932 is one of the main stars of this build, and is a shining beacon of engineering prowess. I cannot heap enough praise and when you look at the Amazon page, you’ll see others sharing in my enthusiasm. The case’s aesthetics are first and foremost what drew me in. It looks like something you’d find in Darth Vader’s chamber in The Empire Strikes Back. It’s black all around with some red LED lights on the front intake fan.

    The case sports 3 x 230mm case fans; one that blows from the side door right over the graphics card and processor, the other sucking air from the front and one more venting heat out the roof of the case. There is also a smaller fan at the rear, sucking hot air out the back. I could literally cool beers inside this case, it’s pretty amazing. If you’re looking for something that will give you ample room to
    Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB (6GB/s)work in, have plenty of cable management holes, great air flow and killer looks, than I highly recommend the HAF 932 full-tower case from Cooler Master.

    Hard drive: 640 GB Western Digital Caviar Black 6GB/s

    I know a lot of you recommended an SSD, some were horrified that I would dare put a mechanical hard drive into a new gaming rig. But unfortunately price-per-gigabyte, I cannot justify spending money on these things just yet. I’m happy to see that the prices are coming down all the time, and I will add one in at a later stage, probably around the same time I pick up another GTX 460. For now though, the Caviar Black is a decent hard drive, very cheap and serves its purpose well. It’s limited to 7,200 RPM but I can live with that until SSDs come down a title more.

    Mouse: Sidewinder X3
    Microsoft Sidewinder X3I really like this mouse. I’ve always said that Microsoft make great mice, that last. This mouse feels like it was custom-made for my own hand. I can game for yours with no cramp or wrist pain to speak of. The only thing I would complain about is the buttons on the side are a little far to the front of the mouse. But other than it’s a cool little mouse and pretty darn cheap.


    Keyboard: Sidewinder x4

    Microsoft SideWinder X4I’ve been using laptop keyboards for damn near 8 years now so it was a little bit of a transition to get back into PC keyboards again, but once I got past that hurdle, this is one comfortable keyboard with a wrist-rest at the base. It has all the usual features from a gaming keyboard; like the ability to assign macros to certain keys, and the likes of volume control, play, stop, etc. Very good price. Plus the keys light up in red, which matches the LEDs at the front of the case..’nuff said!

    Monitor: 22″ LG E2240T LEDLG Flatron E2240

    This is one sweet little monitor, with a crisp clear image. Compared to the laptop I have been using for the past few years, this monitor is like sweeping the cobwebs from my eyes and getting a cornea upgrade. For the price, wow.

    Continue reading

    AMD Radeon HD 6850 Barts Video Card

    AMD Radeon HD 6850 Review

    NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 460 is threatened by AMD’s Barts GPU with better performance and value.

    The Radeon HD 6850 is AMD’s latest DirectX-11 video card, and uses an updated Cypress back-end to offer ‘Barts’ GPU architecture. Built to deliver improved performance to the value-hungry mainstream gaming market, the $200 AMD Radeon HD 6850 and $250 Radeon HD 6870 video cards supplement their 5800-series counterparts. The most notable new feature is Bart’s 3rd-generation Unified Video Decoder with added support for DisplayPort 2.1a. AMD’s UVD3 accelerates multimedia playback and transcoding, while introducing AMD HD3D stereoscopic technology with multi-view CODEC (MVC) support for playing 3D Blu-ray over HDMI 1.4a.

    In this article Benchmark Reviews tests the AMD Radeon HD 6850 video card, a DirectX-11 graphics solution that competes at the $200 price point with the 768MB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 video card and the Radeon HD 5770 to a lesser extent. Graphical frame rate performance is tested using the most demanding PC video game titles and benchmark software available. DirectX-10 favorites such as Crysis Warhead, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and PCMark Vantage are all included, in addition to DX11 titles such as Aliens vs Predator, BattleForge, Lost Planet 2, Mafia II, Metro 2033, and the Unigine Heaven 2.1 benchmark.

    This is a guest article written by our content partners at Benchmarkreviews.com

    Read on @ Benchmark Reviews

    AMD’s 6000 series arrive, Amazon taking pre-orders

    Futurmark release teaser trailer of 3DMark 11

    Over on the official Futurmark Youtube page, the company that brought us 3Dmark Vantage has released a very short trailer of their upcoming Directx 11 benchmark suite. Most people are familiar with 3DMark Vantage as the gamer benchmark of choice to test your PC’s gaming capabilities. 3DMark Vantage however, is limited to Directx 10. With more and more dx11 titles coming out soon or in the works, Fururmark are in the process of developing new software to take advantage of the new features of dx11, such as hardware tessellation.

    There is no concrete date of release just yet. The video says “coming in 2010″ just like their previous clip. Here’s hoping there won’t be a delay until next year, given the fact that we’re fast approaching November.

    Is PC benchmarking getting out of hand?
    Are PC gamers more budget-conscious than ever before?
    Do people still buy PC optical drives?
    How to clone your Windows 7 DVD onto a thumb drive

    Catalyst 10.9a promises better performace for CrossFireX users

    Catalyst 10.9a promises better performace for CrossfireX users

    Users of multiple ATI (AMD) graphics cards have been a little peeved over the past few months, due to a lack of decent drivers available for CrossFireX performance. SLI has consistently outperformed AMD cards pound for pound in multi-GPU configurations. But there may be light at the end of the tunnel yet.

    AMD have released new Catalyst drivers aimed squarely at improving performance for CrossFireX users in certain games, in Directx 9, 10 and 11 titles.

    Here is a short list of improvements from the latest Catalyst build:


  • Multiplayer Medal of Honor CrossFire update
  • Darksider performance and CrossFire Anti-Aliasing update
  • NBA 2K11 CrossFire update
  • DX10/11

  • Stone Giant CrossFire update
  • Multiplayer Medal of Honor CrossFire update
  • CivV tweak CrossFire update
  • Hawx2 CrossFire update
  • F1 CrossFire update
  • World of Warcraft DX11 version CrossFire update
  • Download:

    Grab them from AMD.

    Nvidia adds support for GT 430 in latest driver release
    Are PC gamers more budget-conscious than ever before?
    Portal, where have you been all my life..
    Nvidia restricting GPU sales to Best Buy?

    Are PC gamers more budget-conscious than ever before?

    Are PC gamers more budget-conscious than ever before?

    It seems the PC gaming elite don’t frequent Amazon.com, at least not in large numbers. A brief glance at the top 5 best selling GPUs reads like an entry-level PC extravaganza. The most expensive graphics processor in the list is the very affordable 768Mb version of Nvidia’s GTX 460.

    Top 5 best-selling GPUs:

    No. 1: Sapphire Radeon HD4550 512 MB DDR3 VGA/DVI/HDMI PCI-Express

    No. 2: EVGA  GeForce GTX460 768MB DDR5 PCI-Express 2.0

    No. 3: Sapphire Radeon HD 5770 1 GB DDR5 2DVI/HDMI/DisplayPort PCI-Express

    No. 4: ZOTAC nVidia GeForce 8400GS 512 MB DDR2 VGA/DVI/HDMI Low-Profile PCI-Express

    No. 5: EVGA 01G-P3-N959TR GeForce 9500 GT 1GB DDR2 PCI-Express 2.0

    This chimes in with Valve’s hardware survey results from last month - over 55.41% of Steam gamers still use dual-core CPUs.

    What about you? Have you felt the economic crunch hit your PC budget? Does your electric tooth-brush require more power than your cheap-ass processor? Do you do without dinners for one month in order to get the graphics hardware you like? Maybe you think graphics card should be cheaper?

    Let us know.

    Portal, where have you been all my life..
    Nvidia restricting GPU sales to Best Buy?

    AlienBEware: Why You SHOULD build Your Own Gaming PC


    For the past 10 years I’ve been living in a laptop-gaming fantasy land where games never run quite right and low frames-per-second are enough to give you migraine. So I decided a few weeks back to break the mold and build me a new gaming PC, an almighty Herculean flagship for the wrath of Directx 11 titles on the way, and of course for next year’s Rage and Doom 4.

    But how much would it cost? And what was I going to put into it?

    Back when I was building PCs it was much more of a pricey hobby. Intel Pentium III processors were all the rage, and if you had over 128mb of ram you were considered a little eccentric and on the fringes of the overclocking community. Times have changed though, and thanks to major competition we can build a high-end gaming PC with a fraction of the budget of 10 years ago.

    Below is a chart showing how much I will be paying for my new dream rig, and how much it costs with a reputable PC builder. As you can see the savings speak volumes. But more on that later.

    Currency My PC Alienware’s Price Money I Saved
    Sterling: 1,534.79 3,029.01 1,494.21
    Euro: 1,875.00 3,693.28 1,818.28
    Dollars (US): 2,368.23 4,666.50 2,298.27

    System Specs:

    Full tower case: £116.99

    I watched more case unboxing videos than I care to remember. There’s a lot of great choice out there when it comes to a PC enclosure. But at the end of the day I settled with the Coolermaster HAF 932. It has ample space, more than enough to accommodate the hardware I’ll be putting into it – with lots more room for anything that might happen a few years down the line. Plus it has 2 x 230mm fans and looks like something Darth Vader would use.

    Coolermaster Haf 932

    Power Supply: £118.99

    If my CompTIA instructor taught me nothing else (and he didn’t) it was never to skimp on a power supply. This is important even more so in the last few years as graphics card power requirements are through the roof. ATI recommend a minimum of 650 Watts when powering their 5970 card. I went with a Cooler Master Silent Pro 850 Watt. If I choose to add another card sometime down the line this power supply (which comes with a 5 year warranty) will comfortably handle a dual-gpu setup.

    Silent Pro 850w

    Processor: £234.99

    Right off the bat we’re going quad core. The price of Intel’s i7 processors are dropping significantly in 5 days time so now even the i7 950 is not out of reach for the cost-conscious gamer.

    Everyone seems to be overclocking these chips with ease. It’s not something I plan on doing anytime soon but it’s nice to know that perhaps in a few years when it needs a bit of a kick, I can go into the bios and start fiddling with voltages and what-not. But with a stock speed of 3.06ghz this thing should be fine for the time being.

    i7 950

    Motherboard: £149.99

    For the motherboard I’ll be buying the much lauded Asus P6X58D-E. This board is future-proof in supporting USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. It also can hold up the 24 GB of ram. I’m not sure if I’ll ever use that much ram, but I wouldn’t rule it out. It handles both SLI and Crossfire configurations with all the usual features you would expect from a premium ASUS board.

    Asus P6X58D-E

    GPU: £469.99

    We’re not skimping on the processor or motherboard and the graphics card will be no different. For this rig I’ll be fitting a Sapphire Radeon HD 5970. I didn’t make this decision lightly, it’s still a pretty expensive card but nearly all the benchmarks I’ve seen put this dual graphics processing monster King of the DX11 range. It simply creams through any game out there. With 2gb of GDDR5 memory this card is likely to be a strong contender for the next few years. Let’s hope the price drops before I buy the card (which will be my last purchase).

    Finally I can play games at 1080p resolution!

    Sapphire HD5970

    RAM: £169.99

    For system memory (Ram) Corsair’s Dominator memory modules are top of most enthusiast’s list. These ultra-low latency DIMMs will find themselves right at home inside the case. I was going to go with 12gb of system memory, but after close examination of benchmarks and reading what the experts say I don’t think I can justify forking out the cash for 12gb. Even recently released games don’t recommend anything over 4gb.

    Corsair Dominator

    HDD: £47.99 x 2

    My hard-drive setup will consist of 2 x 500gb Western Digital Caviar Black SATA 6Gb/s 64MB, in a RAID 0 configuration. I’ve never set up RAID before but the idea always intrigued me – the power of 2 hard drives working as one. I’m assuming it’s easier to setup than it was 10 years ago. It will be interesting to see just how much faster RAID 0 (or striped set) will perform.

    WD Caviar

    Monitor: £126.89

    For the monitor I’ll be going with a 21.5 inch BenQ LED. I’m not too fussy about the screen as long as it supports a 1980x1080p resolution, which this monitor does comfortably. I’ve never used an LED monitor before so I’m looking forward to seeing how far technology has come in 10 years.

    Benq LED

    Keyboard/Mouse: £33.99 / £16.99

    Keyboard and mouse will be Microsoft’s Sidewinder range (x4 and x3 respectively). I already bought the mouse and I can assure you it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever wrapped my right hand around.

    So far I’ve purchased the case, power supply and mouse. It will be about 6-8 weeks before I have the rest of the hardware, but you can get an idea of what you’ll need to spend to build a high-end rig. For my money this pc has a good 3-4 years on the top of the gaming world before it will start to show its age with the very latest games.

    Below is a list of the components – where I’m buying them an the cost (and no, I’m not getting any money from the companies I’m linking to ). :P

  • Sapphire Radeon HD5970 GPU £469.99
  • Coolermaster Silent Pro M 850 Watt Power Supply £118.99
  • Coolermaster Haf 932 Case £116.99
  • Asus P6X58D-E £149.99
  • Intel Core i7 950 £234.99
  • 6 GB of Corsair Dominator Ram @ 1600Mhz £169.99
  • 2 x 500gb Western Digital Caviar SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache £47.99 x 2
  • 21.5 inch BenQ LED 126.89
  • X3 Gaming Mouse £16.99
  • Microsoft Sidewinder X4 Keyboard £33.99
  • Building the Dream Machine with Alienware:

    I know Dell has taken over Alienware but that’s the first name that pops into my head when I think of high-end gaming PCs. So with that in mind I went over to Alienware’s UK website to build a PC with the exact same (almost) specifications to the one I’m building to see what the cost benefit is in building it myself.

    Alienware Area 51

    This Alienware Area-51 differs only in a 200mhz faster processor. I’m not sure what kind of motherboard, power supply or ram they have in that machine, but I can’t imagine it’s any better than what I have chosen for my PC (Asus, Coolermaster, Corsair etc).

    I’m aghast to the nth degree at the exorbitant pricing of Alienware’s flagship gaming PC with the build I specified. It boggles the mind thinking how this could actually be justified. I sincerely hope this is an eye-opener for anyone thinking of going for a pre-built gaming PC. Building one yourself is a piece of cake, and you’ll save a whole lot of cash in the process and likely end up with something more powerful and ultimately more personal than a mass-production assembly line could ever conjure up.

    Update: 27/10/2010:

    Since the PC is now built, I figured I’d follow this post up with some performance benchmarks and updates on the changes made (notably the price).

    Read about it in my new article:
    AlienBEware Episode V: The Wallet Strikes Back

    Related links:
    Amazon.com Chimes in with i7 950 Price Drop
    Intel i7 Massive Price Cuts
    To Nvidia Or Not To Nvidia?

    Radeon 5000 Series Looking Mighty Tasty

    Radeon 5000 Series, Time To Buy? ATI are tipped to be bringing out their 6000 series before the end of 2010 so many people are eying up a 5970/5870 GPU.

    With Intel’s upcoming processor price drop, many predict that AMD will slash the cost of their 5000 series. Currently a Radeon 5970 will set you back $649.99 on Amazon but that price could change drastically when they roll out their next-gen cards.

    Meanwhile if you’re late on the 5000 Series bandwagon, you can familiarize yourself with all the bits and trimmings these DX11 cards offer – including power efficiency, heat, performance and driver stabilty. Head on over to Tom’s Hardware.

    Also, if you’re already using one, a new Catalyst release (10.8) is coming this Wednesday.

    To Nvidia Or Not To Nvidia?

    To Nvidia Or Not To Nvidia?

    Even the most ardent Nvidia fanboy would have to concede it has not been a great year for the green giant. First they are forced to delay their 400 Series by 6 months, then there are reports of large power consumption/heat issues with the Fermi range of GPUs. We then read of Nvidia posting a $141 million loss in its second fiscal quarter. Meanwhile ATI is stealing the spotlight with its top-end DX11 card -the HD5970, with reports of a Radeon 6000 series coming in November. It’s hard to know who to choose when you only have two companies making serious graphics chips for the pc gamer.

    For anyone looking to build a beefy Directx 11 gaming rig, it can be sometimes hard to cut through the fog of corporation PR and market-speak. What it boils down to is which card performs the best. I have gathered together a small list of pc hardware gurus who benchmark graphics cards, processors, ram and motherboards. Many of them have Youtube accounts where they run through in detail all of the card’s pros and cons like:  power consumption, idle/load temperatures, cost, overclocking potential, driver stability etc. This will help you come to a decision as to which manufacturer/hardware is right for your particular rig.

  • 3DGameMan
  • Bit-tech
  • Anandtech
  • Trubritar
  • Tom’s Hardware
  • Ars Technica
  • Hardware Canucks
  • Tiger Direct Blog
  • Maxishine
  • Linus Tech Tips
  • Tech Spot
  • Guru3D
  • HardOCP
  • PC Perspective
  • Hot Hardware
  • Xbit Labs
  • Motherboards.org
  • Sharky Extreme
  • Extreme Tech
  • XS Reviews
  • PC Stats
  • Is there anyone I left out that you think is worth a mention? gary(at)igniq.com

    AMD poke fun at Nvidia heat issues

    Many users reported operating temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius from the GTX 400 series of Nvidia GPUs. Benchmarks from Tom’s Hardware Guide posted back in March seemed to confirm that Nvidia’s Fermi range ran very hot while consuming a lot of power.

    AMD have taken the bad press concerning the heat issues that have dogged Nvidia these past few months and transformed it into a cheesy video. If you like slapstick, have recently chosen AMD over Nvidia, and schadenfreude is not something you shy away from then you might want to check this one out.