AMD’s 68xx series GPUs have been out for a little while now. This means that the boring time of stock and reference designs is well past and now we get to see what happens when a manufacturer puts their best effort into designing a graphics card. In the past we have seen Asus stand out with some impressive designs. Their DirectCU and Voltage Tweak offerings have been excellent. Today we have one of these on the test bench in the form of the Asus EAH6870 DC/2DI2S/1GD5. This factory overclocked card features their DirectCU (hence the name) cooling which has the heat pipes sitting right on top of the GPU for better thermal performance. This new card also features Asus’ Voltage Tweak to help you get even more performance out of it. So let’s take a look and see if this $200.00 card is worth your time and money.
With all the hoopla over the GTX 460 going on we are taking the time to look at a GPU that is not really new, but is still worthy of some headlines. Although the AMD Radeon HD5870 is fast approaching its first birthday it is no surprise that it is still a big seller. But we wondered if it is the reference GPUs that are making the 5870 fly off the shelves or if it is products like the Asus EAH5870 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat edition (which we will just call Stalker COP moving forward) This is Asus’ V2 HD5870 with a voltage tweak option for great overclocking potential. As you might have guessed the box also contains the Stalker COP game as part of the bundle. So let’s try out this bundle and see if it is worth the $500 or so you will shell out for it.
As you saw with our recent coverage of the Gigabyte Open Overclocking Competition (GOOC) North American Finals Gigabyte is pushing their way back into the fore front of the enthusiast scene. It was not that long ago when their mindset seemed to be one of just maintaining the status quo and building boards for the average consumer. But something changed their minds and they decided to refocus on the enthusiast and the upper end of the consumer market (the upper-mid-range?) We began to see Gigabyte (or GB for short) drop things in like 2 ounces of copper into each board. They shifted away from standard capacitors and move to all solid caps. They beefed up their power phases and even added in a hardware/software phase switching capability for better energy efficiency. GB seems to be willing and able to push the envelope of the enthusiast’s needs and even some of their crazed wants with their newest additions to the Ultra Durable line up. They have shown us great promise with their Intel based boards, so how about something from AMD? Not that long ago we took a look at the 890FXA-UD7 with AMD’s flagship CPU the Phenom II X6 1090T just to see if Gigabyte can maintain the same performance levels with AMD as they have shown with Intel’s CPUs.
Since the first day AMD presented the AMD Radeon 7850 2GB graphic card, code name “Pitcairn”, they surprised the industry with its performance, abilities, technology and efficiency that put them in front of the rivals. The 7850 series has around 40% better performance when compared to its predecessor (the 6850) when running at higher resolutions. The HD 7850 is based on 28nm GCN Pitcairn GPU with 1024 stream processord and 256bit memory interface.
Last year, AMD decided to reward future owners of the Radeon HD 7900 and 7800 series with free keys for Far Cry 3, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and a discount for Medal of Honor: Warfighter. Satisfied with the results of those actions, this year they created a new one, with an even better range of popular gaming titles.
Although the big news in the graphics market is AMD’s 7xxx series GPUs and the lack of Kepler from nVidia there are still things going on with some of AMD’s older Radeon products. One of these arrived in our lab a few days ago and is a very interesting product indeed. This is Asus’ HD 6770 DirectCU Silent. It is pretty much exactly what it says; you get an AMD Radeon 6770 GPU (with 1gb of GDDR5) cooled by a direct contact cooler with no moving parts. This is a great product for people looking to build a silent gaming rig or perhaps a quite HTPC. Of course there are probably going to be tradeoffs with any product like this and it is now our job to find out what they are. So, without too much of a delay let’s take a look at Asus’ EAH6770 DC SL/2D1/1GD5; otherwise known as the HD 6770 DirectCU Silent.
We have talked quite a bit about AMD’s move to the APU (something that they talked about long before the ATi buyout) and what it has, so far, meant to AMD. Right now AMD’s Llano and Trinity APUs have brought something of a resurgence of AMD in the market at least at the lower priced level. AMD CEO Rory Reed has even go so far as to state that AMD is pushing for more GPU processing to handle more graphically geared content and to work with future cloud services. The problem is that so far, while AMD’s APUs are working great for gaming they have still not been able to keep up with Intel for computing power even at the same price points.
Although the news has been more about the massive global war between Apple and anyone that makes an Android phone there is more going on in the world of tech than just those few items. Today we have heard that AMD will be launching a new CPU and it has already popped up for pre-order on at least one site. The news is noteworthy in that the CPU was originally expected to hit earlier this year with a number of other SKUs. We are not sure if today’s announcement is an indication that we will be seeing the other six missing products in the coming months, but for AMD fans this is potentially very good news.
Apple's desktop computer for professionals, the Mac Pro, could soon get a hardware upgrade. The upgrading in question here refers to the graphics subsystem, which is one of the weakest components of the current range of Mac Pro. This is in addition to the slower USB 2.0 and the absence of Thunderbolt.
Wow! Another product gets stripped from the safety of its box and shoved into one of my test benches. This one is a GPU destined for BSN, but will probably end up getting some commentary here as well. It is the Asus EAH5870 S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat Edition. We got this back in that big delivery the on the 9th and have just freed up the GPU testing station for its arrival. So let’s take a quick look at the box, the goodies and the card itself.