Vigile writes: Nintendo has never been known to be very aggressive with its gaming console hardware and with today's release (in the US) of the Wii U we are seeing a continuation of that business model. PC Perspective spent several hours last night taking apart a brand new console to reveal a very simplistic board and platform design topped off with the single multi-chip module that holds the IBM PowerPC CPU and the AMD GPU. The system includes 2GB of GDDR3 memory from Samsung and Foxconn/Hon-Hai built wireless controllers for WiFi and streaming video the the gamepad. Even though this system is 5 years newer, many analysts estimate the processing power of Nintendo's Wii U to be just ahead of what you have in the Xbox 360 today.
Vigile writes: NVIDIA completes their lineup of Kepler architecture GPUs today with the release of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti but as PC Perspective's review points out, every dollar in the crowded sub-$200 space matters. The GTX 650 Ti falls between AMD's Radeon HD 7770 1GB ($119) and the HD 7850 1GB ($179) perfectly though performance leans towards the HD 7770 in most cases. NVIDIA as also removed staple features like SLI support and the new GPU Boost that was available on all previous GTX 600 cards that dynamically clocked the GPU based thermal headroom for each application, taking away some of the spark of the Kepler architecture. The saving grace for this release might be the Assassins Creed 3 bundle; getting a $50 game with a $150 graphics card is a great deal but once that promotion is over the GTX 650 Ti will need to drop in price slightly to stay relevant.
Vigile writes: NVIDIA is finally releasing the GeForce GTX 660 Ti to gamers today after much speculation and swirling rumors. Interestingly, the new card is based on the exact same GPU configuration as the GeForce GTX 670 but lowers the memory bus width from 256-bit to 192-bit, resulting in a 35% drop in available memory bandwidth. Even with the same number of shaders and the same clock speeds, the GeForce GTX 660 Ti falls about 15-20% behind its bigger brother in texture-limited games though at $299 it is more than capable of competing with AMD's Radeon HD 7950 3GB card that sells for $50 more. This version of GK104 continues to have the GPU Boost technology, Adaptive VSync and Frame Rate Target features and was overclocked to 1215 MHz in PC Perspective's review. Oh, and you get a free copy of Borderlands 2 with the GeForce GTX 660 Ti as well. Not a bad addition!
Vigile writes: NVIDIA today announced a new technology partnership with Gaikai, an on-demand gaming company that competes with OnLive, that brings GeForce GRID to the cloud gaming ecosystem. GRID aims to increase both the visual quality and user experience of cloud gaming by decreasing latencies involved in the process, the biggest hindrance to acceptance for consumers. NVIDIA claims to have decreased the time for game stream capture and decode by a factor of three by handling the process completely on the GPU while also decreasing the "game time" with the power of the Kepler GPU. NVIDIA hopes to help both gamers and clould streaming companies by offering 4x the density currently available and at just 75 watts per game stream. The question remains — will mainstream adopt the on-demand games market as they have the on-demand video market?
Vigile writes: When NVIDIA launched the GTX 680 last month, it was the fastest single GPU graphics card on the market, bypassing the Radeon HD 7970 card released in January. NVIDIA was late to this generation of GPU but they are definitely targeting the high-end gamer by releasing the GeForce GTX 690 today — a dual-GPU variant based on the same GK104 chip as the GTX 680. This card features a total of 3072 shader processors, 4GB of GDDR5 memory running at 6 Gbps and a cooler made of magnesium alloy and trivalent chromium plating. While the price tag is $999, the performance of the card simply blows away anything else on the market including the dual-GPU GTX 590 and HD 6990 cards.
Vigile writes: In a talk earlier this year at DICE, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney discussed the state of computing hardware as it relates to gaming. While there is a rising sentiment in the gaming world that the current generation consoles are "good enough" and that the next generation of consoles might be the last, Sweeney thinks that is way off base. He debates that claim though with some interesting numbers including the amount of processing and triangle power required to match human anatomical peaks. While we are only a factor of 50x from the necessary level of triangle processing, there is 2000x increase required to meet the 5000 TFLOPS Sweeney thinks will be need for the 8000x4000 resolution screens of the future. It would seem that the "good enough" sentiment is still a long way off for developers.
Vigile writes: "While the wildly expensive graphics cards tend to get all of the headlines, it is really the ~$150 market that gets the most sales. Recently NVIDIA released the GeForce GTX 550 Ti that brought the Fermi architecture to this market segment and AMD was depending on last generation's model to hold its own. Now, with the Radeon HD 6790, AMD has a new design that takes all of the features of the HD 6800-series and offers them (though slightly slower) at the $150 price point. Performance results show that the new card is much faster than the GTX 550 Ti while also being more power efficient in the process. The aging GTX 460 card from NVIDIA offers another alternative, but it looks like AMD has the best card for this value segment for the time being."
Vigile writes: "Both NVIDIA and AMD have recently released new extreme-high-end graphics cards with dual-GPU configurations and PC Perspective has compared them to each other with some standard SLI/CrossFire comparisons for good measure. The GTX 590 is a pair of 512 shader processor GF110 GPUs which had the potential to be the fastest combination available, but the clock speeds were lowered to such a level that is has trouble keeping up with AMD's Radeon HD 6990. Sound levels were noticeably better on NVIDIA's option though the Radeon card provided better frame rates at the highest resolutions. So, while the $700 video card market just got a pair of new competitors, the best investment for that money might still be two less expensive Radeon or GeForce single-GPU cards."
Vigile writes: Both NVIDIA and AMD are releasing GPUs today to compete in the highly profitable $250 price segment, the first of which is the GeForce GTX 560 Ti that not only offers 384 CUDA cores and 1GB of GDDR5 memory but also marks the return of the "Titanium" moniker. The GTX 560 Ti performs on average about 30-35% better than the previous generation's GTX 460 but is also more power efficient with that performance boost. AMD is spoiling NVIDIA's party though by releasing a cheaper 1GB version of its Cayman-based Radeon HD 6950 that comes in at about the same $250 price point but offers better frame rates in the majority of the tests at PC Perspective. It is good to see that despite the worry of a declining PC gaming market the GPU vendors are still competing strongly for our dollar.
Vigile writes: StarCraft II is the most anticipated PC game in a long time and after waiting over a decade since the release of the first iteration, it's not hard to see why. The new version moves from the world of 2D into 3D even though much of the game play and style remains the same. With the beta nearing completion and the full retail release just a short week or so away, PC Perspective posted a performance review of the game to demonstrate how different graphics cards perform in the new engine. It turns out that only NVIDIA cards will currently work with anti-aliasing and while the performance hit for enabling it is steep, the game is generally running quickly enough even on $200 GPUs for it to not be an issue. There is more good news for PC gamers as the article finds that even the aging Radeon HD 4850 is more than capable of allowing users to play 1080p resolutions.
Vigile writes: While $1200 graphics cards might get a lot of attention from enthusiasts, the majority of PC gamers fall into the sub-$200 world and NVIDIA's latest graphics card fits perfectly into that niche. The GeForce GTX 460 comes in both 1GB and 768MB versions and will sell for $229 and $199 respectively. Based on a new design of the existing GPU, the GF104 chip also goes through a fairly dramatic architecture shift that includes rebalancing CUDA cores (shaders) in relation to the tessellation engines and texture units. In the end though what matters is performance and value and the GTX 460 delivers on both counts handily beating the $199 HD 5830 from AMD.
Vigile writes: While $1200 graphics cards might get a lot of attention from time to time, the meat of the PC gaming market falls into the sub-$200 world and NVIDIA's latest graphics card fits perfectly into that niche. The GeForce GTX 460 comes in both 1GB and 768MB frame buffer versions and will sell for $229 and $199 respectively. Based on a new spin of the existing GPU, the GF104 chip also goes through a fairly dramatic architecture shift that includes increasing processing core counts in relation to the tessellation engines. In the end though what matters is gaming performance and value and the GTX 460 delivers in both of those areas handily beating the $199 offering from AMD.
Vigile writes: Sometimes it is tough to really tell what graphics card is the best for PC gamers with all the various options out there. Not so today with the introduction of the $1200 ASUS ARES that combines a pair of Radeon HD 5870 GPUs running at full speed (850 MHz core, 4.8 GHz memory) onto a single PCB to create the fastest consumer graphics card period. While other dual-GPU Radeon cards exist the ARES offers clock speeds as much as 30% higher and was able to do so with a quieter stock cooling solution. The card does require three separate power connections and uses noticeably more power than AMD designs but the performance is unrivaled for a single graphics card. And yes, I did say $1200.
Vigile writes: Finally overcoming delay after delay, the highly anticipated Fermi architecture is revealed in its consumer form as the new GeForce GTX 480 and 470 graphics cards. Based on a mammoth 3.2 billion transistor piece of silicon, these new graphics cards are proving right out of the gate to be incredible performers when compared to the best of AMD's single-GPU lineup. These cards mark NVIDIA's entrance into the world of DX11 and also introduce a multi-monitor gaming competitor called NVIDIA Surround that will also support 120 Hz 3D-ready gaming displays. While their gaming performance is high, unfortunately so is the power consumption. The GTX 480 uses as much as 137 watts of additional power compared to the Radeon HD 5870 and even uses more power than the dual-GPU card from AMD, the 5970. The PC Perspective review even has some multi-card SLI numbers and the power results there are even higher!
Vigile writes: When the OnLive cloud-based gaming service was first announced back in March of 2009, it was met with equal parts excitement and doubt. While the idea of playing games on just about any kind of hardware thanks to remote rendering and streaming content was interesting, the larger question remained of how OnLive planned to solve the latency issue that constantly plagues these types of applications. With the closed beta currently underway, PC Perspective put the OnLive gaming service to the test by comparing the user experiences of the OnLive-based games to the experiences with the same locally installed titles. The end result appears to be that while slower input-dependent games like Burnout: Paradise worked pretty well, games that require a fast twitch-based input scheme like UT3 did not. You can see image quality screenshots and comparison videos in the preview as well.