New Nvidia and AMD drivers boost frame rates

Dave James at

I promised earlier in the week to give you a run down of what exactly the driver improvements touted by AMD for its ‘Never Settle’ driver release of Catalyst 12.11. Not to be outdone on the driver front Nvidia has also released a new beta driver for its graphics cards this week too. So, in the battle of the latest graphics card optimisations who wins?

AMD FX-8350 review

Dave James at

The first generation of AMD’s Bulldozer-based processors have been around for good long while now and it’s about time we had a little refresh. Duly the latest update to AMD's CPU lineup has arrived in the form of the Piledriver processor.

This AMD FX-8350 is the direct successor to the AMD FX-8150, the top-of-the-line eight-core chip from the first-gen Bulldozer range. This is a similarly-specced CPU, which means we have eight AMD cores in a four module array with eight threads of processing power. This time around, though, AMD has made sure the top chip is also clocked the fastest with a speed bump up from the AMD FX-8150’s 3.6GHz up to an impressive 4GHz straight out of the box.

AMD wants to give you Hitman: Absolution for free. Ish.

Dave James at

Want a free copy of Hitman: Absolution, Far Cry 3 and Sleeping Dogs? As part of its Gaming Evolved program of working with game devs, AMD is bundling up free copies of some of the most exciting titles of the coming holiday season with its current generation of graphics cards. If you buy any AMD card, from any add-in board manufacturer at all, the participating etailer/retailer will include a voucher for a free copy of the relevant games.

AMD updates desktop APUs with Trinity

Adam Oxford at

AMD has released more details about its upcoming Trinity desktop APUs today, showing off a bit more information about how the new Piledriver cores work and their estimated performance. Today's announcement excludes the desktop FX line, but gives us more of an idea of how competitive they'll be against Intel's Ivy Bridge.

Trinity was launched for laptops earlier in the year, so today's announcement is about updating the rest of the APU line to the new architecture.

GeForce GTX 660 and 650 launch: Nvidia's sub £200/$250 Kepler polygon pushers are here

Adam Oxford at

It's been an interminably long time coming, but NVIDIA has finally launched the sub-£200 graphics based on its new Kepler chip architecture. Today's announcement sees a brace of polygon pushers out from the GPU giant, namely the GeForce GTX 660 and GeForce GTX 650. Priced respectively at £179/$249 and £89/$159 – and UK prices include VAT – they fill a gaping hole in

The GTX 660 especially could be one of the most popular cards in recent memory, if it performs well. Let's take a look at what inside, shall we?

Thunderbolt motherboards on their way

Adam Oxford at

Just 15 months after the technology first appeared in a commercial form, ASUS and MSI have finally announced the first PC motherboards that will ship with built in Thunderbolt ports.

Thunderbolt, if you're aware of it all, may sound like a tedious hard drive technology, but it's got an enormous amount of potential for PC gaming. With these two boards, we may finally be in the era of the modular PC – which doesn't have to be opened up for upgrades.

It means, potentially, external hard drives that are as quick as internal SSDs and plug in graphics cards that really work. Much as I like to tinker inside my PC's case, this is big.

AMD launches new Trinity processor

Adam Oxford at

AMD's last processor launch, the FX chip, turned out to be a bit of a damp squib for desktops. But the company is hoping that the CPU architecture behind it will be more of a success on laptops. Today it's launching an updated version of its hybrid GPU/CPU A-series processor, codenamed Trinity, which uses a revamped Bulldozer core to offer twice the performance per watt of its predecessor, Llano. Or that's what AMD says, anyway.

Further claims include the ability to build thinner laptops with longer battery life than their Intel equivalents, and that the integrated Northern Isles GPU has three times the graphics performance of the Intel HD Graphics 3000 GPU in Sandy Bridge. Trinity's launch was accompanied by a bold claim by the firm's Sasa Marinkovic:

“I don't want you too see Trinity as competing against Ivy Bridge, I want you to see how we're leading.”

Radeon HD7800 pre-orders live. Is it the upgrade you've been waiting for?

Adam Oxford at

Even I've been forced to admit that PC hardware has seemed pretty dull lately. While there's been no shortage of new launches, there's been no must buy upgrade. That might have changed today with the launch of AMD's Radeon HD7850 and HD7870 graphics cards.

Based on 'Pitcairn' revisions of the Southern Islands processor design, the HD7800s are slightly cut down versions of the hugely powerful but hugely expensive 7900s, with the same Graphics Core Next (GCN) tech at their heart. They're fast, futureproof and with prices for both cards around the £200/$300 mark, they're also relatively affordable.

Graphics card sales down 3.5%

Adam Oxford at

Market analysts at Jon Peddie Research have published their latest quarterly figures for graphics card shipments, and concluded that sales of discrete add-in graphics cards were down 3.5% in the last three months of 2011 compared to the same period of 2010.

It's not all bad news though. Overall sales of graphics processors, including Intel's Sandy Bridge hybrid CPUs and AMD's Fusion APUs, were up by 8.9% to 124million units compared to the previous year, apparently. Sales of PCs in general rose by around 1.8% by the same metric.

AMD's HD7000 spotted in the wild?

Adam Oxford at

Two laptops touting the AMD's as-yet-unreleased HD7000 series graphics of chips have been listed in sales brochures and driver download sites, according to German website PC Games Hardware.

AMD's 8 core Bulldozer FX chips review round up

Adam Oxford at

AMD's FX series processors are finally released into the world today. Based on the company's brand new Bulldozer architecture, the first FX CPUs have between four and eight core designs, are sold with liquid cooling, and will cost from $119 to $245 (SRP).

Bulldozer is the first CPU that AMD has designed from the ground up since the Athlon 64 in 2003. If it feels like we've been waiting years for it, that's because we have. The processor launched today first appeared on AMD roadmaps back in 2007, and was originally scheduled to arrive in 2009. There's been much speculation about its potential performance and whether or not it's a viable competitor for Intel's Core series, which something AMD has been lacking for some time. Today's the big day that we finally find out.

Rage getting kinder with new drivers

Rob Zacny at

New AMD drivers should solves the worst problems that made the game effectively unplayable for PC gamers running AMD's family of graphics cards. "Playable" is faint praise for a PC release, but it's a big improvement from where Rage was yesterday. We tested the new drivers and saw a big improvement.

AMD card owners who have had trouble with Rage should get the latest drivers right away. They can install it following these steps.

Rage technical problems blamed on drivers, updates incoming

Tom Senior at

Yesterday we mentioned that Rage players have been experiencing severe texture lag and framerate problems. In a post on the Bethblog, Bethesda says that "these problems can be attributed to driver issues" adding that they're "currently working with Nvidia and AMD to resolve them as quickly as possible."

AMD's 10 core Piledriver chips revealed

Adam Oxford at

The net is alive today with news that AMD is planning a 10 core CPU sometime next year, based on a revision to their Bulldozer design codenamed Piledriver.

The new processor was revealed in a deck of presentation slides leaked by the Chinese news site, and shows that these new processors won't have on board graphics and will require a new motherboard socket, called FM2, which supercedes the current AM3+ board. Just behind these 'up to 10 core' CPUs is confirmation of the Trinity CPU/GPU hybrid that was announced at Computex, which will also use the Piledriver architecture and FM2 socket.

AMD launches HD6990M notebook graphics

Adam Oxford at

AMD has taken the wraps off of its latest graphics chip for notebooks, the Radeon HD6990M. The Barts-based GPU is its most powerful mobile graphics processor currently available from AMD's line, and will be available in the Alienware M18x and other manufacturers from today.

The AMD announcement comes not long after NVIDIA's launch of the GeForce GTX 580M a couple of weeks ago, and while we haven't seen samples of either in the office yet, it should be a close run battle as to which is better.

AMD launches Llano: decent hybrid graphics at last?

Adam Oxford at

While AMD is struggling to get its forthcoming flaghship processors out of the door, there is some good news for the company. It's officially launching its new range of CPU/GPU hybrid processors today, codenamed Llano. And the reception for the new chips has been good.

At its heart, Llano is a two or four core Athlon II processor with a low end 5800 series graphics chip bolted onto the side. Manufactured on a new 32nm silicon process, bundling the CPU and GPU together like this brings certain performance and power benefits over using two separate chips, and is more cost effective to manufacture.

Intel, of course, has been producing hybrid chips in the shape of its newer Atom and Core processors for a while now. AMD's first hybrid chips appeared under the Fusion marque earlier in the year in netbooks and tablets, and compared very well to their Atom rivals.

E3 2011: AMD revives FX name for Bulldozer

Adam Oxford at

We were expecting announcements about AMD's new Bulldozer line of processors at the big hardware trade show, Computex, last week. And we were disappointed. Instead, they've been sort of formally launched at E3 today, where AMD has relaunched its FX brandname for high performance components.

I say 'sort of' because other than confirming that the first Bulldozer CPUs, forthcoming eight core monsters codenamed 'Zambezi', will be branded 'FX' chips, there's actually no new information about them at all to confirm clockspeeds and pricing details. Instead, today's announced is that motherboards with the 900-series chipset and graphics cards from the HD6000 line-up will also be known as 'FX' parts.

Id Software's John Carmack picks a side in the Nvidia/AMD GPU war

Dan Stapleton at

We sat down with legendary John Carmack and picked his brain on a few of our favorite topics. Along the way, we asked him which graphics card--AMD or Nvidia--he would buy right that second and why. His answer might surprise you.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution will support DirectX11, 3D and AMD Eyefinity

Tom Senior at

Square Enix have told us more about Deus Ex: Human Revolution's PC specific features. The game will have full DirectX 11 support, and will work with AMD Eyefinity, which will let players hook up an incredible FIVE monitors to play the game in uber-widescreen. It will even run in 3D for those with compatible screens. The development team discuss the advantages of playing Human Revolution with 3D and Eyefinity set ups in a new video, embedded below.

Steam updates your AMD drivers automatically

Jaz McDougall at

Your Steam client updated today with an important new feature. Valve's digital distribution platform now handles the drivers for AMD graphics cards automatically. We're one step closer to PCs that grow new parts and enslave people with brain-jacks.