Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference keynote was full of announcements this week. In addition to revealing the $3000 Titan Z, CEO Jen-Hsun Huang updated Nvidia's graphics architecture roadmap with a first look at the Pascal GPU.
Because lots of people paid serious money to buy up all the GTX Titans Nvidia could make, they've decided to push things further. The twin-GPU GTX Titan Z is a $3,000 graphics card announced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose. According to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang it exists simply because “the market just wanted so much more performance,” but is it really worth all that money?
Nvidia are currently on-stage at the GPU Technology Conference (think GDC for people who really love cores). They've just announced the GeForce GTX Titan Z, a $3,000 dual-Keplar GPU graphics card that can supercharge PCs with a total of 5,760 processing cores, and 12GB frame buffer memory. To my untrained eye, then, it essentially sounds like two Titan Blacks duct taped together. I'm sure that in practice it's a little bit more complicated.
Well, this is strange. Nvidia published a blog post this week, detailing some of the upcoming technological improvements they're hoping to help Respawn bring to Titanfall. It included sexy graphical jargon, like TXAA, 4K and HBAO+, and also some less enticing, more expected terms like SLI-support. They then deleted that post. What that means for these supposedly incoming improvements is unclear, but - as of writing - you can access the ghost of the post through Google's webcache.
All week long, we're peering ahead to what the future holds for the PC gaming industry. Not just the hardware and software in our rigs, but how and where we use them, and how they impact the games we play. Here's part four of our five-part series; stay tuned all week for more from the future of PC gaming.
We dream of futuristic graphics cards with chrome Hot Rod piping and names as cool as The Pixelator. In reality, future graphics cards won't be human-sized or be styled after 1950s automobiles, but they will be faster than what we're running today. More importantly, APIs like AMD's Mantle will let our computers talk directly to our graphics cards, delivering better performance through more efficient coding. And we're going to need that performance, since 4K monitors are already on the horizon. Here's our look at the 2014 GPU landscape and the future of (entirely too expensive) 4K displays.
Good news from Nvidia for fans of warm thighs on long trips. From today the graphics card behemoth is planning a renewed assault on the gaming notebook market with its forthcoming range of GeForce GTX 800M GPUs, with extended battery life billed as a key feature alongside the (expected) annual performance improvements. PC Gamer recently attended a launch briefing for the 800M series, of which the most powerful variant is the 880M (pictured) which Nvidia claims is the world’s fastest notebook GPU. You can expect the chips to begin appearing in notebooks immediately, and among those to include the 880M at launch are the Alienware 17, Asus G750JZ and MSI GT 70.
Did you find yourself yawning at the idea of a new budget-priced GTX 750 Ti yesterday? If you're looking at the top end of the market, Nvidia's GeForce GTX Titan Black might suit. Their new premium card is designed to oust the Titan, and can be yours for the hefty asking cost of £785.
The GeForce GTX 750 Ti is an Nvidia first, in many ways. It's built around the new Maxwell GPU architecture, and I reckon it’s also the first time Nvidia have released a new graphics design without launching a top-end iteration first. The GTX 750 Ti may still be rocking the same 700 series badge, but it's a new generation of graphics silicon.
The GTX 750 Ti is a reasonably priced graphics card - at £115 / $150 it’s designed to sit in the volume end of the market and offer an upgrade to as wide an audience as possible. Thanks to its new design it actually spreads the net far wider than previous cards at the same price.
There's a big showdown happening in the world of affordable graphics cards this week. AMD and Nvidia are releasing the latest editions in their £100 / $150 range, an important battleground, given that cards at that range easily outsell their flashy flagship $1000 tech. AMD are bringing some rebranded and boosted versions of their last-gen GPUs to compete with Nvidia's GTX 750Ti and GTX 750, which will give us our first look at their new Maxwell GPU architecture.
Nvidia is launching a couple of brand new graphics cards in the entry-level arena. Normally that wouldn’t be a particularly exciting event, but this is going to be our first taste of Nvidia’s new Maxwell GPU architecture. It'll be the first time Nvidia have launched new graphics architecture without housing it in a top-end graphics card. You could argue that’s because they simply don’t need to with the likes of the GTX 780 Ti delivering the goods against the hot and hungry Radeon 290X.
It was a muted January for Steam's hardware stats, perhaps due to all of December's lovingly gifted Christmas RAM. There were minor gains in expected areas, and minor losses that chipped away at the lead configurations. So where last month, 19.97% of polled users ran Windows 8, this month, it's 21.31%. But while the numbers aren't earth shattering, there are plenty of trends to mull over.
Nvidia’s big press conference at this year's CES I was given a reason to go green in the ongoing battle between Nvidia and AMD - G-Sync. It enables the GPU and monitor to work together to ensure frames are delivered to the display consistently and smoothly. Your monitor only updates the frame when the GPU is ready, eliminating screen-tearing and reducing stutter.
Asus are planning to expand their Republic of Gamers line-up with two new high-end Nvidia cards - The Poseidon GTX 780 and the GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II. The Poseidon will add a hybrid cooling solution to the GK 110 GPU at the core of the standard GTX 780.
I do love a bit of PhysX support. Nvidia's proprietary technomagic is great for flappy tarpaulin, windswept cloaks and... other stuff, I guess. As demonstrated by a new effect-laden video, Assassin's Creed IV: Let's Pirate Like It's 1599 has been updated with PhysX support, ensuring the game will be filled with lovely, pointless, view-obscuring smoke effects.
In case you hadn't noticed, this site is called PC Gamer. As you might expect from that title, we're pretty keen on PC games and the PCs that play them. So when an employee of Nvidia says something to the effect of "the PC platform is far superior to any console when it comes to gaming," part of me thinks, "well yes, obviously it is." Of course, part of me also thinks, "well yes, you would say that, because your competitor is making graphics chips for both next-gen consoles."
As the world and their virtual wives get all giddy about a couple of new AMD-based mini-PCs from Sony and Microsoft, Nvidia has set themselves up to compete with the new console generation for the Christmas holidays. In partnership with a bunch of system building folk Nvidia wants to push small form factor gaming PCs, with serious graphics power, into the mainstream. It's called the Art of Gaming.
DinoPC’s Mini Ultimate is one such system and, while the £1,500 sticker price is more expensive than three new consoles together, it’s a mighty fine gaming rig for the money. This is a seriously high-end machine in a snug little chassis.
You could fry an egg on AMD's Radeon R9 290X chip and it gobbles up power like a volt-starved Pikachu, but its speedy performance has forced Nvidia's hand - find out why in our 290X review. AnandTech report that they're dropping the price of the GTX 780 by $150 to $500, and the price of the 770 by $70 to $330. The former just undercuts AMD's new flagship GPU, and the latter puts the 770 in a competitive range with the AMD 280X.
With the Nvidia Shield's PC streaming function now out of its beta phase, the handheld's latest update should bring more flexibility to an already innovative device. The machine's new patch also introduces a new console mode and increased gamepad support for touch-screen games, alongside Android 4.3, according to a press release today.
Everybody knows that if you try to get a cat to do what you want—sit up, fetch a stick, search for explosives—it will do nothing more than stare at you with contempt. That’s why console pitches to PC gamers tend to fall flat: we’re generally not as interested in hearing how a bunch of suits want us to play our games. Nvidia took a much different approach with the Shield, on the other hand, that seems to account for what PC gamers have in common with cats: give us great hardware and the freedom to do whatever we feel like doing, and we’ll show ourselves a great time.
Nvidia announced they’re hoping to spoil the AMD party by dropping a bomb on the gathered press out in Montreal last week: the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. If the rumours are true and the incoming AMD Radeon R9-290X can beat a GTX Titan in a stand up gaming fight then Nvidia are going to need some sort of riposte. But what exactly?
AMD have repeatedly assured the public the brand new Radeon R9-290X is going to be released this month and there’s not a long time left in October. That’s coming soon and I don’t reckon the new GTX 780 Ti is going to be far behind.