Category Graphics cards

AMD Catalyst beta 14.1 Available:

AMD’s Catalyst 14. 1 Beta drivers were supposed to arrive on Thursday, at the same time while the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4. regrettably, things were delayed a bit, and AMD had to focus on the drivers to the weekend. On Friday evening, the drivers were released to the press, despite there still being some installation problems. The good news is these problems have been resolved and the drivers have been released for public consumption. It is possible to download them via AMD’s web site. Users must uninstall the existing driver before updating to Catalyst 14. 1.
Catalyst 14. 1 includes support for AMD’s new A10-7850K and A10-7700K APUs and is essential for users to see the benefits of the brand new Mantle API, which boosts performance in both Battlefield 4 and Star Swarm when running on R9 290 series cards. The Mantle beta driver is supported on AMD’s R9 and R7 series as well as its Radeon HD 7000 and 8000 series. AMD says Mantle performance for the Radeon HD 7000/8000 series and R9 280X and R9 270X GPUs is going to be optimized for Battlefield 4 in another Catalyst release.

Mantle aside, you’re looking at enhanced CrossFire frame pacing, including support for 4K and Eyefinity non-XDMA CrossFire solutions and dual graphics configurations. Resolved issues in this release include ground texture flickering altogether War: Rome 3 and flickering texture corruption in Call of Duty: Ghosts when playing multiplayer in the space station.

Check the complete set of resolved issues below:

Ground texture flickering seen in Total War: Rome 2 with high settings (and below) set in game
Flickering texture corruption when playing Call of Duty: Ghosts (multi-player) in the area station level
Blu-ray playback using PowerDVD black screen on extended mode
Streaming VUDU HD/HDX content on Sharp PN-K321 (DP) causes the right-side half to flicker in and out
Black screen happened after awaken the monitor
Full screen issue at rotation in DX9 mode
Video window black screen when working with Samsung Kies to play video
Crysis2 negative scaling in outdoor scene
Crysis2 has insufficient CrossFire scaling in some scenes
Red Faction: The over all game has no or negative crossfire scaling with DX9 and DX11
Age of Conan has corruption and performance issues with crossfire enabled
Company of Heroes shadows are corrupted when using crossfire
Resident Evil5′s performance is unstable when display mode set to Window mode
Total War: Shogun 2 flickering menu/text
Frame rate drop when disabling post-processing in 3DMark06
Negative Crossfire scaling with game “The Secret World” in DX11 mode
F1 2012 Crashes to desktop
Tomb Raider Hair Simulation Stutters on CFX
Negative CrossFire scaling experienced in Call of Duty
Battlefield 3 performance drop on Haswell systems
Choppy video playback on 4k Video
VSync ON Tearing with 2×1 Eyefinity SLS CrossFire
Far Cry 3 – Game flickering while changing resolutions
Display corruption and BSOD does occur when extending a display after disabling Multiple GPU SLS array
Flickering seen when enabling three 4k x 2k panels at the same time
No Video, just a black screen when setting Chrome to run in “High Performance” when playing certain video clips
Image crashed on Starcraft game

http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx

Best Graphics card for the money February 2014

Toms hardware wrote a nice article comparing low-mid-high end graphics cards on his site. The only part thats kind of funny is he writes:  “Although it defies any semblance of logic, the prices of mid- to high-end Radeon cards continue to increase.”. Ill give you a one word hint Tom : “BITCOIN”! The article can be found here: Best graphic cards for the money february 2014. Frankly if your in the market for a graphics card right now, and you are not into coin mining then buy Nvidia as AMD card prices are inflated.

GPU overlocking utilities compared:

MSI Afterburner:

MSI’s Afterburner is the renowned and the most popular GPU overclocking utility around. The utility includes a simplistic design. It features real-time overclocking, and supports both Nvidia and AMD. The utility features Core voltage, Power limit, Core clock, memory clock and fan speed adjustment. A separate panel for monitoring is also present, it includes temperature monitoring, fan RPM, GPU usage, Core clock, Memory clock, Shader clock and memory usage monitoring. Around five custom overclocking profiles can be setup, and you can also change the utility’s theme from a variety of different colors. Like ASUS’s GPU Tweak, in addition, it allows you to change between 2D/3D modes. They are constantly updating this software with beta versions, and its the software I personally use.

In addition, the utility also contains MSI’s Kombuster, which ensures if your card is stable at different overclocks. It also shows if unstable clocks or more temperature are causing artifacts to appear. The utility also allows to capture in-game screenshots and video capture in a number of formats.

The latest beta can be found here: http://download1.msi.com/files/downloads/uti_exe/vga/MSIAfterburnerSetup300Beta18.zip

Here is the changelog:

    MSI Afterburner Version 2.3.1 (2013/1/23)

  •  Now MSI Afterburner optionally allows you to detect VRM defaults without rebooting the PC
  • Added voltage control support for UEFI GOP BIOS for MSI R7970 Lightning  Boost Edition series graphics cards
  • Now MSI Afterburner displays the list of assigned global hotkeys in “i” window
  • Now MSI Afterburner properties window is resizable to provide compatibility with low-resolution desktops (less than 1280×1024 with 100% DPI)
  • Added new “Enable hardware control and monitoring” option to compatibility properties. This option can be useful if you are using MSI Afterburner for framerate monitoring and videocapture only and don’t want to risk suddenly overclocking your PC
  • Added NCT7511Y thermal sensors support to provide compatibility with future MSI graphics cards
  • Added workaround for possible VID rounding issues for all supported voltage generator models
  • Updated Italian localization

MSI On-Screen Display server has been upgraded to version 4.5.0. New version gives you the following improvements:
1. Improved audio mixer architecture provides better extendibility and better audio tracks synchronization when mixing multiple audio tracks in one
2. Push-To-Talk audio recording support. Now you can assign a hotkey for each audio stream and record unmuted audio only when the hotkey is pressed
3. Updated German localization

EVGA Precision X:

EVGA Precision X is a superb overclocking utility by EVGA, a well respected name in graphics card manufacturing. EVGA’s Precision X tool only works with Nvidia GeForce GPU’s only. Even so, it offers excellent overclocking tools that work with almost all Nvidia GeForce cards. The Precision X tools brings along support for GPU voltage and overvoltage, absent in the previous versions. Basic features include GPU core, shader, memory OC, fan speed control, pixel clock overclocking (GeForce GTX TITAN / 700 / 600), power target  (GeForce GTX TITAN / 700 / 600) and temperature target control. In addition, it contains your usual monitoring features you would expect like temperature, fan speed and much more.

Another neat feature is support for a Logitech keyboard with LCD display monitoring, in-Game GPU monitoring support, capability to capture in-game screenshots in multiple formats, support for wireless overclocking using the custom Android app and multi-language support. The program also sports the capability to change  different skins, you can even make your personal custom skin. I would say the Precision X has the most features of them all.

It can be downloaded here: EVGA Precision X download

ASUS GPU Tweak:

ASUS is a well known vendor among the computer enthusiasts, their graphics cards are equally popular. ASUS also has their own proprietary GPU overclocking utility, ‘ASUS GPU Tweak’. Just like their ROG lineup, the GPU Tweak also includes a similar red and black color scheme. It features a simplistic design with your regular sliders and another panel for monitoring which includes basic temperature monitoring fan speeds and as such things. GPU Tweak lets you add a number of additional things such as memory temperature, power temperature, motherboard board temperature, GPU usage, VID usage, front side bus usage, GPU voltage, ram voltage, PEX_VDD, PCIE12V voltage, GPU fan RPM, GPU Fan_2 RPM, core clock speed , memory clock speed, cpu speed.

GPU Tweak allows for establishing of up to four custom profiles. ‘S’ and ‘G’ buttons enable reverting to manufacturer set default settings, while the latter enables a slightly higher clock speed on the GPU. The utility allows the user to improve between 2D/3D mode depending on your needs. You can even set it to a fixed/locked mode. Also present is area that looks much like the gpu-z software you might be familiar with. You can activate it by clicking the knowledge button. Additionally GPU Tweak also lets you update your BIOS and GPU driver automatically. I quite sure this specific feature only works on asus branded products.

Download it here: Asus GPU tweak

Gigabyte OC Guru II

Now let me first say that I might be REALLY biased when it comes to Gigabytes products. In my mind they make the best quality computer components in the world! Gigabyte’s OC Guru II has been around for many years, the overclocking tool was consistently behind the other guys in terms of functionality, features and stability, but with the launch of OC Guru II, things are looking up. Gigabyte has tremendously improved their overclocking utility. It’s easy to use and includes a very smooth and easy to understand design. The individual page design is great and features all the necessary things needed. The utility allows for control of clock speed, memory voltage, fan speeds etc. Gigabyte does provide many features , but also locks some too. For instance, only memory voltage could be controlled, while core voltage is locked and determined by Gigabyte to be set for the safest possible value. As much as I am a Gigabyte fan , in this case MSI afterburner gets my vote because in Afterburner all features are changeable.

To create things easier the OC GURU II is combined with Adjust area and Information area. The Adjust area has 3 pages: OC page, Gaming page and Green page, as the information area has all important monitoring capabilities.

Download here: Gigabyte OC Guru II download

Zotac Firestorm:

Zotac released their ‘Firestorm’ GPU overclocking utility a short ago. This simple utility features a very easy to read design and all the basic overclocking options you would expect such as Core, ram, Shader Clocks, Fan speed control and monotoring and Volts control. This utility also features custom overclocking profiles,a  fail-safe safety net just in the case of a failed overclock, a power limit control, temp limiter control module  and Nvidia SLI overclocking capability. Firestorm does not have side-panel for monitoring like the others, instead the Zotac Firestorm has individual tabs for different settings. Props to Zotac for taking time to make a simple to use tweaking utility for owners of Zotac GeForce graphics.  The only downside is it wont work on ATI cards , just Nvidia based gpus. If your just starting out in the tweaking/overclocking arena, this would be a great place to start. Some of the more hardcore tweaking utilities might be a bit much for the noobie.

Download here: Zotac firestorm download

SAPPHIRE TriXX:

Trixx are not just for kids. Sapphire has their own handy overclocking utility, that only works with AMD graphics cards. The ‘TriXX’ utility, as Sapphire likes to call it offeres the basic need of every overclocker, even though it is even though it doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of its competitors. You can make changes to the fan speeds, core voltages and gpu clock speeds. You can create to four custom profiles, certain overclocking settings also guarantee maximum performance from your AMD based card. For instance, the utility will maximize the speed in  gaming mode, but will reduce clock speeds and fan speed to optimal level when watching videos.

The utility has a very simple interface , it’s divided in to multiple tabs, each with it’s own set of functions. TriXX can also create a log file for future analysis, and the user can save the current VGA BIOS, in case they want to flash their card. TriXX even offers a neat sidebar gadget option, which is unique in it’s own right however it doesn’t make up for the some of the features absent in the utility. Like many others, TriXX can also be customized via custom skins.

Main Features

SAPPHIRE TriXX is the optimal overclocking utility for your AMD RADEON™ graphics card. Features include:

  • Overclock your AMD RADEON™ based graphics card
    • GPU Core
    • GPU Voltage
    • Video Card Memory
  • Save your Favorite Overclock Settings with up to 4 Profiles.
  • Adjust your Graphic Card’s Fan Settings with Automatic, Fixed or Custom Fan Speeds.
  • Information Tab with all you need to know about your Graphic Card including GPU, Interface, Memory, Driver Version, BIOS Version, Clocks, Shaders and more…
  • Multi-GPU support (CrossFireX)
  • Windows Sidebar Gadget option

Download link: Saphire Trixx download

Gainward EXPERTOOL:

Popular manufacturer Gainward also provide their very own overclocking utility exclusive to Nvidia GeForce GPU’s. The ‘Expertool’ has your entire basic overclocking options including core clock, GPU voltages, fans speeds, power target and memory clock. The utility can save  up to 5 custom profiles and features a quite ‘different’ layout.

It looks kind of like a  car speedometer, with dials showing core clock and memory clock. It has all the necessary monitoring functions which can be accessed through the status tab, including GPU temperature and fan speeds. The data tab is self-explanatory and includes all necessary info about the GPU. Gainward’s Expertool may get the job done, but it still requires a lot more development to compete against the others.

 

EXPERTool™- Gainward’s award winning
EXPERTool™ tuning utility for customized performance enhancements and efficient desktop management.

ExperTool v4.2 (For AMD/ATi GPU)
ExperTool v9.0(For nVidia GPU and Driver 259.10 or newer)

Download Here: Gainward Expertool download

AMD OverDrive:

Contrary to popular belief, AMD has it’s own overclocking. Since it say’s, the utility is especially designed for AMD GPU’s and features overclocking. Suffice to state, it fulfills one’s basic need for overclocking, but if you’re gonna go ‘geek, all over it, then we’ll suggest otherwise. The utility features Core/Memory clock adjustments along with a few options for over voltages and the option to set auto or manual fan speed.  It includes your usual monitoring stuff, and features an easy-to-use tabbed design.

The utility also contains a stability test, benchmark and AMD’s Smart Profiles. OverDrive is also the easiest way to disable Cool and Quiet downclocking technology when you’re searching for consistent performance or high clockspeed stability.

AMD OverDrive gives you complete control of your system. Personalize your experience in real time with easy-to-use screens designed for novice to expert users. AMD OverDrive allows user to tune parameters to help system stability, optimize performance, and control cooling/acoustic characteristics

AMD OverDrive gives you complete get a handle on of your system. Personalize your experience instantly with easy-to-use screens designed for novice to expert users. AMD OverDrive allows user to tune parameters to help system stability, optimize performance, and control cooling/acoustic traits

AMD released the newest revision of their popular OverDrive overclock and monitoring software.

The award-winning AMD OverDrive™ gives you complete get a handle on of your system. Personalize your experience instantly with easy-to-use screens designed for novice to expert users. AMD OverDrive™ allows user to tune parameters to help system stability, optimize performance, and control cooling/acoustic traits.

Maximum control for massive headroom

Personalize your experience with state-of-the-art real-time overclocking*. Used by world record setting overclockers around the world, AMD OverDrive™ provides you with unprecedented get a handle on over your processor, memory and chipset to push the performance envelope further than before.

AMD Memory Profiles

Achieve optimum high speed DDR3 performance with pre-tuned memory profiles. Open up bandwidth and overclock your memory for much more performance.

AMD OverDrive™ utility is compatible with the following operating systems:
Windows 7 (32 or 64-bit)
Windows Vista (32 or 64bit)
Windows XP (32 or 64bit)
AMD CPU and a compatible AMD Chipset motherboard are required for installing and using AMD OverDrive™ utility.
AMD OverDrive™ utility supports the following chipset models:
AMD Hudson-D3
AMD 990FX
AMD 990X
AMD 970
AMD 890FX
AMD 890GX
AMD 890G
AMD 790FX
AMD 790GX
AMD 790X
AMD 785G
AMD 780G
AMD 770
AMD OverDrive™ utility just isn’t compatible with the following chipset models:
AMD 780V
AMD 760G
AMD 740G
Previous AMD Chipset models (e. g. 690G or 580X) or non-AMD Chipsets
Certain options that come with AMD OverDrive™ utility require a motherboard with compatible BIOS version and may perhaps not be around on all supported hardware configurations.

For newer high end amd cards such as the 7000 series , if you have windows 7/8 64 bit, here is the latest driver that includes overdrive: Latest Catalyst as on 2/6/14 download for windows 7/8 64bit

This concludes my reviews, please like us to support us, and post comments and questions.

 

7990 VRM heat issue SOLVED!

So , after a few days of trying everything I could think of to resolve one of the vrm from overheating to 130°C or 266°F for us americans. Ill give you the short version. I tried EVERYTHING! I even bought 3 of the fastest and loudest and most powerful fans money can buy. They are called the vantec tornado, and each one runs at about 6000rpm and can push 119CFM. So I attatched 3 of these on my video card to see if I could bring down the heat. So with 3 of these I was pushing about 360CFM. To give you an idea of the power, a 1 ton home a/c unit pushes about 400CFM. See http://www.aricoplumbing.com/airconditioning/air-conditioner-system-sizing.aspx

To further make my point , these fans are so powerful they can levitate themselves see:  Vantec tornado levitation . These fans where incredibly loud, to the point I had to wear ear plugs! I installed these massive coolers and replaced the stock crap fans from XFX and the gpu temps came way down , BUT the VRM temps were still at 133°C, which is WAYYY too hot and in a short time will kill this card and I would be out $1000 :( So with this I concluded that there was still a major issue with the vrm cooling. So now I had to dismantle the card and take everything appart, and voiding my warranty at the same time. When I took off the vrm copper heatsink the problem was VERY obvious:

Heat issue solved on vrm 7990

reason for overheating on xfx 7990 vrms

Reason why voltage regulator management chips overheat on Radeon 7990 XFX:Reason why voltage regulator management chips overheat on Radeon 7990 XFX

Now as you can see in the pic above, the copper heatsinks only cover 1/2 of the VRMS!!  So, the other vrms have no cooling AT ALL!!! I did not have any thermal pads on hand so I used the thickest thermal grease I can find and that is artic silver 7. I covered the rest of the copper heat sink AND applied a THIN layer of thermal grease, and cleaned the gpus and re-applied grease there.

Here is the location outlined of the troubled VRMS:

vrm location on xfx 7990

vrm location on xfx 7990

Im really upset with XFX, that they would sell a $1000 graphics card and make such a MASSIVE blunder! The bonus is the only way to fix this is to fully dismantle your card , void your warranty, and risk killing your card (if you dont know what your doing).

On a positive note with the tornados installed, and the vrms properly pasted, ALL temps are way down.

New temps after 7990 xfx vrm fix

New temps after 7990 xfx vrm fix

I wanted to add that I have another identical card from XFX, I bought two of them at the same time (lucky me), and I was having issues with that card too. The vrms were pushing close to 100C , and that is not safe. So the issue on the second card was not as bad, and I dismatled it anyway. The vrms on that card were covered about 90%. I covered them completley with artic silver 7 and added a thin layer of grease.  The vrms came down to the low 90C range which I am still not happy with because Im quite sure this will lower the life of my card. In short I have theroized that XFX not only were negligent by not covering the vrms 100%, but ALSO the fans are not near as powerful enough. In conclusion if you want the temps you see above you need to do 5 things:

1. Make sure your vrms are covered 100%, and and a THIN layer of thermal grease on top of pads.

2. Buy MUCH more powerful fans. Newegg has some good Arctic fans that are powerful and not too loud. I would suggest no less than 40CFM EACH

3. Add an additional dual graphics card cooler under your 7990 and set it to high.

4. Buy a larger case, a FULL ATX is best, or atleast a case that can  accomadate an additional graphics cooler under your graphics card

5. Wear ear plugs ;)

Ive ordered some artic fans from new egg that can be thermal controlled via a pwm. One of the major issues I had with the vantec tornados is they cannot be thermal controlled. They run 100% full, 100% of the time, AND I had to cut my wires in my 7990 and solder the fans in!!

These are the fans I will be installing soon, they ALMOST move as much air as the tornados, but they can be speed controlled via the blue pwm wire thus, controlling noise. They will go faster when hot, and slow down when cooler, thus lowering noise.

arctic f9 pro pwm

arctic f9 pro pwm

These will not only look better than the original stock XFX crap fans, but will move more air, and be less noisy than the tornados AND will slow down when needed via PWM.

Im quite sure there will be a class action lawsuit against XFX as its no mistake that I ordered 2 of them , and they both have MAJOR heat issues. Ill be the first in line when that happends, meanwhile, I wanted the let the 7990 XFX owner know what was really happening and how they can help themselves until then!

 

 

 

7990 XFX VRM heat issue.

So I bought a couple of the fastest video cards out there for litecoin mining. The 6GB XFX 7990. These are two video cards merged into one. That all sounds really great right? I mean Im getting about 1.4 G/HASH out of each card:

 

 

 

G/hash speed from XFX 7990

7990 hash speed

This card is MASSIVE

Radeon XFX 7990

XFX 7990 6gb Triple D

 

I have added lots of cooling fans under the video card and on top and even at the back. This brings the GPUs down to a normal 80c +/- the problem crops its head after a short time under full load the vrm on the card gets up to 130c or for us americans 266 degrees Farenheit!!!!  Im not sure if this is a  fault in my specific card , or normal for the 7990 cards. I have to compare it with the other identical 7990 I have. Ive even dropped the core voltage from stock 1.2v to 1.15v. So I will be looking at solutions to cool the vrm in the next few days. Stay TUNED!

temp of 7990

VRM tempus of 7990 full load