AMD has officially revealed the Radeon R9 Nano in all its tiny glory. The mini-ITX graphics card is packing some incredible hardware into its short length, but it’s certainly not going to be easy on your wallet. After months of rumours and speculation, AMD has announced the R9 Nano will be retailing for an eye-watering $649. This is the same price as the full fat Radeon R9 Fury X, and $100 more expensive than the air-cooled Radeon R9 Fury.
Essentially, AMD is charging the same price as the Fury X for a product that delivers lesser performance. The thinking behind it is that its small size makes it a unique proposition. There’s a few mini-ITX GTX 970’s from various graphics card manufacturers out there, but nothing with the level of performance the R9 Nano offers.
AMD is preparing its tiny Radeon R9 Nano for release very soon, so the first concrete details are surfacing for the mini-ITX graphics card. The smallest member of the AMD Radeon Fury family, the R9 Fury will be the most powerful graphics card designed for mini-ITX in existence, with early benchmarks indicating performance fairly comparable to the fully fledged R9 Fury X.
On the specifications side of things, the Radeon R9 Nano comes loaded with a Fiji GPU, packing 4096 stream processors on 64 compute units, 256 TMUs, 64 ROPS, and 4GB of High Bandwidth Memory clocked at 1GHz, all set in on a mammoth 4096-bit memory interface. If you needed any confirmation of the performance of this diminutive card, the Radeon R9 Nano has compute performance of 8.19 TFLOPS, just shy of the 8.6 TFLOPS for the Fury X.
Warlords are going to be well catered for this September when Grand Ages: Medieval invades these shores. Players will be tasked with rising from the role of a small-time mayor all the way to ruling over the entirety of Europe. I would say you can do it benevolently or with an iron fist, but we all know how this is going to go down; it's steel on steel in the crush of battle.
Promising a world map stretching over 30 million square kilometres, Grand Ages: Medieval is grand by name, grand by nature. You'll be building cities, raising armies, harvesting more than 20 different resources and making technological advancements in the race for superiority. Before you let loose the dogs of war, see if your fort's up to the task by checking out the Grand Ages: Medieval system requirements.
According to figures from the ever-present Jon Peddie Research, sales of dedicated desktop graphics cards are once more down in the second quarter of 2015. The number of GPUs shipped has hit a 10-year low, while AMD also sank to a record low market share for the quarter.
In total 9.4 million discrete graphics cards were shipped during the last quarter, less than in any quarter during the past decade. This represents a 16.81% drop from Q1 of this year, alongside a 14.77% drop in desktop PC sales. It’s not all doom and gloom however, with high-end graphics cards on the up as PC gaming momentum continues to build. It’s the lower end of the market which is dragging things down, but sales of enthusiast graphics cards from AMD and Nvidia are making up a larger percentage of the market than before.
It seems there’s been an absurd amount of SSD news flying about recently, so it’s looking as if we’re on the cusp of massive improvements to the traditionally expensive storage devices. Toshiba is the latest to play its hand, announcing that it expects solid state drives with as much as 128TB capacity will be hitting the market by 2018.
Like the other manufacturers, Toshiba’s claims come thanks to improvements to the technology behind NAND flash memory, including 3D-NAND and quad-level cell, which will together help reduce the costs of non-volatile memory like SSDs, and massively increase the potential capacities.
After the so-grim-I-still-haven't-finished-it success of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Frictional Games has taken its time with its stab at first-person horror. SOMA is a sci-fi horror game set on an abandoned facility beneath the Atlantic ocean. Or at least, it appears to be abandoned, but I get the feeling you're definitely not alone.
Frictional is drilling into the deep riches of AI control in a tale of identity, consciousness, and what it means to be human. Expect robots gone wrong, maniacal human survivors and an over-arching and menacing artificial intelligence known as PATHOS-II. Before you head out to stores to stock up on diapers, check out the official SOMA system requirements to see whether your rig can handled Frictional's latest, or whether it's about to turn against its master.
PC gaming goes from strength to strength. Sat behind and backing up this sort of bold statement is the continued release of incredible PC hardware. £550 / $680 in today’s hardware market can realistically get you a very competent gaming PC. Obviously it will be bottom end in comparison to the rest of the available hardware out there but nevertheless that £550 / $680 gaming PC would be able to play all of today’s games.
However, we are also able to spend that same amount on a single component. And this is where the juggernaut GPU we are reviewing today steps in. We will be breaking down the MSI GTX 980 ti Gaming 6G into its constitute gaming components to help you understand where the GTX 980 ti could fit into a gamer’s life and why you might, or might not, decide to pick one up.
During this week’s Intel Developer Forum 2015, Intel unveiled its new Optane family of solid state drives. While we’re usually pre-occupied with the price and size of SSDs, these new Optane drives from Intel run up to seven times faster than the current SSDs on the market.
The speed boost comes from the new 3D Xpoint technology used, which is the successsor to the established NAND. During a demonstration at IDF 2015, Intel demoed the 3D Xpoint drive running 7.23x faster than a NAND drive on an IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) benchmark. Intel has pressing plans for these drives as well, with consumer versions joining the enterprise and business-class drives on the market next year.
Samsung has announced that it will begin mass market production of High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) in early 2016, with the initial chips targeted towards graphics card manufacturers and network and HPC products. It’s the former we’re most interested in however, with Samsung joining the ranks of SK Hynix in delivering 3D memory for GPUs.
HBM production from Samsung signals the introduction of the second generation of HBM, which will be faster and more power efficient than the first generation 4Hi memory stacks used in AMD’s Radeon R9 Fury family. Samsung has plenty of variants planned, ranging from 2Hi stacks for entry-level 2GB graphics cards all the way up to 8Hi stacks for a maximum of 48GB VRAM on a single GPU.
It might have only just launched its Radeon R9 300 and Fury range of graphics cards, but AMD is reportedly already readying its next three GPUs - Greenland, Baffin and Ellesmere. It’s no secret AMD has fallen on hard times of late, and it looks as if it’s banking on a quick turnaround of its next-generation graphics cards to get it back on the track.
The trio of GPUs make up the Arctic Islands family. Greenland will be the high-end performance GPU, while Baffin and Ellesmere will tackle the high to mid-tier markets. From what we know of the Greenland GPU it will be based on a completely new micro-architecture, something which AMD hasn’t done in many a year. Development on Greenland has been going on for over two years, with AMD reportedly planning up to 16GB HBM2 memory for the enthusiast-tier graphics cards.