nVIDIA ForceWare 270.51 Beta available

nVIDIA released it’s Rel.270 driver and it offers a nice performance boost compared to the 266.58 WHQL release, especially with 3D Stereo enabled. If you don’t care much about Microsoft testing, you shall grab these for your card.

Performance

  • Increases performance for GeForce 400 Series and 500 Series GPUs in several PC games vs. v266.58 WHQL drivers. The following are examples of some of the most significant improvements measured on Windows 7. Results will vary depending on your GPU and system configuration:

GeForce GTX 580:

    • Up to 516% in Dragon Age 2 (SLI 2560×1600 8xAA/16xAF Very High, SSAO on)
    • Up to 326% in Dragon Age 2 (1920×1200 8xAA/16xAF Very High, SSAO on)
    • Up to 11% in Just Cause 2 (1920×1200 8xAA/16xAF, Concrete Jungle)
    • Up to 11% in Just Cause 2 (SLI 2560×1600 8xAA/16xAF, Concrete Jungle)
    • Up to 7% in Civilization V (1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 6% in Far Cry 2 (SLI 2560×1600 8xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 5% in Civilization V (SLI 1920×1200 8xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 5% in Left 4 Dead 2 (1920×1200 noAA/AF, Outdoor)
    • Up to 5% in Left 4 Dead 2 (SLI 2560×1600 4xAA/16xAF, Outdoor)
    • Up to 4% in H.A.W.X. 2 (SLI 1920×1200 8xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 4% in Mafia 2 (SLI 2560×1600 AA on/16xAF, PhysX = High)

GeForce GTX 560 Ti:

    • Up to 461% in Dragon Age 2 (SLI 1920×1200 8xAA/16xAF, Very High)
    • Up to 241% in Dragon Age 2 (1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, Very High)
    • Up to 19% in Just Cause 2 (SLI 2560×1600 8xAA/16xAF, Concrete Jungle)
    • Up to 13% in Just Cause 2 (1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, Concrete Jungle)
    • Up to 6% in Far Cry 2 (SLI 2560×1600 8xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 5% in Call of Duty: Black Ops (1920×1200 noAA/AF, Jungle Map)
    • Up to 5% in H.A.W.X. 2 (SLI 1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, Max settings)
    • Up to 4% in Call of Duty: Black Ops (SLI 2560×1600 4xAA/16xAF, Jungle Map)
    • Up to 4% in Civilization V (1920×1200 noAA/AF, Max settings)
    • Up to 4% in Left 4 Dead 2 (SLI 1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, Outdoor)
    • Up to 4% in Metro 2033 (SLI 1920×1200 4xAA/16xAF, PhysX on)

NVIDIA Update

  • This is a new feature in Release 270 and later drivers. NVIDIA Update keeps your PC up-to-date with the latest NVIDIA drivers by notifying you when a new driver is available and directing you to the driver on http://www.nvidia.com. When you install a Release 270 or later GeForce driver from http://www.nvidia.com, you will be presented with the option to install NVIDIA Update.

DownloadWinVista / Win7 32bit | WinVista / Win7 64 bit | WinXP 32bit | WinXP 64bit

Catalyst 11.3 WHQL & Updated 11.4 Early Preview

AMD has released this months WHQL package and an updated preview version of next months Catalyst.

Catalyst 11.3 WHQL:

Seamless GPU Compute support

  • The AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) OpenCL runtime is now enabled by default within AMD Catalyst.  Applications that leverage OpenCL for GPU based compute tasks will automatically benefit from the significant performance boost that this provides.

Resolved Issues for the Windows 7 Operating System
This section provides information on resolved known issues in this release of the AMD Catalyst 11.3 software suite for Windows 7. These include:

  • 3D BluRay playback no longer displays random frame loss.
  • The 8x Anti-Aliasing is now correctly listed in some OpenGL applications.
  • System no longer shows laggy performance when playing 720P WMV video files.
  • Tearing is no longer randomly observed when playing Bioshock with Vsync and MLAA enabled.

Resolved Issues for the Windows Vista Operating System
This section provides information on resolved known issues in this release of the AMD Catalyst 11.3 software suite for Windows Vista. These include:

  • 3DMark 2011 no longer hangs on a quad crossfire HD6990 system.
  • World of Warcraft no longer fails to respond when alt-tabbing out and into the game when running on the AMD HD6990.
  • Mpeg2 Video playback now correctly uses hardware acceleration when played with Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center.
  • Youtube HD Flash video now renders correctly.
  • Enabling Anti-Aliasing no longer causes figure to have a bright outline in Medal Of Honor Single Player mode.

Resolved Issues for the Windows XP Operating System

  • Need for Speed Shift no longer randomly crashes during gameplay.

Release Notes
DownloadWinXP 32bit | WinXP 64bit | Vista/Win7 32bit | Vista/Win7 64bit | CAP (Win All)

Catalyst 11.4 Early Preview (March 29):

  • Support for the AMD Radeon™ HD 6790 series of products
  • A number of performance optimizations, as highlighted here:
  • Performance enhancement for Shogun 2 (DX11 version) when running Anti-Aliasing
  • Enhancements to the AMD Catalyst Control Center™
    • New task based Display Management controls
      • Simplifies the configuration of displays and display settings
    • New Eyefinity setup group
      • Setting up an Eyefinity group has never been easier
    • New branding (based on system configuration)
      • AMD based platform  – AMD VISION Engine Control Center
      • Discrete AMD GPU with Intel CPU – AMD Catalyst Control Center™
    • AMD Catalyst update notification (found within the Information Center)
      • Please note this functionality is not yet enabled, but will be in a future AMD Catalyst release
      • This feature will be used to notify users that new AMD Catalyst software packages are available
  • Includes fixes where Dragon Age 2 would hang in DirectX11 on ATI Radeon™ HD 5800 Series products.
  • Includes fixes where MediaEspresso 6.5 and 6.0 may crash while initializing
  • Includes a fix for game corruption issues in BulletStorm
  • Includes a fix for the AMD Catalyst Control Center install; resolves the issue of not being able to launch CCC after Catalyst has finished installing
  • Includes a fix for the Tessellation slider sometimes setting the incorrect value

DownloadWin7 (x86/x64)

Radeon HD 6790 launches on March 31st

AMD is launching its counter measures against nVIDIA’s mainstream torpedo, the GTX 550 Ti. The new card is based on Barts LE, sporting 32ROPs, 40TMUs, 800SPs and 1GB of GDDR5 memory over a 256-bit interface. The card operates at quite decent clockspeeds of 840MHz for the GPU and 4200MHz effective for the memory.

Judging from the specs, this card can turn out to be a great gap filler between the Juniper based HD 5770 and the HD 6850 if the price is right… meaning a price tag of 129USD in this case. Only possible downside of this card can be the power consumption as the spec sheet lists the card with a 150W TDP requiring two 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

nVIDIA launches the GTX 590

Not to be out done it’s rival nVIDIA launched it’s own dual-GPU enthusiast solution, packing two fully fledged GF110 cores on a single PCB. They work on much lower clocks at 607/1214/3414MHz (GPU/CUDA Cores/Memory) to keep the thermals and the power consumption at moderate levels.

!!!WARNING!!! – If you happen to have or planning to buy a GTX 590, don’t use your card with ForceWare 267.52 cause the Power Throttling isn’t working in this set of and you can and possibly will fry your card even at default clocks and voltages.

GTX 590:
2x 48 ROPs / 64TMUs @ 607MHz
2x 512 CCs @ 1214MHz
2x 384bit – 1.5GB GDDR5 @ 3414MHz
TDP – 365W
MSRP – 699USD

Reviews:

GPU-Z 0.5.2 released

The guys over at TechPowerUp! released a new version of their GPU identification tool. The new release adds support for AMD’s HD 6990, nVIDIA’s GT 440, GTX 550, GTX 560, GTX 570, GTX 590,  a couple of Sandy Bridge IGPs and fixes some issues.

Changelog:

  • Added support for NVIDIA GT 440, GTX 550, GTX 560, GTX 570, GTX 590
  • Added support for AMD HD 6990
  • Added detection support for more Sandy Bridge IGPs
  • Fixed ROP count on ATI Madison
  • Improved OpenCL detection for ATI
  • Added CHL8228 voltage controller support for Cayman Pro and XT
  • Improved driver based voltage monitoring support for ATI cards
  • Added startup parameter /card followed by the adapter index, starts with 1.
  • Several crash and stability fixes

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nVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti is out and about

nVIDIA’s new mainstream card is now available at e-tailers and retailers. Sadly this card is a hit & miss from nVIDIA. Why? Well… lets start with the good news. Good news is that nVIDIA finally put card out there that can compete with AMD’s HD 5770, bad news is that at stock speeds they run basically neck and neck while at its 149USD MSRP the GTX 550 Ti is 36-50% more expensive compared to AMD’s offering that can be had for as littles as 99-109USD after rebate over at Newegg. I know that this card should be the replacement for the GTX 460 768MB, but its performance simply doesn’t justify the price. If nVIDIA would drop this card to 129-139USD it would make a great alternative. Enough of my rambling, here are the specs and a list of reviews.

GTX 550 Ti:
900/1800/4100MHz (GPU/CUDA Cores/Memory)
24ROP/32TMU/192CC
192bit – 1GB GDDR5
TDP – 116W
MSRP – 149USD

Reviews:

Manli GeForce GTX 550 Ti dissected & benched

Imamage member of the XtremeSystems community got his hands on one those Manli GTX 550 Ti cards in Hong Kong. He provided us with some new photos of the card taken apart and he is now off to bench the card. I’ll update this article with some performance figures as he posts them. Till then here are the photos…

*UPDATE*
Test system:
Phenom II X4 840 (Propus) @ 3.2GHz
4GB DDR3-1333
Windows 7 – 32bit

Results:
3DMark06 – 14537
3DMark Vantage – P9936 – (9869 GPU Score )
Final Fantasy XIV – 3430
Heaven Benchmark 2.1 – 35.2FPS

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