Tag Archives | nVidia

Ivy Bridge is Here – An Overview

7093651619 c69ea33e4f o Ivy Bridge is Here   An OverviewThis week brought us the release of Ivy Bridge.  This particular release is especially strange and rather challenging to cover as a lot of the critical parts are spread out over a 3 month period. Earlier this month we saw the release of the Z77 chipset, which is the primary enthusiast chipset to support Ivy Bridge (like the Z68 Chipset).  This week we get the release of the Quad Core CPU versions of Ivy Bridge.

The article below is a great extensive look at the Ivy Bridge release and more specifically, the Core i7-3770K.  I just want to touch on a few key points here which will be important to you.

The number one question I am sure:  ”Is it worth upgrading to Ivy Bridge from Sandy Bridge?”  From a value standpoint my answer is no – UNLESS you want to run PCIe 3.0, or you want to support Thunderbolt technology.

Before I continue, there is a HUGE caveat about Thunderbolt.  If you are wanting to use Thunderbolt devices with your new Ivy Bridge System – DO NOT BUY ANYTHING YET.  The Z77 chipset will be supporting Thunderbolt with an additional controller, but this will not be released until the end of May.  So that means you can’t buy a Z77 motherboard right now, and have it support Thunderbolt.  If you don’t care about using Thunderbolt, then don’t worry about it.

Ivy Bridge CPU Ivy Bridge is Here   An OverviewThe largest benefit for building an Ivy Bridge system is PCIe 3.0 – or it will be eventually.  Currently you can play any game at max settings with PCIe 2.0 cards – though I am interested to see the effect PCIe 3.0 will have on current benchmarks.  There are currently PCIe 3.0 capable cards on Tom’s Benchmarks, but it is difficult to compare the current offerings.  AMD’s 7XXX series cards are PCIe 3.0 capable, and they perform better than the previous generation – but that is to be expected for a new generation video card.  nVidia has released the GTX 680 as their only PCIe 3.0 video card, and it outperforms everything except certain cards with higher memory at higher settings – the Extreme benchmarks are dominated by 3 and 4 GB cards, which is to be expected considering the large resolution (keep this in mind when Retina Displays become mainstream).

My take on this is that if you have a Sandy Bridge system right now, don’t upgrade just yet (unless of course you simply enjoy doing that, then feel free to go nuts :).  There is no value justification in upgrading from a Sandy Bridge / Z68 system to an Ivy Bridge / Z77 system at this time.

Just to wrap up some other notes about this release.  This release is only for the Quad Core Ivy Bridge CPUs.  The i7-3770k reviewed below is the IB version of the i7-2600k/2700k.  The i5-3570k is the IB version of the i5-2500k.  So the mid-range build will likely consist of an i5-3570k on a Z77 chipset board.  As I am writing this, I haven’t actually seen these chips available in retailers, so I am not sure when that will happen.  It’s nice to note that the new versions of these CPUs are actually going to be slightly cheaper than their predecessors – the i7-3770k being $19 cheaper than previous, and the i5-3570k being $13 less.  This says to me that retailers are going to likely drop prices on Sandy Bridge not insignificantly (or at least provide sales).

So again, if you currently have a Sandy Bridge system of at least the mid range build, there’s really no reason to upgrade to Ivy Bridge (other than for the heck of it).

I’ll be building a new Ivy Bridge system in the next couple of months – I’m waiting on Thunderbolt for Z77 as well as the rest of nVidia’s Kepler lineup.

For now, do check out this article for more extensive information on the Ivy Bridge release.

The Intel Ivy Bridge (Core i7 3770K) Review
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5771/the-intel-ivy-bridge-core-i7-3770k-review

The times, they are changing. In fact, the times have already changed, we’re just waiting for the results. I remember the first time Intel brought me into a hotel room to show me their answer to AMD’s Athlon 64 FX—the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. Back then the desktop race was hotly contested. Pushing the absolute limits of what could be done without a concern for power consumption was the name of the game. In the mid-2000s, the notebook started to take over. Just like the famous day when Apple announced that it was no longer a manufacturer of personal computers but a manufacturer of mobile devices, Intel came to a similar realization years prior when these slides were first shown at an IDF in 2005:

 

image from IntelFreePress

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nVidia PhysX – Sadly Underused

PhysX is a little discussed component of nVidia geforce video cards which is unique to the nvidia line. It is a proprietary element which was originally developed as a separate PhysX card designed to provide a boost in processing power for physical calculations in video games.

Game manufacturers have access to an SDK where they can develop some of their game physics code to process with the PhysX engine – providing a substantial increase in processing power over simply utilizing the system’s CPU (much in the same way that the discrete graphics card removes graphics processing from the systems CPU).

images nVidia PhysX   Sadly UnderusedPhysX is relatively new and in some views surprisingly underused. The reasoning for this is no doubt due to the limitation that you require the usage of an nVidia video card running PhysX. Game publishers can’t load critical game elements with the necessity of PhysX as they would obviously lose out on a huge customer base of people who do not utilize nVidia cards.

There are two things I really like about PhysX. The first is that the concept of offloading calculations of physics in video games provides the potential to create visual affects which are completely mind-blowing – thinks like particle physics, dynamic environments, and fluid calculations. The second is that PhysX offers a way for you to increase your video card’s lifespan. One thing you can do with nVidia cards (which you can’t do with AMD’s cards) is to run two completely different model nVidia cards together, running one as a pure PhysX card (as long as it is an 8 series or higher card with 256 mb ram or more) while the other acts as the video card.

Ultimately, the proprietary nature of nVidia’s PhysX requiring the usage of an nVidia card will restrict this feature to fewer games – and in those games it will only serve to add extra on top of the game, as it is unlikely any game publisher would make it a requirement. When I upgrade to a new system, I plan on using my current 8800GT as a PhysX card – and I think if you have the option, you should consider it when upgrading.

 

For a list of games which utilize PhysX, check out the bottom of the PhysX wiki article.

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The Video Card – Can’t build a gaming pc without it!

I originally started this article with the thought in mind that I would give an extensive detailed analysis of every video card consideration that you might take when you build a gaming pc, and what the best video card is given an average budget. I unsurprisingly came to the conclusion that I would be writing a VERY long article, with a somewhat disappointing ending. Yes I intend on making a video card recommendation, but in reality there is no ‘best’ video card. There are video cards better than others at certain things and in certain situations, and there are video cards which likely provide higher value than others. I’ve realized that I rather enjoy being verbose, so I’m going to try cutting my articles down a bit and spreading them out. I started this with the intention of making a mid-range sandy bridge build recommendation, so I’m going to speed things along and get to the point.

The thing is that there is a lot of information out there that is pretty straightforward – benchmarks and the like. There is a lot of information out there which is opinion. I try to straddle the line as best as possible since obviously this is my blog with my opinion, but I honestly don’t want to jam my opinion down your throat as law – I want to help you sort through the wilderness of pc building and hardware information that is on the Internet and come to a conclusion that you will be happy and proud with.

I believe the proper way to categorize your video cards is via monitor resolution. How well is a given card going to perform on YOUR monitor. If you have a smaller monitor then you don’t need to fork out the big bucks for a high end card (unless you want to upgrade in the very near future). Other considerations I won’t be talking about in this article are Overclocking and Multiple GPUs. As a quick note, I don’t do those at the beginning – I reserve those options for expansion at a later date (increasing the value of my purchase). I do recommend purchasing a factory overclocked video card though, as they often come with aftermarket coolers and have been stress tested – good value.

Straight up I’m going to address the nVidia vs ATI debate – there is none. Both brands produce high quality video cards which can play all the games out there on whatever settings you wish. Radeon tends to be on the surface an excellent price/cost value, while the nVidia cards provide more extra goodies that have the potential to unfold the value of the card in years to come (though they tend to cost more for the ‘same level’). When it comes down to it the differences are fairly minimal and it comes down to some personal preference, the games you are going to play, and the size of your monitor.

Right now, my goal is to build a gaming pc surrounding the sandy bridge chipset. I don’t intend on building a system around multiple GPUs at the beginning, though I’ll reserve the option later for expansion (I plan on writing an article about multiple GPUs). The Asus P8P67 Pro The Video Card   Cant build a gaming pc without it! motherboard that we chose in the previous article supports multiple GPUs – SLI and Crossfire (so I could go Radeon or nVidia).

Considering that an affordable/average screen size can be 1680×1240-1900×1600, I make my pick the EVGA GTX 560 TI The Video Card   Cant build a gaming pc without it!. This card shows amazing performance at 1680×1240 and can still hold very high settings on most games at 1900×1600. If you have a 1680×1240 monitor now, you would blow any game out of the water, and have room to upgrade your monitor and still enjoy an amazing experience. Also – I always chose EVGA for my video cards. Superb company with fantastic warranties – just make sure you register your card.

As an objective offering, if you wanted the ATI equivalent, going by overall benchmarks, you would want to check out a Radeon HD 6950 The Video Card   Cant build a gaming pc without it!. 99% of people could go with either choice and not notice the difference.

That is all for now (this still got wordy..what the heck?) – I’ll be covering the bit on overclocking in an overclocking article (or series) in the future, and the same for multiple graphics cards.

Thanks for stopping by!

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