News of the day (March 29, 2011)

 AMD Catalyst 11.3 and 11.4 preview
  Posted on 1301426713 by Guillaume

Radeon 2010AMD has just (finally…) put version 11.3 of its Catalyst drivers online. Somewhat delayed, this version gives support for OpenCL, activated by default in the drivers. Gamers may prefer to go for the preview of the Catalyst 11.4 drivers, which has once again been updated. In this March 23 build, put online this week, there are performance gains for Shogun 2, as well as significant bug corrections on the Radeon HD 5800s and Dragon Age 2. The driver also corrects a crash issue on initialisation of MediaEspresso on detection of a change in configuration.

 Update for the Kingston V100 SSDs
  Posted on 1301409612 by Guillaume

Kingston has just made a new firmware available for its V100 SSD range. It's for the following models:

  • SV100S2/64GZ, SV100S2D/64GZ, SV100S2N/64GZ
  • SV100S2/128GZ, SV100S2D/128GZ, SV100S2N/128GZ
  • SV100S2/256GZ, SV100S2N/256GZ, SV100S2N/256GZ

This firmware corrects a potential data corruption problem on these drives, which are, to recap, equipped with a JMicron JMF618 controller. Kingston hasn’t given any details on the exact nature of the problem or the possible extent of the data corruption. The update is however strongly recommended and, as always, Kingston recommends you to backup your data before applying the new firmware.

 Radeon HD 6790, April 5
  Posted on 1301396883 by Guillaume

The Swedish site, Nordic Hardware, has just published the specs of the forthcoming Radeon HD 6790. This card, which is slated for release on April 5 is reported to be using an LE version of Barts which already equips the Radeon HD 6850 and 6870 (Barts Pro and XT). Logically then, it could have been called the HD 6830.

Only ten out of fourteeen SIMD groups are active, giving us 160 vec5 units (against 192 and 224 for the 6850/6870) and 40 texturing units (48/56). The GPU is said to be clocked at 840 MHz (against 775 and 900) and memory at 1050 MHz (1000/1050). The GPU is to keep its 256-bit memory bus and the card to use two 6-pin connectors for a TDP of 150 watts, whereas the HD 6850 uses just one. It will be interesting to check the real consumption of the card in practice. This will mainly depend on the quality of the power stages – these are often revised on LE models to keep costs down.

 MSI N580GTX and R6970 Lightning
  Posted on 1301394134 by Guillaume

Today MSI has launched two graphics cards designed for overclocking and based on high end NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, namely the GeForce GTX 580 and Radeon HD 6970. Both cards use a customised PCB with, for example, a double BIOS (switch) as well as varying voltages. MSI also provides other switches to overvolt the PLL, GPU and memory. Using these switches does however, as with the N480GTX Lightning, annul your guarantee. Both cards use two 8-pin connectors for the power supply.

The MSI N580GTX Lightning

The cooling system uses a big radiator made up of aluminium fins and heatpipes, covering the entire card. Two fans are placed underneath. MSI has announced noise levels 11 dB lower than the reference Radeon HD 6970 and 5 dB under the GTX 580

No details have been given as to whether these readings are carried out in load or at idle. In any case they seem to indicate that the fan runs faster on the N580GTX than on the R6970, with the reference cards quite close to each other here).

The MSI R6970 Lightning

Looking at clocks, the GPU is at 832 MHz on the N580GTX and 940 MHz for the R6970 (against 772 and 880 MHz for the reference cards). MSI has announced overclocking potential of 1 GHz for the N580GTX. The cards will be available in April at €529 and €389.

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