Hassan Mujtaba
Hardware News Editor
2698 posts published
Diehard PC Gamer and Hardware Enthusiast.

A few days ago, we reported that AMD might slash prices off of their Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 series graphics cards and from the looks of it, the first round of price cuts have already hit the market. While their have been a few pricing adjustments from manufacturer’s, AMD is now sending out the word to slash prices from the Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 series graphics cards.AMD Radeon R9 280 and R7 265

First Round of Price Cuts Hit The AMD Radeon R9 and Radeon R7 GPUs

Computerbase managed to find out that HIS, one of AMD’s biggest AIC partners have started offering price cuts on their cards by as much as $10-$30. The new price cuts aren’t just limited to the Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 graphics cards but the Radeon R9 270X and Radeon R7 260X are also receiving price reductions which can be seen through several retailers. Judging from the new prices, the HIS Radeon R7 260X is retailing at 99.90 Euro, HIS Radeon R7 265 for 119.90 Euros, HIS Radeon R9 260X for 149.90 Euros and the Radeon R9 280X for 219.90 Euros. Currently, HIS is the only manufacturer who have started offering price cuts on their graphics cards how-ever, other manufacturers will soon follow.

Taking a look over at Newegg, I spotted some really interesting listing under the HIS GPU section. I recently published a review of the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 graphics card last week and at that point of time, the card was retailing at $279.99 US over at Newegg. Now its down to $259.99 US and the cheapest variant which comes with the IceQ cooler can be bought for $219.99 US. The official cost of the Radeon R9 280 at launch was $279.99 US and it did receive a price cut to $249.99 US so we are looking at a $30 reduction in its average price. Similarly, the flagship Radeon R9 280X non-reference IceQ x2 variants can now be purchased at the reference MSRP of $299.99 US and we are expecting at least $279.99 US for the reference variants.


An interesting article has been written by Videocardz which points out that NVIDIA might be preparing four GM204 GPU SKUs for their next generation GeForce Maxwell graphics cards. NVIDIA’s GeForce Maxwell line graphics cards which will feature the GM204 GPU such as the one which was recently leaked is reported to launch in the next few months but the GM204 GPU featured on the graphics card might not be the only one of the entire GeForce Maxwell stack.NVIDIA GM204 GPU

NVIDIA GeForce Maxwell Lineup To Feature Four GM204 GPU SKUs

If we take a look back at things NVIDIA did with Kepler, the report might actually be valid considering NVIDIA’s GeForce 600 series has three GK104 (GeForce Kepler) based GPUs for the GeForce GTX 680, GeForce GTX 670, GeForce GTX 660 Ti and two GK114 (GeForce Kepler Revision) GPUs for the GeForce 700 series cards including the GeForce GTX 770 and GeForce GTX 760. Based on the 28nm Kepler architecture, the GK104 has spanned quite some time as NVIDIA’s top-end to mainstream chip in the market before being replaced by the faster GK110 graphics processor which was unleashed with the GeForce GTX Titan graphics card back in February 2013.

According to the source and as we previously know, the GM204 is part of the second generation Maxwell core architecture which will offer some architectural and efficiency improvements over the first generation Maxwell core which is currently available on the GeForce GTX 750 Ti and GeForce GTX 750 graphics cards. The GM107 which is obviously an entry level part should not be compared to the more enhanced GM204 core but the core architecture changes will be added to the design while keeping the same DNA offering an extremely power efficient design and more performance per watt than the current Kepler generation cards. The GM204 will power the GeForce GTX 880 which has been leaked in engineering state earlier featuring 8 GB GDDR5 memory and some other improvements which we can’t really decrypt at the moment but in addition to that, there would be other GM204 GPUs which will be integrated in cards aside the GeForce GTX 880 just like the cut down GK104 GPUs on GeForce GTX 670, GeForce GTX 760 and GeForce GTX 660 Ti. The four models will include the following:


NVIDIA is quietly working on the GeForce 800 series graphics card which will replace the GeForce 700 series cards and feature the latest Maxwell graphics processing unit. While there have been hints that the GeForce GTX 880 ( the flagship GeForce 800 series card) will launch in Q4 2014, it looks like GamerSky, a Chinese website has leaked the first engineering sample of the GeForce GTX 880 PCB which gives us an early glimpse of what to expect from NVIDIA’s upcoming flagship component.NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 ES Board_1

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 880 “Maxwell” Engineering Sample Analysis

For starters, the GeForce GTX 880 PCB we are currently looking at is in ES phase and as stated by the source, the GeForce Maxwell core is labeled “1421A1″ which is the A1 revision so this is a very early sample, prepared in the month of May (19-25) or the first 21 weeks of 2014. Its possible that we might see variations in the final revision that will use A2 and B1 revisions on the GeForce cards but the most important thing hasn’t been mentioned that whether or not the card features a GM204 core or a GM210 core. But before we go into details regarding what core is featured on the PCB, let’s take a journey in the past and tell you (our readers) why we believe this is a very concrete leak.

If you had been our readers since a long time, you would know that the GeForce GTX 680 PCB which was also leaked almost two years ago had a very similar design scheme. The GeForce GTX 680’s PCB was also in ES phase and featured a green PCB and the same memory configuration as the one on the leaked PCB of the Maxwell card. Compared to the GeForce GTX Titan and 780 Ti PCB, the memory configuration is less dense since the cards make use of a lower memory bus hence the similar arrangement of 8 memory chips on the front and 8 memory chips on the back which amount to a total of 16 memory chips on the entire PCB. The GeForce GTX 680 did feature only 8 memory chips on the front but NVIDIA making a big move on the GeForce GTX 880, equipping it with 8 GB GDDR5 memory was quite unexpected but was rumored earlier. The memory chips in specific are the SKHynix H5GQ4H24MFR 0.5GB which are rated to operate at 7 GHz effective clock speed, similar to many NVIDIA Kepler based cards which would be a nice improvement over the current generation.


AMD might possibly be preparing to offer another round of price-cuts on their Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 series graphics card in preparation of the upcoming Tonga GPU. According to Sweclockers, AMD’s is planning to slash prices on the two Radeon R9 280 series graphics cards which feature the Tahiti graphics processing unit which has spanned two and a half years in the graphics industry making it one of the most longest running desktop graphics card entry in the company’s history.r9 280x reference

AMD Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 To Recieve Price-Cuts – Preparation of the Tonga Chip’s Arrival

The AMD Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 are based off the Tahiti XT and Tahiti Pro dies respectively. The Radeon R9 280X comes with 2048 Stream processors, 3 GB of GDDR5 memory and a 1000 MHz clock speed at pricing of $299.99 US. The second chip in the line which is featured on the Radeon R9 280 is a cut down Tahiti silicon with 1792 Stream processors and 3 GB GDDR5 memory running across a 384-bit memory interface and priced at $249.99 US. The Radeon R9 280 was initially launched at $279.99 US but AMD quickly responded with price cuts due to the GeForce GTX 760 being quite successful at NVIDIA’s front (and it still holds a successful position in the mid-range market).

The AMD Radeon R9 280X and Radeon R9 280 are essentially the same old Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950 we have known since the launch of the Radeon HD 7000 series back in December 2011. Its time for AMD to move ahead and offer something new in the form of the upcoming Tonga GPU. As for the price cuts, it can be predicted that the Radeon R9 280X will cost $279.99 – $249.99 US and the Radeon R9 280 will cost $229.99 US after the price cuts. This puts them in a more competitive position against their GeForce rivals which include the GeForce GTX 760 and GeForce GTX 770. AMD also offers $150 US of value as a part of their Never Settle Bundle promotion which may entice users to join the red team but NVIDIA has their own AAA gaming bundle on their cards too so it all comes down to user preference.

HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC 3 GB GDDR5_Official_6


Here we are back again to review another one of AMD’s latest Radeon R9 graphics card from their AIC partner HIS (Hightech Information Systems). Almost two and half years have been passed since AMD introduced their GCN core architecture and it shouldn’t be a surprise if I told you that the architecture is still being featured on AMD’s latest Volcanic Islands Radeon R7 and Radeon R9 series graphics cards.

The Volcanic Islands family is branded as the Radeon R200 series and takes performance and value to the next level. Technically speaking, the Radeon R200 series cards which include the Radeon R9 280X, Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 270, Radeon R7 265, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 255, Radeon R7 250X,  Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 240 are GCN rebrands aside from the latest Hawaii based Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290, with the addition of new features but rather than giving away the same cards at the same price ranges, AMD added a few new features which we will detail in this article and slashed the prices so much that the Tahiti chip that once was $549 can now be bought for $299 US.

Today, we will be looking at the HIS Radeon R9 280 IceQ X2 OC which is the latest GCN 1.0 rebrand featuring the Tahiti Core architecture. HIS gave us the non-reference Radeon R9 280 for the test which features their high-end IceQ X2 cooler and a beefy custom designed PCB to deliver more power over the reference models which would come handy to overclockers and enthusiasts. Boasting the well-known Tahiti Pro core which has been replaced by its successor aka the “Hawaii Pro”, AMD now offers the R9 280 (also call it a Radeon HD 7950) for $280  (now retailing for $249.99) compared with its original launch price of $449 US two years ago, surprising that the card and its price have the same number? Let’s find out whether the card lives up to the legacy that made Tahiti remain dominant in high-end and performance range for two long years.

HIS Radeon R7 260X iCooler_Official_6


Here we are back again to review another one of AMD’s latest Radeon R9 graphics card from their AIC partner HIS (Hightech Information Systems). Almost two and half years have been passed since AMD introduced their GCN core architecture and it shouldn’t be a surprise if I told you that the architecture is still being featured on AMD’s latest Volcanic Islands Radeon R7 and Radeon R9 series graphics cards.

The Volcanic Islands family is branded as the Radeon R200 series and takes performance and value to the next level. Technically speaking, the Radeon R200 series cards which include the Radeon R9 280X, Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 270, Radeon R7 265, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 255, Radeon R7 250X,  Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 240 are GCN rebrands aside from the latest Hawaii based Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290, with the addition of new features but rather than giving away the same cards at the same price ranges, AMD added a few new features which we will detail in this article and slashed the prices so much that the Tahiti chip that once was $549 can now be bought for $299 US.

Today, we are going to take a third look at the Radeon R7 260X, this time from AIC partner HIS. HIS provided us their Radeon R7 260X iTurbo graphics card a while back which turned out to be a a decent offering given its cost but today, we are looking at a cut-down model based on the iCooler revision which features lower clock speeds and comes at a lower price range of $129.99 US compared to $139.99 US of the reference and $149.99 US of the non-reference variants (the same price at which one could buy the Radeon R7 265 which is based on the 1024 SPs Pitcairn die). So let’s go ahead and see whether the HIS Radeon R7 260X manages to make a place in the entry level and much crowded market space.

AMD FirePro W8100 GPU

AMD is expanding their latest FirePro series with the new FirePro W8100 series professional graphics card based on the Hawaii GPU architecture. The Hawaii GPU leverages performance of the FirePro graphics cards versus the previous generation which utilized the Tahiti GPU architecture.AMD FirePro W8100 GPU

AMD Unleashes Hawaii Based FirePro W8100 Professional Graphics Card

The AMD FirePro W8100 is the next generation Hawaii GPU based professional graphics card which features over 4.20 Tera Flops of Single-Precision and 2.10 TFlops of Double-Precision performance. Previously spotted at AMD’s Computex 2014 booth, the FirePro W8100 was confirmed to feature the Hawaii-GL Pro chip which means the card features 2560 Stream processors, 160 TMUs and 64 ROPs compared to its bigger brother the FirePro W9100 which includes the Hawaii-GL XT chip with 2816 Stream processors, 176 TMUs and 64 ROPs.

With 1/2 FP64 rate the card churns out impressive compute performance which enables content creators and professionals to harness the full power of the Hawaii GPU. The core clock for the FirePro W8100 graphics card is maintained at 824 MHz as opposed to 930 MHz on FirePro W9100 and also comes with a lower VRAM of 8 GB versus 16 GB GDDR5 memory on the W9100 clocked at 1250 MHz (5 GHz effective) memory clock churning out 320.0 GB/s memory bandwidth.

AMD FX Processors

Just a few days ago, AMD’s Roy Taylor posted a teaser image on his twitter page which showed an upcoming processor announcement. HardwareCanucks confirms that the teaser was indicating the relaunch of AMD’s current flagship FX-9590 processor with liquid cooling system package.AMD FX-9590 2014 Relaunch

AMD To Relaunch FX-9590 Flagship Piledriver Processor Liquid Cooling System

The FX-9590 processor which is based on the high-performance 32nm x86 Piledriver architecture was launched a year ago in June 2013. Back at that time, the processor became the first to achieve the 5 GHz core frequency as a standard operating clock speed however was met with criticism due to a price of $999 US and a 220W TDP for which the processor became unfit for regular air-cooled systems. In addition to that, the 5 GHz clock frequency although a huge figure in clocks still couldn’t out-perform the mid-range Ivy Bridge-E offering which offers more performance due to a better optimized architecture and process design (32nm vs 22nm).

AMD’s Bernard Fernandes, senior spokesman for AMD, didn’t mince when talking about how the relaunched FX-9590 should be treated: “With a 5GHz boost clock and 8 powerful cores coupled with an effective cooling solution, it is our highest performance desktop processor. This is ideal for enthusiasts who want to build the best of AMD with an AMD Radeon R9 graphics card.” via HardwareCanucks

Radeon Logo

Reports from Overclockers.Co.Uk have emerged which seem to indicate that successor of AMD’s flagship Radeon R9 290X graphics card might possibly in-development. The new graphics card is being positioned to tackle NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti which still holds the single-chip performance crown whereas the dual-chip throne is held by AMD’s Radeon R9 295X2.AMD Radeon R9 290X Successor Hawaii XTX

Image Credits: TechSpot

AMD Could Already Have A Radeon R9 290X “Hawaii XT” GPU Successor

In comments posted by overclocker 8Pack over at OCUK forums which were spotted by Videocardz, the user tells that the Radeon R9 290X successor is definitely on the way. Surprisingly, if you take a closer look at the comment, 8Pack seems to confirm the existence of not one but two separate chips. In the original thread, 8Pack mentions that AMD already have their next-generation high-end part ready for a while and that AMD also have a Hawaii chip fully enabled, in-development under their sleeves. We might have not taken this seriously if this was a post from a random forum but this coming out from 8Pack who’s a renowned overclocker and has links with several tech companies is quite surprising indeed.

Now you may remember my old article which explicitly mentioned that the Hawaii GPU may have extra compute units left disabled? The article being a rumor was quickly debunked by AMD’s Dave Baumann (Technical Marketin Manager at AMD) at Beyond3D Forums. The report which was posted by industry insider Dr.Lee or DGLee  unveiled some critical details of the fully enabled Hawaii chip and mentioned that the Hawaii GPU actually holds 48 compute units which amount to 3072 stream processors. If AMD does have this chip prepared for launch, then this could be a major attack on the GeForce GTX 780 Ti which has no successor in sight planned till Q4 2014 as hinted in the recent rumors. The upcoming GeForce GTX 880 and GeForce GTX 870 which are expected to launch with the latest Maxwell core and at lower cost than the GeForce 700 series cards will arrive in either October or November time-frame.

MSI Z97 XPOWER AC Featured


Last year, MSI introduced two distinct motherboards in their OC lineup, the Z87 MPOWER and Z87 XPOWER. With the launch of Intel’s 9-Series platform, MSI launched a new category of motherboards which are more powerful then ever and include tons of features built for a wide range of users that may include gamers, enthusiasts, overclockers and casual users.

With the launch of Intel’s Haswell Refresh platform, MSI introduced their second generation XPOWER board for the mainstream LGA 1150 socketed lineup known as the MSI Z97 XPOWER AC. The MSI Z97 XPOWER AC has been designed specifically for enthusiasts and overclockers and being the most feature packed motherboard of all the MSI Z97 product lineup. The motherboard is first an overclocking board which will let users overclock with no limits as indicated by the marketing team behind the XPOWER. The design speaks for itself with the amazing X scheme back in action and an E-ATX form factor size along with some cool new features that make it stand out from the rest of the Z97 motherboard crowd.

The other boards such as the MSI Z97 MPOWER MAX follow up which we reviewed last month has the same DNA at a lower cost of $259.99 US while the XPOWER AC retails at a hefty price of $399.99 US which is quite a lot asking price for it and enters in the more HEDT range of Intel’s X79 motherboards. So we are going to see if the MSI Z97 XPOWER AC is worth its price or not.

Intel Logo

The latest Intel 2013-2015 CPU roadmap has been leaked on the web detailing Intel’s upcoming CPU platforms which include the HEDT Haswell-E and Broadwell-E, Mainstream LGA 1150 Broadwell and Skylake plus the mobility Bay-Trail and Braswell SOCs. According to the roadmap, Intel will have a total of 13 new platforms in this time-frame aimed at various markets for different users.Intel Desktop Roadmap Broadwell-E Haswell-E Broadwell Skylake Haswell

Intel Desktop CPU Roadmap Confirms Broadwell-E In Q3 2015

The roadmap has various platform lines listed starting with the HEDT X99 Chipset platform which is going to get updated with the latest Haswell-E processors in Q3 2014 (September 2014). The Intel Haswell-E processor lineup would include three SKUs, the Core i7-5960X, Core i7-5930K and Core i7-5820K. All processors are built on the 22nm Haswell architecture which means that they will improve the IPC performance while keeping the same power limits as previous generation processors due to enhanced power efficiency of the Haswell architecture.

The next major update to the LGA 2011-3 platform will arrive in the form of Broadwell-E processors which will ship in Q3 2015. Little is known about Broadwell-E at this moment but Intel’s roadmap does confirm it will stay compatible with the X99 chipset. Being based off cut down Xeon E5-2600 V4 chips, the Broadwell-E processors are likely to get higher clock speeds and possibly more cores (rumors point out to 10 in the flagship variant). The current Haswell-E processors will include the flagship Core i7-5960X which boasts 8 Cores but the clock speed has been cut to 3.0 GHz base and 3.4 GHz boost to support the high 140W TDP of the chip.

Doom Logo

After years of wait since the last Doom game, id Software has finally teased their next generation DOOM game at E3. The DOOM teaser trailer is as brutal as it gets which shows off one of the most classic bosses of the game and the entire FPS genre, Cyberdemon.Next Generation DOOM E3 2014 _1

Next Generation DOOM E3 2014 Teaser Trailer:

id Software Teases Next Generation DOOM With Cyberdemon

Its surprising that it has already been 10 years since the last DOOM game, Doom III which was released back in 2004. Bethesda did release the DOOM BFG edition last year but it was nothing more than a clone of the game with some new features. The new DOOM game which is being developed for next generation platforms which include the PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One is planned for full reveal at QuakeCon 2014 where Bethesda is also expected to make a special announcement regarding their own development project related to the Fallout universe.

Battlefield 4 Hardline

Electronic Arts have revealed their next generation action packed first person shooter known as Battlefield Hardline. The game being co-developed by Visceral and DICE would hit store shelves on 21st October 2014, available for both current and next generation platforms which include PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.Battlefield Hardline Gameplay _5

Battlefield Hardline E3 Gameplay Trailer:

EA Unveils Battlefield Hardline – Next Generation Cops Versus Thieves Action FPS

The combat and gun play shown in the trailer feels a lot like Battlefield 4 but the gameplay is unique delivering a totally new experience from Battlefield’s all-out warfare. The gameplay mode “Crack The Vault” showed a team of thieves who are supposed to capture the loot from a destination and try their best to escape with as much as possible while other players playing as S.W.A.T are trying to hunt them down. Both teams have access to several vehicles and the map shown off even features LEVOLUTION where a huge crane falls off from a building that’s under construction and destroy’s the building in its parallel making debris fall over players resulting in instant death.

Being developed by Visceral who are well-known for their Dead Space Trilogy which is also regarded as one of the best survival horror and action title to be released, the developer is taking a turn from Third Person Shooters into the First Person Shooter world. With games like Army of Two and Dante’s Inferno, Visceral set new standards of how game story plays into the field and while the story of previous Battlefield games haven’t been much of a deal breaker for the game itself (aside from Bad Company Series), its the multiplayer which has made up for the game. The game would continue the two year shooter cycle that EA kicked off with Medal of Honor and Battlefield. The recent Medal of Honor entries didn’t live up to the claim and hence EA moved to Visceral to develop a new action FPS title for 2014 while DICE focuses their efforts on adding more content to Battlefield 4 and start initial works on their next title which is far from release.

Mirror's Edge logo

Mirror’s Edge which is the prequel to the original game launched back in 2008 has been unveiled at the EA E3 2014 press conference. The Mirror’s Edge gameplay trailer showed off the return of the Parkour Themed Open-World action adventure gameplay style we have come in love from the original title.Mirror's Edge 2014

Mirror’s Edge E3 2014 Gameplay Trailer:

Faith’s Past Foretold In Mirror’s Edge – Parkour Themed Open-World Action Adventure

To show off the brilliance of the open-world environments, DICE is fully integrating their Frostbite 3 engine into the game so we can expect a massive visual upgrade over the already beautiful looking, Mirror’s Edge (2008) so that’s going to be a major plus point. We however cannot confirm whether there would be any destruction effects similar to the one we saw in Battlefield series but regardless of that, the game is turning out to be a decent entry in EA’s portfolio.

Mass Effect N7 Logo

At the Electronic Art’s E3 2014 conference, Bioware announced the teaser trailer to their Sci-Fi epic trilogy Mass Effect known as, Mass Effect. The sequel would be the first entry that would embark into a second trilogy in the Mass Effect Universe after the events of Commander Shepard and his original team.Mass Effect Concept Art

Mass Effect E3 2014 Teaser Announcement Trailer:

Bioware Blows off With Mass Effect Teaser Announcement

The original Mass Effect trilogy is regarded as the most immersive Sci-Fi experience ever created following a story line which remains unmatched. Strictly based off the RPG elements, the new Mass Effect would also include the dynamic action combat styled introduced in Mass Effect 3 while keeping the RPG elements of the previous titles in the loop. The main attraction of the Mass Effect series has not been the combat or gameplay but the unique story line that unfolds in the Mass Effect universe. While the original Mass Effect was set in 2183 which was followed by Mass Effect, based in 2185 and the trilogy came to a conclusion in 2186 when the war with the reapers finally end.

The previous Mass Effect games have been centered around the reapers and the six major races of the game which include Humans, Turians, Salaraians, Asari, Quarians and Krogan followed by the smaller races which include the Volus, Elcor, Drell, Hanar, Vorcha, Yahg. With the reapers either finished or not considered a threat any more as concluded from the Mass Effect 3’s ending, it would be surprising to see how the new trilogy would take off. Bioware is keeping the bulk of the details under wraps for now but we now that the environments and exploration would be a major role for the next game with planet exploration back in action along with several side missions to do. The Mass Effect will introduce a new gameplay system which will introduce a new leveling up system and several customization variety for armors and weapons. Bioware did a pretty good job with the customization in Mass Effect 3 so they can easily maintain a variety of customization options similar to something Visceral did with Dead Space 3.

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