The R9 290: Not an ideal balance for me

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At $399.99 and just a step behind the Radeon R9 290x, the Radeon R9 290 should be a real winner for everyone. The price performance ratio is incredible and if that’s all that I cared about, I would declare it the undisputed champion of graphics cards.

Unfortunately, I care about other factors such as energy consumption, heat output and noise levels. Energy consumption and heat output is tolerable but noise levels? I heard when my Radeon HD 5770 spun up and didn’t like that so I can’t imagine how loud the R9 290 would sound.

Maybe aftermarket coolers or custom solutions from other vendors will curb the issue. I’m still not comfortable surging beyond the 50 dB level so I am certainly not comfortable with the 60 dB number.

I’m not a fan of the uncompromising pursuit of performance. Sacrificing reasonable noise, power and heat levels for performance is too much. I rather wait for manufacturing to catch up so we can get the performance along with the low noise, low power consumption and low heat output.

AMD Radeon HD 7990 & the tale of AMD

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amd-logoI see the AMD Radeon HD 7990 and could not help but think of it as a dire representation of AMD as a whole. It’s very late to the party and it’s not quite as efficient as competition when it comes to power consumption; AMD’s inability to execute and develop a truly competitive technology in full effect here.

Poor Advanced Micro Devices. They had such promise before Intel woke up and crushed them with steady improvements over time. Who is to blame? Based on Ars Technica’s brilliant summation of AMD’s history to date, it looks like it all began with the company’s founder: Jerry Sanders.

Both Raza and Barton recalled, independently of one another, one of Sanders’ mantras: “Real men have fabs.” Raza called this comment “simultaneously a sexist remark and the most stupid thing you can say,” and he saw the fab decision as one of Sanders’ “significant acts of irresponsibility.” After he quit, Raza never spoke to Sanders again.

Irresponsible decisions made by a CEO who was far too comfortable spending more than what his company can afford. He set the company down a path that it wasn’t able to diverge from despite the technological wins it had.

AMD isn’t dead yet and I hope it manages to stick around to help keep the competition honest. Thankfully if they do go belly up, there are other worthy contenders to step up to the plate.

History of OpenGL vs Direct3D

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Why do game developers prefer Windows?

An innocent question that resulted in an excellent summation of the OpenGL vs Direct3D war from the mid-1990’s until now. It’s a well written and informative post that spells out how Microsoft caught up to OpenGL and eventually overtook the open standard through opportunism and the incompetence of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board.

The author also answered some age old questions like why NVIDIA video cards performed so well with OpenGL. He also provided insight on how catered Shader Models and exclusive OpenGL extensions during the GeForce 3 and Radeon 8500 days.

It was an interesting read to say the least.

Checkpoint: Overclocking Edition


I’ve overclocked my CPU and/or GPU since my first ever computer. Pushing an Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 from 2.13 GHz all the way to 3.2 GHz was a very nice bonus. That was my last major overclock. After I acquired my Intel Core i5 750, I decided it wasn’t worth pushing for GHz since most games didn’t take advantage of it and I wasn’t willing to lose the dynamic varying of clockspeed and voltage that came with a “stock” processor.

I looked into “dynamic overclocking” a couple of years ago but the initial clockspeeds I set it at were not stable and I didn’t want to sink anymore time subjecting my brand new PC to Prime95 tests. Bored and curious I performed another search and found this wonderful “Efficiency” article from Tom’s Hardware. Apparently I was close the last time around.

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