Nvidia's Maxwell architecture is a wonderfully impressive piece of engineering for efficiency geeks, and it reaches near-apotheosis with the GM200-powered GeForce GTX Titan X. This is an architecture that has very clearly been tailored and tuned to maximize gaming performance per watt...
Enthusiasts have been pushing the limits of silicon for as long as microprocessors have existed. Early overclocking endeavors involved soldering and replacing crystal clock oscillators, but evolving standards brought options for changing system bus speeds, while some of the most daring would gain boosts through hard modding. These are but a few of the landmark processors revered for their overclocking prowess.
Older CPUs would simply fail if they started to overheat, but modern CPUs adjust their frequency based on temperature (among other things) to prevent a dramatic failure. Because of this, it stands to reason that once you reach certain temps, you will no longer be getting the maximum performance from your CPU because it will be busy protecting itself. But what is that temperature? And do you really need a high-end liquid-cooled system to get peak performance?
Once designed to protect retail from an inevitable future, overcharging for digital games now threatens the industry. Two versions of a game go on sale. Both of them have precisely the same content, precisely the same experience...
For more than a decade tech-savvy users on a budget would commonly buy a sub-$100 CPU and achieve performance comparable to $200-$300 chips by overclocking. These days Intel locks down its lower end parts, but to mark the 20th anniversary of its Pentium brand, they've released a fully unlocked dual-core Pentium G3258 for $72 -- just what the overclocking community has been waiting for. We'll put it through its paces in a couple of builds of our own.
Intel says overclockers can rejoice over the newest revision of its 4th-gen Core processor, codenamed Devil's Canyon, it promises a few improvements including updated packaging materials, more capacitors for smoother power deliver, and a boost in operating speeds up to 4.4GHz with Turbo Boost.
Gigabyte Radeon R9 290X OC & R9 290 OC Review: Immense potential lost to GPU shortages and inflated prices
AMD's Radeon R9 290 and 290X made a strong case against Nvidia's GTX 780 and Titan late last year, but that position soon weakened with unexpectedly high prices and limited options from board partners. This time we'll revisit the cards with actual production units from Gigabyte so we can weigh in on third-party performance at actual market prices.
Recently we compared 10 of the best CPU air coolers and while we didn't think twice about stamping the NH-U14S with our Outstanding Award, we've since wondered how it would fare against a basic water cooling setup. On paper, closed loop systems simplify the process of diving into water cooling, being about as safe and easy to work with as air cooling while delivering much of the performance you'd expect from an elaborate custom loop at a fraction of the cost.
As if it wasn't already fast enough, Gigabyte has armed its GTX 780 Ti with a massive air cooler that allows its variant of Nvidia's newcomer with a 17% overclock. The company has also been working on other overclocked GTX 780s, including a "GHz Edition" allowing a core clock of 1.02GHz or 18% higher than the standard version of the card.