Wednesday, June 19, 2013

EVGA GeForce GTX780 ACX Cooler Overview

I purchased the new EVGA GeForce GTX 780 with ACX cooler on June 5, 2013 for $659.99 + 3.99 shipping on NewEgg. Buying these high end cards on launch is a tricky deal. They are in stock for about 10 minutes before they are sold out. Of all the cards I have seen on NewEgg at the time, this one was the best in terms of factory overclocked settings. Even the awesome looking Gigabyte model had lower clock speeds.

The card is roughly the same size as the GeForce GTX680SC. It should fit in almost any mid sized case.

Side by side comparison of EVGA GeForce GTX780 with ACX Cooler & EVGA GeForce GTX680SC

It runs cooler than 680 and makes less noise. Those who have used the 680 would know that they hardly make any noise, I had to listen for it to even notice it. I was happy that the 780 performs even better.

Performance wise, the average frame rates are higher, the leap isn't all that big from a GeForce 680. Guild Wars 2. The frame rate certainly dips below 60 on ultra in Lion's Arch. Those who don't play Guild Wars 2, Lion's Arch is a hub where every player from level 1 to 80 would gather for something or the other. Its a highly populated area and there is always something or the other going on. Check out this video of Lion's Arch on ultra settings.

I was pretty impressed with the performance of the card in Battlefield 3. Here is a video of Battlefield 3 in ultra.

Temperatures are lower on the 780, and that probably has a lot to do with the better cooling system on this card. I would absolutely recommend buying this instead of any reference model. Higher clock speeds, and better cooling system is definitely worth the extra $10. Quick note about the power connectors - 780 uses 1x6pin + 1x8pin PCI-express power connectors. This version of the card is bundled with the 8 pin power connector.

Should 680 Owners Upgrade?

Folks like me who like to own the latest GPU just as long as there are performance gains, probably already purchased the card. Those who are on the fence about it, should hold off. At the moment there is no reason to upgrade. Considering that the card is pretty expensive, there are no games at the moment that are taking full advantage of the GPU.

Of course, if a monitor upgrade is involved from 1080 to 1440, then an upgrade makes sense in order to play at the highest settings.

In my opinion, the 680 has plenty of life left in it. So I would hesitate to recommend an upgrade at the moment.

Nvidia GeForce GTX 780 Compatibility with older BIOS

I have a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motheboard, which was running with a stock BIOS, which was last updated on 3/12/2013. When I first installed the card, it would go to the BIOS screen and just sit there for a good minute. The LED debug code would show code 62 (Installation of the PCH runtime services). After about a minute, I would then be able to load windows. However, if I connected my other monitor, CD drive, data drive (non SSD drive) or if I hit Delete or End, the debug LED code would show one of the following:

  • AD (Issue Ready To Boot event for OS Boot)
  • AE (Boot to Legacy OS)
  • AB (Wait user command in BIOS Setup)

Once it reaches this point, it would just not do anything. I was under the impression that there was something wrong with the card itself, and I was quite disappointed.

My wife then had suggested that I should upgrade the BIOS. I looked up my BIOS date and version, and I realized it was quite old. I figured I should at least give it a shot.

I removed the 780, installed my 680, ran through the BIOS upgrade windows utility, and shut down my machine. Then I installed the 780 again and started the machine. This time around, I was through to the windows login screen in about a few seconds.

I was relieved to know that a BIOS upgrade was what was needed and there was nothing wrong with the card.

So my suggestion, first find out the version of the BIOS that is currently installed. This can be done through Windows. Having done this, find out if this version of BIOS is the latest, and if it is not, upgrade it before installing the GPU.

More GPU pictures below.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Microsoft & Sony - The Used Games Situation

For those who are unaware, here is some background:

We are at the verge of new generation consoles. The new Microsoft console - the Xbox One - has tons of DRM in order to prevent gamers from buying & trading used games. They constructed an elaborate system of blocking second hand games by tying them to Xbox Live accounts. It is not possible to trade Xbox One game discs - even for single player games because they are all tied to Xbox Live account. Its essentially like Steam on PC.

Sony on the other hard, made things a lot easier. By not having any DRM on used games.

I imagine there was a conversation between the companies that went something like this:

Microsoft: Hey Sony. We came up with this awesome new plan to make a ton of money!

Sony: Oh yeah? What is it?

Microsoft: Well, seeing as how with the current consoles, we do not get any share from second hand sales, how about we implement a system that would block them from trading games by tying them to an online account? This way, gamers cannot hand over a disc to a friend! We will make it mandatory to enter a serial code, which we are totally going to sell. This is going to bring in tons of second hand revenue!

Sony: That sounds like a great idea! You guys should totally build a system!

Microsoft: But for this to work, we both need to be in on it. This will mean a lot of money for both of us!

Sony: Oh yeah! Absolutely. We hate it when gamers decide to give their discs to their friends - like they own it after they paid for it once!

Microsoft: Yep! We are also thinking about making it mandatory for the console to have to be online at least once every 24 hours....just to make sure the gamers aren't up to any mischief.

Sony: That is a great idea! The more control we have, the less control they have! What could go wrong with that! Nothing, I say!

Microsoft: So we can count on your support?

Sony: Oh yeah man. You got it.

Meanwhile they are thinking

Sony plans to destroy Microsoft at E3!Sony's reaction to Microsoft's DRM policy

Then E3 happens, and Sony releases this video: 

And in their conference, they totally screwed over Microsoft in a dazzling display of capitalism:

At the end, I imagine this is what Microsoft is thinking:
Microsoft don't have a clue about what happened

And the rest of the world is thinking:

The world is confused about Microsoft's decisions