Two Sides of the Same Screen.


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The Following is Based on True Forum Exchanges

Voice of Slight Logic: Don’t pretend you weren’t warned. What did you expect from AMD? When the Hawaii was released, its “certified” temperature range was a sliver shy of your kettle’s.  Heat to them is an issue of scant concern, scarcely more then sand off a camel’s hump.   They’ve shamelessly gambled every subsequent chip on their client’s goodwill. Their transistors run hotter than the volcanoes on the islands they’re named after.  The “Tonga” may well be a newer GPU but scratch new, built from ground up? I’m afraid not, its a honed Hawaii with handful of party pieces.

1.  Something clever to do with lossless colour compression in the frame buffer.  Apparently it can read the data on the fly in its compacted state with no sacrifice in quality, much like an intelligent audio device plays a FLAC  file, same as a WAV but 40% smaller and in the “Tonga’s” case 40% more efficient.

2.  The addition of 16bit floating point and integer instructions to preserve power when processing content that doesn’t necessitate 32bit calculations.

3. Expanded H.264 support, with the ability to decode material rendered at resolutions of upto 4096×2304 at 60 frames per second and identify all base, main and high media profiles.

Did you really believe that Apple could defy physics and contain what amounts to a partially under-clocked R9 285 pumping out over 190 watts in a chassis as narrow as a Scrooge’s mind…at the beginning of the story….before all those ghosts said, “Pull yourself together man and buy Bob Cratchit a bigger candle”.

Happy 5Kers:  Seriously, its nothing to huff about, most of us are quite happy.  We adore our gorgeous acquisitions. Apple were smart not to kowtow to Nvidia’s avarice. AMD deserved the deal, they were far more proactive and now, we have marvellous machines equal to any mission  moments after their maiden boot.  Yosmite is frictionless ecstasy.

I’ve come from a PC with a 27″ Hazro and the improvement in clarity is breath snatching.  I was delighted with that rig but now, I wonder how I ever coped. It’s achingly beautiful.  Do you remember what it was like when you first wore goggles underwater?  The transition from 1440p to 2880p is, every bit as miraculous, its a quantum leap, worth every cent, penny, dollar and crown.

Voice of Slight Logic:  And what have you used it for?  A spot of iTunes, telling the time, sending emails, self-indulgent Skyping, copying personal FX randomly to the clouds and back?

Happy 5Kers:  Ha.  Spoken like a true Windows Worshipper.  Don’t think for a nano that I’ve not stressed this thing.  I’ve thrown the world at it, including the games you lot dote on.  I’ve tested under Yosemite and windows 7 via Bootcamp. I’ve run Crysis 3  using “very high” settings, Tomb Raider at “ultra”, Counter Strike and Shadows of Mordor, both with “high” detail and every one at 1440p. Frame rates are smooth, no hiccups, stutters or lock-ups regardless of the OS.

Believe it or not, I’ve jacked some stuff to 5k.  Starcraft 11, Diablo 3, League of Legends, plus a round of synthetic benchmarks.  Had to use medium or low quality for the games but hell, isn’t that forgiveable? We’re talking 14.7 million pixels.  Most desktop veterans I know would struggle to maintain smoothness at 1440p, let alone 4 or 5K.

Disgruntled 5kers:  And what are your temp readings?

Happy 5Kers:  Oh, GPU tops out about 100 C.

Disgruntled 5kers:  And you’re ok with that?  No fear for the fate of your logic board?

Happy 5Kers:  Certainly not.  Apple is adamant that its normal, AMD too.  Presumably you’ve read about  the Southern Islands family.  There are far more sophisticated and effective techniques to expel heat now, the Hawaii can automatically administer its core and memory frequencies, fan velocity and  voltage in rapid and precise increments to guarantee the most productive and stable operating environment at any given moment.  The Tonga is the same.

AMD’s Power Tune equates to Nvidia’s GPU Boost.  The 28nm process is incredibly refined now, much less current leakage from the transistors, so default temps can be increased without draconian safety measures. Besides, think about it, GPUs have been dancing in the 90s for years, especially in laptops and tablets.

Disgruntled 5kers:  Well thank you for such an articulate and reassuring lecture regarding contemporary GPUs. It’s funny your ride has been so free of incident. I’m running the same spec as you and find I casually canter past 70 degrees moments after launching native apps.  As for games and synthetics, I’m profoundly underwhelmed.  Temperatures rocket to 100+ in seconds and absolutely refuse to budge.

Throttling is instantaneous and persistent. I’ve tried Furmark, Mordor, Crysis 3 and Tombraider .   I’ve used Afterburner to monitor temps, power consumption, processor occupancy, core and memory frequencies and as a soon as I hit 90 degrees, the GPU starts dragging its heels.  Core drops from 850 to 834, then slides to 784mhz, then fluctuates between 762 and 784 continuously.  I can partially placate the hazardous heat by transforming the card’s cooler into a hissing cockroach, this gets me back below boiling point, but is of no avail to speed until I also decrease the workload.

This was supposed replace my old Retina, acquired in November 2013.  That had a GTX 780M and frankly it tanked the “Tonga”.  Frame rates were butter and custard by comparison.  Superior performance across the board.  It never exceeded its wattage or temperature allowance, despite habitual over-clocking.  I had individual templates saved for every program I pitched at it.  Didn’t have to tweak a single one.  Its thermal threshold was 95 and I had to wring its neck to reach 90+.  It only ever touched its peak  once, when I ran Prime 95 blend and Furmark  during the height of summer and with the core boosted and even then, the fan was set to “auto”.

Happy 5Kers:  Can’t understand that.  My fan barely ever tops 2300.  The R9 295X is without doubt a quicker card, it was conceived specifically to surmount the 780m.  It comprehensively crushes it in a variety of routinely employed benchmarks, test suites and games as is borne out by several rigorous reports.  It dashes the dust from its squirrel cage.  It deposes, dominates and devastates it with panache.  See for yourself.

Disgruntled 5Kers:  Indeed, one shamefully skewed set of statistics.  Tomb Raider is an acknowledged AMD showcase, as is Diablo 3.  Notice how even the weaker “i5” with an R9 M290X is able to spank the speedier, hyper-threaded i7 with the 780m in four cases, and that in Tomb Raider its nearly 40% ahead, utterly misleading.

Happy 5Kers:  Care to nominate an alternative source?

Disgruntled 5Kers.  Try Notebook check.  Not gospel, but at least they collate and aggregate figures from a broad cross-section of official and unofficial sources, and account for a plethora of published reviews, each based around a reliable and abundantly less rose-tinted analysis. According to them, the 780m has 13% more muscle mass than the m290x.

Happy 5Kers:  But they only benchmark up to 1080p, that’s becoming a dated format.

Disgruntled 5Kers:  Rubbish, tons of Gsync junkies with meatier rigs than our fragile minions use it religiously.

Happy 5Kers:  Why haven’t they included scores for 1440p? That’s where the nines shine

Disgruntled 5Kers:  Doesn’t matter, look at all the titles that didn’t surface in the article you linked to and rings the the 780m dances around the m290x.  Assasin’s Creed Unity, 14% quicker.  Alien Isolation, an 11% lead. Shadow of Mordor, 16% ahead.  Elder Scross Online, a 20% gap.  Sims 4 and Risen 3, 24% brisker in both.

Happy 5kers:  You’re just being selective, the M290x owns Wolfenstein and Ryse Son of Rome by 11% and 17%.

Disgruntled 5Kers:  But it loses out in the vast majority of cases

Happy 5Kers:  Aha! and see how the M295X slaughters the 780 in Dragon Age inquisition, by 24%?

Disgruntled 5Kers:  But only by 3% and 6% in Watchdogs and Crysis 3.  There have been precious few tests for the 295 since its brand new and exclusive to one OEM, Crab-apple.  But I don’t need confirmation when my personal findings expose such conclusive evidence.  Now perhaps you could indulge me with some information.  Is your fan speed set to “Auto”.

Happy 5Kers: Yes.  Pretty much permanently, although on isolated occasions, for example, when Priming and benching simultaneously or running games at 5k I’ll manually intervene.  But I’ve no or reluctance or aversion to do so, those circumstances are exceptional don’t typify day to day activities.

Disgruntled 5Kers:  I see.  Still, could you fire up MSI Afterburner, then run the “Furmark” test alongside Prime 95 and post a screen cap of the traces.

Happy 5Kers:  I can, but it’ll have to be tomorrow.  Got sessions in Garage band, compositions in Photoshop, all sorts of neat projects on the go and I’ll tell you, this angelic panel alone adds 25% to my inspiration!

Disgruntled 5Kers:  No problem.  Enjoy your honeymoon friend, wish I could go back and relive mine.


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