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Close to the Metal ep 32: Tonight’s the Night for New GPUs

In what’s becoming a regular tradition, both GPU manufacturers are gearing up to release the mid-season update to the latest generations — or so we think. For Nvidia, an ominous countdown will expire on the evening of February 28th, 2017, which is likely to mean the GTX 1080 Ti. AMD, meanwhile, has suggested new cards powered by the Vega GPUs will pop up for the first time in public at GDC, directly opposite the GeForce announcement.

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Details on both are scarce, but we can definitely draw some conclusions based on their predecessors. We’ve seen solid 4K performance out of the GTX 1080, so the 1080 Ti is more likely a solution for the slow trickle of higher-refresh 4K displays, and for people who like to shatter benchmarks. There’s already a Pascal-based Titan X, which sits at a wallet-demolishing $1,000, so the GTX 1080 Ti is likely to fit right in between that and the $550-600 price point for the GTX 1080.

AMD’s new Vega cards, on the other hand, are more likely to follow in the footsteps of the Radeon Fury cards, with a focus on advanced features. We don’t know a lot, but we can certainly expect High Bandwidth Memory, hopefully in a new and improved form, will come back to offer unparalleled memory access. The Fury cards were priced at $650 at launch, although that price came down quickly. It doesn’t give us much of a clue into Vega pricing, but with the RX 480 8GB sitting around $240, we could easily see a $500+ price tag for Radeon’s premium offering.

Either way, we’ll know more tonight. In the meantime, we’ll be discussing the rumors, speculation, and implications of new GPUs, whether they show up or not.

Close to the Metal is a podcast from Digital Trends that focuses on the geekier side of life. It tackles the topics PC enthusiasts argue over in language everyone can understand. Please subscribe, share, and send your questions to We broadcast the show live on YouTube every Tuesday at 1pm EST/10am PST.

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