I’ve been waiting this for a while (actually since GTX 580 Hydro Cooper from EVGA). Of course there were some models in this form factor, but in terms of performance GTs came nowhere close, even that GTX 750 was only entry level (performance wise replacing GTX 460, but with lower power usage). PRO cards are simply in other price category (without offering any additional performance) & some (read AMD) are not even capable to run CUDA.
As pre CES 2015 news were flooding social networks I’ve found a tweet from ExtremeRigs “We are in love with single slot GPUs. …” linking to photo on EVGA’s fan page. “It’s practically begging for a full cover waterblock” – added EK Water Blocks.
Hard to say what chip is under the hood (as it’s not in focus), but I hope that it’s higher-end model (GM204, sitting in 980/970 or something along those lines). Considering from 5 output on the back side it might be true.
Before this we saw Guys modding Titan cards to single slot, but You need to cut one of DVI connection in order to change the bracket from dual to single slot. A possibility, though clearly not for everyone, as even disassembling the GPU is going to void Your warranty, not to mention operation itself..
It’s very nice to see this, hope this trend is going to continue & soon after we’re going to see more Single Slot options on the market! Especially high-end models, like this dual GPU R9 295×2 from VisionTek (EK water block, custom bracket..).
For some might be a question, what’s the point? Well, the point is that we have some workstation motherboards on the market that have 7-8 PCIe slots to fill, but located only single slot apart.
If You want to add 7-8 GPU cards You need risers (ribbon cables) in order to make this happen (as most common GPU format takes two slots). The problem with ribbon cables is that those are just another point of failure in a rig & not always work perfectly, plus You need to modify case to physically put those cards somehow (for majority of users that’s too much of a headache to consider this route).
Bringing Single Slot GPU option to the market is very welcome & I’m pretty sure if that’s a right card (compute capable) we’ll see it very popular among certain type of users who leverage CUDA applications for simulations, rendering & other type of heavy compute tasks.
UPDATE: As happy as I was (after seeing first news covered above) as sad I become after some footage from CES 2015 – check this tastefully captured piece by Hardware Canucks about EVGA’s products.
So where that sadness came from? Well it’s clear this single slot card is not going to be very useful or attractive to GPU compute guys.
It’s definitely not going to be cheap – released as k|ngp|in edition GTX 980 & targeted to extreme overlockers (aiming to achieve highest peaks on benchmarks).
Card is huge, to say the least & more than that it requires extra 8pin (total of 2x 8pin + 6pin power connectors). We already know that Octane Render doesn’t draw as much power under load as some benchmarks or games do, so this card is less than ideal for GPU raytracing crowd.
Unless.. You are going water-cooling route & try to squeeze every little drop of performance (probably risking stability), but in the end this will not bring You good value (considering the fact it’s sort of a niche product, water block probably ain’t going to be cheap too). So it’s questionable if anyOne is going to choose this card for rendering..
As sad as I could be about this, somewhere deep inside I hope we’ll see Single Slot options down the road. GTX 980 overall is not the best GPU for Octane Render. Maxwell architecture so far haven’t proved to bring any advantage over Kepler (running Octane Render) just maybe slightly lower power usage (before You start overlock or turn to non-reference design route). It might be question of software optimisation, but I’m not expecting this to improve things too much. Overall GTX 980 is gaming card & nVidia made some good optimisations in that area, but for compute we are waiting for something new (hopefully coming around GTC 2015 ).
So, that’s it on this topic, Guys. Other & probably even more interesting thing shown on CES 2015 was GPU bracket from Corsair (HG10 N780) adapted for reference design 7xx cards & if You’re interested feel free to read some thoughts I’ve wrote on this topic!