Category: Tech Education News

Maxsun Introduces Its Customized GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Video Card Lineup Consisting Of Anime-Inspired Magic Heart Princess Model

Maxsun has finally unveiled its full GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card lineup which comes in four flavors including an anime-inspired design which Maxsun started offering within its GeForce RTX Ampere lineup.

Maxsun Unveils Four Custom GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Graphics Cards Including Anime Waifu Variant

The first model which will be the most talked about in the comments is the Maxsun GeForce RTX 3060 Ti iCraft OC Enchantment Heart Princess. This variant comes with a massive triple-fan cooler and has a 2.5 slot form factor. The card features a white-colored shroud with pink & blue accents that look great. (Image Credits Bilibili via Momomo_US)

The back of the card is laser etched with a picture of the anime waifu character known as the Enchantment Heart princess. The card will require two 8-pin connectors to boot and comes with the standard 1 HDMI and triple DisplayPort configuration.

Other than that, there are two additional iCraft variants, one is a standard iCraft design while the other is a slightly more premium iCraft GM / OC design. The card features a boost clock of 1800 MHz and comes with a 2.5 slot design with a triple-fan cooling solution. The main difference for both cards is that one supports the higher factory overclock and comes with ARGB lighting while the other variant comes with standard RGB lighting and a slightly toned down shroud. Both cards require dual 8-pin power connectors and come with a solid metal backplate with RGB embedded on the backside ‘iCraft’ logo too. Both are very premium models and should come at around $500 US.

The Maxsun iCraft GeForce RTX 3060 Ti series will be making use of SIP Digital Power phases and a high-end custom PCB design. A similar PCB would also be adopted for the iCraft Waifu variant. All cards feature the stock display configuration.

Last up, we have the Maxsun GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Terminator which is a dual-slot and dual-fan design. The card has a nice shroud which comes with a crystalline design on the front through which RGB LEDs can illuminate. The back features a nice aqua-colored pattern. The card recieves power through a single 8-pin connector. There’s no word on the pricing yet but these models are launching in the Asian Pacific market while certain retailers will be bringing them over to the US & EU markets.

The post Maxsun Unveils Its Custom GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Graphics Card Lineup Including Anime-Inspired Enchantment Heart Princess Model by Hassan Mujtaba appeared first on Wccftech.

AMD Motherboards With Ryzen 5000 Collection Support Comprehensive, Update To 500 Collection BIOS With AGESA 1.1.0.0 For The Best Experience

Our colleagues over at Computerbase.de have compiled a ton of information regarding motherboard support of AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 5000 series processors. The BIOS with the AGESA update required to POST with Ryzen 5000 series (AGESA 1.1.8.0) has been out for quite some time but the polished version with full support has also finally landed for 500 series motherboards. Users with 400 series motherboards will have to wait till January 2021 to get the first beta releases.

Download AMD 500 series motheboard BIOS with AGESA 1.1.0.0 to fully support Ryzen 5000 series, support for 400 series coming in January 2021

he AMD Ryzen 5000 series features a 19% PC improvement and up to 16 cores. The flagship can boost up to 4.9 GHz and the company is claiming the fastest gaming processor crown that Intel was hoarding up till now. Interestingly, even 400 series chipsets will be getting the update to move to Zen 3 but this will not happen till January 2021 – likely in an effort to convince customers to move to newer chipsets first. Without any further ado, here are the bios links:

Featuring a remarkable 19% IPC increase over the prior generation in PC workloads, the “Zen 3” architecture pushes gaming and content creation performance leadership to a new level. “Zen 3” architecture reduces latency from accelerated core and cache communication and doubles the directly accessible L3 cache per core while delivering up to 2.8X more performance-per-watt versus the competition.

The top of the line 16 core AMD Ryzen 9 5950X offers:

The highest single-thread performance of any desktop gaming processor5The most multi-core performance of any desktop gaming processor and any desktop processor in a mainstream CPU socket

The 12 core AMD Ryzen 9 5900X offers the best gaming experience by:

Average of 7% faster in 1080p gaming across select game titles than the competition

Average of 26% faster in 1080p gaming across select titles generationally

via AMD

With AGESA 1.1.0.0 out on AMD 500 series motherboards, AMD users are truly ready for the AMD RYzen 5000 experience. You can see the full list of links below:

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Motherboard Support Table (Courtesty of Computerbase.de)
AsusAMD AGESA ComboAM4v2PIManufacturerChipsetModel name1.1.9.01.1.8.01.1.0.0AsusB450Asus Prime B450M-ADownload (ZIP)Asus Prime B450M-A IIDownload (ZIP)Asus Prime B450M-KDownload (ZIP)Asus Prime B450-PlusDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF B450M-Plus GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Plus IIDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF B450M-Pro GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming B450M-Pro IIDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF B450M-Pro S.Download (ZIP)Asus TUF B450-Plus GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF B450-Pro GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B450-F GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B450-F Gaming IIDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B450-E GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B450-I GamingDownload (ZIP)X470Asus Prime X470-ProDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF X470-Plus GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix X470-F GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix X470-I GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VII HeroDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)A520Asus Prime A520-ADownload (ZIP)Asus Prime A520M-EDownload (ZIP)Asus Prime A520M-KDownload (ZIP)Asus Pro A520M-C / CSMDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming A520M-PlusDownload (ZIP)B550Asus Prime B550M-KDownload (ZIP)Asus Prime B550M-ADownload (ZIP)Asus Prime B550M-A (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)Asus Prime B550-PlusDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming B550M-PlusDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming B550M-Plus (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming B550-PlusDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-A GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-I GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-F GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-E GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix B550-XE Gaming (WI-Fi)Download (ZIP)X570Asus Prime X570-PDownload (ZIP)Asus Prime X570-ProDownload (ZIP)Asus Pro WS X570-ACEDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming X570-PlusDownload (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)Asus TUF Gaming X570-Pro (WI-FI)Download (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix X570-E GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix X570-F GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Strix X570-I GamingDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VIII ImpactDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VIII HeroDownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Dark HERODownload (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (WI-Fi)Download (ZIP)Asus ROG Crosshair VIII FormulaDownload (ZIP)ASRockAMD AGESA ComboAM4v2PIManufacturerChipsetModel name1.1.9.01.1.8.01.1.0.0ASRockB450ASRock B450M / acDownload (ZIP)ASRock B450M / ac R2.0Download (ZIP)ASRock B450M Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock B450M Pro4 R2.0Download (ZIP)ASRock B450M Pro4-FDownload (ZIP)ASRock B450M Steel LegendDownload (ZIP)ASRock B450M-HDVDownload (ZIP)ASRock B450M-HDV R4.0Download (ZIP)ASRock B450 Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock B450 Pro4 R2.0Download (ZIP)ASRock B450 Steel LegendDownload (ZIP)ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming K4Download (ZIP)ASRock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX / acDownload (ZIP)X470ASRock X470 D4UASRock X470 D4U2-2TASRock X470 Master SLIASRock X470 Master SLI / acASRock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming K4ASRock Fatal1ty X470 Gaming-ITX / acASRock X470 TaichiASRock X470 Taichi UltimateA520ASRock A520M Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock A520M-HDVDownload (ZIP)ASRock A520M-HVSDownload (ZIP)ASRock A520M-ITX / acDownload (ZIP)B550ASRock B550M / acDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550M-HDVDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550M Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock B550M Phantom Gaming 4Download (ZIP)ASRock B550M ITX / acDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550M Steel LegendDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock B550 Extreme4Download (ZIP)ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4Download (ZIP)ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming 4 / acDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 Phantom Gaming-ITX / axDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 PG VelocitaDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 Steel LegendDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 TaichiDownload (ZIP)ASRock B550 Taichi Razer EditionDownload (ZIP)X570ASRock X570M Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4Download (ZIP)ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4 WiFi axDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming 4SDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming XDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 PG VelocitaDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Phantom Gaming-ITX / TB3Download (ZIP)ASRock X570 Steel LegendDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Steel Legend WiFi axDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Pro4Download (ZIP)ASRock X570 Extreme4Download (ZIP)ASRock X570 Extreme4 WiFi axDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 TaichiDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 Taichi Razer EditionDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 CreatorDownload (ZIP)ASRock X570 AQUADownload (ZIP)BiostarAMD AGESA ComboAM4v2PIManufacturerChipsetModel name1.1.9.01.1.8.01.1.0.0BiostarB450Biostar B450MHCBiostar B450MHBiostar B450NHBiostar B450GT3Biostar B450GTX470Biostar X470MHBiostar X470NHBiostar X470GTABiostar X470GTNBiostar X470GTQBiostar X470GT8A520Biostar A520MHDownload (ZIP)B550Biostar B550MHDownload (ZIP)Biostar B550GTADownload (ZIP)Biostar B550GTQDownload (ZIP)X570Biostar X570GTDownload (ZIP)Biostar X570GT8Download (ZIP)Biostar X570GTADownload (ZIP)GigabytesAMD AGESA ComboAM4v2PIManufacturerChipsetModel name1.1.9.01.1.8.01.1.0.0GigabytesB450Gigabyte B450M HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M S2HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M S2H V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M GamingDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M DS3HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M DS3H V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M DS3H WIFIDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450M Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Aorus MDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Aorus ProDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Aorus Pro WIFIDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Gaming XDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 Aorus Elite V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B450 I Aorus Pro WIFIDownload (ZIP)X470Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFIDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFIDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI-50Download (ZIP)Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra GamingDownload (ZIP)A520Gigabyte A520M HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte A520M S2HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte A520M DS3HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte A520 Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte A520I ACDownload (ZIP)B550Gigabyte B550M HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M S2HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M DS3HDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M DS3H ACDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M GamingDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Gaming XDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Gaming X V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M Aorus ProDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550M Aorus Pro-PDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550I Aorus Pro AXDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus ProDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Pro ACDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Pro AXDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Pro V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite AXDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus Elite AX V2Download (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Aorus MasterDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte B550 Vision DDownload (ZIP)X570Gigabyte X570 UDDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Gaming XDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus ProDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro WifiDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus EliteDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite WifiDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus UltraDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus MasterDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 Aorus XtremeDownload (ZIP)Gigabyte X570 I Aorus Pro WifiDownload (ZIP)MSIAMD AGESA ComboAM4v2PIManufacturerChipsetModel name1.1.9.01.1.8.01.1.0.0MSIB450MSI B450M-A Pro MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450M Pro-VDHMSI B450M Pro-VDH MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450M Pro-VDH V2MSI B450M Pro-VDH PlusMSI B450M Pro-M2MSI B450M Pro-M2 MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450M Pro-M2 V2MSI B450M MortarMSI B450M Mortar MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450M Mortar TitaniumMSI B450M Gaming PlusMSI B450M BazookaMSI B450M Bazooka MAX WifiMSI B450M Bazooka V2MSI B450M Bazooka PlusMSI B450I Gaming Plus ACMSI B450I Gaming Plus MAX WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI B450-A ProMSI B450-A Pro MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450 TomahawkMSI B450 Tomahawk MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX IIDownload (ZIP)MSI B450 Gaming PlusMSI B450 Gaming Plus MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI B450 Gaming Pro Carbon ACX470MSI X470 Gaming PlusMSI X470 Gaming Plus MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI X470 Gaming ProMSI X470 Gaming Pro MAXDownload (ZIP)MSI X470 Gaming Pro CarbonMSI X470 Gaming Pro Carbon ACMSI X470 Gaming M7 ACA520MSI A520M ProDownload (ZIP)MSI A520M-A ProDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG A520M Vector WifiDownload (ZIP)B550MSI B550M-A ProDownload (ZIP)MSI B550M Pro-DASHDownload (ZIP)MSI B550M Pro-VDHDownload (ZIP)MSI B550M Pro-VDH WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI B550M ProDownload (ZIP)MSI B550-A ProDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550M BazookaDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550M MortarDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550M Mortar WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550M Vector WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550 TomahawkDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550 torpedoDownload (ZIP)MSI MAG B550 Gaming PlusDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG B550 Gaming Edge WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG B550 Gaming Carbon WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG B550I Gaming Edge MAX WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MEG B550 UnifyDownload (ZIP)MSI MEG B550 Unify-XDownload (ZIP)X570MSI X570-A PRODownload (ZIP)MSI MAG X570 Tomahawk WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MEG X570 AceDownload (ZIP)MSI X570 UnifyDownload (ZIP)MSI MEG X570 GodlikeDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG X570 Gaming PlusDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG X570 Gaming Edge WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WifiDownload (ZIP)MSI Prestige X570 CreationDownload (ZIP)

The post AMD Motherboards With Ryzen 5000 Series Support Detailed, Upgrade To 500 Series BIOS With AGESA 1.1.0.0 For The Best Experience by Usman Pirzada appeared first on Wccftech.

AMD Smart Gain Access To Memory Allowed on Intel Z490 Motherboard, Shows Visible Performance Gains With Radeon RX 6800 XT

Several motherboard makers have started adding support for AMD’s Smart Access Memory tech on Radeon RX 6800 XT & RX 6800 graphics cards to the Intel-based 400-series motherboards. ASUS and MSI are the first to allow support for SAM with ASRock and Gigabyte quickly working on getting their own support out too. Japanese outlet, ASCII, has posted the first benchmarks of how well the feature performs on the Intel platform, showing a noticeable performance improvement.

MD Smart Access Memory Tested & Benchmarked on Intel 400-Series (Z490) Motherboard With Radeon RX 6800 XT, Shows Up To 16% Gains In Performance

AMD’s Smart Access Memory technology which is a fancy name for BAR (Base Address Register)  will not require users to invest in a PCIe Gen 4 platform as it will be supported by PCIe Gen 3 too. Based on what we know so far, BAR essentially defines how much discrete GPU memory space can be mapped and today’s PCs are typically limited to 256 MB of mapped memory. AMD claims that with SAM (Smart Access Memory), they can access all of the GPU memory, removing bottlenecks to allow for faster performance.

AMD officially only mentioned that SAM (Smart Access Memory) would be supported by its Ryzen 5000 CPUs and the respective 500-series chipset based motherboards. However, board makers not only enabled support on AMD’s 400-series motherboards but are also adding support to Intel’s 400 series motherboards such as the Z490 variant tested here.

The platform used for testing included the ASUS ROG Maximus XII Extreme motherboard which was running the latest 1002 BIOS which adds support for AMD SAM (Smart Access Memory) on it. The Intel Core i9-10900K CPU was used along with the Radeon RX 6800 XT graphics card to see if the feature could be enabled and any performance gains can be seen on an Intel platform with the feature enabled. To enable the feature, you have to access the BIOS and navigate to the ‘Advanced’ page. The feature is set to Disabled by default but has to be set to Auto to get it to a working state.

After booting in the PC and opening the graphics card in the device manager, you can see that the GPU appears with a ‘Large Memory Range’ as indicated by its range address of ‘0000004000000000 to 00000043FFFFFFFF’.

MD Smart Access Memory Performance Benchmarks With Intel Z490 & Radeon RX 6800 XT

Coming to the performance benchmarks, a total of four titles were tested which include Assassins Creed: Valhalla, Forza Horizon 4, Red Dead Redemption 2, and Rainbow Six Siege. First up, we have Assassin’s Creed Valhalla which was tested at 1080p resolution at the high quality preset. The GPU sees a 14% gain in average and a 13% gain in minimum (1%) FPS numbers which is a great start for the feature on an Intel platform.

Moving on, we have Forza Horizon 4 which was tested at both 1440p and 1080p resolutions. Here at 1080p, the GPU sees a 19% average and a 20% gain in minimum FPS numbers. At 1440p, the RX 6800 XT gains fall down to 16% average and 17% minimum which indicates a CPU bottleneck at the lower resolution. As you increase the resolution, the CPU bottleneck is reduced and the GPU is the primary determinant of performance. With that said, 4K should also see a double-digit gain in GPU performance at 4K in Forza Horizon 4.

AMD’s Smart Access Memory intends to do just that by removing CPU overhead and offering higher-performance. Next up, we have Red Dead Redemption 2 which is one of the most demanding titles released to date by Rockstar. The title was tested at the highest preset at the 1080p resolution and ASCII saw gains of 8% on average but a huge 2.8X improvement in the minimum result. ASCII reports that they tested the title 3 times and saw the same improvement every time the test was run.

Lastly, we have Rainbow Six Siege which was tested at 1080p on the highest quality preset. The Intel platform saw a 1% gain on average but once again, a marked improvement in the minimum FPS of 12% compared to SAM turned off. While we don’t expect double-digit gains in all games, one thing is assured that Intel users would see smoother gameplay as a result of SAM since it boosts the minimum FPS figures, reducing the CPU overhead and allowing for faster FPS performance.

While we don’t expect double-digit gains in all games, one thing is assured that Intel users would see smoother gameplay as a result of SAM since it boosts the minimum FPS figures, reducing the CPU overhead and allowing for faster FPS performance. This free performance boost would be variable throughout the games and applications being tested but it’s definitely a huge deal considering a 10% jump is quite significant. NVIDIA is also working on its own BAR (Smart Access Memory) technology which will be supported across AMD and NVIDIA platforms. NVIDIA expects to release it later through a software update.

MSI Confirms Its Own Smart Access Memory Support Coming To Intel Z490, H470 & B460 Motherboards

Meanwhile, MSI has announced in a press release that it is bringing a BIOS update to enable AMD Smart Access Memory support on its own 400-series motherboards. The initial plan is to support Z490 motherboards at the beginning of December so we can expect the BIOS updates to roll out within a few days. This would be followed by partial support for B460 and H410 motherboards & finally, we can expect a full list of B460 and H410 motherboards to be supported by the end of the month.

MSI showcased a running example of its Z490 GODLIKE motherboard allowing for the ‘Large Memory Range’ within the device hardware panel when running a Radeon RX 6800 graphics card.

Unfortunately, MSI has to remove the press release since it also listed down the unreleased Intel Rocket Lake CPU, presumably the Core i9-11900K. The CPU was shown running at a base clock of 3.40 GHz and a boost clock of 4.3 GHz which definitely aren’t final clock speeds. Other specs such as 8 cores, 16 threads, 16 MB of L3 cache, and a TDP of 125W were also spotted.

The post AMD Smart Access Memory Enabled on Intel Z490 Motherboard, Shows Noticeable Performance Gains With Radeon RX 6800 XT by Hassan Mujtaba appeared first on Wccftech.

One of the most vivid gemstones on Earth – Jeff Dekofsky

What gives opals their signature shimmering colors? Dig into the science of the gemstone’s formation, millions of years in the making.

In November 1986, Australian miners climbed Lunatic Hill and bored 20 meters into the Earth. They were rewarded with a fist-sized, record breaking gemstone, which they named the Hailey’s Comet opal. Thanks to a characteristic called “play of color,” no two opals look the same. So what causes these vibrant displays? Jeff Dekofsky digs into the rock’s shimmering, dancing displays of light.

Lesson by Jeff Dekofsky, directed by Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson.

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Four Steps to Reliable as well as Cost-efficient Special Education

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When I went off to college, my father gave me simple, time-tested advice. “Nate,” he said, “You will meet lots of new people, and if you want to get along, just don’t discuss politics, race, or religion.” Decades later, when I headed off to my first day as a school district superintendent, Dad updated his advice and counseled, “Whatever you do, don’t mess with special ed if you want to get along.”

Dad’s caution says so much about the state of special education in America then and now. Even if some are unhappy with the current state of affairs, it strikes many as treacherous territory into which they will never dare enter. And yet, there are important issues to tackle, especially amid pandemic-era budget pressure and widespread learning loss.

Despite increasing school-district spending, students with disabilities tend to have low levels of academic achievement. This uptick in special-education spending has also had adverse consequences to the rest of the schooling ecosystem, such as increasing class sizes, squeezing out arts programs, and hampering new efforts to offer behavioral supports or courses focused on science, technology, engineering and math.

Two things are true: Kids with disabilities deserve better, and more spending has not helped them. There is little reason, then, to assume that more dollars in the future will turn the tide. By the same token, simply cutting back on special-education staff or services will only make a bad situation worse.

So, what should we do? First, we need to get comfortable talking about special-education spending. We should not vilify the budget staff who say costs are rising, disparage board members who lament that special-ed spending is squeezing out other important needs, or malign any idea that saves money as bad for kids. We need to be able to talk about helping kids and the budget in the same conversation.

We also need to focus on one overarching goal: increasing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of serving students with special needs. Fortunately for kids and taxpayers alike, my colleagues and I, working with pioneering districts across the country, have found a way to do both at the same time. There are four key steps for districts to follow to achieve this goal: know what works for raising achievement, know the actual cost of specific services and strategies, shift resources to services and strategies that improve outcomes at reasonable cost, and rethink how special education is managed.

Step One: Know What Works for Raising Achievement

Thanks to meticulous research by individuals like John Hattie and groups like the What Works Clearinghouse and the National Reading Panel, a clear set of best practices for raising achievement has emerged. These guidelines focus on students with mild-to-moderate disabilities, who constitute roughly 80 percent of all kids with disabilities. These are the students with individualized education plans (IEPs), who can and should go to college and/or have rewarding careers. Best practices for these students include:

Ensuring that students receive 100 percent of core instruction in reading and math: If they do not receive all of the material or get a watered-down, below-grade-level curriculum, how can we expect them to master state standards or the skills needed for success after graduation?

Focusing on reading as the gateway to all other learning: If kids struggle to read and comprehend, then science, social studies, and math become difficult to master.

Providing extra instructional time to master grade-level content: Even with quality core instruction, students who struggle need more instructional time than peers who are not struggling. That typically amounts to 30 extra minutes a day at the elementary level and 60 at the secondary level to remediate skill gaps from prior years, reteach key concepts, and preteach upcoming material.

Guaranteeing that core and intervention teachers have deep content knowledge: Nothing matters more than the teacher’s skill and knowledge. Instructors trained in how to teach reading or with deep expertise in math are non-negotiables for student success.

Addressing the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students: The best academic practices cannot get traction if children are not ready to learn, able to focus, and engaged in their education.

Unfortunately, some of the most common and costly efforts in use today are in direct conflict with what works. These efforts include: pulling students out of core instruction in reading and math to provide them special-education services; undermining the importance of reading on grade level by utilizing unskilled paraprofessionals to support reading; relying too much on “push-in,” the practice of giving extra help by sending a second adult into the classroom during core instruction, which does not provide extra instructional time; and assigning special-education teachers and paraprofessionals to academic support, regardless of their training, skills, or aptitude in the subjects being taught.

Historically, more districts have embraced these less-than-best practices than have shifted to what works. This preference for such practices stemmed from the false belief that more adults and smaller group sizes mattered more than the time spent on learning and the skill of the teacher. Happily, the balance seems to be moving in the right direction.

One district I visited in Vermont, for example, exemplifies how far many schools have strayed. A well-run, high-spending district was committed to helping kids with disabilities. It embraced inclusion and cared deeply. It should have been a great place to be a student with a mild-to-moderate disability, but it wasn’t.

Students with IEPs were always included in the general-education classroom, but paraprofessionals provided most of their reading instruction. Special educators who had struggled in high school math tutored math. The classroom teacher assumed that the special-education staff would provide most of the instruction to catch kids up. Worse yet, the students were often were pulled out of core instruction for speech therapy and other services. In short, children who struggled got less core instruction than classmates who did not struggle. They received instruction from adults who were caring but not content-strong teachers (or even teachers at all), and they never got extra time to learn. They got more adults but not more learning.

Yet doing the right thing works only when it is done well. Poor implementation and inappropriate IEPs undermine effective and cost-effective strategies. Measuring academic return on investment, or AROI, closes the loop on doing what works and doing it well. AROI is the systematic, structured process of knowing what works, at what cost, for which kids. The idea is simple: Gather baseline data on student levels of content and skill mastery, identify or create a control group, measure growth, and see whether outcomes actually improve while making sure to track the cost associated with serving each student.

The challenge is that few school systems gather such data. Too many rely primarily on professional judgment, observation, and faith in their practices. Kids with disabilities deserve better.

When districts do take the time and effort to measure what works, insights abound. One district, for example, was implementing a well-designed reading program but was puzzled about why results did not improve after a few years of hard work and professional development. On review, district leaders discovered that teachers and principals thought they were following the new plan to the letter, but in fact, many old habits had crept back in. Rather than trashing the program and buying a new one, district leaders recommitted to the existing program but with more objective monitoring of fidelity. Within a year, reading levels climbed.

Another district happily discovered that a secondary math-intervention program got excellent results—18 months of growth on average. A deeper dive into the AROI data revealed great success for kids who were two to three years behind but not for kids who had elementary-level skill gaps like fractions and number sense or who failed math because they disliked school. No one best practice is best for every child who struggles. That district kept its math intervention for some kids, instituted a different one for others, and switched from math help to counseling for a third group. As result, all three groups of students started attaining more than a year’s growth, and the achievement gap began to close.

Step Two: Know the Actual Cost of Specific Services and Strategies

Districts cannot thoughtfully manage special-education spending if they seldom talk about costs or if they do not have the requisite cost data. While kids with disabilities deserve more and better services, providing them in a cost-effective manner is an act of kindness, not cruelty. Getting more comfortable talking about spending and shifting the conversation from total spending to cost per service helps expand services rather than reduce them. First, though, districts leaders have to know how much things actually cost.

One district, for example, discovered that two of its schools used different approaches for supporting students with disabilities who struggled to read. Each school had one full-time staff member dedicated to this effort. School A followed the National Reading Panel’s recommendations, while school B embraced Reading Recovery. Both are best practices according to the What Works Clearinghouse, and AROI data showed that both achieved a year and a half of growth for the typical struggling student.

Though both programs were similar in effectiveness, they differed significantly in cost. Reading Recovery cost $5,000 per student, while the equally effective National Reading Panel alternative cost $1,875. Fiscally, it seems wasteful to spend 2.5 times as much to get the same result. Moreover, when schools embrace high-cost strategies, they inadvertently ration these services. In School A, where costs were lower, 40 kids got high-quality reading help. In School B, just 15 did. Each school had one full-time equivalency teacher, but one teacher was able to serve more students in School A. In School B, where there were not enough certified members of staff to help, struggling readers got push-in help from a less-skilled paraprofessional and fell further behind.

Knowing the cost per service provided to each student also helps build support for increased investment in highly skilled staff rather than paraprofessionals, who seem to have an impact that is neutral at best for kids with mild-to-moderate disabilities.

In spite of minimal impact, the number of special-education paraprofessionals increased by 22 percent over the past 10 years for which we have data, while student enrollment has inched up just 2.6 percent, during the same period, according to the National Center for Education Statistics in 2017. While paraprofessionals are critical and valued for kids with severe disabilities, they are less helpful for students who struggle to master grade-level content. When my firm collected schedules from nearly 20,000 paraprofessionals from more than 125 districts across the country, we saw that a great many paraprofessionals spend most of their days providing academic support.

In one school, for example, 74 percent of all elementary paraprofessional hours were dedicated to academic instruction, mostly in reading. When asked why they used paraprofessionals (of whom the school employed many) and not certified reading teachers (of whom the school employed few), school leaders’ answer was simple: They could not afford a higher number of certified staff members.

A cost-per-student-served analysis was startling for school and district leaders, as they had underestimated the cost of paraprofessionals in the first place. They thought paraprofessionals earned only $11,000 a year and thought about a handful were paid $15,000 annually. Most paraprofessionals, however, actually earned about $39,000 a year with health insurance and seniority increases factored in. This is less than the cost of a certified teacher, but not as much less as leaders had thought. Still, if we stopped the analysis at cost per adult, paraprofessionals would be less expensive than teachers.

But what happens when the conversation shifts to cost per service, per student served? In our example school, each paraprofessional helped about 10 students, at a cost of $3,900 per student. The district kept para-supported group sizes small, at typically one or two kids at a time. District leaders hoped this intensity of support would offset the lower skill level of the instructor. In the same district, a full-time reading teacher or special educator with strong reading expertise earned about $85,000, including benefits, but that person helped 35 students. Groups of four to five kids, all with similar academic needs, were no problem for these teachers. These highly skilled teachers cost less than $2,500 per student served—a better bargain and much better for kids. This type of cost-per-student-served analysis was first brought to K–12 schools by Marguerite Roza.

Armed with this understanding, the district swapped one-third of its paraprofessionals for certified staff, which increased the number of students served by skilled teachers. Reading proficiency increased by 5 points. It also freed up funds to hire mental-health counselors. These positive results were brought about by a financial analysis that aimed to help, not harm, kids with disabilities.

Getting comfortable collecting cost data and discussing the relative costs of various strategies should be encouraged. From both legal and moral perspectives, kids with disabilities should not be denied services based on the cost, but those costs should still be tracked and discussed. Often, a win-win is possible. An intervention strategy can be great for kids and good for the budget.

Step Three: Shift Resources to Services and Strategies That Improve Outcomes at Reasonable Cost

Ultimately, the only way to ensure that all students are prepared for success after graduation is to shift spending away from practices that are ineffective or cost-ineffective. The key word here is “shift.” As districts follow best practices for raising achievement, they will have to add staff in some areas, but they will also be able to cut back staff in others.

Making special education more cost-effective for students also needs to make the lives of special educators better. Increased spending to support teachers is needed, but offsets are possible so that the extra help both kids and staff need can be cost-neutral. Districts that have embraced these practices and seen achievement rise spend their money very differently.

The major increases in spending include:

More instructional coaches: If general-education core instruction is foundational, then investing in instructional coaches is key to building the capacity of classroom teachers to better serve students with special needs.

More teachers with expertise in teaching elementary reading: Given the centrality of reading as the gateway skill, gap-closing schools invest heavily in highly skilled teachers of reading. These can be general-education staff, certified reading teachers, or special educators with deep expertise in reading.

More teachers with expertise in teaching secondary reading: The need to read and comprehend does not end in 4th grade. Unfortunately, too many middle- and high-school kids still struggle to read. Schools owe them a skilled reading teacher, too.

More general-education math and English teachers: Providing extra time to master the three Rs closes the achievement gap only when the extra time is spent in direct instruction from content-strong teachers. All those intervention classes need great English and math teachers in the front of the room.

More behavior specialists and mental-health counselors: Even the best academic strategies will not get traction if schools fail to meet the social, emotional, and behavioral needs of students. And if problematic student behavior overwhelms classroom teachers, they will resist their greater role in serving all students.

Such a long list of added staff might surprise readers expecting a call for lower spending in special education, though I hope it comforts those focused on improving and expanding services. Fortunately, both taxpayers and students can benefit from cost-effective strategies.

While some areas need more spending and staff, these additions can be offset by: slightly larger groups of students with like needs; fewer paraprofessionals for academic support; fewer generalist special educators; and fewer meetings and less paperwork.

Streamlining meetings and paperwork by 20 percent, for example, adds the equivalent of four teachers to a district of 5,000 pupils. Staff morale usually rises, too, because special-education teachers get to do more of what they love, which is help students. Besides, in every district I have studied, some staff have already figured out how to reduce meetings and paperwork by 30 percent or more compared with others in the district. This is a path that already exists.

Best practices cost the same as, and in some cases less than, traditional practices, but they help kids a whole lot more. Even so, shifting resources is hard and can be anxiety-producing. New and better services should therefore be added before, or concurrent with, reducing current services. Fears that cuts are definite, while additions are just a promise, rightly worry many.

Yet no one needs to lose their job to fund these shifts. Given how difficult the job is, many staff leave their district or the profession every year. All the shifts can be paced to match attrition. There is no reason to fear, as many do, that such shifts eliminate all paraprofessionals or decimate the ranks of special educators. Small shifts through attrition can make a big impact for kids and the budget, without negatively impacting hard-working adults.

Step Four: Rethink How Special Education Is Managed

Perhaps the most overlooked aspect of cost-effectively serving students with disabilities is the modified role of leaders and managers. Cost-effectiveness does not just happen. It is managed day in and day out. To successfully implement the first three steps, districts must rethink how special education is managed and who is part of the leadership team. Too often, managing special education is siloed in ways that are not good for kids, adults, or the budget.

Typically, a special-education director is in charge of almost everything, including academics, finance, staffing, and compliance. In the vast majority of districts with which I have worked, the chief business officer receives the special-education budget instead of partnering with the special-education director to develop it. Special-education staff in most districts also get less help, direction, feedback, and guidance; they are merely directed to a specific school and asked to make everything work out and schedule all services to keep in compliance.

To close the achievement gap and increase equity of access and outcomes, and to do so cost-effectively, districts need to manage special education differently. The new best practices cannot be effectively implemented via the old organizational structure. Two changes to how special education is managed will smooth the path toward more effective and cost-effective services: helping manage staff time actively and integrating special-education leadership.

Help Manage Staff Time Actively

Special-education staff deserve more support and guidance than they receive in many districts. This is a contributing factor to the high burnout of special educators.

Most often, special educators are handed a caseload and asked to make it all work. Rather than leaving it to each person to balance IEP meetings, evaluate IEP eligibility, provide services to students, and handle myriad other tasks, districts should set guidelines for how best to use the time available. Frontline staff should be part of the conversation. In the many dozens of focus groups I have led, special educators feel that their time is not optimized and that they are stretched thin.

These guidelines need to address how many hours a day special educators should work directly with students, how many hours a week a school psychologist should provide counseling, and how many students should be in a “small group,” as stated in an IEP.

In the nearly 200 school districts I have studied, fewer than a handful of leaders have set such guidelines for the staff they manage. Without a collective answer, staff members are left to figure it out for themselves on their own. This is not cost-effective or good for kids. It is also stressful for staff.

It is very hard to implement thoughtful guidelines for the use of staff time if scheduling is not treated as strategically important. The schedule is where guidelines become reality. Creating the schedule should not be delegated to each individual special educator. Building schedules in partnership with a manager and with the help of an expert scheduler is a key ingredient in managing special education cost-effectively.

Integrate Special-Education Leadership

I can think of no job more stressful than leading a special-education department. A director might have 40 to 60 direct reports. Most unhappy parents eventually land in their office. The state department of education monitors compliance like a hawk. The staff is burning out. Then, during budget season, lots of people blame the director for cuts elsewhere in the district. By the way, the students are still struggling academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. Everyone wants the director to fix this, but few see it as their job to help in that effort. It is a no-win situation.

Just as academic best practices call for an important role for general education, it follows that general-education leadership will be critical to increase the cost-effectiveness of serving students with disabilities. Chief academic officers, assistant superintendents for teaching and learning, and their ilk are the experts in academics and should drive this important work. Special-education leaders are the copilots.

In elementary schools, general-education leaders, namely, principals, assistant principals, and reading coaches, must also lead the effort to ensure that all kids can read and understand what they read. Separate is never equal, but often, it seems that elementary schools have forgotten this lesson.

Other departments also need to integrate more closely with special education. This includes the measurement, accountability, and business offices. If we want special education to focus on what works, it seems reasonable that folks trained in collecting and analyzing data and program effectiveness should do this for all programs, including those that serve students with special needs. In the same spirit, the business office should be an active partner that adds value in predicting special-education staffing and helping track and manage spending. This might seem like common sense, but it is not currently common practice. Making special education more cost-effective is no easy task, and it requires a team effort. Formally tasking these departments with helping to manage special education is key to managing it well.

Shifting Practices for a New Era

The world has changed. The kids coming to school today have more needs, but schools have fewer resources. A focus on improving the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of special education is the only path forward that does not lead to worse outcomes, fewer services, and higher teacher turnover. Fortunately, this journey can be good for kids, staff, and taxpayers,

all at the same time. It will be challenging to embrace new approaches, get comfortable talking about costs, and focus on what works, but this is not a trip special educators have to take alone. General-education leadership, general-education teachers, and other managers will lighten the burden and make it a team effort.

Reprinted and adapted by permission of the Publisher. From Frederick M. Hess and Brandon L. Wright, eds., Getting the Most Bang for the Education Buck, New York: Teachers College Press. Copyright © 2020 by Teachers College, Columbia University. All rights reserved.

Nathan Levenson is managing director of the District Management Group.

The post Four Steps to Effective and Cost-Effective Special Education appeared first on Education Next.

Boston Parents Rally for In-Person College Reopening

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Students joined parents at a rally to push Boston to re-open physical school buildings.

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Boston public school parents and students frustrated by the city government’s failure to open in-person school for most of the city’s public school students are organizing, staging a rally outside City Hall to prod the city to do better.

Dozens of parents and students braved the both the pandemic and the city’s notoriously bleak and windswept City Hall Plaza on Wednesday December 2 to march in a circle, pose for pictures, speak to reporters, and hold hand-lettered signs with slogans like “I Need to be in School!”

Whether the activism over the school closure will last past the eventual end of the pandemic is an open question. But if one listened carefully, one could detect the possible stirrings of a political awakening, as Boston public school parents confronted the reality that some combination of union power and political and bureaucratic failure has kept their children out of school buildings.

Parent activist Steve Holt and his daughter Sage, age 6, a 1st grader at Boston’s Eliot Innovation School.

One organizer of the protest, Steve Holt, an East Boston magazine editor with an 8th grader and a 1st grader at the Eliot Innovation School, said he was “confused” that Boston’s bars, restaurants, and gyms are open for business, but school buildings are not. “I don’t understand the disconnect there,” Holt said.

He said the parent movement had started in Charlestown but spread citywide, without outside funding. “It’s totally grassroots,” he said, noting that parents already functioning as teachers of their own children and as workers at their jobs have had to add “advocate” to their list of titles.

Holt said that though schools in other cities, including in Massachusetts, have opened more widely, in Boston the teachers union seems “just dead set against opening in any form.”

He said that Boston has managed to devise vaccines against the virus and has some of the nation’s best hospitals. “Why can’t we figure out a plan” to get schools open, he asked.

He rejected the idea that the re-opening school push was a project of President Trump and Republican governors. “I’m a liberal Democrat. I think the majority of the people I have met through this are as well,” he said. “This is a social justice issue.”

Another Eliot school parent from East Boston, Jodi Delrazo, said the quality of the online instruction has been “very good,” with teachers doing a good job. “But still it doesn’t substitute for in-person,” she said. The lack of physical school affects children of different ages differently, she said. Her 8th grader misses the social contact, while her 4th grader is missing out on the learning.

Delrazo described herself as “frustrated” by the failure of the mayor, the school superintendent, and the union to reach an agreement on re-opening. “They’ve had since March 7 to figure it out, and still nothing” she said. “They’re just thinking about the fall. That was worrisome to me.”

Delrazo, who works in international education, said she has watched as students in Europe “are successfully going back.”

“Why aren’t the schools open?” she asked. “Boston has to make an effort.”

A group from Massachusetts Parents United, an advocacy group, joined the rally. Many wore matching black t-shirts.
A group from Massachusetts Parents United, an advocacy group, joined the rally. Many wore matching black t-shirts.

Celia Avila, 19, of South Boston, is a senior at Boston English High School. She was at the rally with her grandmother, Julia Vera, who was wearing a t-shirt with the words “Latino Kids Deserve Education, Not Incarceration.” They were there as part of a contingent from Massachusetts Parents United, an advocacy group.

“I prefer school because sometimes the Internet is bad. I cannot understand the class,” Avila said. She said that online, the students all talk at the same time, making it harder to learn. And she said she misses seeing her friends in person.

In a November 12 letter to parents, the Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, Brenda Cassellius, wrote, “We have heard from many of you that while remote learning has greatly improved, for many students in-person learning is the best approach. We are committed to reopening school buildings as soon as we can, in collaboration with the City and our partners.”

The city’s mayor, Martin Walsh, said this week “I would love to have our kids in school right now,” acknowledging that the educational effects of remote-only classes “are going to be pretty detrimental in some ways,” according to WHDH. If the city gets better control over the virus, “we will begin the process of reopening schools right after the new year, hopefully,” Walsh said, according to the tv station.

An enrollment analysis distributed by the Boston Schools Fund found the city’s district schools had lost 2,368 students in fall 2020 compared to fall 2019, or 4.69% of its student population. Boston Catholic Schools, which are open for in-person learning, have seen enrollment growth of thousands of students and hardly any Covid-19 cases, a fact that Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker has pointed out in urging most schools to re-open.

Ira Stoll is managing editor of Education Next.

The post Boston Parents Rally for In-Person School Reopening appeared first on Education Next.

EdNext Podcast: Projections of Pandemic Learning Loss Were As Well Pessimistic, a New Research Study Recommends

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A research scientist for the Collaborative for Student Growth at NWEA, Megan Kuhfeld, joins Education Next Editor-in-chief Marty West to discuss Kuhfeld’s new study, which tracks student reading and math scores during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Kuhfeld’s blog post, “Reading Suffered Less Than Expected During Pandemic, New Fall 2020 Student Data Show,” is available now.

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The EdNext Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play, Soundcloud, Stitcher and here every Wednesday.

— Education Next

The post EdNext Podcast: Projections of Pandemic Learning Loss Were Too Pessimistic, a New Study Suggests appeared first on Education Next.

The misconception of Loki and the lethal mistletoe – Iseult Gillespie

Discover the Norse myth of Baldur, the most beloved being in Asgard, and how the trickster god Loki plotted his death.

Baldur was the gentlest and most beloved being in all of Asgard. But lately, he had been plagued by gruesome visions foretelling his own imminent death. Determined to protect her son from these grim prophecies, Queen Frigg travelled across the nine realms, begging all living things not to harm Baldur— all living things except one. Iseult Gillespie shares the myth of the death of Baldur.

Lesson by Iseult Gillespie, directed by WOW-HOW Studio.

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NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB Graphics Card Review Ft. MSI Video Gaming X Trio

Keeping their tradition alive of launching a new GeForce graphics architecture every two years, this year, NVIDIA introduces its Ampere GPU. The Ampere GPU is built upon the foundation set by Turing. Termed as its biggest generational leap, the NVIDIA Ampere GPUs excel previous generations at everything.

The Ampere GPU architecture has a lot to be talked about in this review, but so does the new RTX lineup. The Ampere lineup offers faster shader performance, faster ray tracing performance, and faster AI performance. Built on a brand new process node and featuring an architecture designed from the ground up, Ampere is a killer product with lots of numbers to talk about.

The fundamental of Ampere was to take everything NVIDIA learned with its Turing architecture and not only refine it but to use its DNA to form a product in a completely new performance category. Tall claims were made by NVIDIA when they introduced its Ampere lineup earlier this month & we will be finding out whether NVIDIA hit all the ticks with its Ampere architecture as this review will be your guiding path to see what makes Ampere and how it performs against its predecessors.

Today, we will be taking a look at two custom NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio and the GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX. Both of the cards were provided by the respective manufacturers for the sole purpose of this review & we will be taking a look at their technology, design, and performance metrics in detail. The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio features an MSRP of $469.99 US which is a $69.99 US premium over the reference MSRP while the GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX features a $429.99 US price tag which is a $29.99 US premium over the reference MSRP.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Gaming Graphics Cards – The Biggest GPU Performance Leap in Recent History

Turing wasn’t just any graphics core, it was the graphics core that was to become the foundation of future GPUs. The future is realized now with next-generation consoles going deep in talks about ray tracing and AI-assisted super-sampling techniques. NVIDIA had a head start with Turing and its Ampere generation will only do things infinitely times better.

The Ampere GPU does many traditional things that we would expect from a GPU, but at the same time, also breaks the barrier when it comes to untraditional GPU operations. Just to sum up some features:

New Streaming Multiprocessor (SM)New Turing Tensor CoresNew Real-Time Ray Tracing AccelerationNew Shading EnhancementsNew Deep Learning Features For Graphics & InferenceNew GDDR6X High-Performance Memory SubsystemNew 2nd Generation NVLINK InterconnectNew HDMI 2.1 Display Engine & Next-Gen NVENC/NVDEC

The technologies mentioned above are some of the main building blocks of the Ampere GPU, but there’s more within the graphics core itself which we will talk about in detail so let’s get started.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series Pricing Per Segment

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 30 series is made up of a diverse portfolio of graphics cards. With the launch of the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, the GeForce RTX 30series now starts at $399 US followed by $499US for the GeForce RTX 3070, $699 US for the GeForce RTX 3080, and $1499 US for the GeForce RTX 3090.

The RTX 3080 & RTX 3070 are both priced well and in-line with their predecessors but the GeForce RTX 3090 goes all out with a price of $1499 US. NVIDIA calls the GeForce RTX 3090 the “BFGPU” and as per the terminology, it seems like this is a new marketing name for the Titan graphics card. It is likely that we could see a Titan based card under the Quadro branding with faster specs out of the box but the GeForce RTX 3090 is purely a gaming graphics card first with all the horsepower for intense professional and workstation workloads.

With that said, the GeForce RTX 3080 replaces the RTX 2080 SUPER at the same price point, the GeForce RTX 3070 replaces the GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER at the same price point while the RTX 3060 Ti replaces the GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER at the same price point. Given this trend, we might see the more mainstream variants cost just as much as their RTX 20 SUPER series cards but with a higher performance out of the box.

NVIDIA GeForce GPU Segment/Tier Prices

Graphics Segment2014-20162016-20172017-20182018-20192019-20202020-2021Titan TierTitan X (Maxwell)Titan X (Pascal)Titan Xp (Pascal)Titan V (Volta)Titan RTX (Turing)TBAPrice$999 US$1199 US$1199 US$2999 US$2499 USTBAUltra Enthusiast TierGeForce GTX 980 TiGeForce GTX 980 TiGeForce GTX 1080 TiGeForce RTX 2080 TiGeForce RTX 2080 TiGeForce RTX 3090Price$649 US$649 US$699 US$999 US$999 US$1499 USEnthusiast TierGeForce GTX 980GeForce GTX 1080GeForce GTX 1080GeForce RTX 2080GeForce RTX 2080 SUPERGeForce RTX 3080Price$549 US$549 US$549 US$699 US$699 US$699 USHigh-End TierGeForce GTX 970GeForce GTX 1070GeForce GTX 1070GeForce RTX 2070GeForce RTX 2070 SUPERGeForce RTX 3070Price$329 US$379 US$379 US$499 US$499 US$499Mainstream TierGeForce GTX 960GeForce GTX 1060GeForce GTX 1060GeForce GTX 1060GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER

GeForce RTX 2060

GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER

GeForce GTX 1660GeForce RTX 3060 TiPrice$199 US$249 US$249 US$249 US$399 US

$349 US

$279 US

$229 US

$219 US$399 USEntry TierGTX 750 Ti

GTX 750GTX 950GTX 1050 Ti

GTX 1050GTX 1050 Ti

GTX 1050GTX 1650 SUPER

GTX 1650TBAPrice$149 US

$119 US$149 US$139 US

$109 US$139 US

$109 US$159 US

$149 USTBA

In addition to the specs/price update, NVIDIA’s RTX technologies are being widely adopted major game engines and APIs such as Microsft DirectX (DXR), Vulkan, Unreal Engine, Unity, and Frostbite. While there were only three RTX titles around the launch of the RTX 20 series cards, NVIDIA now has at least 28 titles that utilize their RTX feature set to offer real-time ray tracing with more coming soon.

In addition to that, with the upcoming consoles confirmed to feature ray tracing, developers can also make use of the RTX technology to fine-tune future games for the GeForce RTX hardware. Currently, NVIDIA has 13 game engines that are leveraging their RTX technologies for use in their upcoming and existing games while both Vulkan and DirectX 12 Ultimate APIs are part of the RTX ecosystem on the PC platform.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Graphics Card

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is going to be a brand new entry in the RTX 30 series lineup. It is aimed at the mainstream segment of around $400 US and will deliver performance close to the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER while coming close to the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti with RTX & DLSS options enabled.

NVIDIA designed the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, not just for any gamer but all gamers who want to have the best graphics performance at hand to power the next-generation of AAA gaming titles with superb visuals and insane fluidity at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. It’s not just the FPS that matters these days, it’s visuals, and a smoother frame rate too and this is exactly what the GeForce RTX 30 series is made to excel at.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Graphics Card Specifications – GA104 GPU & 8 GB GDDR6 Memory

At the heart of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics card lies the GA104 GPU. The GA104 is one of the many Ampere GPUs that we will be getting on the gaming segment. The GA104 GPU is the second-fastest gaming GPU that NVIDIA has produced.

The GPU is based on Samsung’s 8nm custom process node designed specifically for NVIDIA and features a total of 17.4 Billion transistors. It measures at 395mm2 which makes it the 2nd biggest gaming GPU ever produced right below the Turing TU102 GPU.

The new shader core on the NVIDIA Ampere architecture is 2.7x faster, the new RT cores are 1.7x faster while the new Tensor cores are up to 2.7x faster than the previous generation Turing GPUs. The 2nd Generation RT core delivers dedicated hardware-accelerated ray-tracing performance & features twice the ray/triangles intersection with concurrent RT graphics and compute operations.

For the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti, NVIDIA has enabled a total of 38 SM units on its flagship which results in a total of 4864 CUDA cores. In addition to the CUDA cores, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 Ti also comes packed with next-generation RT (Ray-Tracing) cores, Tensor cores, and brand new SM or streaming multi-processor units. The GPU runs at a base clock speed of 1410 MHz and a boost clock speed of 1665 MHz. The card has a TDP of 180W.

In terms of memory, the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti comes packed with 8 GB of GDDR6 memory. The memory runs across a 256-bit bus wide interface and features an effective clock speed of 14.00 Gbps which delivers a cumulative bandwidth of 448 GB/s, the same as the GeForce RTX 3070.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series ‘Ampere’ Graphics Card Specifications:

Graphics Card NameNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 TiNVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090GPU NameAmpere GA104-200Ampere GA104-300Ampere GA102-200Ampere GA102-300Process NodeSamsung 8nmSamsung 8nmSamsung 8nmSamsung 8nmDie Size395.2mm2395.2mm2628.4mm2628.4mm2Transistors17.4 Billion17.4 Billion28 Billion28 BillionCUDA Cores48645888870410496TMUs / ROPs152 / 80184 / 96272 / 96328 / 112Tensor / RT Cores152 / 38184 / 46272 / 68328 / 82Base Clock1410 MHz1500 MHz1440 MHz1400 MHzBoost Clock1665 MHz1730 MHz1710 MHz1700 MHzFP32 Compute16 TFLOPs20 TFLOPs30 TFLOPs36 TFLOPsRT TFLOPs32 TFLOPs40 TFLOPs58 TFLOPs69 TFLOPsTensor-TOPs192 TOPs163 TOPs238 TOPs285 TOPsMemory Capacity8 GB GDDR68 GB GDDR610 GB GDDR6X24 GB GDDR6XMemory Bus256-bit256-bit320-bit384-bitMemory Speed14 Gbps14 Gbps19 Gbps19.5 GbpsBandwidth448 Gbps448 Gbps760 Gbps936 GbpsTGP175W220W320W350WPrice (MSRP / FE)$399 US$499 US$699 US$1499 USLaunch (Availability)2nd December 202029th October 202017th September 202024th September 2020

In case you want to read our full NVIDIA Ampere GPU architecture deep dive and GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review, head over to this link.

The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is the flagship variant in the MSI RTX 3060 Ti family. It is a powerful graphics card, rocking the 2nd generation Tri-Frozr cooling for MSI’s Gaming graphics cards. In overall size and weight, this thing is just tons of massive performance packed in a 2.5 slot form factor.

In addition to the custom design, the RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio comes with a non-reference PCB, featuring a 13+3 phase design that features higher quality components than the reference variant which is already a really good design by itself. In terms of clock speeds, the graphics card features the same base frequency of 1410 MHz but the boost clock is rated at 1830 MHz over the Founders boost of 1665 MHz.

Following are some of the features of the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio before we go into detail:

Boost Clock / Memory Speed

1830 MHz / 14 Gbps8 GB GDDR6XDisplayPort x 3 (v1.4a) / HDMI 2.1 x 1

TRI FROZR 2 Thermal Design

TORX Fan 4.0: A masterpiece of teamwork, fan blades work in pairs to create unprecedented levels of focused air pressure.Core Pipe: Precision-crafted heat pipes ensure max contact to the GPU and spread heat along the full length of the heatsink.Airflow Control: Don’t sweat it, Airflow Control guides the air to exactly where it needs to be for maximum cooling.

RGB Mystic Light

Mystic Light gives you complete control of the RGB lighting for MSI devices and compatible RGB products.

Dragon Center

MSI’s exclusive Dragon Center software lets you monitor, tweak, and optimize MSI products in real-time.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio Graphics Card Gallery:

The MSI Gaming X Trio Graphics Cards With 2nd Tri-Frozr Cooling

With the differences out of the way, now let’s talk about the similarities and the main highlights of the Gaming X Trio design. The Gaming X Trio is a toned-down variant of the much higher-end card, the MSI Lightning. Both cards use advanced Tri-Frozr coolers which are the replacement of the MSI Twin Frozr series which have been widely used in current and last generation graphics cards from MSI.

The latest iteration of MSI’s iconic GAMING series once again brings performance, low-noise efficiency, and aesthetics that hardcore gamers have come to recognize and trust. Now you too can enjoy all your favorite games with a powerful graphics card that stays cool and silent. Just the way you like it.

MSI has incorporated and refined a couple of things in the new Tri-Frozr design for Gaming X Trio graphics cards. First is the TORX fan 4.0 which uses a ring design that connects two fan-blades with each other to increase airflow towards the internal heatsink assembly. These fans are made up of a double ball bearing design which ensures silent functionality in heavy loads.

The fans are fully compliant with the Zero Frozr Technology and are actually comprised of three areas. All of these would stay at 0 RPM (idle state) if the temperatures don’t exceed 60C. When it does exceed 60C, all fans would start spinning. You can change that through the MSI configuration panel if you want more cooling performance over noise load but it’s a nifty feature that I do like.

In addition to the cooling fans, the heatsink has been designed to be denser by using the brand new wave curved 2.0 fin design. The new heatsink makes use of deflectors to allow more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise. MSI estimates a 2 degrees (C) drop in temperatures with the updated design versus the previous generation cooling system.

Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of seven copper squared shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively. The base itself is a solid nickel-plated base plate, transferring heat to the heat pipes in a very effective manner. To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.

Rocking a classy brushed look, the backplate on the GAMING TRIO series provides a nice visual finish to the card. It also strengthens the card and thanks to some cleverly placed thermal pads even helps to keep temperatures low.

The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio graphics card comes inside a standard cardboard box. The front of both packages has a large “GeForce RTX” brand logo along with the “MSI” logo on the top left corner and the “Gaming X Trio” series branding on the lower-left corner. A large picture of the graphics card itself is depicted on the front which gives a nice preview of the Gaming X Trio design.

The packaging has put a large emphasis on the RTX side of things as the first feature enlisted by AIBs will be NVIDIA Ampere architecture, Ray Tracing & DLSS support. NVIDIA has bet the future of their gaming GPUs on Ray Tracing support as these are the first cards to offer support for the new feature.

The back of the box is very typical, highlighting the main features and specifications of the cards. The three key aspects of MSI’s top-tier custom cards are its blazing performance which is achieved by fully custom design, the new Tri-Frozr cooling system, and a new wave-curved 2.0 heatsink which will offer better cooling performance compared to the traditional flat-surfaced fin heatsinks.

There’s also a focus towards GeForce.com on each AIB card through which users can download the latest drivers and GeForce Experience application which are a must for gamers to access all feature sets of the new cards.

The sides of the box once again greet us with the large GeForce RTX branding. There’s also the mention of 8 GB GDDR6 (RTX 3060 Ti ) memory available on the card.

Outside of the box, the graphics card and the accessory package are held firmly by foam packaging. The graphics card comes with a few accessories and manuals which might not be of much use for hardcore enthusiasts but can be useful for the mainstream gaming audience.

The card is nicely wrapped within an anti-static cover which is useful to prevent any unwanted static discharges on various surfaces that might harm the graphics card. The card accessories include a Molex power connector which isn’t of much use in high-end systems since the PSUs already have the required cables.

The most interesting accessory that I found in the package was a graphics card support bracket. This bracket connects the graphics card to the casing, offering better durability and prevents any sort of bending that may occur due to the heavyweight of the Gaming X Trio series graphics cards.

Useful manuals and installation guides are packed within an MSI labeled letter case. There is an MSI Quick Users Guide, a Support bracket installation guide, a sticker letter, the MSI DIY comic, and a single driver’s disk. It’s best to ignore the driver disk and install the latest software and graphics drivers directly from the NVIDIA and MSI official web pages as the ones shipped in the disks could be older versions and not deliver optimal performance for your graphics cards.

After the package is taken care of, I can finally start talking about the card itself. This thing is a beast and I can’t wait to test it out to find what kind of performance improvement I get over current-gen cards.

MSI’s Tri Frozr heat sinks are some of the biggest heatsink cooling solutions that I have ever tested. I first tested the Gaming X Trio when MSI released the 1080 Ti variant back in 2017 and that was a very aggressive design in its own right. With the RTX 30 series cards, MSI has further refined the Gaming X Trio design. The card measures the same at 323 x 140 x 56 mm and weighs in at 1565 grams. The card is also slightly taller at 2.7 slots height compared to the 2.5 slots height of the previous model.

You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such a setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.

The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning. The backplate offers a lot more functionality than just looks which I will get back to in a bit.

In terms of design, we are looking at an updated version of the Tri Frozr heatsink which is now in its sixth variation while for the Gaming X series, this is the 2nd iteration. The first variation started off with the GTX 780 Ti Lightning, the second was the 980 Ti Lightning, then came the 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio, the 1080 Ti Lightning, and then the RTX 20 and RTX SUPER Gaming X Trio graphics cards.

The new heatsink looks like a beefed-up version of the Gaming X Trio with the main changes being the shroud and heatsink design that feature an aggressive shroud design on the front, absorbing the black and silver color platelets while featuring the RGB emitting acrylic cutouts at the front. The sides also come with a large RGB accent bar which lights up when the card is powered on.

Coming to the fans, the card actually features two different fan designs based on the Torx 4.0 system. All three fans feature a ring-based design to allow for higher airflow to be channeled within the main heatsink. All fans deploy a double ball bearing design and can last a long time while operating silently.

MSI also features their Zero Frozr technology on the Tri Frozr heatsink. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold.

In the case of the Tri Frozr heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated.

I am back at talking about the full-coverage, full metal-based backplate which the card uses. The whole plate is made of solid metal with rounded edges that add to the durability of this card. The brushed matte-black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic.

There are cutouts in screw placements to easily reach the points on the graphics card. We can also see the MSI Dragon logo on the back which looks stunning. MSI is also using heat pads beneath the backplate which offer more cooling to the electrical circuitry on the PCB.

The most interesting thing to spot on the back aside from the backplate is the large retention metal bracket which adds more mounting pressure to effectively disperse heat from the GPU to the heatsink. The exhaust vents on the back also help push air out for increased heat dissipation which leads to better cooling performance.

With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what’s beneath the hood of these monster graphics cards. The first thing to catch my eye is the humungous fin stack that’s part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.

The large fin stack runs all the way from the front and to the back of the PCB and is so thick that you can barely see through it. It also comes with the wave-curved 2.0 fin stack design which I want to shed some light on as it is a turn away from traditional fin design.

The heatsink has been designed to be denser by using a wave curved fin design. It allows more air to pass through the fins smoothly, without causing any turbulence that would result in unwanted noise. Airflow Control Technology guides the airflow directly onto the heat pipes, while simultaneously creating more surface area for the air to absorb more heat before leaving the heatsink.

Talking about the heatsink, the massive block is comprised of six copper squared shaped heat pipes with a more concentrated design to transfer heat from the copper base to the heatsink more effectively. The heat pipes make direct contact with the GPU which is different than the nickel-plated copper base featured on the higher-end models.

To top it all off, MSI uses their exclusive Thermal Compound X which is said to offer higher thermal interface and heat transfer compared to traditional TIM applications.

MSI adds extra protection to its impressive PCB by including a rugged anti-bending plate. This also acts as a memory and MOSFET cooling plate while the PWM heatsink with micro fins keeps the VRM cool under stressful conditions.

I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a & a single HDMI 2.1 port.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio Teardown:

MSI makes use of a 6+2+2 phase PWM design that includes its Military Class components such as Hi-C Caps, Super Ferrite Chokes, and Japanese Solid Caps.

The card also uses the GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 14 Gbps alongside a 256-bit wide memory interface.

The MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is more power-hungry than the reference graphics card as showcased by its custom design. Being so, it uses a very power-intensive connector configuration which comprises dual 8 pin connectors. The card is rated at a TDP of 200W officially by MSI.

MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio Series RGB Lighting Gallery:

MSI Gaming X Trio series cards utilize their Mystic Light RGB technology to offer you a visually pleasing lighting experience on your graphics cards. There are a total of 8 different RGB effects which you can choose from and the cards have 3 RGB accent points, 2 on the front, and one lightbar surrounding the side of the card which looks really good. You can fully customize the RGB lights to your preference using the MSI Mystic Light application from MSI’s web page.

Following is what the graphics card looks like when lit up.

The GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX is one of the many variants in GALAX’s RTX 3060 Ti family. The card is positioned close to the Founders Edition model, featuring a triple-fan cooler design within a 2.5 slot form factor. GALAX’s Serious Gaming series will rock a black color design and uses their RGB effects which looks great.

In addition to the custom design, the RTX 3060 Ti EX comes with a non-reference PCB, featuring a 6+2 phase design that features higher quality components than the reference variant which is already a really good design by itself. In terms of clock speeds, the graphics card features the same base frequency of 1410 MHz but the boost clock is rated at 1710 MHz which is 45 MHz higher than the Founders Edition variant but with the Xtreme Tuner application, the speeds can be pushed to 1725 MHz.

Following are some of the features of the GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX graphics card before we go in detail:

GPU Engine Specs:

CUDA Cores 4864Boost Clock (MHz) 17251-Click OC Clock (MHz) 1740 (by installing Xtreme Tuner Plus Software and using 1-Click OC)

Memory Specs:

Memory Speed 14 GbpsStandard Memory Config 8GBMemory Interface Width 256-bit GDDR6Memory Bandwidth (GB/sec) 448

Feature Support:

PCI-E 4.0Windows 10 64-bit, Linux 64-bit

Fan Feature:

2*92mmFan stop @ Idle (All Fan)

Display Support:

DisplayPort 1.4a x 3, HDMI 2.1

GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX Graphics Card Gallery:

GALAX GeForce RTX 30 Graphics Cards Make Ampere Serious For Gamers!

The GALAX GeForce RTX 30 EX series of graphics cards rock an aggressive shroud design which is made out of plastic material and covers a large aluminum heatsink that sits beneath it. The RTX 30 EX series has seen a huge uplift in looks and design from the previous generation which featured a standard RGB display & mostly relied on the reference PCB and clock specifications.

GALAX’s RTX 30 EX series makes use of a dual-fan “WINGS” cooling design which includes 92mm fans that are embedded on the front shroud. Each fan comes with 11 fan blades with an acrylic design that not only looks great but also said to provide higher airflow & air pressure at minimum noise levels.

The fans are fully compliant with GALAX’s new fan-stop technology known as Silent Extreme which monitors both GPU and memory temperatures and turns the fans on/off for a balanced noise and performance level.

Do note that since the card comes with a compact PCB design, the shroud and heatsink extend far beyond the PCB, hence GALAX has left cut-outs in place to direct airflow outwards.

One of the key features that GALAX has stated for its GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards is the Xtreme Tuner application which is now available on mobile. This application is the only way by which you are getting that extra 15 MHz clock speed out of the graphics card and don’t worry, since the desktop application is still available. The mobile application now allows for various range of utilities such as:

Don’t need to exit the game to tune you GPUUser-Friendly interface, 1-click to boost your GPUConvenience functions to tune your RGB, OC, Fan, etc

You can learn more about the GALAX Xtreme Tuner Plus application over here!

The GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX graphics card comes inside a standard cardboard box. The front of both packages has a large “GeForce RTX” brand logo along with the “GALAX” logo on the top left corner and the card branding on the lower-left corner. The box features a whole hooded gamer vibe that GALAX has been using to market their gaming cards for a while now.

The packaging has put a large emphasis on the RTX side of things as the first feature enlisted by AIBs will be NVIDIA Ampere architecture, Ray Tracing & DLSS support. NVIDIA has bet the future of their gaming GPUs on Ray Tracing support as these are the first cards to offer support for the new feature.

The back of the box is very typical, highlighting the main features and specifications of the cards.  There’s also a focus towards GeForce.com on each AIB card through which users can download the latest drivers and GeForce Experience application which are a must for gamers to access all feature sets of the new cards.

The sides of the box once again greet us with the large GeForce RTX branding. There’s also the mention of 8 GB GDDR6 (RTX 3060 Ti) memory available on the card.

Outside of the box, the graphics card and the accessory package are held firmly by foam packaging. The graphics card comes with a few accessories and manuals which might not be of much use for hardcore enthusiasts but can be useful for the mainstream gaming audience.

The card is nicely wrapped within an anti-static cover which is useful to prevent any unwanted static discharges on various surfaces that might harm the graphics card. The card accessories include a single ARGB header and the manuals.

After the package is taken care of, I can finally start talking about the card itself. The card comes in a standard width but feels really long due to its extended shroud design.

The graphics card is really big but not the biggest from the ones I have tested. The card measures 329 x 130 x 61 mm and takes up 2.5 slots worth of space for installation. You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such a setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.

You would have to keep in mind the height when going for a dual card solution as your case or motherboard PCIe slot combination may not allow such setup. The cooling shroud extends all the way to the back of the PCB and it requires a casing with good interior space for proper installation.

The back of the card features a solid backplate which looks stunning. The backplate offers a lot more functionality than just looks which I will get back to in a bit.

In terms of design, the graphics card rocks a singular color scheme which is matte black and along with some white and silver linings on the front, sides, and back. The EX series is an entry-level line when compared to the higher-end Gamer, Work The Frames, and HOF series from GALAX.

GALAX is going fully on-board the RGB bandwagon with their EX series, offering multiple light zones on the front and sides of the card. The shroud itself extends beyond the PCB.

Coming to the fans, the card rocks dual 92mm fans. Each fan is comprised of 11 blades which have a very angular shape that is made to disperse hot air out of the card faster than standard designs.

While both fans have an acrylic finish to really shine with all the embedded RGB LEDs offering an even more glorious display of this card’s RGB capabilities.

GALAX also features a 0db fan technology on the fans which isn’t explicitly mentioned. This feature won’t spin the fans on the card unless they reach a certain threshold. In the case of the GALAX heatsink, that limit is set to 60C. If the card is operating under 60C, the fans won’t spin which means no extra noise would be generated.

I am back at talking about the full-coverage, full metal-based backplate which the card uses. The whole plate is made of solid metal that adds to the durability of this card. The brushed matte-black finish on the backplate gives a unique aesthetic. The graphics card also comes with a compact PCB design which means that the shroud, heatsink, and backplate are all extended beyond the PCB. The third fan blows air through the heatsink and blows it out from the cutouts that are situated at the very end of the backplate.

With the outsides of the card done, I will now start taking a glance at what’s beneath the hood of these monster graphics cards. The first thing to catch my eye is the humungous fin stack that’s part of the beefy heatsink which the cards utilize.

The large fin stack runs all the way from the front and to the back of the PCB and is so thick that you can barely see through it.

Talking about the heatsink, there are two blocks of aluminum fins which are interconnected by five heat pipes running through the copper base plate and heading out towards the dual heatsink blocks. The heatsink is a slightly updated version of the one used on the RTX 2080 WTF with an increased surface area for additional heat transfer.

There are several heat pads included for the VRMs and memory chips. They are full-sized, making full contact with the components to offer stable and efficient heat transfer.

The very front of the PCB has a third heatsink that goes right over the VRMs and is equipped is screwed to the I/O bracket.

I/O on the graphics card sticks with the reference scheme which includes three Display Port 1.4a & a single HDMI 2.1 port.

GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX Teardown:

GALAX makes use of a 6+2 phase PWM design that includes high-quality components. The GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX graphics card also uses the GDDR6 memory from Micron that operates at 14 Gbps alongside a 256-bit wide memory interface.

Power to the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX is provided through a single 8-pin connector which sticks to the 180W reference configuration of the Founders Edition variant. Surprisingly, the EX graphics card comes with a solid metal shielded power connector which is the first time I am looking at on a graphics card.

We used the following test system for comparison between the different graphics cards. The latest drivers that were available at the time of testing were used from AMD and NVIDIA on an updated version of Windows 10. All games that were tested were patched to the latest version for better performance optimization for NVIDIA and AMD GPUs.

MSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio Test Setup:

CPUIntel Core i9-9900K @ 4.70 GHz
MotherboardAORUS Z390 MasterVideo CardsMSI GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio

MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Gaming X Trio

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Lightning Z

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER Gaming X Trio

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Gaming X Trio

MSI Radeon RX 5700 XT Gaming X

MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Lightning XMemoryG.SKILL Trident Z RGB Series 32GB (4 X 8GB) CL16 3600 MHzStorageSamsung SSD 960 EVO M.2 (512 GB)Power SupplyASUS ROG THOR 1200W PSUOSWindows 10 64-bitDriversAMD Radeon Adrenalin Edition 20.7.2

NVIDIA GeForce 456.38 WHQLAll games were tested on 2560×1440 (2K) and 3840×2160 (4K) resolutions.Image Quality and graphics configurations have been provided in the screenshots below.The “reference” cards are the stock configs while the “overclock” cards are factory overclocked configs provided to us by various AIB partners.

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Doom Eternal

DOOM Eternal brings hell to earth with the Vulkan powered idTech 7.  We test this game using the Ultra Nightmare Preset and follow our in-game benchmarking to stay as consistent as possible.

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Red Dead Redemption 2

Developed by Rockstar San Diego, Red Dead Redemption II is one of the most visually stunning open-world games I’ve played to date that is backed up by a rich story set around the protagonist, Arthur Morgan. The game is based on the RAGE engine which features an insane amount of graphics fidelity but also requires a lot of power to run maxed out. For the purpose of this test, we set the graphics settings to Ultra with AA turned disabled.

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Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Wolfenstein is back in The New Colossus and features the most fast-paced, gory, and brutal FPS action ever! The game once again puts us back in the Nazi-controlled world as BJ Blazkowicz. Set during an alternate future where Nazis won the World War, the game shows that it can be fun and can be brutal to the player and to the enemy too. Powering the new title is once again, id Tech 6 which is much acclaimed after the success that DOOM has become. In a way, ID has regained their glorious FPS roots and are slaying with every new title.

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.

shes of The Singularity: Escalation

NVIDIA and AMD have been tweaking the performance of their cards for Ashes of the Singularity since the title released. It was the first to make use of the DirectX 12 API and the first to leverage from the new Async compute technology that makes use of the DX12 renderer to improve performance.

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Battlefield V

Battlefield V brings back the action of the World War 2 shooter genre. Using the latest Frostbite tech, the game does a good job of looking gorgeous in all ways possible. From the open-world environments to the intense and gun-blazing action, this multiplayer and single-player FPS title is one of the best looking Battlefields to date.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Humanity is at war with itself and divided into factions. On one end, we have the pure and on the other, we have the augmented. That is the world where Adam Jensen lives in and this is the world of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The game uses the next generation Dawn Engine that was made by IO interactive on the foundation of their Glacier 2 engine. The game features the support of DirectX 12 API and is one of the most visually intensive titles that taxes the GPU really hard.

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Death Stranding

Sam Porter Bridges has delivered one of PS4’s most anticipated games to the PC community and opened a whole new world of possibilities. This was the first game to feature the Decima Engine on PC and unarguably did it the best. Death Stranding may not feature ray tracing effects but it does showcase that DLSS can be used effectively even when RT isn’t around. We tested this one just like we did in our launch coverage with DLSS enabled.

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Forza Horizon 4

Forza Horizon 4 carries on the open-world racing tradition of the Horizon series.  The latest DX12 powered entry is beautifully crafted and amazingly well executed and is a great showcase of DX12 games.  We use the benchmark run while having all of the settings set to non-dynamic with an uncapped framerate to gather these results.

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Hitman 2 (DX12 Highest Settings)

Hitman 2 is the highly acclaimed sequel to 2016 Hitman which was a redesign and reimaging of the game from the ground up. With a focus on stealth gameplay through various missions, the game once again lets you play as Agent 47 who embarks on a mission to hunt down the mysterious Shadow Client. The game runs on IO’s Interactive’s Glacier 2 engine which has been updated to deliver amazing visuals and environments on each level while making use of DirectX 12 API.

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Shadow of The Tomb Raider

Sequel to The Rise of the Tomb Raider, Shadow of The Tomb Raider is visually enhanced with an updated Foundation Engine that delivers realistic facial animations and the most gorgeous environments ever seen in a Tomb Raider Game. The game is a technical marvel and really shows the power of its graphics engine in the latest title.

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Metro Exodus

Metro Exodus continues the journey of Artyom through the nuclear wasteland of Russia and its surroundings. This time, you are set over the Metro, going through various regions and different environments. The game is one of the premier titles to feature NVIDIA’s RTX technology and does well in showcasing the ray-tracing effects in all corners.

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ssassins Creed: Origins

Assassins Creed Origins is built by the same team that made Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. They are known for reinventing the design and game philosophy of the Assassins Creed saga and their latest title shows that. Based in Egypt, the open-world action RPG shows its graphics strength in all corners. It uses the AnvilNext 2.0 engine which boosts the draw distance range and delivers a very impressive graphics display.

We tested the game at maxed settings with TAA enabled and 16x AF. Do note that the game is one of the most demanding titles out in the market and as such tweaks and performance issues are being patched out.

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Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 has made its way into the test lineup thanks to strong demand by gamers and simply delivering MORE Borderlands. The game was tested with max settings under the DX11 preset since the DX12 preset doesn’t deliver any visible improvement in either frame rate or graphics at the moment.

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Far Cry 5

Far Cry 5 is a standalone successor to its predecessor and takes place in Hope County, a fictional region of Montana. The main story revolves around doomsday cult the Project at Eden’s Gate and its charismatic leader Joseph Seed. It uses a beefed-up Dunia Engine which itself is a modified version of CryEngine from Crytek.

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Final Fantasy XV

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Grand Theft Auto V

GTA V is the most optimized gaming title that has been made for the PC. It’s so optimized, it even runs on my crap GT 840M based laptop with a smooth FPS on a mix of medium/low settings. I mean what???

Aside from being optimized, GTA V is a great game. It was the Game of The Year for 2013. At 1440p Ultra quality, the game gave us smooth frames on all cards tested.

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No graphics card review is complete without evaluating its temperatures and thermal load. The MSI Gaming X Trio graphics card comes with a triple-fan cooler with 0db fan technology, a massive heatsink that is composed of several aluminum fins and heat pipes, and an extended backplate that covers the entire PCB. The GALAX EX series on the other hand makes use of a premium dual-fan cooling system which also incorporates 0db fans and has a large aluminum heatsink.

.

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Note – We tested load with Kombuster which is known as a ‘power virus’ and can permanently damage the hardware. Use such software at your own risk!

I compiled the power consumption results by testing each card under idle and full stress when the card was running games. Each graphics card manufacturer sets a default TDP for the card which can vary from vendor to vendor depending on the extra clocks or board features they plugin on their custom cards. Default TDP for the RTX 3060 Ti is set at 175W while the custom models come with a 200W (MSI) and a 190W (GALAX) TDP, respectively.

Also, it’s worth noting that the 8nm process from Samsung increases the density by around 2x versus the previous generation. NVIDIA is cramping even larger amounts of transistors and more cores than their previous cards, making it one of the densest chips built to date. It’s likely to consume a lot of power and the results are reflective of that.

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The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 TI is finally here and within my tests, the car turned out to be faster than the GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER by 5% on average. This may not be a big deal in performance but we have to take into account the pricing of $699 US for the SUPER variant whereas the RTX 3060 Ti is going to sell for around $399-$479 US, depending on the variants you choose. For this review, the custom models I testes were priced at $430 (GALAX EX) and $480 (MSI). That is a $30 and $80 US premium, respectively.

Both cards performed exceptionally well at 1440p and even 2160p resolutions. The addition of 8 GB memory to a 3060 Ti class graphics card seems to have paid off since NVIDIA learned this from the RTX 2060 SUPER. The GALAX EX variant, despite its lower factory overclock, still managed to come neck-on-neck with the higher overclocked Gaming X Trio variant. The main benefits of the  GALAX variant are its lower power draw, reliance on a single 8-pin connector instead of the dual 8-pin configuration on the Gaming X Trio, and a more compact design which should fit in all cases.

With that said, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio is a complete beast with a powerful PCB, more power drawing towards the GPU for higher overclock and respective gains which you can see below, and lower temperatures thanks to the triple-fan cooling system. The Gaming X Trio is a huge card just like its RTX 3070 and higher-end brethren and as such will require some room installation within your setup.

Overclocking The GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Graphics Cards

Both GeForce RTX 3060 Ti graphics cards allowed for some hefty overclocking and the respective gains were just too big to not mention them. Both cards easily hit +85 MHz on the GPU core and +1000 MHz on the memory which resulted in some huge gains. We are talking about 7.5% to 10% performance gains depending on the title which is a signifcant bump for any Ampere card in this generation and the performance just lands super close to the RTX 3070.

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MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio Graphics Card

ProsConsFaster Than RTX 2080 SUPER Under $500 US

Great for 1440p & 1080p gaming

Insane Productivity Performance at its price

Factory Overclocked out of the box

Great overclocking potential and performance

Tri Frozr heatsink cooling performance is great

Refreshing new MSI Gaming design

ZeroFrozr Technology Included on Torx 4.0 fans

The backplate includes heat pads for increased heat dissipation

RGB Lighting support on the shroud and sides are a plus

Support for real-time ray tracing and DLSS features in next-generation gaming titles

Good driver support for GeForce products, compatibility with DX11, DX12, Vulkan, OpenGL titles

Good increase in performance per watt vs Turing

First GPU to feature HDMI 2.1 support + AV1 DecoderVery High Premium ($480 US)

Slower 14 Gbps memory dies

Very tall and huge graphics card

Poor power limit, could’ve gone higher given the fully custom PCB design

As for the cooling solution, the new Gaming X Trio design is built for the power-hungry Ampere chips and does a pretty good job keeping the card under well under 60C even in stress tests. For gaming, the average temperatures were around 52-55C. The card isn’t that bulky and should fit inside most cases with relative ease and the triple-fan solution comes with 0db fan technology which unless or until you’re touching 60C won’t spin at all. This allows lower noise levels when you’re not doing any graphics-intensive tasks.

GALAX incorporates a much compact dual-fan cooling system which does end up with slightly higher temperatures of around 56-58C but overall, the installation should be fine and the 0db technology is another bonus that is expected from a premium custom model these days.

Both cards have their own looks and aesthetics with MSI offering a more premium look while the GALAX EX comes with a more standard facelift. The RGB is not overdone and the Mystic Light cuts on the front and sides provide really good aesthetics of the card itself. The GALAX EX on the other hand has RGB LEDs embedded within the fans and does look nice but barely noticeable inside the PC chassis.

GALAX GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX Graphics Card

ProsConsFaster Than RTX 2080 SUPER Under $500 US

Great for 1440p & 1080p gaming

Insane Productivity Performance at its price

Factory Overclocked out of the box

Great overclocking potential and performance

Dual-Fan cooling with great aesthetics

0db Silent Extreme Fans with RGB

Single 8-pin connector required

The backplate includes heat pads for increased heat dissipation

RGB Lighting support within the shroud is a plus

Support for real-time ray tracing and DLSS features in next-generation gaming titles

Good driver support for GeForce products, compatibility with DX11, DX12, Vulkan, OpenGL titles

Good increase in performance per watt vs Turing

First GPU to feature HDMI 2.1 support + AV1 DecoderSlower 14 Gbps memory dies

Price close the RTX 3070 FE

MSI is charging a hefty $80 US premium for its GeForce RTX 3060 Ti Gaming X Trio graphics card. The pricing is much higher than the $399 US MSRP of the Founders Edition and the $430 US price premium of the GALAX EX variant. It also lands in the same territory as the RTX 3070 which has an MSRP of $499 US (if you can find one at that price). With that said, the MSI GeForce RTX 3060 Ti is a stunning graphics card within the sub $500 US category and if you’re in for a nice looking graphics card which offers great 1440p performance out of the box with several titles hitting 100+ FPS and one of the best cooling solutions in the market, then the Gaming X Trio is totally worth the huge premium.

But if you want to save some bucks, then the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti EX from GALAX is a great option, offering similar performance with lower power draw and a standard aesthetic at a much lower price point. It will be interesting to see how the custom models fair against the Founders Edition variant since it seems like the overall purchase choice given its fantastic price to performance proposition over the custom models giving AIBs a hard time in the retail segment. You can also read our full RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition review over here!

The post NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti 8 GB Graphics Card Review Ft. MSI Gaming X Trio & GALAX EX by Hassan Mujtaba appeared first on Wccftech.

Checking Out Experienced Less Than Expected During Pandemic, New Autumn 2020 Pupil Information Show

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The unprecedented school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in spring 2020 raised many questions about how student learning would be impacted in the short and long term. NWEA, a not-for-profit research and assessment provider formerly known as the Northwest Evaluation Association, took an initial look at those impacts on student achievement and growth in a new study released today Our study examined three questions:

How did students perform in fall 2020 in math and reading compared to fall 2019?How has student academic growth changed since schools physically closed in March 2020?How did fall 2020 achievement compare to NWEA’s widely cited April 2020 projections of the Covid slide?

We used a sample of 4.4 million students in grades 3-8 across 46 U.S. states who took the MAPGrowth

assessment in fall 2020. Four key findings emerged:

In fall 2020, students in grades 3-8 performed similarly in reading to same-grade students in fall 2019, but about 5 to 10 percentile ranks lower in math.In almost all grades, most students made some learning gains in both reading and math since the Covid-19 pandemic started. However, gains in math were lower on average in fall 2020 than over the same time period in prior years, resulting in more students falling behind relative to their prior standing.In fall 2020, students scored better than NWEA’s projections in reading, while math scores were in line with our projections for grades 4-6 and slightly above our projections in grades 7-8.It is too early to draw definitive conclusions about how impacts differed across racial and ethnic groups. Student groups especially vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic were more likely to be missing from our data, either because they were not enrolled in school or did not participate in the tests. Thus, we have an incomplete understanding of how achievement in fall 2020 may differ across student groups and may be underestimating the impacts of Covid-19.

These findings highlight a need to address unfinished learning, especially in math. Given the sequential nature of how math is learned, diagnosing underdeveloped skills as a result of the spring school disruptions can shed light on areas where students need targeted instruction to get on track. Teachers will need an accurate measure of where students are, along with continued support and resources, to help the teachers prioritize interventions for students and deliver high-quality instruction. In addition, parents and caregivers should engage with their children and teachers to identify where students need support and how they can practice at home.

One important consideration in interpreting these findings is that most students in our sample were assessed remotely in fall 2020. According to MCH Strategic Data, 19 percent of districts offered in-person instruction to all students in fall 2020. Many school districts had to change their re-opening plans as a result of the ongoing pandemic. To investigate concerns around data quality in remote testing settings, my colleagues and I conducted an initial comparability study of remote and in-person testing in fall 2020. We found trends in test scores for remote and in-person tests for students in grades 3-8 were very similar, as were the tests’ psychometric properties. We did find that remote testing may make more of a difference for younger students in grades K-2, but they were not part of our study.

A second consideration is the large fraction of students who tested in fall 2019 but not in fall 2020. My NWEA research colleague Angela Johnson and I conducted a full attrition analysis to examine which and how many students were missing from the fall 2020 assessments. Nearly half of the students who tested in fall 2019 did not test in fall 2020. This is a sizable population, and it means that the achievement of some of the most vulnerable students is not reflected in the data. When interpreting the study results, we must acknowledge the unaccounted-for students and proceed with caution, so we do not underestimate the impact on our most underserved populations. Educators and policymakers should plan to provide ample support to students who have fallen behind and, when in doubt, err on the side of more service and outreach.

We are only scratching the surface in measuring the academic and non-academic impacts of the Covid-19 related school disruptions. These initial research findings shed light on student achievement following the spring school closures but cannot yet unpack differences by teaching modality (say, remote versus in-person) in the 2020-21 school year.  Understanding these impacts both in the short and in the long term is essential to support students’ academic and social and emotional learning.

As part of the research study, we noted several considerations and recommendations along with our findings. We see a continued need for federal and state funding to school districts impacted by the pandemic. To understand the unmet needs of children and to target resources to those who need them most, a more robust effort is necessary to collect and share key data such as students’ opportunity to learn, academic achievement, and social and emotional wellbeing.

Megan Kuhfeld is a research scientist for the Collaborative for Student Growth at NWEA and lead author of “Learning During COVID-19: Initial Findings on Students’ Reading and Math Achievement and Growth

The post Reading Suffered Less Than Expected During Pandemic, New Fall 2020 Student Data Show appeared first on Education Next.

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