VerTecX21 Upgrades Tritonis


Cork, Ireland. 19 Apr 2023. VerTecX21 announced today that Tritonis, the current primary system, will be the first VerTecX21 machine to receive a GPU upgrade in 13 years since Maxximus in April 2010. Speaking at a press conference, VertecX21 Director Ciarán Creedon revealed that the upgrade has already taken place, testing was complete and Tritonis has returned to service.

"We have upgraded Tritonis," announced Creedon. "More specifically we have replaced the EVGA Nvidia RTX3070Ti GPU with an MSI Nvidia RTX4070Ti," Creedon paused and drank from his whiskey tumbler until the gasps and murmurs had settled. "While this is an operation we have done before, it has been a while, so the decision to do this now has likely taken many of you by surprise. You have my assurance that it was a carefully considered decision."

"The first four VerTecX21 systems served as primary systems for under 18 months. They were very different times, and technology itself was different. It wasn't until 2004 when we knew the primary system Hyperion was going to perform in the capacity for longer than the expected 18 months, that we considered upgrading just the GPU to maintain the performance demanded at the time. So in March of that year we swapped out the Creative Labs Nvidia GeForce3 Ti500 for an MSI NVidia GeForce FX5900XT. In fact we moved that very GPU to a new primary system 8 months later where it continued as the primary GPU for another 9 months before it was itself replaced with a Sapphire ATi X800 PRO," explained Creedon.

"The last GPU upgrade not part of a new system, was for Maxximus in April 2010 when we replaced its original XFX GeForce 8800GTS with a Sapphire ATi Radeon HD5850 after more than 2.5 years. Since then however while an upgrade for Sicarius was both precedented and planned in 2019 we did not have either the opportunity or budget to replace a primary system's GPU at the time, but we do now," stated Creedon.

"If you recall, at the time of launching Tritonis in March 2022 we had planned and even said at the time that we did not use an "80 class" GPU as in the previous system as this time we intended to upgrade the GPU after between 12-18 months. That plan evolved into a planned upgrade from the RTX3070Ti to the (presumed at the time) "RTX4070Ti" upon it's expected release in Q4 2023. This was considered a feasible upgrade plan after the existing GPU would be in situ for between 16 and 21 months by then." Creedon explained that a number of factors changed this original idea: 

"Basically we had motive and means," explained Creedon.

Creedon directed the attendees to observe some benchmark results "As you will see from the data DirectX12 performance at 1440p has increased by over 40%. Ray Tracing performance is up by 56%. Stress testing produced GPU temps between 60 and 70C well within tolerances. DLSS 2 improvements are between 50 and 55% for both 1440p and 4K."

After the applause, Mr. Creedon allowed some time for questions:

Q: Tritonis' GPU was an EVGA product at launch but the upgrade is MSI as was for both preceding primary systems. What is the reasoning behind this?

A: Our first GPU upgrade in 2004 was also to MSI card so we have favoured the brand for almost 20 years, but we're not tied to it exclusively. XFX for example in our opinion produced the best GeForce 8800GTS back in 2007 so we went with XFX then instead of the MSI offering. However based on the quality and performance of both the MSI GPUs for Apophis and Sicarius we initially sought an MSI RTX3070Ti for Tritonis. The eventual decision to go with EVGA in February 2022 was prompted due in part to the fact that the MSI version of the GPU was unobtainable either in stock or for a reasonable price in the aftermath of both the silicon shortage and availability issues due to cryptomining. These factors are not current issues now and the MSI "Gaming X Trio" version of the RTX4070Ti was readily available to use for this upgrade.

Q: In light of the fact that the both the RTX3080/10GB and even the 3060/12GB from 2021 had more than 8GB VRAM, did it not cause concern that the RTX3070 had only 8? Was it a mistake to go with less than both the higher and lower GPUs in the series?

A: MISTAKE? Of course not! Don't be stupid! The 3080 was considered as an option, but as it was more than 33% more in price at the time, there was no justification. The 3060/12GB in contrast was never considered as it was a mid-range card and produces 50% less than the overall performance required. The 3060/12GB only had 12GB because the memory controller used on the boards not used for the 3060/8GB only supported either 6 or 12GB - and 6 just wasn't an option for it. Just as the 3060/12GB wasn't an option for us really. Interestingly I predict the 3060/12GB will outlast the 3060Ti before too long and the 3070s in the longer term.

Q: The AMD Radeon 6800XT the competitor equivalent of the Nvidia RTX3070 had 12GB VRAM. If that had been Tritonis' initial GPU do you think that the upgrade decision would have been different.

A: VerTecX21 prioritised ray tracing capability for Tritonis during the design phase. So the amount of VRAM on AMDs units was totally irrelevant at the time as they offered vastly inferior realisations of the RT technology when compared to Nvidia and we must note they still do, hence why AMD is still losing market share. I think only in a scenario where RT wasn't a priority would we ever have considered (but even then not guaranteed) choosing the 6700XT and yes I imagine that the upgrade would have been held off for the time if we had done.

Q You mentioned that a upgrade for Sicaruis was planned in 2019 but obviously was not realised. Can you elaborate more on that.

A: We examine the continued ability of a primary system to maintain the required user experience after 3 years minimum to a maximum of 4 years and consider upgrade options based on that. 2018 was Sicarius' third year of operation and this ordinarily triggers an upgrade investigation but due to other priorities at the time this was not undertaken then. This originally would have meant that an upgrade in Q4 2019 would likely have taken place and Sicarius would have been replaced with an Intel 10th Gen 10700K / Nvidia RTX2070 Super / 32GB DDR4 primary system. Unfortunately due to a confluence of issues including the lack of funding for the project and a highly diminished use case at the time it was decided to postpone the upgrade indefinitely. 

By the time the use case warranted the upgrade and the funding was available in Q2 2021 we had the triple issues of Covid19, the Crypto-mining boom and a silicon shortage. Interestingly, if the project had gone ahead as planned in 2019 we would still likely be upgrading the GPU today ahead of a full system upgrade in Q4 this year at the latest.

Q: What will be the fate of the RTX3070Ti, will it be sold or replace the GTX980Ti in Sicarius?

A: It's already sold. We sold the RTX3070Ti for €382 after fees yesterday. While this was just 32.5% of it's original purchase price, please remember that that original price was sill in a period of hyper inflation due to GPU shortages. It sold for 48.1% of the GPU's current purchase value new (€793.47) today. So It's certainly a win.

Q: Has the upgrade cycle for VerTecx21's systems changed as a result of the pandemic, severe general inflation as well as the outsized increased cost of GPUs?

A: Financial considerations always play a part in upgrade decisions. We don't print money but we are better positioned to make upgrades like this now and for the foreseeable future. 2025 will be Tritonis 3rd year of operation. If cycles return to previous patterns we could be investigating Tritonis' replacement in Q4 2025 with a 16th Gen Intel and an RTX5070Ti but it's too early to say for certain, many things could happen between now and then.

Links: New Tritonis benchmarks