Subject: Graphics Cards | September 18, 2012 - 06:34 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Sea Islands, oland, hd8870, hd8850, gpu, amd radeon, amd
AMD beat NVIDIA to the punch with its 7000-series “Southern Islands” graphics cards, and if the rumors hold true the company may well accomplish the same feat with its next generation architecture. Codenamed Sea Islands, the architecture of AMD’s 8800-series is set to (allegedly) debut around January 2013 time frame. Featuring DirectX 11, GPGPU and power efficiency improvements, 3.4 billion transistors on a 28nm process, and a rumored sub-$300 price, will the 8850 and 8870 win over enthusiasts?
AMD launched its Southern Island graphics cards with the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and Pitcairn GPU in March of this year. Since then NVIDIA has moved into the market with the 660 and 660Ti, and budget gamers have lots of options. However, yet another budget gaming GPU from AMD will be coming in just a few months if certain sources' leaks prove correct. The 8850 and 8870 graphics cards are rumored to launch in January 2013 for under $300 and offer up some significant performance and efficiency improvements. Both the 8850 and 8870 GPUs are based on the Oland variant of AMD’s Sea Islands architecture. As a point of reference, AMD’s 7850 and 7870 are using the Pitcairn version of AMD’s Southern Islands architecture – thus Sea Islands is the overarching architecture and Oland is an actual chip based on it.
Sea Islands is essentially an improved and tweaked Graphics Core Next design. It will continue to utilize TSMC's 28 nm process, but will require less power than the 7000-series while being much faster. While the specifications for the top-end 8900-series is still up in the air, Videocardz is claiming sources in the know have supplied the following numbers for the mid-range 8850 and 8870 Oland cards.
Videocardz put together a table comparing AMD's current and future GPU series.
The GPU die size has reportedly increased to 270mm^2 (squared) versus the 7850/7870’s 212mm^2 die. This increase is the result of AMD packing an additional 600 million transistors for a total of 3.4 billion. 3D Center further breaks the GPU down in stating that the 8870 will feature 1792 shader units, 112 texture manipulation units (TMU), 32 ROPs, and support a 256-bit memory interface. The 8850 graphics card will scale the Oland GPU down a bit further by featuring only 1536 shader units and 96 TMUs, but keeping the 32 ROPs and 256-bit interface.
For comparison, here’s a handy table comparing the 8850/8870 to the current-generation 7850/7870 (which we recently reviewed).
|Radeon HD 7850||Radeon HD 8850||Radeon HD 7870||Radeon HD 8870|
|Bandwidth||153.6 GB/s||192 GB/s||153.6 GB/s||192 GB/s|
So while the memory bus and number of ROP units is staying the same, you are getting more shaders and texture units along with a boost to the overall memory bandwidth with the larger die size – sounds like an okay compromise to me!
AMD has managed to increase the clock speeds and GPGPU performance with Oland/Sea Islands as well. On the clockspeed front, the 8850 has a base boost GPU clockspeed of 925 MHz and 975 MHz respectively. Further, the 8870 has base/boost clocks of 1050 MHz/1100 MHz. That is a nice improvement over the 7850’s 860 MHz clockspeed, and 7870’s 1000 MHz clockspeed. AMD is also adding its PowerTune with Boost functionality to the Oland-based graphics cards which is a welcome addition. The theoretical computational power of the graphics chips has been increased as well, by as much as 75% for single precision and 60% for double precision (7870 to 8870). The single precision performance has been increased to 2.99 TFLOPS on the 8850 (1.76 TFLOPS on the 7850), and 3.94 TFLOPS on the 8870 (7870 has 2.25 TFLOPS). The single precision numbers are relevant to gaming and general applications that consumers would run that are GPU accelerated. The figures are not really suited/representative of high performance computing (HPC) workloads where precision is important (think simulations and high-end mathematics), and that is where the double precision numbers come in. The 8800 series gets a nice boost in potential performance as well, topping out at 187.2 GFLOPS for the 8850 and 246 GFLOPS for the 8870. That is in comparison the 7850’s 110 GFLOPS and 7870’s 160 GFLOPS.
The sources also disclosed that while the 8850 would have the same TDP (thermal design power) rating as the 7850, the higher-end 8870 would actually see a decreased 160W TDP versus the previous generation’s 175W. Unfortunately, there were not any specific power draw numbers talked about, just that the cards were more power efficient, so it remains to be seen just how much (if at all) less power the GPUs will need. The sources put the 8870 at the same performance level as the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, which would mean that this will be an amazing mid-range card if true. Especially considering that the cards have a rumored price of $279 for the 8870 and $199 for the 8850. Granted, those prices are likely much lower than what we will actually see if AMD does indeed launch the cards in January as the company will not have competition from NVIDIA’s 700 series right away.
In some respects, the rumored specifications seem almost too good to be true, but I’m going to remain hopeful and am looking forward to not only seeing the mid-range Oland GPU coming out, but the unveiling of AMD’s top-end 8900 series (which should be amazing, based on the 8800-series rumors).
What do you think of the rumored 8850 and 8870 graphics cards from AMD? Will they be enough to temp even NVIDIA fans?
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 25, 2012 - 03:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Catalyst 12.1, catalyst, amd radeon
Feature highlights of the AMD Catalyst™ 12.1 driver:
AMD HD3D technology support enhancement
- Enables support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with AMD CrossFireX configurations
- Delivers a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a connections - 1080p at 30Hz is now enabled on supported displays.
AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements
- Application Profiles
- AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver enables users to create per application profiles to individually control 3D and CrossFireX settings for Direct3D applications
- Please be sure to select the “Restore Factory Defaults” option under the Catalyst Control Center Preferences menu before using the new application profiles feature – this ensures there are no compatibility issues between previous drivers and the new AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver with regards to application profiles
AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements – Video UI improvements
- AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver includes user interface enhancements to simply adjustment of video color and video quality controls
Feature highlights of the AMD Catalyst™ 12.1 Linux driver:
- SLED 11 SP2 early look support
- Ubuntu 11.10 production level support
If you already have the 12.1 Preview Driver installed and are looking for something new to test then grab the AMD Catalyst 12.2 Preview: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/Catalyst122Previewdriver.aspx .
That is unless you already managed to find and purchase a Radeon HD 7900 users should keep using the 8.921.2 RC11 driver found here since the 12.2 preview does not support the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series.
If you do upgrade you can check out the new AMD Eyefinity 2.1 which allows you to choose from a larger set of resolutions when running AMD Eyefinity.
In addition you can also take advantage of:
- Dynamic Configuration Changes: Switching between different display configurations will occur automatically when physically plugging/un-plugging displays
- HydraVision enhancements: The Windows Task bar can now be moved and resized based on users preference
- Profile Manager improvements: Increased support for Display Groups (including 5x1) and Extended configurations within the Profile Manager
Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 12:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: APU, amd radeon, amd, A6-3500
AMD announced today a new desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). The A6-3500 processor combines three x86 CPU cores with 320 Radeon GPU cores. The new A6-3500 APU comes with a full sweep of AMD technology, including Turbo Core, Steady Video image stabilization technology, DDR3 1333 support, HDCP compatibility, and AMD VISION Engine software. Following its predecessors, the new three core APU is able to pair with select AMD Radeon HD 6000 series discrete graphics cards.
This FM1 socket awaits an A Series APU like the new A6-3500
The three core APU operates at 2.1GHz (2.4GHz with Turbo Boost active) on the CPU side and 444MHz on the GPU side of things. Further, the APU features 3MB of L2 cache, a TDP of 65 watts, and is designed for use with FM1 motherboards.
The APU is now available for purchase at various online retailers and system builders with an MSRP of $95 USD. AMD states that the processor “delivers a compelling, affordable desktop experience for consumers and gamers.”
At under a $100, the new APU is an attractive option for HTPC usage and starter gaming systems on a tight budget. For more information on AMD’s APU architecture, can check out PC Perspective’s AMD A8-3850 APU review here.
Subject: Mobile | July 11, 2011 - 11:49 PM | Matt Smith
Tagged: mobile radeon, hd 6990m, amd radeon, amd
Few competitors love to one-up each other more than AMD and NVIDIA, and in that spirit the red team has today announced the release of its new Radeon HD 6990M just two weeks after NVIDIA claimed the limelight with its GTX 570M and 580M.
No, this isn’t a dual-GPU solution like the desktop version. Despite the name, the HD 6990M is not based off the Cayman architecture used in the HD 6990 but instead on Barts XT. According to AMD, the decision to use Barts XT rather than Cayman was based on power efficiency. Cramming Cayman into a notebook chassis, even one with an 18” display, wasn’t a viable option. Still, AMD claims that this new mobile GPU will be the world’s quickest, beating even NVIDIA’s new GTX 580M.
The HD 6990M will be shipping with impressive specifications including a whopping 1120 Stream Processors with a clock speed of 715 MHz, bringing the compute power to 1.6 TFlops. This is paired to 2GB of GDDR5 memory at 900 MHz, making for memory bandwidth of over 115 GB/sec.
Data supplied by AMD.
UPDATE (7/12/11 @ 10:00am): AMD contacted us to let me know the benchmark results we posted with this news release needed to be changed. The NEW results from the presentation show the difference between the Radeon HD 6970M and the Radeon HD 6990M to be much less AND the difference between the HD 6990 and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580M to be MUCH smaller. I have asked AMD for an explanation here and we'll see what we get later today.
The company’s press material shows the HD 6990M defeating the already available HD 6970M by approximately 25% in a number of games. If the part performs as promised, it should indeed be a difficult for NVIDIA to defeat – but we’ll have to wait for a review before making a judgment.
Data supplied by AMD.
Besides its blazing fast performance, the new GPU will offer the typical suite of AMD features including full support for DirectX 11, Eyefinity, Crossfire, HD3D, and driver-based power management features like PowerExpress and Vari-Bright.
Several laptops have been announced as available with the including the Clevo P170HM, P150HM and X7200, the Alienware M18x, and unspecified laptops from Eurocom. The HD 6990M should be available for order on the M18x as of today.