Podcast #408 - RX 480 Conclusions, GTX 1060 Preview, 4TB Samsung 850 EVO and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 14, 2016 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: video, Samsung, rx 480, radeon, Primochill, praxis, power consumption, podcast, phononic, gtx 1060, amd, 850 EVO, 4TB

PC Perspective Podcast #408 - 07/14/2016

Join us this week as we discuss a conclusion to the RX 480 power issue, the GTX 1060, a 4TB Samsung 850 EVO and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!

Hosts:  Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:36:40
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Allyn: Rigol DS1054Z Digital Oscilloscope (hackable and overclockable!)
  4. Closing/outro

DOOM on Vulkan Benchmarks

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2016 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, R9 Fury X, nvidia, Mantle, gtx 1070, fury x, doom, amd

We haven't yet benchmarked DOOM on Vulkan Update (immediately after posting): Ryan has just informed me that, apparently, we did benchmark Vulkan on our YouTube page (embed below). I knew we were working on it, I just didn't realize we published content yet. Original post continues below.

As far as I know, we're trying to get our testing software for frame time analysis running on the new API, but other sites have posted framerate-based results. The results show that AMD's cards benefit greatly from the new, Mantle-derived interface (versus the OpenGL one). On the other hand, while NVIDIA never really sees a decrease, more than 1% at least, it doesn't really get much of a boost, either.

amd-2016-doom-vulkan-benchmark-computerbasede.png

Image Credit: ComputerBase.de

I tweeted out to ID's lead renderer programmer, Tiago Sousa, to ask whether they take advantage of NVIDIA-specific extensions on the OpenGL path (like command submission queues). I haven't got a response yet, so it's difficult to tell whether this speaks more toward NVIDIA's OpenGL performance, or AMD's Vulkan performance. In the end, it doesn't really matter, though. AMD's Fury X (which can be found for as low as $399 with a mail-in rebate) is beating the GTX 1070 (which is in stock for the low $400s) by a fair margin. The Fury X also beats its own OpenGL performance by up to 66% (at 1080p) with the new API.

The API should also make it easier for games to pace their frames, too, which should allow smoother animation at these higher rates. That said, we don't know for sure because we can't test that from just seeing FPS numbers. The gains are impressive from AMD, though.

Asynchronous Atomic Ghandi coming in Civ VI

Subject: General Tech | July 13, 2016 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: gaming, dx12, civilization VI, asynchronous compute, amd

AMD, 2K and Firaxis Games have been working together to bring the newest DX12 features to Civilization IV and today they have announced their success.  The new game will incorporate Asynchronous Compute in the engine as well as support for Explicit Multi-Adapter for those with multiple GPUs.  This should give AMD cards a significant performance boost when running the game, at least until NVIDIA can catch up with their support for the new technologies ... HairWorks is not going to have much as effect on your units as Async Compute will.

If you haven't been keeping an eye out, we have seen the video of Egypt's leader which also talk about terrain adjacency bonuses and England's leader and civilization specific units and buildings.

civ6.jpg

"Complete with support for advanced DirectX 12 features like asynchronous compute and explicit multi-adapter, PC gamers the world over will be treated to a high-performance and highly-parallelized game engine perfectly suited to sprawling, complex civilizations."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: Radeon.com

Asus Teases Its Custom RX 480 STRIX Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 12, 2016 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: strix, rx 480, Radeon RX 480, polaris 10, asus, amd

Alongside the launch of AMD’s reference design Radeon RX 480, the company’s various AIB (Add-In Board) partners began announcing their own custom versions pairing AMD’s Polaris 10 GPU with custom PCBs and coolers. Asus took the launch to heart and teased its Radeon RX 480 STRIX under it’s ROG lineup. The press release was rather scant with details, but it does look like a promising card that will let users really push Polaris 10 to it’s limits.

ASUS ROG STRIX RX 480 Graphics Card.png

Thanks to forum user Eroticus over at VideoCardz, the RX 480 STRIX looks to use a custom PCB and power delivery design that feeds the GPU via two PCI-E power connectors in addition to the PCI-E slot. Asus is not talking clock speeds on the GPU, but they did reveal that they are going with 8GB of GDDR5 memory at 8 GHz. The DirectCU III cooler pairs heatpipes and an aluminum fin stack with three shrouded fans. There is also a backplate (of course, with a LED backlit logo) which should help support the card and provide a bit more cooling.

I would not expect too much of a factory (out of the box) overclock from this card. However, I do expect that users will be able to seriously overclock the Polaris 10 GPU thanks to the extra power connector (allegedly one 6-pin and one 8-pin which seems a bit much but we’ll see!) and beefy air cooler.

For reference, the, well, reference design RX 480 has base and boost clock speeds of 1120 MHz and 1266 MHz respectively. The Polaris 10 GPU has 2,304 cores, 144 texture units, and 32 raster operators. If buyers get a good chip in their RX 480 Strix, it may be possible for them to get to 1400 MHz boost as some of the rumors around the Internet claim though it’s hard to say for sure as that may require quite a bit more voltage (and heat) to reach. I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibility though!

Of course it would not be Republic of Gamers’ material without LEDs, and ASUS delivers with the inclusion of its Aura RGB LEDs on the cooler shroud and backplate which I believe are user configurable in Asus’ software utility.

Beyond that, not much is known about the upcoming RX 480 STRIX graphics card. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more information as it gets closer to availability!

Also read:

 

Source: Asus

PowerColor Radeon RX 480 Red Devil Leak

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2016 - 04:37 PM |
Tagged: amd, rx 480, powercolor

According to Videocardz, a custom RX 480 from PowerColor has been caught on camera. The most interesting part about this variant is that it connects to the power supply with a single eight-pin PCIe connector. With AMD's latest driver, and hopefully even a modified vBIOS and PCB, this should be plenty enough power for the GPU, even with overclocking.

POWERCOLOR-2016-Radeon-RX-480-DEVIL-videocardz.jpg

Image Credit: Videocardz

The card itself is a three-fan design with three DisplayPorts, one HDMI, and a single DVI. This retains the reference design's three DisplayPorts, but also adds the option to use DVI without an adapter. I'm not sure whether all five connectors can be used simultaneously, which isn't too bad -- apparently the GTX 1080 also cannot use all five connectors at the same time, so I wouldn't plan on connecting five monitors to a single-GPU system, just in case.

No pricing and availability yet... this is just a picture. We don't even know clock rates.

Source: VideoCardz
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Radeon Software 16.7.1 Adjustments

Last week we posted a story that looked at a problem found with the new AMD Radeon RX 480 graphics card’s power consumption. The short version of the issue was that AMD’s new Polaris 10-based reference card was drawing more power than its stated 150 watt TDP and that it was drawing more power through the motherboard PCI Express slot that the connection was rated for. And sometimes that added power draw was significant, both at stock settings and overclocked. Seeing current draw over a connection rated at just 5.5A peaking over 7A at stock settings raised an alarm (validly) and our initial report detailed the problem very specifically.

AMD responded initially that “everything was fine here” but the company eventually saw the writing on the wall and started to work on potential solutions. The Radeon RX 480 is a very important product for the future of Radeon graphics and this was a launch that needs to be as perfect as it can be. Though the risk to users’ hardware with the higher than expected current draw is muted somewhat by motherboard-based over-current protection, it’s crazy to think that AMD actually believed that was the ideal scenario. Depending on the “circuit breaker” in any system to save you when standards exists for exactly that purpose is nuts.

powertesting.jpg

Today AMD has released a new driver, version 16.7.1, that actually introduces a pair of fixes for the problem. One of them is hard coded into the software and adjusts power draw from the different +12V sources (PCI Express slot and 6-pin connector) while the other is an optional flag in the software that is disabled by default.

Reconfiguring the power phase controller

The Radeon RX 480 uses a very common power controller (IR3567B) on its PCB to cycle through the 6 power phases providing electricity to the GPU itself. Allyn did some simple multimeter trace work to tell us which phases were connected to which sources and the result is seen below.

rx480-phases.jpg

The power controller is responsible for pacing the power coming in from the PCI Express slot and the 6-pin power connection to the GPU, in phases. Phases 1-3 come in from the power supply via the 6-pin connection, while phases 4-6 source power from the motherboard directly. At launch, the RX 480 drew nearly identical amounts of power from both the PEG slot and the 6-pin connection, essentially giving each of the 6 phases at work equal time.

That might seem okay, but it’s far from the standard of what we have seen in the past. In no other case have we measured a graphics card drawing equal power from the PEG slot as from an external power connector on the card. (Obviously for cards without external power connections, that’s a different discussion.) In general, with other AMD and NVIDIA based graphics cards, the motherboard slot would provide no more than 50-60 watts of power, while any above that would come from the 6/8-pin connections on the card. In many cases I saw that power draw through the PEG slot was as low as 20-30 watts if the external power connections provided a lot of overage for the target TDP of the product.

Continue reading our analysis of the new AMD 16.7.1. driver that fixed RX 480 power concerns!!

AMD Radeon Crimson 16.7.1 Software Released for RX 480 Power Issue

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 7, 2016 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: rx480, rx 480, Radeon RX 480, radeon, power draw, PCIe power, graphics drivers, driver, Crimson Edition 16.7.1, amd

As promised, AMD has released an updated driver for the RX 480 graphics card, and the Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.7.1 promises a fix for the power consumption concerns we have been covering in-depth.

Note: We have published our full analysis of the new 16.7.1 driver, available here.

RX480_05.jpg

AMD lists these highlights for the new Crimson Edition 16.7.1 software:

"The Radeon RX 480’s power distribution has been improved for AMD reference boards, lowering the current drawn from the PCIe bus.

A new 'compatibility mode' UI toggle has been made available in the Global Settings menu of Radeon Settings. This option is designed to reduce total power with minimal performance impact if end users experience any further issues.  This toggle is 'off' by default.

Performance improvements for the Polaris architecture that yield performance uplifts in popular game titles of up to 3%. These optimizations are designed to improve the performance of the Radeon RX 480, and should substantially offset the performance impact for users who choose to activate the 'compatibility' toggle."

You can go directly to AMD's page for this updated driver from this direct link: http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/desktop?os=Windows%2010%20-%2064

Source: AMD

AMD Seems to Be Stepping Up RX 480 Support on Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 09:37 PM |
Tagged: amd, linux, graphics drivers, rx 480, Polaris

Linux support from AMD seems to be improving, as it has been on Windows. We'll be combining two separate, tiny stories into one, so bear with us. The first is from Fudzilla, and it states that AMD has AMDGPU-PRO 16.30 drivers for the RX 480 out on day one. It's nice to see that their Radeon driver initiative applies to Linux, too.

19-tux.png

That brings us to the second story, this one from Phoronix. One Windows, the Crimson 16.7.1 drivers will include a fix for the RX 480 power issues (which we will obviously test of course). Michael Larabel was apparently talking with AMD's Linux team, and it seems likely that this update will roll into the Linux driver as well. They "are still investigating", of course, but it is apparently on their radar.

Source: Phoronix

AMD Updates Its Users About RX 480 Power Issues

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 08:11 PM |
Tagged: rx 480, Polaris, graphics drivers, amd

In the next 24 hours or so, AMD will publish Radeon Software 16.7.1, which addresses the power distribution issues in the AMD Radeon RX 480. The driver makes two major changes. First, AMD claims that it will lower the draw from the PCIe bus. While they don't explicitly say how, it sounds like it will increase the load on the 6-pin PCIe cable, which is typically over-provisioned. In fact, many power supplies have 6-pin connectors that have the extra two pins of an 8-pin connector hanging off of it.

amd-2015-crimson-logo.png

Second, seemingly for those who aren't comfortable with the extra load on the 6-pin PCIe connector, a UI control has been added to lower overall power. Being that the option's called “compatibility”, it sounds like it should put the RX 480 back into spec on both slot and the extra power connector. Again, AMD says that they believe it's not necessary, and it seems to be true, because that option is off by default.

amd-2016-rx480-candid.jpg

Beyond these changes, the driver also adds a bunch of game optimizations. Allyn and Ryan have been working on this coverage, so expect more content from them in the very near future.

Rumor: Reddit Finds Listings for RX 460, RX 470, RX 480, and "RADEON 490"

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: amd, Polaris, rx 460, rx 470, rx 480, RX 490, sapphire

Unfortunately, I don't have a Sapphire SSC ID, so I cannot verify these myself. That said, a Reddit user by the name of CBwardog found a few extra listings on the company's drop-down menu for products which really shouldn't exist yet. The product name doesn't really have much associated with it, but it does have video RAM and display outputs.

amd-2016-sapphirerxlineup-reddit-cbwardog.png

Image Credit: CBwardog on Reddit

According to Sapphire, the Radeon RX 460 will launch in 2GB and 4GB versions, each of which have one HDMI, one DVI, and one DisplayPort connector. The RX 470 will come in 4GB and 8GB versions. The 4GB version of the RX 470 will have HDMI and three DisplayPorts, while the 8GB version of the RX 470 will have two HDMI ports, one DVI port, and two DisplayPort connectors. Lastly, ignoring the RX 480 that we already know about, a “RADEON 490” (which an earlier leak by AMD called the RX 490) will be available in just an 8GB version, with one HDMI and three DisplayPorts.

As always, rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, it is possible that port configuration could be specific to Sapphire, as we've seen AIB partners modify outputs before, but you would think that there would be at least one reference design per model, so, chances are, it should be fairly uniform across vendors.

Source: Reddit