Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2013 - 12:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, R9 290X, leafblower
The Tech Report posted an statement from AMD about the variability that sites have seen when comparing retail 290X's to the press samples sent out to review sites. At this moment they are citing heat issues and the fact that the performance delta is lessened under Uber mode but will be investigating other possible causes. With the pending arrival of third party coolers we will be able to get a better sense of the possible contribution insufficient cooling has on these issues it is also possible that the golden sample theory is also at least partially correct. The big win for consumers is AMD's attitude adjustment and admission that there is an issue worth investigating; if they can get your R9 290X running faster you will be the one who wins after all.
"The range of performance differential is not expected to meaningfully change the user experience but we’ve taken note of recent reports that the degree of variability is higher than expected. Reasonably we would expect the variability to occur both above and below the performance of the press samples, however it appears that most reported performances are biased towards the low side."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- FTC Drops the Hammer On Maker of Location-Sharing Flashlight App @ Slashdot
- Apple Mac Pro could arrive on 16 December @ The Inquirer
- Google lets users slurp own Gmail, Calendar data @ The Register
- Internet Explorer 11 at it again, breaks Microsoft's own CRM software @ The Register
- Livescribe 3 Smartpen @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Systems | December 5, 2013 - 02:38 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, r9 270, Steam Machine, SteamOS
I cannot see how they will be making any money at this but, next year, iBuyPower will launch their first Steam Machine. At the price of $499, the same as an Xbox One, you will get an AMD CPU bundled with a discrete Radeon R9 270 graphics card.
Image Credit: The Verge
Oh, and Valve's controller will be included in that price.
Sure, they can save money on the free operating system, but that still looks pretty awesome. In terms of actual dimensions, the case is said to be between the size of the PS4 and the Xbox one. Frankly, if you like the look of home theater appliances, this could be a nice twist on that aesthetic. It will also come with a 500GB hard drive. Don't worry, though: it is a PC. If there is a USB 3.0 port anywhere on it, you can attach a giant drive for your games.
And the power supply is internal, too!
iBuyPower is expected to ship this device at some point in 2014 along with a wave of other Steam Machines. Prepare for many of these innovations to come out of CES.
Subject: General Tech | December 4, 2013 - 05:10 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, ultrasharp, toshiba, R9 290X, r9 290, podcast, ocz, Kaveri, dell, amd, A10-7850K, A10-7700K, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #279 - 12/04/2013
Join us this week as we discuss R9 290 Variance Issues, OCZ's Bankruptcy, Kaveri Leaks and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Scott Michaud
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 3, 2013 - 04:12 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Kaveri, APU, amd
The launch and subsequent availability of Kaveri is scheduled for the CES time frame. The APU unites Steamroller x86 cores with several Graphics Core Next (GCN) cores. The high-end offering, the A10-7850K, is capable of 856 GFLOPs of compute power (most of which is of course from the GPU).
Image/Leak Credit: Prohardver.hu
We now know about two SKUs: the A10-7850K and the A10-7700K. Both parts are quite similar except that the higher model is given a 200 MHz CPU bump, 3.8 GHz to 4.0 Ghz, and 33% more GPU units, 6 to 8.
But how does this compare? The original source (prohardver.hu) claims that Kaveri will achieve an average 28 FPS in Crysis 3 on low at 1680x1050; this is a 12% increase over Richland. It also achieved an average 53 FPS with Sleeping Dogs on Medium which is 26% more than Richland.
These are healthy increases over the previous generation but do not even account for HSA advantages. I am really curious what will happen if integrated graphics become accessible enough that game developers decide to target it for general compute applications. The reduction in latency (semi-wasted time bouncing memory between compute devices) might open this architecture to where it can really shine.
We will do our best to keep you up to date on this part especially when it launches at CES.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 27, 2013 - 04:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: sapphire, radeon, R9 290X, hawaii, amd, 290x
Ryan is not the only one who felt it necessary to investigate the reports of differing performance between retail R9 290X cards and the ones sent out for review. Legit Reviews also ordered a retail card made by Sapphire and tested it against the card sent to them by AMD. As with our results, ambient temperature had more effect on the frequency of the retail card than it did on the press sample with a 14% difference being common. Legit had another idea after they noticed that while the BIOS version was the same on both cards the part numbers differed. Find out what happened when they flashed the retail card to exactly match the press sample.
"The AMD Radeon R9 290X and R9 290 have been getting a ton of attention lately due to a number of reports that the retail cards are performing differently than the press cards that the media sites received. We have been following these stories for the past few weeks and finally decided to look into the situation ourselves."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- HIS R9 270X IceQ X² Turbo Boost 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Sapphire Toxic Edition R9 280X Video Card Review @HiTech Legion
- ASUS R9 270 Direct CU II OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Powercolor Radeon R9-270X Devil @ Bjorn3D
- AMD Radeon R9 290 Review On Linux @ Phoronix
- PowerColor Devil R9 270X 2GB @ Custom PC Review
- 2560×1600: GeForce GTX 780 Ti vs Radeon R9 290X @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS GTX 760 MARS @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 760 4GB Video Card Review – 2GB or 4GB of VRAM @ Legit Reviews
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Steams Ahead On Linux @ Phoronix
- Palit GTX 780 Ti JetStream OC @ Kitguru
- EVGA GTX 780 Ti SC ACX Review @ Hardware Canucks
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN: Windows 8.1 vs. Ubuntu 13.10 @ Phoronix
Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2013 - 12:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, arm, sales
Chips are hot this year, an increase in sales volume of 27% in Q1, 24% in Q2 and similar growth is expected over the coming year. Unfortunately for AMD and Intel most of these chips are in mobile devices, a market which neither company has leveraged successfully as of yet; PC chip sales have declined steadily over the previous quarters. The only good news is for AMD who managed to take a slightly larger share of this shrinking market. Both companies are going to have to become much more focussed on the ultra low voltage mobile market if they want to remain profitable, which means less development on high end desktop processors. Grab more market stats over at The Inquirer.
"PROCESSOR CHIP SALES will increase by almost quarter this year thanks to the growing demand for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, analyst outfit IHS has predicted."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Works On Some GeForce 700 GPUs, Fails On Others @ Phoronix
- Windows CE On A Raspberry Pi @ Hack a Day
- CIOs, IT chiefs: ARRGH! What do you MEAN, HR just bought 400 iPads and didn't tell us @ The Register
- Netgear R6250 Dual Band Gigabit Smart WiFi Router @ eTeknix
- Rosewill RPLC-200PKIT Powerline Adapter Kit @ Benchmark Reviews
Another retail card reveals the results
Since the release of the new AMD Radeon R9 290X and R9 290 graphics cards, we have been very curious about the latest implementation of AMD's PowerTune technology and its scaling of clock frequency as a result of the thermal levels of each graphics card. In the first article covering this topic, I addressed the questions from AMD's point of view - is this really a "configurable" GPU as AMD claims or are there issues that need to be addressed by the company?
The biggest problems I found were in the highly variable clock speeds from game to game and from a "cold" GPU to a "hot" GPU. This affects the way many people in the industry test and benchmark graphics cards as running a game for just a couple of minutes could result in average and reported frame rates that are much higher than what you see 10-20 minutes into gameplay. This was rarely something that had to be dealt with before (especially on AMD graphics cards) so to many it caught them off-guard.
Because of the new PowerTune technology, as I have discussed several times before, clock speeds are starting off quite high on the R9 290X (at or near the 1000 MHz quoted speed) and then slowly drifting down over time.
Another wrinkle occurred when Tom's Hardware reported that retail graphics cards they had seen were showing markedly lower performance than the reference samples sent to reviewers. As a result, AMD quickly released a new driver that attempted to address the problem by normalizing to fan speeds (RPM) rather than fan voltage (percentage). The result was consistent fan speeds on different cards and thus much closer performance.
However, with all that being said, I was still testing retail AMD Radeon R9 290X and R9 290 cards that were PURCHASED rather than sampled, to keep tabs on the situation.
Subject: General Tech | November 26, 2013 - 12:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Mantle, apu13
The Tech Report learned quite a bit about Mantle at APU 13, focusing much more deeply on what Mantle is and how it will work. To think of it as a replacement for DirectX is a good start as it is an API but it also changes how your system interacts with your GPU. The briefing delves into to the technical side, describing the context-based execution model which Mantle uses to give you proper access to assign tasks to multiple processors or other resources as the memory interface is also completely revamped. There are four pages describing Mantle for your reading pleasure here and with the strong early adoption it would be worth your time to learn more about it.
"At its APU13 developer conference in San Jose, California, AMD invited journalists and developers to listen to hours worth of keynotes and sessions by Mantle's creators and early adopters. We sat through all of it—and talked to some of those experts one on one—in order to get a sense of what Mantle does, how it will impact performance, and what its future may hold."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Revealed: How Microsoft DNS went titsup globally on Xbox One launch day @ The Register
- Understanding M.2 NGFF SSD Standardization (Or The Lack Of) @ SSD Review
- The TR Podcast 146: Cyril gets cranked on cold medicine and talks AMD
- Top 10 Linux-Based Gifts for 2013 Under $400 @ Linux.com
- Have 100GB Free? Host Your Own Copy of Wikipedia, With Images @ Slashdot
- Nokia Lumia 2520 price, release date and where to buy @ The Inquirer
- Xbox One @ The Inquirer
- Avermedia Game Capture HD 2 @ Rbmods
- Meet the BlackBerry wizardry that created its 'better Android than Android' @ The Register
- SiSoftware Sandra Lite 2014 Release @ NGOHQ
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 26, 2013 - 03:18 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: R9 290X, r9 290, amd
Multiple sites are reporting that some AMD's Radeon R9 290 cards could be software-unlocked into 290Xs with a simple BIOS update. While the difference in performance is minor, free extra shader processors might be tempting for some existing owners.
"Binning" is when a manufacturer increases yield by splitting one product into several based on how they test after production. Semiconductor fabrication, specifically, is prone to constant errors and defects. Maybe only some of your wafers are not stable at 4 GHz but they can attain 3.5 or 3.7 GHz. Why throw those out when they can be sold as 3.5 GHz parts?
This is especially relevant to multi-core CPUs and GPUs. Hawaii XT has 2816 Stream processors; a compelling product could be made even with a few of those shut down. The R9 290, for instance, permits 2560 of these cores. The remaining have been laser cut or, at least, should have been.
Apparently certain batches of Radeon R9 290s were developed with fully functional Hawaii XT chips that were software locked to 290 specifications. There have been reports that several users of cards from multiple OEMs were able to flash a new BIOS to unlock these extra cores. However, other batches seem to be properly locked.
This could be interesting for lucky and brave users but I wonder why this happened. I can think of two potential causes:
- Someone (OEMs or AMD) had too many 290X chips, or
- The 290 launch was just that unprepared.
Either way, newer shipments should be properly locked even from affected OEMs. Again, not that it really matters given the performance differences we are talking about.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | November 25, 2013 - 01:35 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: xbox one, video, r9 270x, ps4, playstation 4, fx 6300, amd, 200r
Over the past week or so, we have been slowly putting together a guide to help interested readers select, build and now install everything necessary to build the perfect PC to compete against the new console generation.
In the first part, Josh and I discussed the new console architectures and how they were similar, and different, from modern PC gaming systems. We also discussed a couple of specific build outs that we thought were price competitive with the Xbox One and the PS4 while also offering quite a bit more performance and flexibility for the user.
|Gaming Build||PlayStation 4||Xbox One|
|Processor||AMD FX-6300 6-core CPU - $109||8-core Jaguar APU||8-core Jaguar APU|
|Motherboard||MSI 970A-G43 AM3+ - $59||Custom||Custom|
|Memory||Corsair Vengeance LP 8GB 1866 MHz (2 x 4GB) - $80||8GB GDDR5||8GB DDR3|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte Radeon R9 270X 2GB - $199||1152 Stream Unit APU||768 Stream Unit APU|
|Storage||Seagate Barracuda 1TB 7200 RPM HDD - $64||500GB 5400 RPM||500GB|
|Case||Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case - $59||Custom||Custom|
|Power Supply||Corsair CX 600 watt 80+ Bronze - $69||Internal||External|
|Optical Drive||Pioneer Blu-ray Reader - $49||Blu-ray||Blu-ray|
|OS||Windows 8.1 OEM - $98||Custom, FreeBSD||Custom, Windows|
|Peak Compute||2,690 GFLOPS||1,840 GFLOPS||1,270 GFLOPS|
|Total Price||$780 - Amazon||$399 - Amazon||$499 - Amazon|
In part 2, we recorded a video of me actually assembling the parts (or nearly the same parts) in the build to show users that might be intimidated by the process exactly how easy it is to build a PC from scratch.
Today, we finalize our journey with the installation of the operating system, setup of the Steam gaming platform and even how easy it is to run the PC when attached to a TV.
After briefly discussing the BIOS and UEFI on the motherboard, installing Windows 8.1 and then running the latest Steam client on the new PC, a brief demonstration of Metro: Last Light running in Big Picture Mode takes place. With that we can demonstrate the power of the PC and the flexibility it truly offers over even the latest consoles.
I hope this set of videos has been useful for our readers that might have been interested in the idea of a gaming PC but were worried or unsure of their own ability to get the job done. I think we have demonstrated that the entire process is easy, fun and rewarding - and can be done in a single afternoon as long as you order the right parts.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or feedback - and happy building!!
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