Subject: General Tech, Systems | January 28, 2014 - 04:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gigabyte brix, gigabyte, amd
If you feel a little déjà vu while reading this, it is because this system is identical to the MAINGEAR SPARK. Both devices are powered by an AMD A8-5557M APU backed with an AMD Radeon R9 M275X mobile discrete GPU. They even use the same case with the same color scheme. The only difference that I could find is the MAINGEAR logo on the front versus the GIGABYTE logo on the top. I think we could safely say that both devices are made at the same place. I expect that GIGABYTE was the OEM for MAINGEAR's Steam Machine.
Check out Tim's post about the SPARK.
Check out GIGABYTE's product page for the BRIX Gaming.
When Tim published his post about the SPARK for CES, back on January 6th, little was known about the R9 M275X (beyond its 2GB of GDDR5). That is still the case. AMD has not said anything further about the mobile GPU. The press release from GIGABYTE claims that it will support DirectX 11.1 (which implies it will not support DirectX 11.2) and OpenGL 4.1 (which implies a lack of support for OpenGL 4.2, 4.3, and 4.4). GIGABYTE also claims that it will support "the latest OpenCL 1.1 standard" (which implies lack of support for OpenCL 1.2).
I seriously doubt that this is true.
I cannot see AMD regressing that heavily on API compatibility. OpenGL 4.2 has been supported since the HD 5000 (desktop) and HD 6000M (laptop) series. OpenCL 1.2 has been supported since the HD 5000 (desktop) and HD 7000M (laptop) line. One of the main features of OpenCL 1.2 is the ability share resources with DirectX 11 (OpenCL 1.1 shares with DirectX 10). In fact, I cannot find a single chip that AMD produced which supports OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.1 and fails to support OpenGL 4.2 and OpenCL 1.2.
I would not trust GIGABYTE's press release when it comes to the R9 M275X.
Still nothing on pricing and availability for the GIGABYTE BRIX Gaming. Its product code will be the "GB-BXA8G-8890", which totally rolls off the tongue, so we have that going for us. It is a very interesting device. I wonder if we will see it, and other BRIX entries, find their way into the catalogs of other system builders.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | January 27, 2014 - 03:24 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: overclocking, Kaveri, amd
HCW does quite a few overclocking reviews for both Intel and AMD processors. This time, Carl Nelson got a hold of the high-end AMD A10-7850K and gave it a pretty healthy boost in frequencies. By the time he was done with it, the CPU was operating a whole gigahertz above stock simultaneous with a 300 MHz boost to its integrated graphics.
Image Credit: HCW
3DMark 2013 Fire Strike scores gained 27%.
One again, they break down tests along a suite of different games of varying engines and add some OpenCL tests to round things out. In real-world applications, the increase was not quite as dramatic as the one seen in 3DMark but still significant. This overclock allowed certain games to jump from 720p to playable at 1080p. Apparently this silicon is a decent little overclocker.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | January 26, 2014 - 09:28 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: AM1, Kabini, amd
Chinese VR-Zone published claims that AMD will have up to four processors planned for AM1. This is the brand of socket designed for the upcoming Kabini APUs that we have discussed since the CES time frame. Three of the upcoming processors will be quad-core with one dual-core for variety. Regardless of core count, all four processors are listed at 25 watts (TDP).
Kabini pairs Jaguar cores, for x86-based serial processing, with a GCN-based graphics processor supporting DirectX 11.1. Users planning to purchase Kabini for use with Windows 8.1 should expect to miss out on some or all of the benefits associated with DirectX 11.2 (along with everyone on Windows 8 and earlier). Little of value would be lost, however.
These products are expected to be positioned against Bay Trail-D which powers Intel's Pentium and Celeron lines. The currently available products from Intel are classified at 10W TDP and around 2 GHz.
Kaveri and socketed Kabini at CES 2014
AMD is pushing lesser-clocked (and higher TDP) products based on Jaguar against Intel's Silvermont. I am not sure sure how the two architectures compare although I would expect the latter to win out clock-for-clock and watt-for-watt. Then again, cost and graphics performance could be significantly superior with AMD. Ultimately, it will be up to the overall benchmarks (and pricing) to see how they will actually stack up.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 23, 2014 - 06:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, asus, R9 290X DC2 OC, overclocking
[H]ard|OCP has had a chance to take the time to really see how well the R9 290X can overclock, as frequencies get lower as heat increases a quick gaming session is not enough to truly represent the performance of this new GPU. The ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC offers a custom cooler which demonstrated the overclocking potential of this GPU on air cooling, or at least this specific GPU as we have seen solid evidence of performance variability with 28nm Hawaii GPUs. You should read the full review to truly understand what they saw when overclocking but the good news is that once they found a sweet spot for fan speed and voltage the GPU remained at the frequency they chose. Unfortunately at 1115MHz the overclock they managed was only 75MHz higher than the cards default speed and while that could beat a stock GTX 780 Ti, the NVIDIA product overclocked higher and proved the superior card.
"We will take the ASUS R9 290X DC2 OC custom AMD R9 290X based video card and for the first time see how well the 290X can overclock. We will also for the first time compare it to an overclocked GeForce GTX 780 Ti video card head-to-head and see who wins when overclocking is accounted for."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire R9 290 4GB TRI-X OC Review @ Hardware Canucks
- HIS R9 270X IceQ X² Turbo Boost 2GB @ eTeknix
- Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X 4GB @ eTeknix
- Powercolor R9 280X TurboDuo 3GB @ eTeknix
- ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II OC 4 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte AMD Radeon R9 290X WF OC Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
- Sapphire Radeon R7 260X OC Review @ TechwareLabs
- EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified 3072 MB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte GTX 780 Ti GHZ Edition Review! @ Bjorn3D
Subject: General Tech | January 23, 2014 - 02:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: opengl, linux, amd, nvidia
If you are a Linux user who prefers to use OpenGL graphics there is still a huge benefit to choosing NVIDIA over AMD. The tests Phoronix just completed show that the GTX680, 770 and 780 all perform significantly faster than the R9 290 with even the older GTX 550 Ti and 650 GPUs outperforming AMD's best in some benchmarks. That said AMD is making important improvements to their open source drivers as that is where they are lagging behind NVIDIA. The new RadeonSI Gallium3D for the HD7000 series shows significant performance improvements when paired with the new 3.13 kernel though still falling a bit behind the Catalyst driver they are now much closer to the performance of the proprietary driver. For older cards the performance increase is nowhere near as impressive but some certain benchmarks do show this Gallium3D driver to provide at least some improvements. Pity the Source engine isn't behaving properly during benchmarks which is why no tests were run on Valve's games but that should be solved in the near future.
"In new tests conducted last week with the latest AMD and NVIDIA binary graphics drivers, the high-end AMD GPUs still really aren't proving much competition to NVIDIA's Kepler graphics cards. Here's a new 12 graphics card comparison on Ubuntu."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Testing Out The Configurable TDP On AMD's Kaveri @ Phoronix
- Lenovo shares in trading halt ahead of 'disclosable transaction' @ The Register
- BT's breakneck broadband test hits unimaginable speeds over plain ol' fiber @ Engadget
- NETGEAR CES 2014 New Products Showcase @ Benchmark Reviews
- Symantec uncovers malware that uses Windows to infect Android devices @ The Inquirer
- Windows 8.1 update 'screenshots' leak: Metro apps popped into classic desktop taskbar @ The Register
- AMD starts year, checks watch, hurries out Warsaw Opterons @ The Register
- Luxa2 H5 Premium Car Phone Mount @ eTeknix
- Nvidia Grid – Is It The Future Of High Performance Computing? @ eTeknix
Subject: Processors | January 22, 2014 - 11:12 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: server, piledriver, opteron 6300, amd, 32nm
AMD has updated its Opteron 6300 series lineup with two new processors with lower TDPs. Previously code-named "Warsaw," the Opteron 6370P and Opteron 6338P boast 99W TDPs and 12 and 16 Piledriver cores respectively.
The chips are similar to the existing Opteron 6300-series chips including the 32nm manufacturing process, dual die design, and the use of AMD's older Piledriver CPU cores instead of the latest Steamroller cores found in AMD's new Kaveri APUs. According to Supermicro, the lower 99W TDP parts offer up to 27% higher performance/watt compared to the existing "Abu-Dhabi" 6300 CPUs.
The Opteron 6338P is a twelve core processor clocked at 2.3 GHz base and 2.8 GHz turbo. The Opteron 6370P is a sixteen core part clocked at 2.0 GHz base and 2.5 GHz turbo. As such, the chips are two six and two eight-core silicon dies in one package respectively. The chips have 16MB of L3 cache and support the same instruction sets as the existing 6300 lineup including FMA3, BMI, and F16c. The new chips use AMD's Socket G34 which supports up to 4 sockets (dual die processors) per motherboard.
The new 99W 12-core 6338P and 16-core 6370P are available now for $377 and $598 respectively. The chips will be used in servers from Supermicro and Sugon, and purchasable directly from system integrators including Avnet and Penguin. AMD is aiming these chips at large data centers and cloud computing tasks. While the drop to 99W from the top-end series' 140W TDP does not seem like much, it makes a dramatic difference in the data center world where the electricity costs for racks of servers adds up rapidly.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | January 22, 2014 - 09:41 PM | Scott Michaud
AMD had a decent quarter and close to a profitable year as a whole. For the quarter ending on December 28th, the company managed $89 million dollars in profits. This accounts for interest payments on loans and everything else. The whole year averaged to a $103 million dollar gain in operating income although that still works out to a loss of $74 million (for the year) all things considered. That said, a quarterly gain of $89 million versus an annual loss of $74 million. One more quarter would forgive the whole year.
This is a hefty turn-around from their billion dollar operating loss of last year.
This gain was led by Graphics and Visual Solutions. While Computing Solutions revenue has declined, the graphics team has steadily increased in both revenue and profits. Graphics and Visual Solutions are in charge of graphics processors as well as revenue from the game console manufacturers. Even then, their processor division is floating just below profitability.
Probably the best news for AMD is that they plan the next four quarters to each be profitable. Hopefully this means that there are no foreseen hurdles in the middle of their marathon.
Subject: General Tech | January 20, 2014 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: linux, 3.13, amd, radeon
There is a new Linux kernel in the wild today and it comes with a lot of enhancements. IPTables has been replaced with the NFTables packet filtering and firewall engine, with backwards compatibility for those who actually forced IPTables to behave. There is a new scalable block layer to deal with the previously unreachable I/O that PCIe SSDs can reach and designed specifically for multi-core systems. There is much more but the update many are most excited about is the performance improvements to Radeons of the 7000 family and new models. The benchmarks that Phoronix posted are very impressive but that is only half the story, there are updates to HDMI audio and Radeon Dynamic Power Management is now enabled by default. Check out the full list of updates here.
"Linux kernel 3.13 has been released. This release includes nftables (the successor of iptables); a revamp of the block layer designed for high-performance SSDs; a framework to cap power consumption in Intel RAPL devices; improved squashfs performance; AMD Radeon power management enabled by default and automatic AMD Radeon GPU switching; improved NUMA and hugepage performance; TCP Fast Open enabled by default; support for NFC payments; support for the High-Availability Seamless Redundancy protocol; new drivers; and many other small improvements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD is being sued by investors over Llano expectations @ The Inquirer
- AMD Kaveri: Gallium3D vs. Catalyst Drivers @ Phoronix
- AMD readies ‘native’ 16-core chips based on ‘Steamroller' @ Kitguru
- Specs and highlights of Intel’s 9-series chipset revealed @ Kitguru
- Intel confirms it will axe 5,400 workers in 2014 @ The Register
- HP Brings Back Windows 7 'By Popular Demand' @ [H]ard|OCP
- How To Fix Keychain Corruption In OS X Mavericks @ Tech ARP
- The Android Experiment: I miss the Windows windows @ The Inquirer
- How-To: Kill Your Phone @ MAKE:Blog
Subject: General Tech | January 16, 2014 - 12:26 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, R9 290X, podcast, msi, Kaveri, gsync, gigabyte, freesync, benq, amd, a8-7600, 290x
PC Perspective Podcast #283 - 01/16/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Kaveri APU Launch, Gigabyte's New Slim Gaming Notebook, and CES 2014 Wrapup!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
0:22:45 AMD A8-7600 Kaveri APU Review
News items of interest:
0:59:35 Zotac has spherical SFF PC
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech | January 15, 2014 - 11:56 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: r9 m290x, r7 m265, r5 m230, mobile gpu, GCN, amd
AMD recently took the wraps off of its latest mobile GPU series in the form of the R5 M200, R7 M200, and R9 M200 series. Currently, there is one GPU in each respective Rx M200 series including the AMD Radeon R5 M230, R7 M265, and R9 M290X. Do not get too excited, however. All of the new mobile GPUs are based on desktop versions of Volcanic Islands and not AMD's new Hawaii GPUs. As such, the Rx M200 series are essentially rebrands of the Radeon HD 8000M series (which was in turn OEM rebrands of the HD 7000M series) based around AMD's Graphics Core Next 1.0 architecture and specifically the Pitcairn GPU implementation.
All of the Rx M200 series support DirectX 11.2 Tier 1, up to 4GB GDDR5 memory, and at least 320 GCN shader cores. Informatin on the mid-range R7 M265 is scarce, but AMD has released information on the low and high end chips. Further, Computer Base has managed to put together specifications for the R5 M230 and R9 M290X. In short, the R5 M230 is a rebranded HD 8570 with higher clockspeeds and support for more memory while the R9 M290X is a rebranded HD 8970M with official support for DirectX 11.2 Tier 1 (the HD8970M technically supports it as well). A more detailed breakdown is as follows.
The R9 M290X features 1280 shaders clocked at 850MHz/900MHz (base/boost), 80 texture units, and 32 ROPs. OEMs can pair the GPU with up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1,200 MHz on a 256-bit bus.
The R5 M230 has 320 shaders clocked at 855MHz, 20 texture units, and 4 ROPs. This GPU can support up to 4GB of GDDR5 memory at 1,000MHz over a 64-bit bus.
Users will be able to get the new Rx M200 series graphics cards in mobile systems from Alienware, Clevo, Lenovo, and MSI. Other manufactures should pick up the new GPUs soon as well. The new series is not terribly exciting being nearly identical to the existing HD 8000M counterparts, but it does update the lineup to AMD's new naming and branding scheme. Notably, should AMD release a Hawaii-based mobile GPU, it has not left itself much room as far as naming goes (R9 M295X?).