PC Leading The Crew of Next Generation Platforms

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2013 - 02:39 AM |
Tagged: ps4, pc gaming, amd

The last ten years were somewhat hostile to PC gamers: DRM forced us into an arms race with companies we were trying to purchase services from; our versions were ported often late and carelessly; and we were told, repetitively, that our money was not relevant to real business-or-something-like-that. The rise of Steam aside, the whole last generation became the mullet of video game history...

Console in the front; PC in the back; console in the front; PC in the back.

The next generation at least demonstrates promise for our platform as we cross the blurry divide. Small and Indie studios push new concepts, and even new business models, almost always with the PC forefront. The growth of mobile, whether cutting into computer sales or not, are often designed abstracted from native hardware which allow software like Bluestacks to include the PC and pave the way toward development in completely open, abstract platforms, such as standards-compliant web browsers.

crew-map.jpg

We will also experience a rebirth, due in part to AMD and their role in the upcoming console architectures, of games developed first on the PC and later ported to other platforms. The Crew, developed by Ubisoft Reflections, is the sum of a large repository of Windows, finally 64-bit, Direct3D 11 source code. From there, the PlayStation 4 version is derived.

Eurogamer goes into remarkable depth about certain aspects of the PS4 architecture and the process of bringing a PC title to its transistors. For instance, we were confused during Sony's announcement about the logistics of attaching Jaguar cores to a unified GDDR5-based memory system. The Eurogamer column, which draws reference to an earlier ExtremeTech editorial suggesting three possible block diagrams describing PS4 memory interfaces, more-than-suggests asymmetry between access rates across the alleged two four-core CPU modules, GPU, and system memory.

ps4-architecture.png

Image Credit, ExtremeTech via Eurogamer

As an interesting side-note: it turns out that just 6 cores will be available to developers, the remaining two are reserved for operating system usage.

It is good to see the PC leading the charge, genuinely this time, into what video games will eventually become. Feel free to market to other platforms as there will be no discrimination against your interested from my direction. So long as my dollars are respected when I decide their best use is for your product, I will be a satisfied customer.

Source: Eurogamer

Cooler Master Unveils Massive V8 GTS CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | July 20, 2013 - 02:03 AM |
Tagged: v8 gts, Intel, hsf, cpu cooler, cooler master, amd

Cooler Master has unveiled a massive CPU cooler called the V8 GTS. The new high end air cooler measures 154 x 140 x 153.5mm and weighs 1.9 pounds. It combines a horizontal vapor chamber, eight heat pipes, triple aluminum fin stacks, and two shrouded PWM fans with red LEDs.

10_Product_V8 GTS_installed 01.jpg

The V8 GTS is compatible with both Intel and AMD CPU sockets, including LGA 775, 1150 1155, 1156, 1366, and 2011 on the Intel side and AM2, AM3, AM3+, FM1, and FM2 on the AMD side. A horizontal vapor chamber is used for the CPU baseplate to effectively move heat away from the processor an into the heatpipes.

20_Product_V8 GTS_bottom.jpg

Eight 6mm heat pipes further transfer heat to three total aluminum fin stacks. Further, two 140mm PWM-controlled fans move cool air across the fins to facilitate cooling high end and overclocked processors. The fans can spin between 600 and 1,600 RPM and are rated for between approximately 28 and 82 CFM respectively.

14_Product_V8 GTS_side.jpg

Other features of the Cooler Master V8 GTS include red LEDs and a black shroud. The cooler is designed to allow plenty of room for clearance around the RAM area to allow for memory with heatspreaders to be used. It is rated to be able to cool up to 250W. It may be rather heavy and may or may not be a hemi, but it certainly looks cool (heh)!

7_Product_V8 GTS_front01.jpg

The CM V8 GTS is model number RR-V8VC-1GPR-R1 and comes with a 2 year warranty. Cooler Master has not yet detailed pricing or availability. In the meantime, Hardware Secrets managed to get their hands on the massive cooler to put its performance to the test.

AMD Announces $1.16 Billion Revenue In Q2 2013 Fiancial Results

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2013 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: amd, financial results, graphics and visual solutions, x86

AMD recently released its financial results for the second quarter of 2013. AMD had a decent quarter that demonstrated the positive effects of its ongoing restructuring efforts, but the company is, unfortunately, still operating at a loss.

In Q2 2013, AMD reported revenue of $1.16 billion, a 40% gross margin, operating loss of $29 million, and a net loss of $74 million. It experienced loss per share of $0.10. Total revenue has increased 7% versus last quarter, but is still down 18% YoY (Year over Year).

Within AMD, there are two major groups that bring in revenue: the Computing Solutions group and the recently-renamed Graphics and Visual Solutions group.

The Computing Solutions group is responsible for processors while the Graphics and Visual Solutions group is responsible for all of AMD’s graphics technologies, including GPUs.

The Computing Solutions groups experienced a 12% increase in revenue versus last quarter, and a 20% decrease in revenue versus the same time last year. According to AMD, the increase in revenue is primarily due to “significantly higher” notebook shipments and an increased number of desktop and server shipments. Further, the YoY decrease is the result of lower overall unit shipments and lower processor Average Selling Prices (ASP).

While the processor division is doing better, the Graphics and Visual Solutions group saw revenue decreases versus last quarter and last year. Specifically, revenue fell 5% QoQ and fell 13% YoY. AMD reasons that the Average Selling Price of its GPUs has increased YoY while also falling versus last quarter.

During Q2 2013 (and 2013 in general), AMD announced design wins for all the major gaming consoles and Apple’s upcoming Mac Pro desktop with dual FirePro cards, released a slew of new A-Series and embedded G-Series APUs, unleashed its 5.0GHz FX-9590 Piledriver-based CPU, and launched low power Opteron X processors. AMD's performance in Q2 was the result of its continued focus on restructuring as well as "opportunities in high growth and traditioanl PC businesses" according to CEO Rory Read.

According to the company, its outlook for next quarter is a revenue increase of 22% (+/- 3%), or approximately $1.42 billion.

Source: AMD

Just how does a 5GHz AMD chip perform?

Subject: Processors | July 19, 2013 - 04:13 PM |
Tagged: vishera, TWKR, piledriver, FX-9590, Centurion, amd

As we have been discussing the 220W TDP 5GHz AMD FX-9590 recently it seems a good idea to show what level of performance you can expect from this chip.  Hardware Canucks had a chance to benchmark the performance of this chip using both synthetic benchmarks and some gaming tests.  When they tried to overclock the chip they ran into difficulties with not only heat, as you would expect but they also ran into an issue with power, they maxed out the amount that the board could provide.  Single thread performance is not up to par with SandyBridge-E but in properly designed multi-threaded programs the performance is impressive, though perhaps not for an $800+ chip. 

FX-9590-1.jpg

"With the FX-9590, AMD has taken their Piledriver architecture and pushed it to the absolute limit. By running at an astounding 5GHz, this new CPU is the fastest in the FX-series stable."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Velocity Micro Debuts Vision M35 Desktop With AMD FX-9000 Series Processors

Subject: Systems | July 17, 2013 - 12:12 AM |
Tagged: vision m35, velocity micro, FX-9590, FX-9370, amd, 5ghz

Boutique system manufacturer Velocity Micro has announced its new Vision M35 gaming desktop powered by AMD’s latest FX-9000 series processors.

The Velocity Micro Vision M35 can be configured with a variety of hardware components on the company’s website. The system can be housed in a number of traditional Velocity Micro cases with internal hardware that includes either an AMD FX-9370 or an AMD FX-9590 processor, up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, both SSDs and HDDs in various capacities, and up to a 1200W power supply. Graphics card options include a number of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA’s latest series (AMD 7000, NVIDIA 600/700). By default, the Vision M35 comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Windows 8 x64, but users can elect to install Windows 7.

Velocity Micro Vision M35 Computer with AMD FX-9590 and Geforce Graphics.jpg

The AMD FX-9000 series processors are the real news here, and Velocity Micro is among the first boutique vendors to use them. As a refresher, the FX-9370 and FX-9590 are 8-core processors with 16MB of cache based on the company’s Piledriver micro-architecture. The FX-9370 has a base clockspeed of 4.4 GHz and a turbo clockspeed of 4.7 GHz while the FX-9590 comes clocked at 4.7 GHz base and 5.0 GHz turbo. Despite being aimed at the enthusiast crowd, these chips will only be available to OEMs and system builders and not as retail parts.

The new AMD-powered Velocity Micro Vision M35 is available now online with a base price of $2,799. I was able to configure a M35 with the following specifications for $3,169 (and managed to get a quote of $2,969 after a $200 off coupon selectable on the configuration page).

  • Velocity Micro QX-W chassis
  • 850W power supply
  • AMD FX-9590 CPU
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM
  • AMD Radeon 7950 GPU
  • 120GB Intel 520 SSD
  • 1TB 7200 RPM hard drive
  • Integrated GbE and audio
  • (No keyboard or mouse or other accessories selected)

Granted, its on the pricier side, but its not a bad system as far as pre-built boutique PCs go. And for AMD fans, systems like this (and these) are going to be the only official option for getting a FX-9590 processor.

AMD FX-9000 Series Now Available

Subject: Systems | July 16, 2013 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: vishera, TWKR, piledriver, FX-9590, FX-9370, Centurion, amd

If you are looking for an AMD system you can really brag about then the arrival of FX-9590 powered systems at popular retailers like NCIX and system builders like Puget Sound and CyberPower.  Clocked at 5GHz stock it is the highest frequency consumer CPU on the market and as long as you can tame the 220W TDP you might be able to take the chip even higher.  Not every retailer has listed their new systems at the time of posting but right now you can pick up a GENESIS system from Origin that sports a watercooled FX-9590 and depending on your choices the GPU(s) can be watercooled as well.

pdp-case-main.png

Velocity Micro also has a system ready for purchase and the Gamer Scorpius 9500 from Cyberpower will be ready in the very near future.  As you are unlikely to see these CPUs for sale in retail boxes this may be your only chance to get a hold of one of these chips.  The prices of the systems will vary widely depending on what components you want inside but keep in mind that you are buying a completely build and thoroughly tested machine with a warranty so don't dismiss these systems without comparing the pricing to what you would pay to build a machine yourself. 

01_400.jpg

PowerColor Releases Devil HD 7870 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 16, 2013 - 05:52 AM |
Tagged: powercolor, devil hd 7870, hd 7870, amd, GCN

Nearly a year ago, PowerColor launched the massive “Devil 13” Radeon HD 7990 graphics card. Now, the company is releasing a new Devil-series single GPU card called the Devil HD 7870. This card combines a huge dual slot, triple fan HSF with a factory overclocked Graphics Core Next-based Radeon HD 7870 GPU.

Powercolor Devil HD 7870 Graphics Card.jpeg

The upcoming Devil HD 7870 features a factory overclocked 7870 “Pitcairn” GPU clocked at 1100 MHz and 2GB of GDDR5 clocked at 1250 MHz. As a refresher, the 7870 has 1,280 stream processors, 80 Texture Units, and 32 ROPs along with a 256-bit memory bus. The reference AMD Radeon HD 7870 graphics card has a GPU clockspeed of 1000 MHz and memory clockspeed of 1200 MHz.

To differentiate its card, PowerColor is pairing the factory overclocked GPU and memory with a triple fan (four heatpipe and aluminum fin stack) cooler similar in design to the Devil 13’s HSF. The card also features PowerColor’s “Platinum Power Kit” which entails a 7+1+1 power phase with digital VRMs and so-called “Super Capacitors.” PowerColor claims that its triple fan cooler runs 25% cooler and 18% quieter than the reference AMD cooler.

Powercolor Devil HD 7870.jpeg

The Devil HD 7870 offers up a DL-DVI, DVI, HDMI, and two Mini-DisplayPort video outputs. It is powered by two 6-pin PCI-E power connectors.

There is no word on pricing or availability, but expect the Devil-branded card to come at a premium (possibly around $270 MSRP).

Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.

Source: PowerColor
Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Battle of the IGPs

Our long journey with Frame Rating, a new capture-based analysis tool to measure graphics performance of PCs and GPUs, began almost two years ago as a way to properly evaluate the real-world experiences for gamers.  What started as a project attempting to learn about multi-GPU complications has really become a new standard in graphics evaluation and I truly believe it will play a crucial role going forward in GPU and game testing. 

Today we use these Frame Rating methods and tools, which are elaborately detailed in our Frame Rating Dissected article, and apply them to a completely new market: notebooks.  Even though Frame Rating was meant for high performance discrete desktop GPUs, the theory and science behind the entire process is completely applicable to notebook graphics and even on the integrated graphics solutions on Haswell processors and Richland APUs.  It also is able to measure performance of discrete/integrated graphics combos from NVIDIA and AMD in a unique way that has already found some interesting results.

 

Battle of the IGPs

Even though neither side wants us to call it this, we are testing integrated graphics today.  With the release of Intel’s Haswell processor (the Core i7/i5/i3 4000) the company has upgraded the graphics noticeably on several of their mobile and desktop products.  In my first review of the Core i7-4770K, a desktop LGA1150 part, the integrated graphics now known as the HD 4600 were only slightly faster than the graphics of the previous generation Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge.  Even though we had all the technical details of the HD 5000 and Iris / Iris Pro graphics options, no desktop parts actually utilize them so we had to wait for some more hardware to show up. 

 

mbair.JPG

When Apple held a press conference and announced new MacBook Air machines that used Intel’s Haswell architecture, I knew I could count on Ken to go and pick one up for himself.  Of course, before I let him start using it for his own purposes, I made him sit through a few agonizing days of benchmarking and testing in both Windows and Mac OS X environments.  Ken has already posted a review of the MacBook Air 11-in model ‘from a Windows perspective’ and in that we teased that we had done quite a bit more evaluation of the graphics performance to be shown later.  Now is later.

So the first combatant in our integrated graphics showdown with Frame Rating is the 11-in MacBook Air.  A small, but powerful Ultrabook that sports more than 11 hours of battery life (in OS X at least) but also includes the new HD 5000 integrated graphics options.  Along with that battery life though is the GT3 variation of the new Intel processor graphics that doubles the number of compute units as compared to the GT2.  The GT2 is the architecture behind the HD 4600 graphics that sits with nearly all of the desktop processors, and many of the notebook versions, so I am very curious how this comparison is going to stand. 

Continue reading our story on Frame Rating with Haswell, Trinity and Richland!!

AMD may discontinue Radeon HD 7990

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | July 4, 2013 - 06:02 PM |
Tagged: radeon hd 7990, frame rating, amd, 7990

Editor's Update (Ryan): After the long holiday I finally got around to asking AMD for an official response to this rumor.  AMD says simply:

"Plain and simple: AMD has not EOL'd the world's fastest graphics card, the AMD Radeon HD 7990."

Obviously the company is steadfast that the report from WCCFTech is incorrect so I eagerly await the new driver due by July 31st for improved frame pacing and multi-GPU performance!

END UPDATE

WCCFTech caught wind, via Overclockers.Ru, of a Radeon HD 7990 cancellation rumor. The flagship card, codenamed after the Mediterranean island, "Malta", contains two Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPUs in Crossfire. Before the canonical AMD design, certain third-party add-in-board (AIB) partners created their own designs with the 7990 moniker with a pair of 7970 GPUs as its foundation. The first official 7990s launched in April 2013.

But, it did not have the best reception.

amd7990.jpg

Never Settle, get it before it settles.

The two main issues regarding 7990 adoption are, according to WCCFTech, micro-stuttering with Crossfire setups and the better dollar value of paired 7970s. The 7990 comes in at the thousand dollar ($1000 USD) price point despite being, for all intents and purposes, nearly identical to a pair of separate 7970 cards. While the 7990 has access to a superior "Never Settle" bundle when compared to twin 7970s, with the addition of a Deux Ex: Human Revolution license, it would be difficult to consider that as an excuse for the $200-$300 USD price gap.

Cost aside, this would be a really odd time to cancel the 7990. The product was launched just a few months ago, despite similar price concerns, only to be allegedly killed right before the driver that makes it worth its weight? If true, either AMD decided to annul their "mistake", or we will get some interesting news when the frame pacing driver finally gets released.

While pure speculation, my immediate reflex would be that AMD had some problem during the development of their frame pacing driver. The initial results presented by Ryan showed a great improvement, but what about a pair of 7990 cards? The way in which they, allegedly, are killing off the 7990 would suggest something abrupt came up.

Hopefully, for AMD, that was not the case.

Source: WCCFTech

AMD, HSA, LibreOffice and you

Subject: General Tech | July 4, 2013 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: hsa, amd, LibreOffice

Need an excuse to give the 'boss' on why you need to buy a new AMD CPU or GPU?  Check out The Register for a reason custom made for you; accelerated LibreOffice performance which will help you when working on spreadsheets.  AMD will be working with the designers at the (slightly more successful) competitor to OpenOffice to allow the newest versions to be HSA compliant.  This is perhaps not a huge win as many people do not work with office documents which will greatly benefit from GPU acceleration but it does serve to show the acceptance the industry has to the HSA as LibreOffice joins applications such as Open C, C++ AMP, Java and Python in supporting HSA features.

hsa-foundation-samsung.jpg

"It is great to work on LibreOffice with The Document Foundation to expose the raw power of AMD GPUs and APUs, initially to spreadsheet users," said Manju Hegde, VP of heterogeneous solutions at AMD, in a statement."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register