Just when you thought it was going to calm down AMD drops Richland on your lap

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2013 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: VLIW4, trinity, Richland, piledriver, fm2, APU, amd, a10, 6800K, 6700

Richland is here, in the form of the A10-6800K with a 4.1GHz base clock and 4.4GHz Turbo clock, support for DDR3-2133 and an improved GPU called the 8670D with 384 shaders and a 844MHz clock speed ... all for $142!  Computationally you can compare it to a Core i3 or a slower Core i5 but graphically this CPU is head and shoulders above the competition as you can see in X-Bit Labs' testing.  You really need to keep the price in mind, as it may not provide as much power as a Core-i5 it costs about half as much which can mean a lot to someone on a tight budget, especially when they can skip purchasing a discrete GPU altogether.

Make sure to check out Josh's reivew where he contrasts the last few generations of AMD chips.

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"AMD decided to refresh their Socket FM2 platform and release a new generation of hybrid processors for it based on Richland design. This is exactly the one that earned the “Elite Performance APU Platform” title in the mobile segment."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source:

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Shows Off GA-990FXA-UD7 AM3+ Motherboard That Hints At 5GHz AMD FX Processor

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 5, 2013 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, ga-990fx-ud7, computex 2013, computex, amd fx, amd, am3+

Gigabyte is showing off quite a few motherboards at Computex 2013. One of the most interesting motherboards on display is the GA-990FX-UD7 for AMD AM3+ desktop processors. This is a high-end motherboard for enthusiasts and is packed with features.

The GA-990FX-UD7 features an 8+2 power phase, AM3+ CPU socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots, six PCI-E 2.0 x16 (physical) slots, one legacy PCI slot, and eight SATA 3 6Gbps ports. It has a black and glossy orange color scheme with large finned heatsinks around the CPU socket and over the southbridge. The board uses a Realtek ALC889 chipset for onboard audio that supports Dolby Home Theater and has a 108dB SNR rating. Further, the GA-990FX-UD7 supports 4-way SLI or CrossFire, Gigabyte's UEFI DualBIOS, and 3X power which allows faster battery charging for supported USB-connected mobile devices.

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 AM3Plus Motherboard.jpg

The Gigabyte GA-990FX-UD7 at Computex 2013 as spotted by Sweclockers (Click for larger image).

Rear IO includes a single coaxial S/PDIF and six analog audio outputs, four USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA+USB combo ports, and a RJ45 LAN jack.

Interestingly, Gigabyte's Computex display mentions that the new AM3+ motherboard is compatible with AMD's 5GHz AM3+ processor, which lends credibility to previous rumors of a Piledriver-based eight core “Centurion” AMD FX processor clocked at 5GHz with a 220W TDP. That chip was rumored for a summer 2013 release in limited quantities, and it looks like enthusiasts might be able to get their hands on that chip later this year after all!

Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 AM3Plus Motherboard Specifications.jpg

Although AMD is not talking, Sweclockers has managed to put together a list of preliminary specifications for the codenamed Centurion processor. Rumors have it that the Centurion chip will be officially named the AMD FX-9000, and that it is a 4-module, 8-core part with a 4.8 GHz base clock and 5.0 GHz turbo clockspeed. It has a total of 8MB L2 cache, and 8MB of L3. Further, this 220W TDP part will support a maximum of DDR3-1866 (officially, before overclocking) and is build on AMD's 32nm SOI HKMG manufacturing process. You will need a beefy air cooler at the minimum to keep this chip happy, but otherwise it should be a fun chip for enthusiasts to tinker with!

Source: Sweclockers
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Trinity... but Better!

Richland.  We have been hearing this name for a solid nine months.  Originally Richland was going to be a low end Trinity model that was budget oriented (or at least that was the context we heard it in).  Turns out Richland is something quite different, though the product group does extend all the way from the budget products up to mainstream prices.  We have seen both AMD and Intel make speed bin updates throughout the years with their products, but that seems like it is becoming a thing of the past.  Instead, AMD is refreshing their Trinity product in a pretty significant matter.  It is not simply a matter of binning these chips up a notch.

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Trinity was released last Fall and it was a solid product in terms of overall performance and capabilities.  It was well worth the price that AMD charged, especially when compared to Intel processors that would often be significantly slower in terms of graphics.  The “Piledriver” architecture powers both Trinity and Richland, and it is an improved version of the original “Bulldozer” architecture.  Piledriver included some small IPC gains, but the biggest advantage given was in terms of power.  It is a much more power efficient architecture that can be clocked higher than the original Bulldozer parts.  Trinity turned out to be a power sipping part for both mobile and desktop.  In ways, it helped to really keep AMD afloat.

It turns out there were still some surprises in store from Trinity, and they have only been exposed by the latest Richland parts.  AMD is hoping to keep in front of Intel in terms of graphics performance and compatibility, even in the face of the latest Haswell parts.  While AMD has not ported over GCN to the Trinity/Richland lineup, the VLIW4 unit present in the current parts is still very competitive.  What is perhaps more important, the software support for both 3D applications and GPGPU is outstanding.

Click here to read the entire review on the AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700.

Computex 2013: Gigabyte Launches New GB-XM1 SFF Brix PCs With Haswell and Kabini CPU Options

Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 4, 2013 - 05:40 AM |
Tagged: Kabini, Intel, haswell, gigabyte, computex 2013, computex, brix, amd

Earlier this year, Gigabyte showed off a new small form factor (SFF) mini PC called the Brix during its New Idea Tech Tour. Those initial models came equipped with Intel Ivy Bridge processors, two SO-DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 1600MHz memory), one mSATA slot, and one mPCI-E connector for storage and wireless networking respectively. The Brix hardware is housed in an aluminum chassis that doubles as a heatsink. However, since the Brix's debut, both Intel and AMD have come out with new more power efficient processors. In light of this, Gigabyte is not only showing off the original Brix PC at Computex 2013, but a new SKU called the GB-XM1 that comes equipped with your choice of Intel Haswell or AMD Kabini processors.

Gigabyte Brix SFF PC.jpg

The new 4.5 x 4.2 x 1.2" Gigabyte Brix XM1 PC supports mSATA, mPCI-E, dual display outputs, USB 3.0, and is VESA mountable. The Haswell variant's processor options range from a Core i3-4010U to a Core i7-4500U. On the AMD side of things, the GB-XM1 is available with options ranging from the E1-2100 to the A4-5000. All of the AMD "Kabini" chips are outfitted with 12 Radeon cores, but they differ from there. The highest-end chip, the A4-5000, is a quad core with 2MB of L2 cache while the lower tier chips are dual cores with only 1MB of L2 cache. The following chart outlines all of the Haswell and Kabini CPU choices.

GB-XM1 (Haswell) GB-XM1 (Kabini)
Core i7-4500U A4-5000
Core i5-4200U E2-3000
Core i3-4100U E1-2500
Core i3-4010U E1-2100

For more information on Kabini, check out our review of the AMD A4-5000 Kabini processor. If you need a refresher on Intel's Haswell architecture, you can also find a review of the Core i7-4770K here.

Gigabyte has not released pricing or availability information on the GB-XM1, but expect the Kabini models to be noticeably cheaper than the Haswell counterparts. Thankfully, it is not all bad news for Kabini users, as the Radeon cores help the low power processor accomplish 3D and media playback tasks, as noted in Josh's review.

For those interested in the mini Brix PC as a media center box or low-power desktop PC, Engadget reports that Gigabyte is also experimenting with specialized Brix SKUs, including a wireless charging pad for mobile devices and another Brix with a Pico projector. These accessories are merely prototypes at this point and may not go into mass production.

I'm glad to see Gigabyte moving forward with its Brix lineup to provide a useful alternative to Intel's NUC.

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Codename Kyoto

Kabini is a pretty nifty little chip.  So nifty, AMD is actually producing server grade units for the growing micro-server market.  As readers may or may not remember, AMD bought up SeaMicro last year to get a better grip on the expanding micro-server market.  While there are no official announcements from SeaMicro about offerings utilizing the server-Kabini parts, we can expect there to be sooner as opposed to later.

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The Kabini parts (Jaguar + GCN) will be branded Opteron X-series.  So far there are two announced products; one utilizes the onboard graphics portion while the other has the GCN based unit disabled.  The products have a selectable TDP that ranges from 9 watts to 22 watts.  This should allow the vendors to further tailor the chips to their individual solutions.

The X1150 is the GPU-less product with adjustable TDPs ranging from 9 to 17 watts.  It is a native quad core product with 2 MB of L2 cache.  It can be clocked up to 2 GHz, which we assume is that 17 watts range.  The X2150 has an adjustable TDP range from 11 to 22 watts.  The four cores can go to a max speed of 1.9 GHz while the GPU can go from 266 MHz up to a max 600 MHz.

Click here to read the entire article on the new Opteron X-series!

AMD Catalyst 13.6 Beta Drivers For Windows and Linux Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 28, 2013 - 11:32 PM |
Tagged: gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.6 beta, beta, amd

AMD has released its Catalyst 13.6 beta graphics driver, and it fixes a number of issues under both Windows 8 and Linux. The new beta driver is also compatible with the existing Catalyst 13.5 CAP1 (Catalyst Application Profile) which improves performance of several PC games.

As far as the Windows version of the graphics driver, Catalyst 13.6 adds OpenCL GPU acceleration support to Adobe's Premiere Pro CC software and enables AMD Wireless Display technology on systems with the company's A-Series APUs and either Broadcom or Atheros Wi-Fi chipsets. AMD has also made a couple of tweaks to its Enduro technology, including correctly identifying when a Metro app idles and offloading the corresponding GPU tasks to integrated graphics instead of a discrete card. The new beta driver also resolves an issue with audio dropout over HDMI.

AMD Catalyst Drivers.jpg

On the Linux side of things, Catalyst 13.6 beta adds support for the following when using AMD's A10, A8, A6, and A4 APUs:

  • Ubuntu 13.04
  • Xserver 1.14
  • GLX_EXT_buffer age

The driver fixes several bugs as well, including resolving black screen and corruption issues under TF2, an issue with OpenGL applications and VSYNC, and UVD playback issues where the taskbar would disappear and/or the system would experience a noticeable performance drop while playing a UVD in XBMC.

You can grab the new beta driver from the AMD website.

Source: AMD

Podcast #252 - Z87 Motherboards, Xbox One, Lenovo Y500 Gaming notebook and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2013 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: z87, Y500, xbox one, xbox, video, Temash, Richland, podcast, pcper, msi, Lenovo, Kaveri, Kabini, Jaguar, Intel, hgst, gtx 650m, Giagbyte, ECS, asus, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #252 - 05/23/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Z87 Motherboards, Xbox One, Lenovo Y500 Gaming notebook 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!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:17:01

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. 1:04:30 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

The Architectural Deep Dive

AMD officially unveiled their brand new Bobcat architecture to the world at CES 2011.  This was a very important release for AMD in the low power market.  Even though Netbooks were a dying breed at that time, AMD experienced a good uptick in sales due to the good combination of price, performance, and power consumption for the new Brazos platform.  AMD was of the opinion that a single CPU design would not be able to span the power consumption spectrum of CPUs at the time, and so Bobcat was designed to fill that space which existed from 1 watt to 25 watts.  Bobcat never was able to get down to that 1 watt point, but the Z-60 was a 4.5 watt part with two cores and the full 80 Radeon cores.

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The Bobcat architecture was produced on TSMC’s 40 nm process.  AMD eschewed the upcoming 32 nm HKMG/SOI process that was being utilized for the upcoming Llano and Bulldozer parts.  In hindsight, this was a good idea.  Yields took a while to improve on GLOBALFOUNDRIES new process, while the existing 40 nm product from TSMC was running at full speed.  AMD was able to provide the market in fairly short order with good quantities of Bobcat based APUs.  The product more than paid for itself, and while not exactly a runaway success that garnered many points of marketshare from Intel, it helped to provide AMD with some stability in the market.  Furthermore, it provided a very good foundation for AMD when it comes to low power parts that are feature rich and offer competitive performance.

The original Brazos update did not happen, instead AMD introduced Brazos 2.0 which was a more process improvement oriented product which featured slightly higher speeds but remained in the same TDP range.  The uptake of this product was limited, and obviously it was a minor refresh to buoy purchases of the aging product.  Competition was coming from low power Ivy Bridge based chips, as well as AMD’s new Trinity products which could reach TDPs of 17 watts.  Brazos and Brazos 2.0 did find a home in low powered, but full sized notebooks that were very inexpensive.  Even heavily leaning Intel based manufacturers like Toshiba released Brazos based products in the sub-$500 market.  The combination of good CPU performance and above average GPU performance made this a strong product in this particular market.  It was so power efficient, small batteries were typically needed, thereby further lowering the cost.

All things must pass, and Brazos is no exception.  Intel has a slew of 22 nm parts that are encroaching on the sub-15 watt territory, ARM partners have quite a few products that are getting pretty decent in terms of overall performance, and the graphics on all of these parts are seeing some significant upgrades.  The 40 nm based Bobcat products are no longer competitive with what the market has to offer.  So at this time we are finally seeing the first Jaguar based products.  Jaguar is not a revolutionary product, but it improves on nearly every aspect of performance and power usage as compared to Bobcat. 

Continue reading our analysis of the new Jaguar and GCN architecture!!

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: AMD

A Reference Platform - But not a great one

Believe it or not, AMD claims that the Brazos platform, along with the "Brazos 2.0" update the following year, were the company's most successful mobile platforms in terms of sales and design wins.  When it first took the scene in late 2010, it was going head to head against the likes of Intel's Atom processor and the combination of Atom + NVIDIA ION and winning.  It was sold in mini-ITX motherboard form factors as well as small clamshell notebooks (gasp, dare we say...NETBOOKS?) and though it might not have gotten the universal attention it deserved, it was a great part.

With Kabini (and Temash as well), AMD is making another attempt to pull in some marketshare in the low power, low cost mobile markets.  I have already gone over the details of the mobile platforms that AMD is calling Elite Mobility (Temash) and Mainstream (Kabini) in a previous article that launched today.

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This article will quickly focus on the real-world performance of the Kabini platform as demonstrated by a reference laptop I received while visiting AMD in Toronto a few weeks ago.  While this design isn't going to be available in retail (and I am somewhat thankful based on the build quality) the key is to look at the performance and power efficiency of the platform itself, not the specific implementation. 

Kabini Architecture Overview

The building blocks of Kabini are four Jaguar x86 cores and 128 Radeon cores colleted in a pair of Compute Units - similar in many ways to the CUs found in the Radeon HD 7000 series discrete GPUs.  Josh has written a very good article that focuses on the completely new architecture that is Jaguar and compared it to other processors including AMD's previous core used in Brazos, the Bobcat core. 

Continue reading our performance preview of the new AMD Kabini A4-5000 mainstream mobility APU!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

2013 Elite Mobility APU - Temash

AMD has a lot to say today.  At an event up in Toronto this month we got to sit down with AMD’s marketing leadership and key engineers to learn about the company’s plans for 2013 mobility processors.  This includes a refreshed high performance APU known as Richland that will replace Trinity as well as two brand new APUs based on Jaguar CPU cores and the GCN architecture for low power platforms. 

Josh has put together an article that details the Jaguar + GCN design of Temash and Kabini and I have also posted some initial performance results of the Kabini reference system AMD handed me in May.  This article will detail the plans that AMD has for each of these three mobile segments, starting with the newest entry, AMD’s Elite Mobility APU platform – Temash.

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The goal of the APU, the combination of traditional x86 processing cores and a discrete style graphics system, was to offer unparalleled performance in smaller and more efficient form factors.  AMD believes that their leadership in the graphics front will offer them a good sized advantage in areas including performance tablets, hybrids and small screen clamshells that may or not be touch enabled.  They are acknowledging though that getting into the smallest tablets (like the Nexus 7) is not on the table quite yet and that content creation desktop replacements are probably outside the scope of Richland. 

 

2013 Elite Mobility APU – Temash

AMD will have the first x86 quad-core SoC design with Temash and AMD thinks it will make a big splash in a relatively new market known as the “high performance” tablet. 

temash02_0.jpg

Temash, built around Jaguar CPU cores and the graphics technology of GCN, will be able to offer fully accelerated video playback with transcode support as well with features like image stabilization and Perfect Picture enabled.  Temash will also be the only SoC to offer support for DX11 graphics and even though some games might not have the ability to show off added effects there are quite a few performance advantages of DX11 over DX10/9.  With more than 100% claimed GPU performance upgrade you’ll be able to drive displays at 2560x1600 for productivity use and even be able to take advantage of wireless display options. 

Continue reading our preview of the new 2013 mobility platforms featuring AMD APUs!!