We interrupt your Titan previews for a look at comparitive Catalyst version performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, 2012

Today might be Titan Preview Day as you can see from the links below as well as Ryan's article here, but [H]ard|OCP would like to offer you solid performance numbers instead.  They took a look back at the Catalyst 12.x series of drivers that AMD GPU owners have been using over the past year. With the HD 7970 and HD 7950 they tested 7 of AMD's past drivers for performance on four popular games.  The findings are fairly clear, after a poor start to the year AMD's drivers showed improved performance as the year went on, with leaps after games were released and the driver could be optimized for speed.  The HD7970 did improve over the year but it was the 7950 that proved to receive the biggest gains.

H7950.gif

"We continuing our look at driver performance improvements over time by evaluating AMD’s 2012 driver performances on both the AMD Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 video cards. We will see how drivers from the beginning of the year to the end of year have impacted real world gameplay performance . "

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Intel's embedded GPU might finally be 'good enough' according to JPR

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 19, 2013 - 01:38 PM |
Tagged: Q4 2012, NVIDA, jon peddie, Intel, amd

Jon Peddie Research have released their findings on the state of the discrete and integrated graphics market, not counting servers, smartphone nor ARM based systems.  While the overall PC market showed a negligible gain of 2.8% over the final quarter of 2012, discrete graphics sales saw a decline of 8.2%, which JPR attributes to a noticeable increase of purchases of systems with only an Intel or AMD embedded GPU.  When you break the quarter down by manufacturer the news is not good.  For AMD the last quarter did see an increase of less than 1% on desktop CPUs but declines of 19% in laptop CPU sales and 13.6% in discrete GPU sales.  Intel saw desktop CPU sales up 3% but lost over 6% on laptop sales with their overall decline compared to last quarter sitting at about 3%.  NVIDIA was hit the hardest at the end of 2012 with only their discrete GPU sales applying to this survey, a loss of 15% on the desktop and a loss of 18% on mobile GPUs lead to an overall decline of 16%.

Compared to the final quarter of 2011, AMD lost 29.4%, Intel 5% and NVIDIA 4.6%, reflecting the difficulty of making sales in the past year; the total discrete GPU market dropped almost 10% or about 3 million units.  Even with the companies making profits, in some cases significant profits, the entire GPU market is depressed with ARM based devices and smartphones starting to erode the market that is already shrinking thanks to Intel and AMD shipping CPUs with embedded GPUs that are good enough for many users needs.

JPRQ12013.png

"The news was disappointing for every one of the major players. AMD dropped 13.6%, Intel slipped the least, just 2.9%, and Nvidia declined the most with 16.7% quarter-to-quarter change, this coming on the heels of a spectacular third quarter. The overall PC market actually grew 2.8% quarter-to-quarter while the graphics market declined 8.2% reflecting a decline in double-attach. That may be attributed to Intel's improved embedded graphics, finally making "good enough" a true statement."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

AMD wants to set the record straight on its future GPU strategy

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 01:50 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, Solar System, Sea Islands, radeon, oland, mars, holycrapiamtotallyconfused, amd

Remember that story we posted last week and then discussed on the podcast about AMD not releasing any new GPUs in 2013?  Today we had a call with AMD that attempted to answer some questions, clear up some confusion and give us some insight to the company's direction.  I say 'attempted' because after a 53 minute discussion, we have some answers, but we also have some interesting questions that remain.

First, some definitions.  If you have heard about code names like "Solar System" and "Sea Islands" you might not know what they refer to.  Sea Islands is a new line that will fall into the 8000-series of products and will be a refresh, slightly different architecture based heavily on the Southern Islands parts you've come to love in the Radeon HD 7000 parts.  Solar System is the name AMD has given to the sub-category of Sea Islands directly related to mobile products, the 8000M. 

amd20131.jpg

The slide that started this confusion - and our questions.

What might make things even more confusing is that there are some 8000-series parts that are already shipping in OEM desktops and notebooks that use verbatim HD 7000 GPU specs.  So what you have is a combination series with Radeon HD 8000 that is made up of some rebrands and at least a couple of "new" chips thus far.  Those two new GPUs, Mars and Oland (Radeon HD 8650 and HD 8670) depending on the mobile or desktop target, are already out and you can find them if you look hard.  They are NOT available in the channel or for DIY PC users. 

Our readers might be disappointed to learn that Sea Islands is heavily focused on the notebook and mobile markets though AMD did indicate that there some good things coming for the channel users in the future in 2013. 

We also learned that the HD 7900-series will remain the company's high end parts through the end of 2013 but AMD said that there are new SKUs set to be released in this series sometime this year as well.  Will that be the elusive HD 7990 dual-GPU product or maybe just something in the mainstream 7800 segments?  They wouldn't tell us but we are definitely hoping for higher performance parts.  You might also expect to see these new 7000-series parts to use Sea Islands silicon...

7970.jpg

The Radeon HD 7970 looks like it will stay a focus for AMD throughout 2013.

Many readers might be wondering why AMD is breaking its standard cadence of near-yearly GPU releases.  The answer came from AMD's Roy Taylor, VP of Channel Sales, who said that "7000 series parts are continuing to ramp UP, sales are increasing" so it is premature for AMD, as a company intending to make money, to introduce a new series or architecture. 

In fact Roy was very emphatic about relieving us of potential ambiguity. 

We have products, we have a road map.  We are not announcing them now because we want to reposition the ones we have now.  We are not sitting still, we do not lack resources, we do not lack imagination.

So what can you expect for the future?  Sea Islands chips will continue to be released and eventually in the desktop, channel market and some of them will be branded as 7000-series parts and some of them will be branded as 8000-series parts.  They wouldn't give us information on whether or not you'll see BIGGER chips (which we would assume would be faster) than the current HD 7900 cards or if they would all be in the mainstream segment. 

crysis1.jpg

AMD thinks its partnerships with key games like Crysis 3 will help keep momentum in 2013.

The residual message from this call was that AMD wants everyone to know that they have the best products on the market today and to maintain that momentum, AMD will enhance drivers, establish big partnerships with gaming companies and developers and release SOME new GPUs. 

AMD was cagey again when asked about the possibility of a new architecture by the end of 2013 but based on the reactions of AMD reps I tend to believe we will see it, though probably very very close to the end of that time.  (Update: AMD did in fact say that an entire new product stack would be releaed by the end of 2013.)

That all clear now?

Podcast #238 - Thinkpad Tablet 2, Raspberry Pi, Nonvolatile DIMMS and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2013 - 04:07 PM |
Tagged: podcast, NVDIMMS, Raspberry Pi, Thinkpad, tablet 2, nvidia, amd, southern islands, Solar System, Crysis 3, Intel

PC Perspective Podcast #238 - 02/14/2013

Join us this week as we discuss the Thinkpad Tablet 2, Raspberry Pi, Nonvolatile DIMMS 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:13:52

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:00 Crysis 3 Live Game Stream - Win Free Stuff!!
    2. 0:04:10 Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet 2 Preview
    3. 0:09:15 Rosewill Tachyon Series 1000 watt power supply
    4. 0:12:00 Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 Preview
  2. 0:16:18 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:17:50 Reports of no new AMD cards for 2013
    2. 0:26:40 Windows is feeling "blue"
    3. 0:32:15 Nonvolatile DIMMs
    4. 0:38:08 Raspberry Pie 5MP camera module
    5. 0:43:55 NVIDIA bundles credits for free to play games
    6. 0:49:30 Corsair Acquires Simple Audio
    7. 0:53:00 Intel confirms upcoming set top box
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:56:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: A Raspberry Pi device
      2. Jeremy: ping -p 32 -s 1110 x.x.x.x
      3. Josh: System Shock 2 on GOG.com
      4. Allyn: ioSafe N2
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

AMD plans no new graphics cards in 2013, report

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 8, 2013 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon

In a report first spotted by Rage3D from source website 4gamer.net, news is filtering out that AMD may in fact have no new discrete graphics card releases for the remainder of 2013!  While talking with the APAC media about the fantastic Never Settle Reloaded game bundle, they showed THIS slide. 

amd20131.jpg

That seems to indicate that at the very least through the 3rd quarter of 2013, AMD has no plans to update or add to its discrete graphics card roadmap.  We had heard whispers of this fact while at CES in January but this pretty much puts a cap on it.  And with the wording of "throughout 2013" it could indicate we won't see new product until 2014.

amd20132.jpg

Also shown, this product comparison between AMD and NVIDIA, put together by AMD, is a bit lopsided and less than 100% accurate in my eyes.  With the release of the new 3DMark Fire Strike benchmark AMD has a distinct advantage and it seems the slide here is based completely on that....blech

Regardless, what does it mean if AMD actually has no new discrete, enthusiast class cards for 2013?  We know the rumors are swirling about the NVIDIA GeForce Titan based on the GK110 and sporting 2688 CUDA cores and it will likely take the place as the fastest single GPU card on the market.  AMD has been depending on its partners to build multi-GPU options based on Southern Islands like the ASUS ARES II and Powercolor Devil 13 but they have been pretty low volume.  Our original review of the HD 7970 launched in December 2011....this could be quite a drought. 

Source: 4gamer.net

Podcast #237 - 750W Power Supply Reviews, the new 3DMark, AMD's Newest Game Bundles and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2013 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: podcast, pcper, 3dmark, ice storm, fire strike, titan, evga, 750w, seasonic, never settle, Crysis 3, amd, nvidia, Intel, adata

PC Perspective Podcast #237 - 02/07/2013

Join us this week as we discuss two 750W Power Supply Reviews, the new 3DMark, AMD's Newest Game Bundles 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:10:21

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:10 EVGA SuperNOVA NEX750G Gold Power Supply
    2. 0:03:30 Seasonic Gold Series X-750 Power Supply
    3. 0:07:00 ADATA XPG SX900 128GB SSD Review
    4. 0:16:00 New 3DMark Benchmark and Futuremark Interview
      1. MSI 3DMark Challenge with Prizes!
  2. 0:28:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:29:45 Win Free Stuff from Seasonic!
    2. 0:31:30 Newegg saves the shopping cart
    3. 0:35:10 Never Settle Reloaded Bundle from AMD is pretty awesome
    4. 0:39:55 Lenovo has record breaking results
    5. 0:42:25 Fanless Mintbox PC
    6. 0:43:45 Dell is going private with help from Microsoft
    7. 0:48:00 Hard Drive Industry may see declines
    8. 0:56:00 Far Cry 3 with your SSD?
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:01:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Cisco Small Business 5-port Gigabit Router
      2. Jeremy: This thing has been frustratingly fun
      3. Josh: Improved drivers and Bundle!
      4. Allyn: Plasti-Dip (spray)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

 

More Oland leaks, this time with open sauce goodness

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: Sea Islands, radeon, GCN, amd, 8970, oland, hd 8000, RadeonSI, gallium, mesa

Phoronix has good news for Linux users about the "RadeonSI" Gallium3D driver which AMD has slowly been developing for the HD 7000 series, MESA has announced the driver is being developed for the HD 8000 series.  The project commit is a candidate for MESA 9.1 and the Linux 3.9 kernel which could lead to some issues as most Linux flavours are using 3.8 or earlier but should bode well for the future.  This hopefully signals a greater commitment to OpenCL and other projects AMD has started but not managed to fully develop.  We also have quite a few PCI IDs from the commit statement, 0x6600, 0x6601, 0x6602, 0x6603, 0x6606, 0x6607, 0x6610, 0x6611, 0x6613, 0x6620, 0x6621, 0x6623, and 0x6631 are all listed.

g3d_phor.jpg

"While AMD has yet to officially introduce their Radeon HD 8000 series, published today was the initial open-source Linux graphics driver support for handling the Radeon HD 8800 "Oland" graphics cards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix

ASRock Launches FM2A85X-ITX Mini-ITX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | February 3, 2013 - 05:09 AM |
Tagged: trinity, mini-itx, htpc, asrock, APU, amd, A85X

Taiwanese motherboard manufacturer ASRock has shown off a new mini-ITX motherboard aimed at home theater PC (HTPC) users called the FM2A85X-ITX. The new motherboard uses AMD’s A85X chipset and supports the company’s latest Trinity accelerated processing units (APUs).
The FM2A85X-ITX motherboard features an AMD FM2 socket surrounded by two DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), a PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, and seven SATA 6Gbps ports. A six phase VRM, two USB 3.0 headers, 8 channel audio chip, and RAID 0/1/10 support round out the package.

 

ASRock FM2A85X-ITX motherboard.jpg

External IO on the mini-ITX motherboard includes:

  • 1 x PS/2
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x Optical S/PDIF
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x VGA

According to Tech Power Up, the new motherboard will cost around $110 USD. Thanks to the form factor, APU support, and multitude of storage connectivity options, the board would make for an excellent addition to a HTPC build!

Read about other mini-ITX motherboard options at PC Perspective!

AMD Never Settle Reloaded Bundle Campaign Includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2013 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: tomb raider, never settle reloaded, never settle, Crysis 3, bundle, bioshock infinite, bioshock, amd

You might remember over the holiday season of 2012 that AMD had a simply amazing bundle of games to entice PC gamers to choose purchasing Radeon graphics cards instead of GeForce.  That bundle included Medal of Honor, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3.  We were stoked to see that kind of comittment to the gamer and even did a set of three game streams with AMD on each games' release. 

Well after a behind-the-scenes battle that was finally decided just about two weeks ago, AMD is ready to announce the "Never Settle Reloaded" bundle that might actually be MORE impressive based on the games included. 

nsr1.jpg

First up is the reboot of Tomb Raider, a fresh look at the Lara Croft character that I got to get hands on at an event in Toronto last year.  Due out on March 5th, the visuals in this game are damn good.

nsr22.jpg

Bioshock infinite is the third game in the acclaimed series and has a few DirectCompute additions to the game engine code.  Release is set on March 26th.

nsr3.jpg

DMC Devil May Cry is included for the APAC region (instead of Tomb Raider).

nsr4.jpg

And the biggest name in the bundle is no doubt Crysis 3 - a game that many PC gamers have been looking forward to and one that promises to push gaming performance on high-end GPUs to their limits.  I was playing this on a GTX 680 recently (the MP beta) and couldn't get more than 40 FPS at 1080p and Ultra settings. 

So how doese the bundle break down?

nsr5.jpg

If you buy a single Radeon HD 7970 or HD 7950 you'll be able to get keys for both Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite, completely free!  HD 7800 series buyers will get both Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider.

nsr6.jpg

Just to make things MORE interesting, if you invest in a set of HD 7900 cards for CrossFire, or even a dual-GPU HD 7900 card like the Devil 13, you'll get Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Hitman: Absolution and Sleeping Dogs.  That is 6 full PC games worth at least $300 that you'll get keys for just for picking AMD's Radeon cards over NVIDIA's GeForce.

nsr7.jpg

A not-so-subtle jab at the competition...

So there you have it, the Never Settle Reloaded bundle.  This iteration doesn't include anything for HD 7700 series cards but I think most enthusiasts are going to stay in the HD 7850 and above range of options anyway. 

NVIDIA has definitely fallen behind when it comes to these kinds of deals for PC gamers and I want to know what YOU think - do these bundles affect your purchasing decision?  We heard from AMD that at least one major reseller of PC hardware saw an "order of magnitude" increase in sales during the holiday season with the original Never Settle bundle and they even won a Newegg award for best marketing campaign. 

Get ready for game streams again as well - we'll be hosting a few of them in February and March with more hardware and game keys to give away!

UPDATE: These deals are live right now!  You can find a list of the HD 7970 cards at Newegg.com, starting at just $379 and even the HD 7950 cards starting at $295 that come with Crysis 3 and Bioshock Infinite keys!  If you are looking more in the HD 7800 series range, you can find HD 7870s starting at just $209 with Bioshock and Tomb Raider keys!

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta GPU Driver With Optimizations For Crysis 3

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2013 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: PC, gaming, amd, graphics drivers, gpu, Crysis 3, catalyst

The Crysis 3 beta was launched January 29th, and AMD came prepared with its new Catalyst 13.2 beta driver. In addition to the improvements rolled into the Catalyst 13.1 WHQL graphics driver, Catalyst 13.2 beta features performance improvements in a number of games.

Foremost, AMD focused on optimizing the drivers for the Crysis 3 beta. With the new 13.2 beta drivers, gamers will see a 15% performance improvement in Crysis 3 when using high MSAA settings. AMD has also committed itself to future tweaks to improve Crysis 3 performance when using both single and CrossFire graphics configurations. The driver also allows for a 10% improvement in CrossFire performance in Crytek’s Crysis 2 and a 50% performance boost in DMC: Devil May Cry when running a single AMD GPU. Reportedly, the new beta driver also reduces latency issues in Skyrim, Borderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Finally, the 13.2 beta driver resolves a texture filtering issue when running DirectX 9.0c games.

For more details on the driver, AMD has posted the change log on its blog as well as suggested image quality settings for AMD cards running the Crysis 3 beta.

Now watch: PC Perspective live streams the Crysis 3 Multiplayer Beta.

 

Source: AMD