Hitman: Absolution PC Features Video - AMD ExtravaLANza

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | October 20, 2012 - 12:33 PM |
Tagged: hitman, amd, extravalanza, hitman: absolution, video

We are at the first AMD ExtravaLANza today getting some hands on time with some cool new hardware as well as new games like Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider and Hitman: Absolution.  We attended a session with the Hitman developer IO Interactive where some interesting information about the DX11 features.  I recorded a video of the presentation for those interested in seeing it in its entirety.

The brand new Glacier2 engine has some impressive new features including:

  1. DX11 hardware tessellation on character models
  2. A global illumination engine using light propagation volumes
  3. AA options including FXAA and MSAA 2x-8x
  4. Eyefinity and HD3D

There is more, but you can hear it all in the video above.  IO Interactive wanted to assure PC gamers that they are developing the game to be a first class PC title with higher quality imaging, controls and texture detail; this doesn't look to be a standard console port.

AMD's revenue down 10%, workforce down 15%

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2012 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: quarterly earnings, downer, billions, amd

The hard numbers have arrived and AMDs quarter was every bit as bad as investors had feared, with a non-GAAP net loss of US$150 million and a $0.20 loss per share.  The actual income for this quarter was $1.27 billion, the low end of the predictions that were made by analysts and with the sluggish movement in the PC market the choice has been made to lower operating costs as opposed to trying to increase revenue.  To do so they will be reducing their global workforce by 15% over the coming quarter and restructuring the company with the goal of reducing operating costs by 25% so that a $1.3 billion dollar quarter would be a break even point, not a loss.  The Register details other changes Rory Read is planning on implementing, more of a focus on chips for servers and embedded cores and SoCs for communication and industrial applications.  As well AMD's win on the console side, with the Sony PS4 using AMD for both CPU and GPU as well as the WiiU which will use an AMD GPU and the as yet unnamed new XBox, all of which will garner licensing incomes for AMD for years to come.  The talk about ultra-low-power chips for tablets and ultrabook like products is hopeful, though it is unlikely to be a major revenue source it would be a good move to attempt to grab more market share in that segment.  DigiTimes also weighs in here.

PenobscotBayKindlingAxe.jpg

"One week ago, AMD warned investors that its financial results for its third quarter of 2012 were going to be worse than it had previously estimated, with revenues down about 10 per cent from the previous quarter rather than the 1 per cent, plus or minus 3 per cent, that they had forecasted earlier.

They were spot on – not that being correct about such a disappointing result will win them many friends on the Street.

After the markets closed this Thursday, AMD announced that its Q3 2012 revenues were $1.27bn, which hit that prediction of a 10 per cent quarter-to-quarter slippage."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Win an AMD Llano A8-3870K APU from PC Perspective!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 08:09 PM |
Tagged: contest, video, giveaway, amd, llano, APU

In a self-serving attempt to increase awareness about the PC Perspective YouTube channel, we are running another contest where you can win one of four AMD Llano A8-3870K APUs simply by leaving a comment and being a subscriber.

That's right, there are two steps:

  1. Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel
  2. Leave a comment on the YouTube contest video

We'll pick our winners on October 24th!  Good luck!

Podcast #223 - AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: video, windows 8, podcast, patriot, nvidia, mini ITX, Intel, gpu, gauntlet, gauntle node, cpu, AVADirect, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #223 - 10/18/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing 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, and Scott Michaud

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 56:12

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:45 Why stereoscopic 3D is Awesome
    2. 0:09:15 Patriot Gauntlet 320 Wireless HDD
    3. 0:14:56 AVADirect Mini Gaming PC
  2. 0:24:30 This podcast is brought to you by MSI
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:25:30 AMD finances are bad, mkay?
      1. Slashing 30% of work force?
    2. 0:31:10 Windows 8 Retail pricing
      1. $69 with $30 Amazon Credit
    3. 0:35:55 ASUS announces PadFone 2
  4. 0:39:30 Alxtech.net/pcper Ad spot!! http://alxtech.net/pcper/
      1. Now at $0.50/slot for pcper viewers and listeners!!
    1. 0:42:00 Intel may have 10-core Ivy Bridge-E ready
    2. 0:43:45 Corsair raising money for charity with gaming marathon!
    3. 0:45:50 Win a FREE AMD APU on our YouTube channel!
  5. Closing:
    1. 0:48:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Gauntlet Node - just the enclosure
      2. Jeremy: Ridiculous and added infections too
      3. Josh: NOPE
      4. Allyn: NOPE
      5. Scott: 12 GB of RAM :D
  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

 

 

 

AMD to cut CPU pricing; too good to be true?

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2012 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: rumour, price cuts, amd

The news out of DigiTimes today speaks of deep cuts to AMD's previous generation processors, specifically the A4 family.  According to their sources the the A4-3300 will be cut in price by 35% and the 3400 model by 25%, both cuts being much larger than is usual in the industry.  As well there could be a cut in price of the new FM2 based A4-5300 by almost 50%, again a much steeper cut than is usual.  However given the difficulties that AMD is currently experiencing, as well as the price cuts we've seen on the GPU side the report was enough to make us curious.  As we at PC Perspective have our own anonymous sources who will sometimes comment on things not yet set in stone and in this case we did get a reply.  That reply stated that AMD will be making no price moves on the A series.  Aren't conflicting stories great?

APU A4 II.jpg

"After announcing its latest FM2-based A series APUs (Trinity) on October 1, AMD is set to reduce prices of its previous-generation APUs with the FM1-based A4-3300 to be reduced from US$46 to US$30, according to sources from motherboard players. AMD Taiwan declined to comment about its price strategy."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

AMD likely slashing 10 to 30% of its workforce

Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2012 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: amd, jobs, sad

If Friday's announcement of AMD's lowered financial expectations was not enough to depress you, The Inquirer has heard from three separate sources that AMD is looking to cut between 1000 to 3000 employees, representing 10% to 30% of its workforce.  Rory Read's excising of the marketing department has not magically reversed the $500M in reported losses so far this year and so he will be attempting to treat the symptoms with a larger dose of the same cure.  Being a publicly owned company who have seen their stock prices plummet by 14% last week so something had to be done, even if on the surface it looks to be bad for the company in the long term.  The chances are good that the graphics department will be left mostly intact but the CPU team could be facing a lot of cuts which could slow or derail the development of the next generation of processors.

AMDstock.png

"Last week AMD revised its revenue forecasts down considerably due to weak demand and now multiple sources have said that the firm is preparing to lay off a significant percentage of its workforce. According to three sources that spoke to Allthingsd, AMD is preparing to cut anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of its 11,000 employees."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

No pleasant financial surprise from AMD this quarter

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2012 - 07:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, financial results, quarterly earnings

While we do not have the finalized results of AMD's Q3 earnings, The Register did report that they will not be meeting the targets that were set previously. The are lowering both expected revenues as well as their gross margins projections.  While this news is not unexpected it does illustrate the difficulties which AMD is currently experiencing.  With new products already for sale and more scheduled for release before the new year, there is still hope for AMD to make a bit of a recovery.  As we have pointed out many times before, whether you purchase AMD products or not, the continued existence of AMD is crucial to keep the marketplace competitive.

amdSAD.png

shamelessly stolen from macgasm

"AMD has announced lowered expectations for its third-quarter financial results, with revenues declining 10 per cent from the previous quarter, down from the 1 per cent – give or take 3 per cent – that it had previously projected."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

AMD Launches Radeon RAMDisk, Free 6GB Disks With AMD Memory

Subject: Storage | October 10, 2012 - 09:30 PM |
Tagged: ram disk, radeon ramdisk, radeon memory, amd memory, amd

AMD launched a new Radeon branded memory product today called the Radeon RAMDisk. Despite the rather unoriginal name, it is a piece of software that will allow you to use a portion of your system RAM as a hard drive-like storage device where you can install programs. AMD has partnered with Dataram to develop the software.

The AMD Radeon RAMDisk will create drives up to 64GB in size, and is designed to be used with AMD's own Radeon-branded DDR3 modules (though other manufacturer's RAM will work as well). The RAM disk offers up almost-instantaeous access times and impressive read and write speeds for your applications and virtual machines.

Radeon RAMDisk.jpg

According to AMD, the Radeon RAMDisk can reach read speeds as high as 25,600 MB/s with DDR3 1600 RAM and up to 1700% faster game loading times than a traditional mechanical hard drive. It further supports the Windows operating system (Vista and above), and has a minimum system requirement of 4GB of system RAM.

The software costs $18.99 at time of writing for the full version.

The best part about this announcement though is the release of a freeware version of the Radeon RAMDisk that can create disks up to 6GB with AMD-branded RAM or 4GB with RAM from any other manufacturer! While that is fairly limiting in that you are not really going to be able to put much ont there (and installing games is almost out of the question entirely) you can still do a lot with a 4GB RAM disk by installing Office, photo editors, virtual machines (like Peppermint Linux), and other heavily used programs to speed up the important stuff.

You can acess the full press release on the Radeon RAMDisk website.

Download links:

If you have been with the site for at least the year that I’ve been writing here, you will know that I’m a huge fan of RAM disks. So, naturally, when I was passed the press release I just had to try it out.

While the extent of the performance increase is going to vary from program to program, the drive itself is extremely fast. When copying a .iso file to the Radeon RAMDisk, it was limited by my SSD's read speed, for example.

File Transfer To RAMDisk limited by SSD.jpg

The RAM Disk was set up om my main desktop which has basic specifications as follows:

  • Intel Core i7 -860 CPU
  • 8GB (4 x 2GB) G.Skill DDR3 at 1333 MHz and 9-9-9-24 CAS timings
  • Gigabyte P55-UD3R Motherboard
  • 4096 MB Radeon RAMDisk
  • 80GB Intel X25-M G2 SSD
  • 2TB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive
  • Windows 8 RTM

In addition to the file copy tests, I also used the HDTune benchmark to measure transfer speeds. Needless to say, RAM blows solid state NAND out of the water in speed (though it does cost more and is volatile storage).

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In fact, it pulled such impressive numbers from HDTune that it skewed the chart a lot. Those little blips underneath it are from my Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD and my 2TB Samsung Spinpoint mechanical hard drive. 

graph.jpg

HDTune also reports access times and burst speeds. The RAM disk had a 0.0 ms access time, the SSD has a 0.1 ms access time, and the mechanical hard drive brought up the rear with a 13.9 ms access time. Interestingly, the Samsung hard drive actually beat the SSD in burst speed. The RAM disk crush both of the other drives by a significant margin, however with a burst speed of 5,155 MB/s.

Over the years, I have used a RAMDisk for hosting photo editors as as using the drive for media I was currently working on. It worked well at the time, but the free software was not exactly what I would call stable. However, the AMD software is a mere 6.2 MB download that installs quickly and is easy to configure. The UI is spartan (and resembles Windows Classic), but it gets the job done and has yet to crash on me after trying to break it today (heh). It does not feel "janky" at all, and I have to give AMD and Dataram props for that.

Below are screenshots of the Radeon RAMDisk interface. You can create new disks as well as loading saved ones.

Yes, RAM being faster than hard drive storage is not new information, but I did find it surprising just how much faster it was, even compared to my SSD. Heck, even compared to a DDR2 based RAM disk, it was fast. It really puts into perspective why the hard drive is the slowest aspect of modern computers, and why things can slow to a crawl when the CPU has to reach out past the internal cache and system RAM to the hard drive to fetch data. If you are running a system with a lot of 'extra' RAM, I encourage you to take AMD's new Radeon RAMDisk software for a test drive. It's time to give those DDR3 DIMMs a workout!

Do you use RAM disks to speed up your favorite applications?

Source: AMD

AMD Launches New Z-Series APU for Tablets

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 8, 2012 - 09:43 PM |
Tagged: z-60 apu, tablets, radeon hd, APU, amd

AMD launched a new APU today meant for tablets and other mobile devices. The new Z-60 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) is now the company’s lowest power APU processor. AMD is primarily pushing this chip as the best choice for tablets as thin as 10mm that are capable of running Windows 8.

HDTablet_770x206_Banner.png

The Z-60 APU supports AMD’s Start Now and AppZone technologies for fast boot and resume times and application repository respectively. AMD has stated that it identified a gap between low performance and high priced mobile devices, and believes the Z-60 APU fills that void. AMD Corporate Vice President of Ultra-Low Power Products Steve Belt further stated the following:

“Tablet users seeking an uncompromised experience for both creating and consuming content on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform now have a performance-driven, affordable option with the AMD Z-60 APU.”

Interestingly, AMD has managed to bring the TDP of the new Z-60 lower than the previous generation without sacrificing hardware or needing a new manufacturing process. While the Z-01 is part of the Brazos platform (codename Desna), the new Z-60 is codenamed Hondo and part of the Brazos-T platform, which involves several tweaks to the design to get more power efficiency.

The Z-60 has two Bobcat CPU cores clocked at 1GHz, 1MB L2 cache, and a Radeon HD 6250 GPU with 80 cores. This APU has a TDP of 4.5W, which is a noteable decrease from the Z-01's 5.9W TDP when you consider that this chip is going to be used in a battery powered, mobile device. In fact, with a Z-60 APU, AMD is claiming up to eight hours of batery life. Further, thanks to the integrated HD 6250 GPU, the Z-60 can support Direct X 11, OpenGL 4.1, and OpenCL 1.1 graphics technologies.

  CPU Cores CPU Clockspeed L2 Cache Radeon GPU GPU Cores TDP USB Support
Z-60 2 1 GHz 1 MB HD 6250 80 4.5W 3.0
Z-01 (previous generation) 2 1 GHz 1 MB HD 6250 80 5.9W 2.0

AMD has announced that the Z-60 APU is shipping now to its OEM customers. The company expects that consumers should see products using the new processor as soon as the end of this year.

Read more about the future direction of AMD at PC Perspective.

Source: AMD

PowerColor shows off new (cheaper) HD 7990 graphics card with lower clocks than Devil 13

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM |
Tagged: powercolor, gpu, dual gpu, amd, 7990

Towards the end of August, a new dual GPU graphics card from PowerColor was fully detailed. The dual GPU Devil 13 graphics card combined two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs onto a single PCB with factory overclocks and a custom cooler. The 6GB (3GB per GPU) HD 7990 6GB Devil 13 is an awesome card, but comes with a hefty $999 price tag.

This month, PowerColor has taken the wraps off of a (slightly) cheaper 7990 graphics card that is not clocked as high but uses a similar custom cooler as the Devil 13. It will allegedly be priced at around $900 USD.

PowerColor Radeon HD 7990.jpeg

The new PowerColor HD7990 (sans Devil 13 branding) features two HD7970 Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs  clocked at 900 MHz by default or 925 MHz when using the factory overclocked BIOS. (You can switch between the two modes by using the Dual BIOS switch.) As a point of comparison, standard Radeon 7970s have a reference clockspeed of 925 MHz, and PowerColor’s own HD 7990 Devil 13 is clocked at either 925 MHz or 1 GHz depending on BIOS switch position. PowerColor is likely binning 7970 GPUs that don’t quite make the cut as Devil 13 models for this new dual gpu 7990 graphics card with lower clockspeeds.

Fortunately, the memory clockspeed has not been downclocked on the new HD 7990. Each GPU has 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, and the memory is clocked at 1375 MHz.

Also good news is that the standard PowerColor 7990 appears to use the same custom cooler as the Devil 13 – but with an all-black design rather than the red and black color scheme. That includes a triple slot design, numerous heatpipes and fins, and two 92mm fans on either side of an 80mm fan.

PowerColor Radeon HD 7990 Dual GPU graphics card.jpeg

The graphics card measures 315mm x 140mm x 60mm and features two DVI, one HDMI, and two min-DisplayPort video outputs. It has the same 850W minimum system power requirement as the Devil 13, and is powered by three 8 pin PCI-E power connectors in addition to power from the PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot.

Although an interesting card that is sure to attract enthusiasts, it lends credence to the idea that AMD is not going to release its own reference HD 7990 after all. At this point, so long as your case and motherboard permit, it would likely best to go for two individual ~$400 Radeon 7970 GHz Edition cards in a CrossFire configuration. PowerColor does seem to have you covered if that’s not an option for you though there is no word on exactly when this graphics card will be available – or what the final pricing will be.

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

Source: PowerColor