PlayStation 4 (PS4) Orbis Hardware Specifications - AMD APU or Discrete?

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | January 23, 2013 - 02:42 PM |
Tagged: southern islands, sony, ps4, playstation 4, orbis, Kaveri, bulldozer, APU, amd

Earlier today a report from Kotaku.com posted some details about the upcoming PlayStation console, code named Orbis and sometimes just called the PS4.  Kotaku author Luke Plunkett got the information from a 90 page PDF that details the development kit so the information is likely pretty accurate if incomplete.  It discusses a new controller and a completely new accounts system but I was mostly interested in the hardware details given.

We'll begin with the specs. And before we go any further, know that these are current specs for a PS4 development kit, not the final retail console itself. So while the general gist of the things you see here may be similar to what makes it into the actual commercial hardware, there's every chance some—if not all of it—changes, if only slightly.

This is key to keep in mind because here are the specs listed on the report:

  • 8GB of system memory
  • 2.2GB of graphics memory
  • 4 module (8 core) AMD Bulldozer CPU
  • AMD "R10xx" based GPU
  • 4x USB 3.0 ports and 2x Ethernet connections
  • Blu-ray drive
  • 160GB HDD
  • HDMI and optical audio output

We are essentially talking about an AMD FX-series processor with a Southern Islands based discrete card and I am nearly 100% sure that this will not match the configuration of the shipping system.  Think about it - would a console developer really want to have a processor that can draw more than 100 watts inside its box in addition to a discrete GPU?  I doubt it. 

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Instead, let's go with the idea that this developer kit is simply meant to emulate some final specifications.  More than likely we are looking at an APU solution that combines Bulldozer or Steamroller cores along with GCN-based GPU SIMD arrays.  The most likely candidate is Kaveri, a 28nm based product that meets both of those requirements.  Josh recently discussed the future with Kaveri in a post during CES, worth checking out.  AMD has told us several times that Kaveri should be able to hit the 1.0 TFLOPs level of performance and if we compare to the current discrete GPUs would enable graphics performance similar to that of an under-clocked Radeon HD 7770.

There is some room for doubt though - Kaveri isn't supposed to be out until "late Q4" though its possible that the PS4 will be the first customer.  It is also possible that AMD is making a specific discrete GPU for implementation on the PS4 based on the GCN architecture that would be faster than the graphics performance expected on the Kaveri APU. 

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When speaking with our own Josh Walrath on this rumor, he tended to think that Sony and AMD would not use an APU but would rather combine a separate CPU and GPU on a single substrate, allowing for better yields than a combined APU part.  In order to make up for the slower memory controller interface (on substrate is not as fast as on-die) AMD might again utilize backside cache, just like the one used on the Xbox 360 today.  With process technology improvements its not unthinkable to see that jump to 30 or 40MB of cache.

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With the debate of a 2013 or 2014 release still up in the air, there is plenty of time for this to change still but we will likely know for sure after our next trip to Taipei.

Source: Kotaku

ASUS Shows Off ROG ARES II GPU With Sealed Loop Water Cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 19, 2013 - 01:26 AM |
Tagged: water cooler, sealed loop, ROG ARES II, gpu cooler, asus, amd, 7970 ghz edition

ASUS has taken the wraps off of a new dual GPU graphics card that comes equipped with a sealed loop liquid cooler to keep the two overclocked 7970 GHz Edition GPUs frosty. The new ROG ARES II is a limited edition card that pairs the ARES II GPU with an Asetek-based cooler and rounds out the top-end of the company’s Republic of Gamers lineup.

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The card itself features two AMD Radeon 7970 GHz Edition GPUs clocked at 1050 MHz base and 1100 MHz boost, 6GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 1650 MHz, and ASUS’ DIGI+ 20-phase VRM with “Super Alloy Power” hardware. The ROG ARES II has a 500W TDP and uses three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. The card measures 11.8” x 5.5” x1.8,” not including the radiator.

The ROG ARES II includes one DVI-I, one DVI-D, and four DisplayPort video outputs. ASUS is also packing a DVI to HDMI adapter in the box.

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The sealed loop water cooler is where the card sets itself apart, however. Based on an Asetek design, the ARES II water cooler features a 120mm radiator, and two CPU-style water blocks over each 7970 GHz Edition GPU. The loop runs from the radiator and through both water blocks before returning to the radiator which is paired with two 120mm fans. Curiously, the water cooler did not result in a single-slot design. Rather, the ARES II card has a somewhat-bulky two slot profile. According to ASUS, the water cooled card will run up to 31 degrees Celsius cooler than the reference NVIDIA GTX 690 graphics card while being as much as 13% faster (though ASUS does not specifically name the games/benchmarks).

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ASUS has not released any pricing or availability information, but you can expect it to rival the price of PowerColor’s Devil 13 thanks to the sealed loop water cooler and ARES II hardware. Currently, ASUS is planning on producing a mere 1,000 liquid cooled ARES II cards, so be prepared to be fast on the mouse click upon release.

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I would have liked to see a water cooler that was a bit more customized to the card. In particular, I think ASUS should have used a single water block that covered both GPUS and the VRM area, which would have allowed ASUS to get rid of the fan on the card itself entirely. Nevertheless, the ARES II will be extremely fast, and hopefully run nice and cool even when overclocked. I’m interested in seeing a head-to-head between the ARES II and PowerColor Devil 13.

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

Source: Asus

AMD Releases Catalyst 13.1 GPU Drivers With Various Tweaks for Radeon HD 7000 Series

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2013 - 11:33 AM |
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, gpu, drivers, catalyst 13.1, amd

AMD recently released a new set of Catalyst graphics card drivers with Catalyst 13.1. The new drivers are WHQL (Microsoft certified) and incorporate all of the fixes contained in the 12.11 beta 11 drivers. The Radeon HD 7000 series will see the majority of the performance and stability tweaks with 13.1. Additionally, the Catalyst 13.1 suite includes a new 3D settings interface in Catalyst Control Center that allows per-application profile management. The Linux version of the Catalyst 13.1 drivers now officially support Ubuntu 12.10 as well.

amd catalyst.jpg

Some of the notable performance tweaks for the HD 7000 series include:

  • CrossFire scaling performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops II improvements.
  • Up to a 25% increase in Far Cry 3 when using 8X MSAA.
  • An 8% performance increase in Sleeping Dogs and StarCraft II.
  • A 5% improvement in Max Payne 3.

 

New 3D Settings UI in Catalyst.jpg

Beyond the performance increases, AMD has fixes several bugs with the latest drivers. Some of the noteworthy fixes include:

  • Fixed a system hang on X58 and X79 chipset-based systems using HD 7000-series GPUs.
  • Fixed an intermittent hang with HD 7000-series GPUs in CrossFireX and Eyefinity configurations.
  • Resolved a system hang in Dishonored on 5000 and 6000 series graphics cards.
  • Resolved a video issue with WMP Classic Home Cinema.
  • Added Super Sample Anti-Aliasing support in the OpenGL driver.

AMD has also released a new standalone un-installation utility that will reportedly clean your system of AMD graphics card drivers to make way for newer versions. That utility can be downloaded here.

If you have a Radeon HD 7000-series card, it would be worth it to update your drivers ASAP. You can download the Catalyst 13.1 drivers on the AMD website.

You can find a full list of the performance tweaks and bug fixes in the Catalyst 13.1 release notes.

Source: AMD

Podcast #234 - CES 2013 wrapup, discuss new Corsair liquid coolers, Frame Rating and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 17, 2013 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, Intel, H80i, h60, H100i, frame rating, corsair, ces 2013, CES, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #234 - 01/17/2013

Join us this week as we wrap up CES 2013 talk, discuss new Corsair liquid coolers, Frame Rating 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: 0:59:05

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:10 CES Wrap up and Summary
    2. 0:08:45 Corsair Hydro Series Coolers - H60, H80i, H100i
    3. 0:11:00 Frame Rating Part 2 - Finding and Defining Stutter
  2. 0:15:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:18:10 AMD accuses NVIDIA employees of stealing 100k documents
    2. 0:24:10 ST Ericsson shows off FD-SOI Product (and Josh explains)
    3. 0:32:00 CES: Prototype Intel TV system seen at Imagination suite
    4. 0:33:20 Caustic shows ray tracing cards at CES
    5. 0:35:45 Intel Haswell graphics compared to GeForce GT 650M
    6. 0:37:50 ASUS tablet with VIA SoC for $149
    7. 0:41:30 The Windows RT Jailbreak
    8. 0:43:00 Bioshock Infinite to be a PC gaming beast
  4. Closing:
    1. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Logitech T650 Touchpad
      2. Jeremy: Eyefinity, good price on active Mini DisplayPort though dual link will still cost you
      3. Josh: Finally at their promised MSRP
      4. Allyn: Waze (road tested 2200 miles)
  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!!

 

Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Another update

In our previous article and video, I introduced you to our upcoming testing methodology for evaluating graphics cards based not only frame rates but on frame smoothness and the efficiency of those frame rates.  I showed off some of the new hardware we are using for this process and detailed how direct capture of graphics card output allows us to find interesting frame and animation anomalies using some Photoshop still frames.

d31.jpg

Today we are taking that a step further and looking at a couple of captured videos that demonstrate a "stutter" and walking you through, frame by frame, how we can detect, visualize and even start to measure them.

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This video takes a couple of examples of stutter in games, DiRT 3 and Dishonored to be exact, and shows what they look like in real time, at 25% speed and then finally in a much more detailed frame-by-frame analysis.

 

Video Loading...

 

Obviously this is just a couple instances of what a stutter is and there are often times less apparent in-game stutters that are even harder to see in video playback.  Not to worry - this capture method is capable of seeing those issues as well and we plan on diving into the "micro" level as well shortly.

We aren't going to start talking about whose card and what driver is being used yet and I know that there are still a lot of questions to be answered on this topic.  You will be hearing more quite soon from us and I thank you all for your comments, critiques and support.

Let me know below what you thought of this video and any questions that you might have. 

NVIDIA Employees Stole 100,000 Confidential Documents Claims AMD

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | January 16, 2013 - 01:10 PM |
Tagged: stolen, nvidia, legal, Lawsuit, console, amd

Things might get interesting for a little while between AMD and NVIDIA again as a complaint has been filed by AMD accusing recently converted NVIDIA employee's of downloading and stealing 100,000 documents on the way out AMD's door. 

The company alleges that Robert Feldstein, Manoo Desai, and Nicolas Kociuk collectively downloaded over 100,000 files onto external hard drives in the six months before leaving the company. All three and another manager, Richard Hagen, were accused of recruiting AMD employees after leaving for Nvidia.

amdlogo.gif

The most senior of these employees is Robert Feldstein who was acting as the VP of Strategic Development at AMD before leaving for NVIDIA and was responsible for getting AMD inside the Nintendo Wii U as well as the upcoming Xbox and Playstation consoles due out this year.  To say that "stealing" Feldstein was a big win for NVIDIA would seem like a bad pun now with the accusations on the table, but there, we said it. 

After looking at the former employees computers AMD found that "Desai and Kociuk conspired with each other to misappropriate AMD's confidential, proprietary, and/or trade secret information; and/or to intentionally access AMD's protected computers, without authorization and/or in a way that exceeded their authorized access."  And since Feldstein and Hagan were responsible for the recruitment of those former AMD employees, they were breaking the "no-solicitation of employees" agreement made before departure.

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Obviously AMD hasn't come out with exactly what is in those 100,000 documents they accuse of being stolen, but the company is hoping that the US District Court in Massachusetts will help them recover the incriminating documents with a restraining order for all four current employees of NVIDIA forcing them to retain all current AMD-related documents. 

The unfortunate part of this for AMD is that if the document leak is true, the damage has likely already been done and they will have to sue for damages down the road.  NVIDA could be in for a world of hurt if the court finds that they were actively requesting those documents from the the four named in the complaint.

If you want to read all the legal source for this complaint, you can find it right here

Source: Arstechnica

CES 2013 Podcast Day 4 - AMD's upcoming APUs, 4K displays, WD Hybrid Drives and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 10, 2013 - 01:16 AM |
Tagged: WD, video, sshd, podcast, nvidia, gigabyte, ces 2013, CES, APU, amd, 4k

CES 2013 Podcast Day 4 - 01/09/2013

Ready for even more podcast fun at CES?  Join us as we talk about our final of the show including more details on AMD's upcoming APUs, 4K displays, WD Hybrid Drives 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 Ken Addison

Program length: 53:31

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

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Sapphire CES 2013: Mini-PCs are the Future

Subject: Shows and Expos | January 9, 2013 - 09:11 PM |
Tagged: Vapor X, sapphire, PCs, graphics, APU, amd

 

Sapphire was a quick trip with a few interesting things to show off.  At the moment we are in a quiet period with AMD and NVIDIA graphics releases.  While AMD has released a few of their mobile based 8000 series parts, we are still not expecting a major desktop refresh anytime soon.  This is somewhat bittersweet for the graphics partners.  On one hand they have more time to differentiate their products and create more value for their consumers.  On the other hand there is no major push with new technology that will help the bottom line.

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The company is not only involved with graphics, but has a long history of producing motherboards.  They offer products for both AMD and Intel, but their primary focus is to address the APU market.  FM2 is well fleshed out with Sapphire with A85X, A75, and A55 products.  Sapphire does find it slightly easier to compete in the AMD market than going against the biggies in the larger and potentially more lucrative Intel market.

The area where they are hoping to experience the most growth in is the micro PC market.  These are very small “desktop” style products based on mobile parts.  These are robust little units which do not ship with an OS or the ability to build in an optical device.  Due to Sapphire being such a strong AMD partner, they are primarily focusing on APUs in this market as well.

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The Edge VS8 is the top product for Sapphire in this market.  It is based on a mobile Trinity APU that is quad core enabled running at 1.6 GHz.  The graphics portion is the 7600G, which looks to feature the entire complement of GCN units but obviously clocked down to save on power.  The VS4 features Trinity but with a dual core processor running at 1.9 GHz.

The lower end Edge HD series is a slightly older unit, and the HD3 runs the last generation Llano processor.  They also feature an Intel based HD4 that runs the Celeron 897 processor.

These PCs are shipped without operating systems and can also be bought in a barebones state.  For example the VS8 comes standard with 4GB of memory and a 320 GB HD (spindle based).  By buying a barebones version a user can easily stack as much memory as possible in the machine as well as use a SSD to give that much more performance.

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Sapphire continues to offer their entire line of AMD based graphics cards and are really pushing their Vapor X technology.  Which leads us to our next product.  Sapphire will start introducing their CPU cooling designs to the market and will be using the Vapor-X technology.  Vapor chamber cooling will be coming to the CPU market very soon and at competitive prices.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

We are Still Among the Living

The day after the official AMD presentation we were able to sit down with Leslie Sobon for a good hour and really dig into the products we are expecting throughout this next year.  AMD did not officially announce any products, but they revealed more details about products on their roadmaps.

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To say that AMD is in a somewhat precarious situation is an understatement.  This does not necessarily mean that they won’t survive for some years.  This was never mentioned to us by AMD, but we can assume that it is not in ATIC’s best interest to let AMD flounder too much.  AMD is still GLOBALFOUNDRIES largest customer, and ATIC believes that they can become a fabrication giant in the next few years.  So, while AMD is hitting some hard times, they will be around for some time to come in spite of their issues.

CPUs

Believe it or not, AMD is still a CPU company with some relevant producxts.  While Intel has the advantage in x86 performance and process technology, AMD has a distinct advantage in the integrated graphics portion.  While Trinity was a big step in the right direction in terms of performance and power consumption, it was not enough to boost their flagging marketshare.  Throughout the 2013 they are working on several products that will help to change their fortunes.

The first product that we will likely see is the Jaguar core based Kabini APUs.  These are the next generation, low power APUs which will replace the Brazos 2.0 products that we currently are seeing.  These quad core and dual core parts are manufactured by TSMC on their 28 nm process.  Kabini will be the first APU to include the new GCN architecture that we currently see in the HD 7700 series and above.  AMD will be breaking new ground in offering a true quad core part at price points unseen so far.

Click here to read the rest of our coverage of AMD at CES 2013

CES 2013 Video: AMD Temash Prototype plays DiRT Showdown at 1080p

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2013 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: video, z-60, vizio, Temash, ces 2013, CES, APU, amd

While Josh taps away on a story about the updates to AMD's roadmap announced at CES this week, we stopped by the Experience Zone to see what demonstrations we could get our hands on.  We ran into Chris who showed us two new interesting products.  The first was an AMD Z-60 based tablet from Vizio running Modern Warfare 2 at high image quality settings compared to a currently selling Intel Clovertrail design.  Where the AMD system had no issues and could play the game very smoothly, the other was running at an awful frame rate and with obvious visual glitches.

Secondly, and maybe more impressive, was the prototype tablet AMD showed using the upcoming Temash APU.  Due out in Q2 of this year, Temash is an APU based on Jaguar CPU cores and GCN GPU cores - the first GCN based APU.  They demoed an early unit running DiRT Showdown at 1080p (at low quality settings) and I found the visuals to be quite impressive!  It looks like 2013 might turn out to be a better year for AMD in the mobile space than many expected.

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!