Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Moving Towards BGA Only?

The sky is falling.  Does this mean that Chicken Little is panicking for no reason or is Chicken Little the Cassandra of our time?  It has been widely reported that Intel will not be offering the next generation Broadwell architecture as a LGA based product.  Broadwell is a 14 nm product that will integrate southbridge functions into the chip, making it essentially a SOC.  It will be offered only as a BGA only product, which means that it will be soldered onto a motherboard with no chance of being able to be swapped out.  Broadwell is the successor to the upcoming Haswell, itself a 22 nm product that features many architectural changes to both the CPU and graphics portion as compared to the current 22 nm Ivy Bridge.

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Will Broadwell be the death of the desktop industry and enthusiasts?  Will LGA become as scarce as chicken teeth?  Will we ever see a product with a swappable CPU after 2014?

Broadwell is aimed at TDPs ranging from 10 watts to 57 watts.  Current high end Ivy Bridge parts max out at 77 watts and do not feature any southbridge type functionality.  So that means that another 5 to 7 watts are added in for the chipset when discussing basic system TDPs.  So we are looking at around 87 watts for a top end product when including SATA and USB functionality.  30 watts is a pretty big deal in OEM circles.  We see right off the bat that Intel is aiming this architecture at a slightly different market, or at least a changing marketplace.

The unease that we are seeing is essentially this; Intel appears to be trying to take more profits from this setup and pass more costs onto the motherboard industry.  This is not necessarily new for Intel, as they did this when transitioning to the LGA socket.  LGA sockets are more expensive and more troublesome for the motherboard manufacturers as compared to a more traditional pin based interface.  AMD continues to use pin based chips as this lowers the cost that is incurred by the motherboard manufacturers, and it also lowers overall support issues.  LGAs are pretty solid, but it is very easy to bend one or more of those contacts so that they in fact do not create a solid connection with the CPU.  This is something that is uncommon with pin based CPUS, but the downside of pin based is that it is more expensive to produce the CPU in the first place as compared to a LGA chip which only features the pads on the substrate of the CPU.

Continue reading our thoughts on Intel's move to BGA processors...

BioStar's inexpensive Hi-Fi A85W is one BIOS update away from greatness

Subject: Motherboards | November 26, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: amd, a85, socket fm2, biostar, Hi-Fi A85W

Biostar's Hi-Fi A85W is a low cost way to start building a new AMD system, currently after MIR it is $85 on NewEgg and comes with 8GB of free G.SKILL RAM.  You get a board that supports Hybrid CrossFire and sports a pait of PCIe 2.0 x16 slots (only one is full speed), two PCIe 2.0 x1 slots and a pair of legacy PCI slots.  It has eight SATA 6.0 Gb/s, eight USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports to give you a lot of flexibility for drives and peripherals as well as DVI, HDMI and VGA outputs and a feature dubbed "PURO Hi-Fi"; a sheild for the better than average onboard audio codec.  TechPowerUp were impressed with the wide variety of overclocking options in the UEFI BIOS, until they tried overclocking and found a variety of issues with TurboCore and other overclocking settings.  Hopefully Biostar wil release a BIOS update to fix what is otherwise a solid choice of FM2 motherboard.

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"Biostar is at it again with a mid-range entry level product, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W. Ready to rock out with AMD's new Piledriver FM2 APUs, the Biostar Hi-Fi A85W comes with an audio-oriented theme that's usually reserved for high-end products. Did it play sweet music, or is it a bit out of tune?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: TechPowerUp

Here's one of those non-existant HD 7990's for you

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 23, 2012 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, southern islands, hd 7990

PowerColor ignored the claims that there would be no dual GPU HD 7990 and created the DEVIL13, with two southern island GPUs on a single PCB.  Both GPUs run at the standard HD 7970 speed of 925MHz, with a button to overclock them to 1000MHz and ups the amount of voltage provided to the cores as well, the 6GB of RAM run at the stock 5.5GHz effective.  Seeing three 8pin PCIe power connectors is impressive, as is the 3 slot card its self.  [H]ard|OCP overclocked the card to a stable 1125MHz GPUs and 6.3GHz memory which put its performance noticeably above that of the SLI'd GTX 680 that they compared this card to.  The question remains, if you can get the exact same performance from two overclocked Powercolor HD 7970s for $860 then why spend $1000 on the hard to find DEVIL13

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"PowerColor has beaten AMD to the punch with its own creation of a dual-GPU Radeon HD 7970 CrossFireX solution in a single video card package. We evaluate this awe inspiring video card and of course overclock it to its highest potential. We put it up against the best GTX 680 SLI solution also overclocked, all with the latest drivers."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Too good to be true; bad coding versus GPGPU compute power

Subject: General Tech | November 23, 2012 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: gpgpu, amd, nvidia, Intel, phi, tesla, firepro, HPC

The skeptics were right to question the huge improvements seen when using GPGPUs in a system for heavy parallel computing tasks.  The cards do help a lot but the 100x improvements that have been reported by some companies and universities had more to do with poorly optimized CPU code than with the processing power of GPGPUs.  This news comes from someone who you might not expect to burst this particular bubble, Sumit Gupta is the GM of NVIDIA's Tesla team and he might be trying to mitigate any possible disappointment from future customers which have optimized CPU coding and won't see the huge improvements seen by academics and other current customers.  The Inquirer does point out a balancing benefit, it is obviously much easier to optimize code in CUDA, OpenCL and other GPGPU languages than it is to code for multicored CPUs.

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"Both AMD and Nvidia have been using real-world code examples and projects to promote the performance of their respective GPGPU accelerators for years, but now it seems some of the eye popping figures including speed ups of 100x or 200x were not down to just the computing power of GPGPUs. Sumit Gupta, GM of Nvidia's Tesla business told The INQUIRER that such figures were generally down to starting with unoptimised CPU."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

AMD Never Settle Sweepstakes Part 1: HIS Radeon HD 7770 IceQ X 1GB CrossFire

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 20, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: never settle, his, hd 7770, amd

UPDATE: We have picked our winner!  Check back tomorrow for yet another Never Settle contest!!

AMD is really excited about its Never Settle campaign and the bundle packages it has built for the holiday season.  PC gamers looking for an uprade will defintely want to read up on the special promotion but we have another surprise for you as well - FREE GRAPHICS CARDS!

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AMD and HIS are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out a pair of HIS Radeon HD 7770 IceQ X 1GB cards to a single winner, perfect for a CrossFire setup in your PC!

Not only do you get the cards in this sweet contest but you'll get the same software bundle as if you had purchased them at retail.

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That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3 and a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution!  (Which we happen to be doing a live stream of with even MORE stuff to give away!)

What do you have to do to enter to win this hardware?  It couldn't be easier:

  1. Visit your favorite PC Perspective pages like our YouTube channel, Facebook page and Twitter account.  You should subscribe, like and follow us, you know...if you want to.  We'd appreciate it!
  2. Check out the AMD Never Settle page to read up on the bundle and special offers they are running right now!
  3. Leave a comment here on this post!

That's it - we love our fans so we want to make sure EVERYONE gets a chance to win some free stuff! 

We will close the contest on Monday the 26th at 1pm EST or so - so get your entries in!  Thanks again for being a fan of PC Perspective, thanks to AMD for the great prizes and stay tuned for MORE contests and giveaways in the coming days!

PCPer Live! Hitman: Absolution Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 20, 2012 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, hitman: absolution, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the event last night we have the full replay here for you!  Enjoy!

On November 20th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Hitman: Absolution.  If you have never played a Hitman game before I think PC gamers will love the combination of action and stealth as well as some of the humor you'll find in the assassination attempts. 

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Image from Videogamer.com

Hitman: Absolution Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - November 20th

PC Perspective Live! Page

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of attempts at effectively offing some fools.

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Hitman: Absolution Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

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Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on the 20th for some PC gaming fun!!

AMD Facing Even More Layoffs

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | November 17, 2012 - 04:09 PM |
Tagged: layoffs, amd

Personally, I am starting to get numb to AMD restructuring news -- and that is never good.

Less than a month ago we reported on the semiconductor design company’s decision to cut 15% of their workforce. The company still has life in it and has a respectable presence in all upcoming videogame consoles along with its inclusion within many consumer laptops and desktops but it is clearly not as much life as they need.

Original rumors stated that cuts could be on the order of 10-30% which 15% would be on the lighter side of. With rumors of more cuts coming in January I wonder if this was a last minute decision to break up the layoffs into two less dramatic installments.

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One of the beauties of the tech industry is the low cost of starting or turning a company around; it would be irresponsible to completely count out a player while it still has access to millions of capital. AMD is also sitting upon lots of assets which could be liquidated and their employees have ridiculous talent to be employable elsewhere. I have been noticing that most chatter about the topic is not based in concern with AMD and their employee’s future but with concern about an x86 competitor to Intel.

This is pretty much the same concern which I have been having about Windows 8: the house of cards may be standing but it is still a house of cards. We rely upon the proprietary standards which Intel and others impose upon the art, the word being used both in literal and “artisan / practical art” contexts which includes utensil applications.

Concern mounts but practically no-one grafts it to similar instabilities in other platforms.

No I am not saying abolish technology patents or anything like that: I am simply saying that this is yet another drop in the torrent of concerns with content upstream to proprietary platforms.

These issues rightfully cause alarm but are not isolated events.

Source: All Things D

Podcast #227 - Golden Z77 Motherboard from ECS, High Powered WiFi from Amped Wireless, Supercomputing GPUs and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 15, 2012 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: titan, thor, tesla, s1000, podcast, nvidia, k20x, Intel, golden board, firepro, ECS, dust, Amped Wireless, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #227 - 11/15/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a Golden Z77 Motherboard from ECS, High Powered WiFi from Amped Wireless, Supercomputing GPUs 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: 1:07:04

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Join us for the Hitman: Absolution Game Stream
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:00 ECS Z77H2-AX Golden Board Motherboard
    2. 0:07:00 Amped Wireless R20000G Router and Adapter
    3. 0:12:20 Intel says USB 3.0 and 2.4 GHz don't get along
  3. 0:18:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:19:00 A renaissance of game types that have been sadly missing
    2. 0:24:00 You missed our live Medal of Honor Game Stream - loser!
    3. 0:26:12 NVIDIA launches Tesla K20X Card, Powers Titan Supercomputer
    4. 0:30:15 AMD Launches Dual Tahiti FirePro S10000
    5. 0:38:00 Some guy leaves Microsoft - is the Start Menu on its way back??
    6. 0:41:40 AMD is apparently not for sale
    7. 0:46:05 ECS joins the Thunderbolt family with a new Z77 motherboard
  5. Closing:
    1. 0:54:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Corsair Hydro Series H60 for $75
      2. Jeremy: Form over function or vice versa?
      3. Josh: A foundation worth donating to
      4. Allyn: ArmorSuit Military Shields
  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!!

 

 

The driving force behind revisting Radeon and GeForce cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 15, 2012 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, catalyst, forceware

We have seen quite a few driver updates since the release of cards like the HD 7970 GHz Edition and the GTX 680 which inspired [H]ard|OCP to revisit the performance of these cards in several games.  Some results were not surprising, the two top cards have historically run neck and neck in performance and price and that remains true now.  There was a definite loser however, the performance of the GTX 660 Ti matches that of the HD7870 but the price is similar to the much faster HD7950.  Check out the full results here.

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"With the recent release of new beta drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the upping of clocks by AMD, significant performance gains have been claimed by both parties for current generation video cards. We will investigate with a 6-way roundup comparison to see if we can crown a champion."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD won't be selling its self whole for now

Subject: General Tech | November 14, 2012 - 12:59 PM |
Tagged: fud, amd

AMD did not refute The Register's report that they are in talks with J.P. Morgan, only that there are no plans to sell the company right now.  The possibility that some intellectual properties might be for sale to the right bidder at the right price was not completely refuted though.  AMD is not just tasked with keeping PC users interested in their company they also have shareholders to answer to, who recently have had less to thank the company for than the enthusiast crowd have.  Recent announcements for new chips for the server room as well as the integration of an ARM processor into future AMD chips could be good news for AMDs bottom line in the future but for short term gain they may need to look at new licensing agreements or selling off some assets.

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"Soon after we clicked Publish on this story, we received a comment from an AMD spokesman. "AMD's board and management believe that the strategy the company is currently pursuing to drive long-term growth by using AMD's highly-differentiated technology assets is the right approach to enhance shareholder value," he wrote. "AMD is not actively pursuing a sale of the company or significant assets at this time.""

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register