AMD is up to some interesting things. Today at AMD’s tech day, we discovered a veritable cornucopia of information. Some of it was pretty interesting (audio), some was discussed ad-naseum (audio, audio, and more audio), and one thing in particular was quite shocking. Mantle was the final, big subject that AMD was willing to discuss. Many assumed that the R9 290X would be the primary focus of this talk, but in fact it very much was an aside that was not discussed at any length. AMD basically said, “Yes, the card exists, and it has some new features that we are not going to really go over at this time.” Mantle, as a technology, is at the same time a logical step as well as an unforeseen one. So what all does Mantle mean for users?
Looking back through the mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the individual 3D chip makers all implemented low level APIs that allowed programmers to get closer to the silicon than what other APIs such as Direct3D and OpenGL would allow. This was a very efficient way of doing things in terms of graphics performance. It was an inefficient way to do things for a developer writing code for multiple APIs. Microsoft and the Kronos Group had solutions with Direct3D and OpenGL that allowed these programmers to develop for these high level APIs very simply (comparatively so). The developers could write code that would run D3D/OpenGL, and the graphics chip manufacturers would write drivers that would interface with Direct3D/OpenGL, which then go through a hardware abstraction layer to communicate with the hardware. The onus was then on the graphics people to create solid, high performance drivers that would work well with DirectX or OpenGL, so the game developer would not have to code directly for a multitude of current and older graphics cards.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | September 25, 2013 - 05:23 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, R9, R7, GPU14, amd
The next generation of AMD graphics processors are being announced this afternoon. They carefully mentioned this event is not a launch. We do not yet know, although I hope we will learn today, when you can give them your money.
When you can, you will have five products to choose from:
- R7 250
- R7 260X
- R9 270X
- R9 280X
- R9 290X
AMD only provides 3D Mark Fire Strike scores for performance. I assume they are using the final score, and not the "graphics score" although they were unclear.
The R7 250 is the low end card of the group with 1GB of GDDR5. Performance, according to 3DMark scores (>2000 on Fire Strike), is expected to be about two-thirds of what an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti can deliver. Then again, that card retails for about ~$130 USD. The R7 250 has an expected retail value of less than < $89 USD. This is a pretty decent offering which can probably play Battlefield 3 at 1080p if you play with the graphics quality settings somewhere around "medium". This is just my estimate, of course.
The R7 260X is the next level up. The RAM has been double over the R7 250 to 2GB of GDDR5 and its 3DMark score almost doubled, too (> 3700 on Fire Strike). This puts it almost smack dab atop the Radeon HD 6970. The R7 260X is about $20-30 USD cheaper than the HD 6970. The R7 is expected to retail for $139. Good price cut while keeping up to date on architecture.
The R9 270X is the low end of the high end parts. With 2GB of GDDR5 and a 3DMark Fire Strike score of >5500, this is aimed at the GeForce 670. The R7 270X will retail for around ~$199 which is about $120 USD cheaper than NVIDIA's offering.
The R9 280X should be pretty close to the 7970 GHz Edition. It will be about ~$90 cheaper with an expected retail value of $299. It also has a bump in frame buffer over the lower-tier R9 270X, containing 3GB of GDDR5.
Not a lot is known about the top end, R9 290X, except that it will be the first gaming GPU to cross 5 TeraFLOPs of compute performance. To put that into comparison, the GeForce Titan has a theoretical maximum of 4.5 TeraFLOPs.
If you are interested in the R9 290X and Battlefield 4, you will be able to pre-order a limited edition package containing both products. Pre-orders open "from select partners" October 3rd. For how much? Who knows.
We will keep you informed as we are informed. Also, the announcement is still going on, so tune in!
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 03:08 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: live, hawaii, amd
In case you didn't know, AMD is hosting a live stream to talk about the new AMD Hawaii series of GPUs. You should definitely be on our PC Perspective Live! page right now to participate and watch!
Subject: General Tech | September 25, 2013 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: fx-51, decade, athlon 64, amd
Back on September 23, 2003 a site called AMDMB did a review of the Athlon 64 FX-51 processor, which turned out to be the fastest desktop processor on the planet at the time and could handily beat Intel's offerings even with their higher clock. As Slashdot has pointed out that this is indeed the 10th year anniversary of the release of that processor they thought it would be nice to look back on a better time in AMD's history. Head to Slashdot to read through the comments and click through to ExtremeTech who have put together a retrospective.
"It's been a decade since AMD's Athlon 64 FX-51 debuted — and launched the 64-bit x86 extensions that power the desktop and laptop world today. After a year of being bludgeoned by the P4, AMD roared back with a vengeance, kicking off a brief golden age for its own products, and seizing significant market share in desktops and servers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Apple blings up new iMac with latest Intel chips, next-gen Wi-Fi @ The Register
- HTC staring down the barrel of a US sales ban after Nokia's patent coup @ The Register
- Nikon Coolpix S9500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Win a Titanic £2,000 gaming system with PCSpecialist and Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2013 - 11:58 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, leak, hawaii, amd
What better way to spend your weekend than to comb over photos and graphs to try and figure out everything you can about the upcoming AMD Hawaii GPU just days before they announce it during a live stream? A collection of leaks including pictures and benchmarks made their way onto the web (they have a way of doing that) from our friends in China. I spotted a post from our buddy Hassan at WCCFTech that detailed much of the information available so far.
The first picture was actually posted by Johan Andersson, lead developer at DICE over Twitter with a not-too-vague comment about Hawaii and Volcanic Islands.
— Johan Andersson (@repi) September 21, 2013
A website with the convenient name of udteam.tistory.com posted images with quite a bit more detail including some with the cooler removed.
The GPU here is apparently going to be called the AMD Radeon R9-290X as AMD shifts to a completely new naming scheme with this generation. We already discussed an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner in which he said the die of Hawaii was 30% smaller than NVIDIA's GTX TITAN and would be more efficient per die area than the GeForce option.
Other specifications that have been compiled (that are still rumors really at this point) include a 512-bit memory interface (quad 128-bit controllers more than likely based on the memory layout), 4GB of GDDR5, 5+1 phase power and 8+6 pin power connections (very reasonable for a flagship). The die size is being estimated at 424 mm2 (larger than Radeon HD 7970 but smaller than TITAN) and price estimates are sitting at $599.
We even found a couple of benchmarks claiming to have performance results of this new beast of a GPU. Though the name of the card on the result is blocked out we are supposed to believe these are results from the AMD R9-290X and they are impressive if true. In both of the graphs here the new Hawaii GPU is faster than the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN at a significantly lower price!
All signs are pointing to AMD's next 28nm GPU to be a high end gamer's dream graphics card. That is, IF all these rumors and leaks turns out to be accurate. We still don't know the key data points like stream processor count, but we'll know it all in due time. (Maybe next week?) We still have concerns about the status of AMD's multi-GPU fixes but if the company can get that worked out in time for this relesae, I expect AMD to make a big splash this fall with a revamped Radeon brand.
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2013 - 02:26 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, surround, podcast, nvidia, Intel, idf, haswell, frame rating, eyefinity, baytrail, amd, 4250U
PC Perspective Podcast #269 - 09/19/2013
Join us this week as we discuss Frame Rating on Eyefinity, News from IDF, and rumors about new AMD GPUs
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, and Morry Teitelman
Week in Review:
0:03:30 Corsair Carbide 330R Case
News items of interest:
0:54:45 Mushkin Scorpion Delux PCIe SSD
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 12:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd, catalyst 13.9
FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMD CATALYST™ 13.9
The AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL is AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1. It does not include support for Frame Pacing or the very latest AMD CrossFire™ optimizations. AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL.
AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1
Includes WDDM 1.3 support for:
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Kabini” & “Temash”) for Desktop, Notebook or Tablet PCs, including: A4-1200, A4-1250, A4-5000, A4-5100, A4-5150, A6-1450, A6-5200, A6-5250, A6-5350, E1-2100, E1-2200. E1-2500, E1-2600, E1-2650, E2-3000, E2-3100
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Richland”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-5700, A10-5745M, A10-5750M, A10-5757M, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-5500, A8-5500B, A8-5545M, A8-5550M, A8-5557M, A8-5600K, A6-5345M, A6-5350M, A6-5357M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-5145M, A4-5150, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Accelerated Processors (“Trinity”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-4600M, A10-4655M, A10-4677M, A10-5700, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-4500M, A8-4555M, A8-4557M, A6-4400M, A6-4455M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-4300M, A4-4355M, A4-5300, A4-5300B
- AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
Support for AMD Features:
- AMD Eyefinity
- AMD Dual Graphics/AMD CrossFire Technology
- AMD Overdrive
- AMD Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center
OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles Users can now create, per application, 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications. OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations).
AMD Enduro™ Technology enhancements: The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU.
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 12:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, arm, Cortex-A57, servers, seattle
DigiTimes spoke with AMD's current server guru about their move from providing only x86/64 based processors in their server chips to the inclusion of ARM cores in the Seattle chip family. These will be the first processors from AMD using 64-bit Cortex-A57 cores and they hope to sell them to companies who depend on Hadoop or run web hosting services which will benefit from scalability. As these will be true APUs as well, any application which can be accelerated by a GPU will also greatly benefit from the new design from AMD. It is AMD's hope that they will be able to offer server customers a choice in the architecture they want to use in their server rooms and able to choose between more than just competing x86/64 chips.
"Commenting on AMD's decision to make ARM-based processors for servers, corporate vice president and general manager of AMD's server business, Suresh Gopalakrishnan, said that as more server applications will show up in the future, different architectures will provide different advantages to clients. Providing solutions based on market demand will be the major business strategy for AMD's server business, Gopalakrishnan noted."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Explaining the low level stuff you don’t know about ARM programming @ Hack a Day
- Nvidia announces the Tegra Note Android tablet prototype @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft relents: 'Go ahead, install Windows 8.1 on clean PCs' @ The Register
- IBM Bets Big Again on Linux: $1B for Linux on Power Systems @ Linux.com
- Windows Phone 8 is deemed secure by the US and Canadian governments @ The Inquirer
- Blackberry Z30 Phablet Announced @ Slashdot
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 17, 2013 - 10:28 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, radeon, hawaii
As we get closer and closer to the reveal of AMD's next generation graphics chip code named Hawaii, details will find their way out.
Tonight I came across an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner on Forbes.com that offered up one confirmation that we all suspected: AMD's Hawaii GPU will keep the same 28nm process technology utilized with the Radeon HD 7000 parts.
Another thing I can tell you is about the process node: this GPU is in 28nm. Some have speculated that it was 20nm and it’s not for a specific reason: At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.
Straight from the horses mouth. Based on those comments we can also assume that clock speeds will be higher than 1.0 - 1.1 GHz we are seeing today with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition so performance increases will not be the sole result of shader count changes and increases.
Skynner also assures gamers they are not targeting the $999 price range, at least not initially.
They’re coming in Q4. I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.
AMD is targeting a much smaller die size that NVIDIA has with GK110, the latest iteration of NVIDIA's massive GPU offerings.
It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU.
The rest of the interview is a little cookie-cutter though he does briefly reference some of the issues that have caught the Radeon HD 7990 by surprise.
Sorry, still no details on if/when Battlefield 4 will hit the Never Settle bundles!
Summary of Events
In January of 2013 I revealed a new testing methodology for graphics cards that I dubbed Frame Rating. At the time I was only able to talk about the process, using capture hardware to record the output directly from the DVI connections on graphics cards, but over the course of a few months started to release data and information using this technology. I followed up the story in January with a collection of videos that displayed some of the capture video and what kind of performance issues and anomalies we were able to easily find.
My first full test results were published in February to quite a bit of stir and then finally in late March released Frame Rating Dissected: Full Details on Capture-based Graphics Performance Testing which dramatically changed the way graphics cards and gaming performance was discussed and evaluated forever.
Our testing proved that AMD CrossFire was not improving gaming experiences in the same way that NVIDIA SLI was. Also, we showed that other testing tools like FRAPS were inadequate in showcasing this problem. If you are at all unfamiliar with this testing process or the results it showed, please check out the Frame Rating Dissected story above.
At the time, we tested 5760x1080 resolution using AMD Eyefinity and NVIDIA Surround but found there were too many issues and problems with our scripts and the results they were presenting to give reasonably assured performance metrics. Running AMD + Eyefinity was obviously causing some problems but I wasn’t quite able to pinpoint what they were and how severe it might have been. Instead I posted graphs like this:
We were able to show NVIDIA GTX 680 performance and scaling in SLI at 5760x1080 but we only were giving results for the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition in a single GPU configuration.
Since those stories were released, AMD has been very active. At first they were hesitant to believe our results and called into question our processes and the ability for gamers to really see the frame rate issues we were describing. However, after months of work and pressure from quite a few press outlets, AMD released a 13.8 beta driver that offered a Frame Pacing option in the 3D controls that enables the ability to evenly space out frames in multi-GPU configurations producing a smoother gaming experience.
The results were great! The new AMD driver produced very consistent frame times and put CrossFire on a similar playing field to NVIDIA’s SLI technology. There were limitation though: the driver only fixed DX10/11 games and only addressed resolutions of 2560x1440 and below.
But the story won’t end there. CrossFire and Eyefinity are still very important in a lot of gamers minds and with the constant price drops in 1920x1080 panels, more and more gamers are taking (or thinking of taking) the plunge to the world of Eyefinity and Surround. As it turns out though, there are some more problems and complications with Eyefinity and high-resolution gaming (multi-head 4K) that are cropping up and deserve discussion.