Phoronix on OpenCL Driver Optimization, NVIDIA vs. AMD

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 27, 2012 - 11:43 PM |
Tagged: opencl, nvidia, amd

The GPU is slowly becoming the parallel processing complement to your branching logic-adept CPU. Developers have been slow to adopt this new technology but that does not hinder the hardware manufacturers from putting on a kettle of tea for when guests arrive.

While the transition to GPGPU is slower than I am sure many would like, developers are rarely quick on the uptake of new technologies. The Xbox 360 was one of the first platforms where unified shaders became mandatory and early developers avoided them by offloading vertex code to the CPU. On that note: how much software still gets released without multicore support?

7-TuxGpu.png

Phoronix, practically the arbiter of all Linux news, decided to put several GPU drivers and their manufacturers to the test. AMD was up first and their results showed a pretty sizeable jump in performance at around October of this year through most of their tests. The article on NVIDIA arrived two days later and saw performance trended basically nowhere since February with the 295.20 release.

A key piece of information is that both benchmarks were performed with last generation GPUs: the GTX 460 on the NVIDIA side, with the 6950 holding AMD’s flag. You might note that 295.20 was the last tested driver to be released prior to the launch of Kepler.

These results seem to suggest that upon the launch of Kepler, NVIDIA did practically zero optimizations to their older "Fermi" architecture at least as far as these Linux OpenCL benchmarks are concerned. On the AMD side, it seems as though they are more willing to go back and advance the performance of their prior generation as they release new driver versions.

There are very few instances where AMD beats out NVIDIA in terms of driver support -- it is often a selling point for the jolly green giant -- but this appears to be a definite win for AMD.

Source: Phoronix

Podcast #231 - Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2012 - 12:16 PM |
Tagged: video, virtu, VIA, tegra 4, Samsung, radeon, podcast, nvidia, nvelo, nuc, lucid, Intel, hackintosh, gigabyte, Dataplex, arm, amd, 8000m

PC Perspective Podcast #231 - 12/20/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh 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 Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:13:41

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:01:50 We are going to try Planetside 2 after the podcast!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:50 Intel Next Unit of Computing NUC
    2. 0:17:55 Corsair AX860i Digital ATX Power Supply
    3. 0:19:00 HP Z1 Workstation All in One
    4. 0:25:00 Building a Hackintosh Computer - A Guide
  3. 0:32:35 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:33:30 Cutting the Cord Complete!
    2. 0:36:10 VIA ARM-based SoCs in upcoming ASUS tablet
    3. 0:42:00 Lucid MVP 2.0 will be sold direct
    4. 0:44:50 Samsung acquires NVELO SSD Caching Software
    5. 0:49:00 AMD announces mobility 8000M series of GPUs
    6. 0:54:15 Some NVIDIA Tegra 4 Details
    7. 0:58:55 NEC Unveils Super Thin Ultrabook
    8. 1:00:30 Win a Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX!!
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:02:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 Camera
      2. Josh: Preparation is key!
      3. Allyn: Cheap RAM
      4. Chris: Had solar panels installed this week
  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!!

Win a Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 2GB GHz Edition FleX Graphics Card!

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | December 19, 2012 - 03:56 PM |
Tagged: video, sweepstakes, sapphire, never settle, giveaway, contest, amd

Remember those really cool game streams we hosted with AMD on Medal of Honor Warfighter, Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3?  Well can you believe that one of the winners from our Far Cry 3 event hasn't replied to our request for a shipping address which means only one thing:

We have an extra Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX graphics card to hand out!

sapphire.jpg

Lucky you!  Since it is the holiday season, we wanted to make this EASY for you.  Here is how you enter:

We'll randomly pick a winner from anywhere in the world to get this kick ass prize on December 26th, so you'll have something to look forward to on the day after Christmas.

Good luck to all of you and our most heartfelt thanks to AMD, Sapphire and of course the fans of PC Perspective for a great 2012!!

AMD Announces Mobility 8000M Graphics Family with Modified Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 17, 2012 - 12:08 PM |
Tagged: radeon, mobility, amd, 8800m, 8700m, 8600m, 8500m, 8000m

AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES.  Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M.  We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.

slide1.jpg

Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed.  The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz.  Memory speeds are identical.  Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.

slide2.jpg

The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz.  The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs.  Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.

slide3.jpg

AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs.  No 8900s yet guys, check back later.

When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips.  These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products.  We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.

slide8.jpg

slide9.jpg

AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part.  Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.

For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands.  Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.

Intel claims to support sockets as well into 'foreseeable future'

Subject: Processors | December 6, 2012 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: socket, BGA, Intel, amd

Okay, so this has been an interesting debate.  After the first rumors and reports that Intel might be killing the DIY PC (or at least crippling it) by removing the socketed option for future processors after the Broadwell architecture, the Internet had a hissy-fit.  Josh debated here that the future didn't look at that bleak at all and AMD chimed in later with its commitment to sockets into 2014 and beyond

It looks like Intel has officially addressed the issue through a story at MaximumPC.com:

Intel remains committed to the growing desktop enthusiast and channel markets, and will continue to offer socketed parts in the LGA package for the foreseeable future for our customers and the Enthusiast DIY market. However, Intel cannot comment on specific long-term product roadmap plans at this time, but will disclose more details later per our normal communication process.

lgasocket.jpg

While those in the community that see the glass half empty will look at Intel's use of "foreseeable future" as a red herring, we have to at least attempt to take Intel at its word until any more details might be released to counter it. 

Let the debate continue!

Source: MaximumPC

AMD will continue to support socketed processors well into the future

Subject: Processors | December 5, 2012 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: socket, Intel, BGA, amd

Over the past week or more we have been seeing a lot of news about Intel's rumored move to leave the world of socket-based processors behind after the pending Broadwell parts are released as BGA - ball grid array - and are soldered to motherboards directly.  I would highly encourage everyone to read Josh's thoughts on the subject that are not nearly as damning as others might have you believe.

However, we got this official note from AMD earlier in the week that I thought I would share:

AMD has a long history of supporting the DIY and enthusiast desktop market with socketed CPUs & APUs that are compatible with a wide range of motherboard products from our partners.  That will continue through 2013 and 2014 with the “Kaveri” APU and FX CPU lines.  We have no plans at this time to move to BGA only packaging and look forward to continuing to support this critical segment of the market.

As the company that introduced new types of BGA packages in ultrathin platforms several years ago, and today offers BGA-packaged processors for everything from ultrathin notebooks to all-in-one desktops, to embedded applications and tablets, we certainly understand Intel’s enthusiasm for the approach.  But for the desktop market, and the enthusiasts with whom AMD has built its brand, we understand what matters to them and how we can continue to bring better value and a better experience.

Obviously AMD is trying to persuade PC builders that not only is its path the safest in the future but maybe that supporting AMD today might help make sure it can arrive to the future well enough to continue the enthusiast path.

amdsocket.jpg

If Intel even starts to heavily side with BGA processors, is a move to AMD in your future again?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

PCPer Live! Far Cry 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, far cry 3, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can watch the replay embedded right here!  Tune in to see some Far Cry 3 action as well learn about some of the technology that Ubisoft has included in the title!

On December 4th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Far Cry 3.  Far Cry has long been a franchise that includes great gameplay and never before seen graphics technology and the third installment looks to follow that trend!  Early previews of the game have been very exciting!

fc3-1.jpeg

Far Cry 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - December 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

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

neversettlematrix.jpg

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 helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Far Cry 3 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

sapphire.jpg

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 December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!

fc3-2.jpg

fc3-3.jpg

AMD Releases Opteron 4300 and 3300 Server Processors

Subject: Processors | December 5, 2012 - 11:58 AM |
Tagged: servers, opteron 4300, opteron 3300, opteron, amd

AMD has officially released a number of new server processors based on its latest Piledriver cores. The new Opteron 4300 and Opteron 3300 series processors will replace the 4200 and 3200 series, and are aimed at the server market. The 4300 series uses Socket C32 while the Opteron 3300 processors use socket AM3+. They are significantly cheaper Piledriver-based parts than the higher-end Opteron 6300 series processors. AMD is aiming these lower cost Opterons at servers hosting websites and internal applications for small to medium businesses.

There are a total of nine new Opteron processors, with three being 3300 series an six being 4300 series.  Both the 3300 and 4300 series Opterons are socket compatible with the previous generation 3200 and 4200 series respectively, allowing for an upgrade path in existing servers. According to AMD, the new Piledriver-based processors have 24% higher performance per watt and use 15% less power than the previous generation parts based on the SPECpower and SPECint benchmarks. AMD is also touting support for low power 1.25V memory with the new chips.

The chart below details the specifications and pricing all of the new Opteron parts.

Opteron 4300 and 3300.png

The new AMD Opteron 3300 series includes two quad core and one eight core processor. The parts range from 1.9GHz to 2.6GHz base and have TDPs from 25W to 65W for the lowest and top end parts respectively. AMD-P, AMD-V, and AMD Turbo Core technologies are also supported. As far as memory goes, the 3300 series supports up to four DIMMs and 32GB per CPU. Further, a single x16 HyperTransport 3.0 link rated at 5.2GT/s is included.

Moving up to the 4300 series comes with an increase in price but you also get more cores, more memory, and faster clockspeeds. The Opteron 4300 series has one quad core 4310 EE, three six core CPUs, and two eight core parts. Base clocks range from 2.2GHz to 3.1GHz while boost clocks start at 3.0GHz and go to 3.8GHz. On the low end, the Opteron 4310 EE has a 35W TDP and the top-end 4386 has a 95W TDP. The 4300 series supports dual channel DDR3 1866 memory with up to six DIMMs and 192GB per CPU. Moving up from the 3300 series also gets you two x16 HyperTransport 3.0 links at 6.4 GT/s.

The new server processors are available now with prices ranging from $174 to $501. In addition, pre-built server options from Supermicro and Seamicro (SM15000) are currently available, with options from Dell and a number of other companies on the way. The prices seem decent, and these chips could make the base for a nice 2P server that brings you Piledriver improvements for much less than the relatively expensive 6300 series processors that we covered previously.

AMD Never Settle Sweepstakes Part 3: ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II for FREE!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: never settle, HD 7970, asus, amd

UPDATE: We have selected a winner for this contest!  If you didn't get an email from me on it, then better luck next time.  We'll have more contests coming up very soon at PC Perspective!!

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 - A FREE GRAPHICS CARD!

asus7970.jpg

AMD and ASUS are partnering up with PC Perspective to hand out an ASUS HD 7970 DirectCT II graphics card, perfect for gaming on your PC!

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

neversettlematrix.jpg

That means a 20% off coupon for Medal of Honor Warfighter, a FREE copy of Far Cry 3, a FREE copy of Hitman: Absolution and a FREE copy of Sleeping Dogs! 

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!  Sorry though, North American readers only on this one!

We will close the contest on Wednesday December 12rd 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!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

A ton of technology in here

In the world of graphics cards there a lot of also-rans, cards that were released but didn't really leave a mark on the industry.  Reference cards are a dime a dozen (not really, though $0.10 HD 7970s sounds like a great thing to me) and when the only thing vendors can compete on is price it is very hard to make a compelling argument for one card over another.  The ASUS Matrix Platinum HD 7970 that we are looking at today in no way suffers from these problems - it is a custom design with unique features that really give it the ability to stand out from the clogged quarters of the GPU shelf.

As you should expect by now with the ASUS ROG brand, the Matrix HD 7970 not only has a slightly overclocked clock speed on the GPU and memory but also some unique features like VGA Hotwire, TweakIt buttons and more!

ASUS ROG Matrix Design

Before we dive into performance and our experiences in overclocknig the HD 7970 with the ASUS Matrix Platinum we wanted to go over some of the design highlights that make this graphics card unique.  Available in both Matrix and Matrix Platinum (hand picked chips) revisions, this triple-slot design will include a custom built PCB with 20-phase power and quite a bit more. 

explodefull.jpg

This "exploded" view of the Matrix HD 7970 shows a high-level view of these features with details to follow below.  Some of the features are really aimed at the extreme overclockers that like to get their hands into some LN2 but there is still a lot to offer users that just want to try their hand at getting additional performance through air overclocking. 

ASUS' custom DirectCU II cooler is at work on the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 using all copper heatpipes to help lower temps by 20% compared to the reference HD 7970 while also running quieter thanks to the larger 100mm fans.  These fans can be independently controlled and include the ASUS dust proof fan technology we have seen previously.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Matrix HD 7970 3GB Graphics Card!!