Introduction, Driver Interface
There exist a particular group of gamers that are consumed by dreams of gigantic dual-SLI laptops that replace towering desktops. And who can blame them? Walking into a LAN party with a $5,000 laptop under your arm is the geek equivalent of entering a party wearing a $2,500 jacket or driving through your neighborhood in a $250,000 car. We can dream, right?
On the other hand, those super-powerful laptops are a bit...boring from a critic’s standpoint. Why? Because they are almost always excellent machines (due to price) and because most readers gandering at a review (of an expensive gaming laptop) I pen about will never buy one – again, due to the price.
Most folks – even many geeks – lust over a beefy gaming rig, but end up buying a $600 to $1000 multimedia laptop. This is the laptop that the average person can actually afford, regardless of his or her enthusiasm about computer hardware.
In the past, this market segment was a gaming wasteland, but that began to change about five years ago. The change was due in part to the fact that many game developers started to veer away from (a focus on) jaw-dropping graphics in favor of expanding their potential markets by going after clients with average/medium-range hardware.
About two and a half years ago Intel (again) committed to raising the bar on integrated graphics with the release of Intel HD and has since consistently improved its IGP offering with each new generation. AMD has done the same with its Fusion products and NVIDIA (already in the game with its numerous x10/x20/x30M products) just recommitted to power efficient GPUs with its Kepler architecture.
These changes mean that “serious” gaming is now possible on an inexpensive laptop. But how possible? What sacrifices do you make and how do low-end IGPs and GPUs stack up against each other?
Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2012 - 02:53 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: tahiti 2, podcast, nvidia, Intel, hsa, corsair, arm, amd, 550d
PC Perspective Podcast #206 - 06/14/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the Corsair 550D Chassis, AMD licensing ARM, AMD Tahiti 2 GPUs and more!
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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malvantano and Scott Michaud
This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
Program length: 1:22:58
- 0:00:20 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:02:00 ioSafe SoloPro and Synology DiskStation 212+ Review
- 0:13:05 Origin EOS17 Gaming Notebook Review
- 0:18:00 Corsair Obsidian 550D Case Review
- 0:22:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
- 0:24:10 AMD, ARM, Ti, Imagination and MediaTek for HSA Foundation
- 0:34:30 AMD licenses ARM Cortex-A5 for APUs
- 0:39:45 Sapphire passive Radeon HD 7770
- 0:42:50 ASUS ROG laptop first with 802.11ac
- 0:47:50 AMD could be releasing Tahiti 2 GPU next week
- 0:49:16 Unreal Engine 4 looks pretty awesome...
- 0:55:05 AMD Wireless Display standard coming soon
- 0:56:45 Apple does indeed release high-res 15" laptop
- 1:02:00 New MacBooks Sporting 6Gb/s Samsung 830 Series SSD Controllers
- 1:04:18 AMD Kevari 3rd gen APU to hit 1 TFLOPS performance
- 1:06:45 Link_A_Media controller explored
- 1:09:45 AMD FirePro W600 launched
- 1:13:55 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: That Doctor he was getting drunk with
- Jeremy: It's heeere and on the Leaderboard
- Josh: Not for the faint of heart. Or wallet.
- Allyn: Windows 8 Release Preview is out
- Scott: Mount and Blade: Warband: Napoleonic Wars (because you can never have too many subtitles)
- Tim: Corsair Obsidian 550D I've been drooling over this since CES! )
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 1:22:00 Closing
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2012 - 11:46 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: live blog, arm, APU, amd, AFDS
Day 3 - Thursday, June 14th
We are here at AFDS 2012 for the day 3 keynotes - join us as find out what else AMD has in store.
If you are looking for Tuesday or Wednesday keynotes and information on the announcement of the HSA Foundation, you can find it below, after the break!
Subject: Processors | June 13, 2012 - 10:00 AM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: TrustZone, hsa, Cortex-A5, cortex, arm, APU, amd, AFDS
Last year after that particular AFDS, there was much speculation that AMD and ARM would get a whole lot closer. Today we have confirmed that in two ways. The first is that AMD and ARM are founding members of the HSA Foundation. This endeavor is a rather ambitious project that looks to make it much easier for programmers to access the full computer power of a CPU/GPU combo, or as AMD likes to call them, the APU. The second confirmation is one that has been theorized for quite some time, but few people have actually hit upon the actual implementation. This second confirmation is that AMD is licensing ARM cores and actually integrating them into their x86 based APUs.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 09:03 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: trinity, spire, Silverstone, rosewill, nzxt, corsair, computex 2012, computex, asus, amd
The Tech Report found a few more Computex 2012 pictures to show off, including a teaser from NZXT of the previous Phantom model as the new model is still under NDA, no such problem for the case modders showing off at the Thermaltake booth nor for InWin and their new H-Frame case. Sticking with the cooling motif is this new fan from Spire which uses a new type of bearing to provide a longer life and Corsair's two new lineups of 120mm and 140mm fans, the AF series designed to maximize air flow through a case and the SF series for heatsinks and radiators which benefit more from the increased static pressure larger fan blades can provide. From Rosewill they spotted a silent PSU, SilverStone a SFX model perfect for an HTPC and big 1200W digitally controlled PSU from Corsair. Wrap up the tour with some bad news about the expected delay of Trinity on the desktop and some good news for audiophiles from ASUS' Xonar team.
"We've wrapped up our Computex coverage with another round of news. On tap: the PSUs and case mods that stood out at the show, new fans from Corsair and Spire, a chat with Asus' Xonar audio team, details on NZXT's next-generation Phantom enclosure, and word of a delay to AMD's desktop Trinity APU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD and ARM joined by Imagination, TI, and MediaTek @ SemiAccurate
- AMD 2013 APUs To Include ARM Cortex-A5 Processor For TrustZone Capabilities @ AnandTech
- TSMC reiterates supply of 28nm chips to come close to demand in 4Q12 @ DigiTimes
- TSMC joins giant fab race @ The Register
- Open Rail, or, why didn’t we think of this? @ Hack a Day
- nstall Windows 8 from a USB Drive, Dual-boot with XP, Vista and 7 @ TechSpot
- Netgear ReadyNAS Duo v2 @ Legion Hardware
- Computex: Thunderbolt is coming, slowly for now @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | June 13, 2012 - 12:07 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: InfoComm 2012, firepro, amd
AMD launches their new FirePro W600 graphics card for professional uses where you desire to drive up to 6 4K monitors from a single-slot PCIe card. The FirePro W600 will be available immediately at an estimated MSRP of $599.
We may be deep in the middle of AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2012 coverage -- but AMD is not just in Seattle this week. The processor and graphics card company is also attending InfoComm 2012 where they released a new FirePro graphics card for a very specific customer. The AMD FirePro W600 is classified as a professional graphics card for display walls.
That description is very accurate.
This single slot card can feed up to 6 4K displays through its 6 mini-DisplayPort 1.2 outputs. Also announced is the multi-stream transport hub (MST hub) which can forego 4K output for 4 separate 1080p displays. They do not claim that 24 1080p monitors can be output from the card so it is possible that there is a limit to prevent all 6 mini-DisplayPorts from being utilized.
If you prefer to not use any hubs and simply have one display per output then you have the option to send independent audio streams to each of the 6 displays. Each of your 4K monitors could be fed different audio all from the same PC and all from the same card.
Enterprises interested in the card would also receive PowerTune and ZeroCore features which were introduced in the Radeon line to reduce power usage. ZeroCore specifically would allow the card to consume up to 95% less power while the rest of the PC is idle.
The FirePro W600 has an MSRP of $599 and is available for purchase immediately.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | June 12, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: texas instruments, mediatek, imagination, hsa foundation, hsa, arm, amd, AFDS
Today is a big day for AMD as they, along with four other major players in the world of processors and SoCs, announced the formation of the HSA Foundation. The HSA Foundation is a non-profit consortium created to define and promote an open approach to heterogeneous computing. The primary goal is to make it easier for software developers to write and program for the parallel power of GPUs. This encompasses both integrated and discrete of which the HSA (heterogeneous systems architecture) Foundation wants to enable users to take full advantage of all the processing resources available to them.
On stage at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit in Bellevue, WA, AMD announced the formation of the consortium in partnership with ARM, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, and Texas Instruments; some of the biggest names in computing.
The companies will work together to drive a single architecture specification and simplify the programming model to help software developers take greater advantage of the capabilities found in modern central processing units (CPUs) and graphics processing units (GPUs), and unlock the performance and power efficiency of the parallel computing engines found in heterogeneous processors.
There are a lot of implications in this simple statement and there are many questions that are left open ended to which we hope to get answered this week while at AFDS. The idea of a "single architecture specification" set a lot of things in motion and makes us question the direction of both AMD and the traditionally ARM-based companies of the HSA Foundation will be moving in. AMD has had the APU, and the eventual complete fusion of the CPU and GPU, on its roadmap for quite a few years and has publicly stated that in 2014 they will have their first fully HSA-capable part. We are still assuming that this is an x86 + Radeon based part, but that may or may not be the long term goal; ideas of ARM-based AMD processors with Radeon graphics technology AND of Radeon based ARM-processors built by other companies still swirl amongst the show. There are even rumors of Frankenstein-like combinations of x86 and ARM based products for niche applications.
Looks like there is room for a few more founding partners...
Obviously ARM and others have their own graphics IP (ARM has Mali, Imagination Technology has Power VR) and those GPUs can be used for parallel processing in much the same way that we think of GPU processing on discrete GPUs and APUs today. ARM processor designers are well aware of the power and efficiency benefits of utilizing all of the available transistors and processing power correctly and the emphasis on an HSA-style system design makes a lot of sense moving forward.
My main question for the HSA Foundation is its goals: obviously they want to promote the simplistic approach for programmers, but what does that actually translate to on the hardware side? It is possible that both x86 and ARM-based ISAs can continue to exist with libraries and compilers built to correctly handle applications for each architecture, but that would seem to me to be against the goals of such a partnership of technology leaders.
In a meeting with AMD personnel, the most powerful and inspiring idea from the HSA Foundation is summed up with this:
"This is bigger than AMD. This is bigger than the PC ecosystem."
The end game is to make sure that all software developers can EASILY take advantage of both traditional and parallel processing cores without ever having to know what is going on under the hood. AMD and the other HSA Foundation members continue to tell us that this optimization can be completely ISA-agnostic – though the technical blockages for that to take place are severe.
AMD will benefit from the success of the HSA Foundation by finally getting more partners involved in promoting the idea of heterogeneous computing, and powerful ones at that. ARM is the biggest player in the low power processor market responsible for the Cortex and Mali architectures found in the vast majority of mobile processors. As those partners trumpet the same cause as AMD, more software will be developed to take advantage of parallel computing and AMD believes their GPU architecture gives them a definite performance advantage once that takes hold.
What I find most interesting is the unknown – how will this affect the roadmaps for all the hardware companies involved? Are we going to see the AMD APU roadmap shift to an ARM-IP system? Will we see companies like Texas Instruments fully integrate the OMAP and Power VR cores into a single memory space (or ARM with Cortex and Mali)? Will we eventually see NVIDIA jump onboard and lend their weight towards true heterogenous computing?
We have much more the learn about the HSA Foundation and its direction for the industry but we can easily say that this is probably the most important processor company collaboration announcement in many years – and it does so without the 800 pound gorilla that is Intel in attendance. By going after the ARM-based markets where Intel is already struggling to compete in, AMD can hope to create a foothold with technological and partnership advantages and return to a seat of prominence. This harkens back to the late 1990s when AMD famously put together the "virtual gorilla" with many partners to take on Intel.
Subject: General Tech | June 12, 2012 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, arm, IBM, Freescale, AFDS, ESG
According to the VDC Research Group's findings, the embedded market will hit $6bn in sales in 2012 and keep growing at a rate of 12%-15% per year. AMD seems poised to move into this market with the formation of their Embedded Solution Group and the changes we have been seeing to their processor lines. Current Opteron HE and EE chips consume between 35W and 65W depending on the number of cores and that amount might be trimmed down as new models come out. They also have lines of embedded Athlon, Turion, Sempron, and Geode LX based chips and have hired an FPGA veteran, Arun Iyengar, to manage the ESG though The Register expresses doubt that AMD is thinking of developing it's own FPGA business. More likely they hope to provide powerful alternatives for those in the market that now need a little more from their embedded products. Read the full story here and keep your eyes peeled for more news coming out of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit.
"The new management team at Advanced Micro Devices is looking everywhere, including under the couch cushions, to find some money so it can afford to explore the embedded systems market again. The chip biz hopes rivals Intel and the ARM collective are too distracted to notice the foray as they fight over each others' territories in PCs, servers and mobile devices."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Sandy Bridge processors to be gradually phased out of market starting in September, sources say @ DigiTimes
- Password flaw leaves MySQL, MariaDB open to brute force attack @ The Register
- Canon PowerShot ELPH 320 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- efergy Energy Saving Products Review @ NikKTech
- EVGA Taiwan Office Visit 2012 @ Ninjalane
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | June 12, 2012 - 12:18 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Kaveri, APU, amd, AFDS
During the opening keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2012, AMD's Dr. Lisa Su revealed a slide with performance of the upcoming 3rd genreation Kaveri APU.
While Trinity is currently rated at 726 GFLOPS, the Kaveri APU due late in 2012 or early 2013, will have at least 1 TFLOPS of total compute performance. That is a 37% boost over the previous generation.
If you want more information, check out our keynote live blog!!
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 11, 2012 - 12:01 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: mali, arm, amd, AFDS
In a blog post over at arm.com, ARM Fellow Jem Davies has made a point to let us all know that he is going to be attending the AMD Fusion Developer Summit yet again, but this time with something more concrete to discuss. In a very self-aware statement, Davies writes in his post that "my appearance last year generated a lot of speculation about the nature of the relationship between ARM and AMD."
From Davies' post:
This year, we have a great deal to discuss. ARM is all about low power and many people in the industry now realize that GPUs have a central role to play in providing highly energy-efficient computing. It’s an exciting future that can grow the ecosystem that surrounds computing. ARM’s unique portfolio of CPU, GPU, interconnect and physical IP puts us at the forefront of one of the most important technological changes in a long time. Reflecting on that and some of those changes, I will be making an announcement at the show.
Emphasis above is ours.
Also worth noting is that Jem Davies does not have his own session at AFDS, but rather we can expect to see him to come out on stage during another keynote, likely during Phil Rogers' or Mark Papermaster's.
AMD wants into the tablet market. ARM could accelerate that process.
Exactly WHAT the ARM/AMD announcement might be obviously isn't known by many yet, but we have speculated many times that an AMD built, ARM architecture processor, with Radeon-based graphics technology and ARM low-power CPU cores, could help AMD enter into the world of ultra-lower power SoCs very quickly. Markets like the pending onslaught of Windows 8 RT tablets and clamshells have NVIDIA foaming at the mouth and AMD would be remiss to not attempt to tackle the same markets and one-up Intel at the same time.
It should be an exciting week! Keep checking pcper.com and our AFDS site tag for all the latest news including keynote live blogs!
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