Subject: General Tech, Processors, Displays | June 10, 2012 - 06:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: widi, Intel, awd, amd wireless display, amd, AFDS
While perusing through the listings and descriptions of sessions and presentations for the upcoming AMD Fusion Developer Summit, I came across an interesting one that surprised me. Tomorrow, June 11th, at 5:15pm PST, you can stop by the Grand Hyatt in Bellevue to learn about the upcoming AMD Wireless Display technology.
AWD (AMD Wireless Display) is a multiple-platform application family to enable wireless display technologies much in the same way that Intel has been pushing with WiDi. While Intel's take on it requires very specific Intel wireless controllers and is only recently, with the release of Ivy Bridge, getting the full-steam push from Intel, AMD's take on it is quite different.
Intel introduced WiDi in 2010
According to the brief on this AFDS session, AMD wants to create an API and SDKs for application developers to integrate AWD into software and to leverage the WiFi Alliance for an open-standards compliant front-end. Using AMD APUs, the goal is provide lower latency for encoded video and audio while still using the required MPEG2TS wrapper. We are also likely to learn that AMD hopes to make AWD open to a wider array of wireless devices.
AMD often takes this "open" approach to new technologies with mixed results - CUDA has been in place for many years while the adoption of OpenCL is only starting to take hold and 3D Vision still is the standard for 3D gaming on the PC.
After having quite a few chances to use Intel's Wireless Display (WiDi) technology myself I can definitely say that the wireless approach is the one I am most excited with and that has the most potential to revolutionize the way we work with displays and computing devices. I am eager to see what partners AMD has been working with and what demonstrations they will have for AWD next week.
Subject: Systems | June 8, 2012 - 06:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: A4-3400, amd, llano, gigabyte, ga-55m-ds2
AMD is still a great choice for someone wanting a general use system that will not cost them much. Hardware Heaven demonstrates this in their latest computer build, based around the $66 Llano A4-3400 and the $50 Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 which is a microATX board and means this system can be quite small in size. To ensure that this PC can handle some light gaming they put in the passively cooled Sapphire HD7750 Ultimate and to house the system they chose Antec's Three Hundred Two enclosure. Altogether you end up with an inexpensive PC which can handle just about any basic task you throw at it.
"Recently AMD set us the challenge of building a low cost APU system to see if it would be possible to build a decent media/productivity/gaming PC on a minimal budget. It's something different to a review which is always a nice change so we set about looking at what could be done when pretty much every component has to cost £60 or less."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- ZOTAC ZBOX Nano XS AD11 Plus @ XSReviews
- Dell XPS One 2700 Review @ TechReviewSource
- A Cheap 12-Core, 30-Watt Ubuntu Cluster @ Phoronix
- BitFenix Prodigy Review: The Affordable Performable Mini-ITX @ AnandTech
- HP Pavilion p7-1225 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Logic Supply LGX AG150 Fanless System Review: Cedar Trail or Cedar Trial? @ AnandTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2012 - 02:46 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd
Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market. With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.
NVIDIA's GTX 690
We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit. Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.
AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $459
Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $379
Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329
Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249
Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129
Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series
GeForce GTX 690 4GB - No Stock
Starting at $999
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499
GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
We may have a trend ladies and gentlemen - two weeks in a row we have seen GTX 680 cards in stock at Newegg!! The first is from Zotac with a $499 price tag and stock, reference clock speeds. The second is a Galaxy model that is overclocked by almost 100 MHz!
AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $459 / $379 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution and a $10 price drop.
If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 8, 2012 - 01:23 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tahiti, graphics, gpu, computex, binning, amd, 7970 ghz edition
AMD is having a string of successes with its 28nm 7000 series graphics cards. While it was dethroned by NVIDIA’s GTX 680, the AMD Radeon HD 7970 is easier to get a hold of. It certainly seems like the company is having a much easier time in manufacturing its GPUs compared to NVIDIA’s Kepler cards. AMD has been cranking out HD 7970s for a few months now and they have gotten the binning process down such that they are getting a good number of pieces of silicon that have a healthy bit of overhead over that of the 7970’s stock speeds.
And so enters Tahiti 2. Tahiti 2 represents GPU silicon that is binning not only for HD 7970 speeds but is able to push up the default clock speed while running with lower voltage. As a result, the GPUs are able to stay within the same TDP of current 7970 cards but run faster.
But how much faster? Well, SemiAccurate is reporting that AMD is seeing as much as a 20% clock speed improvement over current Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards. This means that cards are able to run at clock speeds up to approximately 1075MHz – quite a bit above the current reference clock speed of 925MHz!
The AMD 7970 3GB card. Expect Tahiti 2 to look exactly the same but run at higher clock speeds.
They are further reporting that, because the TDP has not changed, no cooler, PCB, or memory changes will be needed. This will make it that much easier for add in board partners to get the updated reference-based GPUs out as quickly as possible and with minimal cost increases (we hope). You can likely count on board partners capitalizing on the 1,000MHz+ speeds by branding the new cards “GHz Edition” much like the Radeon 7770 has enjoyed.
With 7970 chips having overhead and binning higher than needed, an updated and lower-power using refresh may also be in order for AMD’s 7950 “Tahiti Pro” graphics cards. Heck, maybe they can refresh the entire lineup with better binned silicon but keep the same clock speeds in order to reduce power consumption on all their cards.
Subject: General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 7, 2012 - 06:49 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: hsa, fusion, amd, AFDS
One of the best show experiences I had last year was a surprise to me - AMD's first annual Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS) was hosted in the Seattle / Bellevue area. I say that it was a surprise only because the inaugural year for vendor-specific shows like this tend to be pretty bland and lack interesting information, but that wasn't the case in 2011. We saw ARM get on stage with AMD to talk about the idea of "dark silicon" and how to prevent it, we saw the first AMD Trinity notebook and even got details of the Tahiti GPU architecture well ahead of release.
We expect even better things in 2012.
While I don't know exactly what surprises will be on display this year I am looking forward to seeing the improvement from software developers after having another 12 months to work on APU-accelerated applications. HSA (heterogeneous system architecture) has been getting a lot of buzz from AMD and the industry as we push towards a combined memory address space and the ultimate acceleration of programs across both serialized and parallel processors on the same die.
If you are in the Seattle / Bellevue area and you have the ability to attend AFDS, I would highly encourage you to do so. You'll have access to:
- Never before seen demos
- Technical tracks and sessions to learn about HSA and programming for it
If you can't make it though, you should definitely follow the whole event right here at PC Perspective - the easiest way is to keep track of our AFDS tag to make sure you don't miss any of the potentially industry shifting news!
You can also expect us to have a live blog from the event as well!
Podcast #205 - News from Computex 2012! - Ultrabooks, Trinity Motherboards, New products from Corsair, and much more!
Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2012 - 03:21 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: trinity, ROG, PSU, podcast, nvidia, LAMD, Intel, corsair, computex, asus, amd, a85, 680M
PC Perspective Podcast #205 - 06/07/2012
Join us this week as we talk about all of the news from Computex 2012! - Ultrabooks, Trinity Motherboards, New products from Corsair, and much 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
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
- 0:00:25 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:03:15 MSI Radeon HD 7950 Review
- 0:10:00 ASUS Sabertooth X79 Review
- 0:11:10 DV Nation RAMRod system review
- 0:18:25 Samsung Series 5 Chromebook review
- 0:19:10 Intel Ultrabook Ivy Bridge reference review
- 0:21:00 AD BREAK
- 0:21:47 AMD loses monthly Catalyst updates
- 0:25:20 Ultrabooks
- 0:36:00 MAINGEAR 11-in gaming machine
- 0:37:00 Sandisk PCIe SSD competitor
- 0:42:00 Trinity / A85 Motherboards
- 0:45:30 ASUS says THEY have the overclocking record
- 0:46:30 Macbook coming with ultra high-res display?
- 0:51:00 Gigabyte X79S motherboard
- 0:53:00 LSI shows SF-2000 driving smaller flash
- 0:59:30 Corsair has...
- 1:05:30 NVIDIA wants discrete GPUs in Ultrabooks
- 1:07:30 NVIDIA shows GeForce GTX 680M GPU
- 1:11:00 ASUS MARS III dual GTX 680 card
- 1:13:00 3DMark for Windows 8 Screenshots
- 1:15:00 AMD releases Brazos 2.0
- 1:16:45 New ASUS ROG Gear
- 1:21:00 ASUS shows off beastly concept motherboards
- 1:24:10 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 7, 2012 - 09:36 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: video, trinity, msi, mobile, laptops, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gaming notebook, gaming, computex, amd
MSI has been busy at this year’s Computex trade show. In addition to the company’s graphics cards and motherboard displays, MSI is showing off four new G Series gaming notebooks. Three of them are running Intel Ivy Bridge processors while the fourth machine is powered by a top-end AMD Trinity APU. Included in the new G series is the GT70, GT60, GE70, GE60, and GX60. The only AMD system is the GX60. Let’s take a look at that one first.
The GX60 has a similar exterior build as the other G Series notebooks, but has vastly different internals and does not appear to have the same audio technology as the Intel-based notebooks. The desktop replacement class (read: heavy and not so great battery life heh) laptop features an AMD A10-4600M APU, AMD A70M chipset, and AMD Radeon 7970M graphics card. Other features include MSI’s “SuperRAID” storage with up to two SSDs in RAID and a mechanical hard drive, Steelseries keyboard, and a Killer E2200 gaming network card. Another interesting feature is the system’s ability to output to up to three displays with AMD Eyefinity technology. The system was able to pull a respectable 30 frames per second on the Unigine Heave benchmark and will have an MSRP of around 1,000 British Pounds (~$1,557.70 USD). According to eTeknix, the AMD Trinity-based notebook will be available soon.
The Intel Ivy Bridge based systems get a bit more love than the AMD Trinity system with SuperRAID support, up to 32GB of RAM, MSI Audio Boost (powered by Dynaudio or THX TruStudiio Pro depending on model), gold-plated audio connectors, Turbo Drive Engine and NVIDIA discrete graphics. The Intel and AMD G series laptops all get 1080p displays and custom backlit keyboards built by SteelSeries. The AMD system may well have MSI Audio Boost, gold plated connectors, and the like but MSI did not seem to tout them on the GX60 like they did for the Intel ones. The GX60 does at least get the SteelSeries keyboard and SuperRAID tech. Anyway, onto the Intel gaming rigs.
MSI GT70 and GT60
The MSI GT 70 is the largest and fastest gaming notebook at the MSI booth with a 17” 1080p display, quad core Core i7 processor, SuperRAID storage, THX certified Dynaudio sound, Turbo Drive Engine, Killer E2200 NIC, and a NVIDIA GTX 680M mobile GPU with GDDR5 RAM. The GT70 utilizes MSI’s SuperRAID to the fullest with two SSDs and a mechanical hard drive for up to 700MB/s read speeds. The system further features a backlit keyboard from SteelSeries that has five LED pattern modes (Normal, Gaming, Wave, Breathing, and Dual Color) and various selectable colors to choose from. The GT70 was pulling about 45 frames-per-second on the Unigine Heaven benchmark and P20,000 on 3DMark Vantage. Consumers should expect it to be available for around 2,500 British Pounds (~$3,894.25 USD).
The MSI GT70 gaming notebook
The GT60 is a smaller version of the GT70 with 15.6” chassis, slightly slower Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor at 2.9GHz, and only a GTX 670M graphics card. It features the same MSI technology as its bigger brother, the GT70, but may not have the exact SuperRAID setup. Otherwise it has Dynaudio, 1080p display, the backlit SteelSeries keyboard, and lots of other goodies. No price info on this one to report, unfortunately.
MSI GE70 and GE60
The two MSI GE branded gaming laptops are the budget versions of the GT70 and GT60. They feature slower IVY Bridge processors, a downgrade in the Intel chipset to H76M, and a GPU downgrade to a NVIDIA GT650M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. The displays are still 1080p, but they do not have Dynaudio (only THX TruStudio Pro), and the SteelSeries keyboards are not backlit. Of the two, the GE70 has a slightly faster Intel processor. They do both feature Turbo Drive Engine technology and likely SuperRAID though the setups are likely limited versus the bigger GT70’s chassis. Again, no word on how much these will cost or when they will be shipping.
All the notebooks have a nice black finish to them and the SteelSeries keyboard looks pretty nice. I’m interested in the AMD GX60 myself as I find Trinity neat. The Intel-based systems are definitely power houses though, especially the GT70 and although I don’t expect battery life to be anywhere near great these would be a good choice for gamers that demand the portability of a laptop platform.
Update: the press release does clarify that the GT70 and GE70 have 17.3” 1080p screens while the GT60 and GE60 have 15.6” 1080p screens. It also lists USB 3.0 compatibility on the Intel-based notebooks along with a built-in 720p 30fps webcam for video conferencing.
What does $399 buy these days?
I think it is pretty safe to say that MSI makes some pretty nice stuff when it comes to video cards. Their previous generation of the HD 6000 and GTX 500 series of cards were quite popular, and we reviewed more than a handful here. That generation of cards really seemed to stake MSI’s reputation as one of the top video card vendors in the industry in terms of quality, features, and cooling innovation. Now we are moving onto a new generation of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the challenges of keeping up MSI’s reputation seem to have increased.
The competition has become much more aggressive as of late. Asus has some unique solutions, and companies such as XFX have stepped up their designs to challenge the best of the industry. MSI has found themselves to be in a much more crowded space with upgraded cooler designs, robust feature sets, and pricing that reflects the larger selection of products that fit such niches. The question here is if MSI’s design methodology for non-reference cards is up to the challenge.
Previously I was able to review the R7970 Lightning from MSI, and it was an impressive card. I had some initial teething problems with that particular model, but a BIOS flash later and some elbow grease allowed it to work as advertised. Today I am looking at the R7950 TwinFrozr3GD5/OC. This card looks to feature a reference PCB combined with a Twin Frozr III cooling solution. I was not entirely sure what to expect with this card, since the Lightning was such a challenge at first.
Subject: Processors | June 6, 2012 - 05:08 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zacate, Hudson-M3L, FCH, E2-1800, E2-1200, computex, brazos 2.0, brazos, Bobcat, amd
Today AMD is officially releasing their Brazos 2.0 parts. This is a case of good news/bad news for the company. The good news is that they have an updated product that is based on their very successful Brazos 1.0 platform and that particular part has sold over 30 million units and is included in some 160 designs. The bad news is that AMD did not improve the product dramatically over what we previously had.
While Brazos will not beat these Intel offerings in pure performance, they do match up nicely in terms of price and battery life.
It is well known that AMD cancelled their original Bobcat 2.0 28 nm parts last fall (Krishna and Wichita), and instead worked on improving the fabrication of the current Brazos APUs. Little is known as to why those original 28 nm parts were cancelled, but perhaps the overriding reason is that there simply would not be enough 28 nm production through the first three quarters of 2012 to enable AMD to adequately meet demand on these parts (all the while sacrificing higher margin GPU wafer orders on the 28 nm node). We also must consider that AMD could have been counting on GLOBALFOUNDRIES to have their flavor of 28 nm HKMG process up and running, which of course at this time it is not.
These new Brazos 2.0 chips are still manufactured on TSMC’s 40 nm process, but that particular process is very mature at this time. This has allowed AMD and TSMC to squeeze every last drop of performance and efficiency out of the aging 40 nm node, and in so doing has allowed AMD a bit more headroom when it comes to the Zacate APUs that Brazos 2.0 is based off of. The two new processors are the E2-1800 and the E2-1200.
The E2-1800 is a dual core Bobcat CPU featuring an APU with 80 stream units based on the older HD 5000 series of parts. AMD has renamed the GPU to the HD 7340, though it has little in common with the GCN (Graphics Core Next) based HD 7000 graphics units. AMD increased the core CPU speed from the E-450 by 50 MHz and the GPU portion by 80 MHz. This gives the E2-1800 a core clockspeed of 1.7 GHz and the graphics runs at a brisk 680 MHz. This continues to be an 18 watt TDP part and the die size is the same 75 mm squared.
Subject: Motherboards | June 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, msi, htpc, fm2, computex, amd
Located at Booth L0810 in Nangang Hall 4F, MSI is showing off a tong of new hardware. One of the interesting displays is a wall of new motherboards based on AMD’s desktop Trinity APUs. Using the company’s Hybrid Digital Power design, the FM2 socket-based motherboards come in three sizes: EATX, ATX, and mini-ITX to meet various project needs.
MSI's Trinity display at Computex 2012. Source: MSI
The smallest of the bunch is the MSI A85IA-E53 motherboard, which is designed for HTPC use. Based on AMD’s A75 chipset, the mini-ITX board features an AMD FM2 socket in the middle, with two DDR3 DIMM slots (a maximum of 16GB of memory) below, a single PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot to the left, and four SATA 6Gbps ports to the right of the FM2 socket.
Rear IO on the board includes a combo PS/2 port, optical audio (TOSLink) output, VGA and HDMI video outputs, three eSATA ports, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a Gigabit LAN port, and analog audio out via three 3.5mm jacks. The motherboard also features integrated WiFi and Bluetooth radios. Built with the company’s military class III components, the A85IA-E53 comes packed with the ClickBIOS II, OC Genie II, and support for HD7000 series graphics cards.
MSI has two mid-sized ATX form factor motherboards with the the MSI A55M-P33 (F2) and MSI A85MA-35. The former is intended for traditional desktop use cases while the latter is rather shallow in depth and is meant to be used in living room HTPCs.
MSI A55M-P33 (F2)
The MSI A55M-P33 (F2) is the company’s budget desktop motherboard. It supports OC Genie II and ClickBIOS II technologies as well as AMD Dual Graphics which allows the pairing of a Trinity APU integrated graphics card and discrete AMD GPU. In adition to the FM2 socket, the board features two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 16GB of 1866MHz memory), four SATA 3Gbps ports, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, one PCI-E 2.0 x1 slot, and one legacy PCI slot.
This motherboard is actually based on the AMD A55 chipset which explains the lack of 6Gbps ports and USB 3.0 support. The company describes the board as the “value choice” for those upgrading to a new Trinity-based system. Rear IO on the A55M-P33 (F2) includes eight USB 2.0 ports, six 3.5mm jacks for analog audio output, Gigabit Ethernet, and DVI and VGA display outputs.
The second ATX motherboard is the MSI A85MA-E35. This motherboard has been designed wider and shallower than traditional desktop ATX boards so that it can fit into slim HTPC cases (that usually have more room longways than height-wise as they need to be able to fit into AV racks and other short spaces). It is essentially the mATX A85IA-E53’s big brother as it takes the AMD A75 chipset and takes advantage of the larger PCB area to add additional functionality. The motherboard features MSI’s OC Genie II and ClickBIOS II technology and AMD’s Dual Graphics support for pairing a dedicated GPU with the Trinity APU’s graphics portion.
The board is rather spaced out as the PCB is stretched out to keep things as shallow as possible. It does feature two DDR3 DIMM slots (maximum of 16GB 1866MHz RAM), the AMD FM2 processor socket, one PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot, two PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and one legacy PCI slot. The only motheboard component with a heatsink attached is the southbridge, which is powering six SATA ports, at least four of which are 6Gbps (MSI only lists four 6Gbps ports in the documentation, seen above and to the right of the board [TechPowerUp indicates that all six are 6Gbps, however]). Rear IO includes four USB 3.0 ports, six analog audio out jacks, Gigabit LAN, and what is likely a PS/2 port and optical audio output.
Finally, the FM2 motherboard to rule them all (or at least the company’s AMD lineup) is the MSI A85XA-G65. The board comes packed with MSI technology including Military Class III components, OC Genie II, ClickBIOS II, Hybrid Design Power, THX TruStuio Pro, AMD Dual Graphics (APU+discrete card), AMD CrossFire, NVIDIA SLI, and AMD Eyefinity.
In other words, MSI has bolted just about everything it could to this board. They confidently labeled the motherboard as the board for enthusiasts to use to push Trinity overclocks as far as possible. The first thing I noticed about the image (seen below) of the A85XA-G65 was the massive heatsinks on the VRMs and southbridge – did I mention they were huge? In addition to the well-cooled VRMs, the motherboard features four DDR3 DIMM slots (max of 32GB 1866MHz RAM), two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots towards the bottom of the board. To the right is the southbridge (with relatively large heatsink) powering eight SATA 6Gbps ports.
The A85XA-G65 supports DisplayPort, DVI, HDMI, and VGA video outputs. Beyond that, rear IO includes a combo PS/2 port, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, Gigabit LAN, six 3.5mm jacks for multi-channel analog audio outputs, and an optical audio output. If you want to push desktop Trinity to the max, this board definitely seems like a good place to start.
MSI has definitely come out in full force with a slew of AMD Trinity motherboards. The HTPC ones, and the mini-ITX one in particular, interest me. The beastly A85XA-G65 is also pretty neat for overclocking potential. Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Computex 2012 coverage! What do you guys want to see from the show? You can see a few more photos after the break.
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