Zotac Updates ZBOX AD06 With New AMD APU

Subject: Systems | November 7, 2012 - 05:04 PM |
Tagged: zotac, zbox ad06, zbox, SFF, htpc, barebones, APU, amd

Zotac has updated its small form factor ZBOX AD06 PC with a new AMD Accelerated Processing Unit that features a faster GPU portion and a dual core Zacate CPU that Zotac claims offers up to a 10% boost in performance versus the previous ZBOX.

Zotac ZBOX AD06 With New AMD APU.jpg

On the outside, the ZBOX AD06 is approximately the size of a Mini-ITX motherboard, comes with a bundled VESA75/100 mount (to attach it to the back of your monitor), and features a number of ports. Internally, the ZBOX AD06 features an AMD E2-1800 APU with two CPU cores at 1.7GHz and a Radeon HD 7340 GPU. The “Plus” version bundles in 2GB of DDR3 memory and a 320GB hard drive, otherwise it is very much a bare-bones system that allows you to add your own storage.

External ports and connectivity options include:

  • 2 x USB 3.0
  • 4 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x SD card reader
  • 2 x analog audio jacks
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x HDMI
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0

The Zotac AD06 also features a bundled media center remote that will work with Windows Media Center or XBMC. And thanks to the more powerful APU, it should work well as a low-cost home theater PC. Unfortuantely, there is no word on pricing or when the AD06 or AD06 Plus will be available for purchase.

Zotac ZBOX AD06 Plus vs AD06.png

You can find the full press release below.

Finally something new for the server team from AMD

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 6, 2012 - 01:30 PM |
Tagged: piledriver, opteron 6300, amd, Abu Dhabi

AMD_6300.jpg

Low power, high density server designs are very important but it is nice to see updates on the more powerful server processors as well, something quite rare so far in 2012.  AMD has finally released their Opteron 6300 family, with ten members bearing between 8 to 16 cores and all running at over 3GHz.  We don't have any reviews to offer, so the only performance benchmarks are from AMD's press releases, but you can expect more change than just an increase in frequency as this is a Piledriver based chip.  The Register has put together a high level overview of the new Opterons or you can head on over to AMD to check out the information on offer there.  Cray is already shipping servers based on these chips, with Dell and HP releasing a variety of servers in the near future.

AMD_6300price.png

"Customers using big ol' fat x86 servers didn't have much to jump for joy about this year. There just isn't a lot going on. But to make things interesting, AMD is now goosing the performance of its top-end parts with the launch of its "Abu Dhabi" Opteron 6300s, which sport the "Piledriver" cores that already debuted in the FX Series of high-end desktop chips."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

AMD Launches Piledriver-based Opteron 6300 Server Chips

Subject: Processors | November 6, 2012 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: server, piledriver, opteron, datacenter, cpu, amd

AMD announced new server processors on Monday based on the same Piledriver architecture used in the Trinity APUs and Vishera desktop CPUs we recently reviewed. With the release of the Opteron 6300 series, AMD is bringing Piledriver to the server room.

The new chips – similar to the desktop counterparts – bring several performance improvements over the previous generation 6200 series Opterons based on the Bulldozer architecture. AMD is positioning the chips as a upgrade path to existing servers and on merits of performance-per-dollar efficiency. As is AMD's fashion, the new chips are competitively priced and "good enough" performance-wise. With 6300, AMD has stated the goal is to reduce the TCO, or Total Cost of Ownership for servers used in data centers, supercomputers, and enterprises by being compatible with existing AMD server platforms with a BIOS upgrade and representing efficiency improvements over previous chips.

Opteron_6300_Series_hand_metallic_background.jpg

The Opteron 6300 series CPUs themselves build upon the Vishera desktop parts by adding more cores and more L3 cache. The server parts will have up to 16 cores clocked at 2.8GHz base and 3.2GHz turbo. They will have TDP ratings between 85W and 140W and will feature prices from $500 to $1,400. On the cache front, the chips have a 16KB L1 data cache per core, 64KB L1 instruction cache per module, 1MB L2 cache per core, and a shared 16MB cache per socket. AMD has included a quad channel memory controller that supports DDR3 up to 1866 MHz and 1.5TB per server in 4P configurations. AMD has rounded out the chips with four x16 HyperTransport 3.0 links rated at 6.4 GT/s per link. Up to 4 processors per server will be supported, which means a maximum of 64 cores.

Opteron_6300_die_shot_16_core.jpg

With Piledriver, AMD added a number of new instructions including FMA3, BMI, and F16c. The company has also implemented server tweaks to the Bulldozer design to improve branch prediction, instructions per clock, scheduling, and reduced the power draw at higher clockspeeds allowing for the chps to clock higher while staying within the same power envelope of the Bulldozer-based Opteron 6200 series.

AMD is using the same socket as the 6200 series processors, and the new chips can be deployed as an upgrade to the old servers without needing a new motherboard.

Screenshot (339).png

When pitting the new Opteron 6380 to the previous-generation 6278, AMD is claiming a number of performance increases, including a 24-percent and 40-percent improvement in SPECjob2005 and SPECpower_ssj2008 respectively.

Further, the company is claiming competitive performance in server workloads with the Intel competition. AMD offers up benchmarks showing the Opteron 6380 and Xeon E5-2690 trading wins, with the AMD part being slower in the STREAM benchmark, but being slightly faster in LAMPS and NAMD. The allure of the Opteron, according to AMD is that the AMD part is almost half the price of the Intel processor, and is hoping the lower priced parts will encourage adoption. AMD argues that the money saved could easily go towards more RAM or more storage (or simply be saved of course).

Screenshot (338).png

The company has announced that its first major design win is Big Red II supercomputer at Indiana University. Built by Cray, the Big Red II will feature 21,000+ Opteron 6300-series CPU cores paired with NVIDIA GPUs. It represents a massive increase in computing power over IU’s previous Big Red supercomputer with 4,100 CPU cores, and will be used for medical, physics, chemistry, and climate research. Beyond that, AMD has stated more that 30 hardware vendors are slated to introduce servers based on the new Piledriver-based Opteron processors including HP, Dell, Cray, SGI, Supermicro, Sugon, and (of course) SeaMicro. On the software side of things, AMD is working with Microsoft, VMware, Xen, Red Hat, and Openstack. The company also stated that it is leaning on the experience and knowledge gained from the HSA Foundation to improve software support and guide the future direction of Opteron development.

Screenshot (336).png

The Opteron 6300 series is an interesting release that brings several improvements to the company’s server chip offerings. At launch, there are 10 processors to choose from, ranging from the quad core 6308 clocked at 3.5GHz for $501 to the top-end 6386 SE with 16 cores (2.8GHz base, 3.5GHz max turbo) and a $1,392 price tag. The 6366HE is an interesting part as well. It is the same price as the 12-core, 115W TDP Opteron 6348, but its has 16 lower-clocked cores and an 85W TDP. With the non-HE edition processors with 16 cores starting at $703, the 6366HE for $575 is a decent deal if you need multi-threading more than a fewer number of higher clocked cores.

Another bit that I found intriguing is that in a few years, AMD will (likely, if all goes according to plan) be offering processors for just about every type of server. They will have low cost, low power ARM Cortex-A57 based chips, Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) well suited to mixed workloads including GPU-accelerated tasks, and CPU-only chips with lots of traditional x86-64 cores. It seems that Intel will continue to hold the high end on pure performance, but AMD and its SeaMicro server division have not given up competing in the server room by a long shot.

[

Further reading:

The Piledrive architecture and Vishera desktop CPU review and The future of AMD: Vishera and Beyond at PC Perspective.

Podcast #225 - Intel's New Low Priced 240GB SSD, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook, AMD ARM processors, and more!

Subject: General Tech | November 1, 2012 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: z77a-gd80, yoga 13, thunderbolt, podcast, pcper, msi, Lenovo, intel ssd, intel 335, Intel, Ideapad, asus, arm, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #225 - 11/01/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Intel's New Low Priced 240GB SSD, Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Convertible Ultrabook, AMD ARM processors, 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, Allyn Malventano, and Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:10:09

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:40 The Windows You Love is Gone
    2. 0:07:30 Intel SSD 335 Series 240GB Full Review - Intel's first 20nm SSD
    3. 0:15:30 MSI Z77A-GD80 with Thunderbolt Motherboard Review
    4. 0:20:20 Video Perspective: Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Windows 8 Ultrabook Preview
  2. 0:29:22 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:30:35 Corsair Announces new products
      1. Corsair Announces Vengeance MM200 and MM400 gaming mouse mats
      2. Corsair Announces Updated Hydro Series H60 and New Hydro Series H55
    2. 0:36:10 ASUS Launches Line of VivoBook Laptops Running Windows 8
      1. Asus Zenbook Refresh Introduces Several New Ultrabooks
    3. 0:42:05 How to Build a PC with Windows 8 - PC Perspective Live!
    4. 0:43:50 Microsoft Giving Away Free Media Center Keys For Windows 8
    5. 0:46:30 ASRock Launches Extreme6/TB4 Motherboard With Two Thunderbolt Ports
    6. 0:47:30 AMD Announces It Will Build 64-bit ARM Processors for Server Markets
    7. 0:53:15 Intel Wants To See 48-Core Processors In Future Smartphones
    8. 0:56:30 NZXT Unleashes the Kraken -- World's first all-in-one 140mm & 280mm liquid-cooler
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:00:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Symphony on Steam - Free Keys to Give Away!!
      2. Jeremy: Grab media centre, even if you don't plan on getting Win 8 yet
      3. Allyn: Start8 - for you Windows 8 users
      4. Chris: MechWarrior Online
  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!!

ECS Launches A970M-A Deluxe for AMD Processors

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 03:59 PM |
Tagged: vishera, phenom, motherboard, ECS, atx, amd, am3, a970m-a deluxe

Elitegroup Computer Systems is on a roll this week for launching motherboards supporting AMD processors. In addition to its mini ITX offerings, the company is launching the A970M-A Deluxe in it’s full gold-clad ATX form factor glory (heh). It offers up support for AMD’s latest FX and Phenom II series processors along with SATA III 6Gbps and USB 3.0 for speedy storage. Unfortunately, there is no PCI-E 3.0. Otherwise, this is a high end motherboard and has the feature set to match.

a970m-a-deluxe_430.jpg

In typical ECS fashion, the company has outfitted the board with gold colored heatsinks, EZ BIOS, solid capacitors, “Thor Ultra Protection,” a dust shield, and support for up to 140W TDP processors, among other features. The EZ BIOS is actually a uEFI BIOS that allows you to tweak settings using a graphical interface as well as automatic overclocking functionality that can overclock the AMD processor for you (to an extent).

Internal IO and board layout

a970m-a-deluxe_580_1.jpg

The board has several gold-colored heatsinks over the VRM and southbridge hardware. Along the top of the board lies the AM3+ CPU socket and four DDR3 DIMM slots. The board supports up to 2133 MHz memory when overclocked and up to 32 GB of RAM (when using 8GB DIMMs). Expansion slots include two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, and two legacy PCI slots. The lower-right corner features five SATA III 6Gbps ports – two of which are positioned at right angles to the board. Expansion headers include three fan headers, one COM header, and three USB 2.0 headers (up to 6 additional ports) are also included on the board.

a970m-a-deluxe_580_io.jpg

The rear panel IO includes:

  • 1 x PS/2 combo port
  • 1 x RJ45 port (Realtek 8111E Gigabit LAN Controller)
  • 1 x eSATA 6Gbps port
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports
  • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
  • 5 x Analog audio jacks (4 line out, 1 line in. Realtek ALC892 codec)
  • 1 x S/PDIF optical audio output

While we do not yet have US pricing, when converted from the stated RS 9,000 (according to Think Digit)to USD, the board is just under $170. No word yet on stateside availability. You can find more information on the ECS specifcations page.

Source: ECS

ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 Is Mini ITX Motherboard with AMD APU

Subject: Motherboards | October 31, 2012 - 11:21 AM |
Tagged: motherboard, mini-itx, hdc-12/e-350d2, ECS, e-350d, amd

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has launched a new motherboard and processor combination that pairs a mini-itx form factor board with an AMD E-350D Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Measuring 17cm x 17cm, the HDC-12/E-350D2 is similar to the Biostar product covered previously, except for feature set. The ECS model uses the cheaper A45 FCH chipset and does away with modern expansion ports such as PCI-E 3.0 and USB 3.0. While it is less capable, it is also less expensive that the other boards.

ECS Mini ITX Motherboard.jpg

The board has a bundled AMD E-350D APU with dual CPU cores and integrated HD 6130 graphics. The memory controller supports a maximum of 16GB of DDR3 RAM running at 1066MHz via two DIMM slots on the motherboard. The A45 chipset supports two SATA II 3 Gbps ports, and that is one area where the low cost nature (and associated compromises) of the A45 chipset hits home as the higher end boards have more ports and support for SATA III 6 Gbps. Aside from some fan headers and headers for USB ports, the only other expansion option is a single legacy PCI slot at the bottom of the board.

External IO options include:

  • 8 x USB 2.0
  • 1 x VGA
  • 1 x DVI
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 3 x analog audio jacks

The lack of an optical audio output is disappointing as well, but the board can be powered by a single 24 pix ATX cable – no 4 or 8 pin CPU power required. In the end it is a cheap base for a low power system. It would make a great router / firewall device with the addition of a PCI Ethernet NIC, for example. The only real downside would be wireless as you would need to use USB NICs to add that capability. This could also make for an entry level HTPC build as the APU is capable of hardware accelerating 1080p video.

Along with the HTPC vein, ECS is bundling coupons for free copies of Cyberlink's MediaEspresso 6.5 LE and MediaShow 5.1 LE transcoding and playback software with the motherboard.

The ECS HDC-12/E-350D2 will retail for a sub-$100 price, and should be available for purchase soon.

Read more about Mini ITX motherboards at PC Perspective.

Source: Softpedia

AMD Announces It Will Build 64-bit ARM Processors for Server Markets

Subject: Processors | October 29, 2012 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: processors, arm, amd, 64-bit

On a not very technically reliable webcast today, AMD has announced that it will produce 64-bit processors based on the ARM architecture and combine them with the "Freedom Fabric" they acquired with the purchase of SeaMicro.

amdarmlogos.jpg

In a move that is incredibly telling about the times we are in, but not really a surprise to those of us that follow the processor markets closely, AMD and ARM announced a partnership beyond previously discussed in public.  AMD will start production of ARM-based processors in 2014 and will be among the first to include 64-bit technology. 

The target for these processors will be the server market and AMD hopes to be at the forefront the often discussed ARM-in-the-server-world migration.  While that server opportunity size is debatable, with partners on stage like Facebook and RedHat, there is little doubt that it will have an affect on enterprise computing in the next 24 months.  AMD is hoping that its experience with the move to 64-bit technology in the x86 migration will aid them in development and migration in the ARM architecture world; one that is currently still limited to 32-bit. 

UPDATE: As being reported by Anand Shimpi this is in fact NOT an architecture license but is instead a processor license.  What does that mean?  AMD is not going to develop its own core (as Apple and NVIDIA do) but instead will fully integrate an upcoming 64-bit ARM core in new AMD products.

seamicro.jpg

Image source: EEBeat

SeaMicro's Freedom Fabric technology is another major angle that AMD has over other players in this field.  The fabric technology is meant to facilitate communication between multiple processors on a specialized bus, removing bottlenecks on the platform and network.  Dr. Lisa Su, SVP of Global Business at AMD, stated that simply connecting hundreds or thousands of ARM-based processors to each other isn't enough and moves the problem of computing management from the CPUs to the network itself.  Using Freedom Fabric, the AMD-based ARM processors would be able to much more efficiently communicate and thus maintain the promised power benefits of ARM servers.

AMD did state that they will continue to develop x86 processors going forward but you have to wonder about its dedication to that goal.  Working with ARM is a quick and easy way to get AMD into a growing market in the server world that Intel currently has no solutions for so it seems possible that this is simply a stop-gap until AMD can develop an x86-based solution.  It is hard to say for sure but for an organization in AMD's financial position, having options in multiple segments is certainly a good idea. 

seamicro2.jpg

What you won't see yet is AMD's graphics technology in the ARM-based processors announced today.  This isn't an "ARM APU" but instead is a combination of SeaMicro and ARM for a very specific server workload. 

We'll have more on this announcement if anything else interesting is divulged, but you can find the entire press release from AMD after the break!

Gigabyte thinks Trinity looks best in basic black

Subject: Motherboards | October 25, 2012 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: amd, gigabyte, F2A85X-UP4, socket fm2, trinity

Gigabyte's socket FM2 F2A58X-UP4 looks unique in that the colour scheme is a basic black and grey with none of the flashy colours common on today's motherboards.  All seven SATA ports and the eSATA are 6Gb/s so you don't have to worry about which ports to use, the three PCIe 16x slots can run at 8x/8x/1x when fully populated and with the half dozen USB 3.0 ports you end up with a lot of choices on a fairly inexpensive board.  [H]ard|OCP had fun when overclocking this board, a new chipset means new settings and tricks to learn in order to coax the most out of your processor, though the A10-5800K does top out fairly quickly regardless of the motherboard used.  Check out their full review here.

H_F2A85X.jpg

"GIGABYTE's F2A85X-UP4 brings AMD's "Trinity" APU to the desktop arena with a new chipset and a solid feature set at a nice price. But is that enough to make it compelling for enthusiasts?"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Podcast #224 - ASUS N66U Router, AMD FX 8350 and 6300 CPU, our Windows RT hands on, and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 25, 2012 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: windows rt, windows 8, vivotab rt, vishera, tegra, podcast, nvidia, n668, linus, fx 8350, fx 6300, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #224 - 10/25/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the ASUS N66U Router, AMD FX 8350 and 6300 CPU, our Windows RT hands on, 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, Allyn Malventano, and Linus Sebastian

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:30:18

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:00:50 Welcome our Guest: Linus Sebastian of Linus Tech Tips!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:07:50 ASUS RT-N66U Router and Adapters Roundup
    2. 0:13:15 AMD Never Settle 12.11 Driver Update
      1. The Never Settle Bundle is awesome too
    3. 0:25:50 AMD FX-8350 and FX-6300 Vishera CPU Review
  3. 0:36:20 This podcast is brought to you by MSI
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:37:15 A quick look at the data on Apple's Fusion Drive
    2. 0:46:30 AMD work force cut coming?
    3. 0:52:10 ASUS VivoTab RT Released
      1. Hands on time!
    4. 1:07:45 ASUS TAICHI as well - can this really become popular
    5. 1:08:45 Corsair Carbide 200R Launches
      1. LinusTech Video on it
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:06:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Lantronix xPrintServer
      2. Jeremy: Counter-electronics High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project
      3. Josh: Nice motherboard, now with new CPUS!
      4. Allyn: Media Player Classic - Home Cinema
      5. Linus: Fractal Design Define R4
  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!!

AMD and the intelligent design of gaming

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2012 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: never settle, gaming evolved, gaming, amd

We don't see much of Ruby anymore the AMD Gaming Evolved screen is becoming a common sight when launching a game, much the the competitions 'The Way It's Meant To Be Played' screen has been in the past.  The DiRT series has always been a showcase for AMD, new AAA games like Deus Ex HR and Sleeping Dogs now bear AMD not NVIDIA branding as will upcoming releases like FarCry 3 and Bioshock Infinite.  The Tech Report spoke to Peter Ross, the man behind the success of this program, as well as game developers at a meeting in Markham, Ontario where they discussed the benefits of Gaming Evolved for makers and buyers of games as well as the changes which have taken place at AMD recently.  Read on to learn about the future of this program as well as the incredible Never Settle card plus games bundle that AMD is offering right now.

AMDgame.jpg

"The number of games bearing the AMD Gaming Evolved logo seems to be growing exponentially. Why is that? We've traveled to AMD's offices and spoken to game developers in order to find out what's been happening behind the scenes."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk