Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2012 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: radeon, diablo iii, catalyst 12.4, catalyst, amd

A recent forum entry from a Diablo III official agent informed gamers that if you were planning on playing Diablo III on the May 15th launch date, you had better not be using the Catalyst 12.4 drivers that were just released on April 25th.

d3cat12.4.png

While AMD still has about 9 days to respond to this issue, for a support rep from Blizzard to flat-out say that "12.4 isn't going to be supported for use in Diablo III" is indicative of a larger problem - can AMD's somewhat smaller driver team hope to keep up with NVIDIA's as we get set for another way of pretty major PC game releases? 

Quite a few users are taking up for AMD in the thread including Mortac that says:

I find this to be a very confusing answer. What are we to expect for the future? You say that Diablo III won't support 12.4, but what exactly do you mean by that? Are we to expect support for future drivers down the road, say a few weeks after release, or are you telling us that we'll never be able to update our drivers again for as long as we intend to play Diablo III? If the latter, then you guys really need to think that through again. People update their drivers for several reasons, and you cannot possibly expect everyone to swap drivers every time they play other games that might require the latest version.

How this issue will be resolved before May 15th will be of importance to quite a few PC gamers so let's hope both AMD and Blizzard can get their acts together.

Besides Blizzard's long awaited Diablo entry, PC gamers can look forward to Guild Wars 2, DiRT Showdown, Max Payne 3, a new Ghost Recon title, BF3: Close Quarters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite and many more in the coming months.  

UPDATE 2:22pm: An AMD representative has informed us that that bug referred to by the Blizzard forum support person in fact ONLY affects Radeon HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 users.  The 12.4 Catalyst software will work fine with 5000, 6000 and the new 7000 series of graphics cards apparently.  

Also, as Robert Hallock commented in our thread below:

d3cat12.4part2.png

Source: Battle.net

Podcast #200!!! - GTX 690, Intel 910 Series PCI-E SSD, our Podcast Life in Review, and much more!

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 04:53 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, intel., amd, 910, 690, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #200!!! - 05/03/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the GTX 690, Intel 910 Series PCI-E SSD, our Podcast Life in Review, and much 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, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:23:52

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. PC Perspective Live Review - GTX 690
    1. http://pcper.com/live
    2. http://www.pcper.com/news/Editorial/Questions-GTX-690-Live-Review-Win-NVIDIA-Crowbar
  6. Podcast Life in Review
    1. #1 - 5/3/2007 - NV 8800 Ultra
    2. #10 - 8/14/2007 - AMD takes wraps off 3.2GHz Athlon 64 X2 6400+ Black Edition 
    3. #46 - 2/4/2009 - NVIDIA ION
    4. #50 - 3/26/2009 - Bigfoot new Gaming Card, Original from 2006!!
    5. #75 - 9/24/2009 - HD 5870 Launch
    6. #100 - 4/7/2010 - VRaptor 600GB
    7. #150 - 4/13/2011 - HD 6000 mid-range rumors
  7. Intel SSD 910 Series 800GB PCIe SSD First Look
  8. Dying Atoms: The Failure Of Low-Power x86 Processors
  9. SilverStone Nightjar ST50NF 500W Fanless Power Supply Review
  10. ASUS P8Z77-V Premium motherboard announced.
  11. Custom Gaming PC Being Auctioned Off For Charity Doing Multiple Sclerosis Research
  12. NVIDIA Announces dual-GPU Kepler GeForce GTX 690
  13. NVIDIA Announces GeForce Experience Cloud Service for Quality Presets
  14. NVIDIA Crates the GeForce GTX 690
  15. Cheaper GTX 670 GPU Spotted At Malaysian Retailer
  16. Moore's Law End in Sight
  17. Trinity Slides Leaked
  18. HWLB Update
  19. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: LogmeIn Ignition - good and bad
    2. Jeremy: $60 3 LCD stand
    3. Josh:  Apparently quite CPU intensive. SRS gamers only!
    4. Allyn:  Mini SAS SFF-8087 to 4x 2.5in SATA/SAS 5.25in Hot Swap Backplane.
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing

May it truly be the end of our graphics card drought

Subject: General Tech | May 3, 2012 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: NVIDA, amd, graphics card, TSMC, 28nm, kepler, southern islands, gtx690, gtx680, gtx670, gtx610

Enthusiasts were offered a bit of hope this morning with news from DigiTimes that more capacity at TSMC will be available for AMD and NVIDIA which would mean more dies being made and hopefully a larger supply of GPUs.  Since TSMC seems to have finished playing with their Cortex A9 process, there is a good possibility that the GTX680 and perhaps even the GTX690 will become common enough that the great unwashed actually have a chance to purchase one.  We can also hope that it will give NVIDIA a chance to build up stocks of the GTX670 and 610 which are due out at the end of the month and June, respectively.  Unfortunately, if a certain site is correct that may not be the case as NVIDIA will be redoing their mask and not be able to take advantage of the extra capacity TSMC could make available for them.  Perhaps if this scenario is true AMD will be able to leverage TSMC to flood the market with Southern Island GPUs and hope to win the availability war as the performance crown is firmly on NVIDIA's head in this generation of GPUs.

happydance.png

"AMD and Nvidia, impacted by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) fully-booked capacity, had rather weak shipment performance in the first quarter; however, as more capacity will be gradually released by TSMC, shortages of 28nm graphics cards are expected to improve in late May, according to sources from graphics card makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

Podcast #199 - Ivy Bridge Desktop and Mobile reviews, Intel and AMD Earnings, and a Gold Motherboard

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2012 - 04:59 PM |
Tagged: Z77, podcast, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, amd, 3770k

PC Perspective Podcast #199 - 04/26/2012

Join us this week as we talk about Ivy Bridge Desktop and Mobile reviews, Intel and AMD Earnings, and a Gold Motherboard

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, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:06:54

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge LGA1155 Processor Review
  6. Intel Core i7-3720QM - Ivy Bridge For Mobile Review: Monster Kill!
  7. NVIDIA continues to tease, sends us a crowbar
  8. ASUS Demonstrates Z77 Motherboard Features at PC Perspective
  9. ASUS Overclocks Ivy Bridge To 7 GHz, Breaks World Records
  10. Intel Announces Q1 2012 Earnings: Not a Record, but Close
  11. AMD Q1 2012 Earnings Analysis: Looking Back and Looking Forward
  12. New mLink PCI-E to Thunderbolt Enclosure Shown Off at NAB 2012
  13. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: ECS GOLDEN BOARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2. Jeremy: 25GB free on Microsoft SkyDrive
    3. Josh: I like this case. Not exactly affordable, but still really nice.
    4. Allyn: Is it a pen or is it a pencil?
  14. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  15. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  16. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  17. Closing

Source:
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: AMD

Get Out the Microscope

AMD announced their Q1 2012 earnings last week, which turned out better than the previous numbers suggested. The bad news is that they posted a net loss of $590 million. That does sound pretty bad considering that their gross revenue was $1.59 billion, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Of course, there are thoughts of “those spendthrift executives are burying AMD again”, but this is not the case. The loss lays squarely on the GLOBALFOUNDRIES equity and wafer agreements that have totally been retooled.

500px-AMD_Logo.svg_.png

To get a good idea of where AMD stands in Q1, and for the rest of this year, we need to see how all these numbers actually get sorted out. Gross revenue is down 6% from the quarter before, which is expected due to seasonal pressures. This is right in line with Intel’s seasonal downturn, and in ways AMD was affected slightly less than their larger competitor. They are down around 2% from last year’s quarter, and part of that can be attributed to the continuing hard drive shortage that continued to affect the previous quarter.

The biggest news of the quarter was that AMD is no longer constrained by 32 nm availability. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was able to produce as many 32 nm parts for AMD as needed with yields continuously improving over the past two quarters. AMD seems very comfortable about where they are at in terms of yields and availability for both Bulldozer and Llano based product lines. AMD has in fact been ramping production of the upcoming Trinity based processor and has been shipping finished products to customers since mid Q1. They have also started shipping Brazos 2.0 parts to customers, and both Trinity and Brazos will be launched in mid Q2 of this year.
 
The CPU/APU World According to AMD
 
The mobile area has been one of tremendous growth for AMD and Q1 saw 100% of all mobile shipments be APU products (both Llano and Brazos 1.0). AMD is very bullish about Trinity. They say that it offers around 50% more performance at the same TDP as the earlier Llano based processors. This 50% is a combination of both CPU and GPU performance, so do not expect massive jumps in CPU performance alone from current Llano based products at those TDPs. The big jump does appear to be in graphics, and AMD is certainly more than willing to hang their hat on that portion. With the latest Ivy Bridge IGPs still not able to match last year’s Llano, AMD feels that Trinity will truly leave Intel behind in terms of overall graphics performance. Trinity features a totally redesigned graphics portion which combines the VLIW4 architecture of the HD 6900 series with aspects of the new 7000 series of products.
 

AMD Catalyst Software Suite Version 12.4

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 25, 2012 - 05:51 PM |
Tagged: catalyst 12.4, catalyst, amd

The newest version of AMD's Catalyst Control Centre is here just in time for the end of the month.  Some of the highlights of this driver can be seen below, the rest of the release notes can be found here.

Grab your new driver from AMD's page.

 

amdgame.jpg

Windows XP support for the AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series

In addition to Windows 7 and Windows Vista support, Catalyst 12.4 now also introduces Windows XP (64-bit/32-bit) support for the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series
Super Sampling Anti-Aliasing: Level of Detail (LOD) Image Quality enhancements
Supported on the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series

LOD Image quality enhancements have been improved when enabling Super Sample Anti-Aliasing and Adaptive Anti-Aliasing through the AMD Catalyst™ Control Center for DirectX® 10 and DirectX® 11 applications. Applications must support in game Anti-Aliasing for the feature to work (Forced on Anti-Aliasing through the Catalyst Control Center is not supported for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications)

Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA): Significant performance enhancements Supported on the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series, AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series, and AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series MLAA now operates up to 80% faster than previous versions Texture filtering quality improvements.

Supported on the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series Improvements have been made to the texture filtering algorithm (for both DirectX9 and DirectX10/DirectX11 applications) to increase the quality of rendered textures, with no impact to performance

RESOLVED ISSUES
Resolved Issues for the Windows 7 Operating System
This section provides information on resolved known issues in this release of the AMD Catalyst 12.4 software suite for Windows 7. These include:

  • Elder Scrolls: Skyrim: no longer hangs on single GPU configurations when used with AMD Catalyst 12.3 CAP1 and later CAP releases Elder Scolls: Skyrim: flickering square corruption is no longer observed.
  • Rage: Vsync is no longer disabled after task switching.
  • Enemy Territory: Quake Wars: no longer crashes when launched in High Performance Mode.
  • Stalker – Call of Pripyat: flickering is no longer observed in trees with specific Catalyst Control Center settings.
  • Tom Clancy HAWX 2: no longer crashes on game launch. Windows Media Center: no longer crashes when run in Eyefinity mode and High Performance mode settings.
  • AMD Steady Video: an error message is no longer displayed when enabling AMD Steady Video for the Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.0 plugin.
  • Duplicating displays no longer generates random corruption. Tearing is no longer observed on the third screen in 3x1 and 1x3 Eyefinity configurations.
  • A system crash is no longer experienced when enabling Crossfire in a 4 display configuration.
  • The advanced video quality settings are now correctly displayed in the Catalyst Control Center.
Source: AMD

Intel Announces Q1 2012 Earnings: Not a Record, but Close

Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: trinity, Q1, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, atom, arm, amd, 2012

Guess what? Intel made money. A lot of money. This is not surprising. The results were not record breaking, but they did beat expectations. Intel had a gross revenue of $12.9 billion for the quarter, with a net income of $2.7 billion. Gross margins decreased (slightly) to 64%, but the reasons for this are pretty logical as we discover down below. Compared to Q4 2011, results are still significantly down, but this is again expected due to seasonal downturns. In Q4 they had $13.9 billion in gross revenue and $3.4 billion in net income with a gross margin of 64.5%.

 
Currently Intel is showing inventory at near historic lows, and this is due to a variety of factors. The PC market has been growing slower than expected due to the hard drive shortage that started last fall. Intel has adjusted manufacturing downward to account for this, and has worked to ramp 22 nm products faster by cutting back 32n production and converting those 32 nm lines. Intel is very aggressive with Ivy Bridge, and it expects 25% of all shipments in Q2 to be 22nm products. This is probably the fastest and most aggressive ramp that Intel has ever done, and it will continue to put AMD in a hole with their 32 nm production.
 
intel_logo.jpg
 
The second half of the year should see some significant growth on the PC side. The primary push will be the release of Windows 8 from Microsoft. This, combined with the near complete recovery of hard drive production, should push PC growth the record levels. Ultrabooks are an area that Intel is spending a lot of money to promote and develop with their partners. There are some 26 Ultrabook designs on record so far, and Intel expects this number to rise rapidly. The big push is to decline the overall price of Ultrabooks, as well as enabling touch functionality for a more affordable price. While not mentioned during the conference call, AMD is also pushing for ultra-thin notebooks, and once Trinity enabled products hit the street, we can expect a much more aggressive price war to be waged on these products.
 
Smart phones are another area that Intel is actively trying to expand into. This past quarter we saw the introduction of the Orange, Lava, and Lenovo phones based on the Medfield platform. So far these have been fairly well received by users and media alike, though the products have certainly had some teething issues. Intel still has a lot of work to do, but they finally realize the importance of this market. Intel expects that there will be 450 million smart phones shipped in 2012 (from all manufacturers), and that it is expected to grow up to 1 billion shipped a year by 2015/2016 (if not sooner). Intel wants to get into those phones, and is adjusting their Atom strategy to fit it. While in previous years Atom lagged behind other processor development from Intel, they are pushing it to the forefront. We can expect to see Atom based products being manufactured on 22 nm, and then aggressively pushed to 14 nm when that process node is available. Intel feels that they have a significant advantage in process technology that will directly impact their success in achieving higher rates of utilization across product lines in the mobile sector. If Intel can offer an Atom with similar performance and capabilities, tied with a significantly lower TDP, then they feel that a lot of phone manufacturers will look their way rather than use older/larger/more power hungry products from competitors.
 
Finally, Intel essentially has little interest in becoming a foundry for other partners. They are currently working with a handful of other countries to produce products for them, but I think that this might be a short term affair. Intel will either stay with a few partners to produce a low quantity of parts, or Intel will learn what they have to about producing products like FPGAs and eventually start producing chips of their own. When Intel fabs their own parts, they essentially get paid twice as compared to foundries or 3rd party semiconductor companies.
 
Intel continues to be profitable and successful. Ivy Bridge is going to be a very big product for Intel, and they are going to push it very hard through the rest of this year. Mobile strategies are coming to fruition and we see Intel getting their foot in the door with some major partners around the world. Servers, desktops, and notebook chips still comprise the vast majority of products that Intel ships, but mobile will become a much stronger player in the years to come. That is if Intel is able to execute effectively with accelerated Atom development on smaller process nodes. ARM is still a very worthy competitor, and a seemingly re-invigorated AMD could provide some better competition with Trinity and Brazos 2.0 in the notebook/tablet market.
 
Margins will be down next quarter due to the aggressive 22 nm ramp. With any new process there will be problems and certain inefficiencies at the beginning. As time passes, these issues will be resolved and throughput and yields will rise. Intel does expect a larger PC growth through the next quarter and a higher gross revenue. It will be interesting to see if Ultrabooks do in fact take off for Intel, or will competitors offer better price/performance for that particular market. Needless to say, things will not slow down through the rest of this year.
Source: Intel

Podcast #198 - Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, Galaxy GTX 680, Intel PCIe SSD and more!

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2012 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, pcie, nvidia, maingear, Intel, amd, 910, 7970, 680

PC Perspective Podcast #198 - 04/19/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a Maingear Shift with 3x7970s, a Galaxy GTX 680, an Intel PCIe SSD 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, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:15:40

Program Schedule:

  1. Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. MAINGEAR Shift System Review - Triple HD 7970s and Sandy Bridge-E
  6. Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Review - 10K RPM Hits a Larger Capacity
  7. Galaxy GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review
  8. This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. Intel Releases 910 Series Enterprise PCIe SSD
  10. Valve, tired of rumors, announces wearable computing
  11. AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games
  12. Intel Announces Intel Solid-State Drive 330 Series
  13. PC Perspective Live Review Recap: ASUS Z77 Motherboards
  14. New Fusion ioFX Will Accelerate Professional Workloads
  15. Microsoft Details Four Windows 8 SKUs, Seems Reasonable
  16. The never ending story of TSMC's 28nm process
  17. NVIDIA Teases Another Graphics Card
  18. Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Linksys power line networking...sucks.
    2. Jeremy: Something to do with that old walkman you haven't thrown out
    3. Josh: Finally! Down in price!
    4. Allyn: Stable Internet
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Source:

AMD Three for Free promo: HD 7900 Price drop & free games

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 16, 2012 - 12:25 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, price cut, amd

AMD, for a limited time and while supplies last, will bundle three games with the purchase of a Radeon HD 7900 Series graphics card. The qualifying cards, the Radeon HD 7950 (now $399) and 7970 (now $479), will be bundled with DiRT Showdown, Nexuiz, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with The Missing Link DLC.

Getting a game bundled with your GPU is not the most unheard-of practice, but could still be a good deal regardless. Bundling three high-profile games and an expansion DLC for one of them is very likely to be a good deal however you look at it.

AMD will soon launch their “Three for Free” promotion for qualifying Radeon HD 7950 and 7970 video cards from participating resellers. With this program, AMD will throw in DiRT Showdown, Nexuiz, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution with The Missing Link DLC with their video card.

AMDThreeForFree.png

AMD’s throwing DiRT in a Showdown?

The selection of games is quite impressive but they only serve as BBQ sauce for the promotion: the HD 7000 series are receiving price cuts.

AMD is lowering the price of the Radeon HD 7970 to $479 and the HD 7950 to $399 along with the three-and-a-bit free games. Also cut in price, although not qualifying for the free games, is the Radeon HD7770 which loses $20 off of its price tag with an expected price of $139. Check out Ryan’s review for the performance of that card.

You can keep a lookout for these updated prices here on Newegg.com!

Source: PCPer

Price Cuts on AMD Radeon 7900 Series GPUs Coming Soon

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 13, 2012 - 09:31 PM |
Tagged: price cut, nvidia gtx 680, gpu, amd, 7970

We reviewed the AMD Radeon 7970 3GB GPU back in december (you can read that here), and then the NVIDIA GTX 680 was released and became king of the single GPU hill. And while I was hoping for price cuts in the 7900 series as a result, there were none to report.

According to LegitReviews, who questioned sources within AMD, consumers may be seeing cheaper 7900 series cards next week. Starting Monday, April 16th 2012, AMD will be cutting prices for the suggested retail prices (MSRP) of the cards. Specifically, the 7970 will be getting a price cut of $50 USD and the 7950 will get a $40 lower MSRP.

AMD Radeon 7970 3GB Graphics Card_PCPERdotCom.jpg

Although AMD has a slower single card on their hands, the scarcity of NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and decent performance of the 7970 means that price cuts aren't going to be a much as I was personally hoping for. Even more, retailers may further murk up the situation by not reducing prices as much as the full MSRP reduction due to GTX 680s being sold out. Also, there is no word on whether the 7800 series will also be getting price cuts. In the end though, at least you won't have to spend as much of your tax refund on a new GPU if you've been eyeing the 7900 series (heh) even if it's not as much as you were hoping for.