Subject: Motherboards | April 22, 2014 - 01:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, asus, A88X, FM2+, A88X-PRO
When building a budget system for yourself or someone else that either does not need a powerful CPU or is better served with a powerful GPU then AMD is really the manufacturer you should be looking to. The ASUS A88X-Pro, for ~$125, could serve as a solid backbone for your system with a pair of PCIe 16x 3.0 ports along with a single 4x, a pair of 1x and even two legacy PCI slots for your older hardware. The storage system can support six SATA 6Gbps ports and an additional pair of eSATA along with a half dozen USB 3.0 ports and an impressive 10 USB 2.0 ports. As the board is intended for use with an APU it sports D-Sub, HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI-D out but for gaming you are best served picking up a discrete GPU. [H]ard|OCP found overclocking to be a bit challenging as not upping the voltage enough sometimes caused drive corruption but for those willing to put in the effort a speed of 4.5GHz @ 1.575v is certainly achievable. See the full performance review right here.
"It’s important to take a step back once in awhile and remember that not everyone can afford huge multi-GPU rigs and eight core CPUs. If you are in the market for a shiny new APU, you won’t want to miss our coverage of the ASUS A88X-Pro. This new FM2+ socket motherboard may not be the answer for you, but it could surely be a solution."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Motherboard Review @ Modders-Inc
- Gigabyte AM1M-S2H @ Phoronix
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper A88X Review @ Bjorn3D
- MSI A88X-G45 Gaming Motherboard Review @HiTech Legion
- Biostar Hi-Fi A88W 3D (AMD FM2+) @ techPowerUp
- ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition @ [H]ard|OCP
- MSI Z87M-GAMING Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- ASUS Maximus VI Impact LGA 1150 @ [H]ard|OCP
- ASRock Fatal1ty B85 Killer Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 22, 2014 - 01:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: catalyst 14.4, catalyst, amd
The latest available AMD Catalyst Windows and Linux drivers can be found here:
AMD Catalyst Windows: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx
AMD Catalyst Linux: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-linux-beta-driver.aspx
Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 14.4 Windows Driver
- Support for the AMD Radeon R9 295X
CrossFire fixes enhancements:
- Crysis 3 – frame pacing improvements
- Far Cry 3 – 3 and 4 GPU performance improvements at high quality settings, high resolution settings
- Anno 2070 – Improved CrossFire scaling up to 34%
- Titanfall – Resolved in game flickering with CrossFire enabled
- Metro Last Light – Improved Crossfire scaling up to 10%
- Eyefinity 3x1 (with three 4K panels) no longer cuts off portions of the application
- Stuttering has been improved in certain applications when selecting mid-Eyefinity resolutions with V-sync Enabled
Full support for OpenGL 4.4
Mantle beta driver improvements:
- BattleField 4: Performance slowdown is no longer seen when performing a task switch/Alt-tab
- BattleField 4: Fuzzy images when playing in rotated SLS resolution with an A10 Kaveri system
Highlights of AMD Catalyst™ 14.1 Linux Driver
- Support for the AMD Radeon R9 295X
- Ubuntu 12.04.4 support
- Full support for OpenGL 4.4
Resolved Issue highlights:
- Corruption and system hang observed while running Sanctuary BM with Tear Free Desktop enabled
- Memory leak about hardware context EGL create context error for glesx
- GPU hand in CrossFire Mode [Piglit]
- Test "spec/arb_vertex_array_object" failed [Piglit]
- Test "glx/GLX_EXT_import_context/free context" failed [Piglit]
- Test "spec/ARB_seamless_cube_map" failed Piglit]
- Test "texture swizzle with border color" failed
- Glxtest failures observed in log file Blank screen observed while running steam games with Big picture
- 4ms delay observed in the glxSwapBuffers when vsync is enabled
- RBDoom3BFG the game auto quit when use the security camera terminal
- ETQW segmentation fault
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 21, 2014 - 01:55 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: radeon, never settle forever, never settle, amd
AMD has been taking PC gaming very seriously, especially over the last couple of years. While they have a dominant presence in the console space, with only IBM in opposition, I believe that direct licensing revenue was not their main goal, rather that they hope to see benefits carry over to the PC and maybe mobile spaces, eventually. In the PC space, Never Settle launched as a very successful marketing campaign. While it had a stutter with the launch of the R9 (and R7) product lines, it is back and is still called, "Never Settle Forever".
Keeping with Forever's alteration to the Never Settle formula, the type of card that you purchase yields a Gold, Silver, or Bronze reward. Gold (the R9 280 and R9 290 series, and the R9 295X2) gets three free games in the Gold tier, Silver (R9 270 and R7 260 series) gets two in the Silver tier, and Bronze (R7 250 and R7 240 series) gets one free game in the Bronze tier. By and large, the tiers are the same as last time plus a few old games and one upcoming Square Enix release: Murdered: Soul Suspect. They have also made deals with certain independent developers, where two indie titles bundled together count as one choice.
The complete breakdown of games is as follows:
|Murdered: Soul Suspect (June 3, 2014)||Yes||Yes||No|
|Dungeon Siege III||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Company of Heroes 2||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Total War: Shogun 2||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Titan Quest (Gold Edition)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Supreme Commander (Gold Edition)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Deus Ex: Human Revolution||Yes||Yes||No|
|Just Cause 2||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Banner Saga + Mutant Blobs Attack (indie combo)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Guacamelee + DYAD (indie combo)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mutant Blobs Attack + DYAD (indie combo)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Banner Saga + DYAD (indie combo)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Mutant Blobs Attack + Guacamelee (indie combo)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Oddly enough, there does not seem to be a Banner Saga + Guacamelee combo...
... the only impossible combination.
AMD has also announced that Never Settle will continue for more "additions" in 2014. Which ones? Who knows. It is clear that they have a great working relationship with Square Enix Europe, including basically their last six major titles in Never Settle and keeping them there, but there is not really anything from them on the horizon (at least, not announced). AMD does sound confident in having other deals lined up this year, however.
Never Settle Forever graphics cards are available now "at participating retailers". Bundle codes can be redeemed any time between now and August 31st.
There is some regional variance in game availability, however. Read up before you purchase (especially if you live in Japan). You should be fine if you live in North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and Latin America, though, at least where AMD products are available. Still, it is a good idea to check.
AM1 Walks New Ground
After Josh's initial review of the AMD AM1 Platform and the Athlon 5350, we received a few requests to look at gaming performance with a discrete GPU installed. Even though this platform isn't being aimed at gamers looking to play demanding titles, we started to investigate this setup anyway.
While Josh liked the ASUS AM1I-A Mini ITX motherboard he used in his review, with only a x1 PCI-E slot it would be less than ideal for this situation.
Luckily we had the Gigabyte AM1M-S2H Micro ATX motherboard, which features a full length PCI-E x16 slot, as well as 2 x1 slots.
Don't be mistaken by the shape of the slot though, the AM1 chipset still only offers 4 lanes of PCI-Express 2.0. This, of course, means that the graphics card will not be running at full bandwidth. However, having the physical x16 slot makes it a lot easier to physically connect a discrete GPU, without having to worry about those ribbon cables that miners use.
Competition is a Great Thing
While doing some testing with the AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini APU to determine it's flexibility as a low cost gaming platform, we decided to run a handful of tests to measure something else that is getting a lot of attention right now: AMD Mantle and NVIDIA's 337.50 driver.
Earlier this week I posted a story that looked at performance scaling of NVIDIA's new 337.50 beta driver compared to the previous 335.23 WHQL. The goal was to assess the DX11 efficiency improvements that the company stated it had been working on and implemented into this latest beta driver offering. In the end, we found some instances where games scaled by as much as 35% and 26% but other cases where there was little to no gain with the new driver. We looked at both single GPU and multi-GPU scenarios on mostly high end CPU hardware though.
Earlier in April I posted an article looking at Mantle, AMD's answer to a lower level API that is unique to its ecosystem, and how it scaled on various pieces of hardware on Battlefield 4. This was the first major game to implement Mantle and it remains the biggest name in the field. While we definitely saw some improvements in gaming experiences with Mantle there was work to be done when it comes to multi-GPU scaling and frame pacing.
Both parties in this debate were showing promise but obviously both were far from perfect.
While we were benchmarking the new AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini based APU, an incredibly low cost processor that Josh reviewed in April, it made sense to test out both Mantle and NVIDIA's 337.50 driver in an interesting side by side.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 17, 2014 - 04:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nividia, gigabyte, asus, R9 290X, GeForce GTX 780 Ti, factory overclocked
In the green trunks is the ASUS GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC which [H]ard|OCP overclocked to the point they saw in game performance of 1211MHz GPU and 7.2GHz on the memory. In the red trunks we find Gigabyte's R9 290X 4GB OC weighing in at 1115MHz and 5.08GHz for the GPU and memory respectively. Both cards have been pushed beyond the factory overclock that they came with and will fight head to head in such events as Battling the Field, Raiding the Tomb and counting to three twice, once in a Crysis and again in a Far Cry from safety. Who will triumph? Will the battle be one sided or will the contenders trade top spot depending on the challenge? Get the full coverage at [H]ard|OCP!
"Today we look at the GIGABYTE R9 290X 4GB OC and ASUS GeForce GTX 780 Ti DirectCU II OC video cards. Each of these video cards features a custom cooling system, and a factory overclock. We will push the overclock farther and put these two video cards head-to-head for a high-end performance comparison."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- NVIDIA 337.50 Driver Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Athlon's R3 Graphics: RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst @ Phoronix
- ASUS Radeon R9 290 DirectCU II @ X-bit Labs
- HIS R7 260X iPower IceQ X² 2GB GDDR5 @ X-bit Labs
- Sapphire AMD Radeon R7 265 Dual-X 2GB @ eTeknix
- XFX Radeon R7 240 Core Edition Video Card Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Powercolor AMD Radeon R7 250X 1GB GDDR5 @ eTeknix
- Sapphire R7 250 Ultimate Passive 1GB GDDR5 @ eTeknix
- Sapphire R9 280X Vapor-X OC and R9 290 Vapor-X OC @ Kitguru
- Sapphire R9 280X VaporX Graphics Card Review @ Bjorn3D
- XFX R9 280 Double Dissipation Black Edition OC @ eTeknix
- GIGABYTE R9 290X OC WINDFORCE 3X @ Funky Kit
- XFX Radeon R9 290 CrossFire Video Card Review at 4K Ultra HD @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ Legion Hardware
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB @ eTeknix
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ Kitguru
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8GB Video Card Review at 4K Ultra HD @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 8 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 Performance Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD's Radeon R9 295 X2 @ The Tech Report
- AMD Radeon R9 295X2 @ [H]ard|OCP
Podcast #296 - NVIDIA's 337.50 Driver Improvements, Corsair H105, Intel Haswell Refresh details and more!
Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2014 - 02:58 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, nvidia, 337.50, corsair, H105, amd, Intel, haswell, devil's canyon
PC Perspective Podcast #296 - 04/17/2014
Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA's 337.50 Driver Improvements, Corsair H105, Intel Haswell Refresh details and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the 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 Malventano
Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2014 - 01:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, hsa, berlin, Opteron X-series, Red Hat
Next Wednesday we will get our first look at the HSA enabled Opteron X Series, otherwise known as Berlin. AMD will be unveiling the processor at the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco with an X2100 Opteron running on a Linux environment that is based on the Fedora Project. We have very recently had a chance to see the desktop equivalent, Kaveri, in action but this will be the first example of AMD's heterogeneous computing on a server. Keep your eyes peeled for our coverage, in the mean time you can get a preview at The Register.
"AMD will give the first public demo of its second-generation Opteron X-Series server processor, code-named "Berlin", at the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft reissues Windows 8.1 Update for enterprise customers @ The Register
- Learn How to Contribute to the Linux Kernel, Take the Eudyptula Challenge @ Linux.com
- Delays in OLED TV shipments impede growth of OLED material market, says DisplaySearch @ DigiTimes
- Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS @ The Register
- Steam vulnerability allows hackers to bypass security and swipe account data @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | April 16, 2014 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: steambox, amd, sempron, athlon, Kabini, SteamOS
A popular question that has arisen from the release of the four new low cost Kabini processors has been their effectiveness in powering a Steam Machine. Phoronix have just finished testing the new Athlon and Sempron chips, paired with several laptop IGPs using Catalyst Linux driver fglrx 13.35.5/OpenGL 4.3.12798 on Ubuntu 14.04. They tested Counter-Strike: Source, Half-Life 2: Lost Coast, and Portal at a variety of resolutions to see just how much performance these chips offer. None of the chips could offer acceptable performance at 1080p and only Portal was delivered at 60fps assuming you used 1024x768. They will be following this review with another that will pair discreet GPUs with Kabini which should increase gaming capabilities greatly.
"Earlier today the latest installment of our extensive Linux testing of AMD's new Athlon AM1 APUs were shared in the form of RadeonSI vs. Gallium3D benchmarks of the Radeon R3 Graphics found with these new entry-level APUs. Not included with that open-source vs. closed-source driver testing was any Source Engine / Steam Linux game testing due to an XCB DRI3 issue, but this article is devoted to looking at the Catalyst performance for the Sempron 2650, Sempron 3850, Athlon 5150, and Athlon 5350 to see whether any of these APUs can make the cut for a budget Steam Machine."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Lacie confesses to year-long data breach as hackers harvest customers' details @ The Inquirer
- Intel sees 'signs of improvement in the PC business' but earnings remain 'Meh...' @ The Register
- A scanner, darkly: Master data-miner Google tweaks terms of service @ The Register
- Nvidia's new CUDA 6 has the 'most significant new functionality in the history of CUDA' @ The Register
Subject: Processors | April 14, 2014 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Kabini, linux, Athlon 5350, Athlon 5150, Sempron 3850, Semprov 2650, amd, athlon, sempron
An easy way to trim the cost of a lower end system is to skip Windows and install Linux, along with picking a less expensive AMD chip to power your system. AMD has recently gifted us with new Kabini based Sempron and Athlon chips, the most expensive of which is available for less that $70. For testing Phoronix used Ubuntu 14.04, the 3.14 kernel and Mesa 10.2 along with the Radeon 7.3.99 driver. You will be glad to know that there were no compatibility problems with Linux whatsoever, all CPUs performed more or less as expected as you can see for yourself in the full review.
"It's been a busy past few days since AMD launched their "AM1" Socketed Kabini APUs. After the initial Athlon 5350 Linux review on launch-day, I did some tests involving a faster kernel and newer Mesa code along with some reference DDR3 memory scaling benchmarks for these APUs with Jaguar processor cores. Since then the Athlon 5150 and Sempron 3850/2650 APUs arrived."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD Athlon 5350 APU On Linux @ Phoronix
- AMD Athlon 5350 APU and AM1 Platform Review @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Athlon 5350 @ Kitguru
- AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 @ eTeknix
- AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini AM1 APU Review @ Modders-Inc
- The Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ Tech ARP