Say it ain't so AMD; Polaris may not shine at Computex?

Subject: General Tech | May 12, 2016 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: rumour, Polaris, computex, amd

There is a rumour floating around this morning and it is not good.  Guru of 3D translated a story over at Nordic Hardware which suggests AMD has stated they will not have any new working cards to show at Computex.  The only Polaris hardware they will have ready will be equivalent to the current R9 390 and 390X, albeit at a lower price point.  The rumoured problem is that the new flagship cards simply won't hit 850 MHz reliably, which in turn means high end GPUs are right out. 

This had better not be true or AMD may find themselves shoeless and GPU enthusiasts will be as disappointed as White Sox fans back in 1919, albeit for different reasons.  Those in the NVIDIA camp would do well to remember this has an effect on them as well; why would NVIDIA lower the price on those shiny new 1080's or 1070's when there is nothing in the market to compete with them? 

This is a rumour from an anonymous source at an AMD partner, so be sure to take it with a grain of salt and hope that it is completely unsubstantiated; or that a silicon-based miracle happens in the coming months if there is some substance to this.

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"Okay before I start on this news-item, I really need to state that this is based on a vague rumor, nothing has been confirmed or denied otherwise. Here's the story, some reports say Polaris 10 can't hit 850 MHz reliably and that availability will be pushed back to October. I sincerely hope the rumor is not true."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Guru of 3D

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.5.2 Beta

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 11, 2016 - 11:53 PM |
Tagged: amd, crimson, graphics drivers

For the second time this month, hence the version number, AMD has released a driver to coincide with a major game release. This one is for DOOM, which will be available on Friday. Like the previous driver, which was aligned with Forza, it has not been WHQL-certified. That's okay, though. NVIDIA's Game Ready drivers didn't strive for WHQL certification until just recently, and, even then, WHQL certification doesn't mean what it used to.

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But yeah, apart from game-specific optimizations for DOOM, 16.5.2 has a few extra reasons to be used. If you play Battleborn, which launched on May 3rd, then AMD has added a new CrossFire profile for that game. They have also fixed at least eleven issues (plus however many undocumented ones). It comes with ten known issues, but none of them seem particularly troubling. It seems to be mostly CrossFire-related issues.

You can pick up the driver at AMD's website.

Source: AMD

EKWB Releases AMD Radeon Pro Duo Full-Cover Water Block

Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | May 10, 2016 - 08:55 AM |
Tagged: water cooling, radeon pro duo, radeon, pro duo, liquid cooling, graphics cards, gpu cooler, gpu, EKWB, amd

While AMD's latest dual-GPU powerhouse comes with a rather beefy-looking liquid cooling system out of the box, the team at EK Water Blocks have nonetheless created their own full-cover block for the Pro Duo, which is now available in a pair of versions.

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"Radeon™ has done it again by creating the fastest gaming card in the world. Improving over the Radeon™ R9 295 X2, the Radeon Pro Duo card is faster and uses the 3rd generation GCN architecture featuring asynchronous shaders enables the latest DirectX™ 12 and Vulkan™ titles to deliver amazing 4K and VR gaming experiences. And now EK Water Blocks made sure, the owners can get the best possible liquid cooling solution for the card as well!"

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Nickel version (top), Acetal+Nickel version (bottom)

The blocks include a single-slot I/O bracket, which will allow the Pro Duo to fit in many more systems (and allow even more of them to be installed per motherboard!).

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"EK-FC Radeon Pro Duo water block features EK unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine with a micro fin design for best possible cooling performance of both GPU cores. The block design also allows flawless operation with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance, allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.

The base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of quality POM Acetal or acrylic (depending on the variant). Screw-in brass standoffs are pre-installed and allow for safe installation procedure."

Suggested pricing is set at 155.95€ for the blocks (approx. $177 US), and they are "readily available for purchase through EK Webshop and Partner Reseller Network".

Source: EKWB

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.5.1 Beta

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 9, 2016 - 02:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers, crimson

This is good to see. AMD has released Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.5.1 to align with Forza Motorsport 6: Apex. The drivers are classified as Beta, and so is the game, coincidentally, which means 16.5.1 is not WHQL-certified. That doesn't have the weight that it used to, though. Its only listed feature is performance improvements with that title, especially for the R9 Fury X graphics card. Game-specific optimizations near launch appear to be getting consistent, and that was an area that AMD really needed to improve upon, historically.

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There are a handful of known issues, but they don't seem particularly concerning. The AMD Gaming Evolved overlay may crash in some titles, and The Witcher 3 may flicker in Crossfire, both of which could be annoying if they affect a game that you have been focusing on, but that's about it. There might be other issues (and improvements) that are not listed in the notes, but that's all I have to work on at the moment.

If you're interested in Forza 6: Apex, check out AMD's download page.

Source: AMD

Podcast #398 - AMD Radeon Pro Duo Review, Godavari Refresh, ECS Z170-Claymore, ICY DOCK hot-swappable SSDs, and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 5, 2016 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: Z170, video, radeon pro duo, podcast, nvidia, nfme, microsoft, icy dock, Hot swap, GTX 1080, Godavari, freesync, ECS, Claymore, Antec P9, amd, a8-7670k, A10-7860K

PC Perspective Podcast #398 - 05/05/2016

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD Radeon Pro Duo Review, Godavari Refresh, ECS Z170-Claymore, ICY DOCK hot-swappable SSDs, 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!

This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!

Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath

Program length: 1:29:10

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Microsoft - “Pray I don't alter it any further
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Lower Power, Same Performance

AMD is in a strange position in that there is a lot of excitement about their upcoming Zen architecture, but we are still many months away from that introduction.  AMD obviously needs to keep the dollars flowing in, and part of that means that we get refreshes now and then of current products.  The “Kaveri” products that have been powering the latest APUs from AMD have received one of those refreshes.  AMD has done some redesigning of the chip and tweaked the process technology used to manufacture them.  The resulting product is the “Godavari” refresh that offers slightly higher clockspeeds as well as better overall power efficiency as compared to the previous “Kaveri” products.

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One of the first refreshes was the A8-7670K that hit the ground in November of 2015.  This is a slightly cut down part that features 6 GPU compute units vs. the 8 that a fully enabled Godavari chip has.  This continues to be a FM2+ based chip with a 95 watt TDP.  The clockspeed of this part goes from 3.6 GHz to 3.9 GHz.  The GPU portion runs at the same 757 MHz that the original A10-7850K ran at.  It is interesting to note that it is still a 95 watt TDP part with essentially the same clockspeeds as the 7850K, but with two fewer GPU compute units.

The other product being covered here is a bit more interesting.  The A10-7860K looks to be a larger improvement from the previous 7850K in terms of power and performance.  It shares the same CPU clockspeed range as the 7850K (3.6 GHz to 3.9 GHz), but improves upon the GPU clockspeed by hitting around 800 MHz.  At first this seems underwhelming until we realize that AMD has lowered the TDP from 95 watts down to 65 watts.  Less power consumed and less heat produced for the same performance from the CPU side and improved performance from the GPU seems like a nice advance.

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AMD continues to utilize GLOBALFOUNDRIES 28 nm Bulk/HKMG process for their latest APUs and will continue to do so until Zen is released late this year.  This is not the same 28 nm process that we were introduced to over four years ago.  Over that time improvements have been made to improve yields and bins, as well as optimize power and clockspeed.  GF also can adjust the process on a per batch basis to improve certain aspects of a design (higher speed, more leakage, lower power, etc.).  They cannot produce miracles though.  Do not expect 22 nm FinFET performance or density with these latest AMD products.  Those kinds of improvements will show up with Samsung/GF’s 14nm LPP and TSMC’s 16nm FF+ lines.  While AMD will be introducing GPUs on 14nm LPP this summer, the Zen launch in late 2016 will be the first AMD CPU to utilize that advanced process.

Click here to read the entire AMD A10-7860K and A10-7670K Review!

AMD adds panel types and frequency ranges to their FreeSync page

Subject: Displays | May 2, 2016 - 05:53 PM |
Tagged: freesync, amd, about damn time

Better late than never, our friend Robert Hallock has informed the world that AMD has updated their FreeSync display list with response ranges and panel types.  Having the physical size of the display, the resolution and the accepted inputs are necessary but this update offers a much better look at the displays you will be getting.  If you are unwilling to give up the colour reproduction of a IPS panel for the speed of an TN this is invaluable to you, as is pointing out the few VA based monitors.

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Listing the top and bottom frequencies of the variable refresh displays is arguably even more important.  We now know that currently only the Acer XR341CK and BX340CK, the Nixeus NX-VUE24 and the Viewsonic XG2701 are capable of dropping to 30Hz and that a total of 17 models can reach 144Hz.  Check out the list for the available 4K displays as well as regular 1440p and ultra-wide 1440p displays in the list and refer back to it regularly as there are a few monitors awaiting final specifications and more coming out in the near future.

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Source: AMD

AMD Announces Joint Venture with NFME

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2016 - 12:33 AM |
Tagged: SoC, nfme, gpu, cpu, amd

Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics Co., Ltd. (NFME) is a Chinese company that packages and tests integrated circuits. Recently, AMD has been working with China to reach that large market, especially given their ongoing cash concerns. This time, AMD sold 85% of its stake in two locations, AMD Penang, Malaysia and AMD Suzhou, Jiangsu, China, to NFME and formed a joint venture with them, called TF-AMD Microelectronics Sdn Bhd.

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I see two interesting aspects to this story.

First, AMD gets about $320 million USD in this transaction, after taxes and fees, and it also retains 15% of this venture. I am curious whether this will lead to a long-term source of income for AMD, even though the press release claims that this structure will be “cost neutral”. Either way, clearing a third of a billion dollars should help AMD to some extent. That equates to about two-to-three quarters of net-loss for the company, so it gives them about six-to-nine extra months of life on its own. That's not too bad if the transaction doesn't have any lasting consequences.

Second, NFME now has access to some interesting packaging and testing technologies. NFME's website claims that this allows them to handle dies up to 800mm2, substrates with up to 18 layers, and package sizes up to 75mm. These specifications sound like it pulls from their GPU experience, which could bring all of that effort and knowledge to completely different fields.

The press release states that 1,700 employees will be moved from AMD to this venture. They do not state whether any jobs are affected over and above this amount, though.

This is your AMD APU. This is your AMD APU on DX12; any questions?

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 29, 2016 - 07:09 PM |
Tagged: amd, dx12, async shaders

Earlier in the month [H]ard|OCP investigated the performance scaling that Intel processors display in DX12, now they have finished their tests on AMD processors.  These tests include Async computing information, so be warned before venturing forth into the comments.  [H] tested an FX 8370 at 2GHz and 4.3GHz to see what effect this had on the games, the 3GHz tests did not add any value and were dropped in favour of these two turbo frequencies.  There are some rather interesting results and discussion, drop by for the details.

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"One thing that has been on our minds about the new DX12 API is its ability to distribute workloads better on the CPU side. Now that we finally have a couple of new DX12 games that have been released to test, we spend a bit of time getting to bottom of what DX12 might be able to do for you. And a couple sentences on Async Compute."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

History and Specifications

The Radeon Pro Duo had an interesting history. Originally shown as an unbranded, dual-GPU PCB during E3 2015, which took place last June, AMD touted it as the ultimate graphics card for both gamers and professionals. At that time, the company thought that an October launch was feasible, but that clearly didn’t work out. When pressed for information in the Oct/Nov timeframe, AMD said that they had delayed the product into Q2 2016 to better correlate with the launch of the VR systems from Oculus and HTC/Valve.

During a GDC press event in March, AMD finally unveiled the Radeon Pro Duo brand, but they were also walking back on the idea of the dual-Fiji beast being aimed at the gaming crowd, even partially. Instead, the company talked up the benefits for game developers and content creators, such as its 8192 stream processors for offline rendering, or even to aid game devs in the implementation and improvement of multi-GPU for upcoming games.

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Anyone that pays attention to the graphics card market can see why AMD would make the positional shift with the Radeon Pro Duo. The Fiji architecture is on the way out, with Polaris due out in June by AMD’s own proclamation. At $1500, the Radeon Pro Duo will be a stark contrast to the prices of the Polaris GPUs this summer, and it is well above any NVIDIA-priced part in the GeForce line. And, though CrossFire has made drastic improvements over the last several years thanks to new testing techniques, the ecosystem for multi-GPU is going through a major shift with both DX12 and VR bearing down on it.

So yes, the Radeon Pro Duo has both RADEON and PRO right there in the name. What’s a respectable PC Perspective graphics reviewer supposed to do with a card like that if it finds its way into your office? Test it of course! I’ll take a look at a handful of recent games as well as a new feature that AMD has integrated with 3DS Max called FireRender to showcase some of the professional chops of the new card.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon Pro Duo!!