Straddling the R7 and R9 designation
It is often said that the sub-$200 graphics card market is crowded. It will get even more so over the next 7 days. Today AMD is announcing a new entry into this field, the Radeon R7 265, which seems to straddle the line between their R7 and R9 brands. The product is much closer in its specifications to the R9 270 than it is the R7 260X. As you'll see below, it is built on a very familiar GPU architecture.
AMD claims that the new R7 265 brings a 25% increase in performance to the R7 line of graphics cards. In my testing, this does turn out to be true and also puts it dangerously close to the R9 270 card released late last year. Much like we saw with the R9 290 compared to the R9 290X, the less expensive but similarly performing card might make the higher end model a less attractive option.
Let's take a quick look at the specifications of the new R7 265.
Based on the Pitcairn GPU, a part that made its debut with the Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850 in early 2012, this card has 1024 stream processors running at 925 MHz equating to 1.89 TFLOPS of total peak compute power. Unlike the other R7 cards, the R7 265 has a 256-bit memory bus and will come with 2GB of GDDR5 memory running at 5.6 GHz. The card requires a single 6-pin power connection but has a peak TDP of 150 watts - pretty much the maximum of the PCI Express bus and one power connector. And yes, the R7 265 supports DX 11.2, OpenGL 4.3, and Mantle, just like the rest of the AMD R7/R9 lineup. It does NOT support TrueAudio and the new CrossFire DMA units.
|Radeon R9 270X||Radeon R9 270||Radeon R7 265||Radeon R7 260X||Radeon R7 260|
|GPU Code name||Pitcairn||Pitcairn||Pitcairn||Bonaire||Bonaire|
|Rated Clock||1050 MHz||925 MHz||925 MHz||1100 MHz||1000 MHz|
|Memory Clock||5600 MHz||5600 MHz||5600 MHz||6500 MHz||6000 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||179 GB/s||179 GB/s||179 GB/s||104 GB/s||96 GB/s|
|TDP||180 watts||150 watts||150 watts||115 watts||95 watts|
|Peak Compute||2.69 TFLOPS||2.37 TFLOPS||1.89 TFLOPS||1.97 TFLOPS||1.53 TFLOPS|
The table above compares the current AMD product lineup, ranging from the R9 270X to the R7 260, with the R7 265 directly in the middle. There are some interesting specifications to point out that make the 265 a much closer relation to the R7 270/270X cards than anything below it. Though the R7 265 has four fewer compute units (which is 256 stream processors) than the R9 270. The biggest performance gap here is going to be found with the 256-bit memory bus that persists; the available memory bandwidth of 179 GB/s is 72% higher than the 104 GB/s from the R7 260X! That will definitely improve performance drastically compared to the rest of the R7 products. Pay no mind to that peak performance of the 260X being higher than the R7 265; in real world testing that never happened.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 10, 2014 - 12:00 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, R7, hd 7770, amd, 250x
With the exception of the R9 290X, the R9 290, and the R7 260X, AMD's recent branding campaign with the Radeon R7 and R9 series of graphics cards is really just a reorganization and rebranding of existing parts. When we reviewed the Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X, both were well known entities though this time with lower price tags to sweeten the pot.
Today, AMD is continuing the process of building the R7 graphics card lineup with the R7 250X. If you were looking for a new ASIC, maybe one that includes TrueAudio support, you are going to be let down. The R7 250X is essentially the same part that was released as the HD 7770 in February of 2012: Cape Verde.
AMD calls the R7 250X "the successor" to the Radeon HD 7770 and its targeting the 1080p gaming landscape in the $99 price range. For those keeping track at home, the Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts are currently selling for the same price. The R7 250X will be available in both 1GB and 2GB variants with a 128-bit GDDR5 memory bus running at 4.5 GHz. The card requires a single 6-pin power connection and we expect a TDP of 95 watts.
Here is a table that details the current product stack of GPUs from AMD under $140. It's quite crowded as you can see.
|Radeon R7 260X||Radeon R7 260||Radeon R7 250X||Radeon R7 250||Radeon R7 240|
|GPU Code name||Bonaire||Bonaire||Cape Verde||Oland||Oland|
|Rated Clock||1100 MHz||1000 MHz||1000 MHz||1050 MHz||780 MHz|
|Memory||2GB||2GB||1 or 2GB||1 or 2GB||1 or 2GB|
|Memory Clock||6500 MHz||6000 MHz||4500 MHz||4600 MHz||4600 MHz|
|Memory Bandwidth||104 GB/s||96 GB/s||72 GB/s||73.6 GB/s||28.8 GB/s|
|TDP||115 watts||95 watts||95 watts||65 watts||30 watts|
|Peak Compute||1.97 TFLOPS||1.53 TFLOPS||1.28 TFLOPS||0.806 TFLOPS||0.499 TFLOPS|
The current competition from NVIDIA rests in the hands of the GeForce GTX 650 and the GTX 650 Ti, a GPU that was released itself in late 2012. Since we already know what performance to expect from the R7 250X because of its pedigree, the numbers below aren't really that surprising, as provided by AMD.
AMD did leave out the GTX 650 Ti from the graph above... but no matter, we'll be doing our own testing soon enough, once our R7 250X cards find there way into the PC Perspective offices.
The AMD Radeon R7 250X will be available starting today but if that is the price point you are looking at, you might want to keep an eye out for sales on those remaining Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition parts.
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2014 - 02:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: seattle, Opteron A111, opteron, arm, amd
The Inquirer had a chance to hear more about the upcoming Opteron A111 which contains an ARM Cortex A57. We now know it runs at 2GHz, can address up to 128GB of RAM and has enough channels for 8 drives to be connected to it. While the chips will be able to operate in tandem with traditional x86 server chips the reduction in power needed and heat produced could mean Opteron based servers could be as small as a cellphone. We also know that they will be running on a specially flavoured version of Fedora, read on to see what else was revealed by Ian Drew.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD has spilled some more details about its first ARM based server processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Just how solid is cloud storage in 2014 @ The Register
- Broken Age and the Kickstarter factor @ The Tech Report
- The Android Experiment: Wearables and satnav @ The Inquirer
- Omate TrueSmart Smartwatch Review @ Madshrimps
- Make a cool be quiet! wallpaper to win amazing hardware! @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 6, 2014 - 08:54 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, radeon, R7 250X
The AMD Radeon R7 250X has been mentioned on a few different websites over the last day, one of which was tweeted by AMD Radeon Italia. The SKU, which bridges the gap between the R7 250 and the R7 260, is expected to have a graphics processor with 640 Stream Processors, 40 TMUs, and 16 ROPs. It should be a fairly silent launch, with 1GB and 2GB versions appearing soon for an expected price of around 90 Euros, including VAT.
Image Credit: Videocardz.com
The GPU is expected to be based on the 28nm Oland chip design.
While it may seem like a short, twenty Euro jump from the R7 250 to the R7 260, the single-precision FLOP performance actually doubles from around 800 GFLOPs to around 1550 GFLOPs. If that metric is indicative of overall performance, there is quite a large gap to place a product within.
We still do not know official availability, yet.
Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2014 - 03:14 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, amd, Mantle, r9 290, 290x, battlefield 4, Chromebox, Chromebook, t440s, nvidia, Intel
PC Perspective Podcast #286 - 02/06/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the release of AMD Mantle, Battlefield 4 Performance, Chromeboxes 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
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 5, 2014 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, Mantle, amd, battlefield 4
Now that the new Mantle enabled driver has been released several sites have had a chance to try out the new API to see what effect it has on Battlefield 4. [H]ard|OCP took a stock XFX R9 290X paired with an i7-3770K and tested both single and multiplayer BF4 performance and the pattern they saw lead them to believe Mantle is more effective at relieving CPU bottlenecks than ones caused by the GPU. The performance increases they saw were greater at lower resolutions than at high resolutions. At The Tech Report another XFX R9 290X was paired with an A10-7850K and an i7-4770K and compared the systems performance in D3D as well as Mantle. To make the tests even more interesting they also tested D3D with a 780Ti, which you should fully examine before deciding which performs the best. Their findings were in line with [H]ard|OCP's and they made the observation that Mantle is going to offer the greatest benefits to lower powered systems, with not a lot to be gained by high end systems with the current version of Mantle. Legit Reviews performed similar tests but also brought the Star Swarm demo into the mix, using an R7 260X for their GPU. You can catch all of our coverage by clicking on the Mantle tag.
"Does AMD's Mantle graphics API deliver on its promise of smoother gaming with lower-spec CPUs? We take an early look at its performance in Battlefield 4."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Humble Sid Meier Bundle announced: So much Civilisation! @ HEXUS
- HARD ONES: Three new PC games that are BLOODY DIFFICULT @ The Register
- Developers Reporting No Payments From Strategy First @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2014 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arm, OCP, open source, Intel, amd, seattle, opteron
The Inquirer had a chance to talk to Lakshmi Mandyam, the director of Server Systems and Ecosystems at ARM, about their plans for the server room. ARM and their SBSA team have joined forces with Microsoft's Open Technology initiative which is key to AMD's adoption of ARM architecture in their new Opteron series. These projects will offer several key benefits to customers, the open source nature will allow customization in the server room for those customers with specific needs and the know how to implement them and the nature of ARM processors can bring energy bills down. This could also be great news for smaller businesses that require a proper server, they will be able to build that server out of a number of inexpensive ARM based processors instead of having to spend the price of the currently available x86/64 CPUs from Intel and AMD.
"CHIP DESIGNER ARM announced at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit last week that servers based on its architecture have taken a step forward with the arrival of ARM v8-A based 64bit servers, known as the Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) specification."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samsung reveals prices, availability dates of 'Pro' tablets @ The Inquirer
- ARM posts sterling revenue growth, but moneymen spank it anyway @ The Register
- Adobe goes out of band to fix frightful Flash flaw @ The Register
- How to Resize, Rename, Sort and Proof Photos from the Command Line @ Linux.com
- THUNDERING GAS destroys disks during data centre incident @ The Register
- Rollei CarDVR-110 Full HD GPS Car Camera @ NikKTech
What Mantle signifies about GPU architectures
Mantle is a very interesting concept. From the various keynote speeches, it sounds like the API is being designed to address the current state (and trajectory) of graphics processors. GPUs are generalized and highly parallel computation devices which are assisted by a little bit of specialized silicon, when appropriate. The vendors have even settled on standards, such as IEEE-754 floating point decimal numbers, which means that the driver has much less reason to shield developers from the underlying architectures.
Still, Mantle is currently a private technology for an unknown number of developers. Without a public SDK, or anything beyond the half-dozen keynotes, we can only speculate on its specific attributes. I, for one, have technical questions and hunches which linger unanswered or unconfirmed, probably until the API is suitable for public development.
Or, until we just... ask AMD.
Our response came from Guennadi Riguer, the chief architect for Mantle. In it, he discusses the API's usage as a computation language, the future of the rendering pipeline, and whether there will be a day where Crossfire-like benefits can occur by leaving an older Mantle-capable GPU in your system when purchasing a new, also Mantle-supporting one.
Q: Mantle's shading language is said to be compatible with HLSL. How will optimizations made for DirectX, such as tweaks during shader compilation, carry over to Mantle? How much tuning will (and will not) be shared between the two APIs?
[Guennadi] The current Mantle solution relies on the same shader generation path games the DirectX uses and includes an open-source component for translating DirectX shaders to Mantle accepted intermediate language (IL). This enables developers to quickly develop Mantle code path without any changes to the shaders. This was one of the strongest requests we got from our ISV partners when we were developing Mantle.
Follow-Up: What does this mean, specifically, in terms of driver optimizations? Would AMD, or anyone else who supports Mantle, be able to re-use the effort they spent on tuning their shader compilers (and so forth) for DirectX?
[Guennadi] With the current shader compilation strategy in Mantle, the developers can directly leverage DirectX shader optimization efforts in Mantle. They would use the same front-end HLSL compiler for DX and Mantle, and inside of the DX and Mantle drivers we share the shader compiler that generates the shader code our hardware understands.
Subject: General Tech | February 4, 2014 - 01:08 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, encoder, open source, VCE
You may have missed this news about AMD in amongst the Mantle announcements, support has been added for the VCE2 hardware encoding engine on newer AMD GCN based GPUs. The open-source Radeon driver now supports GStreamer OpenMAX which can speed H.264 encoding in general but is truly optimized for encoding for mobile devices. The current release is still a work in progress, the official release will come soon and you can track the progress by signing up to the mailing lists mentioned by Phoronix. This is good news as previously the only open source hardware accelerated encoding was through Intel's GPU and VA-API.
"AMD is doing another large and important open-source graphics driver code drop this morning. This morning AMD is publishing their VCE code that allows for hardware-based video encoding. "
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft builds admin tool to spare Office 365 sellers' blushes @ The Register
- Satya Nadella confirmed as Microsoft CEO @ The Inquirer
- Java botnet hits Mac, Linux and Windows machines @ The Inquirer
- How to Manage File and Folder Permissions in Linux @ Linux.com
- Sony denies Vaio-to-Lenovo rumour @ The Register
- Weaponized Quadrotor Upgrades @ Hack a Day
- The Obligatory Super Hole VIII – The Uppity Armchair CD Edition @ The Tech Report
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 1, 2014 - 11:29 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Mantle, BF4, amd
AMD has released the Catalyst 14.1 Beta driver (even for Linux) but you should, first, read Ryan's review. This is a little less than what he expects in a Beta from AMD. We are talking about crashes to desktop and freezes while loading a map on a single-GPU configuration - and Crossfire is a complete wash in his experience (although AMD acknowledges the latter in their release notes). According to AMD, there is even the possibility that the Mantle version of Battlefield 4 will render with your APU and ignore your dedicated graphics.
If you are determined to try Catalyst 14.1, however, it does make a first step into the promise of Mantle. Some situations show slightly lower performance than DirectX 11, albeit with a higher minimum framerate, while other results impress with double-digit percentage gains.
Multiplayer in BF4, where the CPU is more heavily utilized, seems to benefit the most (thankfully).
If you understand the risk (in terms of annoyance and frustration), and still want to give it a try, pick up the driver from AMD's support website. If not? Give it a little more time for AMD to whack-a-bug. At some point, there should be truly free performance waiting for you.
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