Podcast #223 - AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing and more!
Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2012 - 02:38 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, windows 8, podcast, patriot, nvidia, mini ITX, Intel, gpu, gauntlet, gauntle node, cpu, AVADirect, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #223 - 10/18/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the AVADirect Mini ITX Gaming Machine, Patriot Gauntlet 320GB Wireless Drive, Windows 8 Pricing and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Scott Michaud
Program length: 56:12
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Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2012 - 03:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rumour, price cuts, amd
The news out of DigiTimes today speaks of deep cuts to AMD's previous generation processors, specifically the A4 family. According to their sources the the A4-3300 will be cut in price by 35% and the 3400 model by 25%, both cuts being much larger than is usual in the industry. As well there could be a cut in price of the new FM2 based A4-5300 by almost 50%, again a much steeper cut than is usual. However given the difficulties that AMD is currently experiencing, as well as the price cuts we've seen on the GPU side the report was enough to make us curious. As we at PC Perspective have our own anonymous sources who will sometimes comment on things not yet set in stone and in this case we did get a reply. That reply stated that AMD will be making no price moves on the A series. Aren't conflicting stories great?
"After announcing its latest FM2-based A series APUs (Trinity) on October 1, AMD is set to reduce prices of its previous-generation APUs with the FM1-based A4-3300 to be reduced from US$46 to US$30, according to sources from motherboard players. AMD Taiwan declined to comment about its price strategy."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft reveals Surface tablet pricing @ The Inquirer
- The 3D die stack tack: Toshiba builds towering column of flash @ The Register
- Asustek to participate in initial launch of Windows RT tablet @ DigiTimes
- NETGEAR R6300 Wireless Router 802.11ac Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Magellan RoadMate 5265T-LMB Review @ TechReviewSource
- Olympus SP-620UZ Review @ TechReviewSource
- Massive Manic Giveaway with Cooler Master @ TechwareLabs
Subject: General Tech | October 15, 2012 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, jobs, sad
If Friday's announcement of AMD's lowered financial expectations was not enough to depress you, The Inquirer has heard from three separate sources that AMD is looking to cut between 1000 to 3000 employees, representing 10% to 30% of its workforce. Rory Read's excising of the marketing department has not magically reversed the $500M in reported losses so far this year and so he will be attempting to treat the symptoms with a larger dose of the same cure. Being a publicly owned company who have seen their stock prices plummet by 14% last week so something had to be done, even if on the surface it looks to be bad for the company in the long term. The chances are good that the graphics department will be left mostly intact but the CPU team could be facing a lot of cuts which could slow or derail the development of the next generation of processors.
"Last week AMD revised its revenue forecasts down considerably due to weak demand and now multiple sources have said that the firm is preparing to lay off a significant percentage of its workforce. According to three sources that spoke to Allthingsd, AMD is preparing to cut anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of its 11,000 employees."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Controlling a robot with your mind @ Hack a Day
- Nvidia releases CUDA 5 to support Kepler GPGPU features @ The Inquirer
- UDIRC Microquad UFO @ Metku.net
- Amazon reportedly is eyeing up Texas Instruments' SoC business @ The Inquirer
- Nikon D700 FX 12.1MP Digital SLR Camera Review @ ModSynergy
- The Tech Report Podcast 121: APUs, GPUs, and SSDs
Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2012 - 07:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, financial results, quarterly earnings
While we do not have the finalized results of AMD's Q3 earnings, The Register did report that they will not be meeting the targets that were set previously. The are lowering both expected revenues as well as their gross margins projections. While this news is not unexpected it does illustrate the difficulties which AMD is currently experiencing. With new products already for sale and more scheduled for release before the new year, there is still hope for AMD to make a bit of a recovery. As we have pointed out many times before, whether you purchase AMD products or not, the continued existence of AMD is crucial to keep the marketplace competitive.
shamelessly stolen from macgasm
"AMD has announced lowered expectations for its third-quarter financial results, with revenues declining 10 per cent from the previous quarter, down from the 1 per cent – give or take 3 per cent – that it had previously projected."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- TLC NAND could penetrate biz with flash-to-flash backup @ The Register
- AMD Hondo-based products to be launched in mid-November at the earliest @ DigiTimes
- My smartphone conundrum @ The Tech Report
- Office 2013 hits RTM, will ship starting in November @ The Register
- What is going on with Nvidia’s GK114? @ SemiAccurate
- Fractal Design End Mod
Subject: Storage | October 10, 2012 - 09:30 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ram disk, radeon ramdisk, radeon memory, amd memory, amd
AMD launched a new Radeon branded memory product today called the Radeon RAMDisk. Despite the rather unoriginal name, it is a piece of software that will allow you to use a portion of your system RAM as a hard drive-like storage device where you can install programs. AMD has partnered with Dataram to develop the software.
The AMD Radeon RAMDisk will create drives up to 64GB in size, and is designed to be used with AMD's own Radeon-branded DDR3 modules (though other manufacturer's RAM will work as well). The RAM disk offers up almost-instantaeous access times and impressive read and write speeds for your applications and virtual machines.
According to AMD, the Radeon RAMDisk can reach read speeds as high as 25,600 MB/s with DDR3 1600 RAM and up to 1700% faster game loading times than a traditional mechanical hard drive. It further supports the Windows operating system (Vista and above), and has a minimum system requirement of 4GB of system RAM.
The software costs $18.99 at time of writing for the full version.
The best part about this announcement though is the release of a freeware version of the Radeon RAMDisk that can create disks up to 6GB with AMD-branded RAM or 4GB with RAM from any other manufacturer! While that is fairly limiting in that you are not really going to be able to put much ont there (and installing games is almost out of the question entirely) you can still do a lot with a 4GB RAM disk by installing Office, photo editors, virtual machines (like Peppermint Linux), and other heavily used programs to speed up the important stuff.
You can acess the full press release on the Radeon RAMDisk website.
- Free version - Limited to 4GB or 6GB RAMDisks depending on memory brand.
- Paid version - Create disks up to 64GB
If you have been with the site for at least the year that I’ve been writing here, you will know that I’m a huge fan of RAM disks. So, naturally, when I was passed the press release I just had to try it out.
While the extent of the performance increase is going to vary from program to program, the drive itself is extremely fast. When copying a .iso file to the Radeon RAMDisk, it was limited by my SSD's read speed, for example.
The RAM Disk was set up om my main desktop which has basic specifications as follows:
- Intel Core i7 -860 CPU
- 8GB (4 x 2GB) G.Skill DDR3 at 1333 MHz and 9-9-9-24 CAS timings
- Gigabyte P55-UD3R Motherboard
- 4096 MB Radeon RAMDisk
- 80GB Intel X25-M G2 SSD
- 2TB Samsung Spinpoint hard drive
- Windows 8 RTM
In addition to the file copy tests, I also used the HDTune benchmark to measure transfer speeds. Needless to say, RAM blows solid state NAND out of the water in speed (though it does cost more and is volatile storage).
In fact, it pulled such impressive numbers from HDTune that it skewed the chart a lot. Those little blips underneath it are from my Intel X25-M G2 80GB SSD and my 2TB Samsung Spinpoint mechanical hard drive.
HDTune also reports access times and burst speeds. The RAM disk had a 0.0 ms access time, the SSD has a 0.1 ms access time, and the mechanical hard drive brought up the rear with a 13.9 ms access time. Interestingly, the Samsung hard drive actually beat the SSD in burst speed. The RAM disk crush both of the other drives by a significant margin, however with a burst speed of 5,155 MB/s.
Over the years, I have used a RAMDisk for hosting photo editors as as using the drive for media I was currently working on. It worked well at the time, but the free software was not exactly what I would call stable. However, the AMD software is a mere 6.2 MB download that installs quickly and is easy to configure. The UI is spartan (and resembles Windows Classic), but it gets the job done and has yet to crash on me after trying to break it today (heh). It does not feel "janky" at all, and I have to give AMD and Dataram props for that.
Below are screenshots of the Radeon RAMDisk interface. You can create new disks as well as loading saved ones.
Yes, RAM being faster than hard drive storage is not new information, but I did find it surprising just how much faster it was, even compared to my SSD. Heck, even compared to a DDR2 based RAM disk, it was fast. It really puts into perspective why the hard drive is the slowest aspect of modern computers, and why things can slow to a crawl when the CPU has to reach out past the internal cache and system RAM to the hard drive to fetch data. If you are running a system with a lot of 'extra' RAM, I encourage you to take AMD's new Radeon RAMDisk software for a test drive. It's time to give those DDR3 DIMMs a workout!
Do you use RAM disks to speed up your favorite applications?
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | October 8, 2012 - 09:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: z-60 apu, tablets, radeon hd, APU, amd
AMD launched a new APU today meant for tablets and other mobile devices. The new Z-60 Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) is now the company’s lowest power APU processor. AMD is primarily pushing this chip as the best choice for tablets as thin as 10mm that are capable of running Windows 8.
The Z-60 APU supports AMD’s Start Now and AppZone technologies for fast boot and resume times and application repository respectively. AMD has stated that it identified a gap between low performance and high priced mobile devices, and believes the Z-60 APU fills that void. AMD Corporate Vice President of Ultra-Low Power Products Steve Belt further stated the following:
“Tablet users seeking an uncompromised experience for both creating and consuming content on the Microsoft Windows 8 platform now have a performance-driven, affordable option with the AMD Z-60 APU.”
Interestingly, AMD has managed to bring the TDP of the new Z-60 lower than the previous generation without sacrificing hardware or needing a new manufacturing process. While the Z-01 is part of the Brazos platform (codename Desna), the new Z-60 is codenamed Hondo and part of the Brazos-T platform, which involves several tweaks to the design to get more power efficiency.
The Z-60 has two Bobcat CPU cores clocked at 1GHz, 1MB L2 cache, and a Radeon HD 6250 GPU with 80 cores. This APU has a TDP of 4.5W, which is a noteable decrease from the Z-01's 5.9W TDP when you consider that this chip is going to be used in a battery powered, mobile device. In fact, with a Z-60 APU, AMD is claiming up to eight hours of batery life. Further, thanks to the integrated HD 6250 GPU, the Z-60 can support Direct X 11, OpenGL 4.1, and OpenCL 1.1 graphics technologies.
|CPU Cores||CPU Clockspeed||L2 Cache||Radeon GPU||GPU Cores||TDP||USB Support|
|Z-60||2||1 GHz||1 MB||HD 6250||80||4.5W||3.0|
|Z-01 (previous generation)||2||1 GHz||1 MB||HD 6250||80||5.9W||2.0|
AMD has announced that the Z-60 APU is shipping now to its OEM customers. The company expects that consumers should see products using the new processor as soon as the end of this year.
Read more about the future direction of AMD at PC Perspective.
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 5, 2012 - 06:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: powercolor, gpu, dual gpu, amd, 7990
Towards the end of August, a new dual GPU graphics card from PowerColor was fully detailed. The dual GPU Devil 13 graphics card combined two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs onto a single PCB with factory overclocks and a custom cooler. The 6GB (3GB per GPU) HD 7990 6GB Devil 13 is an awesome card, but comes with a hefty $999 price tag.
This month, PowerColor has taken the wraps off of a (slightly) cheaper 7990 graphics card that is not clocked as high but uses a similar custom cooler as the Devil 13. It will allegedly be priced at around $900 USD.
The new PowerColor HD7990 (sans Devil 13 branding) features two HD7970 Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs clocked at 900 MHz by default or 925 MHz when using the factory overclocked BIOS. (You can switch between the two modes by using the Dual BIOS switch.) As a point of comparison, standard Radeon 7970s have a reference clockspeed of 925 MHz, and PowerColor’s own HD 7990 Devil 13 is clocked at either 925 MHz or 1 GHz depending on BIOS switch position. PowerColor is likely binning 7970 GPUs that don’t quite make the cut as Devil 13 models for this new dual gpu 7990 graphics card with lower clockspeeds.
Fortunately, the memory clockspeed has not been downclocked on the new HD 7990. Each GPU has 3GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, and the memory is clocked at 1375 MHz.
Also good news is that the standard PowerColor 7990 appears to use the same custom cooler as the Devil 13 – but with an all-black design rather than the red and black color scheme. That includes a triple slot design, numerous heatpipes and fins, and two 92mm fans on either side of an 80mm fan.
The graphics card measures 315mm x 140mm x 60mm and features two DVI, one HDMI, and two min-DisplayPort video outputs. It has the same 850W minimum system power requirement as the Devil 13, and is powered by three 8 pin PCI-E power connectors in addition to power from the PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot.
Although an interesting card that is sure to attract enthusiasts, it lends credence to the idea that AMD is not going to release its own reference HD 7990 after all. At this point, so long as your case and motherboard permit, it would likely best to go for two individual ~$400 Radeon 7970 GHz Edition cards in a CrossFire configuration. PowerColor does seem to have you covered if that’s not an option for you though there is no word on exactly when this graphics card will be available – or what the final pricing will be.
Read more about AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture at PC Perspective.
Subject: General Tech | October 4, 2012 - 05:28 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: qualcomm, hsa, APU, amd, AFDS
The HSA Foundation announced today that Qualcomm would be joining as its newest Founder-level member. The mobile ARM System on a Chip company joins AMD, ARM, Imagination Technologies (the company who licenses out PowerVR graphics), MediaTek, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Reportedly, the HSA Foundation has doubled its total members since its inception in June where it was announced at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit (AFDS 2012).
Senior Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm Jim Thompson has stated that the company is joining the HSA Foundation in an effort to standardize aspects of heterogenous computing. Those programming and hardware standards will then be incorporated into devices running future Snapdragon ARM processors.
HSA Foundation President Phil Rogers welcomed the mobile communications giant to the organization by stating the following.
“It’s great to see an innovative company like Qualcomm, which has revolutionized the wireless communications market, placing their support behind HSA.”
It is unclear from the press release where Qualcomm and the HSA Foundation will go from here, but it is promising to see additional companies lending their expertise to further heterogeneous computing standards. Here's hoping that the HSA Foundation is the opposite of the PC Gaming Alliance and actually gets things done to further the technology. After all, AMD is betting the company on APUs and could likely benefit from a big HSA programming standard push and the low power computing prowess of the ARM chip designers in its ranks.
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2012 - 01:19 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, price cuts, stagnation, stats
While complaining that chip prices just don't fall like they used to with the advent of the new generation replacing them is a long standing past time of enthusiasts everywhere, we don't often research the historical data to prove or disprove our claims. The Tech Report were brave enough to do exactly that, ignoring the risk that the data might prove us all wrong and lead to the possibility of not having a leg to stand on when talking about the good old days. Vindication is ours, especially when talking about Intel processors and the blame seems to fall right on AMD's shoulders and the lack of competition they've offered, especially on the high end. While some of Intel's processors do drop in price a bit over the 50 week period that The Tech Report, the only ones with a noticeable percentage drop were the lower end Core i3's which compete directly with AMD's FX and A8/6 series processors. Check out the charts showing the difference between AMD's price drops and Intel's over the same time period here.
"We've crunched three years of historical pricing data and made some interesting discoveries about the current state of the x86 processor market. Come take a look."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- OEMs call Intel’s Haswell pricing, “Absurd” @ SemiAccurate
- The Blackberry Playbook gets a software update @ The Inquirer
- IBM launches Power7+ chips in three Unix servers @ The Inquirer
- Apple Acknowledges iPhone 5 Camera Flaw @ Slashdot
Subject: Processors | October 2, 2012 - 04:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vishera, trinity, Steamroller, piledriver, bulldozer, amd, a8, a6, A4, a10, 5800K, 5600K
The NDA is over and we can finally tell you all about the new generation of Trinity, especially the compute portion which we were not allowed to discuss in the controversial preview. Part of the good news is the price, Legit Reviews found the highest MSRP is $122 for the A10-5800K and it is currently available, though at $130. The performance increase from the previous generation is decent for multicore applications though not so much for single threaded applications, overall you can expect general computing performance in line with Core i3 but not Core i5. Gaming on the other hand did show much improvement, especially with you compare the built in HD7660D to Intel's current HD4000 and HD3500. You can catch Josh's review right here.
"The internal testing from AMD that we can see above shows a 37% increase in the 3DMark 11 score between the first generation A-Series Llano and this generation of A-Series Trinity. While our numbers don't match their numbers exactly, our Llano system scored 1115 3Dmarks while the AMD internal testing showed 1150 3DMarks. Our AMD A10-5800K scored 1521 3DMarks while they scored 1570. The overall difference was remarkably similar, AMD is boasting an increase of 37% and we saw a difference of 36.4%..."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD’s Trinity Faces Off With Intel’s Ivy Bridge @ SemiAccurate
- AMD “Virgo” Platform: 2nd Generation APU @ Bjorn3D
- AMD A10-5800K APU Performance Review @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD A10-5800K and A8-5600K APUs for Socket FM2 @ techPowerUp
- AMD A10-5800K Trinity APU Review @ TechwareLabs
- Asus F2A85-V Pro & AMD A10 5800K (w/ HD7660D) @ Kitguru
- AMD A10-5800K & A8-5600K Review: Trinity on the Desktop, Part 2 @ AnandTech
- AMD A10 5800K APU processor review and MSI FM-2 A85XA-G65 @ Guru of 3D
- AMD A10-5800K Unlocked "Trinity" Quad Core APU Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- AMD A8-3850 CPU review @ Rbmods
- Gigabyte F2A85X-UP4 & AMD A10 5800K @ Kitguru
- AMD A10-5800K / A8-5600K full review: Trinity for desktops @ Hardware.info
- AMD Trinity for Desktops. Part 1: Graphics Core @ X-bit Labs
- Workstation & Server CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- All Core i3 Models @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Core i3 3225 and 3220 review: entry-level Ivy Bridge @ Hardware.info