Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Southern Islands Get Small

When AMD first started to talk to me about the upcoming Southern Islands GPUs they tried to warn me.  Really they did.  "Be prepared for just an onslaught of card releases for 2012," I was told.  In much the same strategy the company took with the HD 6000 series of cards, the new Radeon HD 7000 cards have been trickling out, part by part, so as to make sure the name "AMD" and the brand "Radeon" are showing up as often as possible in your news feeds and on my keyboard.  In late December we wrote our review of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB flagship card and then followed that up in January with a review of the Radeon HD 7950.  In those briefings were told in a general way about Cape Verde, the Radeon HD 7700 series, and Pitcairn, the Radeon HD 7800 series, but without the details of performance, specifications or release dates.  We have the answer for one more of these families now: Cape Verde.

slides01.jpg

Cape Verde is the smallest of the Southern Islands dies and falls into the sub-$175 graphics market depending on card vendors' pricing and overclocking settings.  The real question we all wanted to know is what performance levels these new cards were going to offer and if they could be the TRUE successor to popular Radeon HD 5770.  While the answer will take pages and pages of details to cement into place, I can say that while an impressive card, I wasn't as excited as I had wanted to be.

But I am getting ahead of myself...  Check out our video review right here and then keep reading on for the full evaluation!!

AMD Cape Verde - the smallest of the Southern Islands

GPU companies like to brag when they are on top - you'll see that as a recurring theme in our story today.  One such case is the success of the Radeon HD 5770 that mentioned above - it still today sits on the throne of the most adopted DX11 capable GPU on the Steam Hardware Survey, one of our best places for information on the general PC gamer.  

slides02.jpg

While the inclusion of it, as well as the Radeon HD 5870 and HD 5850, on this list are great for AMD a couple of years ago, the lack of a 6000-series card here shows us that users need another reason to upgrade; another card that is mass market enough (ala under $200) and offers performance advantages that really push gamers to spend that extra cheddar.

Bring in the Cape Verde GPU...

Continue reading our review of the Radeon HD 7770 1GB GHz Edition and HD 7750 Graphics cards!!

CTO Eric Demers to Leave AMD

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | February 14, 2012 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: demers, cto, amd

An interesting quarter for AMD continues as I learned today that AMD's Corporate Vice President and CTO of the Graphics Business Unit, Eric Demers, has decided to leave the company.  Having just had dinner with Eric and other AMD executives last week I am more than surprised about this sudden change since Demers' opinions of the roadmap for AMD were very positive.

amdfad02.jpg

First, here is the official statement from AMD:

"Eric Demers, AMD Corporate Vice President and CTO, Graphics Business Unit, has decided leave AMD to pursue other opportunities.

AMD Chief Technology Officer Mark Papermaster will assume interim responsibility for the Graphics Business Unit CTO role until a replacement is found.

AMD remains fully committed to our critical graphics IP development and discrete GPU products.  We have a tremendous depth of talent in our organization, a game plan that is resonating with our customers and our team, and we are continuing to bring graphics-performance-leading products to market.  We will attract the right technology leader for this role.

We thank Eric for his contributions to the business and wish him well in his future endeavors."

As is usually the case with these types of announcements, everyone is being very hush-hush about where Demers will finally land though I can confirm that it is neither Intel nor NVIDIA.  For those of you in the know about the industry and its current direction, that doesn't leave a lot of other options and we are quite positive he will find a spot that fits his expertise.  

ericdemers.jpg

Eric's background goes back quite a ways and includes stops at SGI, ArtX, Matrox, ATI and finally AMD.  He has been with ATI/AMD since April of 2000 (when David Orton first arrived from ATI) and rose to become the Chief Technology Officer of the graphics division as of mid-2009.  I have personally known Eric as one of the best sources of knowledge about GPUs and technology shifts and I will miss being able to question him on the design decisions being made in our industry.

For AMD, this move comes right after the drastic shift announced by AMD's new CEO Rory Read and new CTO Mark Papermaster to turn AMD into an SoC company.  I attended that same analyst day and came away from the event feeling upbeat about the direction of the company and the individuals at the helm, Demers being one of them.  The loss of Eric's talents will definitely be missed though with the rest of the team intact I don't think we'll see any immediate negative impacts from his departure.  Longer term though, we'll just have to see.  

The AMD rep I spoke with reiterated that this move had nothing to do with the newly hired executives and wasn't caused by any kind of internal disagreements.  Also, Demers did not express any kind of dissatisfaction with the direction of the company from a technological standpoint either.  While that is good to hear, you just don't leave a company after 12+ years without some reasons even if that reason is a better opportunity somewhere else.

Update on 2/14/2012 @ 11:53pm EST: According to this update from TheVerge.com, Demers may in fact end up at Qualcomm, the largest SoC vendor on the planet.  

We're hearing rumors that Demers will actually show up for work at Qualcomm, an interesting choice indeed: the company purchased AMD's mobile graphics division and Imageon media processor back in 2009. You now know it as Qualcomm Adreno, and it's the graphics solution in all Snapdragon-powered tablets and phones.

Meet AMD's new CEO

Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2012 - 12:14 PM |
Tagged: amd, Mark Papermaster, fad, Financial Analyst Day, Rory Read

If you haven't had a chance to read through The Tech Report's breakdown of AMD's Financial Analyst Day and the speech that the new CEO Rory Read gave.  Rory replaced long time CEO Dirk Meyer at the helm of AMD after the large shake up AMD underwent late in 2011 and this was one of his first chances to describe his vision for AMD and the market in 2012.  He spend a fair amount of time on low power processors and ultramobile form factors, describing his vision of AMD outflanking Intel at that market segment.  With a history of lower pricing and recent low power processor families, he sees Brazos as a much better alternative than Intel's Ultrabook and especially the anemic Atom line.  He also discussed ARM, not only as a possible future competitor for what used to be be AMD and Intel's exclusive turf as well as possible future competition for AMD's planned SoC products.  Read on for more.

TR_read.jpg

"AMD has a new management team and a new direction. They recently shared their vision for the company's future, and we were there, listening and then chatting with new CTO Mark Papermaster. Read on for our report."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

AMD Verdetrol 1GHz Prescription Pills Arrive at PC Perspective

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 9, 2012 - 08:48 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, southern islands

Working from home comes with a host of stereotypes and assumptions that the rest of world places on people like myself.  I am often accused of working in my underwear, not showering through day-long stretches, not working and instead playing games all day and of course, being a drug dealer.  And NOTHING perpetuates that vision from the outside world like an overnight UPS package arriving with the sound of rattling pills inside.  This is what greeted me after my delivering smirked away:

pills1.jpg

In preparation for an upcoming graphics launch AMD thought up a pretty interesting marketing campaign geared around a "Verdetrol 1GHz" drug that will apparently help the reviewing community "enhance performance".  Hmph.

pills2.jpg

Actually contained within are 28 jelly beans (get it, 28nm???) of a flavor I can't quite detect though I am guessing they are somehow related to this.  And of course, these pills are for "external use only" - a healthy warning.

pills3.jpg

The telephone number is listed as 905-555-7770 so you can probably guess what the hubbub is all about.

pills4.jpg

And while the directions state to take one tablet daily by fan intake, we were never one to conform.

Podcast #188 - Featuring David Hewlett - White Space Wireless, AMD and NVIDIA GPU roadmaps, Hard Drives with lasers and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 9, 2012 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: wireless, whitespace, ssd, podcast, nvidia, mdt, intel 520, Intel, gpu, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #188 - 02/09/2012

Join us this week as we talk about White Space Wireless, AMD and NVIDIA GPU roadmaps, Hard Drives with lasers 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, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malvantano, and David Hewlett

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

Program length: 1:44:27

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. 0:01:30 Introduction with David
    1. Okay, seriously, how nerdy are you really?
    2. What kind of hardware systems and specs do you have?
    3. What games are you playing today?  
  6. 0:13:25 AMD Processor and GPU Roadmaps Through 2013
  7. 0:28:30 Galaxy MDT GeForce GT 520 Graphics Card Review
  8. 0:32:00 Intel 520 Series SSD Full Review - SandForce on Steroids?
  9. 0:43:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:45:05 White Space Wireless Discussion
    1. Links for reference: - WikipediaUS Radio Spectrum Chart (2003), 
  11. 0:56:00 Increased Hard Drive Write Speed and Density - Using Frickin' Lasers
  12. 1:02:00 An academic collaboration leads to a GPU/CPU collaboration
  13. 1:07:25 AMD shows 18mm thin reference ultrathin notebook based on Trinity
  14. 1:11:05 Tablets / Ultrabooks in Schools
    1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577209142710109710.html
  15. 1:16:45 NVIDIA Kepler Graphics Cards Lineup Leak To Web
  16. 1:22:30 PC Perspective Office Tour - Feb 6th, 2012
  17. 1:26:40 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Just in time for Valentine's Day...
    2. Jeremy: Now that's how you make a contest!
    1. Josh: Just got one for the wife. For great justice.
    2. Allyn: ioSafe SoloPRO
    3. David: Samsung Flexible Displays
  18. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  19. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  20. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  21. Closing

Source:

Collision alert! ARM, AMD and Intel are all headed for the same market

Subject: General Tech | February 9, 2012 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: arm, Intel, amd, atom, low power, cortex, Medfield, hondo

To revive an old buzzword some of you may have forgotten, ubiquitous computing is the current holy grail of the computing industry.  If AMD, Intel, ARM and to a lesser extent NVIDIA, can get the market to prefer one of their low power processors over the competitions there is a lot of money to be made in the mobile market.  The way that they are approaching the market is very different however.   In Intel's case they pride themselves on the general computation power of their upcoming Medfield processor though that comes at the cost of power consumption and less graphics capabilities.  AMD. like Intel, are trying to reduce the power consumption of their chips and though they lag behind in general CPU performance the graphics capabilities are generally considered superior.

Then there is ARM, which is striving to overcome its reputation of providing chips low in power, both electrically and computationally.  Their latest Cortex processors are certainly display a vast improvement in performance compared to previous generations.  The power consumption may have increased but not to the levels of consumption of the Intel and AMD chips.  Intel and AMD need to continue lowering their power consumption without sacrificing power while ARM needs to increase performance without impacting the power consumption before anyone can be considered a clear winner.  There is another consideration which DigiTimes points out; right now ARM is winning the price war which could be every bit as important as power consumption or computational power.

ubiquitous_img3.gif

"While Intel and AMD have been making efforts to develop low power processors for use in smartphones and tablet PCs, they cannot compete with solutions from ARM in terms of price, according to notebook makers."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes

AMD drops a module and keeps its socket

Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2012 - 12:36 PM |
Tagged: amd, piledriver, Seoul, Abu Dhabi, fad

One of the many interesting bits of information AMD disseminated at this years FAD started some conjecture about possible problems with Piledriver.  It seems that somewhere along the line AMD dropped a module on the Seou chip bringing its core count down from 10 to 8.  Once the hue and cry died down a bit a theory propounded by SemiAccurate offered a sensible theory for the change.  It seems likely that AMD initially developed this family of chips with the belief that DDR4 would have made it to market by now, perhaps in compensation for the delay in adopting DDR3.  Unfortunately DDR4 is nowhere to be seen outside of testing laboratories which has had an effect on AMD's development plans.  Without new memory there is no extra memory bandwidth which will in turn starve the extra cores on the chip and likely slow the performance of all of the cores.  Instead AMD opted to trim out the extra cores and as a benefit they get to utilize their existing sockets as opposed to introducing another one. 

ddr4.jpg

"A lot of people are in a tizzy because AMD (NYSE:AMD) has changed the upcoming Seoul CPU from 10 to 8 cores. The general responses ranges from AMD incompetence to apocalypse, but all it really signals is a lack of technical understanding on their behalf.

The slide in question was the server roadmap we wrote up here. It introduces Piledriver cored Abu Dhabi and Seoul chips, successors to the Bulldozer based Interlagos and Valencia respectively. The base part has 4 modules/8 cores, and the bigger variant is two of those in a package. The big controversy is that they were supposed to be 5 module/10 core parts."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Not just a FAD, AMD aims at the market ultra-thin laptop-like device

Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2012 - 12:13 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, amd, Financial Analyst Day, trinity

While Intel struggles to find a away to reduce costs to hit their self imposed $1000 limit on the price for ultrabooks without comprimising the quality of the machine, AMD is leveraging an old strength and a new one.  The old strength is familiar to any long time PC fan, AMD's chips are less expensive than Intel's which gives them some nice monetary leeway when creating low cost systems.  The new strength is Trinity, the next generation Llano, and the impressive graphics performance packaged in the same substrate and the smooth way it can integrate with a discreet GPU to give desktop like performance. 

One of the benefits Trinity will bring is what AMD called 'All day' battery life, with a 12 hour lifespan predicted.  Trinity uses half the power of Llano as well as featuring an improved graphics core which they predict to be half again as powerful as Intel's HD Graphics.  They also predict the new Bulldozer architecture will increase general computing power.  Check out the slides at SemiAccurate for more information.

SA_Ultrabook-Win.png

"Much has been said about Intel’s new Ultrabook form factor. But new details from AMD’s Financial Analyst Day are radically changing the prospective competitive landscape that 2012 has to offer. During Intel’s Q3 conference call certain Intel executives were confident that AMD would always be offering a lower cost alternative to Intel products. But it seems that thing are not turning out the way that the cunning marketeers behind Intel’s “visibly smart” 2nd generation Core processors had hoped."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Podcast #187 - Our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 2, 2012 - 03:11 PM |
Tagged: ssd, sandforce, radeon, podcast, patriot, nvidia, Intel, gtx, arm, amd, 7950

PC Perspective Podcast #187 - 02/02/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our thoughts on Ultrabooks, the Radeon HD 7950, ASUS DirectCU GTX cards, 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

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

Program length: 58:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 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. 0:01:20 Ultrabooks: Intel Knows What's Good For You
  6. 0:08:30 Patriot Pyro and Wildfire SSD Review - IMFT Async vs. Toshiba Toggle-mode Flash
  7. 0:14:20 AMD Radeon HD 7950 3GB Graphics Card Review
  8. 0:25:50 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:26:38 Asus DirectCU II Roundup: ENGTX560, ENGTX570, and ENGTX580 Review
  10. 0:40:35 Raspberry Pi Linux Computer Will Have Fast GPU For The Price
  11. 0:44:20 If you thought Intel did well wait until you see ARM
  12. 0:47:00 AMD 7700 and 7800 Release Dates Leak To Web
  13. 0:51:20 Live Blog: AMD Financial Analyst Day
  14. 0:52:20 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Radeon HD 7950 Cards
    2. Jeremy: I'm giddy as a schoolgirl, albeit a very mercenary one
    1. Josh: And it is on sale! $770 off!
    2. Allyn: Corsair Force 3 - very good pricing.
  15. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  16. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  17. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  18. Closing

Source:

A Texas sized party with Kyle and the [H] gang

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | February 2, 2012 - 02:23 PM |
Tagged: amd, Texas GamExperience

While we at PC Perspective wait for Quakecon before heading to Texas, [H]ard|OCP hosts the AMD GamExperience in Dallas during January.  This is the third year in a row they've given gamers the chance to experience the newest in games and gaming peripherals and it must have been a good one since they only managed to recover enough to post the pictures today.  As you can see below they are just as hard on the audience as Ryan and the crew, but with $55,000+ worth of prizes to give out it is possible to get gamers to do pushups.  Check out what you missed here.

Hup.jpg

We did have a man on the scene, if you haven't seen Steve's coverage you really should.

"We recently put on the third "GamExperience" here in Dallas, TX! We invited 600 of our closet friends and 20 companies that crank out some of the best computer hardware in the world and put them all in one room together for some gaming and geek talk. And yeah, free stuff too, about $50,000 worth!"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP