Live Review Recap: AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 08:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, HD 7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, 7970, 7970 ghz edition, video, live review

A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

On the day of the release of AMD's latest flagship graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, Evan Groenke (Desktop Graphics Product Manager) stopped by the PC Perspective offices to sit with us and talk about the new GPU.  In the live event we went over the company's stance and mindset with the release, the new boost capability that the card integrates, performance from our review and even some questions and answers with some giveaways.

I really want to thank AMD and Evan for stopping by and chatting with us and our readers.  Be sure you keep checking back at http://pcper.com/live for more live events you can be a part of!

Massive ASUS ROG Matrix HD 7970 GPU Pictured

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 01:27 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, gpu, ASUS ROG, asus, amd, 7970

ASUS recently posted a few teaser photos of its upcoming Republic of Gamers branded 7970 graphics card. The Matrix HD 7970 is a three slot design with the company’s DirectCU II heatsink, dual fans, DIGI+ VRM, and (of course) AMD’s 7970 Tahiti GPU core. While likely not based on the higher-binned cores used in the new 7970 GHz Edition graphics cards, with the large cooler and extra power phases that ASUS is packing into this Matrix GPU it should overclock to similar levels of performance.

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The card features fans, and a large dual slot cooler with the traditional red and black ROG theme. The ASUS and Matrix logos are etched into the side of the card as well. The PCB is black and further covered by a bracing plate to reinforce the PCB to support the weight of the cooler. On the front of the card, it houses an air vent, two DVI connectors, and four DisplayPort video outputs. On the back of the card are four buttons. Two of the buttons with plus and minus symbols let you adjust the core voltage in preset jumps. The Safe Mode button next to the minus button clears the overclocks from the BIOS and resets the card to default settings. Finally, the red button will spin the fan up to 100% to overclock the card as far as possible. They also have a bank of LEDs below the buttons that offer at-a-glance load monitoring (really only useful for those testing outside a case...). In the rear corner of the card is two eight pin PCI-E power connectors. Then, on the underside (top when installed in the case) of the graphics card’s PCB, ASUS has a VGA Hotwire port which allows the card to interface with the ASUS OC Key and Extreme edition motherboards (such as the Maximus V and Rampage IV Extreme). There are also voltage checking points.

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Internals are somewhat similar to ASUS Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II, but with some aspects ratcheted up. The power phases, for example, have increased from 12 phases to 20 on the Matrix card. It continues to use the 7970 “Tahiti” GPU with 2048 shaders, 32 ROPs, and AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. ASUS is packing 3GB of GDDR5 memory with a 384-bit memory interface. ASUS has stated that both the GPU core and memory will be overclocked from the factory. Unfortunately, they have not released any specific numbers. We will have to wait until the card is closer to the launch date for that information.

The ASUS ROG Matrix graphics card will be launching in Q3 of 2012. It will be aimed at extreme overclockers – especially those that are already using Republic of Gamers branded motherboards from ASUS. What do you think of this new card, especially now that AMD has launched its 7970 GHz Edition reference GPU? You can find more photos of the card over at the ASUS website.

Source: ASUS

AMD introduces GPU Boost with the new HD 7970 GHz Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 12:22 PM |
Tagged: tahiti 2, tahiti, radeon, amd, 7970 ghz edition, 7970

If you hurry you can catch Ryan doing a live review of the new Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, otherwise you can always catch the article here.

Of course, we were not the only ones to review the card that represents AMD's attempt to win back the single GPU performance crown from NVIDIA.  [H]ard|OCP also examined the updated HD7970, which should be available fairly soon for a price of $500.  The GHz Edition is slightly faster than the original, with a 1000MHz base clock and 1050MHz Boost Clock, and an effective memory speed of 6GHz, though the power consumption should not change much.  It did start pulling a bit more power once [H] had overclocked it to 1180MHz and 6.4GHz for the memory, but even with AMD's GPU Boost it looks like NVIDIA still reigns ... though with less of a lead than before.

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"We have been documenting AMD's struggle to compete with the NVIDIA Kepler generation since it was introduced. Today AMD attempts to strike back with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. This video card features higher operating speeds and introduces AMD's version of GPU Boost. Will the performance justify a price of $499?"

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD's new Opteron head is an interconnect specialist

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2012 - 11:37 AM |
Tagged: amd

Suresh Gopalakrishnan was most recently CTO at Freescale Semiconductor, but also once VP of Engineering at Extreme Networks, which was a company specializing in very high speed ethernet switching technology and a hardware scientist at HP's Integrated Circuits Business Division before that. This could be a great decision by Rory Read to place him at the head of AMDs server business.  With the current focus on the interconnect portion of the server and the push to have multiple low powered CPUs instead of one powerful one it makes sense to put someone with a lot of networking experience in charge of developing the next generation of PileDriver chips.  If AMD is to beat Intel at the interconnect game and fully utilize their newly purchased SeaMicro technology they need someone who has experience getting large amounts of nodes speaking to each other with as little latency as possible.  Read more about Suresh's new position at AMD over at The Register.

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"AMD's new CEO Rory Read has been shaking things up in the past couple of months while at the same time settling things down – particularly on the Opteron server chip front. To help accomplish both, he's made a major management move, hiring Suresh Gopalakrishnan to be vice president and general manager of AMD's server business unit."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

A new SKU for a new battle

On launch day we hosted AMD's Evan Groenke for an in-studio live interview and discussion of about the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.  For the on-demand version of that event, check it out right here.  Enjoy!

AMD has had a good run in the discrete graphics market for quite some time. With the Radeon HD 5000 series, the company was able to take a commanding mindshare (if not marketshare) lead from NVIDIA. While that diminished some with the HD 6000 series going up against NVIDIA's GTX 500 family, the release of the HD 7970 and HD 7950 just before the end of 2011 stepped it up again. AMD was the first to market with a 28nm GPU, the first to support DX11.1, the first with a 3GB frame buffer and the new products were simply much faster than what NVIDIA had at the time. 

AMD enjoyed that crowned location on the GPU front all the way until the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 launched in March. In a display of technology that most reviewers never thought possible, NVIDIA had a product that was faster, more power efficient and matched or exceeded just about every feature of the AMD Radeon HD 7000 cards. Availability problems plagued NVIDIA for several months (and we just now seeing the end of the shortage) and even caused us to do nearly-weekly "stock checks" to update readers. Prices on the HD 7900 cards have slowly crept down to find a place where they are relevant in the market, but AMD appears to not really want to take a back seat to NVIDIA again.

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While visiting with AMD in Seattle for the Fusion Developer Summit a couple of weeks ago, we were briefed on a new secret: Tahiti 2, or Tahiti XT2 internally. An updated Radeon HD 7970 GPU that was going to be shipping soon with higher clock speeds and a new "boost" technology in order to combat the GTX 680. Even better, this card was going to have a $499 price tag.

Continue reading our review of AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition graphics card!!

Podcast #207 - Western Digital N900 HD Router, NVIDIA GT 640, Falling SSD prices, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2012 - 01:03 PM |
Tagged: western digital, podcast, nvidia, N900, kepler, Intel, gt640, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #207 - 06/21/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Western Digital N900 HD Router, NVIDIA GT 640, Falling SSD prices, 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, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:17:19

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:58 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. 0:01:58 Join us for some cool live events this week! - http://pcper.com/live
  6. 0:05:15 Western Digital My Net N900 HD Router Review
  7. 0:19:00 Low-End Laptop Graphics Solution Comparison: Five Options Go Head-To-Head
  8. 0:22:03 Galaxy GeForce GT 640 GC 1GB DDR3 Review - GK107 is no GK104
  9. 0:30:17 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  10. 0:31:00 Modest announcements at the last day of the AFDS
  11. 0:34:20 Western Digital and Seagate doomed to be marked as bad sectors?
  12. 0:37:45 How did we suddenly move past the $1/GB on SSDs?
  13. 0:40:25 SK Hynix to acquire Link_a_Media Devices for $248 million
  14. 0:44:30 Microsoft Surface announced, tablet to compete with iPad
  15. 0:52:40 Intel renames Larrabee to Xeon Phi
  16. 1:01:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Pegasus R4 Thunderbolt Unit - pushing 660 MB/s with RAID-0
    2. Jeremy: I change my mind … This is what I was promised!!
    3. Josh: I love the price drop!
    4. Allyn: Jawbone HD + The Nerd
  17. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  18. http://pcper.com/podcast
  19. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  20. Closing

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - June 20th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2012 - 04:27 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

stockcheck20120620.png

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 3GB

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $449

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $369

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $319

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $129

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - In Stock
Starting at $1049

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

I think it is official, the GeForce GTX 680 has been in stock for more than two weeks in a row and we believe that this is a trend we see continuing through the summer.  Hell, we even found a single GTX 690 in stock from ASUS!

AMD is still doing great on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $449 / $369 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution and yet another $10 price drop.  The fact that the Radeon HD 7970 is now down to $449 and is $50 less than the GTX 680 makes it a compelling solution for gamers yet again.

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Intel Introduces Xeon Phi: Larrabee Unleashed

Subject: Processors | June 19, 2012 - 08:46 AM |
Tagged: Xeon Phi, xeon e5, nvidia, larrabee, knights corner, Intel, HPC, gpgpu, amd

Intel does not respond well when asked about Larabee.  Though Intel has received a lot of bad press from the gaming community about what they were trying to do, that does not necessarily mean that Intel was wrong about how they set up the architecture.  The problem with Larrabee was that it was being considered as a consumer level product with an eye for breaking into the HPC/GPGPU market.  For the consumer level, Larrabee would have been a disaster.  Intel simply would not have been able to compete with AMD and NVIDIA for gamers’ hearts.
 
The problem with Larrabee and the consumer space was a matter of focus, process decisions, and die size.  Larrabee is unique in that it is almost fully programmable and features really only one fixed function unit.  In this case, that fixed function unit was all about texturing.    Everything else relied upon the large array of x86 processors and their attached vector units.  This turns out to be very inefficient when it comes to rendering games, which is the majority of work for the consumer market in graphics cards.  While no outlet was able to get a hold of a Larrabee sample and run benchmarks on it, the general feeling was that Intel would easily be a generation behind in performance.  When considering how large the die size would have to be to even get to that point, it was simply not economical for Intel to produce these cards.
 
phi_01.jpg
 
Xeon Phi is essentially an advanced part based on the original Larrabee architecture.
 
This is not to say that Larrabee does not have a place in the industry.  The actual design lends itself very nicely towards HPC applications.  With each chip hosting many x86 processors with powerful vector units attached, these products can provide tremendous performance in HPC applications which can leverage these particular units.  Because Intel utilized x86 processors instead of the more homogenous designs that AMD and NVIDIA use (lots of stream units doing vector and scalar, but no x86 units or a more traditional networking fabric to connect them).  This does give Intel a leg up on the competition when it comes to programming.  While GPGPU applications are working with products like OpenCL, C++ AMP, and NVIDIA’s CUDA, Intel is able to rely on many current programming languages which can utilize x86.  With the addition of wide vector units on each x86 core, it is relatively simple to make adjustments to utilize these new features as compared to porting something over to OpenCL.
 
So this leads us to the Intel Xeon Phi.  This is the first commercially available product based on an updated version of the Larrabee technology.  The exact code name is Knights Corner.  This is a new MIC (many integrated cores) product based on Intel’s latest 22 nm Tri-Gate process technology.  The details are scarce on how many cores this product actually contains, but it looks to be more than 50 of a very basic “Pentium” style core;  essentially low die space, in-order, and all connected by a robust networking fabric that allows fast data transfer between the memory interface, PCI-E interface, and the cores.
 
intelphi.jpg
 
Each Xeon Phi promises more than 1 TFLOP of performance (as measured by Linpack).  When combined with the new Xeon E5 series of processors, these products can provide a huge amount of computing power.  Furthermore, with the addition of the Cray interconnect technology that Intel acquired this year, clusters of these systems could provide for some of the fastest supercomputers on the market.  While it will take until the end of this year at least to integrate these products into a massive cluster, it will happen and Intel expects these products to be at the forefront of driving performance from the Petascale to the Exascale.
 
phi_02.jpg
 
These are the building blocks that Intel hopes to utilize to corner the HPC market.  Providing powerful CPUs and dozens if not hundreds of MIC units per cluster, the potential computer power should bring us to the Exascale that much sooner.
 
Time will of course tell if Intel will be successful with Xeon Phi and Knights Corner.  The idea behind this product seems sound, and the addition of powerful vector units being attached to simple x86 cores should make the software migration to massively parallel computing just a wee bit easier than what we are seeing now with GPU based products from AMD and NVIDIA.  The areas that those other manufacturers have advantages over Intel are that of many years of work with educational institutions (research), software developers (gaming, GPGPU, and HPC), and industry standards groups (Khronos).  Xeon Phi has a ways to go before being fully embraced by these other organizations, and its future is certainly not set in stone.  We have yet to see 3rd party groups get a hold of these products and put them to the test.  While Intel CPUs are certainly class leading, we still do not know of the full potential of these MIC products as compared to what is currently available in the market.
 

The one positive thing for Intel’s competitors is that it seems their enthusiasm for massively parallel computing is justified.  Intel just entered that ring with a unique architecture that will certainly help push high performance computing more towards true heterogeneous computing. 

Source: Intel

Changes afoot for AMD's CPU process

Subject: General Tech | June 18, 2012 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: amd, TSMC, 28nm

It looks like AMD is going to move its CPU process from the current Silicon on Insulator to the same 28nm bulk CMOS process at TSMC that they currently are using for their Southern Islands GPUs.  This should see the same changes to thermals as with the HD7xxx series of cards when compared to their predecessors and it is possible that this move could help future APUs as both GPU and CPU portions will be using the same improved process.  The article on DigiTimes also carries a bit of speculation on Sea Island, the next GPU architecture as well as the HSA and ARM on AMD.

wafer.jpg

"AMD is set to make a major change in its manufacturing process in 2013 and will fully switch from the existing SOI manufacturing processor to 28nm Bulk CMOS process, according to Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer of AMD."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer:

Introduction, Driver Interface

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There exist a particular group of gamers that are consumed by dreams of gigantic dual-SLI laptops that replace towering desktops. And who can blame them? Walking into a LAN party with a $5,000 laptop under your arm is the geek equivalent of entering a party wearing a $2,500 jacket or driving through your neighborhood in a $250,000 car. We can dream, right?

On the other hand, those super-powerful laptops are a bit...boring from a critic’s standpoint. Why? Because they are almost always excellent machines (due to price) and because most readers gandering at a review (of an expensive gaming laptop) I pen about will never buy one – again, due to the price. 

Most folks – even many geeks – lust over a beefy gaming rig, but end up buying a $600 to $1000 multimedia laptop. This is the laptop that the average person can actually afford, regardless of his or her enthusiasm about computer hardware. 

In the past, this market segment was a gaming wasteland, but that began to change about five years ago. The change was due in part to the fact that many game developers started to veer away from (a focus on) jaw-dropping graphics in favor of expanding their potential markets by going after clients with average/medium-range hardware. 

About two and a half years ago Intel (again) committed to raising the bar on integrated graphics with the release of Intel HD and has since consistently improved its IGP offering with each new generation. AMD has done the same with its Fusion products and NVIDIA (already in the game with its numerous x10/x20/x30M products) just recommitted to power efficient GPUs with its Kepler architecture.

These changes mean that “serious” gaming is now possible on an inexpensive laptop. But how possible? What sacrifices do you make and how do low-end IGPs and GPUs stack up against each other?

Continue reading our comparison of current generation notebook graphics options!!