XFX Throws into the Midrange Ring
Who is this XFX? This is a brand that I have not dealt with in a long time. In fact, the last time I had an XFX card was some five years ago, and it was in the form of the GeForce 8800 GTX XXX Edition. This was a pretty awesome card for the time, and it seemed to last forever in terms of performance and features in the new DX 10 world that was 2007/2008. This was a heavily overclocked card, and it would get really loud during gaming sessions. I can honestly say though that this particular card was troublefree and well built.
XFX has not always had a great reputation though, and the company has gone through some very interesting twists and turns over the years. XFX is a subsidiary of Pine Technologies. Initially XFX dealt strictly with NVIDIA based products, but a few years back when the graphics market became really tight, NVIDIA dropped several manufacturers and focused their attention on the bigger partners. Among the victims of this tightening were BFG Technologies and XFX. Unlike BFG, XFX was able to negotiate successfully with AMD to transition their product lineup to Radeon products. Since then XFX has been very aggressive in pursuing unique designs based on these AMD products. While previous generation designs did not step far from the reference products, this latest generation is a big step forward for XFX.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 19, 2012 - 04:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, trinity, cloud computing, cloud, amd
Bloomberg Businessweek reports AMD CEO Rory Read claims that his company will produce chips which are suited for consumer needs and not to crunch larger and larger bundles of information. They also like eating Intel’s bacon -- the question: is it from a pig or a turkey?
Read believes there is “enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”.
The argument revolves around the shift to the cloud, as usual. It is very alluring to shift focus from the instrument to the data itself. More enticing: discussing how the instruments change to suit that need; this is especially true if you develop instruments and yearn to shift anyway.
Don’t question the bacon…
AMD has been trusting that their processors will be good enough and their products will differentiate in other ways such as with graphics capabilities which they claim will be more important for cloud services. AMD hopes that their newer laptops will steal some bacon from Intel and their ultrabook initiative.
The main problem with the cloud is that it is mostly something that people feel that they want rather than actually do. They believe they want their content controlled by a company for them until it becomes inaccessible temporarily or permanently. They believe they want their information accessible in online services but then freak out about the privacy implications of it.
The public appeal of the cloud is that it lets you feel as though you can focus on the content rather than the medium. The problem is that you do not have fewer distractions from your content -- just different ones -- and they rear their head once or twice in isolation of each other. You experience a privacy concern here and an incompatibility or licensing issue there. For some problems and for some people it makes more sense to control your own data. It will continue to be important to serve that market.
And if crunching ends up being necessary for the future it looks like Intel will be a little lonely at the top.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 18, 2012 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gtx 680, gtx670, hd7970, amd, nvidia
Ryan pitted the GTX670 and GTX570 against each other to show that in terms of gaming performance the GTX670 is a viable upgrade. [H]ard|OCP did something similar, testing the GTX670 and 680 against the HD7970 in a gaming performance showdown. For those who are only interested in gaming performance they've assembled a great breakdown of four popular games at a variety of resolutions and both at stock clocks and the best OC they could manage. The results are clear, for gamers it is NVIDIA with the clear win, with the GTX670 being a better value than the HD7970 and the GTX680 being a better performer.
"Wondering how the GeForce GTX 680 and GeForce GTX 670 compare to the Radeon HD 7970 and Radeon HD 7950 at stock frequencies as well as overclocked? You ask for it and we have done just that. Hold onto your hard earned cash and take note of just how the new GeForce GTX 670 compares with the rest of the competition."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD vs Nvidia 2012 - The Best Video Card for $200 @ hardCOREware
- Inno3D iChiLL GTX 670 HerculeZ 3000 Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeave
- KFA2 Geforce GTX680 EX OC @ Kitguru
- Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition Vapor-X Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Inno3D iChill GEFORCE GTX 670 2GB OC @ Tweaktown
- MSI GTX 680 Twin Frozr III OC 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 2GB Superclocked Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte GTX680 Windforce @ OC3D
- EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC @ Guru of 3D
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 670 SLI @ techPowerUp
- Zotac GeForce GTX680 2GB Review @ HardwareLOOK
- NVIDIA GTX 680: Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 12.04 @ Phoronix
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Diamond Radeon HD 7870 2GB Double Black Diamond Review @ circuitREMIX
- HIS HD7870 IceQ Turbo and IceQ X Turbo X @ Kitguru
- ARCTIC Accelero Xtreme 7970 @ Hardwareoverclock
- Radeon HD 79xx Graphics Cards from Gigabyte, Sapphire and XFX. CrossFireX Configuration @ X-bit Labs
- Sapphire HD 7770 GHz Edition Vapor-X Review @ Neoseeker
- Sapphire HD 7770 Vapor-X OC Edition Review @ OC
- Sapphire HD 7770 Vapor-X @ LanOC Reviews
- HIS Radeon HD 7950 IceQ Turbo @ Legion Hardware
Subject: Processors | May 15, 2012 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, APU, trinity
AMD today announced the widely anticipated launch of its 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) for mainstream and ultrathin notebooks, All-in-One and traditional desktops, home theater PCs and embedded designs.
The 2nd-Generation A-Series APU, codenamed “Trinity”, is a grounds-up improved design over the previous generation, enabling a best-in-class PC mobility, entertainment, and gaming experience. New features of the product design include:
- Double the performance per watt of the previous generation;
- The AMD HD Media Accelerator with a unique set of technologies designed to optimize video quality available with premium and Internet video content, and accelerate video file conversion;
- An increase in CPU performance of up to 29 percent with higher processor speeds thanks to the next-generation AMD “Piledriver” CPU core with 3rd-Generation AMD Turbo Core technology, where power is dynamically shifted between the CPU and GPU depending on application needs, effectively providing a more responsive experience that can boost CPU frequencies to up to 3.2 GHz;
- AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series graphics for an increase of graphics performance up to 56% over the previous generation. Combined, the CPU and GPU cores deliver more than 700 gigaflops of computing performance – several times more than the fastest x86 CPUs – to boost performance of hundreds of applications;
- Up to 12 hours of battery life through CPU and GPU power enhancements, with clear battery life leadership in notebook form factors.
“The latest OEM notebooks, ultrathins, All-in-Ones and desktops based on the new AMD A-Series APU enable the best video and gaming experiences, highly responsive performance with AMD Turbo CORE, and accelerate an ever-increasing range of productivity and multimedia applications -- in sleek, stylish designs at price points that make sense,” said Chris Cloran, corporate vice president and General Manager, AMD Client Business Unit. “Our 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU is a major step forward in every performance and power dimension, allowing users to enjoy a stunning experience without having to give up the things that matter to them most. This experience doesn’t stop at mainstream notebooks. It carries over into affordable ultrathin form factors featuring the latest in AMD Radeon graphics.”
The Growing AMD Accelerated Application Ecosystem
The developer ecosystem continues to gravitate to the unmatched level of compute and unique processing capabilities of the APU as more than 100 applications and games are now accelerated by AMD APUs. The 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU gives users superior Web-based video experience thanks to plug-ins for Google Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 9 that make it easy for consumers to turn on AMD Steady Video technology. Recent applications that have been optimized for use on AMD A-Series APUs include Adobe Photoshop CS6, WinZip 16.5 and VLC Media Player. AMD A-Series APUs are also well-positioned to take advantage of the upcoming transition to the Windows 8 operating system.
“We are excited for the introduction of the 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU and are confident it will continue the great work Microsoft and AMD have done together on the A-Series APU,” said Aidan Marcuss, senior director, Windows Business Planning, Microsoft Corp. “We look forward to seeing the A-Series APU in action with Windows 8 to deliver a great user experience across a variety of hardware.”
For developers who want to engage in the industry’s move toward heterogeneous computing, the upcoming AMD Fusion12 Developer Summit will offer them a unique opportunity to enhance their knowledge base. More information on AFDS can be found here.
With more than 12 hours of ‘resting’ battery life, AMD is now an industry leader in notebook battery-life performance. The 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU delivers increased levels of performance, while consuming half the power as its predecessor.
These gains can be attributed to the new power-optimized “Piledriver” CPU core, as well as to AMD Start Now technology, which is designed to maximize system responsiveness by quickly entering and exiting low power states. With AMD Start Now, the computer resumes from sleep mode in as few as two seconds and boots to the desktop in as few as 10 seconds.
In ultrathin form factors, AMD enables an uncompromised visual experience thanks to a power-efficient and premium AMD Radeon graphics engine. Consumers can expect to see ultrathin notebooks based on dual-core 17-watt and quad-core 25-watt AMD A-Series APUs. These products will be easily identifiable by aluminum-styled VISION Technology stickers at a range of competitive price points.
As more and more people turn to their computers as the hub for their entertainment, the visual aspect of computing becomes ever more important. To enhance these capabilities, AMD created the AMD HD Media Accelerator – a unique set of technologies that enable the best video quality on a PC. Key features of the HD Media Accelerator include:
- AMD Perfect Picture HD – An image, video processing and display technology that automatically makes images and video better with color vibrancy adjustments, edge enhancement, noise reduction and dynamic contrast fixes;
- AMD Steady Video Technology – A technology that enables smooth playback of jittery video content with a single button click thanks to plug-ins for popular Web browsers and multimedia applications;
- AMD Quick Stream Technology – A new technology that prioritizes video streaming on PC systems for a smooth, virtually uninterrupted video stream; True HD video chat with up to four people at once;
- AMD Video Converter – A video compression engine for fast conversion and sharing of media files across multiple formats and devices; Full decode support for H.264, MPEG-2, VC-1, MVC, DivX and WMV.
The 2nd-Generation AMD A-Series APU builds on AMD’s legacy of gaming leadership with an increase in graphics performance of up to 56% over the previous generation and support for:
AMD Eyefinity Technology – For the first time, this immersive technology is available from an APU without the need for a discrete graphics card Performance-leading DirectX 11 graphics architecture and 1080p gaming a life-like level of detail; AMD Radeon dual graphics support that delivers a performance boost of up to 75 percent when adding a discrete graphics card to the APU.11 The AMD Radeon dual graphics option also offers support for DirectX 9 for older game titles, and uses new AMD CrossFire Technology Profiles for easier updates.
AMD’s position is not enviable. Though they’re the only large competitor to Intel in the market for x86 processors, the company is dwarfed by the Giant of Santa Clara. As a resident of Portland, I can’t forget this fact. Intel offices are strewn across the landscape of the western suburbs, most of them at least four times larger than any office I’ve worked at.
Despite the long odds, AMD is set in this course for now and has no choice but to soldier on. And so we have today’s reference platform, a laptop powered by AMD’s latest mobile processor, codenamed Trinity. These processors, like the older Llano models, will be sold as the AMD A-Series. This might lead you to think that it’s simply another minor update, but that’s not the case.
Llano was released around the same time as Bulldozer, but it did not use Bulldozer cores. Instead it used yet another update of Stars, which is a mobile incarnation of Phenom II, which was of course an improvement upon the original Phenom. The “new” Llano APU in fact was equipped with some rather old processor cores. This showed in the performance of the mobile Llano products. They simply could not keep up with Sandy Bridge’s more modern cores.
Bulldozer isn’t coming to mobile with Trinity, either. Instead we’re receiving Piledriver. AMD has effectively skipped the first iteration of its new Bulldozer architecture and moved straight on to the second. Piledriver includes the third generation of AMD’s Turbo Core and promises “up to 29%” better processor performance than last year’s Llano-based A-Series.
That’s a significant improvement, should it turn out to be correct. Is it true, and will it be enough to catch up to Intel?
Subject: Editorial | May 10, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Vertex 4, podcast, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gtx690, g75v, amd, 690
PC Perspective Podcast #201 - 05/10/2012
Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 690 review, ASUS G75V Ivy Bridge Notebook review, a Vertex 4 update and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
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- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- Win a Netgear R6300 802.11ac router!!
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review - Dual GK104 Kepler Greatness
- ASUS G75V Review: Gaming Goes Ivy
- Greater than 20 Percent of Malware Articles Miss the Point
- Trinity Improvements Include Updated Piledriver Cores and VLIW4 GPUs
- More Leaks Emerge on NVIDIA’s Kepler Based GTX 670 GPU
- Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.
- Corsair Launches Air Series of High Airflow and High Static Pressure Fans
- Steam Allows Remote Installation of Games
- OCZ Updates Vertex 4 Enthusiasts to 1.4 Release Candidate Firmware
- Windows Media Center To Be A Pro Only Feature In Windows 8
- Good news from TSMC for NVIDIA and you
- Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 10, 2012 - 01:38 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: 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 today's new release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.
NVIDIA's latest offering, the GeForce GTX 670
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 $479
Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $329
Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $249
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 - No Stock
Starting at $999
GeForce GTX 680 2GB - No Stock
Starting at $499
GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399
It is launch day for the GTX 670 and those seem to be pretty widely available for the time being. As great a card as it is though, I am hesitant to think it will remain in stock through the end of the day based on past experiences with the GTX 600 cards. Still, the GTX 680 is MIA and the few times I have seen it in stock it only lasts a couple of hours.
AMD is still doing fine on availability with the Radeon HD 7970 and HD 7950 widely available for the price of $479 with a set of three free games including DiRT Showdown and Dues Ex: Human Revolution.
If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:
- GeForce GTX 670
- GeForce GTX 690
- GeForce GTX 680
- MSI R7970 Lightning
- Radeon HD 7870 and HD 7850
- Radeon HD 7770 and HD 7750
- Radeon HD 7950
- Radeon HD 7970
Subject: Processors | May 8, 2012 - 05:30 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ultrathins, trinity, piledriver, mobile, APU, amd
Last week we detailed the changes and improvements in AMD’s upcoming Trinity Accelerated Processing Units (APU). Today, DigiTimes has confirmed that Trinity will be released later this month. The only catch is that the company is only releasing the mobile Trinity chips in May. The higher end, and higher TDP, parts will not be released until August 2012.
A Trinity APU die next to a USB flash drive
According to their sources, AMD will be pricing the mobile Trinity chips very aggressively. They will offer a cheaper alternative to OEMs as AMD based ultrathins compared to an Ivy Bridge based ultabrook notebook. The low power Trinity chips will have vastly superior GPU execution units, though Ivy Bridge may retain the CPU performance crown. Both chips are able to sip voltage and have low TDPs so it will be interesting to see the results of battery life tests once the chips and notebooks are released and are in the hands of reviewers.
Trinity desktop parts are scheduled for release in August, including the A10-5800K, A10-5700, A8-5600K, and A8-5500. They are also planning lower end A6 and A4 series Trinity APUs.
Beyond Trinity, their sources have indicated that AMD will release very low power Brazos 2.0 processors for ultrathins and Windows 8 tablets that have 18W TDPs in June 2012. Vishera–Piledriver architecture, AM3+ socket–FX series desktop CPUs (no iGPU) will be released sometime in the third quarter of this year (Q3 2012). The FX and Brazos processors include the FX-8350, FX-6300, FX-4320, and the E2-1800 and E1-1200 respectively.
While AMD may not have the lowest manufacturing process, are seemingly dropping employees like flies, and had a huge financial loss due to buying themselves out of GlobalFoundries they are still hanging in there and delivering competitive products for the low to mid-range markets.
Subject: Motherboards | May 7, 2012 - 04:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gigabyte, 990FXA-UD5, amd, am3, 990fx
If you need your Intel fix then scroll to the reviews below the fold where you will find a plethora of Z77 and X79 boards, but to provide a little variety check out the Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 which is available for $180. As you can tell from the pricing this is from the higher of end AMD motherboards, with four PCIe 16x slots of which two can manage a full 16x, a total of ten SATA6Gb/s ports, two of which are eSATA, fourteen USB 2.0, four USB 3.0 and even a pair of Firewire ports are available. The variety and number of I/O ports is this boards strongest feature, Neoseeker would not recommend it for heavy overclockers but for someone who needs a workhorse that will handle a huge amount of drives and peripherals it is a very strong choice.
"The Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5 is a solid motherboard with a nice feature set for the AM3 and AM3+ processors. We pit it against the ASUS Crosshair V Formula, provided with the AMD FX-8150 review kits back at launch, to see how it compares with the incumbent AM3 champ."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- ASUS Maximus V GENE Z77 mATX Motherboard Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Benchmark Tests @ Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS P8Z77-V LGA1155 Motherboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- ECS Z77H2-A2X Black Edition @ PCStats
- Gigabyte G1.Sniper M3 Intel Z77 Express LGA 1155 Preview @ techPowerUp
- Intel DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Features @ Benchmark Reviews
- Asus Maximus V Gene @ eTeknix
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H @ Kitguru
- Biostar TZ77XE4 @ Kitguru
- MSI Z77A-GD65 @ Tweaktown
- Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H @ OC3D
- ECS Z77H2-AX @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe Benchmark Performance @ Benchmark Reviews
- Sapphire Pure Platinum Z77K @ Kitguru
- GIGABYTE Z77X-UD5H @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Maximus V GENE Z77 @ Guru of 3D
- MSI Z77A-GD65 Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe @ Kitguru
- MSI Z77A-GD65 @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe LGA1155 Motherboard @ Benchmark Reviews
- BIOS Option Of The Week - Internal Graphics Mode Select @ TechARP
- MSI X79A-GD65 (8D) @ X-bit Labs
- ASRock X79 Extreme9 Motherboard Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gigabyte X79-UD3 Motherboard Review @ Madshrimps
- Six SSDs in RAID 0: Intel vs AMD - which chipset scales the best? @ Hardware.Info
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2012 - 12:58 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: radeon, diablo iii, catalyst 12.4, catalyst, amd
A recent forum entry from a Diablo III official agent informed gamers that if you were planning on playing Diablo III on the May 15th launch date, you had better not be using the Catalyst 12.4 drivers that were just released on April 25th.
While AMD still has about 9 days to respond to this issue, for a support rep from Blizzard to flat-out say that "12.4 isn't going to be supported for use in Diablo III" is indicative of a larger problem - can AMD's somewhat smaller driver team hope to keep up with NVIDIA's as we get set for another way of pretty major PC game releases?
Quite a few users are taking up for AMD in the thread including Mortac that says:
I find this to be a very confusing answer. What are we to expect for the future? You say that Diablo III won't support 12.4, but what exactly do you mean by that? Are we to expect support for future drivers down the road, say a few weeks after release, or are you telling us that we'll never be able to update our drivers again for as long as we intend to play Diablo III? If the latter, then you guys really need to think that through again. People update their drivers for several reasons, and you cannot possibly expect everyone to swap drivers every time they play other games that might require the latest version.
How this issue will be resolved before May 15th will be of importance to quite a few PC gamers so let's hope both AMD and Blizzard can get their acts together.
Besides Blizzard's long awaited Diablo entry, PC gamers can look forward to Guild Wars 2, DiRT Showdown, Max Payne 3, a new Ghost Recon title, BF3: Close Quarters, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Far Cry 3, Borderlands 2, Bioshock Infinite and many more in the coming months.
UPDATE 2:22pm: An AMD representative has informed us that that bug referred to by the Blizzard forum support person in fact ONLY affects Radeon HD 2000, 3000 and 4000 users. The 12.4 Catalyst software will work fine with 5000, 6000 and the new 7000 series of graphics cards apparently.
@ryanshrout This post from Blizzard is an unfortunate misunderstanding we are working to correct. 12.4 works fine for 5k/6k/7k users.
— Robert Hallock (@Thracks) May 6, 2012
Also, as Robert Hallock commented in our thread below:
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