Less Risk, Faster Product Development and Introduction
There have been quite a few articles lately about the upcoming Bulldozer refresh from AMD, but a lot of the information that they have posted is not new. I have put together a few things that seem to have escaped a lot of these articles, and shine a light on what I consider the most important aspects of these upcoming releases. The positive thing that most of these articles have achieved is increasing interest in AMD’s upcoming products, and what they might do for that company and the industry in general.
The original FX-8150 hopefully will only be a slightly embarrasing memory for AMD come Q3/Q4 of this year.
The current Bulldozer architecture that powers the AMD FX series of processors is not exactly an optimal solution. It works, and seems to do fine, but it does not surpass the performance of the previous generation Phenom II X6 series of chips in any meaningful way. Let us not mention how it compares to Intel’s Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge products. It is not that the design is inherently flawed or bad, but rather that it was a unique avenue of thought that was not completely optimized. The train of thought is that AMD seems to have given up on the high single threaded performance that Intel has excelled at for some time. Instead they are going for good single threaded performance, and outstanding multi-threaded performance. To achieve this they had to rethink how to essentially make the processor as wide as possible, keep the die size and TDP down to reasonable sizes, and still achieve a decent amount of performance in single threaded applications.
Bulldozer was meant to address this idea, and its success is debatable. The processor works, it shows up as an eight logical core processor, and it seems to scale well with multi-threading. The problem, as stated before, is that it does not perform like a next generation part. In fact, it is often compared to Intel’s Prescott, which was a larger chip on a smaller process than the previous Northwood processor, but did not outperform the earlier part in any meaningful way (except in heat production). The difference between Intel and AMD in this aspect is that as compared to Prescott, Bulldozer as an entirely new architecture as compared to the Prescott/Northwood lineage. AMD has radically changed the way it designs processors. Taking some lessons from the graphics arm of the company and their successful Radeon brand, AMD is applying that train of thought to processors.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 3, 2012 - 08:36 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: radeon, hd 7770, graphics cards, gpu, clock speed, amd
Gigabyte has had an overclocked version of the Radeon HD 7770 graphics card for a couple months now, but the company is already readying a second revision of the card. Curiously, the new revision will maintain the same hardware but will run at slightly lower clock speeds. While the current revision (1.0) runs at 1100 MHz and 5000 MHz for the GPU core and memory respectively, the updated graphics card will run at 1050 MHz and 4500 MHz.
Beyond the lower clock speeds, the new revision of the GV-R7770 OC card maintains the same PCB, chips, and cooler design. That hardware includes a 28nm GPU, 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface, and a PCI-E 3.0 expansion slot. Display outputs include a DVI port, full-size HDMI port, and two mini DisplayPorts. It also maintains the same custom Gigabyte heatsink and fan.
According to Videocardz, users will be able to identify which revision they are getting before handing over any money by looking at the box. Alternatively, users can identify which revision it is by looking at the sticker on the underside of the card just above the PCI-E connector. As a new revision, especially with the release of higher-binning chips from AMD, it is a bit confusing that the card is being released with lower clock speeds than its predecessor. It may be that the higher factory overclock was not stable on enough cards and Gigabyte was having to deal with too many returns – that’s only a guess though.
All the same, if you are shopping for a 7770 graphics card and have been considering the Gigabyte model, be sure to double check which revision you are getting.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 29, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, catalyst, catalyst 12.6, catalyst 12.7, whql, beta
AMD announced two new drivers today, the final WHQL build of the 12.6 beta that many are currently using as well as a new beta version of 12.7. These represent the first new drivers on AMD's new release schedule, instead of a new driver every month they plan on now releasing a new driver once it has been proven to improve performance and been fully tested. The 12.6 offers the same benefits as the 12.7, the difference is that the 12.7 introduces a new feature called the Video Codec Engine which is designed to provide powerful GPU support for video encoding tasks in applications such as vReveal and ArcSoft MediaConverter. Check out AMD's blog post here for more details and scroll down to read the highlights of the 12.6 WHQL driver.
Resolved issues in AMD Catalyst 12.6 WHQL and Catalyst 12.7 Beta
- Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 and AMD Radeon HD 7800 Series in TriFire or QuadFire configurations with AMD Eyefinity will no longer result in a BSOD when launching a DirectX application.
- Multi-display configurations will no longer BSOD at the desktop on AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs.
- Additional fixes for AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series GPUs hanging the system upon entering sleep.
- Some occurrences of this issue may be related to an outdated motherboard BIOS, however. Please ensure that your motherboard BIOS is up to date.
- Resolves AMD CrossFire technology scaling issues seen in AMD Catalyst 12.4 with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- AMD Catalyst Control Center: Overdrive page is no longer intermittently missing
- AMD Catalyst Control Center: GPU Activity gauge is no longer intermittently missing
- Using AMD Radeon HD 7900 Series GPUs in an AMD CrossFire technology config no longer results in system hangs after cinematics in Call of Duty: Black Ops
- Heroes and Generals: Blocky corruptions in scenes with smoke effects under the DirectX 11 mode are no longer experienced.
- DiRT Showdown: Improves scaling for AMD CrossFire technology configurations using the AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
- HDMI audio is no longer disabled if the connected HDTV is powered off/on.
Subject: General Tech | June 25, 2012 - 03:59 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: low power, geode, G-T16R, embedded, amd
The new embedded processor from AMD replaces the old Geode series and brings new performance to the ultra low end as this is a 4.5W TPD processor. The G-T16R APU supports Windows 7 Embedded Compact 7, Green Hills Integrity and Express Logic Thread X operating systems which makes the lack of support for DirectX 11 a moot point as these OSes are not about to need that support to begin with. The ultra low TDP means that no fan is required to use this processor and so you can expect an average draw of 2.3W from the system.
DirectX 11 might be missing but looking below you can see that there is a lot of other features included with this chip, from SATA 6Gbps to HD audio as well as HDMI out and support for PCIe 2.0 4x cards, you can get quite a bit from this little chip. Check out the ASUS press release here or just read the summary available at The Inquirer.
"CHIP DESIGNER AMD launched its lowest power accelerator processing unit (APU) yet with the 4.5W TDP G-T16R.
AMD's G series embedded GPUs have been offering some of the lowest power DirectX 11 capable chips for some time and now the firm has brought the TDP down even further with the G-T16R. Although the G-T16R doesn't support DirectX 11, it claims considerable performance benefits over the almost archaic but popular Geode LX embedded processors."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Firefox 'new tab' feature exposes users' secured info: Fix promised @ The Register
- Share Your Library with XBMC using MySQL @ Computing on Demand
- Intel Publishes Ivy Bridge Programming Documentation @ Phoronix
- Ubuntu 12.10 Prepares To Improve Linux Performance @ Phoronix
- MSI to launch a slide ultrabook in 4Q12 with a price of US$799 @ DigiTimes
- Exclusive interview with Dr Lisa Su from AMD @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 23, 2012 - 06:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, llano, blindfolded, APU, amd
Well, we did it! Today I successfully built an AMD A-series APU based computer while blindfolded LIVE. At the start of the event I went over the various components used for the build including the AMD A8-3800 APU, MSI A75 motherboard, Corsair 550D case and 650 watt power supply and more. After showing it all, I wrapped a scarf around my head and went to work.
There were quite a few more hurdles than I expected including spreading the thermal paste correctly, screwing the motherboard into the case and finding the pins for the front panel power button. I was surprised at how easily I was able to install the APU, memory and heatsink, but that likely comes with years of practice and experience with the hardware.
In all, it took me 1 hour and 18 minutes to get to a Windows screen using a pre-installed OS on a Western Digital 1TB hard drive. That was MUCH longer than I had originally thought it would take, so I have been humbled by those DIY PC users that build their own on without sight a regular basis!
If you missed the live event we hosted at http://pcper.com/live you can find the replay hosted right here below. Enjoy watching me completely make a fool of myself!
Update: The winner of the blindfolded system was selected, congrats goes to Darren who gets the task of rebuilding this rig! :D
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 11:43 PM | Ryan Shrout
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!
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 04:27 PM | Tim Verry
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.
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.
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.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 03:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tahiti 2, tahiti, radeon, amd, 7970 ghz edition, 7970
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.
"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:
- AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition @ The Tech Report
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- HD 7970 GHz Edition Review - Tahiti's Boost from Overclocking and Drivers @ VR-Zone
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Review: Battling For The Performance Crown @ AnandTech
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition @ TechSpot
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition review @ Hardware.Info
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB @ Tweaktown
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition Review @ Hardware Canucks
- XBMC's Thoughts On XvBA: AMD Catalyst Has Problems @ Phoronix
- MSI Radeon HD 7870 Hawk 2GB Video Card @ Benchmark Reviews
- MSI Z77A-GD80 & R7770 Power Edition Transthermal OC @ Kitguru
- TEXT GOES HERE
Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2012 - 02:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
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.
"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:
- SSD prices in steady, substantial decline @ The Tech Report
- Ubuntu Lays Plans For Getting Past UEFI SecureBoot @ Slashdot
- BIOS designers to compete for Windows smartphone market @ DigiTimes
- Printers are spewing reams of garbage thanks to 'print bomb' malware @ The Inquirer
- Powerfreakz Evolution 3000 Portable Solar Charger Review @ eTeknix
- Apple Mac OS X 10.7.4 Lion vs. Ubuntu Linux @ Phoronix
- Weekly Giveaway #28: Rosewill RHTS-8206 Gaming Headset and Power Supply @ eTeknix
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.
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.