Podcast #191 - ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 29, 2012 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: vengeance, tegra, podcast, nvidia, MWC, Intel, corsair, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #191 - 02/29/2012

Join us this week as we talk about our ASUS AMD GPU Roundup, IMFT Flash, and tons of news from MWC!

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 Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:05:06

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:32 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. 0:01:38 Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  6. 0:03:35 SilverStone TJ08-E Micro-ATX Tower Enclosure Review
  7. 0:05:00 Asus DirectCU and DirectCU II for AMD: 6850, 6870, 6950, and 6970 Boards Under the Microscope
  8. 0:16:15 AMD Updates the FX Line: Some Thoughts on Future Moves for AMD
  9. 0:22:55 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:23:45 Intel Ivy Bridge delay is confirmed essentially
  11. 0:27:30 GPU sales look a little down in the month
  12. 0:31:13 Could this new research lead to light speed RAM?
  13. 0:33:45 Just Delivered: Corsair Vengeance K90, K60, M90, M60 Keyboards and Mice
  14. 0:36:30 Intel / Micron Flash Technology Venture Expands, Micron Assumes Two Plants
  15. 0:40:30 Qualcomm Shipped Most Smartphone and Tablet GPUs in 2011
  16. 0:42:20 MWC 12: Samsung to compete with Tegra on quad-core CPU
  17. 0:45:20 MWC 12: Huawei enters the mobile SoC world with quad-core K3V2
  18. 0:47:00 Nokia World's Largest Windows Phone OS Smartphone Vendor in Q4 2011
  19. 0:49:00 MWC 12: Intel branded, Atom-powered smartphone to be sold by Orange
  20. 0:51:30 MWC 12: ASUS Unveils Infinity Tablets, Dockable Smartphone
  21. 0:55:00 MWC 12: Lots of industry support for NVIDIA DirectTouch
  22. 0:56:55 MWC 12: NVIDIA Roadmap Outlines Tegra's Future Including 4G and Die Shrink
  23. Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  24. 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: A phone that shows pictures of hotels
    2. Jeremy: Audio steganography
    1. Josh: If you do wanna go AMD... cheaply
    2. Allyn: CircuitLab
  25. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  26. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  27. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  28. Closing

Source:

Feast your eyes on four overclocked HD7970s crushing benchmarks

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 28, 2012 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: quad crossfire, hd7970, amd, overclocking

It would be quite the feat to find a case to contain the system below, with four HD7970s powered by two 1200W PSUs plus other assorted components, not to mention the heat this system will produce.  Not even the ASUS MARS 2 in SLI can keep up with this monstrosity and the scaling from a pair of HD7970s is rather impressive as in the past adding the third and fourth card did not lead to large gains.  The Core i7-3960X @ 4.8GHz simply can't keep up with the GPUs, implying that this system could actually be more impressive.  If you want to see $2200+ of GPUs in action then head to OC3D.

OMG.JPG

"In combination with ASUS we're rerunning our Quadfire HD7970 test with the benefit of overclocking. Roll up, roll up."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: Overclock3D

AMD Updates the FX Line: Some Thoughts on Future Moves for AMD

Subject: Processors | February 28, 2012 - 12:51 PM |
Tagged: trinity, FX-8120, FX-6200, FX-4170, FX, FM3, bulldozer, amd, am3+

Since AMD held their Analysts’ Day, we have not heard a whole bunch from their CPU division.  The graphics side has been in full gear launching the HD 7000 series of products, and soon we will see the final pieces of that particular puzzle fall into place.  What about the CPU group?  We have heard about Trinity for ages now, but that particular launch is still months away.  The last CPU update detailed the “K” series of unlocked Llano chips.  What about Bulldozer?  Is there a new stepping?  How is GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 32 nm SOI/HKMG progressing?

amd-fx-logo2.jpg

I don’t have all those answers, unfortunately.  Since AMD proceeded to sack most of the PR team, our contacts have all but disappeared.  Questions emailed to AMD are often not returned.  Requests for CPU information (or samples) are ignored.  Are these people just simply overworked, or is AMD clamping down on information?  Hard to say.  My guess here is that they are taking the philosophy of, “No news is good news.”  If a company does not send out review samples, they do not have to deal with products receiving bad reviews.  I am not saying that the FX processors are necessarily bad, but they do not match up well against Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge parts.  At least AMD parts are priced appropriately overall for their level of performance.  If we look at overall results, the FX-8150 does match up fairly well with the i5-2500K, and they both exist very close to each other in price points.

What we do know is that AMD has released two new processors into the market with the FX-4170 and the FX-6200.  The FX-4170 is a new dual module (four core) 125 watt TDP part that is clocked at an amazing 4.2 GHz stock speed, and a turbo that goes to 4.3 GHz.  This is the fastest consumer grade processor in terms of clockspeed, but it obviously is not the fastest processor on Earth.  The original FX-4100 is a 95 watt TDP part at 3.6 GHz stock/3.8 GHz turbo, 4 MB L2 cache, and 8 MB of L3.  The FX-6200 is perhaps the more interesting of the two.  It has a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a max turbo speed of 4.1 GHz.  This is a pretty hefty increase from the FX-6100 with its base 3.3 GHz and 3.9 GHz turbo.  The 6100 is a 95 watt TDP part while the new 6200 is 125 watt TDP.  The 6200 is a three module (six core) part with 6 MB of L2 cache and 8 MB of L3.

The last bit of news is that the FX-8120 is getting a price cut to put it more in line against the competition.  The email that we received about this and the previous announcements was amazingly generic and fairly uninformative.  We do not know the prices, we do not know the rollout schedule, and we have no idea how much the FX-8120 is going to be chopped.  We have seen the retail market already cut the prices down on the FX-8xxx series.  The high end FX-8150 was introduced around $289 but now it can be readily available for $259.  Now that demand has dropped in the PC sector and AMD’s supply has caught up, it is no wonder we are seeing new SKUs and the lowering of prices.

amd_FX.jpg

My goal is to try to get a hold of some of these parts, as they do look interesting from a value standpoint.  The FX-6200 is of great interest for many users due to the nice provisioning of cores, L3 caches, and speeds.  Throw in a decent price for this particular product, and it could be a favorite for budget enthusiasts who want to stick with AMD products.  The area where it does fall down is that of TDP when compared to Intel’s Sandy Bridge parts at that price point.  The jump to 3.8 GHz base speed and 4.1 GHz turbo should make it very comparable in stock clocked performance to anything Intel has in that price range.

Overclocking could be interesting here, but since it is already a 125 watt TDP part I do not know how much headroom these products have.  4.8 GHz is very likely, but on air cooling I would not expect overclocked speeds to reach much more above that.  Still, these are interesting parts and give plenty of bang for their price.  Add in pretty mature support for AM3+ motherboards, and AMD still has a chance with enthusiasts.  The only real issue that is looming is PCI-E 3.0 support for the AM3+ ecosystem.  We have not heard anything about the upcoming (or is it cancelled?) 1090FX chipset, other than it is based on 890FX/990FX and should not support PCI-E 3.0.  With AMD’s push for APUs, I would expect the upcoming Trinity parts to introduce PCI-E 3.0.  AMD also looks like they will start funneling the enthusiasts towards FM2 platforms and Trinity based parts.  While AMD looks to support AM3+ with Piledriver based cores, my best guess here is that AM3+ will be phased out sooner rather than later.

The next 6 months will be critical for AMD and their path moving forwards.  At the very least we will have a better idea of where the company is going under the new management.  I am still expecting some big changes from AMD, and if Trinity can give Intel a run for its money in terms of per clock CPU performance, then they could have a winner on their hands and adjust their roadmap to further exploit that particular product release.

Source: AMD
Author:
Manufacturer: Asus

AMD Gets the Direct CU Treatment

In the previous roundup I covered the DirectCU II models from Asus featuring NVIDIA based chips.  These boards included the GTX 580, 570, and 560 products.  All of these were DirectCU II based with all the updated features that are included as compared to the original DirectCU products.  With the AMD parts Asus has split the top four products into two categories; DirectCU II and the original DirectCU.  When we start looking at thermal properties and price points, we will see why Asus took this route.

asus_4amd_01.jpg

AMD has had a strong couple of years with their graphics chips.  While they were not able to take the single GPU performance crown in this previous generation, their products were very capable and competitive across the board and at every price point.  In fact, there are some features that these cards have at particular price points that make them very desirable in quite a few applications.  In particular are the 2 GB of memory on the HD 6900 series cards where the competition from NVIDIA at those price points features 1 GB and 1.25 GB.  In titles such as Skyrim, with the HD texture DLC enabled, these cards start to limit performance at 1920x1080 and above due to the memory requirements needed for these higher resolution textures.

Read the entire article here.

Podcast #190 - PCAudioLabs system giveaway, the future of NAND Memory, potential Ivy Bridge delays and more!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | February 23, 2012 - 04:10 PM |
Tagged: Thinkpad, podcast, piledriver, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #190 - 02/23/2012

Join us this week as we talk about a PCAudioLabs system giveaway, the future of NAND Memory, potential Ivy Bridge delays 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 Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:24:53

Program Schedule: 

  1. 0:00:31 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. 0:01:45 Intel, PCAudioLabs and PC Perspective Rok Box System Sweepstakes!!
  6. 0:03:45 How We Review Laptops At PC Perspective
  7. 0:05:30 MSI Graphics Card Division Interview: Alex Chang Takes our Q's
  8. 0:09:10 Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Review: Kickin' It Old School
  9. 0:12:00 NAND Flash Memory - A Future Not So Bleak After All
  10. 0:27:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. 0:28:30 Mass Effect 3 is Coming, Pre-Order Now and Get Battlefield 3 (PC) Free
  12. 0:31:00 Intel may delay shipments of Ivy Bridge processors
  13. 0:35:10 VIA teams with Tensilica to roll their own SSD controller
  14. 0:40:53 HP dates NVIDIA on Valentine's Day. We get Z1 workstation.
  15. 0:46:30 Wi-Fi on Rosepoint SoC die. Intel flexes before ARM wrestle.
  16. 0:51:15 Of Near Threshold Voltage and Atomic Transistors
  17. 0:55:15 AMD and Cyclos reduces clock power usage with Piledriver
  18. 1:04:00 Intel becomes a 22nm foundry -- yes, for other people.
  19. 1:11:35 Contest Reminder - http://pcper.com/contest
  20. 1:11:55 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: IKEA DIODER + HOLY AWESOME https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LmEQUm1PUXU/T0W8e-KQz0I/AAAAAAAAYNA/XB64fVxgLvo/w402/engagement.jpg
    2. Ken: SUPAboy
    3. Jeremy: Hardware Leaderboard
    1. Josh: Get it while you still can!
    2. Allyn: Nintendo 1982 Game & Watch Donkey Kong (counter to Ken's pick)
  21. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  22. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  23. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  24. Closing

Source:

If it wasn't for a certain person AMD might have bought the other GPU guys

Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2012 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, nvidia, jen-hsun huang, hector ruiz

Take this story at The Inquirer with a grain of salt as the source might just have a bit of an axe to grind with their former employer; regardless it makes for an interesting read.  The idea that Jen-Hsun's desire to be top boss of the company that absorbed the one he was running at the time certainly fits the personality he shows publicly.  Then again Hector lasted a mere 2 years after the purchase of ATI so perhaps a change in leadership at that time would have changed AMD's future somewhat.  ATI could still be around and AMD might be more focused on SoC and HPC as opposed to the APU route they took.

nvidia_ceo_tattoo.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER AMD wanted to cut a deal with Nvidia before settling for buying ATI instead, according to former AMD employees.

AMD completed a deal to buy ATI for $5.4bn in 2006, but only after it couldn't agree on terms with Nvidia, according to former AMD employees interviewed by Forbes. One of the stumbling blocks to the deal was Nvidia's colourful CEO Jen-Hsun Huang wanting to become the CEO of the combined company, effectively ousting then AMD CEO Hector Ruiz."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

AMD and Cyclos reduces clock power usage with Piledriver

Subject: General Tech, Processors | February 22, 2012 - 06:01 PM |
Tagged: amd, Cyclos, piledriver

AMD has its own announcements about power consumption for the International Solid-State Circuits Conference this week. A few days ago we reported on Intel’s success integrating Wi-Fi transceivers into the CPU to reduce power consumption. Cyclos Semiconductor discussed their resonant clock mesh (RCM) technology which reduces waste energy dissipated when keeping the chip synchronized. AMD announced that this technology would be introduced in their upcoming Piledriver APUs and Opteron processors.

amd-new.png

Excuse me, good sir. Do you have the time?

Tom’s Hardware put up an article to discuss the announcement with a small explanation of what is going on.

Inductive-capacitive oscillators are leveraged in mesh-based high-performance clock distribution networks to deliver "high-precision timing while dissipating almost no power." In effect, RCM promises to recycle clock power to enable lower power consumption or higher clock speeds.

For a more specific explanation, I turned to Josh Walrath. Chips are timed by a clock signal -- any overclocker will attest to that. Over time chips became larger and more complex which of course requires a larger and more complex system to propagate the clock signal through. Slowly but surely those circuits became large enough that the energy they dissipate simply by being powered becomes less and less negligible.

What Cyclos contributes is cleverly using inductor-capacitor circuits to keep the energy stored in the clock circuit mesh. With more of the energy stored in the mesh it just requires a small energy shove to trigger the signal after the initial charge. Also, less energy lost also means less heat dissipation which helps your battery as well as your heatsink.

Cyclos Semiconductor states that power savings are between 5 to 30 percent dependent on the chip design. In AMD’s case, they expect approximately 5 to 10 percent power savings in their Piledriver implementation. While AMD is the first implementation of Cyclos’ technology, it is not known what Intel currently has done or will potentially do to solve the problem.

Sapphire's new nettop will be great; at the right price

Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2012 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, amd, E450

The new nettop that Sapphire will be selling will be great for HTPC usage but you might not want to pick it up if you will be gaming.  The E450 AMD processor inside the machine does have an onboard HD 6350 which will handle 1080p streaming beautifully but as it is the low end of the Llano scale gaming may not be impressive.  Its power consumption will be 30W so neither heat nor power will be an issue.  It ships with Free DOS but will accept WinXP and Win7 for those who want a familiar interface.  The Inquirer expects this device to be less than its Atom powered predecessor which puts the price at or below $400USD.

sapphire-minipc-hd3-230x230.jpg

"GRAPHICS CARD VENDOR Sapphire has announced its AMD Fusion based Edge-HD3 all-in-one nettop PC.

Sapphire claims its Edge-HD3 is about the size of a paperback novel and, while that depends on what type of paperbacks you read, there's no denying that the system is small. Sapphire has slipped an AMD E450 Fusion chip, 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 320GB 2.5in hard drive into the case."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Sapphire overclocks the HD7950

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 20, 2012 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: sapphire, hd 7950, hd 7950 OC, factory overclocked, cape verde, amd

There are a lot of custom Cape Verde boards to chose from, with varying clock speeds and custom coolers which is great for those who like something unique out of the box.  X-bit Labs received an overclocked HD7950 board from Sapphire which sports both a 100MHz overclock on the GPU and a custom low noise cooler.  The back of the card is fairly normal, with a dual-link DVI-I port, one HDMI 1.4a connector and two DisplayPort 1.2 ports available.  Overclocking potential on the card was impressive, with a final 1.15 volts allowing stable performance at 1100MHz GPU and 7360 MHz effective on the memory and a temperature of 74C at full load thanks to the cooler.  Even better is the fact that the cooler operates relatively quietly even at that high overclock.

XBT_04_sp795_fr_big.jpg

"Today we are going to review a graphics accelerator with phenomenally efficient cooling system with very low noise, high performance and superb overclocking potential, which even some Radeon HD 7970 graphics cards could wish for."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: X-bit Labs
Author:
Manufacturer: MSI Computer

MSI's Alex Chang Speaks Up

MSI was founded in 1986 and started producing motherboards and video cards for the quickly growing PC market.  Throughout the life of the company they have further diversified their offerings to include barebones systems, notebooks, networking/communication devices, and industrial products.  While MSI has a nice base of products, they are still primarily a motherboard and video card company.  In the past 10 years MSI has become one of the top brands in North America for video cards, and they have taken a very aggressive approach to design with these products.

msi_logo_fx.jpg

I had the chance to send MSI quite a few questions concerning their video card business and how they develop their products.

What is your name, title, and how long have you worked at MSI?

My name is Bob, and I’m…. actually, I’m just Alex Chang. I’m the Associate Marketing Manager. I’ve been with the company for 2 years.

Typically how long does it take from the original reference design card release to when we can first expect to see a Twin Frozr III based card hit retail?  How much longer does it take to create the “Lightning” based products?

Historically, we’ve seen the introduction of a non-reference thermal solution within 2-4 weeks of product launch. As an example, GTX580 was launched in November 2010, and by December there was already a reference PCB GTX580 w/ the Twin Frozr II cooler.

In the case of Lightning cards, the development timeframe is longer due to more R&D, validation, and procurement of components. With GTX580, the timeframe was around 6 months, but moving forward MSI is pulling in the launch timeframe of our flagship products.

r5770_cont1.jpg

Continue reading our interview with MSI's Alex Chang!!