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.

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"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."

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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.

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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.

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"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."

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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.

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"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."

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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.

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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.

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

Can you effectively patch up a Bulldozer?

Subject: Processors | February 17, 2012 - 01:52 PM |
Tagged: fx-8150, FX, cpu, bulldozer, amd, 990fx

AMD's $270 flagship processor, the 3.6GHz FX-8150 had a mixed reception as the hype which lead up to the release built up our expectations to a point that the processor could not live up to.  Part of the disappointment has been blamed on the Windows 7 thread scheduler, which AMD described as not being optimized for their architecture, which lead to the release of hotfix files KB2645594 and KB2646060.  TechPowerUp revisited their benchmarks to see if these patches effectively increase the performance of multi-threaded tasks; single threaded tasks are dependant on processor speed so they should be unaffected by the patches.

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"After settling on the market, with all the quirks and bugs supposedly fixed, all the hype and disappointment blown away, we put AMD's FX-8150 under the scope. Benchmarks are done with and without the Windows 7 hotfix and in depth overclocking should resolve any doubts you have about AMD's flagship processor."

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Source: TechPowerUp

Podcast #189 - AMD Radeon HD 7750 and 7770, Mechanical Keyboards from Rosewill, Windows on ARM and more!

Subject: Editorial | February 16, 2012 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: WOA, rosewill, podcast, nvidia, Intel, gpu, cpu, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #189 - 02/16/2012

Join us this week as we talk about AMD Radeon HD 7750 and 7770, Mechanical Keyboards from Rosewill, Windows on ARM 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: 1:18:31

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:29 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 AMD Radeon HD 7770 and 7750 Cape Verde GPU Review
  6. 0:20:15 Rosewill Second Generation Mechanical Keyboard Review: RK-9000, RK-9000BR, RK-9000BL, RK-9000RE
  7. 0:23:20 ASUS Transformer Prime TF201 Keyboard Dock Review
  8. 0:25:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:27:45 WOA! We wanted Windows 8 on ARM details. We got them.
  10. 0:31:00 Intel Haswell Processors To Launch In First Half of 2013
  11. 0:37:25 CTO Eric Demers to Leave AMD
  12. 0:41:15 OCZ Launches Z-Drive R4 CloudServ 16TB Solid State Storage System
  13. 0:46:00 Asustek? Your Ultrabook orders are ah pulled.
  14. 0:48:25 Take that Moore! Electron beam etching set to take us to the 10nm process
  15. 1:00:55 Email from James
  16. 1:02:45 Email from Dave
  17. 1:05:45 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: HINGES!!!  YouTube video 
    2. Jeremy: SilverSands Active Directories Migration tool
    1. Josh: Apparently quite fun.
    2. Allyn: NewerTech Power2U
  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

Meet the new mid-range; AMD's HD7770 and HD7750

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2012 - 02:33 PM |
Tagged: xfx, southern islands, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd, radeon, factory overclocked

The days of the HD 6870 are numbered as today we see the arrival of the new sub-$200 GPUs from AMD, the HD7770 and HD7750.  The stock HD 7770 run at 1GHz with 640 stream processors, 40 texture units and 16 ROPs and the 1GB of memory rides on a 128-bit bus at 4.5GHz.  The stock HD7750 has a slower core, running at 800MHz and a lower stream processor count of 512 as well as only 32 Texture units, with the memory subsystem unchanged from the HD7770.

Those who were disappointed by the lack of custom coolers and factory overclocks at the release of the HD 7970 will be happy to see the variety of HD7700 series cards.  For instance [H]ard|OCP reviewed the XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked which has a custom cooler, a 120MHz overclock on the core and a 300Mhz on the memory, effectively 5.2GHz.  [H] proved that there is more memory headroom available in this card, adding another 1.1GHz without needing to adjust the voltage.  For those who are willing to risk upping the power there might be even more speed possible from this card. 

You can also catch Ryan's review of the same card as well as an MSI version and a stock HD 7750.

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"Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7700 series of GPUs in the sub-$200 bracket. We've got a retail XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked video card just itching to show us what it can do. Will this Radeon HD 7770 based video card hold up to the likes of the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti? You may be surprised."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
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.

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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.  

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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.

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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.  

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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.