AMD Radeon HD 7900 PCB Pictures Leak To Web

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 21, 2011 - 07:26 AM |
Tagged: amd, 7900, radeon hd, tahiti, gpu, pcb

Tech Power Up managed to get their hands on a couple photos of the PCBs used in the upcoming AMD Radeon HD 7900 series graphics cards. The blue boards show the traces and connectors that will eventually house the memory chips, graphics processor, capacitors, PCI-E power and video out connections (among others). This particular PCB is allegedly the "cost effective" version that is an alternative for Add-In-Board partners (for example: Sapphire, HIS, and XFX) so that they can offer lower cost cards.

7900 Series.jpg

The naked boards feature spots for two DVI, one HDMI, and one Display Port connector, although graphics card manufacturers do not have to include all of the connectors enabling low profile HTPC friendly versions. Further, the PCB features connections for an 8+2 analog VRM (voltage regulators), 12 memory chips, and two 8 pin PCI-E power connectors.

Keep in mind that this PCB is merely a reference design and may not be used in all Tahiti cards. AMD has given its partners free reign to design their own PCBs for the 7950 graphics cards. On the 7970 card; however, the cost effective reference design may well be used in many third party 7970 cards as an alternative to the main 7970 board design.

I suppose we will just have to wait until tomorrow for the official launch to learn more about the new cards. However, being so close to the launch date, the photos are likely representative of the actual PCB design. More photos can be found here.

Just because you gave your GPU new clothes doesn't mean we won't notice it is the same inside

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 20, 2011 - 03:38 PM |
Tagged: gpu, amd, nvidia, turks, Caicos, graphics core next, GCN, cape verde, HD7770, kepler

Rebranding and rebadging is becoming a very bad habit for both major GPU manufacturers. It is fair to imply that NVIDIA was the first to start doing so on a regular basis but AMD has noticed that they have successfully managed it on several different chip families and has since joined in on crushing enthusiasts hopes in the holy name of the profit margin. On the other hand, with the financial difficulties that both companies are experiencing it is a viable strategy no matter how much enthusiasts dislike the practice.

Just two weeks ago we received information about the mobile chips from NVIDIA and AMD and the news was not good. From AMD we have rebranded Turks and Caicos chips with improved clock speeds but the same base technology already on the market. NVIDIA didn't even go that far and released the exact same chips as the previous generation, under new names.

12661894412_www_kepfeltoltes_hu_.jpg

We have heard rumours that AMD will also be applying that marketing strategy to at least some of the upcoming HD 7xxx series cards but thanks to a link from VR-Zone we know where the new chips will start. The HD7770 will feature Graphics Core Next and a 128-bit memory interface, replacing the ageing Juniper chips. As far as power there seems to be only a single PCIe 6 pin connector needed, which should keep the power draw to around 100W. If you are planning on picking a new AMD card when they arrive on the market ensure you do not look lower in the family as you will be picking up a rebranded card.

nvidia780.png

There was also a leak on the NVIDIA side today, with a single slide marked for internal use only appearing at a site called EXP Review. These types of slides and the benchmarks on them should always be taken with at least your daily allowance of sodium, if not more as the rules for what optimizations can be done to the benchmarks are very different for internal testing. They do show a nice performance difference, the GTX780 ranges from 190% to 230% of the performance of a GTX580. Astute readers will immediately start wondering what happened to the GTX6xx family, as according to this slide NVIDIA seems to be skipping an entire series with Kepler. Perhaps that is where rebranded Fermi chips could find a niche?

The coming year looks dangerous for GPU buyers, with older cards masquerading as newer models, thanks to AMD mixing VLIW4/5 cards with GCN cards and NVIDIA's suspicious naming scheme. While we have a bit of information about AMD's new cards, no indication of their performance has tipped up on the net. If NVIDIA's benchmarks are even close to reality a doubling of performance in a single generation would be a coup for them, as that type of increase in such a short time is almost unheard of. Then again, NVIDIA has been working on this architecture for a long while now. We will find out more over the coming months as both products come closer to their first appearance on the market, likely by the end of Q1.

Source: VR-Zone
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Speed Bumps and Unlocked Processors

AMD has announced the latest members of their fairly successful APU series for both the desktop and the mobile markets.  The original release in June of this year saw the first fully integrated 32 nm APUs from AMD.  These proved to be quite popular with their decent CPU performance and outstanding integrated graphics speed and quality.  The launch was not entirely smooth for AMD though, even though the company had been shipping products to partners and OEMs for some months.

The desktop saw limited SKUs, and the availability of the top end parts was disappointing to say the least.  AMD and their partners at GLOBALFOUNDRIES were not able to produce enough usable chips to supply demand.  Quantities were tight throughout the summer, and the mobile market did not see as big of a boost for AMD as was hoped.  AMD did get a lot of new business though, as the thermal and power envelopes of these A-series chips were able to match that of Intel.

a_chip.jpg

Continue reading our analysis of the new AMD APU releases, both notebook and desktop!

Radeon HD7970 specs leaked. 3.5 Teraflops, 3GB vRAM

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | December 16, 2011 - 04:45 PM |
Tagged: Radeon HD 7000, leak, amd

Update: 5:35, added a few points.

If the convincing-looking leaked slides are to be believed, the upcoming AMD Radeon HD 7970 card is now naked before us with all its measurements laid to bare. While there still is nothing official as the embargo is not up yet, rest assured that at some point the full story will flood to the surface. What can be said is that if this slide is true, the 7970 looks to be a real beast of a card.

7970.png

The supposed reference specifications of the 7970… or are they?

(Image obviously from OBR-Hardware)

As you can tell from the heavily watermarked slide, AMD claims 3.5 TFLOPs of computing power from their 2048 stream processing units clocked at 925 MHz. Contrast this against the AMD’s assertion of 2.7 TFLOPs from the Radeon 6970’s 1536 stream processors and a core clock of 880MHz; while it is not an apples-to-apples comparison, it is a healthy buff to AMD’s portfolio. Also relevant, is a more recent slide claiming much-increased performance during tesselation which NVIDIA typically has maintained a healthy lead over AMD with.

Possibly the most major point from the table is the power consumption: less than 3 Watts during idle. To give a bit of... pc perspective...: HardOCP measured the idle power consumption of the 6970 to be 24 Watts and the NVIDIA GTX 580 at 41 Watts. We are talking about an 88% decrease in idle power draw compared to AMD’s last generation’s single GPU powerhouse. It makes me wonder: how will this affect mobility graphics? According to OBR-Hardware, their slide is somewhat out-of-date; the expected peak is 200W give or take for the card on load, though I am sure that will vary depending on which brand of card you purchase.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Releases Update to Improve Bulldozer... I thought?

Subject: Processors | December 16, 2011 - 12:41 PM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, cpu, processor, windows, microsoft

Intel was far from demolished when AMD's Bulldozer came to town. Users still clung to hope that Microsoft's Windows 7 was not optimized to take advantage of Bulldozer's multi-core environment. Vindication came sweetly with a knowledge base article and a patch from Microsoft confirming the issue and offering a solution. While they can still feel comfortable knowing they were right, the solution has been pulled from Microsoft's website without any announced reason. Who should we feel sorry for: those who didn't download it yet, or those who did?

amd_bulldozer_performance boost.jpg

This picture is more meme-worthy than we realized...
99 hotfix and ah this ain't one? If you're having kernel problems I feel bad for you son.

 

To be entirely fair, Microsoft's knowledge base article was quite clear in its instruction to users regarding this hotfix.

A supported hotfix is available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing the problem described in this article. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next software update that contains this hotfix.

Still, AMD users have another reason to be upset as if they needed one. The hotfix will come, and will come in completely stable form; it just looks like today is not that day. If you already received this update and have experienced technical difficulties, the comment form awaits.

Source: VR-Zone

Microsoft Releases Update To Improve Bulldozer Performance

Subject: Processors | December 16, 2011 - 01:56 AM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, cpu, processor, windows, microsoft

When AMD’s Bulldozer processors arrived, they were unable to best Intel’s fastest at most tasks. A number of users held out hope for Bulldozer; however, as it was discovered that Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was not optimized to take advantage of the multi-threaded execution scheduling engine. While MS has implemented this optimization in the Windows 8 kernel, the current stable release has been without a fix until recently. The fix in question is available for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 and can be downloaded here. It should be noted that service pack 1 is a pre-requisite to this hot-fix.

amd_bulldozer_performance boost.jpg

Conservatively, previous indications suggested such a fix would add a 5 % to 10 % performance boost in multi-threaded applications. That number is based on the estimates from around the web from people comparing benchmarks between Windows 7 and Windows 8 Developer Preview. If you are running a Bulldozer processor in your machine, be sure to apply this update and let us know how performance improves.

Source: Microsoft

Podcast #182 - Intel Core i7-3930K, AMD 7000 Series rumors, a new low price SSD from OCZ and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 15, 2011 - 01:57 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, ocz, nvidia, macbook pro, Intel, hdd, gigabyte, dell, apple, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #182 - 12/15/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the Intel Core i7-3930K, AMD 7000 Series rumors, a new low price SSD from OCZ 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: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malvantano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 1:15:55

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. 0:02:54 Dell Inspiron 14z Notebook Review: A Portable Workhorse
  6. 0:03:57 Gigabyte E350N-USB3 Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:08:12 Video Perspective: Antec Eleven Hundred Case Review
  8. 0:12:20 Intel Core i7-3930K Sandy Bridge-E Processor
  9. 0:23:27 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:24:15 Some Details About AMD’s 7000 Series Graphics Cards Leak To Internet
  11. 0:27:00 Bad for reviewers, great for gamers ... AMD will allow non-reference Tahiti graphics cards
  12. 0:32:10 How much of PCI-E 3.0 is just marketing speak right now
  13. 0:36:05 OCZ Technology Petrol SATA 6Gbps SSDs Reduce SSD Deployment Costs by Thirty Percent (Hynix flash)
  14. 0:42:30 Two Catalysts from AMD; 11.12 and a highly recommended preview version of 12.1
  15. 0:45:05 Intel Scales Back Sales Outlook Due To Hard Drive Shortage
  16. 0:50:10 Apple May Bring High Pixel Density Displays To MacBook Pro Notebooks
  17. 0:57:56 Voicemail - 3d gaming, special graphics card, what games, etc?
  18. 1:03:54 Voicemail - SSDs - SF drive and Gaming
  19. 1:07:12 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: 4GB to 8GB of memory - do it!!
    2. Jeremy: How have I never thought of this? Also, the 3930K since it proved to be about 95%+ of the performance for about 60% of the cost ... if you can find it
    1. Josh: You Monster!
    2. Allyn: Cheap SSD's for the holidays, do it!
  20. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  21. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  22. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  23. Closing

 

Source:

Bad for reviewers, great for gamers ... AMD will allow non-reference Tahiti graphics cards

Subject: General Tech | December 14, 2011 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, pitcairn, overclock, HD7000, amd

One quickly forgets about the initially released reference GPUs once the cards with custom coolers, capacitors and PCBs arrive on the market all cool and factory overclocked.  Usually the original GPU and card designer, in this case AMD, licenses theit top tier partners, like MSI , Gigabyte or Sapphire, to sell cards following a design that AMD provides along with the license to design and sell the cards.  As SemiAccurate points out, this has lead to a market where the only unique feature they can add is usually armed and wearing a bikini.  After the card has been on the market for a while, then AMD allows non-reference designs to appear for some cards from some manufacturers.

Not so with one of the four lineups of GPUs soon to arrive on the market, AMD will be freeing us from the tyranny of Ruby in different outfits and allow their partners to modify the Tahiti Pro cards from the get go.  Expect to see a large difference in the appearance and specifications of AMD's new high end series of cards.  That is the only one of the four to get this treatment, Tahiti, Pitcairn and Pitcairn XT cards will still come out only as copies of the reference card design.  This may change over time but for now the idea of custom cooler, power distribution and PCB design is something to look forward to in the coming years.

sapphire_radeon_bikini.jpg

"Back to the new news, and it concerns the Tahiti Pro card. Word has reached SemiAccurate that Tahiti Pro will be unconstrained to the normal reference designs. If you recall, most GPU manufacturers will force AIBs to make cards based on the reference design for the first 3 months or so, and there are a variety of very good business reasons to do this.

Unfortunately, it leads to a problem where the reviews all are the same, mainly because all the cards are the same. The main difference between manufacturers comes down to what color the AIB decides to put on the chrome bikini of the girl with the big sword riding the mythical beast just below their logo. We are partial to Hafnium bikini’s on women riding giant Were-moles around here. Luckily, Tahiti Pro changes this."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Intel Scales Back Sales Outlook Due To Hard Drive Shortage

Subject: Storage | December 13, 2011 - 03:54 PM |
Tagged: thailand, supply shortage, Intel, Hard Drive, amd

Due to the recent flooding in Thailand, many hard drive and hard drive part manufacturers have had to close down business to conduct repairs. Many technology news sites and enthusiasts speculated that the drive shortages from lost production time would drive the price of hard drives up dramatically as well as decreasing computer sales. The price of drives has indeed skyrocketed; however, it seems as though the fallout on the industry is a bit more widespread that originally thought.

Specifically, the hard drive shortage has even managed to effect semiconductor giant Intel. According to Market Watch, Intel Corp announced that it would be scaling back their sales outlook for the fourth quarter of 2011. While it’s previous sales outlook was an estimated $14.7 billion “plus or minus $500 million,” the company’s revised estimate is @13.7 Billion, with a +/- margin of $500 million. The 1 billion USD reduction may not seem like much for Intel; however, their stockholders have taken note and their shares are down 4 % to a closing price of $24 on Monday (and $23.56 at time of writing). As far as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the decline represents “one of the top decliners.”

hard_drive.jpg

The semiconductor giant is not the only company affected by the drive shortage, however. Arch nemesis AMD’s stock price down 4.3 % for example. The site also cites Applied Materials’ 6.1 % decline. The companies that many assumed would be affected by the hard drive supply shortage included PC OEMs such as Dell and HP whose stock prices have dropped 2.3 % and 1.6 % respectably. Western Digital has begun to spin up production in the area again; however, it is likely too late for the various companies to recover. The article analyst speculates that Intel will continue playing catch-up into the first quarter of next year, and will recover starting in Q2 2012.

The numbers are showing a decline in many technology company’s stock prices likely due to lower than projected profits. It is interesting to see that even Intel felt the waves caused by the shortage. Did you find yourself second guessing computer or hard drive purchases due to increased prices?

Source: Market Watch

Two Catalysts from AMD; 11.12 and a highly recommended preview version of 12.1

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 13, 2011 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: Catalyst 12.1, Catalyst 11.12, amd

AMD12.1.jpg

Feature highlights of the AMD Catalyst 11.12 driver:
AMD OpenGL 4.2 production support

  • AMD Catalyst 11.12 delivers official support for the OpenGL 4.2 specification

AMD Eyefinity technology enhancements

  • Enables support for AMD HD3D technology when using a 3x1 Landscape Eyefinity display group, on supported DisplayPort 3D monitors.

AMD Vision Engine Control Center enhancements for Dual Graphics

  • Improvements have been implemented to better facilitate the enabling and control of the Dual Graphics within the Vision Engine Control Center

Feature highlights of the AMD Catalyst 11.12 Linux driver:
This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems

  • RHEL 6.2 early look support

AMD12.4.jpg

We have also just released the AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview
The AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview includes all of the features found in AMD Catalyst 11.12 and also includes all of the latest optimizations found in the AMD Catalyst 11.11c performance drivers (AMD Catalyst 11.12 does not include the latest 11.11c optimizations).

It is highly recommended that all gamers use the AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver.
AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/Catalyst121Previewdriver.aspx

Feature highlights of the AMD Catalyst 12.1 driver:

  • AMD HD3D technology support enhancement
  • Enables support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with AMD CrossFireX configurations
  • Delivers a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a connections - 1080p at 30Hz is now enabled on supported displays.

AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements
Application Profiles

  • AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver enables users to create per application profiles to individually control 3D and CrossFireX settings for Direct3D applications
  • Please be sure to select the “Restore Factory Defaults” option under the Catalyst Control Center Preferences menu before using the new application profiles feature – this ensures there are no compatibility issues between previous drivers and the new AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver with regards to application profiles

AMD Catalyst Control Center / Vision Engine Control Center enhancements
Video UI improvements

  • AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver includes user interface enhancements to simply adjustment of video color and video quality controls

Performance highlights of the AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview driver (in addition to the AMD Catalyst 11.11c performance driver)

  • Improves performance (10%) in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim when Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing is enabled on the AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series for single GPU and AMD CrossFireX configurations.
Source: AMD