Microsoft Rereleases Update to Improve Bulldozer... yeah.

Subject: General Tech, Processors | January 11, 2012 - 03:21 PM |
Tagged: windows, processor, microsoft, cpu, bulldozer, amd

Let us take a little break from the CES news with a load of bull -- a download of Bulldozer. If you have an eerie sense of being in this situation before then you may in fact have a bad memory as it did in fact happen and it was only about a month ago. Microsoft released an update in mid-December to optimize their operating systems for AMD Bulldozer technology; that patch disappeared without any listed reason. As of today, we have access to both the patch as well as most of the reason for the delay in the first place.

amd_bulldozer_performance boost.jpg

You know: part of me wants to see a Bulldozer go 100MPH, and another part of me fears greatly.

The first order of business is to explain to those who have an AMD FX series, Opteron 4200 series, and/or an Opteron 6200 series processor how to increase their potential performance: KB 2646060 and KB 2645594 each contain a patch which will optimize Windows to the Bulldozer architecture for most users when both are applied.

It turns out that Microsoft pulled the Bulldozer update last month when discussions with AMD revealed that the patch would not provide the promised performance increases for most users. The problem specifically centers on the Core Parking feature within Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2: after the hotfix in December was applied, Core Parking would still interfere with Bulldozer’s design by attempting to save power and sleep cores that were unused without understanding that Bulldozer cores are not typical cores. With Core Parking disabled for Bulldozer-based CPUs either through this hotfix or by changing your performance profiles to “High Performance” from the often default “Balanced” you would allow Bulldozer to run as it actually desires to run. According to how these bulletins are worded, should you have been on “High Performance” profile back in December before the hotfix was pulled you would have experienced what should only have been available starting today.

These performance increases are not for every application, however. AMD has stated that applications which are more sparsely multithreaded would benefit most from the update.

Workloads that are moderately threaded have the potential for uplift. This could include virtualization, database, or transactional environments that are “bursty” – a mixture of light and heavy transactions, or legacy applications that are by nature not very threaded. The more heavily threaded the application, the less the likely the uplift.

My intuition knowing this as well as the Core Parking issue is that once Windows finally wakes the Bulldozer core, your experience is maximal with the December patch; applications which only temporarily become multithreaded either do not wake the proper portions of the processor or wake the processor in time to be of maximum benefit.

It appears as if the removal of the hotfix last month was simply because AMD believed that while the patch was effective, it would not be correctly applied to the vast majority of customers without a second hotfix and thus give the appearance of little to no real benefits.

Source: AMD Blogs

AMD Shows Off Trinity APU Die And Trinity Powered Notebook

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Processors | January 10, 2012 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: VLIW-4, trinity, piledriver, CES, APU, amd

Today at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, we got to see a demonstration by AMD of an AMD powered computer running dual monitors. Only, it was not just a dual monitor pushing desktop computer. In a surprise twist, AMD took the side panel off of the desktop computer to reveal that it was actually a laptop computer using their next generation AMD Trinity APU that was driving the game on one display, and the windows desktop on the other display. Even more, on the laptop screen itself, it was playing a 720p video.

IMG_7516.JPG

Here you can see the two displays that the Trinity powered laptop was driving with Dirt 3 on the left monitor and the Windows desktop on the right one where a video conversion was happening in the background. AMD did not get into any details regarding the transcode, however.

IMG_7515.JPG

This is the "desktop" computer case that they opened up to reveal that it was, in fact, a Trinity laptop that was driving all the displays.

IMG_7517.JPG

A die shot of the upcoming Trinity APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) sitting next to a USB flash drive. Specifications of the Trinity APUs have not yet been released by AMD; however, if this leak holds true the Trinity APUs will have either two or four Piledriver CPU cores and TDP (thermal design power) of 65 W, 100 W, and 125 Watts (depending on particular chip). Clock speeds will further vary between 2.2 and 3.8 GHz at stock speeds (will run a bit faster with Turbo Core 3.0). The GPU aspect will be clocked between 563 MHz and 711 MHz and is based on the VLIW4 technology of the Cayman graphics Cards (69xx). They estimate that it will deliver up to 30% more performance versus current Llano chips and will support all the fancy new X86 instruction sets like AVX and AES-NI. A nice boost and hopefully the real specifications will come close to this (or be even better, of course).

Update: Another interesting bit of information is that AMD will have a low power Trinity APU with a TDP of 17 watts and will supposedly deliver the same level of performance as the current Llano chips (that draw twice the power).

Update:  AMD has stated Trinity will deliver a 25% increase in CPU performance and a 50% increase in GPU performance versus current Llano APUs.  Stay tuned to PC Perspective for more Trinity info as it develops.

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

The 7970's are here and some are even customized

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 9, 2012 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: amd, hd7970, gigabyte, GV-R7970C-3GD

[H]ard|OCP got their hands on Gigabyte's first HD7970 and it is a completely custom job, just like we hoped would be the result of AMD opening up the specification limitations for this card.  The GPU was given a 75MHz bump to make it an even 1GHz, while the memory remains at stock speeds though obviously will run at a cooler temperature thanks to the three fans.  They haven't yet had the time to get into serious overclocking but did confirm that the card runs cooler than the reference model and does so with lower fan speeds, good news for those who want to push this card further.

You can also catch Ryan's take on XFX's HD7970 3GB Black Edition which runs at 1GHz on the GPU and 1425 MHz GDDR5 and also sports a custom cooling solution.

H_giga7970.jpg

"An early first look at a custom built Radeon HD 7970 based video card. The GIGABYTE GV-R7970C-3GD sports a custom design, custom heatsink, and a custom fan all with an out-of-box 1GHz GPU frequency. The future of Radeon HD 7970 based video cards is looking good. "

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Stock Check: Radeon HD 7970 Day 1

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 9, 2012 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, 7970, HD 7970

Well, today is the day!  You should be on the lookout for the brand new AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB graphics cards that we first were able to show you on December 22nd!  And today we posted our review of the retail-ready XFX Black Edition Double Dissipation card with overclocked speeds - be sure to give it a read as well. 

Scheduled to be on sale today, I decided to take a quick look around the Internet...

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Newegg is on auto-notify for ALL Radeon HD 7970s...

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Amazon shows a single card as in stock, from Sapphire, selling for a staggering $683.  But it has Prime shipping!

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Our search at TigerDirect came up empty.

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Someplace called ExcaliburPC shows one for sale at $637, but is backordered.

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Finally, Provantage shows a whole lot of nothing...

I am hoping that stock will improve as the day goes on and some of these vendors start to show availability in their systems.  Otherwise, AMD is going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Feel free to post below if you find them for sale or not!

CES 2012 Day 1 Podcast - 1/8/2012

Subject: Editorial | January 8, 2012 - 11:34 PM |
Tagged: podcast, CES, Intel, amd, nvidia, ocz, ssd, thunderbolt, hdd, Lenovo, laptop, ultrabook

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 1 - 1/8/2012

Join us tonight as we talk about our first day of CES 2012 - including Storage Visions, CES Unveiled 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, Josh Walrath, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source:

CES 2012 Day 0 Podcast - 1/7/2012

Subject: Editorial, General Tech | January 7, 2012 - 11:20 PM |
Tagged: ultrabook, podcast, nvidia, Intel, CES, amd

PC Perspective CES 2012 Day 0 - 1/7/2012

Join us tonight as we talk about our CES predictions for this year, from Las Vegas!

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, Josh Walrath, Matt Smith and Allyn Malventano

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Letting the enthusiast down is one thing AMD, disappointing a major partner is another

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2012 - 10:02 AM |
Tagged: amd, cray, interlagos

Many consumers have been annoyed with AMD this year, from the enthusiast on the bleeding edge trying to track down the elusive HD6990 to the bargain conscious market looking for  a Llano based system.  It certainly hurt AMDs bottom line to have product shortages and it has alienated customers to the point where they may not consider AMD parts in the future.  The shortages also ensured that AMD will miss an entire generation of laptops and pre-built PCs since assemblers like Dell and HP needed a guaranteed solid supply of chips before they would consider selling a product line based on those chips. 

The Register reported on even worse news for AMD this morning, it seems that Cray will miss their targeted revenue for Q4 2011 and it seems to be AMDs fault.  The delay of the Interlagos based APUs which Cray was basing its new line of high powered clusters on.  This is not the first time that this has happened, Cray has been burned by Opteron delays before.  In response Cray is designing a new cluster architecture that will be able to interconnect Intel and AMD chips over PCIe 3.0 lanes.  

These Cray machines that are being delayed have another problem as well.  Not only do they depend on the delayed Opterons they are also planned to incorporate NVIDIA's Kepler HPC cards which are suffering from a serious case of the delays as well.  Seems like it is a bad quarter to be Cray.

cray.png

"Cray is going to miss its revenue targets for the fourth quarter, the company warned Wall Street this morning before the markets opened, and it has pointed its finger (without naming names) directly at its main processor supplier, Advanced Micro Devices, as the cause of the miss."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Podcast #184 - Asus Llano Notebook, a Quad Core Sandy Bridge-E CPU, HD 7000 Series rumors and more!

Subject: Editorial | January 5, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: snb-e, podcast, nvidia, llano, Intel, HD7000, asus, amd, 7970

PC Perspective Podcast #184 - 01/05/2011

Join us this week as we talk about an Asus Llano Notebook, a Quad Core Sandy Bridge-E CPU, HD 7000 Series rumors 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, 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: 1:19:23

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. 0:01:41 ASUS K53T Review: Mainstream Llano Offers Inexpensive Mobile Gaming
  6. 0:04:34 Seasonic Platinum 80 Plus 1000W Power Supply Review
  7. 0:06:25 GSkill Ripjaws X 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR-3 1866 Review
  8. 0:12:50 Video Perspective: Corsair Carbide 500R and 400R Case Review
  9. 0:16:00 Intel Core i7-3820 Processor Review - Quad-Core Sandy Bridge-E under $300
  10. 0:27:30 Cooler Master Cosmos II video
  11. 0:31:30 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:34:00 HDD Warranties Slashed By More Than Half - But Why?
  13. 0:45:10 AMD Radeon HD 7700-series Details Leak - $149, 896 SPs, 128-bit
  14. 0:49:00 Does AMD have a 2304 stream processor GPU in waiting?
  15. 0:56:30 ... and the winner is Shamino with a world record 3DMark11 score on an HD7970
  16. 0:59:30 Lenovo Unveils ThinkPad Ultrabook, ARM-Powered Laptop Ahead of CES
  17. 1:03:50 Email Rapid Fire 
    1. Email from Nabokovfan8
    2. Email from Tom about 7970 CrossFire
    3. Email from Mike about SSD purchases
  18. 1:05:10 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Transcend USB 3.0 Super Speed Multi-Card Reader
    2. Jeremy: OCZ Agility 3 240GB only $300 after you count the stupid MIR
    1. Josh: Only if on special for $99  A lot of fun, decent game titles with it.  Powered by the Beard!
    2. Allyn: This- just got 50% better. (HDD model with fans here).
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Source:

... and the winner is Shamino with a world record 3DMark11 score on an HD7970

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 4, 2012 - 02:47 PM |
Tagged: ROG, overclocking, LN2, HD 7970, asus, amd

rog_logo.png

ASUS' Republic of Gamers is off to an incredible start this year with the release of the HD7970, though there are always those who cannot leave their GPUs at reference speeds.  For instance Shamino, who is not just a ranger in the Ultima series, but is also now the ultimate champion of extreme GPU overclocking.  Taking a brand new HD 7970, removing the stock cooling and replacing it with LN2 cooling has netted him the record for single GPU performance.  He scored 15,063 on 3DMark11 and 54,725 on 3DMark Vantage with an 84% overclock, the GPU was running at 1700MHz when he hit the record.

3dmark11-shamino-1700mhz-hd7970-799x589.jpg

It can certainly be hard to get into a game when you need to constantly replace the evapourating LN2 cooling the GPU but for overclocking purposes you simply cannot beat the cooling ability of LN2.  His record may not stand for long, they never do in OCing competiton, but for now he is king of the ring and is looking to move onto bigger and better things ... in this case a quad-CrossFire system which he intends to use to take the grand title of fastest graphics performance on the planet.

shamino.jpg

Source: AMD

Does AMD have a 2304 stream processor GPU in waiting?

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 2, 2012 - 04:23 PM |
Tagged: amd, southern islands, rumor, leak

The review for the AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB card based on the Tahiti GPU and the new Southern Islands architecture was released on December 22nd with expected availability on January 9th.  In that review we show a diagram of the Tahiti GPU and its 32 Compute Units (CUs) that combine to form the total 2048 stream processors (SPs).  

We asked and asked, but a die shot was never given to us for our review - a very non-standard practice for new launches.  That started us wondering - was there something AMD was hiding from reviewers about the architecture?  Were there some disabled CUs on the 28nm GPU that they had disabled for business, yield or clock speed reasons?  Think of what Intel has done with Sandy Bridge-E or what NVIDIA did originally with the GTX 480 GPU.  

AMD assured us that was not the case - Tahiti is the full die enabled, 32 CUs and 2048 SPs.  And, based on some of our own internal information, that seems to be 100% the case.

But, an interesting image started floating around last week:

amd2304-1.jpg

This image from the site ChipHell.com appears to show the development sheets for Sapphire's upcoming Radeon HD 7000 series products and their internal codenames.  There are some really noteworthy things to look at though starting with the Atomic lineup.  

amd2304-2.jpg

While the Flex 6G is a 6GB card with 6 mini-DP ports on it running at the same clock speeds as our reference designs did initially, the Atomic RX card has a clock speed of 1335 MHz running on 2048 SPs and a pretty good memory overclock as well.  If that is accurate, the performance difference between the Atomic RX and "Da Original" (likely the reference card) would be tremendous!

amd2304-4.jpg

Here is what is more interesting - another card listed above the HD 7970s that seems to include 2304 SPs, or 36 CUs.  Running at a reference speed of 1000 MHz, this card would have a noticeable advantage over the current HD 7970 cards.  What's more...?

amd2304-3.jpg

The Toxic ZX, if it exists, would run with 2304 stream processors at 1225 MHz!  The performance of this card could easily beat out the Radeon HD 7970 3GB card by 35-45% with the shader and clock speed differences.

So, what does this all mean?  Probably nothing, but it is fun to speculate on a few things.  It seems possible that AMD either HAD or HAS another GPU waiting in the wings based on Southern Islands to compete with NVIDIA's Kepler when it finally gets released.  Even though these documents seem to indicate that, I kind of find it hard to believe that AMD would have been able to keep this secret from the media and the competition for this long.  It is also equally unlikely that AMD was able to quickly tape out another chip that we are unaware of as even a somewhat moderate change like adding in four very modular CUs takes many months.

And of course, we have to take in the possibility that these are all fake, or a decoy or were written up 18 months ago and plans have changed.  Those are much less fun though. 

Source: Guru3D