AMD lays off 10-12% of workforce, new CEO cleans house

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 3, 2011 - 08:22 PM |
Tagged: layoffs, amd

We have been discussing AMD’s condition and future outlook over most of recent memory. Since the lawsuit versus Intel and the subsequent trying by the Big Blue Giant: AMD’s apparent jab-haymaker combo of lawsuit-Sempron to push heavily in the consumer market seems to have been mostly dodged and countered by Intel. While this last quarter has been positive there is little time for positive press; AMD has, today, removed 1400 employees from their company.

amd-new.png

There was a time that AMD said they could beat anything Intel could throw at them.

That means that what AMD is releasing now is as-good or better than where they thought CPUs would be.

Food for thought.

It is not very uncommon to see layoffs during restructuring in the 10% range when a new CEO enters a company. The sad part of restructuring is that there is often little consideration about which employees comprise that 10%; rather, their job descriptions. These layoffs in isolation do not say much about AMD’s health in the upcoming time but should tint in one way or another how to perceive their upcoming actions. Where the future is positive or negative depends on how this ties into that.

Source: BSN

Podcast #177 - Lenovo Portable Monitor, GTX580M vs HD6990M, Hard Drive prices spiking and more!

Subject: Editorial | November 3, 2011 - 05:44 PM |
Tagged: x79, podcast, nvidia, Intel, hd6990m, gtx580m, earnings, amd, 6990m, 580m

PC Perspective Podcast #177 - 11/03/2011

Join us this week as we talk about a Lenovo Portable Monitor, GTX580M vs HD6990M, Hard Drive prices spiking 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: 1:06:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:28 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. 0:01:17 Lenovo ThinkVision LT1421 Portable Monitor Review: A Second Display for Road Warriors
  6. 0:03:42 Mobile GPU Comparison: GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M
  7. 0:16:50 iPhone 3GS / 4 / 4S Battery Life Testing - Putting the Conjecture to Rest
  8. 0:23:40 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:24:30 AMD Reports Q3 2011 Results
  10. 0:31:35 Hard Drive Prices Spike on Thailand Flooding
  11. 0:39:40 Gigabyte brings Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi to their X79 boards
  12. 0:44:04 Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Battlefield 3
  13. 0:47:10 Intel Releases Updated SSD Toolbox
  14. 0:51:15 NVIDIA Upgrading GTX 560 to 448 CUDA Cores?
  15. 0:55:15 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Not Steam Uninstaller
    2. Jeremy: Maxwell Technologies HSN-1000 Nuclear Event Detector < wait what?!?! :)  or http://ca.movember.com/mospace/1422966/ Movember
    3. Josh: Gettin cheeeap:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227706
    4. Allyn: Electricsheep pre-rendered screen saver 
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

 

Source:

A sub $200 AMD FirePro benchmarked on Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 3, 2011 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: amd, firepro, V4900, linux, turks

Workstation graphics cards tend to be significantly more expensive than their desktop counterparts, something the new AMD FirePro V4900 seeks to overcome.  The card is available for less than $200 but still comes with the advantages of the FirePro series, workstation application certification, a three-year hardware warranty and greater technical support than with a desktop GPU.  Performance wise, the benchmarks that Phoronix ran showed the card to be nicely between the V4800 and V5800 so perhaps not worth immediately running out and upgrading from the previous low end model but definitely worth considering for new machines.

fireprov4900.jpg

"AMD is announcing today a new FirePro workstation graphics card. What is being announced is not a new ultra high-end creation, but instead it's a new entry-level graphics card to fit in between the FirePro V4800 and FirePro V5800 / V5900: it's the AMD FirePro V4900. The FirePro V4900 will retail for less than $200 USD while offering up some nice capabilities for the price. Here is a launch-day look at the FirePro V4900 along with the first Linux benchmarks of this latest AMD workstation graphics creation."

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

Graphics Cards

 

Source: Phoronix

A look into AMD's future

Subject: General Tech | November 3, 2011 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, vector computing, exascale, APU

Chuck Moore, CTO of AMD's Technology Group, gave a talk this week about AMD's plans for the future of their architecture.  As you might conjecture the focus was on the further integration of the CPU and GPU, with an eye on power consumption.  The hurdle he feels will be the tallest is the bandwidth for passing data back and forth between the two processors and he sees 3D stacks of memory sitting between the main system memory, the GPU and the CPU.  Once developed he feels that the stacks of memory should be able to increase the amount of available communication bandwidth to the point where tasks can be handed smoothly back and forth between the two processors depending on which is more effective at certain tasks.  Performance is not everything however, when The Register quotes Moore when he discusses the power requirements of a mid-range exascale class machine costing $200 million just to power and cool over a year, you begin to see the importance of bringing down power consumption and heat production.

amdlogo.jpg

"Because Advanced Micro Devices has not yet announced its 16-core "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 processors, it has to talk about something, and in situations like that, it is best to talk about the far-off future. And so AMD rounded up a bunch of its partners on Wednesday in San Francisco for a shindig to talk about the challenges of exascale computing."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Register

Really Ryan? 8.429 GHz? … *Scoff* - New World Record!

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 2, 2011 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: overclock, bulldozer, amd

Remember back in September when Ryan was all excited about seeing AMD exceed Intel with their Liquid Helium-cooled overclock? 8.429 GHz bulldozed past the 8.309 GHz record set upon Intel’s Celeron and all rejoiced at AMD’s 130 MHz triumph. Well out with the old and in with the new: there is a new overclocking king and it goes by the name of -- well it is also the AMD FX-8150. That is irrelevant, however, as the new record (if validated before someone beats it too) has become 8.461 GHz.

smug.jpg

Someone’s the new king in town… the current king.

The new world record was set by Andre Yang, an overclocked from Taiwan, with an ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard. Benchmarks were not possible as when you get overclocking to this level: successfully running CPU-Z just to query the specifications of a CPU is generally considered sufficiently stable to be qualified as an overclock. Do not be surprised if SuperPi blows a hole through your chassis. It was not stated which method of cooling was used to allow the processor to reach those specifications.

Source: X-Bit labs
Author:
Manufacturer: Various

The Alienware M17x Giveth

Mobile graphics cards are really a different beast than the desktop variants.  Despite have similar names and model numbers, the specifications vary greatly as the GTX 580M isn't equivalent to the GTX 580 and the HD 6990M isn't even a dual-GPU product.  Also, getting the capability to do a direct head-to-head is almost always a tougher task thanks to the notebook market's penchant for single-vendor SKUs.  

Over the past week or two, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair of Alienware M17x notebooks, one sporting the new AMD Radeon HD 6990M discrete graphics solution and the other with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M.  

01.jpg

AMD Radeon HD 6990M on the left; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580M on the right

Also unlike the desktop market - the time from announcement of a new mobile GPU product to when you can actually BUY a system including it tends to be pretty long.  Take the two GPUs we are looking at today for example: the HD 6990M launched in July and we are only just now finally seeing machines ship in volume; the GTX 580M in June.

Well, problems be damned, we had the pair in our hands for a few short days and I decided to put them through the ringer in our GPU testing suite and added Battlefield 3 in for good measure as well.  The goal was to determine which GPU was actually the "world's fastest" as both companies claimed to be.

Continue reading our comparison of the GeForce GTX 580M and Radeon HD 6990M mobility GPUs!!

Better thread scheduling could really help Bulldozer

Subject: Processors | November 1, 2011 - 02:48 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, a8-3850, thread scheduling, amd

Windows and to an extent other OSes are now familiar with Intel's HyperThreading and tend to be able to schedule threads in an optimized manner, but what about the eight 'cores' in the AMD A8-3850?  The Tech Report found a way to test this and the results are conclusive; Windows 7 is not optimized properly for Bulldozer.  The Bulldozer has two cores on each module, easy to see in the picture below.  By playing with the core affinity via the command line you can run benchmarks using specific cores, to test the impact clustering together 4 threads in two modules versus spreading out the threads to one per module.  As it turns out, there is a noticeable difference when you do set the processor to run with one thread in each cluster.

TR_bulldozer-overlay.jpg

"Is an awareness of the shared nature of AMD's Bulldozer architecture the key to unlocking its performance? We investigate."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Core i3-2105 on Battlefield 3

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | October 31, 2011 - 02:22 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, Intel, bf3, battlefield 3, APU, amd

Everyone is playing Battlefield 3 these days; we even had a virtual LAN party this weekend where forum members and PC Perspective team members played from about 10am until well after 1am ET. We have done more than our fair share of Battlefield 3 articles as well including hardware performance on high end graphics cards, multi-GPU scaling and more.  

We had some requests and questions about what was the lowest priced hardware you could play the game on and while we had run some tests on the GeForce 9800 GT, I decided to take a stab at running BF3 at its lowest settings with integrated graphics on Intel's Sandy Bridge processor and AMD's A-series APU.  Here were our test settings:

apubf31.png

We ran at a fairly low resolution of 1366x768 (both indicative of mobile resolutions as well as low-end hardware restrictions) and the Low in-game preset.  As it turns out this was the level at which the A8-3850 Llano APU was able to maintain an average around 30 FPS while the Intel Core i3-2105 (both priced around $140) was able to reach only a third of that. 

apubf32.png

With both systems coming in at the ~$450 mark, this could qualify as the lowest priced PC that is capable of getting you into the BF3 action!

You can see our full comparison right here in this short video!

AMD Reports Q3 2011 Results

Subject: Editorial | October 28, 2011 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: Q3 2011, ontario, llano, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, bulldozer, brazos, amd

Unlike Intel, AMD was unable to report record revenues.  What they were able to report was a small profit.  They also were able to show some growth above that expected by most analysts, and even those in AMD.  Earlier this quarter AMD warned that revenues might not be as high as expected, but in the end AMD seemed to have done ok.

The company had a gross revenue of $1.69 billion, which is well above the expected $1.66 billion many analysts were predicting.  Net profit for the quarter came in at a reasonable $97 million.  This is a big improvement from Q3 2010, which had a net income of -$118 million.  Being positive for a quarter is a big accomplishment for AMD.  Controlling costs as a fabless semiconductor company is a lot easier as compared to running multiple Fabs and researching and implementing next generation process nodes.  Margins increased to 45%, but are still a far cry from the 60% plus that Intel achieves.  ASPs are also down due to the large amount of low priced, 45 nm parts that AMD still sells.

AMD_E_RGB.jpg

The primary movers for the positive results for AMD are their lineup of APUs.  The “Bobcat” based APUs have been a success for quite a few months, and with their superior performance and features as compared to the competing Intel Atom series, AMD is making a tidy sum off of them.  The big winner in the APU sector is of course Llano.  The uptake on this processor in the mobile space has been tremendous.  AMD has seen a 35% increase in mobile sales, and when combined with the already strong Brazos/Ontario platform, AMD is finally a factor in the mobile market.  The only real issue in this market that AMD is facing is that of continued poor yields on Llano processors.

Continue reading this article after the break.

Source: AMD

A best of three HD 6950 battle royal

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 26, 2011 - 05:36 PM |
Tagged: hd 6950, amd, gigabyte, msi, xfx, factory overclocked

Heading to The Tech Report will bring you to a round up of HD6950's including Gigabyte's GV-R695OC-1GD, the MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III 1G/OC and the XFX HD-695X-ZDDC.  The GPU clocks range from 830MHz to 870MHz and RAM ranging from the stock 1250MHz to 1350MHz, with the MSI and XFX offering their own overclocking tools and Gigabyte relying on the Catalyst Control Center for further overclocking.  MSI's offering came out looking very good, with the best performance and the best power efficiency and thanks to a mail in rebate it picks up the best ratings in the round up.  It is a close race though with the cards performing very similarly, as you can see in the review.

TR_6950.jpg

"We've gathered three souped-up Radeon HD 6950 graphics cards from Gigabyte, MSI, and XFX. Which one delivers the most bang for your buck?"

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

Graphics Cards