Microsoft Releases Update To Improve Bulldozer Performance

Subject: Processors | December 15, 2011 - 10:56 PM |
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 - 10:57 AM |
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 - 09:00 AM |
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 - 12:54 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 - 11:30 AM |
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
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: Gigabyte

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction

icon1.jpg

Courtesy of Gigabyte

AMD's Fusion technology has worked out well for the company in 2011 and many vendors have reaped the benefits by including this platform in their mini ITX motherboards and netbook offerings. Gigabyte found room in their product line to feature this chipset in its GA-E350N-USB3. We received one of these boards for review to see how it stacks up against other E-350 mini ITX boards available today.

 

icon2.jpg

Courtesy of Gigabyte

 The GA-E350N-USB3 can be purchased for around $89.99 (after mail-in rebate from Newegg) and includes an AMD dual-core E-350 1.6GHz processor with an integrated Radeon HD 6310 GPU and support for USB 3.0, SATA3, and a PCI-E x16 slot for add-on video cards or other PCI-E devices. AMD developed the Brazos platform to directly compete with Intel's Atom and NVIDIA's ION technologies for the top slot this year's netbooks, notebooks, and some entry-level desktop solutions.

Read our full review of the Gigabyte E350-USB3 motherboard!

Some Details About AMD’s 7000 Series Graphics Cards Leak To Internet

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 9, 2011 - 04:05 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, pitcaim, HD 7000, amd

AMD has had a good run with it’s 6000 series cards, but the show must go on and in that vein the company has been working on manufacturing their next generation of graphics cards. The new cards will be of the 7000 series variety and will be broken into the same two architecture model for the upper tier/performance parts and the budget and small form factor fitting parts with the Tahiti and Pitcairn GPUs respectively. As the launch window for the new graphics cards gets closer tidbits of information is starting to leak out. In fact, popular news and rumor site Fudzilla recently got their hands on a few leaked 7000 Series details!

AMD 7000.jpg

Included in the leaks are information on the performance parts as well as the mid-range GPUs. On the Tahiti front, a photo of two AMD Radeon HD 7900 series cards in CrossfireX has emerged, showing the underside of the PCB, crossfire connectors, PCI-E power connectors and a possible opportunity for a math wiz to approximate the size of the card based on the known dimensions of that particular PSU (heh). Because there are 12 memory chips on the card, the site claims that the rumored 384-bit memory bus is all but confirmed. Further, the cards require both an 8 pin and 6 pin PCI-E PSU connector for power. These cars are engineering samples and things could change between now and release; however, the speculations seem reasonable. The Tahiti based graphics cards will allegedly be priced at $399 and $499 for the 7950 and 7970 respectively.

The Pitcairn GPU based cards will represent the mid-range of AMD’s 7000 series lineup. According to un-named sources, Fudzilla believes that AMD may be releasing the mid-range graphics cards around February 20th, 2012 or about a month after the Chinese New Year. The cards will be carrying similar naming conventions to their predecessor, including the Radeon HD 7850 and Radeon HD 7870. Due to Tahiti pricing, it’s likely that the mid-range 7000 series graphics cards will be priced at $199 USD for the 7850 and $299 USD for the Radeon 7870, at least until Nvidia’s Kepler arrives to shake up the pricing.

Personally, I’m excited for the 7000 series, and am anxious to see what kind of F@H and gaming performance I can wring out of it! Are you planning an upgrade next year, or will you skip this generation?

Source: Fudzilla

Podcast #181 - Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 8, 2011 - 02:44 PM |
Tagged: revodrive hybrid, podcast, nvidia, notebook, Intel, hybrid, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #181 - 12/08/2011

Join us this week as we talk about our Hybrid Storage Roundup, the ASUS US36SD-XA1 notebook, News of the week 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: 1:03:02

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 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. 0:02:05 Hybrid Storage Roundup: Seagate Momentus XT vs. OCZ RevoDrive Hybrid vs. Intel Z68
  6. 0:15:20 ASUS U36SD-XA1 Notebook Review: The Battery That Never Dies
  7. 0:21:00 Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Intel Core i3-2105 Gaming Comparison
  8. 0:24:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:12 ASRock Z68 Extreme 7 Gen 3 LGA 1155 Motherboard Review
  10. 0:27:15 Asus GeForce Direct CU II Series Reviews
  11. 0:28:16 Intel, Micron double single-chip flash capacity
  12. 0:33:46 Mobile madness minus benchmarks; new mobile GPUs from AMD & NVIDIA
  13. 0:40:39 Ivy Bridge should be here by the spring
  14. 0:46:05 Chrome passes Firefox and is now the 2nd most used browser
  15. 0:49:50 It's a bit early for 11.12, but how about Catalyst 11.11c?
  16. 0:51:15 Memorieeessssss lots of memoriesssss
  17. 0:55:06 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Jeremy: Twine ... so called physical computing; made easy
    1. Josh: Treat yourself for Christmas with a new vid card and game
    2. Allyn: Ready Player One - (Audiobook)
  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

Source:

Mobile madness minus benchmarks; new mobile GPUs from AMD & NVIDIA

Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2011 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: amd, mobile gpu, 7400M, 7500M, 7600M, nvidia, GT635M, GT630M, 610M, turks, Caicos, GF106, GF108, GF119

Before you start to get too excited when you read about the AMD Radeon 7000M announcement today; realize this is a rebranding of Turks and Caicos, not the arrival of Southern Islands.   While AMD might disappoint, at least the performance of the chips has been increased; NVIDIA went for a straight rebadge.  Even if you squint, the stats for the GT630M are the same as the GT540M and same with the 610M and 520MX.  There looks to be a slight difference in memory bandwidth between the 635M and 555M but AnandTech is doubtful that it is truly the case.

While we still don't know the exact frequencies that the so called 7000M chips will have in the end, they will be higher than the parts that they replace and will come in two flavours.  The less expensive part will be DDR3, with a DDR5 alternative for those who want a bit more performance.  Read on for all the gritty details or just look at the tables below.

AMD

AAT_AMD_mobile.png

NVIDIA

AAT_NV_mobile.png

"We just covered the AMD side of things, but yesterday NVIDIA quietly refreshed their entry-level and midrange mobile GPUs in a similar manner. We weren’t briefed on the updates, most likely because there’s not much to say. Like AMD there are three "new" 600M parts. Here’s the overview of what NVIDIA is offering, with the previous generation equivalents listed for reference."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: AnandTech

Video Perspective: AMD A8-3850 vs Intel Core i3-2105 Gaming Comparison

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | December 6, 2011 - 01:45 PM |
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, core i7, APU, amd, a8-3850

Our collection of videos comparing the AMD A8-3850 Llano APU to the Sandy Bridge-based Core i3-2105 have been very popular.  We thought we would wrap up 2011 with one final video that looks at the integrated graphics solutions on both processors in five of the top games released in 2011.  Here is what and how we compared them:

  • Batman: Arkham City - 1920x1080 - Low
  • Portal 2 - 1920x1080 - Very High
  • Battlefield 3 - 1366x768 - Low
  • Skyrim - 1920x1080 - Low
  • Modern Warfare 3 - 1920x1080 - High

Not to give away the secret but...

apu2011-2.png

Be sure you check out our Video Perspective below!!