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:

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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!!

Hate the platform; not the processor. XBox Next chip revealed

Subject: General Tech | December 6, 2011 - 09:16 AM |
Tagged: xbox next, oban, amd

The XBox Next will be another win for AMD as SemiAccurate has confirmation that the GPU portion of the console will be an AMD chip.  The supplier for the CPU portion is a little less clear.  SemiAccurate has it as an IBM PowerPC chip similar to the current generation which uses a Xenon processor.  The newer XBox360 S used a XCGPU which was a 45nm version of the Xenon processor and an AMD Xenos GPU on the same die along with eDRAM, all wrapped up into one small package.  It does make sense that Microsoft would go that route as it should make supporting the previous generation of games much easier than implementing a new architecture.  It is very unlikely to be Cell based, even though that architecture shares the same PowerPC roots.

[H]ard|OCP has a dissenting opinion, or at least rumour, pegging the new XBox as a complete win for AMD.   They suppose it is possible that Bulldozer might find its way into the new console along with the already known GPU core; a fully AMD designed APU.  This also makes quite a bit of sense as AMD will have no trouble pairing the GPU and CPU as they've had quite a bit of practice.  Plus, it gives them something to do with the Bulldozer chips.

Either way the new chip will be named after a lovely Islay Scotch.

Xbox.jpg

"Yeah, basically, the chip is ‘done’, and first silicon likely went in to the oven in the last two weeks. If this is true, Microsoft should have silicon back in time to give the families of XBox systems engineers a miserable holiday season, their loved ones will be doing breakneck bring-up work on Xbox Next."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: SemiAccurate

GSkill Heard You Like Memory…

Subject: Memory | December 6, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: x79, SB-E, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, gskill, DDR-3 2400, DDR-3, bulldozer, amd, am3+, 64 GB

So they are giving us as much, and as fast, as we could possibly handle.  GSkill has announced their latest Ripjaw-Z kits specifically aimed at the latest Intel Socket 2011 chips on the X79 platform.  These kits range from 4 x 8GB @ 2100 speeds with 1.5 v up to 8 x 8GB at 2400 speeds at 1.65 v.  For those wishing to push clock speeds up higher, they offer a 4 x 4GB kit at 2500 speeds at 1.65v as well.

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Red is the new black.  This is what 32 GB of memory looks like now.

The past few months I have been using a few sets of GSkill memory with the latest Llano based chips from AMD.  These are 4 x 4 GB 1866 products that run at 1.5v, and they have been pretty phenomenal for me.  Now that we are moving into new CPU architectures from both manufacturers, memory speeds have become important again.  For quite some time people could easily get by with DDR-3 1333 modules and not experience any kind of performance bottleneck.  The reasons for this were due to CPU designs (quad core CPUs rarely required more than 12 GB/sec of bandwidth in most applications) as well as the non-integrated nature of graphics for the most part.

Read the full post here.

Source: GSkill

It's a bit early for 11.12, but how about Catalyst 11.11c?

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 2, 2011 - 08:28 AM |
Tagged: amd, catalyst, radeon

AMD has pushed out a third performance driver built off of their Catalyst 11.11 driver build.  In this release you get all of the improvements from both 11a and 11b, along with new improved CrossfireX performance in Skyrim.   If you have skipped the two previous updates it is probably worth grabbing this release if you are having any performance issues with the games listed below.

amdgame.jpg

Elder Scrolls Skyrim

  • New in Catalyst 11.11c: Delivers AMD CrossfireX performance scaling for the AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series
  • Delivers AMD CrossfireX performance scaling for AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
  • Improves performance 2-7% on single GPU configurations
  • Resolve corruption seen when enabling Multi-Sample Anti-Aliasing on the AMD Radeon HD 6970 Series

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

  • New in Catalyst 11.11b: Delivers AMD CrossfireX performance scaling

Batman Arkham City

  • Improves DirectX 11 performance for single GPU configurations

Rage

  • Delivers AMD CrossfireX performance scaling Resolves a number of image/stability issues seen with the title: Fix geometry corruption, sometimes seen in Bash TV entrance
  • Fix issues with Low-memory conditions on 32bit systems.
  • Fix issue with extreme corruption with missing textures on 32bit systems.
  • Fix memory leaks when deleting/reusing sync objects.
  • Fix hitching and pausing, especially noticeable on some Quad Core systems when doing races and Stanley Express runs.
  • Fix some missing shadows

Battlefield 3

  • Resolves intermittent corruption seen when playing the game at specific camera angles

Download and install the Driver from the following location: (direct links)
AMD Catalyst 11.11c Performance Driver for Windows vista & Windows 7
AMD Catalyst 11.11c Performance Driver for Windows XP

Source: AMD

Podcast #180 - NVIDIA GTX560 Ti 448 Core, OCZ Octane 512GB SSD, Battlefield 3 Laptop performance and more!

Subject: Editorial | December 1, 2011 - 01:07 PM |
Tagged: ssd, podcast, ocz, Octane, nvidia, Intel, battlefield 3, amd, 560ti 448

PC Perspective Podcast #180 - 12/01/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the NVIDIA GTX560 Ti 448 Core, OCZ Octane 512GB SSD, Battlefield 3 Laptop performance 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

Program length: 1:17:32

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:54 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. 0:01:23 Did you listen to our The Inside Perspective?  Send us your feedback?
  6. 0:02:35 Battlefield 3 Laptop Performance Review: Road Warrior?
  7. 0:04:00 Video Perspective: Antec P280 Case Review
  8. 0:09:30 OCZ Octane 512GB SSD Full Review - Indilinx Has Returned With Everest
  9. 0:20:40 Amazon Kindle Fire Review: Can $200 Buy a Great Tablet?
  10. 0:22:30 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 Core Limited Edition Graphics Card Review
  11. 0:31:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:32:45 Thermaltake Frio OCK Universal CPU Cooler Review
  13. 0:34:00 Seagate says hard drive industry will take a year to recover
  14. 0:42:20 Video Perspective: CyberPower Gamer Ultra 2098 System
  15. 0:44:00 Batman: Arkham City DX11 Stuttering Issue
  16. 0:46:00 TSMC finds its 28nm dance card a little overbooked
  17. 0:52:28 AMD Releasing Branded DDR3 Memory To Compliment Desktop Platforms
  18. 0:58:20 Gear Up with MSI: Win Intel Motherboards, GeForce Graphics Cards
  19. 1:01:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Skyrim?  Level 11!
    2. Jeremy: Let's here it for PC Gaming
    3. Josh: Arkham City for $25... last Friday on Origin.
    4. Allyn: A possible free 50GB cloud storage investment
  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:

AMD Releasing Branded DDR3 Memory To Complement Desktop Platforms

Subject: Memory | November 29, 2011 - 03:51 PM |
Tagged: vision, ram, radeon, ddr3, amd

AMD has slowly but surely been taking over the desktop computer. The AMD brand is slowly encompassing all of the components inside AMD powered computers. For the past few years, the company has been heavily investing in and marketing the idea of an all AMD powered computer filled with parts certified to work with each other and deliver a consistent platform (ie Spider, Fusion, and AMD Vision) experience by using an AMD CPU, motherboard, and graphics card together.

It seems as if AMD was not happy with the amount of case badge stickers from other companies for the remaining parts; however, as the company officially announced today that AMD is bringing to market is own AMD branded DDR3 memory modules with the assistance of experienced memory manufacturers Patriot and VisionTek. VisionTek will be making the modules available in the US through their distributor D&H, while the Patriot modules are generally available in the US already.

AMD_Memory_Close_Up.png

A close up shot of the Performance Edition provided by AMD.

The new AMD RAM will be controlled end-to-end on the design, oversight, and certification side by AMD while the physical processes of constructing and mass producing the modules will be in the hands of partners (currently Patriot and VisionTek). AMD will offer three speed tiers with capacities including 2 GB, 4 GB, and 8 GB (matched 4GB kits). Specifically, the three speed tiers will be labeled Entertainment Edition, Performance Edition, and Radeon Edition memory in order of slowest/cheapest to fastest (and most expensive). The Entertainment Edition should be shipping soon in the last quarter of 2011 and has at least a planned soft launch of November 2011. Entertainment Edition memory will be the slowest tier, weighing in at 1333 MHz or 1600 MHz and will be best suited for low power systems and HTPC applications. Performance Edition on the other hand will come only in 1600 MHz, low latency, and matched pair modules. This middle tier of AMD RAM is planned to launch in January of 2012. Last up is the Radeon Edition DDR3 which will come in 1866 MHz RAM that has been tuned, tested, and certified for certain system configurations.

To make things a bit more interesting, AMD will be allowing software overclocking of the DDR3 RAM via its AMD OverDrive application, along with planned support for Intel XMP memory overclocking profiles.

The company is claiming up to a 20 % platform performance increase in gaming, and in our own tests we did find a noticeable increase in performance with AMD’s Llano APUs when using higher clocked memory modules. For example, in Dirt 3 the system was able to hit a minimum of 31 FPS (frames per second) when using the A-3850 APU and 1866 MHz whereas with slower clocked modules, the system dipped under the ideal 30 FPS minimum that gamers like to see. Further, by using higher clocked RAM, we managed to get a 25 % increase in performance out of StarCraft II, so AMD’s claims aren’t too far off the mark.

AMD_Memory_Graph.png

I’ll admit that when rumors surfaced a few months ago that AMD might be entering the DRAM market, I was a bit worried. The company has only recently stopped seeing red on their profitability statements, and the DRAM market has notoriously thin margins. Especially after the lackluster Bulldozer launch and bout of layoffs, I really did not want to see AMD try to spread itself too thin. On the other hand, they are not doing the manufacturing themselves, opting to leave the physical processes up to other companies who are already in the business and know how to stay afloat in the crowded waters. The branding and ability for AMD to offer a platform consisting of an AMD CPU, graphics card, motherboard, and RAM is an advantage that their competition simply can’t match, and its good to see the company taking advantage of that. I don’t expect AMD to start making power supplies, hard drives (though I wouldn’t say no to a nice Radeon RAM Drive ;) ), and cases, but the core components are now all united under the AMD banner and the barrier to entry for new DIYers (do it yourself/self built computers) is now lower. As long as the company can make it work, I’m all for it. What do you guys think of the new AMD branded RAM, is it something you’d use?

Source: AMD

TSMC finds its 28nm dance card a little overbooked

Subject: General Tech | November 25, 2011 - 09:21 AM |
Tagged: TSMC, 28nm, amd, krishna, wichita

The 28nm process is causing a lot of problems for tech companies especially AMD who have cancelled the follow ups to Llano and Ontario, Krishna and Wichita.  Not only have they cancelled the chips but they have switched from GLOBALFOUNDRIES to TSMC to have the replacement chips designed and fabbed.  This is most likely because of the low yields that have been coming out of GLOBALFOUNDRIES with Llano, AMD's most successful recent design.  The low volumes hurt AMD's market share since many companies would not base a product line on a chip that might not be around in volume.  As well a deal is expiring in January which had AMD only paying for good dies, instead of the more usual practice of paying for the entire wafer and dealing with the bad dies as they come

That move might not be as successful as AMD hopes when you look at this article from DigiTimes.  As it turns out TSMC is concerned about their ability to meet the demand for 28nm chips from their customers.  It is not just AMD that is turning to TSMC for 28nm, Altera, NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Xilinx are already customers and Broadcom, LSI Logic and STMicroelectronics may join that crowd.  With so many customers utilizing the same process even small problems on TSMC's lines could lead to big drops in available chips.  Let us hope the days of the 40nm problems at TSMC never come back.

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"Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) continues to see orders heat up for advanced 28nm technology, despite a general slowdown in the semiconductor industry, according to industry sources. Order visibility has stretched to about six months, said the sources.

TSMC is expected to see 28nm processes account for more than 2% of company revenues in the fourth quarter of 2011. The proportion will expand further to over 10% in 2012, as more available capacity coupled with rising customer demand boost the output, the sources indicated."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

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Source: DigiTimes

Running Cool 'n' Quiet under Linux with AMD

Subject: Processors | November 23, 2011 - 10:47 AM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, cool 'n' quiet, Turbo Core, linux, fx-8150

AMD's Cool'n'Quiet feature, which lowers your CPU core frequencies when they are not under heavy usage has been around for a while, but Phoronix though it was time to revisit the Linux support for this feature and Turbo Core as we have a brand new architecture to test.  They fired up the FX-8150 again, running under Ubuntu 11.10 with the Linux 3.1 kernel and started benchmarking.  Their results show that AMD's power saving features are still working well under Linux, better when using single threaded applications than with multi-threaded but still worth enabling for those who want lower heat production and energy consumption.  It is hard to say how much you will save on power though, as the software Phoronix used to measure, fam15h_power, never budged from the 125W mark even when the system was pulling less power from the wall.

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"For those wondering about the impact that AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet and Turbo Core technologies have under Linux for the latest-generation Bulldozer processors, here are some tests illustrating the changes in performance, power consumption, and operating temperature."

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Source: Phoronix

AMD Facebook Giveaway

Subject: General Tech | November 22, 2011 - 11:45 AM |
Tagged: contest, amd

AMD1.jpg

This year AMD is celebrating a gamer’s holiday and offering a gift a day through January 2 including a custom Eyefinity setup valued at over $3,000. A few of the stocking stuffers include:

  • A Custom Eyefinity System valued at over $3,000
  • A FX 8120/990FX/8GB/1TB Super Combo valued at $749
  • 3 Dell UltraSharp 23-inch Monitors with LED
  • 6 AMD FX 8150s
  • 9 Radeon HD 6850s
  • 9 Radeon FleX HD 6870s

Here is the link to AMD’s Gaming Giveaway Facebook tab:

https://www.facebook.com/AMD?sk=app_158415244247092#!/AMD?sk=app_222384104493588

AMD2.jpg

Source: AMD