A milquetoast reception to the next generation of GPUs

Subject: General Tech | October 26, 2011 - 08:56 AM |
Tagged: gpu, amd, nvidia, southern islands, kepler, TSMC, 28nm

While most enthusiasts are living up to the name as far as the build up to the coming GPU refreshes from both AMD and NVIDIA is concerned, the manufacturers are quite the opposite.  There are several probable reasons for this attitude, not least of which are the number of HD 6570s and GTS 450s that are still in their stock.  Remember those cards from back in the spring of this year, which were the high end of a huge range of GPUs from both companies spanning $20 to either side of $100?  Think that with the current generation of Llano and SandyBridge that any knowledgeable person is going to purchase one, let alone when you consider how close the release of next generation of APUs is?  The two major players in the discrete GPU market not only updated the top end of their cards quickly over the past several quarters there was a widening of the market which saw current generation cards available from ~$75 to ~$750 with some segments separated by as little as $10.  That translates to huge inventories at the manufacturer level which they then have to convince resellers and retailers to purchase for stock to sell to the consumer and many of those cards are still sitting there collecting dust.  No wonder these same companies are leery of purchasing more stock before finding a way to recover some profit from the stock they have now.

To make things even worse there exist doubts about the 28nm process from TSMC, which DigiTimes discusses here.  While AMD is still claiming delivery of HD7000 family cards before the coming year, the troubles that NVIDIA seems to be having with the same process concerns those who need to be able to buy large volumes of chips in order to turn a profit selling graphics cards.  Even worse is the realization that the first cards NVIDIA will be releasing are simply a die shrink, without architectural changes.  When two companies go to the same source for the same thing and one reports getting apple cider and the other apple vinegar, you really have to start to wonder what is really going on. 

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"While Nvidia and AMD are poised to use Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 28nm technology to produce the GPUs Kepler and Southern Islands respectively, most Taiwan-based graphics card makers hold a conservative attitude about the new GPUs with some makers cautiously watching the market status before making any further decisions, according to industry sources.

Compared to the makers' eagerness for the previous-generation GPUs, graphics card makers are rather conservative about the upcoming 28nm chips due to concerns such as TSMC's weak 40nm process yield rate issues may re-occur in its 28nm process and weakening demand for graphics cards and lower-than-expected gross margins."

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Source: DigiTimes

Don't worry AMD fans, there's an ultrabook clone coming soon

Subject: General Tech | October 24, 2011 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ultrabook, Deccan, Kerala

Not to be deterred by the issues that Intel has run into trying to out Macbook Apple, AMD will also be jumping on a notebook similar to the Ultrabook.  The successors to Brazos will be competing against Ivy Bridge and Haswell, so hopefully the statement that DigiTimes makes about vastly improved performance and power usage reduction are true.  AMD is also lookign to refresh the chips they've designed for use in tablets which you should be able to get your hands on before the end of the year, if GLOBALFOUNDRIES can produce enough chips.

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"AMD has made plans for ultrabook-like products for the next two years – in 2012, AMD will launch the Deccan platform to replace Brazos and will launch Kerala in 2013.

Since AMD's share in the global CPU market has been around 20% in recent years while the company has about 10% share in the global notebook CPU market, AMD is preparing plans for ultra-thin notebooks hoping to raise its share in the notebook CPU market.

In June 2012, AMD is set to launch Deccan, featuring Krishna and Wichita-based APUs and will upgrade to Kerala featuring Kabini-based APUs. With the upgrades, the overall performance and power consumption of AMD's platforms are expected to see an extraordinary improvement, allowing AMD to compete against Intel's Ivy Bridge platform in 2012 and Haswell platform in 2013.

For the traditional notebook market, AMD has already launched its Llano-based Sabine platform to replace Danube, but due to Globalfoundries' weak 32nm yield rates and production issues, supplies of Llano APUs has been limited, which should impact AMD's future plans for the notebook market. However, within AMD's latest plans, the company is set to launch the Comal platform, featuring Trinity-based APUs, for 2012 and will upgrade to the Indus platform in 2013 using Kaveri-based APUs.

As for the tablet PC market, AMD will push the Brazos platform with Windows operating system to target the enterprise market in 2011. In the second quarter of 2012, AMD will launch the Brazos T platform that features Hondo APUs and in 2013 will release the Samara platform, which features a similar architecture as its ultra-thin platform."

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Source: DigiTimes

Almost Time! Battlefield 3 Release, Is Your Hardware Ready?

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 24, 2011 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: radeon, nvidia, geforce, bf3, amd

I know that you might have Battlefield 3 overload by now, but I wanted to make sure you all remembered to take a look at our BF3 Performance Guide from a couple weeks back to make sure your PC is ready for what might be the most anticipated and talked about PC titles in years. 

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Here is a summary of the content we have written based on the game - make sure you know ALL of it so you can get your system prepared for the pending battle!!

Keep checking back at PC Perspective as we are planning on doing some more fun live streaming of our BF3 matches and be sure to sign up for the official PCPer "Fragging Frogs" platoon in Battlelog!

Podcast #175 - NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Launch, Intel Earnings, News of the week and more!

Subject: Editorial | October 20, 2011 - 06:17 PM |
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, Intel, amd, 3dvision, 3d vision

PC Perspective Podcast #175 - 10/20/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Launch, Intel Earnings, 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: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:15:39

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. 0:01:35 MSI Z68A-GD80 G3 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review
  6. 0:07:02 3D Vision Gets Updated with LightBoost, Larger Panels and New Glasses
  7. 0:13:19 Corsair HX1050 Professional Series Power Supply Review
  8. 0:13:55 ASUS N55 Core i7 15.6-in Notebook Review: Can One Laptop Do It All?
  9. 0:15:44 Intel Reports Q3 2011 Earnings
  10. 0:26:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  11. 0:27:20 Overclocking the next generation of Intel CPUs
  12. 0:31:05 ASUS P8Z68 Deluxe GEN3 Board Spotted with PCI Express 3.0 Support
  13. 0:32:45 Salt + electrons = 6x increase ialn HDD platter density?
  14. 0:37:38 AMD May Release 28nm 7000 HD Series GPU In December
  15. 0:41:35 EVGA Demos X79 Classified Motherboard at GeForce LAN 6
  16. 0:44:30 Not quite older than dirt; the microprocessor turns 40
  17. 0:48:05 Benchmarking Bulldozer and taking the GPU out of the picture
  18. 0:52:02 SandForce finally patches elusive 2200 series SSD controller bug. OCZ issues firmware, others soon to follow.
  19. 0:58:00 Jon Peddie sees IGPs dying in the next year
  20. 1:01:50 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: "Take Ownership" tool
    2. Jeremy: Beefing up your laptop’s gaming chops with an external GPU
    3. Josh: For Thief lovers out there:  http://www.thedarkmod.com/main/
    4. Allyn: Siri (fan boy)
  21. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  22. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  23. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  24. Closing

Source:

Intel Reports Q3 2011 Earnings

Subject: Editorial | October 19, 2011 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, Q3 2011, Intel, earnings, bulldozer, atom, amd

This should come as a shock to no one.  Intel made a lot of money this past quarter.  We again have seen new records in both gross revenue and net income.  GAAP revenue for the quarter came in at an astounding $14.2 billion.  Essentially that is the net revenue for AMD during a three year span.  Net income is again impressive at $3.5 billion.  In AMD terms that would be gross revenue for three quarters.  Truly there is a tremendous disparity between the two companies who are very bitter rivals.  It is no wonder AMD is starting to really fall behind.

All of the internal groups, except for one, have shown tremendous growth over the past year.  Notebooks have really lead the charge as of late, but both desktop and server markets have shown very favorable growth for the company.  Even the McAfee and Intel Communications divisions provided upwards of $1 billion to the bottom line.  The only area that Intel is lagging in is the Atom line.

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When we look at the product offerings of Intel in server, desktop, and notebook markets we see they have a sizeable advantage in both process technology and performance per watt.  Intel has been shipping 32 nm chips for well over a year and a half.  On the desktop this has translated to modestly priced processors that have a much smaller die size yet comparable (and even superior) performance to the AMD products which are much larger in size and more expensive to produce.  On the server side we really have not seen AMD make any inroads since Intel took over that market in a big way once they released the QPI based designs which took away AMD’s last architectural advantages; HyperTransport and integrated memory controllers.

Read the rest of the article after the break.

Source: Intel

The tragic comedy that is Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2011 - 09:07 AM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd

It is hard to know exactly what to say about Bulldozer.  It is not a complete fail for in multithreaded applications it sits in between the performance of the i5-2500 and i7-2600, which it was intended to.  Power consumption at idle has been improved but not at load which hurts, but not as much as the poor single threaded performance which is far worse than we had hoped.  SemiAccurate traced the long 5+ year history of the Bulldozer to see where AMD went astray from the dream that was.  The length of the story is certainly a part of it, 5 years is too long for silicon to languish especially when part of the delay was due to problems with the 45nm process.  Read on to hear about the struggles AMD underwent to get this chip to market as well as what corners were cut, or at least rounded, to get the chip on shelves.

SA_Bulldozer_Excavator1.jpg

"The story of Bulldozer and why it does what it does, both good and bad, can be summed up as death by 1000 cuts. There isn’t really any high point to the architecture, nor are there any really low points. To make matters worse, there isn’t any obvious smoking gun as to why things ended up so, well, meh. What you can get now, what you should have been able to get, and what you will be able to get from this new architecture is a long and complex story. Lets get started."

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Source: SemiAccurate

AMD May Release 28nm 7000 HD Series GPU In December

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 15, 2011 - 09:34 AM |
Tagged: amd, gpu, graphics card, southern islands, HD 7000

Tom’s Hardware reports that a source within AMD has indicated that the company may release their upcoming Southern Islands GPU earlier than expected.  Previous rumors suggested that AMD would have their performance desktop graphics cards out in the first quarter of 2012 with the lower clocked and mobile processors coming out a bit sooner than that.

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If this new information turns out to be true, we may be seeing the high performance desktop graphics cards released in limited quantities of 7000 to 10,000 units in December with a full rollout of the company’s 28nm graphics card lineup in the months following.  Specifically, the first cards may be available as soon as December 6th, 2011.  It remains to be seen whether or not the lower power cards will still be released before the high performance desktop cards.

Personally, I'm interested to see how AMD's approach with their Southern Islands GPU will match up against Nvidia's current and future (more) general purpose computing design.  Are you excited for Southern Islands?

Podcast #174 - AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2011 - 09:02 PM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, FX, corsair, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #174 - 10/13/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions 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, Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 57:42

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. 0:02:04 AMD FX-8150 Processor Review - Can Bulldozer Unearth an AMD Victory?
    1. Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting
  6.  0:29:19 Video Perspective: AVADirect $1000 Gaming System Review
  7.  0:30:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:31:15 Corsair Releases High Capacity Force GT and Force 3 SSDs
  9. 0:33:00 Corsair Launches New H40 and H70 CORE Sealed Loop Water Coolers
  10. 0:35:23 Corsair Announces Availability of $139 Gaming PC Case
  11. 0:37:55 Samsung and Micron Developing Hybrid Memory Cube Technology
  12. 0:41:35 A quick and easy way to duplicate your drives
  13. 0:45:32 Email from Jeff about SSD slow down
  14. Email from Kent about SSD reviews
  15. 0:50:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Novatel Mifi Verizon 4G LTE
    2. Jeremy: MDK2HD!
    3. Josh: Sup Com and SC: FA on Steam now!  Cheeeap.  http://store.steampowered.com/sub/11732/
    4. Allyn: Sysinternals tools (namely Process Explorer)
  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

Video coming soon!

Source:

Can't hide the Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2011 - 02:52 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd, fx series, fx-8150

Not to imply that looking at more Bulldozer reviews is like rubbernecking as you pass an accident ... but there are some similarities.  While it might not be as great a performer as we were hoping, the chance to finally see AMD's new architecture is still a great thing.  A totally new way of looking at a CPU Core, a brand new style of overclocking and a processor that seems almost ahead of its time when you examine its multitasking capabilities is interesting even if it does not deliver the processing power that we hoped for.  Check out The Tech Report's indepth report to see what they thought of its performance

TR_bulldozer-overlay.jpg

"AMD's "Bulldozer" processors are here, and we have a full and extensive review."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

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Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting

Subject: Editorial | October 12, 2011 - 05:45 AM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, fx-8150, bulldozer, am3+, amd, 32 nm

Huh. 

I am pretty sure I am not the only person who has read these Bulldozer reviews (including Ryan's here at PC Perspective) and had that particular reaction.  Bulldozer was supposed to bulldoze the competition.  It turns out it barely outpaces its own predecessor, the Phenom II X6 1100T.  In fact, in terms of IPC, the older Thuban architecture gives it a sound thrashing when both are clocked at 3.3 GHz.  So why should I be impressed with this processor?

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I guess the answer is… you shouldn’t.  At least not yet.  I distinctly remember back in November of 2007 being invited to Lake Tahoe to test and report about the first Phenom samples that were available for limited testing.  We were not allowed to take the samples home with their new AM2+ based motherboards.  When going over the results of the tests with Ryan (I was not part of PCPer at the time) we quickly saw that the 2.6 GHz Phenom was unable to keep up with the Core 2 Q6600 from Intel.  This was a little surprising, as we expected the original Phenom to clean house due to its very forward looking architecture (HT, IMC, beefier FP/SIMD units, etc.).  The original Phenom had its fair share of problems, to say the least.  TDPs were very high, there was the revision B2 bug that was solved in B3, and due to the 65 nm process it did not nearly have as much cache as was needed to make it a more efficient product.

Click to read the rest of this post.

Source: AMD