The birth of the $600 gaming laptop; thank you AMD

Subject: Mobile | September 28, 2011 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: llano, amd, A6-3400M, HD 6720G2, HD 6650M, HD 6520G, asus, A53T

Asus' A53T is powered by the Llano A6-3400M and 6GB of DDR3-1333 with graphics from the discrete HD6520G and the built in HD 6650M, which is apparently labelled as the HD6720G2.  A 15.6" 1366x768 LCD gives you decent resolution on the road and the HDMI and D-Sub out give you better resolution when you are at home.  The Tech Report were not incredibly impressed with the battery life, during movie playback it died after a bit over 3 hours, though still long enough to get through Avatar.  Gaming was more than satisfactory at the native resolution of the monitor and will handle higher resolutions with the video out acceptably well.  Head on over for the full review.

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"Here we have our first example of a genuine, honest-to-goodness consumer laptop powered by AMD's latest and greatest accelerated processing unit. How does it perform?"

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Manufacturer: EA

The Battlefield 3 Beta

Update 2 (9/30/11): We have some quick results from our time on the Caspian Border map as well if you are interested - check them out!

It was an exciting day at PC Perspective yesterday with much our time dedicated to finding, installing and playing the new Battlefield 3 public beta.  Released on the morning of the 26th to those of you who had pre-ordered BF3 on Origin or those of you who had purchased Medal of Honor prior to July 26th, getting the beta a couple of days early should give those of you with more FPS talent than me a leg up once the open beta starts on Thursday the 29th.

My purpose in playing Battlefield 3 yesterday was purely scientific, of course.  We wanted to test a handful of cards from both AMD and NVIDIA to see how the beta performed.  With all of the talk about needing to upgrade your system and the relatively high recommended system requirements, there is a lot of worry that just about anyone without a current generation GPU is going to need to shell out some cash.  

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Is that a justified claim?  While we didn't have time yet to test EVERY card we have at the office we did put some of the more recent high end, mid-range and lower cost GPUs to the test.  

Continue reading our initial performance results with the Battlefield 3 beta!!

Podcast #171 - X79 Motherboard Show and Tell, a 5th Core in NVIDIA's Kal-El, Weekly News, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: Editorial | September 22, 2011 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: x79, sandy bridge-e, podcast, nvidia, kal-el, Intel, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #171 - 9/22/2011

Join us this week as we have a X79 Motherboard Show and Tell, a 5th Core in NVIDIA's Kal-El, Weekly News, 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: 1:13:36

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:36 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. Stay Tuned for a contest!!
  6. 0:02:05 X79 Show and Tell!
  7. 0:13:00 NVIDIA Reveals a 5th CPU Core in Upcoming Kal-El Tegra SoC
  8. 0:24:33 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  9. 0:25:47 IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner
  10. 0:28:12 IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing
  11. 0:31:15 Corsair is a vengeful beast: K90, the (Black)Widow’s maker?
  12. 0:37:58 Corsair Returns With A Vengeance (Line Of Gaming Headsets)
  13. 0:39:00 This newcomer to SSDs holds a new iteration of a familiar controller
  14. 0:45:00 New Intel Core i7 2700K Revealed In MDDS Will Take Top Spot In Company Lineup
  15. 0:47:11 Kepler has arrived ... sort of
  16. 0:51:13 Email from Pete about Windows 8 and SSDs
  17. 0:56:00 Email from Nabokovfan87
  18. 1:02:00 Email from Rahul about Ultrabooks
  19. 1:04:00 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
  20. 1:04:52 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Gorillapod
    2. Jeremy: Ray Tracing ain't dead  fine, ruin my pick then  Cartel
    3. Josh: Looks very interesting:  http://shopping1.hp.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/WW-USSMBPublicStore-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductUUID=UUIQ7EN5PMEAAAEyle0CBwpd&CatalogCategoryID=yP4Q7EN5.w0AAAEu6fw.zwd2
    4. Allyn: VMWare 8
  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:

Podcast #170 - AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 15, 2011 - 07:23 PM |
Tagged: sandy bridge, podcast, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf, gpu, cpu, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #170 - 9/15/2011

Join us this week as we discuss AMD Bulldozer developments, the Windows 8 Developer Preview, News from IDF 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!

Sorry about audio problems due to Skype and Ryan having little bandwidth on the road

Program length: 45:26

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. Stay Tuned for a contest!!
  6. 0:01:30 ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard Review
  7. 0:02:36 Bulldozer First Release and the State of 32nm AMD Parts
  8. 0:10:15 AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!
  9. 0:13:50 Oh joy the BIOS level trojan is finally here
  10. 0:17:50 Windows 8 Developer Preview Build Sees Public Release At BUILD Conference
  11. 0:23:45 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  12. 0:24:37 IDF 2011: Intel Haswell Architecture Offers 20x Lower Standby Power
  13. 0:27:08 IDF 2011: Intels Shows a PC Running on Solar Power
  14. 0:30:10 IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote
  15. 0:35:27 SSD Update: 710 series
  16. 0:38:31 IDF 2011: ASUS UX21 Ultrabook Still Sexy, I Still Want It
  17. 0:39:34 Win a Free Drobo Storage Device at PC Perspective!!
  18. 0:40:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Ultrabooks - I wants them
    2. Jeremy: Stop ruining many of the fond memories I have of my teenage years!
    3. Josh: gettin closer to that $1 per GB:  http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820227552
    4. Allyn: mumble
  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:

AMD Bulldozer Processor hits 8.429 GHz - New World Record!

Subject: Processors | September 13, 2011 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: video, overclocking, FX, bulldozer, amd

There is a sub-culture in the computing world that is more or less analogous to the world of NHRA drag racing: liquid nitrogen overclocking.  And if you are really serious, liquid helium.  During a press event in Austin, TX in August to discuss the upcoming Bulldozer processor, a team of overclockers pushed the new architecture to frequencies well beyond safety and well beyond where they should be.  Without giving away the whole story yet, AMD was able to set a new frequency world record...

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Sami Mäkinen and his team hit 8.429GHz on liquid nitrogen and liquid helium with a near-production FX processor sample.  This bests the reigning record of 8.308 GHz that was hit on a Celeron processor with LN2. 

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You can read AMD's take on the accomplishment by hitting up the AMD Blogs website or looking up Simon Solotko's directly.

On August 31, an AMD FX processor achieved a frequency of 8.429GHz, a stunning result for a modern, multi-core processor. The record was achieved with several days of preparation and an amazing and inspired run in front of world renowned technology press in Austin, Texas. This frequency bests the prior record of 8.309GHz, and completely blows away any modern desktop processor. Based on our overclocking tests, the AMD FX CPU is a clock eating monster, temporarily able to withstand extreme conditions to achieve amazing speed. Even with more conservative methods, the AMD FX processors, with multiplier unlocked throughout the range, appear to scale with cold.  We achieved clock frequencies well above 5GHz using only air or sub-$100 water cooling solutions.

I was in attendance for the event and have to say that group put on a spectacular show and anytime you can play with liquid helium running at near absolute zero temperature, it's worth paying attention!  In fact, I put together a video of the event that you can see below and if you haven't participated or seen something of this nature, it is worth checking out!!

Now I need to temper some dreams right now - the chances of you or I reaching these types of clock speeds on the Bulldozer CPUs upon release are pretty close to nil.  What was more interesting was the casual overclocking we saw pushing upwards of 4.8+ GHz without breaking a sweat and that is what we will be investigating with our review of the processor later this year.

Update: Here is the screenshot from the official HWBot frequency rankings as well as a different video created by AMD themselves summarizing the event.  

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Source: AMD
Author:
Subject: Motherboards

Introduction and Specifications

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS developed the HDC-I motherboard to take advantage of AMD's new Brazos platform that's based on the Hudson M1 chipset and their latest E-350 dual-core processor and integrated DDR3 800/1066 memory controller. The dual-core E-350 APU, which combines the CPU and GPU, brings a host of features to mini ITX enthusiasts like USB 3.0 compability, SATA 6Gb/s support, bluetooth and Radeon HD 6310 graphics and UVD 3 to play 3D Blu-ray and HD-1080P movies.

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Courtesy of ECS

Another huge advantage of going with a mini ITX motherboard for your next home theater PC is the balance of computing power and power consumption that the AMD Brazos platform adds to the ECS HDC-I. The HDC-I is an energy-efficient motherboard that has integrated computing power and graphics firepower for users looking for an "all-in-one" solution for their next small form factor build.

Continue reading our review of the ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Bulldozer Ships for Revenue

Some months back we covered the news that AMD had released its first revenue shipments of Llano.  This was a big deal back then, as it was the first 32 nm based product from AMD, and one which could help AMD achieve power and performance parity with Intel in a number of platforms.  Llano has gone on to be a decent seller for AMD, and it has had a positive effect on AMD’s marketshare in laptops.  Where once AMD was a distant second in overall terms of power and performance in the mobile environment, Llano now allows them to get close to the CPU performance of the Intel processors, achieve much greater performance in graphics workloads, and has matched Intel in overall power consumption.

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KY Wong and Marshall Kwait hand off the first box of Bulldozer based Interlagos processors to Cray's Joe Fitzgerald.  Photo courtesy of AMD.

Some five months later we are now making the same type of announcement for AMD and their first revenue shipment of the Bulldozer core.  The first chips off the line are actually “Interlagos” chips; basically server processors that feature upwards of 16 cores (8 modules, each module containing two integer units and then the shared 256 bit FPU/SSE SIMD unit).  The first customer is Cray, purveyor of fine supercomputers everywhere.  They will be integrating these new chips into their Cray XE6 supercomputers, which have been purchased by a handful of governmental and education entities around the world.

Continue reading for our analysis on AMD's processor future...

AMD Introduces A4-3300 and A4-3400 Desktop APU To Expand Brilliant HD Lineup

Subject: Processors | September 7, 2011 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: amd, A4-3400, A4-3300

AMD today announced availability of the AMD A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) A4-3300 and A4-3400 desktop processors, bringing the entry-level desktop APU price down to just $70 (U.S. suggested retail price) for consumers who want PCs with brilliant HD graphics, advanced performance, and fast application and connectivity speeds.

The AMD A4-3300 and A4-3400 desktop APUs each combine two x86 CPU cores with 160 Radeon cores, enabling powerful DirectX 11-capable discrete level graphics and dedicated HD video processing on a single chip. These dualcore APUs enable responsive and energy-efficient performance for everyday PC productivity and multitasking, as well as an amazing gaming experience.

In addition to leading-edge graphics and competitive compute power, the AMD A4-3300 and A4-3400 APUs support:

  • AMD Steady Video for instant removal of shakes and jitters when rewatching video, so content looks steady and smoothing.
  • AMD Dual Graphics for a visual performance boost when paired with select AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series graphics cards .
  • Integrated USB 3.0 controller for rapid transfer and storage of digital content.
  • AMD VISION Engine Software to provide users with regular updates to help improve system performance and stability, and to introduce new software enhancements.

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With a suggested retail price of $70.00 (U.S), the AMD A4-3300 APU operates at 2.5GHz (CPU) and 444MHz (GPU) with 160 Radeon Cores, 1MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 65W.

 With a suggested retail price of $75.00 (U.S), the AMD A4-3400 APU operates at 2.7GHz (CPU) and 600MHz (GPU) with 160 Radeon Cores, 1MB of L2 cache and a TDP of 65W.

(No sign of them on NewEgg as of yet)

All AMD A-Series processors are designed for use with FM1 motherboards. AMD A4 APUs require the AMD Vision Engine Control Center 11.8 driver release or later releases.

Source: AMD

GPU-Z Releases Version 0.5.5 With Improved Support for AMD and Nvidia Graphics Cards

Subject: General Tech | September 6, 2011 - 01:32 AM |
Tagged: gpu, hardware, Utility, windows, amd, Intel, nvidia

GPU-Z is a fine little Windows utility that, much like its CPU-Z brethren, can tell you all sorts of useful information about your graphics sub-system. The lightweight program does not require a restart, and weighs in at 922 KB. GPU-Z is distributed by TechPowerUp, and is now officially on it’s 0.5.5 version.

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The new version adds support for a slew of AMD and Nvidia graphics cards, improved support for BIOS identification, and a new tab for a giveaway by graphics card vendor PowerColor. On the AMD front, the new version adds support for the companies line of A-Series APU graphics cores, AMD’s mobile cayman GPU “Blackcomb,” and various FirePro cards including the V8000, V3700, and 2460 (FireMV). On the Nvidia side of things, the new version adds support for the GeForce GT 530, GT 545, GT 560 Ti OEM, Quadro 400, Quadro 4000M, and Quadro 5000. Further, GPU-Z updated support for mobile versions of Nvidia cards, including the GeForce GT 305M, 410M, 520M, 520MX, 555M, and the GTX 580M.

The program further improves the BIOS readings of Nvidia cards as well as fixing a shader count detection bug on the Blackcomb mobile Cayman AMD parts. The ASUS MARS II GPU also receives support in version 0.5.5. PowerColor is holding a giveaway for a 6990 graphics card to a lucky winner. The new GPU-Z tab has all the relevant information as well as an entry form. Lastly, the program will now remember the last selected GPU selected from the drop down on multi-GPU systems.

The updated support is nice, and the lightweight program starts up just as fast as the previous versions. Do you use GPU-Z?  You can download the new version here.

Bulldozer Infused Trinity APU Specifications Confirmed

Subject: Processors | September 3, 2011 - 12:07 AM |
Tagged: trinity, llano, bulldozer, APU, amd

AMD has not only started announcing quite a few future processors, but has also gone a bit crazy with all of the code names for said products. Admittedly, when the news broke that Trinity APU specifications were revealed, I had to do a bit of digging to figure out just what the Trinity APU was (exactly). In the end, the APU (accelerated processing unit) is similar in composition to Llano except with a bulldozer based CPU core and upgraded GPU. The bulldozer core aspect is what threw me for a bit of a loop in that I had a difficult time figuring out how the CPU core could be based on bulldozer when bulldozer hasn’t even been released ;).  Hopefully that long introduction helps somewhat in clearing up what Trinity is.

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Specifically, the new Trinity APU will debut with AMD’s new “Piledriver” (more code names!) architecture, and include a Radeon HD 7000 series GPU and Bulldozer based CPU core. Futher, the Trinity APU will come in both notebook and desktop flavors titled “Comal” and “Virgo” respectively. AMD notes that the improvements in the CPU and GPU cores will result in up to a 50% performance increase over the current Llano A Series APUs. While the 50% number is measuring pure gigaflop performance, even if the real world speed increase is not as noticeable in everyday usage, it is still a nice bump in performance.

On the availability front, AMD has slated the processor for release in 2012; however, Semi Accurate believes that the APU may well debut much sooner than expected. The site further quoted sources who stated that “CES is a distinct possibility for a soft launch, and maybe more.” More tidbits of information can be had here.