Video Perspective: AMD Steady Video Technology on AMD A-Series APUs

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 25, 2011 - 11:23 AM |
Tagged: amd, APU, llano, steady video, a8-3850, video

In our continuing coverage of the AMD Llano-based A-Series of APUs we have another short video that discusses and evaluates the performance of AMD's Steady Video technology publicly released to the world with the 11.6 driver revision this month.  Steady Video, as we described it in our initial AMD Llano A8-3850 review is:

Using a heterogeneous computing model AMD's driver will have the ability to stabilize "bouncy" video that is usually associated with consumer cameras and unsteady hands.

Basically, AMD is on the war path to show you that your GPU can be used for more than just gaming and video transcoding.  If the APU and heterogeneous computing is to thrive, unique and useful applications of the GPU cores found in Llano, Trinity and beyond must be realized.  Real-time video filtering and stabilization with Steady Video is such an example and is exclusive to AMD GPUs and APUs.

As you can see there are no benchmarks in that video, no numbers we can really quote or reference to tell you "how much" better the corrected videos are compared to the originals.  The examples we gave you there were NOT filtered or selected because they show off the technology better or worse than any others; instead we used it for what AMD said it should be used for - amateur video taken without tripods, etc.  

And since this feature works not only AMD A-Series APUs but also on recent Radeon GPUs, I encourage you all to give it a shot and let us know what you think in our comments here below - do you find the feature useful and effective?  Would you leave the option enabled full time or just turn on when you encounter a particularly bouncy video?

If you haven't seen our previous Video Perspectives focusing on AMD A-Series of APUs, you can catch them here:

Intel and AMD Provide Positive Earnings

Subject: Editorial | July 22, 2011 - 10:59 AM |
Tagged: Sandy Bridge E, Q2 2011, llano, Intel, bulldozer, APU, amd

 

The first half of this year has been surprisingly strong for the chip industry, and Intel and AMD are helping to lead the way and satiate demand for new processors at all market levels.

Intel was first off the bat to release earnings for their 2nd quarter, and they again broke revenue and profit records for Q2.  Gross revenue was a very healthy $13 billion and the company’s net profit was an impressive $3 billion.  Margins are down from last year’s high of 67%, but the actual 61% far outshines that of their competition.  Q2 2010 results were $10.8 billion in gross revenue and $2.9 billion net profit.  While profit was “only” $100 million more than Q1 2010, the extra $2.2 billion in revenue is something to sit up and notice.

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Sandy Bridge based parts have continued to propel Intel's domination of the CPU market.

Probably the two greatest strengths for Intel are extracting the most amount of performance per mm squared of die and of overall process technology leadership.  Intel has been shipping 32 nm parts for some 18 months now, and their redesigned Sandy Bridge architecture has left their primary competition in the dust when it comes to overall multi-core CPU performance.  Intel has improved their integrated graphics capabilities, but this is one area where they simply cannot compete with the more GPU focused AMD.  Intel is also facing much increased competition in the mobile market from the Llano based chips and their accompanying chipset, which has been a virtual fortress for Intel until recently.  While Intel still rules in CPU performance, the combination of rich graphics, chipset features, and competitive power consumption has made Llano a true threat to the mobile sector.

Click here to read more.

Source:

The PowerColor HD6950 features a unique cooler

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 22, 2011 - 10:00 AM |
Tagged: amd, hd6950, powercolor, 6950 PCS+ Vortex 2

We have seen non-standard HD6950's with dual fans before, but not quite in the way that PowerColor implemented them.  The fans can slide in and out of their shrouds, not only for cleaning but also to fine tune the way that they cool the card.  Hardware Heaven managed a rather decent overclock on the card, hitting 908MHz on the GPU and 1496MHz GDDR5.  The full list of features reads like a dream, copper block with thick heatpipes, dual BIOS, aluminium fins, solid capacitors, ferrite core chokes and DrMos, probably why this card costs a wee bit more than your average card.

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"Today we will be putting the 6950 PCS+ Vortex 2 and its unique cooler through a selection of real world gaming, multimedia and GPU computing tasks to see how it stacks up against some of the best competitor cards on the market."

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

Graphics Cards

Bulldozer will be on time, missing CEO or not

Subject: General Tech | July 22, 2011 - 08:42 AM |
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, finance, release

AMD has a lot to happy about today, even if both they and GLOBALFOUNDRIES are one CEO short of a full board.  This time last year AMD was talking up Bulldozer as a product 12 months or more out of market and facing a $43 million loss under “Generally Accepted Accounting Principles”, as Josh explained fully.  Long story short it was money being paid for GF; the unadjusted profit for the quarter was actually $83 million, . This quarter it was a $61 million profit, $70 million non-GAAP, thanks to AMD focusing on keeping the costs down, with a bit of help from the recent release of Llano. 

On the processor side, AMD is pegging the 16-core "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 Bulldozer CPU for servers and the Zambezi FX series will both come out at the same time, at least as far as revenue is concerned.  We may not have them in hand for a while longer than that, but not too long.  Drop by the Register for the full picture.

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"The hybrid CPU-GPU chips for mobile PCs gave Advanced Micro Devices some breathing room in the second quarter, but it's going to take continued ramping of these APU processors and an upswing in Opteron server sales to get the company back to the profit levels it should be enjoying during a retooling phase in the IT market – and it looks like AMD and its server partners won't have to wait too much longer."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Podcast #163 - Mini ITX Z68 Motherboard, PDXLAN coverage, Sandy Bridge-E rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2011 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: vellamo, podcast, nvidia, Intel, eyefinity, Android, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #163 - 7/21/2011

This week we talk about a Mini ITX Z68 Motherboard, PDXLAN coverage, Sandy Bridge-E rumors 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, Jeremy Hellstrom and Allyn Malventano

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

Program length: 1:22:27

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:31 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. 0:02:20 BlackBerry PlayBook Review: Good Hardware Seeks Great Software
  6. 0:04:10 Eyefinity and Me - An Idiot's Guide to AMD's Multi-Monitor Technology
  7. 0:05:05 Qualcomm Vellamo Browser Benchmark and Results - Android Web Performance
  8. 0:10:45 Zotac thinks small with their new Z68 motherboard
  9. 0:15:15 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  10. 0:16:20 One Billion work units down and the FLOPs are still rising - team ranking page 
  11. 0:20:05 Intel Sandy Bridge-E Processors Just In Time For Christmas But With Some Features Removed 
  12. 0:25:02 Steam readies update to download system, just in (Valve) time
  13. 0:29:25 PDXLAN Custom Cases Round 1
  14. 0:34:15 Overclockers Achieve Impressive Llano Overclocking Results, Come Close to 5GHz
  15. 0:38:30 Intel and AMD be warned; ARM could grab up to 20% of the laptop market in the next 4 years 
  16. 0:44:00 Southern Island is ahead of the pack, but it is set to low power for now  
  17. 0:48:02 FPS games have hit the innovation wall? Not so says John Carmack 
  18. 0:56:35 With Intel's recent purchasing habits, could crossdressing be in their future? 
  19. 1:03:00 New Apple Hardware overview
  20. 1:09:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
    1. Tshirts, prizes, stuff!
  21. 1:12:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Spotify
    2. Jeremy: sweet RAM deal
    3. Allyn: http://www.passwordcard.org/en
  22. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  23. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  24. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  25. 1:20:55 Closing

Source:

Quakecon isn't the only party in Dallas

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 21, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: Texas GamExperience, amd

You still have a while to wait before the start of Quakecon in Dallas, and then even longer to wait until the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop starts of and you can act like the maddest fool around in order to win prizes.  That doesn't mean that Houston is quiet, indeed [H]ard|OCP and AMD just hosted the Texas GamExperience there this past weekend.  They posted pictures of the event, including an awe inspiring EyeFinity Experience.  Click through to see the rest of the pictures.

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"AMD and HardOCP got together this past weekend in Dallas to put together an event that was focused on giving back to the enthusiast computer hardware community that has given so much to us."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Sapphire Introduces New Pure Platinum Motherboard Supporting AMD A-Series APUs

Subject: Motherboards | July 21, 2011 - 08:25 AM |
Tagged: sapphire, motherboard, fusion, APU, amd

Sapphire Technologies, most popular for their line of AMD discrete graphics cards, has recently unveiled a new ATX motherboard supporting AMD’s A-Series APUs. Dubbed the Sapphire Pure Platinum A75, the board supports the latest interface standards including SATA 3 6Gbps, USB 3.0, PCI-E 2, and USB 2.0. Further, the board supports Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth, and four dual channel memory sockets.

Sapphire Pure Platinum A75.jpg

The Pure Platinum A75 motherboard is a full ATX affair that is chock full of expansion slots. Four dual channel DIMM slots for DDR3 memory, two PCI-E 2 x1 slots, one PCI-E 2 x4 slot, one PCI-E 2 x16 slot, and two PCI slots along the bottom of the board. On the storage front, the motherboard contains five SATA 3 6Gbps ports with ACHI and RAID support and a single SATA 2 3Gbps port that is connected to the rear header and is used as an eSATA connection.

Other features of the board include Dual Graphics support when the APU is paired with a AMD HD 6600 or HD 6500 series for a boost in graphics performance by using both the discrete card and APU together. A single digital debug display, push buttons for resetting the BIOS, starting, and restarting the system, Dual BIOS support, and voltage test pads that allow voltage readings of the APU and memory circuits. Further, the motherboard uses gold plated connectors on the USB 3.0 and LAN ports in addition to solid capacitors and Sapphire Diamond Black chokes in the VRM area.

Sapphire Pure Platinum A75_rearIO.jpg

Rear IO of the board includes Display Port, DVI, HDMI, four USB 2.0 ports, two USB 3.0 ports, one Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR antenna, one eSATA port, and one PS/2 keyboard/mouse combination port. The board also included the standard fair of audio ports, supporting up to 7.1 audio.

According to Sapphire, the board is currently in production and will be available through the usual channel partners and retailers. You can check out more photos of the motherboard here.

Source: Sapphire

Southern Island is ahead of the pack, but it is set to low power for now

Subject: General Tech | July 20, 2011 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, nvidia, gpu, amd, 28nm

Thanks to some information garnered by SemiAccurate we have a very good idea of AMD's release plans for their new GPU family, what we have been referring to as Southern Islands.  The confusion that we felt from AMD's announcement that Southern Island parts would be ready sooner than expected arose from the reported difficulties that TSMC was having with their 28nm HKMG process.  Thankfully someone had a chance to take apart some 28nm TSMC field programmable arrays and inside found a HKMG design modified for lower power states than the original specs.  That doesn't mean cellphone level graphics performance but certainly means that the first GPUs we see from Southern Islands will not be the high end cards.  AMD did the same thing with previous generations of GPUs, so the release schedule is becoming a habit, even if not what would be preferred.

There are other side effects to this choice by AMD and TSMC which are probably going to hurt NVIDIA, who are hoping to get full power Kepler based GPUs out at the beginning of next year.  Since NVIDIA tends towards more aggressive clocks, the experience that TSMC has with what is called the HPL 28nm process will not necessarily help NVIDIA's HKMG 28nm process.  SemiAccurate has more.

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"The final piece of the TSMC 28nm HKMG process puzzle was put in place at SemiCon last week, it now makes sense. Chipworks got ahold of a Xilinx Kintex-7 FPGA, and it revealed a few secrets on the operating table.

If you recall, AMD is on track to put out Southern Islands chips much earlier than most people, SemiAccurate included, expected, possibly even this quarter. The real question is what process they are going to make it on, the TSMC 40nm SiON or 28nm HKMG? 40nm would be big, hot, and limited, think volcanic island more than Southern, while the 28nm SHP HKMG process wasn’t supposed to be ready until late Q1, best case. The short story is that Southern Islands is very likely not on either one."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: SemiAccurate

Intel and AMD be warned; ARM could grab up to 20% of the laptop market in the next 4 years

Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2011 - 10:02 AM |
Tagged: Intel, amd, arm, mali, low power

Those who ignored Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 will support ARM processors will perhaps take note of Isuppli's claim that ARM could grab 1 in 5 of the laptops sold by 2015.  The extremely low powers System on a Chip design that they have been selling were at the opposite end of the market from AMD and Intel's X86 chips, but with the rise of the APU the market has undergone a fundamental change.  While the X86 makers are trying to lower the power requirements of their APUs, ARM is busy trying to ramp up the power of their chips.  There are already several vendors establishing a relationship with ARM, up to and including Apple

ARM's Cortex A9 and Mali are impressive, but ARM is already talking about console level graphics quality from their next generation of chips which we will see in roughly 18 months.  This improvement will also encompass their next generation of power efficency research, which should keep power consumption and heat well below what Intel and AMD will be trying to reach.  As well, it might provide an interesting opportunity for NVIDIA as the lack of a license to integrate chips with the new X86 based architecture will not stop them from developing graphics enhancements for ARM based laptops.  Drop by The Inquirer for more on this topic

ARM_Mali-T604 Architecture_675.jpg

"CHIP DESIGNER ARM could power over 20 per cent of all laptops shipped in 2015, according to analyst outfit IHS Isuppli.

IHS Isuppli has forecast that the domination of X86 chips in the laptop market will start to diminish as Microsoft releases its Windows 8 operating system. Windows 8 will be the first desktop operating system from Microsoft that will support the ARM architecture that is found in just about every smartphone in existence."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Overclockers Achieve Impressive Llano Overclocking Results, Come Close to 5GHz

Subject: Processors | July 18, 2011 - 08:15 PM |
Tagged: superpi, overclocking, LN2, llano, APU, amd, a8-3850

In a feat of overclocking prowess, the crew over at Akiba have managed to push the AMD Llano A8-3850 to its limits to achieve a Super PI 32M score of 14 minutes and 17.5 seconds at an impressive 4.75GHz. Using a retail A8-3850 APU, a Gigabyte GA-A75-UD4H motherboard, and a spine chilling amount of Liquid Nitrogen, the Japanese overclocking team came very close to breaking the 5GHz barrier.

ssoc1.jpg

Just how close did they come? 4.906.1GHz with a base clock of 169.2MHz to be exact, which is mighty impressive. Unfortunately, the APU had to undergo some sever electroshock therapy at 1.792 Volts! Further, the 4.9GHz clock speed was not stable enough for a valid Super PI 32M result; therefore, the necessity to run the benchmark at 4.75GHz.

The extreme cooling ended up causing issues with the motherboard once the team tried to switch out the A8-3850 for the A6-3650; therefore, they swapped in an Asus F1A75-V PRO motherboard. With the A6-3650, they achieved an overclock of 4.186GHz with a base clock of 161MHz and a voltage of 1.428V. The overclockers stated that they regretted having to swap out the Asus board as they believed the Gigabyte board would have allowed them to overclock the A6-3650 APU higher due to that particular motherboard’s ability to adjust voltage higher.

vsoc2.jpg

Although they did not break the 5GHz barrier, they were still able to achieve an impressive 69% overclock on the A8-3850 and a 61% overclock on the A6-3650 APU. For comparison, here are PC Perspective’s not-APU-frying overclocking results. At a default clock speed of 2.9 and 2.6 respectively, the A8-3850 and A6-3650 seem to have a good deal of headroom when it comes to bumping up the CPU performance. If you have a good aftermarket cooler, Llano starts to make a bit more sense as 3.2GHz on air and 3.6GHz on water are within reach.  How do you feel about Llano?

Source: Akiba