More MHz for the Masses
AMD has had a rough time of it lately when it comes to CPUs. Early last year when we saw the performance of the low power Bobcat architecture, we thought 2011 would be a breakout year for AMD. Bulldozer was on the horizon and it promised performance a step above what Intel could offer. This harkened back to the heady days of the original Athlon and Athlon 64 where AMD held a performance advantage over all of Intel’s parts. On the graphics side AMD had just released the 6000 series of chips, all of which came close in performance to NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture, but had a decided advantage in terms of die size and power consumption. Then the doubts started to roll in around the April timeframe. Whispers hinted that Bulldozer was delayed, and not only was it delayed it was not meeting performance expectations.
The introduction of the first Llano products did not help things. The “improved” CPU performance was less than expected, even though the GPU portion was class leading. The manufacturing issues we saw with Llano did not bode well for AMD or the upcoming Bulldozer products. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was simply not able to achieve good yields on these new 32 nm products. Then of course the hammer struck. Bulldozer was released, well behind schedule, and with performance that barely rose above that of the previous Phenom II series of chips. The top end FX-8150 was competitive with the previous Phenom II X6 1100T, but it paled in comparison to the Intel i7 2600 which was right around the same price range.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2012 - 06:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hd 7950, ubuntu 12.04, opengl, linux, amd
Phoronix revisited the performance the HD 7950 on the new Catalyst driver for Linux as it is no longer labelled as unsupported hardware. That means that not only are the default clocks correct, you can use aticonfig/amdconfig to overclock the cards if you so desire. The scaling of the card now matches the clock speed nicely and shows an improvement from the HD 6950 in the benchmarks. You might not be able to find a Linux game which will take advantage of the full feature set and power of the HD 7950 but the card is capable of far more than providing you with pixels to slaughter.
"Here are some updated benchmarks of the AMD Radeon HD 7950 "Southern Islands" graphics card under Linux with the proprietary Catalyst driver."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and HD 7850 @ X-bit Labs
- HIS Radeon HD 7870 IceQ Turbo @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7850 Overclocked Edition Review @ Neoseeker
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning 3GB Video Cards in CrossFire Overclocked @ Tweaktown
- Sapphire HD7870 Overclock Edition @ Kitguru
- XFX Radeon HD 7870 Black Edition 2GB @ Tweaktown
- ASUS Radeon HD 7870 DirectCU II 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI R7970 Lightning Radeon HD 7970 3GB Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- MSI HD 7870 Twin Frozr III 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- Gigabyte HD 7770 OC with CrossFire @ Bjorn3D
- Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 OC 3GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- MSI Radeon HD 7970 Lightning @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Catalyst 12.3 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- Graphics card buying guide @ eTeknix
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 Surround Gaming Tested @ Legit Reviews
- ZOTAC GTX 680s Extreme Overclock in SLI @ Bjorn3D
- Zotac GTX680 SLI @ OC3D
- A closer look at some GeForce GTX 680 features @ The Tech Report
Subject: Processors | April 3, 2012 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: virtualization, ubuntu 12.04, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, FX 8150, Core i7 3960X, bulldozer, amd
Phoronix is taking the latest Ubuntu release and testing the performance on AMD's FX 8150 against Intel's Core-i7 3960X to see their relative performance in a virtual environment. Both machines had issues, Xen had critical issues which prevented it from running on the Bulldozer and ASUS motherboard system, while the Sandy Bridge chip had issues with Virtualbox. The testing was not so much a comparison of the performance difference between the two chips as it is a test of efficiency of these processors running tasks when virtualized. As both chips averaged 90%+ of base performance when virtualized you can see that both architectures have come a long way in this particular usage.
Also, keep your eyes out for a CPU review from Josh which should be arriving soon.
"With the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be quickly making its way into many enterprise environments, here's a look at the virtualization performance of this popular Linux distribution. In particular, being looked at is the Linux virtualization performance of KVM, Xen, and Oracle VirtualBox compared to bare metal when using Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme and AMD Bulldozer hardware."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Xeon E5 2600: Interview with Intel IT's Ajay Chandramouly @ TechSpot
- Intel To Launch Ivy Bridge Desktop Processors This Week @ TechARP
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs @ Tweaktown
- AMD A8-3870 FM1 CPU @ Rbmods
Subject: General Tech | March 29, 2012 - 03:29 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ssd, podcast, nvidia, Intel, gtx680, amd, 7970, 680
PC Perspective Podcast #195 - 03/29/2012
Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 680 Review, the MSI HD 7970 Lightning, and a 4GB GTX 680!
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
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- Gigabyte GA-X79-UD5 LGA 2011 EATX Motherboard Review
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 2GB Graphics Card Review - Kepler in Motion
- Acer Aspire Timeline Ultra M3 Review: Kepler's First Laptop
- MSI R7970 Lightning Review: AMD's HD 7970 Gets the Treatment
- This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- Galaxy Readying 4GB and Hall Of Fame Edition GTX 680 GPUs
- About that pricing AMD; you sure you want to stick with it?
- Super Talent Releases New RAIDDrive upStream PCI-E SSD
- Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech | March 28, 2012 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, seamicro, interconnect, purchase, HPC, 3d torus, freedom
In the beginning of March it was announced that AMD would be spending $334 million to purchase SeaMicro, a company who holds the patents on the 3D torus interconnect for High Powered Computing and servers. This interconnect utilizes PCIe lanes to connect large amounts of processors together to create what was commonly referred to as a supercomputer and is now more likely to be labelled an HPC machine. SeaMicro's current SM1000 chassis can hold 64 processor cards, each of which have a processor socket, chipset and memory slots which makes the entire design beautifully modular.
One of the more interesting features of the Freedom systems design is that it can currently utilize either Atom or Xeon chips on those processor cards. With AMD now in the mix you can expect to see compatibility with Opteron chips in the very near future. That will give AMD a chance to grab market share from Intel in the HPC market segment. The Opteron series may not be as powerful as the current Xeons but they do cost noticeably less which makes them very attractive for customers who cannot afford 64 Xeons but need more power than an Atom can provide.
The competition is not just about price however; with Intel's recent purchase of QLogic and the InfiniBand interconnect technology, AMD needs to ensure they can also provide a backbone which is comparable in speed. The current Freedom interconnect has 1.28Tb/sec of aggregate bandwidth on a 3D torus, and supports up to sixteen 10-Gigabit Ethernet links or 64 Gigabit links, which is in the same ballpark as a 64 channel InfiniBand based system. The true speed will actually depend on which processors AMD plans to put into these systems, but as Michael Detwiler told The Register, that will depend on what customers actually want and not on what AMD thinks will be best.
"As last week was winding down, Advanced Micro Devices took control of upstart server maker SeaMicro, and guess what? AMD is still not getting into the box building business, even if it does support SeaMicro's customers for the foreseeable future out of necessity.
Further: Even if AMD doesn't have aspirations to build boxes, the company may be poised to shake up the server racket as a component supplier. Perhaps not as dramatically as it did with the launch of the Opteron chips nearly a decade ago, but then again, maybe as much or more - depending on how AMD plays it and Intel and other server processor makers react."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD collaborates with Green Hills to port Integrity real-time OS @ The Inquirer
- Death of a data haven: cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world's smallest nation @ Ars Technica
- Rockyou security blunder exposed data on 32 million gamers @ The Inquirer
- Plastic that SELF-REPAIRS using light unleashed by prof @ The Register
- ARM adds Mali support to the new DS5 suite @ SemiAccurate
- ASUS EA-N66U Wireless-N450 Ethernet Adapter @ Benchmark Reviews
- Canon PowerShot SX260 HS Review @ TechReviewSource
- The new Comcast Xbox Xfinity app is the first nail in net neutrality’s coffin @ ExtremeTech
Will it Strike Again?
It can now be claimed that we are arguably in our 4th generation of Lightning products from MSI. It can also be claimed that the 3rd generation of products really put that brand on the mainstream map. The R6970 and N580GTX (and XE version) set new standards for enthusiast grade graphics cards. Outstanding construction, unique pcb design, high quality (and quantity) of components, and a good eye for overall price have all been hallmarks of these cards. These were honestly some of my favorite video cards of all time. Call me biased, but I think when looking through other reviews those writers felt much the same. MSI certainly hit a couple of homeruns with their three Lightning offerings of 2011.
Time does not stand still. Resting on laurels is always the surest way to lose out to more aggressive competitors. It is now 2012 and AMD has already launched the latest generation of HD 7000 chips, with the top end being the HD 7970. This particular product was launched in late December, but cards were not available until January 9th of 2012. We are now at the end of March where we see a decent volume of products on the shelves, as well as some of the first of the non-reference designs hitting the streets. Currently Asus has its DirectCU II based 7970, but now we finally get to see the Lightning treatment.
MSI has not sat upon their laurels it seems. They are taking an aggressive approach to the new Lightning series of cards, and they implement quite a few unique features that have not been seen on any other product before. Now the question is did they pull it off? Throwing more features at something does not necessarily equal success. The increase in complexity of a design combined with other unknowns with the new features could make it a failure. Just look at the R5870 Lightning for proof. That particular card tread new ground, but did so in a way that did not adequately differentiate itself from reference HD 5870 designs. So what is new and how does it run? Let us dig in!
Subject: Systems | March 27, 2012 - 02:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, llano, dual graphics, a8-3870K
Dual Llano graphics has become one of PC Perspective's most recommended ways of getting yourself a laptop capable of decent gaming performance without spending a lot of money. It is not as well known as a desktop solution, which X-Bit Labs intends to explore in their latest review. They've taken the high end A8-3870K, overclocked it and paired it with an HD 6670 and then compared it to two similar systems, one using a Intel Pentium G850 and one with a Core i3-2120. The results of their testing just might surprise you.
"Today we are going to compare the performance of Socket FM1 and LGA 1155 systems. Will a hybrid Llano processor be able to beat the entry-level Intel CPU paired with an entry-level graphics accelerator? How efficient AMD Dual Graphics technology is? Does overclocking make Socket FM1 systems more attractive?"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Scan 3XS Vengeance GTX680 Z68 OC System @ OC3D
- HP TouchSmart Elite 7320 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Building the Right Box @ Techgage
- Acer AX1930-UR10P Review @ TechReviewSource
- Puget Systems Echo: Intel and AMD Showdown at 65 Watts @ AnandTech
- Intel Xeon E5-2687W in Asus Z9PE-D8 WS dual CPU workstation @ The Inquirer
- HP TouchSmart 520 All-In-One @ TechSpot
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 27, 2012 - 01:53 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: arctic cooling, amd, freezer a30
Sometimes cooler manufacturers target one of their products specifically to a CPU manufacturer and that is what Arctic Cooling has done with the Freezer A30. This 905g, 162mm x 137mm x 97mm is only designed to fit Socket AM2+, AM3+ and FM1 motherboards, which allows for greater flexibility in the orientation of the mounting brackets. FrostyTech tested it with the fan at both high and low speed settings and found this to be a great heatsink both for high powered systems that need a lot of cooling as well as those systems which need to operate quietly.
"The Freezer A30 heatsink is an updated version of the AC Freezer 13 Pro, but this time around it's shed its copper base plate for bare heatpipes and had its mounting brackets restricted to AMD processors. The Freezer A30 stands 162mm tall, is built around a familiar tower-style-exposed-heatpipe-heatsink format and weighs a hefty 905 grams. The cooler comes with a single 120mm PWM fan which is mounted to the aluminum fin stack via a muscular plastic fan shroud. No additional fans can be mounted."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Bequiet Shadow Rock TopFlow @ OC3D
- Noctua NH-L12 Low Profile Heatsink Review @ Ninjalane
- Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler Review @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master Hyper 412S @ Hardwareoverclock
- AZZA Fusion 4000 ATX Super Full Tower Case Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Xigmatek Venus XP-SD1266 @ Kitguru
- Titan Fenrir Siberia Edition Review @ OCC
- Prolimatech Lynx @ XSReviews
- Thermaltake Commander MS-I Snow Edition Mid-Tower Chassis Review @ eTeknix
- Noctua NH-D14 SE2011 CPU Cooler Review @ HCW
- Cooler Master X6 Elite CPU Cooler Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Noctua NF-F12 PWM Fan Review Update @Hi Tech Legion
- NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower @ Kitguru
- Antec P280 Performance One PC Case @ Pro-Clockers
- Thermaltake V3 BlacX Edition Case Review @ HardwareHeaven
- NZXT Phantom 410 @ Kitguru
- Thermaltake Overseer RX-I Case @ Kitguru
- Corsair Carbide 300R Case Review @ Madshrimps
- Antec ONE @ techPowerUp
- Lian Li Hammer PC-100 PC Tower @ Pro-Clockers
- Silverstone Temjin TJ-04E PC Tower @ Pro-Clockers
- Corsair Carbide Series 300R Gaming Case Review @ Legit Reviews
- NZXT Switch 810 Full Tower Chasis Review @ Rbmods
- NZXT Switch 810 Chassis @ Overclockers Online
- Cougar Solution High Performance Midi Tower @ Pro-Clockers
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gpu, pricing, nvidia, amd, radeon
AMD has spent a lot of money developing GCN and it shows with products that provide better performance than the previous generation and do so with less power consumption, a hard trick to pull off. There are also numerous other architectural changes in the three current families of Southern Island cards which benefit users, but most will be focused on faster graphics without the need to upgrade their PSU. Until last week, since AMD had the fastest GPU going period, as well as much better price/performance numbers than NVIDIA's choice, there was no reason for AMD to consider changing their pricing structure as they need to recuperate the amount of dollars spent on R&D as well as manufacturing.
Last week the GTX 680 changed that, as not only did NVIDIA steal the performance crown back from AMD but they also successfully reduced the power consumption which was the Achilles Heel of Fermi. Even worse news for AMD was the pricing that NVIDIA attached to their flagship Kepler product, at $500 they are priced below AMD's HD 7970 by between $50 to $100. AMD's only hope is that the process problems at TSMC will keep the availability of the GTX 680 down, which it seems to have as NewEgg has run out of that card. Hoping that your competitor cannot keep their stock up is not exactly a good model to run your business.
Unfortunately any price change AMD makes will have repercussions on many models. The 7950 averages about $460 which is far too close to the GTX 680's price since the performance is not that close, however dropping the HD 7950 towards $400 makes the HD 7870 at $360 a little uncomfortable. That is going to have an effect on AMD's profitability, since they likely set out their accounting based on the current pricing of the Radeon series and will have to recalculate a lot of numbers to lower price and still remain profitable. However painful a process that might be they need to think of it sooner, rather than later; NVIDIA has more Kelper cards in store and they are not going to cost more than the GTX 680.
So far we have not heard any substantiated rumours about price changes from AMD but you can speculate that they must be coming. For now you should first decide how much your budget can manage and then start looking for specials at retailers that bring the cards down to the price you have decided you can afford. If they aren't low enough today then wait a few days as the GPU market is going to be decidedly unstable for the next while.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel to offer new SSDs, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Intel extends lead over Samsung in semiconductor market share @ The Inquirer
- AMD completes its buyout of Seamicro @ The Inquirer
- Many Ivy Bridge ultrabooks expected to be showcased at Computex Taipei
- The TR Podcast 108: Take three tablets and call Dr. Kepler in the morning
Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 01:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, amd, southern islands, kepler, 28nm, maxwell, llano
TSMC's 28nm process has been in the news for a long time, sometimes this was a good thing but more often it was not. Back in May of 2009 the first announcements of TSMC's brand new 28nm process hit the news with major production slated to start in early 2010. That didn't happen on time, much to several companies dismay as Josh unhappily discussed towards the end of 2010. This set a trend for TSMC's 28nm process for a while, for instance AMD did not quite meet their promise of readily available 28nm GPUs in 2011, though a late December launch for the HD7970 did meet the spirit of the agreement. The delays and issues on TSMC's 28nm lines had a variety of causes, perhaps one of the worst being TSMC's overly optimistic attitude about their production capabilities especially when AMD had a surprise for them. Add to that the long line of woes during the development and production of NVIDIA's 28nm Kepler GPU as well as the recent shutdown of the production line, and you can see why TSMC's 28nm process has spent a lot of time being maligned in the news. It almost makes you forget about the 40nm process woes, but that is ancient news.
All that effort is not going to waste as DigiTimes reports that TSMC is planning on expanding their 28nm capacity this year and expects that process to account for 10% of their 2012 revenue. The next question on most peoples minds is the progress on TSMC's 22nm process which in 2010 they announced would be ready by Q3 2012, something which NVIDIA's Maxwell team is probably anticipating with great anxiety.
"With current capacity for 28nm processes filled up, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to expand the leading-edge process capacity later in 2012, according to industry sources.
TSMC reportedly is running at full capacity at its 12-inch fabs due to strong orders for 28nm as well as 40nm and 65nm designs. In order to avoid orders to rivals such as United Microelectronics (UMC) and Samsung Electronics, TSMC will have to speed up the pace of its leading-edge capacity expansion in particular its 28nm capacity, the sources said."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- AMD releases single-processor AM3+ Opteron 3200-series chips @ The Inquirer
- D-Wave Announces Commercially Available Quantum Computer @ Slashdot
- Intel launches over 100 Xeon E5-2600 motherboard and chassis SKUs @ The Inquirer
- ARM's ultra-low-power fridge-puter chips: Just what the CIA ordered @ The Register
- Windows 8 to debut on both x86 and ARM devices in October, report says @ Ars Technica
- Interview with XFX Sales VP Cy Brown @ Kitguru
- Windows 8 tablet freezes in Microsoft keynote demo @ The Register
- Samsung shows 14nm and 20nm wafers @ SemiAccurate
- ASUS Masters of Overclocking Competition 2012 UK with HardwareHeaven