Podcast #367 - AMD R9 Nano, a Corsair GTX 980Ti, NVIDIA Pascal Rumors and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 17, 2015 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: xps 12, video, TSMC, Steam Controller, r9 nano, podcast, pascal, nvidia, msi, hdplex h5, gtx 980ti sea hawk, fury x, Fiji, dell, corsair, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #367 - 09/17/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the AMD R9 Nano, a Corsair GTX 980Ti, NVIDIA Pascal 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, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Allyn Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Podcast #366 - MSI 990FXA-Gaming, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3400, R9 Nano Controversy and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2015 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: podcast, msi, 990FXA-Gaming, usb 3.1, corsair, ddr4-3440, amd, r9 nano, Fiji, Fury, western digital, 6tb, Red Pro, Black, asus, ROG Swift, Grado, SR225e, video

PC Perspective Podcast #366 - 09/10/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the MSI 990FXA-Gaming, Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3400, R9 Nano Controversy 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 Malventano

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Zen and the art of product cycle maintenence

Subject: General Tech | September 10, 2015 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: Zen, amd

There have been quite a few rumours surrounding AMD's next chip refresh, the Zen architectureDigiTimes is adding to that with a story today which places the release date sometime at the end of 2016, at the earliest.  Their sources suggest an issue with GLOBALFOUNDRIES 14nm FinFET process which is delaying the release and which is very bad news for AMD.  The claimed 40% improvement over current generation processors is not going to mean as much in a year or more and with AMD's current financial situation releasing a new CPU for people to buy is something that needs to happen.  Let us hope that the delay is exaggerated or that something happens to resolve the production issues in the coming months.

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"AMD's next-generation Zen architecture is expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2016 at the earliest, but sources from motherboard players are concerned that the late arrival of the new platform may put AMD in a rather difficult competitive position."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD
Tagged: video, radeon, R9, Nano, hbm, Fiji, amd

Specs and Hardware

The AMD Radeon Nano graphics card is unlike any product we have ever tested at PC Perspective. As I wrote and described to the best of my ability (without hardware in my hands) late last month, AMD is targeting a totally unique and different classification of hardware with this release. As a result, there is quite a bit of confusion, criticism, and concern about the Nano, and, to be upfront, not all of it is unwarranted.

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After spending the past week with an R9 Nano here in the office, I am prepared to say this immediately: for users matching specific criteria, there is no other option that comes close to what AMD is putting on the table today. That specific demographic though is going to be pretty narrow, a fact that won’t necessarily hurt AMD simply due to the obvious production limitations of the Fiji and HBM architectures.

At $650, the R9 Nano comes with a flagship cost but it does so knowing full well that it will not compete in terms of raw performance against the likes of the GTX 980 Ti or AMD’s own Radeon R9 Fury X. However, much like Intel has done with the Ultrabook and ULV platforms, AMD is attempting to carve out a new market that is looking for dense, modest power GPUs in small form factors. Whether or not they have succeeded is what I am looking to determine today. Ride along with me as we journey on the roller coaster of a release that is the AMD Radeon R9 Nano.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon R9 Nano!!

AMD makes Raja Koduri SVP and Chief Architect of Radeon Technologies Group

Subject: Editorial | September 9, 2015 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: raja koduri, amd

In a move of outstanding wisdom and forward thinking, AMD has made a personnel move that I can get behind and support. After forming the Radeon Technologies Group to help refocus the company on graphics, it has promoted Raja Koduri to the role of Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of that new group. While this might be a little bit of an "inside baseball" announcement to discuss, Raja is one of the few people in the industry that I have known since day one and he is an outstanding and important person in the graphics world as we know it today.

Koduri recently returned to AMD after a stint with Apple as the mobile SoC vendors director of graphics architecture and his return was met with immediate enthusiasm and hope for a company that continues to struggle financially.

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In this new role, Koduri will no longer just be responsible for the IP of AMD graphics, adding to his responsibility the entirety of the hardware, software and business direction for Radeon products. From personal experience I can assure readers that Raja is a fantastic leader, has great instincts for what the industry needs and has seen some of AMD's most successful products through development.

This new role and new division of structure at AMD will come with a lot of responsibility, as Koduri will be responsible for finding ways to grow the Radeon brand's shrinking market share, how to make a play in the mobile IP space, change the dynamic between developers and AMD, and how working with console vendors like MS and Sony makes sense going forward. In many ways this is a return to the structure that made ATI so successful as a player in the GPU space and AMD is definitely hoping this move can turn things around.

Good luck Raja!

Read AMD's full press release after the break.

Source: AMD

Podcast #365 - R9 Nano Preview, Tons of Skylake SKUs, Asynchronous Shaders and more!

Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2015 - 04:19 PM |
Tagged: Z170-A, video, skylake-u, Skylake, r9 nano, podcast, phanteks, Intel, ifa, g-sync, fury x, Fury, Fiji, dx12, async shaders, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #365 - 09/03/2015

Join us this week as we discuss the R9 Nano Preview, Tons of Skylake SKUs, Asynchronous Shaders 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, Allyn Malventano and Sebastian Peak

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

AMD Hosting R9 Nano Live Stream Tomorrow at 3pm ET

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 2, 2015 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: video, r9 nano, Fiji, amd

Tomorrow afternoon, at 12pm PT / 3pm ET, AMD is hosting a live stream on its Twitch channel to show off and discuss a little more about the upcoming Radeon R9 Nano product we previewed last month.

I have no idea what is going to be discussed, I have no idea how long it will be and I don't really know what to expect at all other than that. Apparently AMD is going to play some games on the R9 Nano as well as talk about mods that the small form factor enables.

Enjoy!

Source: AMD
Author:
Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI

AM3+ Keeps Chugging Along

Consumers cannot say that MSI has not attempted to keep the AM3+ market interesting with a handful of new products based upon that socket.  Throughout this past year MSI has released three different products addressing multiple price points and featuresets.  The 970 Gaming was the first, the 970 KRAIT introduced USB 3.1 to the socket, and the latest 990FXA-Gaming board provides the most feature rich implementation of the socket plus USB 3.1.

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AMD certainly has not done the platform any real favors as of late in terms of new CPUs and architectures to inhabit that particular socket.  The last refresh we had was around a year ago with the release of the FX-8370 and 8370e.  These are still based on the Piledriver based Vishera core that was introduced three years ago.  Unlike the GPU market, the CPU market has certainly not seen the leaps and bounds in overall performance that we had enjoyed in years past.

MSI has taken the now geriatric 990FX (based upon the 890FX chipset released in 2010- I think AMD might have gotten their money out of this particular chipset iteration) and implemented it in a new design that embraces many of the top end features that are desired by enthusiasts.  AMD still has a solid following and their products are very competitive from a price/performance standpoint (check out Ryan’s price/perf graphs from his latest Intel CPU review).

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The packing material is pretty basic. Just cardboard and no foam. Still, fits nicely and is quite snug.

The idea behind the 990FXA-Gaming is to provide a very feature-rich product that appeals to gamers and enthusiasts.  The key is to provide those features at a price point that will not scare away the budget enthusiasts.  Just as MSI has done with the 970 Gaming, there were decisions made to keep costs down.  We will get into these tradeoffs shortly.

Click here to continue reading the MSI 990FXA Gaming Review!

Manufacturer: PC Perspective

To the Max?

Much of the PC enthusiast internet, including our comments section, has been abuzz with “Asynchronous Shader” discussion. Normally, I would explain what it is and then outline the issues that surround it, but I would like to swap that order this time. Basically, the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark utilizes Asynchronous Shaders in DirectX 12, but they disable it (by Vendor ID) for NVIDIA hardware. They say that this is because, while the driver reports compatibility, “attempting to use it was an unmitigated disaster in terms of performance and conformance”.

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AMD's Robert Hallock claims that NVIDIA GPUs, including Maxwell, cannot support the feature in hardware at all, while all AMD GCN graphics cards do. NVIDIA has yet to respond to our requests for an official statement, although we haven't poked every one of our contacts yet. We will certainly update and/or follow up if we hear from them. For now though, we have no idea whether this is a hardware or software issue. Either way, it seems more than just politics.

So what is it?

Simply put, Asynchronous Shaders allows a graphics driver to cram workloads in portions of the GPU that are idle, but not otherwise available. For instance, if a graphics task is hammering the ROPs, the driver would be able to toss an independent physics or post-processing task into the shader units alongside it. Kollock from Oxide Games used the analogy of HyperThreading, which allows two CPU threads to be executed on the same core at the same time, as long as it has the capacity for it.

Kollock also notes that compute is becoming more important in the graphics pipeline, and it is possible to completely bypass graphics altogether. The fixed-function bits may never go away, but it's possible that at least some engines will completely bypass it -- maybe even their engine, several years down the road.

I wonder who would pursue something so silly, whether for a product or even just research.

But, like always, you will not get an infinite amount of performance by reducing your waste. You are always bound by the theoretical limits of your components, and you cannot optimize past that (except for obviously changing the workload itself). The interesting part is: you can measure that. You can absolutely observe how long a GPU is idle, and represent it as a percentage of a time-span (typically a frame).

And, of course, game developers profile GPUs from time to time...

According to Kollock, he has heard of some console developers getting up to 30% increases in performance using Asynchronous Shaders. Again, this is on console hardware and so this amount may increase or decrease on the PC. In an informal chat with a developer at Epic Games, so massive grain of salt is required, his late night ballpark “totally speculative” guesstimate is that, on the Xbox One, the GPU could theoretically accept a maximum ~10-25% more work in Unreal Engine 4, depending on the scene. He also said that memory bandwidth gets in the way, which Asynchronous Shaders would be fighting against. It is something that they are interested in and investigating, though.

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This is where I speculate on drivers. When Mantle was announced, I looked at its features and said “wow, this is everything that a high-end game developer wants, and a graphics developer absolutely does not”. From the OpenCL-like multiple GPU model taking much of the QA out of SLI and CrossFire, to the memory and resource binding management, this should make graphics drivers so much easier.

It might not be free, though. Graphics drivers might still have a bunch of games to play to make sure that work is stuffed through the GPU as tightly packed as possible. We might continue to see “Game Ready” drivers in the coming years, even though much of that burden has been shifted to the game developers. On the other hand, maybe these APIs will level the whole playing field and let all players focus on chip design and efficient injestion of shader code. As always, painfully always, time will tell.

IFA 2015: Lenovo Introduces New ideapad Notebook Lineup

Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 2, 2015 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, notebooks, Lenovo, laptops, Intel Skylake, Intel Braswell, IFA 2015, ideapad 500S, ideapad 300S, ideapad 100S, Ideapad, gtx, APU, amd

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Lenovo has unveiled their reinvented their ideapad (now all lowercase) lineup at IFA 2015 in Berlin, and the new laptops feature updated processors including Intel Braswell and Skylake, as well as some discrete AMD and NVIDIA GPU options.

IdeaPad100S.png

At the entry-level price-point we find the ideapad 100S which does not contain one of the new Intel chips, instead running an Intel Atom Z3735F CPU and priced accordingly at just $189 for the 11.6” version and $259 for the 14” model. While low-end specs (2GB RAM, 32GB/64GB eMMC storage, 1366x768 screen) aren’t going to blow anyone away, these at least provide a Windows 10 alternative to a Chromebook at about the same cost, and to add some style Lenovo is offering the laptop in four colors: blue, red, white, and silver.

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Moving up to the 300S we find a 14” laptop (offered in red, black, or white) with Intel Pentium Braswell processors up to the quad-core N3700, and the option of a FHD 1920x1080 display. Memory and storage options will range up to 8GB DDR3L and up to either 256GB SSD or 1TB HDD/SSHD. At 0.86" thick the 300S weighs 2.9 lbs, and prices will start at $479.

A lower-cost ideapad 300, without the “S” and with more basic styling, will be available in sizes ranging from 14” to 17” and prices starting between $399 and $549 for their respective models. A major distinction will be the inclusion of both Braswell and Intel 6th Gen Skylake CPUs, as well at the option of a discrete AMD GPU (R5 330M). 

IdeaPad500S.png

Last we have the ideapad 500S, available in 13.3”, 14”, and 15.6” versions. With Intel 6th Gen processors up to Core i7 like the 300S, these also offer optional NVIDIA GPUs (GTX 920M for the 13.3", 940M for the 14"+) and up to FHD screen resolution. Memory and storage options range up to 8GB DDR3L and up to either 256GB SSD or 1TB HDD/SSHD, and the 500S is a bit thinner and lighter than the 300S, with the 13.3” version 0.76” thick and 3.4 lbs, moving up to 0.81” and 4.6 lbs with the 15.6” version.

A non-S version of the ideapad 500 will also be available, and this will be the sole AMD CPU representative with the option of an all-AMD solution powered by up to the A10-7300 APU, or a combination of R7 350M graphics along with 6th Gen Intel Core processors. 14” and 15” models will be available starting at $399 for the APU model and $499 with an Intel CPU.

All of the new laptops ship with Windows 10 as Microsoft’s newest OS arrived just in time for the back-to-school season.

Source: Lenovo