Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 15, 2011 - 09:14 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: opencl, amd, AFDS
If you are a developer of applications which requires more performance than a CPU alone can provide then you are probably having a gleeful week. Today Microsoft announced their competitor to OpenCL and we have a large write-up about that aspect of their keynote address. If you are currently an OpenCL developer you are not left out, however, as AMD has announced new tools designed to make your life easier too.
General Purpose GPU utilities: Because BINK won't satisfy this crowd.
(Logo trademark Apple Inc.)
AMD’s spectrum of enhanced tools includes:
- gDEBuger: An OpenCL and OpenGL debugger, profiler, and memory analyzer released as a plugin for Visual Studio.
- Parallel Path Analyzer (PPA): A tool designed to profile data transfers and kernel execution across your system.
- Global Memory for Accelerators (GMAC) API: Lets developers use multiple devices without needing to manage multiple data buffers in both the CPU and the GPU.
- Task Manager API: A framework to manage scheduling kernels across devices.
These tools and utilities should make the development of software easier and allow more developers to take the risk on the new technology. The GPU has already proven itself worthy of more and more important tasks and it is only a matter of time before it is finally ubiquitous enough that it is a default component as important as the CPU itself. As an ironic aside, that should spur the adoption of PC Gaming given how many people would have sufficient hardware.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2011 - 08:06 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: vliw, trinity, llano, fusion, evergreen, cayman, amd, AFDS
Well that was an interesting twist... During a talk on the next generation of GPU technology at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, one of the engineers was asked about Trinity, the next APU to be released in 2012 (and shown running today for the very first time). It was offered that Trinity in fact used a VLIW4 architecture rather than the VLIW5 design found in the just released Llano A-series APU.
A shader unit from the VLIW4-based Cayman architecture
That means that Trinity APUs will ship with Cayman-based GPU technology (6900 series) rather than the Evergreen (5000 series). While that doesn't tell us much in terms of performance simply because we have so many variables including shader counts and clocks, it does put to rest the rumor that Trinity was going to keep basically the same class of GPU technology that Llano had.
Trinity notebook shown for the first time today at AFDS. Inside is an APU with Cayman-class graphics.
AMD is definitely pushing the capabilities of APUs forward and if they can stay on schedule with Trinity, Intel might find the GPU portion of its Ivy Bridge architecture well behind again.
While the current Nintendo console’s internals are very underpowered compared to the competition from the Xbox 360 and PS3, the company looks to leapfrog those consoles in the graphics department with the upcoming Wii U console. According to Engadget, the new Nintendo offering will come equipped with a GPU much like that of AMD’s 4800 series. The custom R770 chip is DirectX 10.1 and multi-display capable, allowing the console to output up to four SD video streams.
While the proposed chip is last-generation in terms of PC gaming, on the console front it will be the current highest-end GPU, with the Xbox 360 using a custom ATI X1900 GPU and the PS3 employing a custom RSX (”Reality Synthesizer”) graphics chip based on NVIDIA’s 7800GTX PC graphics card.
What do you think about Nintendo’s move to employ the AMD GPU?
AMD lines up Llano
2006. That was the year where the product we are reviewing today was first consummated and the year that AMD and ATI merged in a $5.4 billion deal that many read about scratching their heads. At the time the pairing of a the 2nd place microprocessor company with the 2nd place graphics technology vendor might have seemed like an odd arrangement even with the immediate benefit of a unified platform of chipset, integrated graphics and processor to offer to mobile and desktop OEMs. In truth though, that was a temporary solution to a more long term problem that we now know as heterogeneous computing: the merging not just of these companies but all the computing workloads of CPUs and GPUs.
Five years later, and by most accounts more than a couple of years late, the new AMD that now sans-manufacturing facility is ready to release the first mainstream APU, Accelerated Processing Unit. While the APU name is something that the competition hasn't adopted, the premise of a CPU/GPU combination processing unit is not just the future, it is the present as well. Intel has been shipping Sandy Bridge, the first mainstream silicon with a CPU and GPU truly integrated together on a single die since January 2011 and AMD no longer has the timing advantage that we thought it would when the merger was announced.
For sanity sake, I should mention the Zacate platform that combines an ATI-based GPU with a custom low power x86 core called Bobcat for the netbook and nettop market that was released in November of 2010. As much as we like that technology it doesn't have the performance characteristics to address the mainstream market and that is exactly where Llano comes in.
AMD Llano Architecture
Llano's architecture has been no secret over the last two years as AMD has let details and specifications leak at a slow pace in order to build interest and excitement over the pending transition. That information release has actually slowed this year though likely to reduce expectations on the first generation APU with the release of the Sandy Bridge processor proving to be more potent than perhaps AMD expected. And in truth, while the Llano design as whole is brand new all of the components that make it up have been seen before - both the x86 Stars core and the Radeon 5000 series-class have been tested and digested on PC Perspective for many years.
For today's launch we were given a notebook reference platform for the Llano architecture called "Sabine". While the specifications we are looking at here are specific to this mainstream notebook platform nearly all will apply to the desktop release later in the year (perhaps later in the month actually).
The platform diagram above gives us an overview of what components will make up a system built on the Llano Fusion APU design. The APU itself is made up 2 or 4 x86 CPU cores that come from the Stars family released with the Phenom / Phenom II processors. They do introduce a new Turbo Core feature that we will discuss later that is somewhat analogous to what Intel has done with its processors with Turbo Boost.
There is a TON of more information, so be sure you hit that Read More link right now!!
PC Perspective Podcast #158 - MSI P67-GD80 Motherboard review, Antec Performance P280 case, Corsair Force 3 SSD recall and more!
Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 06:47 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, Intel, computex, amd, 990fx
PC Perspective Podcast #158 - 6/09/2011
This week we talk about the MSI P67-GD80 Motherboard review, Antec Performance P280 case, Corsair Force 3 SSD recall and more!
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 Malventano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 0:00:33 Introduction
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:50 AMD 990FX/SB950 Release: Asus SABERTOOTH 990FX and the MSI 990FXA-GD80
- 0:04:10 MSI P67A-GD80 LGA 1155 ATX Motherboard Review
- 0:06:42 MSI N560GTX-Ti HAWK Graphic Card Review
- 0:14:23 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:15:02 PowerColor Shows Off New 4GB AMD Graphics Card With Two Stock Clocked 6970 GPUs
- 0:20:18 Antec Performance P280 Case First Look at Computex
- 0:23:40 ECS Motherboards on display at Computex 2011
- 0:27:02 MSI shows Gen3 PCIe, X79 Motherboard and GTX 580 Extreme
- 0:33:12 Thermaltake Level 10 GT White, Frio GT and BigWater coolers and USB Power Strip
- 0:39:05 AMD Brings Back FX Branding For High-End CPUs and Motherboards at E3
- 0:40:18 Corsair recalls entire Force Series 3 SSD line, cites hardware defects
- 0:44:05 PNY and Asetek Team Up to Deliver Sealed-Loop Water Cooling for CPUs and Graphics Cards
- 0:48:30 Just Delivered. Large, nifty video card. - MSI N580GTX Lightning Extreme
- 0:49:45 Quakecon Reminder - http://www.quakecon.org/
- 0:51:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- Ryan: Gold bar USB 3.0 drive
- Jeremy: Still like the newstweak, but if'n I used it up then IPv6 didn't destroy the world!
- Josh: Boston Lager Cut! http://www.samueladams.com/promos/lager-and-beef/lagercut.aspx
- Allyn: Intel 320 Warranty = 5 years
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:59:23 Closing
Subject: General Tech | June 9, 2011 - 11:27 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: acer, amd, desna, bobcat core, APU, AMD z-series, brazos
AMD's C-series and E-series of APUs have been selling quickly, with an estimated 1/2 million processors sold already to tablet and SFF PC builders and putting plenty of pressure on Intel's Atom+ION lineup. AMD has made themselves so popular by providing better performance at a lower TDP and power draw, mostly because of the age of the Oak Trail based CULVs, once Huron River arrives we may see that change drastically.
Now we learn that Acer has orders in for 80K of the new dual core 1GHz APU, with a TDP of 5.9W. Obviously AMD and the OEMs purchasing the chips are intending these for tablets and SFF PCs running Windows. There will be no need to wait for Win8's ARM architecture support if you are looking to run a Win7 ultramobile PC right now. ARM, Tegra and even Intel's announced Moorestown pull less power and are more appropriate for smart phones, so don't expect to be seeing Desna in that particular form factor.
"Acer has recently placed orders for 80,000 Z series APUs from AMD for use in tablet PCs, targeting the enterprise market, according to sources from upstream component makers. However, both Acer and AMD did not confirm the orders.
In addition to Acer, Micro-Star International (MSI) is also developing tablet PC models using AMD's APU.
Since Google Android 3.0 currently still has issues which need to be resolved, while the next-generation Android operating system codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich will not appear until the end of 2011, some tablet PC vendors have decided to launch Windows 7-based tablet PCs targeting the enterprise market to maintain their shipments.
Since Intel's Oak Trail-based Atom processor is higher in both price and power consumption, several notebook vendors have already started considering AMD's platform. In addition to Acer and MSI, some vendors have also started inquiring about AMD's Z series APU.
AMD's Z series APU is produced through Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company's (TSMC's) 40nm process and is already shipping, targeting the Windows-based tablet PC market, noted the sources adding that they expect shipments of Z series APUs to reach at least 500,000 units in the second half of 2011, creating strong pressure on Intel's Oak Trail processor."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel starts talking about 8nm node @ SemiAccurate
- iCloud without Apple: your platform-agnostic alternatives @ Ars Technica
- Ex-Google engineer dubs Goofrastructure 'truly obsolete' @ The Register
- Canon REALiS SX80 Mark II Review @ TechReviewSource
- Wii U Specification Rumours @ XSreviews
- Computex 2011 recap: Intel Z68 motherboard dominates but AMD Bulldozer missing @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2011 - 03:06 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Nintendo, E3, amd
Nintendo’s hardware manufacturers have been pretty stable for the last two generations of consoles. Following the NEC and SGI pairing of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo roped in the talents of IBM and AMD to create the hardware for the GameCube. With the transition to the Wii, AMD and IBM remained as the hardware producers for Nintendo’s console and with the announcement of the Wii U (the successor to the Wii) that will still remain true.
HOOOOOOOO Wii! (Image by Nintendo)
AMD published a press release to state that the Wii U will contain AMD Radeon HD graphics to power Nintendo’s first entry to the high definition club. AMD touted their experience in multiple display support during their Wii U press release which would be suitable for the LCD monitors embedded in their controllers. IBM also released a statement confirming that they are shipping multi-core 45nm parts for the Nintendo’s next-generation console but did not state any more details such as how many cores or their clock speed.
Nintendo is rarely ever vocal about the specifications of their consoles and this version is no different. For their entire press conference Nintendo did not even show the console itself opting to focus on the controller and software. Beyond the controller, the hardware looks to be comparable to Microsoft and Sony’s offering from the limited info and screen shots we have seen. More info should come up as we approach the Wii U’s launch in a little over a year.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) announced today that they plan to bring their “FX” branding back to the latest high-end motherboards and CPUs. The first round of products to carry the brand include the “Scorpius” platform (AMD 990FX motherboards and AMD Radeon 6000 series graphics cards), and the upcoming “Zambezi” native octo-core unlocked processor. “FX customers will enjoy an unrivalled (sic) feature set and amazing control over their PC’s performance,” stated AMD.
TechPowerUp shows off the FX branded Zambezi's packaging, for example.
The “FX” moniker is AMD’s equivalent to Intel’s “Extreme Edition” products, which are overclocker and enthusiast-friendly products aimed at those wanting the fastest stock performance and the ability to push hardware to the limit through overclocking via unlocked multipliers.
In bringing back the “FX” brand in full force with Bulldozer, AMD seems confident in their processors’ performance versus the competition. It will certainly be interesting to see if their upcoming hardware can back up the enthusiast marketing and stack up against Intel’s offerings.
You can read more about AMD’s E3 announcement over at HardOCP.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 2, 2011 - 11:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: powercolor, HD 6970, computex, amd
Computex 2011 is in full swing, and PowerColor has joined the fray of product reveals with a new PowerColor 6970 X2 AMD graphics card that combines two stock-clocked 6970 GPUs onto a single PCB.
TweakTown was able to get a hands-on of the card at the company's Computex booth. They report that the GPUs are clocked at 880MHz, and each GPU is allotted 2GB of GDDR5 memory each (for a total of 4GB across both GPUs), and is clocked at 1375MHz (5500MHz QDR). The interesting aspect of the dual GPU card is that the two GPUs are connected by a Lucid Logix chip, which will be interesting to see how this setup would compare to an overclocked 6990 graphics card, which amounts to two CrosseFired 6950 GPUs.
The new card uses three 8-pin PCI-E connectors for up to 525 watts (including 75 watts provided by the motherboard) of power, which should provide ample power for stock and overclocked clocks. The card will futher feature two DVI connectors (one Dual-Link, one Single-Link), two mini-DisplayPort connectors, and one HDMI port.
For those looking for maximum gaming performance, two of these 6970 x2 cards in a CrossFire configuration will become the new high-end AMD standard. You can see more photos of the card along with a preview of it's smaller 6870 x2 sibling over at TweakTown.
Image copyright 2011 TweakTown.com. Used under fair-usage guidelines for purposes of commentary and news reporting.
AMD Unleashes the 990FX: Paving the way for Bulldozer
Word of the AMD 990FX chipset first came around the end of last year. Speculation was brisk as to what new features it would bring, and when exactly it would help to usher in the age of Bulldozer to the world. Most thought that it would be a shrink of the then current 890FX, and the new SB950 southbridge would have improvements to the SATA 6G controller, as well as a native USB 3.0 implementation. Today we finally get to see the reality of the situation. It is not groundbreaking, nor is it altogether exciting, but it is certainly interesting.
The 990FX and SB950 chips are identical to the previous 890FX and SB850. They are the same silicon. For those hoping for new technology will be disappointed. But all is not lost! AMD did increase the HyperTransport specification from 3.0 to 3.1, which allows the HT bus to run at 6.4 GTPS as compared to the older 5.2 GTPS. This is in place to allow the upcoming Bulldozer chips to run the northbridge portion of the chip up to 3.2 GHz, and to give the CPU more bandwidth between the different busses on the board (eg. SATA, USB 3.0, and PCI-E connections).