NVIDIA's take on AMD's under documented free sync

Subject: General Tech | January 8, 2014 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: tom petersen, nvidia, g-sync, free sync, CES 2014, amd

AMD's free sync has been getting a lot of well deserved attention at this years CES, Ryan had a chance to see it in action if you haven't checked out his look at AMD's under reported and under utilized feature.  AMD missed an opportunity with this technology which NVIDIA picked up on with their G-Sync.  NVIDIA has responded to The Tech Report's comments from yesterday, Tom Petersen stated that while free sync may be an alternative on laptops, desktop displays are a different beast.  They utilize different connections and there is generally a scaler chip between the GPU and the display.  Read his full comments here.

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"AMD demoed its "free sync" alternative to G-Sync on laptops. Desktop displays are different, Nvidia says, and they may not support the variable refresh rate tech behind AMD's solution—at least not yet."

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Tech Talk

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

DisplayPort to Save the Day?

During an impromptu meeting with AMD this week, the company's Corporate Vice President for Visual Computing, Raja Koduri, presented me with an interesting demonstration of a technology that allowed the refresh rate of a display on a Toshiba notebook to perfectly match with the render rate of the game demo being shown.  The result was an image that was smooth and with no tearing effects.  If that sounds familiar, it should.  NVIDIA's G-Sync was announced in November of last year and does just that for desktop systems and PC gamers.

Since that November unveiling, I knew that AMD would need to respond in some way.  The company had basically been silent since learning of NVIDIA's release but that changed for me today and the information discussed is quite extraordinary.  AMD is jokingly calling the technology demonstration "FreeSync".

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Variable refresh rates as discussed by NVIDIA.

During the demonstration AMD's Koduri had two identical systems side by side based on a Kabini APU . Both were running a basic graphics demo of a rotating windmill.  One was a standard software configuration while the other model had a modified driver that communicated with the panel to enable variable refresh rates.  As you likely know from our various discussions about variable refresh rates an G-Sync technology from NVIDIA, this setup results in a much better gaming experience as it produces smoother animation on the screen without the horizontal tearing associated with v-sync disabled.  

Obviously AMD wasn't using the same controller module that NVIDIA is using on its current G-Sync displays, several of which were announced this week at CES.  Instead, the internal connection on the Toshiba notebook was the key factor: Embedded Display Port (eDP) apparently has a feature to support variable refresh rates on LCD panels.  This feature was included for power savings on mobile and integrated devices as refreshing the screen without new content can be a waste of valuable battery resources.  But, for performance and gaming considerations, this feature can be used to initiate a variable refresh rate meant to smooth out game play, as AMD's Koduri said.

Continue reading our thoughts on AMD's initial "FreeSync" variable refresh rate demonstration!!

Cooler Master Glacer 360L CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 7, 2014 - 11:35 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, Intel, Glacer 360L, cooler master, CES 2014, CES, amd

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

The Glacer 360L CPU cooler is the latest all-in-one cooler from Cooler Master. With a 3x120mm radiator and the ability to add new components into the existing cooling loop, this cooler is sure to make a splash.

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

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Courtesy of Cooler Master

The Glacer 360L CPU Cooler builds on the design of Cooler Master's previous generation all-in-one cooler, the Glacer 240L, with enhanced cooling surface area and the promise of expandability. This all-in-one cooler features a copper and brass based 3x120mm radiator and a powerful 3500 RPM pump, integrated into the CPU block housing. The CPU block itself is copper based to ensure the best heat transfer capabilities and minimize galvanic corrosion with the radiator. Additionally, Cooler Master has designed the Glacer 360L to be upgradeable, allowing for user addition of other cooling apparatus to the loop.

 

Cooler Master has not yet released pricing information or retail availability information for the Glacer 360L CPU cooler at this time. Please go here for additional information.

Additional information after the break.

 

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

AMD's under reported dynamic refresh rates

Subject: General Tech | January 7, 2014 - 12:45 PM |
Tagged: g-sync, free sync, dynamic refresh rate, amd

The Tech Report learned yesterday of a feature that AMD has been offering over the past three generations of GPU called dynamic refresh rate, which they billed as a power saving feature.  Skipping an unnecessary vertical screen refresh would certainly save you a bit of power but really isn't that attractive a feature.  NVIDIA looked at this feature in the opposite way, not to save power but to refresh your screen as quickly as it is capable of to provide much smoother graphics and that marketing has had G-SYNC on everyone's lips.  Assuming AMD can get the word out, their variable refresh rate technology should be compatible with most new mobile/laptop products based on the EDP specification, no additional costs or equipment required. 

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"During an impromptu meeting in a hotel ballroom this morning, we got an eye-opening demo of a dynamic refresh rate capability that's been a part of Radeon GPUs for several generations. AMD thinks this feature can be combined with triple buffering to deliver G-Sync-like animation smoothness without the cost associated with specialized display hardware."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Corsair Hydro Series H105 Liquid CPU Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 7, 2014 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, Intel, Hydro Series, H105, corsair, CES 2014, CES, amd

The newest member of the Corsair Hydro Series ™ all-in-one liquid coolers is the H105 CPU liquid cooler.

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Courtesy of Corsair

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Courtesy of Corsair

The Hydro Series ™ H105 Liquid CPU Cooler features a dual-fan radiator capable of hosting up to four 120mm fans (two on the front and two on the back). The radiator has been redesigned compared with past models to enhance its cooling potential. Corsair increased the radiator thickness to 38mm (compared to the 25mm thickness on the H100), increasing the radiator's surface area for better heat dissipation potential compared with the 25mm models. Further, Corsair redesigned the CPU mounting block to make it entirely tool-free. The CPU block is a round copper base plate with an integrated pump and illuminated Corsair logo.

 

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Courtesy of Corsair

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Courtesy of Corsair

Corsair added a new level of customization to the H105 by including two additional color rings, allowing you to change the color ring along the top of the CPU water block to match your case theme. In addition to the base grey, Corsair includes red and blue rings for the top of the waterblock.

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Courtesy of Corsair

The Corsair Hydro Series ™ H105 Liquid CPU Cooler supports a variety of AMD and Intel CPUs and motherboards out of the box including the following: AM2, AM3, FM1, FM2, LGA 1156, 1155, 1150, 1366, and 2011.

The Corsair Hydro Series ™ H105 Liquid CPU Cooler will be available in January 2014 from all worldwide retailer partners for an MSRP for $119.99. The unit also comes with an impressive 5 year warranty.

Press release after the break.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Corsair

AMD CES 2014 Presentation: Kaveri Goes Official

Subject: Processors | January 7, 2014 - 04:52 AM |
Tagged: amd, CES, 2014, Kaveri, A10 7850K, A10 7700K, APU, firepro, hsa

This year’s AMD CES was actually more interesting than I was expecting.  The details of the event were well known, as most Kaveri details have been revealed over the past few months.  I was unsure what Lisa Su and the gang would go over, but it was actually more interesting than I was expecting.

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This past year has been a big one for AMD.  They seem to be doing a lot better than others expected them to, especially with all of the delayed product launches on the CPU side for quite a few years.  This year saw the APU take a pretty prominent place in the industry with the launch of the latest generation consoles from Sony and Microsoft.  AMD made inroads with mobile form factors with a variety of APUs.  The HSA Foundation members have grown and HSA members ship two out of every three connected, smart devices.  Apple also includes Firepro graphics cards with all of their new Mac Pros.

Kaveri is of course the big news here.  AMD feels that this is the best APU yet.  The combination of Steamroller CPU cores, GCN graphics compute cores, HSA, hUMA, HQ, TrueAudio, Mantle support, PCI-E 3.0 support, and a configurable TDP makes for a pretty compelling product.  AMD has shuffled some nomenclature about by saying that Kaveri, at the top end, is comprised of 12 compute cores.  These include 4 Steamroller cores and 8 GCN compute clusters.  Each compute cluster matches the historical definition of a core, but of course it looks quite a bit different than a traditional x86 core.

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We have gone over Kaveri pretty extensively in the past.  The CPU is clocked at 3.7 GHz with a 4 GHz boost.  The graphics portion clocks in at 720 MHz.  It can support up to DDR-3 2400 MHz memory, which is really needed to extract as much performance out of this new APU.  Benchmarks provided by AMD show this product to be a big jump from the previous Richland, and in these particular benchmarks are quite a bit faster than the competing i5 4670K.

Gaming performance is also improved.  This APU can run most current applications at 1080P resolutions with low to medium quality settings.  Older titles can be run at 1080P with Medium to High/Extreme settings.  While this processor is rated at around 867 GFLOPS, which is around 110 GFLOPS greater than the previous top end Richland, it is more efficient at delivering that theoretical performance.  It looks to be a significant improvement all around.

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Software support is improving with applications from companies like Adobe, The Document Foundation, and Nuance.  These cover HSA applications and in Nuance’s case, using the TrueAudio portion to clean up and accelerate voice recognition.  TrueAudio is also being supported in five upcoming games.  This is not a huge amount, but it is a decent start for this new technology.

Mantle is gaining a lot more momentum with support from 3 engines, 5 developers, and 20+ games in development.  They showed off Battlefied 4 running Mantle on a Kaveri APU for the first time publicly.  They mentioned that it ran 45% faster than Direct3D at the same quality levels on the same hardware.  The display showed frame rates up in the low 50 fps area.

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AMD is continuing to move forward on their low power offerings based on Beema and Mullins.  Lisa claims that these parts are outperforming the Intel Baytrail offerings in both CPU performance and graphics.  Unfortunately, she mentioned noting about the power consumption associated with these results.  They showed off the Discovery tablet as well as a fully functional PC that was the size of a large cellphone.

They closed up the even by talking about the Surround House 2.  This demo looks significantly better than the previous iteration we saw last year.  This features something like a 34.2 speaker setup in a projected dome.  It is much more complex than the House from last year, but the hardware running it all is rather common.  A single high end Firepro card running on a single A10 7850K.  The demo is also one of the first shows of a 360 degree gesture recognition setup.

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AMD has come a long way since hitting rock bottom a few years back.  They continue to claw their way back to relevance, and they hope that Kaveri will help them regain a foothold in the computing market.  They are certainly doing well in the graphics market, but the introduction of Kaveri should help them gain more momentum in the CPU/APU market.  We have yet to test Kaveri on our own, but initial results look promising.  It is a better APU, but we just don’t know how much better so far.

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

 

Source: AMD

CES 2014: New MSI AMD Kaveri A88X Motherboards and Socketed Kabini

Subject: Motherboards | January 6, 2014 - 04:19 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2014, video, msi, amd, A88X, Kabini, Kaveri

One of our first meetings at CES 2014 was with MSI.  Below we have a video of the company's latest iterations on the AMD-family of motherboards including a Gaming Series mATX offering, a mini-ITX FM2+ board (perfect for Kaveri's release) as well as the only socketed AMD Kabini platform we have seen!

Coverage of CES 2014 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2014 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Podcast #282 - Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2014 - 06:51 PM |
Tagged: video, tegra note 7, podcast, nvidia, Mantle, hardware picks of the year, Hardron Air, evga, amd, 290x tri-x

PC Perspective Podcast #282 - 01/02/2014

Join us this week as we discuss our Hardware Picks of the Year, the Sapphire 290X Tri-X, and the EVGA Hadron Air!

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 Scott Michaud

 
Program length: 1:58:53
  1. Thanks to Don Komarechka for the Sky Crystals book
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. PC Perspective Hardware Picks of the Year
    1. Best Graphics Card of 2013
    2. Best CPU of 2013
    3. Best Storage of 2013
    4. Best Case of 2013
    5. Best Motherboard of 2013
    6. Best Price Drop of 2013
    7. Best Mobile Device of 2013
    8. Best Trend of 2013
    9. Worst Trend of 2013
    10. Best Website
  5. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Manufacturer: Sapphire

Sapphire Triple Fan Hawaii

It was mid-December when the very first custom cooled AMD Radeon R9 290X card hit our offices in the form of the ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II.  It was cooler, quieter, and faster than the reference model; this is a combination that is hard to pass up (if you could buy it yet).  More and more of these custom models, both in the R9 290 and R9 290X flavor, are filtering their way into PC Perspective. Next on the chopping block is the Sapphire Tri-X model of the R9 290X.  

Sapphire's triple fan cooler already made quite an impression on me when we tested a version of it on the R9 280X retail round up from October.  It kept the GPU cool but it was also the loudest of the retail cards tested at the time.  For the R9 290X model, Sapphire has made some tweaks to the fan speeds and the design of the cooler which makes it a better overall solution as you will soon see.

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The key tenets for any AMD R9 290/290X custom cooled card is to beat AMD's reference cooler in performance, noise, and variable clock rates.  Does Sapphire meet these goals?

The Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 4GB

While the ASUS DirectCU II card was taller and more menacing than the reference design, the Sapphire Tri-X cooler is longer and appears to be more sleek than the competition thus far.  The bright yellow and black color scheme is both attractive and unique though it does lack the LED light that the 280X showcased.  

Sapphire has overclocked this model slightly, to 1040 MHz on the GPU clock, which puts it in good company.

  AMD Radeon R9 290X ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X
GPU Cores 2816 2816 2816
Rated Clock 1000 MHz 1050 MHz 1040 MHz
Texture Units 176 176 176
ROP Units 64 64 64
Memory 4GB 4GB 4GB
Memory Clock 5000 MHz 5400 MHz 5200 MHz
Memory Interface 512-bit 512-bit 512-bit
TDP ~300 watts ~300 watts ~300 watts
Peak Compute 5.6 TFLOPS 5.6+ TFLOPS 5.6T TFLOPS
MSRP Price $549 $569 $599

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There are three fans on the Tri-X design, as the name would imply, but each are the same size unlike the smaller central fan design of the R9 280X.

Read our review of the Sapphire R9 290X Tri-X 4GB Graphics Card!!

Custom cooled 280X's are great; custom priced ones not so much

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 31, 2013 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: amd, asus, ASUS ROG, MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X

There is a lot to love about the ASUS ROG Matrix Platinum R9 280X, from its looks and faster and quieter performance when compared to the reference model.  Still, [H]ard|OCP doesn't recommend running the fan at 100% except in brief moments when you need to dump heat quickly as it is quite loud but 50-60% will keep you below 90C and is not very noticeable.  It overclocks very well, they hit 1270MHz core and 6.6GHz VRAM easily and noticed performance improvements when they did so, pushing past the GTX 770 occasionally.  There is one major disappointment with this card, the price is currently over 50% higher than the base 280X MSRP so you might want to hold off for a while before thinking of purchasing this card.

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"Today we take ASUS' elite R9 280X product, the ASUS ROG MATRIX PLATINUM R9 280X video card, and put its advanced power phasing and board components to the test as we harshly overclock it. We compare it to an ASUS GeForce GTX 770 DirectCU II. Then we will put it head to head against the overclocked SAPPHIRE TOXIC R9 280X."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP