Zotac Releases New ZBOX Nano AD10 Series Mini PCs

Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2011 - 05:12 PM |
Tagged: zotac, htpc, brazos, APU

Zotac has made a name for itself in the small form factor sector of the computer market. Their ZBOX computers are designed to use little power but have enough horsepower to drive smooth HD video playback. The new ZBOX nano AD10 series is a new line in the Zotac family that shares the media-centric traits of its predecessors. The Nano AD10 series PCs are some of the smallest the company has released, and shrinks the ZBOX form factor while packing in new home theater PC features.

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Inside the tiny frame measuring 127mm x 127mm x 45mm, is a 1.8 GHz dual core AMD Brazos E-350 APU, DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, and space for a 2.5” SATA 3 (6Gbps) hard drive. Connectivity options include Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, HDMI, DisplayPort, two USB 2.0, and two USB 3.0 ports. Further, the ZBOX computer features a built in IR (infra-red) receiver and media center remote in addition to an eSATA port and a 6-in-1 media card reader. On the audio front, the media center PC supports on-board analog stereo and 7.1 channel digital audio (LPCM and Bitstream via HDMI).

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There are currently two models in the AD10 series, the AD10 and the AD10 Plus. The AD10 model allows for a bit more user customization by leaving it up to the user to add their own RAM and hard drive of choice to the mini PC. The AD10 Plus on the other hand, is the same as the AD10 except for the fact that it includes a 2 GB DDR3 SO-DIMM and a 320 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. Both models come with the media center remote, USB IR receiver (in addition to the built in receiver), and VESA mount.

Media center PCs are getting smaller every day, and the new Nano AD10 series from Zotac is no different. Thanks to the APU (especially the GPU), and hardware accelerated video decoding, it will deliver plenty of horsepower for all your home theater PC needs. Unfortunately, there was no word on MSRP or availability at the time of publication. Stay tuned for an update.

Source: Zotac

Checking A8-3850 overclocking capability 7 times

Subject: Processors | August 30, 2011 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: a8-3850, amd, llano, overclocking, APU

Legit Reviews decide that they really wanted to be able to show the overclocking results you can expect from the AMD A8-3850, so they picked up eight of the chips to test each for overclocking ability.  There have been examples in the past of chips with a wide variety of overclocking limits which was often decided by the chip revision but not in all cases.  The test results show that all but two of the chips hit a stability issue when being pushed beyond 3679.5MHz, so you can take that as the most likely result that your chip will provide.  The two outlying chips will be exceptional, in one case in a bad way which you can see in the full review.

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"When AMD released the 'Lynx' desktop platform back in June 2011, our motherboard reviewer ran into some bad luck when overclocking the processor. When you get a new platform setup for the very first time you really don't know what to expect and it does take some time to learn all the quirks and nuances of a new processor and motherboard. We recently ordered in six more processors and then overclocked all seven of them to see what the best one would be for our test system!"

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

AMD Adds Three New Fusion APUs to Mobile Lineup

Subject: Processors | August 22, 2011 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: mobile, fusion, E-Series, APU, amd

AMD today announced three new Accelerated Processing Units (APU) to bolster up the mobile lineup. Specifically, two new E-Series and one new C-Series APU are inserting themselves into the lineup. The new chips bring enhanced graphic capabilities, HDMI 1.4a, and DDR3 1333 support. "Today's PC users want stunning HD graphics and accelerated performance with all-day battery life and that's what AMD Fusion APUs deliver," said Chris Cloran, vice president and general manager, Client Division, AMD.

According to MaximumPC, the new E-450 APU takes the top slot, bringing two CPU cores clocked at 1.65GHz, a Radeon HD 6320 GPU clocked at a base of 508MHz and maximum of 600MHz, and a power sipping TDP of 18 watts. The second new E-Series APU carries the same 18 watt TDP and dual CPU cores as the E-450; however, it is clocked at a lower 1.3GHz. Further, the chip’s Radeon HD 6310 GPU is clocked at 488MHz.  The new E-Series APUs feature battery life increases to the tune of up to 10.5 hours of Windows idle time.

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The new C-Series APU is the C-60, and is a 1GHz dual core chip with a Radeon HD 6290 GPU. The APU is able to turbo its CPU cores to a maximum of 1.33GHz, while the GPU has a base clock of 276MHz and a maximum clock speed of 400MHz. Further, the chip has a 9 watt TDP, and boasts 12.25 hours of “resting battery life,” which AMD benchmarked using Windows Idle on a C-60 based netbook.

Currently, AMD has shipped more than 12 million APUs, and more than five million of the C-Series and E-Series processors in Q2 2011. More information on the specific benchmarking metrics AMD used can be found here.

Source: AMD

AMD Announces New Sub-$100 Triple Core A6-3500 APU

Subject: Processors | August 17, 2011 - 12:03 PM |
Tagged: APU, amd radeon, amd, A6-3500

AMD announced today a new desktop APU (Accelerated Processing Unit). The A6-3500 processor combines three x86 CPU cores with 320 Radeon GPU cores. The new A6-3500 APU comes with a full sweep of AMD technology, including Turbo Core, Steady Video image stabilization technology, DDR3 1333 support, HDCP compatibility, and AMD VISION Engine software. Following its predecessors, the new three core APU is able to pair with select AMD Radeon HD 6000 series discrete graphics cards.

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This FM1 socket awaits an A Series APU like the new A6-3500

The three core APU operates at 2.1GHz (2.4GHz with Turbo Boost active) on the CPU side and 444MHz on the GPU side of things. Further, the APU features 3MB of L2 cache, a TDP of 65 watts, and is designed for use with FM1 motherboards.

The APU is now available for purchase at various online retailers and system builders with an MSRP of $95 USD. AMD states that the processor “delivers a compelling, affordable desktop experience for consumers and gamers.”

At under a $100, the new APU is an attractive option for HTPC usage and starter gaming systems on a tight budget. For more information on AMD’s APU architecture, can check out PC Perspective’s AMD A8-3850 APU review here.

Source: AMD

ECS Announces Three New A55 Based AMD Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | August 9, 2011 - 06:42 PM |
Tagged: motherboard, ECS, APU, amd, A55

According to Tech Connect, ECS is about to release three ECS FM1 motherboards powered by the lighter A55 chipset to compliment the company’s higher end A75 boards. The new A55 based motherboards will be known as the A55F-A, A55F-M2, and the A55F-M3, the first being ATX and the remaining two boards being micro-ATX.

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The new motherboards will support AMD’s A Series APUs and will feature one PCI-E x16 slot, Gigabit Ethernet, and one VGA connection. The standard ATX sized A55F-A will further have four DDR3 DIMM slots, five SATA II 3Gb/s ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI and DVI video connectors. The A55F-M2 on the other hand with receive two DDR3 DIMM slots, six SATA 3Gb/s ports, 12 USB 2.0 ports, and HDMI and optional DVI connections. Lastly, the A55F-M3 has two DDR3 DIMM slots, four SATA 3Gb/s ports, and eight USB 2.0 ports.

More photos of the new boards can be seen here. Price and availability of the new A55 chipset motherboards have not yet been released.

Source: Tech Connect

AMD Accelerates APU OpenCL Performance With New SDK

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | August 8, 2011 - 08:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, APU, sdk, opencl

AMD released its new APUs (Accelerated Processing Unit) to the masses, and now they are revving the processors up with a new software development kit that increases performance and efficiency of OpenCL based applications. The new version 2.5 APP SDK is tailored to the APU architecture where the CPU and GPU are on the same die. Building on the OpenCL standard, APP SDK 2.5 promises to reduce the bandwidth limitation of the CPU to GPU connection, allowing for effective data transfer rates as high as 15GB per second in AMDs A Series APUs. Further performance enhancements include reduced kernel launch times and PCIe overhead.

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AMD states that the new APP SDK will improve multi-gpu support for AMD APU graphics paired with a discrete card, and will “enable advanced capabilities” to improve the user experience including gesture based interfaces, image stabilization, and 3D applications.

The new development kit is currently being used by developers worldwide in the AMD OpenCl coding competition, where up to $50,000 in prizes will be given away to winning software submissions. You can get started with the SDK here.

Source: AMD

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

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | July 25, 2011 - 02:23 PM |
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 - 01:59 PM |
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:

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

Subject: Motherboards | July 21, 2011 - 11:25 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.

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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

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

Subject: Processors | July 18, 2011 - 11:15 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.

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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.

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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