Oh Llano, wherefore art thou?

Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2011 - 12:14 PM |
Tagged: llano, APU, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, 28nm, 32nm, trinity, amd

Woe is AMD, as it becomes ever more obvious that Llano is not giving good yields at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.  Back in July the market noticed that while the new Llano chips were great at providing good enough graphics for a great price, they were very hard to find.  As a consumer you might be able to find a notebook to purchase for yourself but as a reseller who needs to buy processors in the thousands before considering that chip as a part of the new product line up you have been out of luck.  According to DigiTimes this will change in 2012 with the arrival of Trinity which will still use GLOBALFOUNDRIES 32nm process, turning to TSMC for the 28nm graphical portion.  The previous hope that the supply problems would be solved in September were obviously a little too optimistic.

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"Supply of AMD's Llano APUs, affected by Globalfoundries's lower-than-expected 32nm yield rates, has been significantly limited and is unlikely to recover until the company's upcoming Trinity arrives in 2012, according to sources from motherboard players. When asked about the company's upcoming Trinity schedule, AMD Taiwan declined to comment on unannounced products.

AMD started suffering from Llano APU supply shortages in July due to the yield issues and the company originally expected the supply status to return to normal in September. However, judging from the current situation, the sources believe the company's supply volume is unlikely to meet client demand through the end of 2011.

The sources estimated that the yield rate issue should be resolved in 2012, when Trinity launches."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes
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Subject: Motherboards

Introduction and Specifications

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Courtesy of ECS

ECS developed the HDC-I motherboard to take advantage of AMD's new Brazos platform that's based on the Hudson M1 chipset and their latest E-350 dual-core processor and integrated DDR3 800/1066 memory controller. The dual-core E-350 APU, which combines the CPU and GPU, brings a host of features to mini ITX enthusiasts like USB 3.0 compability, SATA 6Gb/s support, bluetooth and Radeon HD 6310 graphics and UVD 3 to play 3D Blu-ray and HD-1080P movies.

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Courtesy of ECS

Another huge advantage of going with a mini ITX motherboard for your next home theater PC is the balance of computing power and power consumption that the AMD Brazos platform adds to the ECS HDC-I. The HDC-I is an energy-efficient motherboard that has integrated computing power and graphics firepower for users looking for an "all-in-one" solution for their next small form factor build.

Continue reading our review of the ECS HDC-I Fusion Mini ITX Motherboard!!

Bulldozer Infused Trinity APU Specifications Confirmed

Subject: Processors | September 3, 2011 - 12:07 AM |
Tagged: trinity, llano, bulldozer, APU, amd

AMD has not only started announcing quite a few future processors, but has also gone a bit crazy with all of the code names for said products. Admittedly, when the news broke that Trinity APU specifications were revealed, I had to do a bit of digging to figure out just what the Trinity APU was (exactly). In the end, the APU (accelerated processing unit) is similar in composition to Llano except with a bulldozer based CPU core and upgraded GPU. The bulldozer core aspect is what threw me for a bit of a loop in that I had a difficult time figuring out how the CPU core could be based on bulldozer when bulldozer hasn’t even been released ;).  Hopefully that long introduction helps somewhat in clearing up what Trinity is.

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Specifically, the new Trinity APU will debut with AMD’s new “Piledriver” (more code names!) architecture, and include a Radeon HD 7000 series GPU and Bulldozer based CPU core. Futher, the Trinity APU will come in both notebook and desktop flavors titled “Comal” and “Virgo” respectively. AMD notes that the improvements in the CPU and GPU cores will result in up to a 50% performance increase over the current Llano A Series APUs. While the 50% number is measuring pure gigaflop performance, even if the real world speed increase is not as noticeable in everyday usage, it is still a nice bump in performance.

On the availability front, AMD has slated the processor for release in 2012; however, Semi Accurate believes that the APU may well debut much sooner than expected. The site further quoted sources who stated that “CES is a distinct possibility for a soft launch, and maybe more.” More tidbits of information can be had here.

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: