Author:
Manufacturer: Various

Battle of the IGPs

Our long journey with Frame Rating, a new capture-based analysis tool to measure graphics performance of PCs and GPUs, began almost two years ago as a way to properly evaluate the real-world experiences for gamers.  What started as a project attempting to learn about multi-GPU complications has really become a new standard in graphics evaluation and I truly believe it will play a crucial role going forward in GPU and game testing. 

Today we use these Frame Rating methods and tools, which are elaborately detailed in our Frame Rating Dissected article, and apply them to a completely new market: notebooks.  Even though Frame Rating was meant for high performance discrete desktop GPUs, the theory and science behind the entire process is completely applicable to notebook graphics and even on the integrated graphics solutions on Haswell processors and Richland APUs.  It also is able to measure performance of discrete/integrated graphics combos from NVIDIA and AMD in a unique way that has already found some interesting results.

 

Battle of the IGPs

Even though neither side wants us to call it this, we are testing integrated graphics today.  With the release of Intel’s Haswell processor (the Core i7/i5/i3 4000) the company has upgraded the graphics noticeably on several of their mobile and desktop products.  In my first review of the Core i7-4770K, a desktop LGA1150 part, the integrated graphics now known as the HD 4600 were only slightly faster than the graphics of the previous generation Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge.  Even though we had all the technical details of the HD 5000 and Iris / Iris Pro graphics options, no desktop parts actually utilize them so we had to wait for some more hardware to show up. 

 

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When Apple held a press conference and announced new MacBook Air machines that used Intel’s Haswell architecture, I knew I could count on Ken to go and pick one up for himself.  Of course, before I let him start using it for his own purposes, I made him sit through a few agonizing days of benchmarking and testing in both Windows and Mac OS X environments.  Ken has already posted a review of the MacBook Air 11-in model ‘from a Windows perspective’ and in that we teased that we had done quite a bit more evaluation of the graphics performance to be shown later.  Now is later.

So the first combatant in our integrated graphics showdown with Frame Rating is the 11-in MacBook Air.  A small, but powerful Ultrabook that sports more than 11 hours of battery life (in OS X at least) but also includes the new HD 5000 integrated graphics options.  Along with that battery life though is the GT3 variation of the new Intel processor graphics that doubles the number of compute units as compared to the GT2.  The GT2 is the architecture behind the HD 4600 graphics that sits with nearly all of the desktop processors, and many of the notebook versions, so I am very curious how this comparison is going to stand. 

Continue reading our story on Frame Rating with Haswell, Trinity and Richland!!

Oops: Leaked AMD APUs. A8-6500T and A10-6700T specs. Richland to hit 45W in quad-core APUs?

Subject: General Tech, Processors | July 3, 2013 - 03:12 AM |
Tagged: Richland, APU, amd

Accidents happen. AMD has been rolling out their Richland APUs for the last month and partners have been keeping up with supporting products. While common, the problem with rolling releases is the potential confusion over what has and what has not been released. Unfortunately for MSI, their support chart for FM2 CPUs includes a couple of products which are news to us.

amd-new.png

AMD will be able to hit the 45W TDP with the, apparently, upcoming A8-6500T and A10-6700T APUs. Tom's Hardware seemed to have slightly different information, their chart does not exactly jive with the one posted by MSI; for instance, they claimed the T suffix implied a low power variant when MSI's chart confirmed a 45W TDP... fairly loud and clear. As such, our table will be my best attempt at combining both charts along with a bit more leaked GPU information from TechPowerUP.

  A8-6500T A10-6700T
Core Count 4 4
Base Clock 2.1 GHz 2.5 GHz
Boost Clock (Unknown) (Unknown)
TDP 45W 45W
L2 Cache 4 MB 4 MB
L3 Cache 0 MB (N/A) 0 MB (N/A)
GPU Model
Radeon HD 8550D
(Not HD 8650D)
Radeon HD 8650D
GPU Clock 720 MHz 720 MHz
GPU Boost Clock 844 MHz (???) 844 MHz (???)
GPU Shader Count 256 384
TMU/ROP/Compute 16/8/4 24/8/4

It is impossible to know expected price, release window, or even whether the product still exists. For that, we will need to wait for an official unveiling... or at least another unofficial one.

Source: MSI

Win an AMD A10-6800K Richland APU + SimCity!!

Subject: Editorial, Processors | June 10, 2013 - 10:53 AM |
Tagged: SimCity, Richland, giveaway, contest, APU, amd, a10-6800k

Odd, turns out I found two brand new AMD A10-6800K Richland APUs sitting on my desk this morning.  I called AMD to ask what this was all about and they said that if I didn't need them, I might as well give them away to our readers. 

"Oh, and throw in a free copy of the new SimCity while you're at it," they told me.

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Who am I to argue?

So let's have a giveaway! 

We are handing out two AMD A10-6800K "Richland" APUs for you to build a brand new PC around and including a key for SimCity with each of them.  If you haven't read Josh's review of the A10-6800K APU you should definitely do so; it will help educate you on exactly what you are getting - for FREE. 

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To enter, I need you to leave a comment on this very news post below telling us what you would build with a brand new A10 APU - you don't have to be registered to do so but we'd sure like it if you were.  (Make sure you leave your correct email address so I can get in touch with you if you win.)  Also, feel free to stop by the PC Perspective YouTube channel and either give our videos a gander or subscribe.  I think we put out some great content there and we'd like more of you to see it. 

I will pick one winner on June 17th and another on June 24th so you have two separate weeks to potentially win! 

A big thanks goes out to AMD for supplying the APUs and copies of SimCity for this giveaway.  Good luck!!

Source: AMD

Just when you thought it was going to calm down AMD drops Richland on your lap

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2013 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: VLIW4, trinity, Richland, piledriver, fm2, APU, amd, a10, 6800K, 6700

Richland is here, in the form of the A10-6800K with a 4.1GHz base clock and 4.4GHz Turbo clock, support for DDR3-2133 and an improved GPU called the 8670D with 384 shaders and a 844MHz clock speed ... all for $142!  Computationally you can compare it to a Core i3 or a slower Core i5 but graphically this CPU is head and shoulders above the competition as you can see in X-Bit Labs' testing.  You really need to keep the price in mind, as it may not provide as much power as a Core-i5 it costs about half as much which can mean a lot to someone on a tight budget, especially when they can skip purchasing a discrete GPU altogether.

Make sure to check out Josh's reivew where he contrasts the last few generations of AMD chips.

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"AMD decided to refresh their Socket FM2 platform and release a new generation of hybrid processors for it based on Richland design. This is exactly the one that earned the “Elite Performance APU Platform” title in the mobile segment."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source:
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Trinity... but Better!

Richland.  We have been hearing this name for a solid nine months.  Originally Richland was going to be a low end Trinity model that was budget oriented (or at least that was the context we heard it in).  Turns out Richland is something quite different, though the product group does extend all the way from the budget products up to mainstream prices.  We have seen both AMD and Intel make speed bin updates throughout the years with their products, but that seems like it is becoming a thing of the past.  Instead, AMD is refreshing their Trinity product in a pretty significant matter.  It is not simply a matter of binning these chips up a notch.

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Trinity was released last Fall and it was a solid product in terms of overall performance and capabilities.  It was well worth the price that AMD charged, especially when compared to Intel processors that would often be significantly slower in terms of graphics.  The “Piledriver” architecture powers both Trinity and Richland, and it is an improved version of the original “Bulldozer” architecture.  Piledriver included some small IPC gains, but the biggest advantage given was in terms of power.  It is a much more power efficient architecture that can be clocked higher than the original Bulldozer parts.  Trinity turned out to be a power sipping part for both mobile and desktop.  In ways, it helped to really keep AMD afloat.

It turns out there were still some surprises in store from Trinity, and they have only been exposed by the latest Richland parts.  AMD is hoping to keep in front of Intel in terms of graphics performance and compatibility, even in the face of the latest Haswell parts.  While AMD has not ported over GCN to the Trinity/Richland lineup, the VLIW4 unit present in the current parts is still very competitive.  What is perhaps more important, the software support for both 3D applications and GPGPU is outstanding.

Click here to read the entire review on the AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700.

Podcast #252 - Z87 Motherboards, Xbox One, Lenovo Y500 Gaming notebook and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 23, 2013 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: z87, Y500, xbox one, xbox, video, Temash, Richland, podcast, pcper, msi, Lenovo, Kaveri, Kabini, Jaguar, Intel, hgst, gtx 650m, Giagbyte, ECS, asus, APU, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #252 - 05/23/2013

Join us this week as we discuss Z87 Motherboards, Xbox One, Lenovo Y500 Gaming notebook 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 Morry Teitelman

Program length: 1:17:01

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. 1:04:30 Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  4. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  5. Closing/outro

 

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

The Architectural Deep Dive

AMD officially unveiled their brand new Bobcat architecture to the world at CES 2011.  This was a very important release for AMD in the low power market.  Even though Netbooks were a dying breed at that time, AMD experienced a good uptick in sales due to the good combination of price, performance, and power consumption for the new Brazos platform.  AMD was of the opinion that a single CPU design would not be able to span the power consumption spectrum of CPUs at the time, and so Bobcat was designed to fill that space which existed from 1 watt to 25 watts.  Bobcat never was able to get down to that 1 watt point, but the Z-60 was a 4.5 watt part with two cores and the full 80 Radeon cores.

jag_01.jpg

The Bobcat architecture was produced on TSMC’s 40 nm process.  AMD eschewed the upcoming 32 nm HKMG/SOI process that was being utilized for the upcoming Llano and Bulldozer parts.  In hindsight, this was a good idea.  Yields took a while to improve on GLOBALFOUNDRIES new process, while the existing 40 nm product from TSMC was running at full speed.  AMD was able to provide the market in fairly short order with good quantities of Bobcat based APUs.  The product more than paid for itself, and while not exactly a runaway success that garnered many points of marketshare from Intel, it helped to provide AMD with some stability in the market.  Furthermore, it provided a very good foundation for AMD when it comes to low power parts that are feature rich and offer competitive performance.

The original Brazos update did not happen, instead AMD introduced Brazos 2.0 which was a more process improvement oriented product which featured slightly higher speeds but remained in the same TDP range.  The uptake of this product was limited, and obviously it was a minor refresh to buoy purchases of the aging product.  Competition was coming from low power Ivy Bridge based chips, as well as AMD’s new Trinity products which could reach TDPs of 17 watts.  Brazos and Brazos 2.0 did find a home in low powered, but full sized notebooks that were very inexpensive.  Even heavily leaning Intel based manufacturers like Toshiba released Brazos based products in the sub-$500 market.  The combination of good CPU performance and above average GPU performance made this a strong product in this particular market.  It was so power efficient, small batteries were typically needed, thereby further lowering the cost.

All things must pass, and Brazos is no exception.  Intel has a slew of 22 nm parts that are encroaching on the sub-15 watt territory, ARM partners have quite a few products that are getting pretty decent in terms of overall performance, and the graphics on all of these parts are seeing some significant upgrades.  The 40 nm based Bobcat products are no longer competitive with what the market has to offer.  So at this time we are finally seeing the first Jaguar based products.  Jaguar is not a revolutionary product, but it improves on nearly every aspect of performance and power usage as compared to Bobcat. 

Continue reading our analysis of the new Jaguar and GCN architecture!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

2013 Elite Mobility APU - Temash

AMD has a lot to say today.  At an event up in Toronto this month we got to sit down with AMD’s marketing leadership and key engineers to learn about the company’s plans for 2013 mobility processors.  This includes a refreshed high performance APU known as Richland that will replace Trinity as well as two brand new APUs based on Jaguar CPU cores and the GCN architecture for low power platforms. 

Josh has put together an article that details the Jaguar + GCN design of Temash and Kabini and I have also posted some initial performance results of the Kabini reference system AMD handed me in May.  This article will detail the plans that AMD has for each of these three mobile segments, starting with the newest entry, AMD’s Elite Mobility APU platform – Temash.

temash01_0.jpg

The goal of the APU, the combination of traditional x86 processing cores and a discrete style graphics system, was to offer unparalleled performance in smaller and more efficient form factors.  AMD believes that their leadership in the graphics front will offer them a good sized advantage in areas including performance tablets, hybrids and small screen clamshells that may or not be touch enabled.  They are acknowledging though that getting into the smallest tablets (like the Nexus 7) is not on the table quite yet and that content creation desktop replacements are probably outside the scope of Richland. 

 

2013 Elite Mobility APU – Temash

AMD will have the first x86 quad-core SoC design with Temash and AMD thinks it will make a big splash in a relatively new market known as the “high performance” tablet. 

temash02_0.jpg

Temash, built around Jaguar CPU cores and the graphics technology of GCN, will be able to offer fully accelerated video playback with transcode support as well with features like image stabilization and Perfect Picture enabled.  Temash will also be the only SoC to offer support for DX11 graphics and even though some games might not have the ability to show off added effects there are quite a few performance advantages of DX11 over DX10/9.  With more than 100% claimed GPU performance upgrade you’ll be able to drive displays at 2560x1600 for productivity use and even be able to take advantage of wireless display options. 

Continue reading our preview of the new 2013 mobility platforms featuring AMD APUs!!

MSI Launches GX70 and GX60 Gaming Notebooks Powered By AMD Richland APUs

Subject: Systems | May 21, 2013 - 08:21 PM |
Tagged: Richland, msi, gx70, gx60, gaming notebook, gaming, APU, amd

MSI announced two new gaming notebooks powered by AMD's latest Richland APUs today called the GX70 and GX60. Both gaming notebooks use AMD A10-5750M processors, a discrete AMD graphics card, 8GB of RAM, and a 750GB (7200 RPM) hard drive. Other shared specifications include a Killer E2200 NIC, Blu-ray drive, THX certified speakers, a headphone amp, and a large 9-cell battery.

MSI-GX70_front.jpg

The GX70 is the largest of the two gaming notebooks at 8.6 pounds and packing a 17.3” display. The GX70 uses the A10-5750M APU and a Radeon 8970M discrete mobile GPU to deliver gaming performance to the 1080p display. The system is also capable of outputting to multiple displays over HDMI and supports AMD's Eyefinity 3D technology. On the outside, the MSI GX70 features a 17.3” 1920 x 1080p display with an anti-reflective coating as well as a SteelSeries gaming keyboard.

MSI-Specs1.png

Meanwhile, the MSI GX60 is a 15-inch notebook that weighs 7.7 pounds. This gaming notebook uses an AMD A10-5750M APU and a Radeon 7970M mobile discrete GPU. Further, the GX60 has a 15.6” 1080p anti-reflective display and SteelSeries gaming keyboard.

MSI-GX70.jpg

MSI claims that the new AMD Richland APUs will give its gaming notebooks much better battery life. The new GX70 and GX60 will have up to 40% better graphical performance compared to previous generations thanks to the new APUs and discrete cards. According to MSI VP of Sales Andy Tung, “the GX70 and GX60 deliver the ultimate sensory experience for both professional and amateur gamers.” More information on the new gaming notebooks can be found on this MSI press release.

Source: MSI

Semi-Custom Business Unit Creates New Revenue Stream For AMD

Subject: General Tech | May 13, 2013 - 10:28 AM |
Tagged: x86, SoC, semi-custom chip, Patent, ip, APU, amd

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has an extensive intellectual property (IP) portfolio. The company has a range of products from CPUs and graphics cards to video acceleration hardware. It is also the only other major player to have a license to build chips with the x86 ISA. With the launch of its Semi-Custom Business Unit, AMD plans to take advantage of the engineering experience and patent portfolio to create a new revenue stream. AMD will work with other companies to create customized processors that integrate custom IP cores and technology but use AMD's existing products as a base to cut down on engineering time and R&D costs.

The first such customized chip is the System on a Chip used in Sony's PlayStation 4 gaming console. AMD intends to market its modular SoC technology and custom IP integration services to makers of set top boxes, smart TVs, tablets, PCs, networking hardware, and High Performance Computing applications. AMD argues that using its Semi-Custom Business Unit to create a customized SoC is cheaper and faster to design and produce than a fully-custom design, which makes sense since most of the engineering work is already done. AMD could stand to make quite a bit of extra money here, especially if it can land design wins for governmental and industrial design contracts. Intel's x86 license scarcity may actually benefit AMD here, in fact.

AMD's Semi-Custom Business Unit consists of an engineering team led by AMD Corporate Vice President and General Manager Saeid Moshkelani. I think doing this is a smart move for the x86 underdog, and it will be interesting to see how well the division does for the company's bottom line.

Source: AMD