Benchmarking Bulldozer and taking the GPU out of the picture

Subject: Processors | October 17, 2011 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, fx-8150, crossfire, gaming

One of the questions we have been asking about Bulldozer is how much it effects game play performance.  We know that for non-multithreaded applications th FX-8150 falls behind the top SandyBridge processors and barely breaks even on heavily multithreaded apps.  That doesn't necessarily mean that it will lag behind SandyBridge in gaming as many games do not utilize the CPU enough to make a huge difference, though that premise needs to be proved.  Enter Tweaktown who have taken the top Bulldozer and SandyBridge CPUs along with three Sapphire HD 6970 video cards, and placed them in a Maximus IV Extreme-Z and  Crosshair V Formula motherboard respectively.  With that much graphical power, it is possible to see the performance difference that the CPU and the motherboard chipset have on performance.  Read on to see how Bulldozer fared.

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"We've already provided a fair bit of coverage on the new FX-8150 CPU from AMD and it hasn't all been favorable for the team over at AMD. If you haven't looked yet, I highly recommend you check out our other pieces that cover the VGA testing side of things and my editorial Shi**y Marketing Killed the Bulldozer Star which has really gained traction over the last few days.

Today we test the video card side of things a bit more and see what goes on when we start to make use of CrossFireX on the 990FX platform. The 990FX chipset shows some good potential and it's going to be interesting to see what happens when we start to make use of all those PCIe lanes that are on offer."

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Source: Tweaktown

Silent CrossFire?

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 19, 2011 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, HD6770 Silent Cell, crossfire, hd6770

The GIGABYTE HD6770 Silent Cell is a different take on your normal HD6770, it has no fans but does sport a double wide heatsink.  Sporting all of GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable components you can pick up this card for a hair under $140; or more importantly for [H]ard|OCP's review you can pick up two for about the same price as an HD6950 or a GTX 570 if you can find one on sale.  Their testing showed that at a resolution of 1920x1200 the two HD6770's could hold their own but they quickly fell behind the competition when resolution was raised beyond that point, which would include EyeFinity.  If your case has the space for the coolers and you have an overwhelming urge to play games at a 1080p resolution on a silent machine, then these cards are for you.  Apart from that goal, you are better served with a single higher power GPU.

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"Today we'll find out if two of GIGABYTE's HD6770 Silent Cell cards can match the performance of a Radeon HD 6950. We were impressed with how this no-fan silent configuration CrossFireX setup performed. However, is it worth $280 against the falling prices of the Radeon HD 6950?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: AMD

The Dirty Laggard

 

It may seem odd, but sometimes reviewers are some of the last folks to implement new technology.  This has been the case for myself many a time.  Yes, we get some of the latest and greatest components, but often we review them and then keep them on the shelf for comparative purposes, all the while our personal systems run last generation parts that we will not need to re-integrate into a test rig ever again.  Or in other cases, big money parts, like the one 30” 2560x1600 LCD that I own, are always being utilized on the testbed and never actually being used for things like browsing, gaming, or other personal activities.  Don’t get me wrong, this is not a “woe-is-me” rant about the hardships of being a reviewer, but rather just an interesting side effect not often attributed to folks who do this type of work.  Yes, we get the latest to play with and review, but we don’t often actually use these new parts in our everyday lives.

One of the technologies that I had only ever seen at trade shows is that of Eyefinity.  It was released back in the Fall of 2009, and really gained some momentum in 2010.  Initially it was incompatible with Crossfire technology, which limited it to a great degree.  A single HD 5970 card could push 3 x 1920x1080 monitors in most games, but usually only with details turned down and no AA enabled.  Once AMD worked a bit more on the drivers were we able to see Crossfire setups working in Eyefinity, which allowed users to play games at higher fidelity with the other little niceties enabled.  The release of the HD 6900 series of cards also proved to be a boon to Eyefinity, as these new chips had much better scaling in Crossfire performance, plus were also significantly faster than the earlier HD 5800 series at those price points.

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Continue on to the rest of the story for more on my experiences with AMD Eyefinity.

Video Perspective: AMD A-series APU Dual Graphics Technology Performance

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | July 13, 2011 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: llano, dual graphics, crossfire, APU, amd, a8-3850, 3850

Last week we posted a short video about the performance of AMD's Llano core A-series of APUs for gaming and the response was so positive that we have decided to continue on with some other short looks at features and technologies with the processor.  For this video we decided to investigate the advantages and performance of the Dual Graphics technology - the AMD APU's ability to combine the performance of a discrete GPU with the Radeon HD 6550D graphics integrated on the A8-3850 APU.

For this test we set our A8-3850 budget gaming rig to the default clock speeds and settings and used an AMD Radeon HD 6570 1GB as our discrete card of choice.  With a price hovering around $70, the HD 6570 would be a modest purchase for a user that wants to add some graphical performance to their low-cost system but doesn't stretch into the market of the enthusiast.

The test parameters were simple: we knew the GPU on the Radeon HD 6570 was a bit better than that of the A8-3850 APU so we compared performance of the discrete graphics card ALONE to the performance of the system when enabling CrossFire, aka Dual Graphics technology.  The results are pretty impressive:

You may notice that these percentages of scaling are higher than those we found in our first article about Llano on launch day.  The reasoning is that we used the Radeon HD 6670 there and found that while compatible by AMD's directives, the HD 6670 is overpowering the HD 6550D GPU on the APU and the performance delta it provides is smaller by comparison.  

So, just as we said with our APU overclocking video, while adding in a discrete card like the HD 6570 won't turn your PC into a $300 graphics card centered gaming machine it will definitely help performance by worthwhile amounts without anyone feeling like they are wasting the silicon on the A8-3850.  

Source: AMD

Revisiting quad-gpus and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 24, 2011 - 03:44 PM |
Tagged: quad sli, quad crossfire, sli, crossfire, nvidia, amd

With SLI and CrossFire we all hoped to see direct scaling so that a quad GPU setup would be somewhere in the neighbourhood of 4x better than a single GPU.  That has proven to be incorrect, not only is the scaling nowhere near that it has been discovered that in some cases going beyond 2 GPUs can actually reduce performance.  

As the hardware and drivers evolve, it is worth revisiting the scaling performance of both AMD and NVIDIA which is why [H]ard|OCP grabbed two GeForce GTX 590s and two AMD Radeon HD 6990s, both dual GPU cards.  In three of the five games tested they ran into at least one issue, a strike right off the bat.  Read on to see how they rate the value of the two manufacturers based on the performance they saw once they'd resolved the problems.

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"How does NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 590 SLI Quad-GPU compare to AMD's Radeon HD 6990 CrossFireX Quad-GPU? We will find out if these "if-money-didn't-matter dream video card setups" will deliver the gameplay experience we all expect."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Tri-Fire/SLI redux, look at the difference SandyBridge makes!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 6, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, crossfire, sli, triple, sandybridge

Not too long ago [H]ard|OCP examined the price to performance ratio between a triple SLI GTX580 system and a Tri-Fire HD6990 and HD6970 and discovered that as far as value goes, NVIDIA could not touch AMD.  A reader of theirs inquired if it was the aging Core i7-920 that was holding the cards back even with the overclock of 3.6GHz.  A SandyBridge system with a Core i7-2600K and an ASUS board with the NF200 bridge chip was used to revisit the performance of the two vendors GPUs.  The result; we can hardly wait for the Z68 boards to come out!

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"We have re-tested performance between GTX 580 3-Way SLI and Radeon HD 6990+6970 Tri-Fire with a brand new Sandy Bridge 4.8GHz system. Our readers wanted to know if the CPU speed would improve performance and open up the potential of this triple-GPU performance beasts. To put it succinctly, they were right. The results completely turn the tables upside down and then some."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP