AMD’s position is not enviable. Though they’re the only large competitor to Intel in the market for x86 processors, the company is dwarfed by the Giant of Santa Clara. As a resident of Portland, I can’t forget this fact. Intel offices are strewn across the landscape of the western suburbs, most of them at least four times larger than any office I’ve worked at.
Despite the long odds, AMD is set in this course for now and has no choice but to soldier on. And so we have today’s reference platform, a laptop powered by AMD’s latest mobile processor, codenamed Trinity. These processors, like the older Llano models, will be sold as the AMD A-Series. This might lead you to think that it’s simply another minor update, but that’s not the case.
Llano was released around the same time as Bulldozer, but it did not use Bulldozer cores. Instead it used yet another update of Stars, which is a mobile incarnation of Phenom II, which was of course an improvement upon the original Phenom. The “new” Llano APU in fact was equipped with some rather old processor cores. This showed in the performance of the mobile Llano products. They simply could not keep up with Sandy Bridge’s more modern cores.
Bulldozer isn’t coming to mobile with Trinity, either. Instead we’re receiving Piledriver. AMD has effectively skipped the first iteration of its new Bulldozer architecture and moved straight on to the second. Piledriver includes the third generation of AMD’s Turbo Core and promises “up to 29%” better processor performance than last year’s Llano-based A-Series.
That’s a significant improvement, should it turn out to be correct. Is it true, and will it be enough to catch up to Intel?
It seems like MSI has some cheaper Kepler based NVIDIA graphics cards coming soon if this photo from Malaysian retailer Cycom turns out to be legitimate. Spotted by Lowyat user Chapree, the photo appears to be an MSI GTX 670 graphics card. Further, the card appeared on the company’s website at a price of 1399 Malaysian ringgits which translates to just under $462 USD.
Interestingly, the box contains a typo for Displayport in the form of “DispalyPort.” While that may indicate a fake card, it doesn’t totally rule it out either. The NVIDIA GTX 680 is the only available Kepler card (if you can find one to buy that is!), and many users are clamoring for some cheaper options. Here’s hoping they are coming sooner rather than later!
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 27, 2012 - 08:49 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gtx 680 GC 2GB, gtx 680, gpu, galaxy
Popular NVIDIA Add In Board partner Galaxy Microsystems announced their new custom GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. Specifically, the Galaxy GTX 680 GC 2GB is their custom PCB and custom cooled version of the NVIDIA GTX 680 (which we reviewed here) which also comes overclocked from the factory.
The GTX 680 GC 2GB comes with a base clock of 1110 MHz and a boost clock of 1176 MHz which is a healthy overclock compared to the reference clock speeds of 1006 MHz and 1058 MHz respectively. Beyond the factory overclock, Galaxy has implemented a custom PCB design that appears to have eschewed the stacked PCI-E power connectors in favor of the traditional side by side approach which allowed them to use two large fans for the cooler.
The cooler in question uses an aluminum fin array with quad nickel-plated heat pipes to keep the GPU core, memory, and VRMs nice and frosty. Looking somewhat like the XFX 7970 Black Edition, the Galaxy GTX 680 GC 2GB features a custom dual fan cooling solution with brushed aluminum cooling shroud, LED accents, and two large fans (which look to be about 90mm).
Galaxy stated that “overclocking enthusiasts will find the improved cooling of the Galaxy GTX 680 GC to be indispensable for pushing their clocks to the absolute maximum for the best possible performance.”
Galaxy has stated that the new GTX 680 GC card is available now, and is retailing for around $540 USD. [Update: it is already sold out on Newegg but Amazon has 4 left] which puts it a bit more than $40 over Galaxy's referrence version -- not too bad.
Get Out the Microscope
AMD announced their Q1 2012 earnings last week, which turned out better than the previous numbers suggested. The bad news is that they posted a net loss of $590 million. That does sound pretty bad considering that their gross revenue was $1.59 billion, but there is more to the story than meets the eye. Of course, there are thoughts of “those spendthrift executives are burying AMD again”, but this is not the case. The loss lays squarely on the GLOBALFOUNDRIES equity and wafer agreements that have totally been retooled.
To get a good idea of where AMD stands in Q1, and for the rest of this year, we need to see how all these numbers actually get sorted out. Gross revenue is down 6% from the quarter before, which is expected due to seasonal pressures. This is right in line with Intel’s seasonal downturn, and in ways AMD was affected slightly less than their larger competitor. They are down around 2% from last year’s quarter, and part of that can be attributed to the continuing hard drive shortage that continued to affect the previous quarter.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 13, 2012 - 09:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: price cut, nvidia gtx 680, gpu, amd, 7970
We reviewed the AMD Radeon 7970 3GB GPU back in december (you can read that here), and then the NVIDIA GTX 680 was released and became king of the single GPU hill. And while I was hoping for price cuts in the 7900 series as a result, there were none to report.
According to LegitReviews, who questioned sources within AMD, consumers may be seeing cheaper 7900 series cards next week. Starting Monday, April 16th 2012, AMD will be cutting prices for the suggested retail prices (MSRP) of the cards. Specifically, the 7970 will be getting a price cut of $50 USD and the 7950 will get a $40 lower MSRP.
Although AMD has a slower single card on their hands, the scarcity of NVIDIA GTX 680 GPUs and decent performance of the 7970 means that price cuts aren't going to be a much as I was personally hoping for. Even more, retailers may further murk up the situation by not reducing prices as much as the full MSRP reduction due to GTX 680s being sold out. Also, there is no word on whether the 7800 series will also be getting price cuts. In the end though, at least you won't have to spend as much of your tax refund on a new GPU if you've been eyeing the 7900 series (heh) even if it's not as much as you were hoping for.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 5, 2012 - 11:19 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: windforce, overclock, nvidia, gtx 680, gpu, gigabyte, custom gtx 680
Popular motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte is the latest company to debut a custom version of the NVIDIA GTX 680 reference graphics card. Gigabyte’s unique take on the GTX 680 starts off with a custom dark blue PCB and ripping out the puny two six pin PCI-E power connectors. They are then replaced with one eight pin and one six pin PCI-E power connector. Then, they top it off with a custom three fan cooler. The heatsink uses three copper heatpipes with direct contact with the GPU, and two arrays of aluminum fins.
The cooler and blue PCB via VR-Zone
The extra power provided by the eight pin PCI-E connector allows for potentially higher overclocks (depending on the particular chips), and the custom cooler keeps the overclocked card nice and cool. In fact, Gigabyte is shipping the card with a factory overclock. Although they did not overclock the 2 GB of GDDR5 memory from stock, they have set the base clock frequency and boost frequency at 1071 MHz and 1124 MHz boost respectively. Compared to the reference specs of 1006 MHz base and 1058 MHz boost, that amounts to a respectable 65 MHz base overclock and 66 MHz boost overclock out of the box. Further, depending on the chip, they may be capable of overclocking much higher.
The assembled card showing the video outputs via Guru3D
So long as you can find one in stock, the NVIDIA GTX 680 GPU is shaping up to be an interesting card, especially the custom versions! More photos of the previewed Gigabyte GTX 680 WindForce edition is available here and here.
Subject: Graphics Cards | April 5, 2012 - 08:37 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: rebranded gpu, nvidia, gtx 620, gtx 605, gpu, fermi
NVIDIA is continuing the infuriating practice (though they aren't alone in doing so) of re-branding older graphics cards into the following generation to present “new” cards (or to confuse consumers and tech journalists to no end, though I suspect that’s just a side benefit). Specifically, they are taking two lower tier desktop OEM cards and rebranding them as 600 series "Kepler" cards. The NVIDIA GT 520 and GT 510 will be renamed the NVIDIA GT 620 and GT 605 respectively. Even more confusing is that the “new” cards will have less hardware, and the only addition is the support for the OpenGL 4.2 standard (versus 4.1 on the 520 and 510). Other than that, they are two Fermi based cards in Kepler clothing.
The NVIDIA GT 620 replaces the GT 520 and features half of the graphics memory as the 500 series card, meaning that users will get 512 MB or 1 GB on the 620 instead of the 1 GB / 2 GB options of the GT 520. The card still features VGA, DVI, and HDMI video outputs. The remaining specifications can be seen in the chart below. Despite halving the memory, the new card has a very slightly higher TDP at 30 watts versus the rated 29 watts of the GT 520.
On the other hand, the NVIDIA GT 605 is the new version of the GT 510. The 600 series part also halves the amount of memory of the GT 510 counterpart with 512 MB and 1 GB versions compared to 1 GB and 2 GB versions of the GT 510. The GT 605 also has VGA, DVI, and HDMI ports. It is rated at a TDP of 25 watts like the GT 510.
|GT 510||GT 605||GT 520||GT 620|
|Graphics Clock||523 MHz||523 MHz||810 MHz||810 MHz|
|Processor Clock||1046 MHz||1046 MHz||1620 MHz||1620 MHz|
|Memory Clock (up to)||898 MHz||898 MHz||898 MHz||898 MHz|
|Memory (DDR3)||1 or 2 GB||512 or 1024 MB||1 or 2 GB||512 or 1024 MB|
Reference GT 500 and GT 600 Series Specifications (changes in bold).
According to Tom’s, the “new” cards are still Fermi based despite the new implied Kepler generation naming scheme. Granted, these are OEM cards but it still is a bit dishonest to rebrand them, especially in the case of the GT 620 where it is the same rank but with the Kepler generation digit at the beginning. There have been some comments around the Internet that the two new rebranded cards were brought into play to allow OEMs to sell PCs with new 600 series discrete graphics. At this level, it really doesn’t matter per se as they will still do HTPC and desktop graphics well enough and are not going to be purchased by customers directly, but it’s still annoying (heh). What do you guys think about the graphics card rebranding in general, whether it’s on the desktop or mobile market?
Subject: General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:32 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Vertex 4, ssd, podcast, ipad, Intel, gpu, FX-6200, cpu, amd, 680
PC Perspective Podcast #196 - 04/05/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the new iPad, the OCZ Vertex 4, AMD FX-6200 CPU and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
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- 0:01:45 The New iPad (2012) Review: Pixel Power
- 0:07:00 SilverStone Strider Gold Evolution 1000W Power Supply Review
- 0:09:00 OCZ Vertex 4 512GB SSD Initial Review - Vertex Returns to its Indilinx Roots (Firmware Progression Testing)
- 0:25:00 AMD FX-6200 CPU Review: A Small Bulldozer Refresh
- 0:37:00 This Podcast is brought to you by
, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
- 0:38:50 IOLO U-NO-LOL. Ed Bott not amused by system optimizer ad
- 0:40:10 PC bill of materials articles creeps lower.
- 0:42:15 The fine waterline between genius and madness; toilet water PC cooling
- 0:46:15 NVIDIA urges you to program better now, not CPU -- later.
- 0:52:50 OCZ isn't the only one with a new drive today, Hitachi now offers a 4TB Ultrastar
- 0:57:00 This week: FX-6200, GTX 680 SLI and Surround Performance Testing, Z77 motherboards, MAINGEAR SHIFT system review
- 1:00:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2012 - 01:45 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gpu, pricing, nvidia, amd, radeon
AMD has spent a lot of money developing GCN and it shows with products that provide better performance than the previous generation and do so with less power consumption, a hard trick to pull off. There are also numerous other architectural changes in the three current families of Southern Island cards which benefit users, but most will be focused on faster graphics without the need to upgrade their PSU. Until last week, since AMD had the fastest GPU going period, as well as much better price/performance numbers than NVIDIA's choice, there was no reason for AMD to consider changing their pricing structure as they need to recuperate the amount of dollars spent on R&D as well as manufacturing.
Last week the GTX 680 changed that, as not only did NVIDIA steal the performance crown back from AMD but they also successfully reduced the power consumption which was the Achilles Heel of Fermi. Even worse news for AMD was the pricing that NVIDIA attached to their flagship Kepler product, at $500 they are priced below AMD's HD 7970 by between $50 to $100. AMD's only hope is that the process problems at TSMC will keep the availability of the GTX 680 down, which it seems to have as NewEgg has run out of that card. Hoping that your competitor cannot keep their stock up is not exactly a good model to run your business.
Unfortunately any price change AMD makes will have repercussions on many models. The 7950 averages about $460 which is far too close to the GTX 680's price since the performance is not that close, however dropping the HD 7950 towards $400 makes the HD 7870 at $360 a little uncomfortable. That is going to have an effect on AMD's profitability, since they likely set out their accounting based on the current pricing of the Radeon series and will have to recalculate a lot of numbers to lower price and still remain profitable. However painful a process that might be they need to think of it sooner, rather than later; NVIDIA has more Kelper cards in store and they are not going to cost more than the GTX 680.
So far we have not heard any substantiated rumours about price changes from AMD but you can speculate that they must be coming. For now you should first decide how much your budget can manage and then start looking for specials at retailers that bring the cards down to the price you have decided you can afford. If they aren't low enough today then wait a few days as the GPU market is going to be decidedly unstable for the next while.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel to offer new SSDs, say Taiwan makers @ DigiTimes
- Intel extends lead over Samsung in semiconductor market share @ The Inquirer
- AMD completes its buyout of Seamicro @ The Inquirer
- Many Ivy Bridge ultrabooks expected to be showcased at Computex Taipei
- The TR Podcast 108: Take three tablets and call Dr. Kepler in the morning
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 26, 2012 - 11:36 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nvidia, gtx680, gpu, galaxy, 4gb gtx 680
A new article over at Chinese site EXP Review suggests that graphics card manufacturer Galaxy is gearing up with three new NVIDIA GTX 680 graphics cards. Among the new GTX 680 GPUs pictured, Galaxy is planning a reference card, a heavily overclocked Hall Of Fame card, and models with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory.
Galaxy is upping the memory ante with a new NVIDIA GTX 680 that has 4 GB of memory - twice that of the reference cards. The card will use Hynix memory chips (8 on the front, 8 on the rear of the card), an improved 5+2 phase power supply with DirectFET replacements for the usual MOSFET design. In addition, the card features 6+8 pin PCI-E power connectors and an aftermarket Galaxy Gemini cooler. The Gemini HSF uses heatpipes and an aluminum fin array cooled by two 90mm fans to cool the card. The extra cooling enabled Galaxy to offer the new card with a 10% factory overclock, for a base clockspeed of 1.1 GHz.
The other interesting card is the upcoming Galaxy GTX 680 Hall of Fame edition. This card is based on a white PCB with two 8 pin PCI-E power connectors (like those of the Asus DirectCU II and MSI Lightning). Further, it is cooled with three 90mm fans and five heatpipes leading to an aluminum fin array. The card will come equipped with dual BIOS support and overclocking software. It is not directly stated, but the Hall of Fame edition should be more overclockable thanks to the expanded cooling solution. Also, it may come with 4 GB of memory like the card above.
In our PCPer Live Review, it was stated that while NVIDIA could do reference cards with 4 GB of memory, they chose not to in order to hit certain price points and profit margins. Instead, they left it up to the Add In Board partners to offer cards with extra RAM and factory overclocks. Galaxy is prepping their 4 GB cards, but theya re not likely to be the only vendor offering cards with increased memory. More photos are available over at EXPReview.