For AMD, X does not mark the spot

Subject: General Tech | November 5, 2013 - 01:22 PM |
Tagged: radeon, r9 290, hawaii, crossfire, amd, 290x, powertune

How does all the power of a GTX 780 for a price tag $100 lower sound to you?  Honestly it might sound a little loud as the reference cooler on the R9 290 can be a little loud at 50% which is the speed you need to be able to keep this card running full out.  As long as you don't mind the sound or are willing to wait for custom air or water cooling solutions there are no negatives about the 290.  Frame pacing makes Crossfire much smoother and it sports the hardware improvements for EyeFinity to improve your experience in 4K and multi-monitor usage.  [H]ard|OCP actually uses the word epic just before giving this card a Gold Award, check out their full review here.

Ryan's review, including Frame Rating can be found by clicking here.

1383560446bHRev9wPcM_1_1.gif

"It is time now to look at AMD's Radeon R9 290. This lower-cost R9 290 series video card packs a punch, not only in performance, but also in price. Watch it compete with the GeForce GTX 780, and win while being priced lower. This is the value you have been waiting for with gaming performance."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards


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

More of the same for a lot less cash

The week before Halloween, AMD unleashed a trick on the GPU world under the guise of the Radeon R9 290X and it was the fastest single GPU graphics card we had tested to date.  With a surprising price point of $549, it was able to outperform the GeForce GTX 780 (and GTX TITAN in most cases) while under cutting the competitions price by $100.  Not too bad! 

amd1.jpg

Today's release might be more surprising (and somewhat confusing).  The AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB card is based on the same Hawaii GPU with a few less compute units enabled (CUs) and an even more aggressive price and performance placement.  Seriously, has AMD lost its mind?

Can a card with a $399 price tag cut into the same performance levels as the JUST DROPPED price of $499 for the GeForce GTX 780??  And, if so, what sacrifices are being made by users that adopt it?  Why do so many of our introduction sentences end in question marks?

The R9 290 GPU - Hawaii loses a small island

If you are new to the Hawaii GPU and you missed our first review of the Radeon R9 290X from last month, you should probably start back there.  The architecture is very similar to that of the HD 7000-series Tahiti GPUs with some modest changes to improve efficiency with the biggest jump in raw primitives per second to 4/clock over 2/clock.

diagram1.jpg

The R9 290 is based on Hawaii though it has four fewer compute units (CUs) than the R9 290X.  When I asked AMD if that meant there was one fewer CU per Shader Engine or if they were all removed from a single Engine, they refused to really answer.  Instead, several "I'm not allowed to comment on the specific configuration" lines were given.  This seems pretty odd as NVIDIA has been upfront about the dual options for its derivative GPU models.  Oh well.

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon R9 290 4GB Graphics Card Review!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Clock Variations

When AMD released the Radeon R9 290X last month, I came away from the review very impressed with the performance and price point the new flagship graphics card was presented with.  My review showed that the 290X was clearly faster than the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 and (and that time) was considerably less expensive as well - a win-win for AMD without a doubt. 

But there were concerns over a couple of aspects of the cards design.  First was the temperature and, specifically, how AMD was okay with this rather large silicon hitting 95C sustained.  Another concern, AMD has also included a switch at the top of the R9 290X to switch fan profiles.  This switch essentially creates two reference defaults and makes it impossible for us to set a baseline of performance.  These different modes only changed the maximum fan speed that the card was allowed to reach.  Still, performance changed because of this setting thanks to the newly revised (and updated) AMD PowerTune technology.

We also saw, in our initial review, a large variation in clock speeds both from one game to another as well as over time (after giving the card a chance to heat up).  This led me to create the following graph showing average clock speeds 5-7 minutes into a gaming session with the card set to the default, "quiet" state.  Each test is over a 60 second span.

clock-avg.png

Clearly there is variance here which led us to more questions about AMD's stance.  Remember when the Kepler GPUs launched.  AMD was very clear that variance from card to card, silicon to silicon, was bad for the consumer as it created random performance deltas between cards with otherwise identical specifications. 

When it comes to the R9 290X, though, AMD claims both the GPU (and card itself) are a customizable graphics solution.  The customization is based around the maximum fan speed which is a setting the user can adjust inside the Catalyst Control Center.  This setting will allow you to lower the fan speed if you are a gamer desiring a quieter gaming configuration while still having great gaming performance.  If you are comfortable with a louder fan, because headphones are magic, then you have the option to simply turn up the maximum fan speed and gain additional performance (a higher average clock rate) without any actual overclocking.

Continue reading our article on the AMD Radeon R9 290X - The Configurable GPU!!!

Fall of a Titan, check out the R9 290X

Subject: Graphics Cards | October 24, 2013 - 02:38 PM |
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, kepler, hawaii, amd

If you didn't stay up to watch our live release of the R9 290X after the podcast last night you missed a chance to have your questions answered but you will be able to watch the recording later on.  The R9 290X arrived today, bringing 4K and Crossfire reviews as well as single GPU testing on many a site including PCPer of course.  You don't just have to take our word for it, [H]ard|OCP was also putting together a review of AMD's Titan killer.  Their benchmarks included some games we haven't adopted yet such as ARMA III.  Check out their results and compare them to ours, AMD really has a winner here.

1382088059a47QS23bNQ_4_8_l.jpg

"AMD is launching the Radeon R9 290X today. The R9 290X represents AMD's fastest single-GPU video card ever produced. It is priced to be less expensive than the GeForce GTX 780, but packs a punch on the level of GTX TITAN. We look at performance, the two BIOS mode options, and even some 4K gaming."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

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

A slightly new architecture

Note: We also tested the new AMD Radeon R9 290X in CrossFire and at 4K resolutions; check out that full Frame Rating story right here!!

Last month AMD brought media, analysts, and customers out to Hawaii to talk about a new graphics chip coming out this year.  As you might have guessed based on the location: the code name for this GPU was in fact, Hawaii. It was targeted at the high end of the discrete graphics market to take on the likes of the GTX 780 and GTX TITAN from NVIDIA. 

Earlier this month we reviewed the AMD Radeon R9 280X, R9 270X, and the R7 260X. None of these were based on that new GPU.  Instead, these cards were all rebrands and repositionings of existing hardware in the market (albeit at reduced prices).  Those lower prices made the R9 280X one of our favorite GPUs of the moment as it offers performance per price points currently unmatched by NVIDIA.

But today is a little different, today we are talking about a much more expensive product that has to live up to some pretty lofty goals and ambitions set forward by the AMD PR and marketing machine.  At $549 MSRP, the new AMD Radeon R9 290X will become the flagship of the Radeon brand.  The question is: to where does that ship sail?

 

The AMD Hawaii Architecture

To be quite upfront about it, the Hawaii design is very similar to that of the Tahiti GPU from the Radeon HD 7970 and R9 280X cards.  Based on the same GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture AMD assured us would be its long term vision, Hawaii ups the ante in a few key areas while maintaining the same core.

01.jpg

Hawaii is built around Shader Engines, of which the R9 290X has four.  Each of these includes 11 CU (compute units) which hold 4 SIMD arrays each.  Doing the quick math brings us to a total stream processor count of 2,816 on the R9 290X. 

Continue reading our review of the AMD Radeon R9 290X 4GB Graphics Card!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

Earth Shattering?

AMD is up to some interesting things.  Today at AMD’s tech day, we discovered a veritable cornucopia of information.  Some of it was pretty interesting (audio), some was discussed ad-naseum (audio, audio, and more audio), and one thing in particular was quite shocking.  Mantle was the final, big subject that AMD was willing to discuss.  Many assumed that the R9 290X would be the primary focus of this talk, but in fact it very much was an aside that was not discussed at any length.  AMD basically said, “Yes, the card exists, and it has some new features that we are not going to really go over at this time.”  Mantle, as a technology, is at the same time a logical step as well as an unforeseen one.  So what all does Mantle mean for users?

mantle_diag_01.jpg

Looking back through the mists of time, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the individual 3D chip makers all implemented low level APIs that allowed programmers to get closer to the silicon than what other APIs such as Direct3D and OpenGL would allow.  This was a very efficient way of doing things in terms of graphics performance.  It was an inefficient way to do things for a developer writing code for multiple APIs.  Microsoft and the Kronos Group had solutions with Direct3D and OpenGL that allowed these programmers to develop for these high level APIs very simply (comparatively so).  The developers could write code that would run D3D/OpenGL, and the graphics chip manufacturers would write drivers that would interface with Direct3D/OpenGL, which then go through a hardware abstraction layer to communicate with the hardware.  The onus was then on the graphics people to create solid, high performance drivers that would work well with DirectX or OpenGL, so the game developer would not have to code directly for a multitude of current and older graphics cards.

Read the entire article here.

AMD GPU14 Event Live Stream and Live Blog

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: live, hawaii, amd

In case you didn't know, AMD is hosting a live stream to talk about the new AMD Hawaii series of GPUs.  You should definitely be on our PC Perspective Live! page right now to participate and watch!

P1010253.JPG

 

 

 

Images and Benchmarks of AMD Radeon R9-290X Hawaii Leak Out

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2013 - 11:58 PM |
Tagged: radeon, leak, hawaii, amd

What better way to spend your weekend than to comb over photos and graphs to try and figure out everything you can about the upcoming AMD Hawaii GPU just days before they announce it during a live stream?  A collection of leaks including pictures and benchmarks made their way onto the web (they have a way of doing that) from our friends in China.  I spotted a post from our buddy Hassan at WCCFTech that detailed much of the information available so far. 

hawaii2.jpg

The first picture was actually posted by Johan Andersson, lead developer at DICE over Twitter with a not-too-vague comment about Hawaii and Volcanic Islands. 

 

 

A website with the convenient name of udteam.tistory.com posted images with quite a bit more detail including some with the cooler removed. 

hawaii1.jpg

hawaii6.jpg

hawaii5.jpg

The GPU here is apparently going to be called the AMD Radeon R9-290X as AMD shifts to a completely new naming scheme with this generation.  We already discussed an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner in which he said the die of Hawaii was 30% smaller than NVIDIA's GTX TITAN and would be more efficient per die area than the GeForce option. 

hawaii4.jpg

Other specifications that have been compiled (that are still rumors really at this point) include a 512-bit memory interface (quad 128-bit controllers more than likely based on the memory layout), 4GB of GDDR5, 5+1 phase power and 8+6 pin power connections (very reasonable for a flagship).  The die size is being estimated at 424 mm2 (larger than Radeon HD 7970 but smaller than TITAN) and price estimates are sitting at $599

hawaii7.jpg

hawaii8.jpg

We even found a couple of benchmarks claiming to have performance results of this new beast of a GPU.  Though the name of the card on the result is blocked out we are supposed to believe these are results from the AMD R9-290X and they are impressive if true.  In both of the graphs here the new Hawaii GPU is faster than the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN at a significantly lower price! 

All signs are pointing to AMD's next 28nm GPU to be a high end gamer's dream graphics card.  That is, IF all these rumors and leaks turns out to be accurate.  We still don't know the key data points like stream processor count, but we'll know it all in due time.  (Maybe next week?)  We still have concerns about the status of AMD's multi-GPU fixes but if the company can get that worked out in time for this relesae, I expect AMD to make a big splash this fall with a revamped Radeon brand.

Source: Various

AMD Confirms Hawaii GPU Will Use 28nm Process

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 17, 2013 - 10:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hawaii

As we get closer and closer to the reveal of AMD's next generation graphics chip code named Hawaii, details will find their way out. 

hawaiimap.jpg

Tonight I came across an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner on Forbes.com that offered up one confirmation that we all suspected: AMD's Hawaii GPU will keep the same 28nm process technology utilized with the Radeon HD 7000 parts.

Another thing I can tell you is about the process node: this GPU is in 28nm. Some have speculated that it was 20nm and it’s not for a specific reason: At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.

Straight from the horses mouth.  Based on those comments we can also assume that clock speeds will be higher than 1.0 - 1.1 GHz we are seeing today with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition so performance increases will not be the sole result of shader count changes and increases. 

Skynner also assures gamers they are not targeting the $999 price range, at least not initially. 

They’re coming in Q4. I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.

AMD is targeting a much smaller die size that NVIDIA has with GK110, the latest iteration of NVIDIA's massive GPU offerings. 

It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU.

amdgpu.jpg

The rest of the interview is a little cookie-cutter though he does briefly reference some of the issues that have caught the Radeon HD 7990 by surprise. 

Sorry, still no details on if/when Battlefield 4 will hit the Never Settle bundles!

Source: Forbes.com

Christmas in Hawaii?

Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2013 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: amd, hawaii, Intel, asus, H81

The usual suspects are expecting to be able to start shipping Hawaii based AMD cards some time in October with availability soon after that, at least in theory.  They will be shipping to system builders and retailers at that time so you shouldn't be expecting the chance to buy a brand new GPU before Halloween but you could reasonably expect one before the New Year.  We don't know how this new chip will handle frame pacing on multiple displays but we can certainly hope the extra time in the shop will help.

As well DigiTimes mentioned that ASUS will start shipping H81 based motherboards immediately.  The series will be comprised of a single ATX board called the H81-Plus, four mATX boards including the H81M-Plus, H81M-A, H81M-C and H81M-E and a single mITX board called the H81I-Plus.  You can read the features they will be including in the new entry level boards here, though as of yet we do not have pricing.

DT_1_r.jpg

"As AMD is set to announce its next-generation high-end GPU codenamed Hawaii, graphics card players including Asustek Computer, Micro-Star International (MSI) and PowerColor are expected to start mass shipping related products in October, according to sources from the upstream supply chain."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes