Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: AMD

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.

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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.

The biggest news of the quarter was that AMD is no longer constrained by 32 nm availability. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was able to produce as many 32 nm parts for AMD as needed with yields continuously improving over the past two quarters. AMD seems very comfortable about where they are at in terms of yields and availability for both Bulldozer and Llano based product lines. AMD has in fact been ramping production of the upcoming Trinity based processor and has been shipping finished products to customers since mid Q1. They have also started shipping Brazos 2.0 parts to customers, and both Trinity and Brazos will be launched in mid Q2 of this year.
 
The CPU/APU World According to AMD
 
The mobile area has been one of tremendous growth for AMD and Q1 saw 100% of all mobile shipments be APU products (both Llano and Brazos 1.0). AMD is very bullish about Trinity. They say that it offers around 50% more performance at the same TDP as the earlier Llano based processors. This 50% is a combination of both CPU and GPU performance, so do not expect massive jumps in CPU performance alone from current Llano based products at those TDPs. The big jump does appear to be in graphics, and AMD is certainly more than willing to hang their hat on that portion. With the latest Ivy Bridge IGPs still not able to match last year’s Llano, AMD feels that Trinity will truly leave Intel behind in terms of overall graphics performance. Trinity features a totally redesigned graphics portion which combines the VLIW4 architecture of the HD 6900 series with aspects of the new 7000 series of products.
 

MSI Shows of Next Generation Twin Frozr IV Cards at Cebit

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 6, 2012 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: Twin Frozr, R7970, R7870, msi, Lightning, hd 7950, hd 7850, HD 77750, hd 7770, hawk

The Romanian site Lab 501 was able to snap some shots and get some information about the latest generation of custom built graphics products from MSI.  We had actually talked to Alex Chang of MSI about what Twin Frozr IV would bring to the table, but today we actually get to see the (nearly) finished parts.

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It looks as if MSI is changing around their color scheme, but the heatsink remains as big as the previous generation's.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

The products shown were of course only the AMD based parts, as the NVIDIA Kepler products are still under wraps (but apparently should see the light of day later this month).  MSI is giving the full Twin Frozr IV treatment to every HD 7750 and above part.  The HD 7970 is getting the Lightning edition with all the bells and whistles, while the HD 7870 is going under the Hawk brand.

We have few details about what all Twin Frozr IV includes, but it keeps the propeller blades and the anti-dust technology that we first saw in the N580GTX Lightning.  From the shots we have, it does not appear that they will be using the temperature sensitive fan units that actually change color when going above 45C.

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They were able to take a good shot of the board without the heatsink, and it is just as jam packed as the previous Lightning products.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

The Lightning will feature a total of 4 Display Ports and 2 DVI ports, so it can support up to 6 monitors at once.  This appears similar to what Asus did with the EAH6950 and EAH6970 cards that were recently reviewed here.  The Hawk will only feature 2 Display Ports, HDMI, and DVI-I.  The rest of the lineup looks like reference based cards with custom Twin Frozr IV coolers.

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It is good to see MSI continues with the more affordable Hawk brand.  (image courtesy of Lab 501)

Of particular interest is the board design of the Lightning card.  It is simply jam packed with power regulation components and the new "Twin Form-in-One" bracing system which supports both sides of the PCB with metal plates to minimize warping, improve cooling, and funnel airflow.  Looking at the back of the card reveals the plate having a nice sized hole in it which would be perfect for another fan to cool all of the components on the back.  More digging has informed us that it is actually a removable "GPU Reactor Core".  More details should be available soon.

Source: MSI Computer

Meet the new mid-range; AMD's HD7770 and HD7750

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2012 - 11:33 AM |
Tagged: xfx, southern islands, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd, radeon, factory overclocked

The days of the HD 6870 are numbered as today we see the arrival of the new sub-$200 GPUs from AMD, the HD7770 and HD7750.  The stock HD 7770 run at 1GHz with 640 stream processors, 40 texture units and 16 ROPs and the 1GB of memory rides on a 128-bit bus at 4.5GHz.  The stock HD7750 has a slower core, running at 800MHz and a lower stream processor count of 512 as well as only 32 Texture units, with the memory subsystem unchanged from the HD7770.

Those who were disappointed by the lack of custom coolers and factory overclocks at the release of the HD 7970 will be happy to see the variety of HD7700 series cards.  For instance [H]ard|OCP reviewed the XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked which has a custom cooler, a 120MHz overclock on the core and a 300Mhz on the memory, effectively 5.2GHz.  [H] proved that there is more memory headroom available in this card, adding another 1.1GHz without needing to adjust the voltage.  For those who are willing to risk upping the power there might be even more speed possible from this card. 

You can also catch Ryan's review of the same card as well as an MSI version and a stock HD 7750.

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"Today marks the launch of AMD's Radeon HD 7700 series of GPUs in the sub-$200 bracket. We've got a retail XFX R7770 Black Edition Super Overclocked video card just itching to show us what it can do. Will this Radeon HD 7770 based video card hold up to the likes of the Radeon HD 6870 and GeForce GTX 560 Ti? You may be surprised."

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

Graphics Cards

 

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

Southern Islands Get Small

When AMD first started to talk to me about the upcoming Southern Islands GPUs they tried to warn me.  Really they did.  "Be prepared for just an onslaught of card releases for 2012," I was told.  In much the same strategy the company took with the HD 6000 series of cards, the new Radeon HD 7000 cards have been trickling out, part by part, so as to make sure the name "AMD" and the brand "Radeon" are showing up as often as possible in your news feeds and on my keyboard.  In late December we wrote our review of the Radeon HD 7970 3GB flagship card and then followed that up in January with a review of the Radeon HD 7950.  In those briefings were told in a general way about Cape Verde, the Radeon HD 7700 series, and Pitcairn, the Radeon HD 7800 series, but without the details of performance, specifications or release dates.  We have the answer for one more of these families now: Cape Verde.

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Cape Verde is the smallest of the Southern Islands dies and falls into the sub-$175 graphics market depending on card vendors' pricing and overclocking settings.  The real question we all wanted to know is what performance levels these new cards were going to offer and if they could be the TRUE successor to popular Radeon HD 5770.  While the answer will take pages and pages of details to cement into place, I can say that while an impressive card, I wasn't as excited as I had wanted to be.

But I am getting ahead of myself...  Check out our video review right here and then keep reading on for the full evaluation!!

AMD Cape Verde - the smallest of the Southern Islands

GPU companies like to brag when they are on top - you'll see that as a recurring theme in our story today.  One such case is the success of the Radeon HD 5770 that mentioned above - it still today sits on the throne of the most adopted DX11 capable GPU on the Steam Hardware Survey, one of our best places for information on the general PC gamer.  

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While the inclusion of it, as well as the Radeon HD 5870 and HD 5850, on this list are great for AMD a couple of years ago, the lack of a 6000-series card here shows us that users need another reason to upgrade; another card that is mass market enough (ala under $200) and offers performance advantages that really push gamers to spend that extra cheddar.

Bring in the Cape Verde GPU...

Continue reading our review of the Radeon HD 7770 1GB GHz Edition and HD 7750 Graphics cards!!

AMD 7700 and 7800 Release Dates Leak To Web

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 1, 2012 - 11:32 AM |
Tagged: radeon, pitcairn, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd

It is now February, and despite the weather outside (which feels like late spring/early summer) not following the middle of winter approach, the year has only just begun. AMD has really been on the ball with new releases; however, and has managed to launch two of the three planned enthusiast level graphics cards with the AMD Radeon HD 7970 and the Radeon HD 7950 on January 9th and 31st respectively. What this means is that the company has the rest of the year to dole out the cheaper and lower performance cards. Even so, if this leaked slide is to be believed, it looks like AMD will not be wasting any time and is planning to roll out a slew of 7700 and 7800 series card launches before the second quarter of this year is over!

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As one step down from the 7900 series, Pitcairn represents AMD's new "mid-range" parts.  As of now, the Pitcairn series includes Pitcairn XT and Pitcairn Pro which will be labeled the Radeon 7870 and 7850 respectively.  This recent leak does not stray too far from previous rumors, and both Pitcairn 7800 series AMD cards should see a March 2012 launch.  The article further specifies a March 6th, 2012 release as the first day of the German CeBit 2012 trade show.  In name, Pitcairn is the successor to the current Barts XT and Barts Pro based Radeon HD 6870 and HD 6850 cards, but is rumored to offer a similar level of performance to the 6950 and 6970 graphics cards. Allegedly, the cards will utilize 2GB GDDR5 memory on a 256-bit memory interface. Further, the Pitcairn XT that will be the HD 7870 will have 1536 ALUs (arithmetic logic unit) at 950 MHz, 96 texture units, 32 ROPs (Raster Operations Pipeline), 24 SIMDs (single instruction, multiple data), and a 120 watt TDP (thermal design power). The HD 7850 on the other hand will be slightly scaled back with only 1408 ALUs at 850 MHz, 88 texture units, and 22 SIMDs. Also, the memory clock will be scaled back. The reductions in hardware will give the card a supposed lower 90 watt TDP. 

Moving down the performance ladder, AMD will launch the Cape Verde XT and Cape Verde Pro based Radeon Hd 7770 and HD 7750 cards later this month on February 15th, 2012. BSN claims that the Cape Verde cards will use either 1 GB of GDDR 3 or GDDR5 memory and will be in the $100 and $160 price range (with the 7770 on the high end of the scale and 7750 on low end). According to this article over at Tom's Hardware, the 7700 series cards will be much smaller than their bigger brothers at a bit over 8 inches in length. They will feature a 128-bit memory interface, 6 pin PCI-E connector, approximate 100 watt power consumption, and a Graphics Core Next GPU architecture.

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The 7770 graphics card.  (Image leaked from ChipHell)

The remaining card that is likely to be of interest to our readers is the dual GPU monster that is the 7990.  This card will be based off of two 7970 GPUs.  Unfortunately; however, further details and pricing are not known.  There is speculation that the 7990 card will have 6 GB of GDDR5 graphics memory, 256 texture units, 64 ROPs, 62 compute units (CUs), and a massive number of stream processors at 4,096 based on the card being comprised of two 7970 cards.  Also, the launch date is still listed as "To Be Determined."

Lots of information is still speculation, but if it holds true, AMD is looking to get as much of a lead on Nvidia as possible by getting as many of their 7000 series out of the gate as possible.  Which 7000 series cards are you most interested in?

AMD Radeon HD 7700-series Details Leak - $149, 896 SPs, 128-bit

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 30, 2011 - 07:23 AM |
Tagged: southern islands, radeon, hd 7770, hd 7750, cape verde, amd

According to a story posted over at Fudzilla, there are new details leaking out about the February release of the AMD Radeon HD 7700-series of graphics cards.  Based on the 28nm Cape Verde chip we first heard about last month at the AMD GPU Tech Day in Austin, this is the smallest die based on the new Southern Islands architecture.  If you haven't read about all the changes that SI brings to the table (and there are many) then you should check out our Radeon HD 7970 review while you're here.

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The specifications of the Radeon HD 7700 (Cape Verde XT) according to the leak are 896 stream processors (14 CUs), 56 texture units and 16 ROPs with a clock speed of 900 MHz.  The memory system will be based around 1GB of GDDR5 on a 128-bit memory bus at a 1375 MHz clock rate for a total bandwidth of 88 GB/s.  The Radeon HD 7750 (Cape Verde Pro) steps down to 832 stream processors (13 CUs), 52 texture units and 16 ROPs with a 900 MHz clock speed.  The memory system will still be 128-bit with slightly slower memory for a total of 80 GB/s of bandwidth.

Compared to the Radeon HD 7970, these specs are pretty meager.  The Tahiti GPU has 2048 stream processors and a 384-bit memory bus which would likely make a dramatic difference in performance, as expected  Still, for the estimated $149 price tag AMD could have a winner on its hands.

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Our estimation of the Cape Verde GPU based on the rumored specifications.  It is also possible that AMD would remove the dual geometry engines at the top and go with a single.

Finally, there is less information about the 7800-series (Pitcairn): it could include a 256-bit memory bus and will obviously include more compute units for its $299 and $249 price tags.  If those leaked prices are legit, that is a HUGE gap in price between the HD 7870 and the HD 7970 currently set to be sold at $549!  

Source: Fudzilla