Subject: Graphics Cards | February 15, 2013 - 01:50 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: southern islands, Solar System, Sea Islands, radeon, oland, mars, holycrapiamtotallyconfused, amd
Remember that story we posted last week and then discussed on the podcast about AMD not releasing any new GPUs in 2013? Today we had a call with AMD that attempted to answer some questions, clear up some confusion and give us some insight to the company's direction. I say 'attempted' because after a 53 minute discussion, we have some answers, but we also have some interesting questions that remain.
First, some definitions. If you have heard about code names like "Solar System" and "Sea Islands" you might not know what they refer to. Sea Islands is a new line that will fall into the 8000-series of products and will be a refresh, slightly different architecture based heavily on the Southern Islands parts you've come to love in the Radeon HD 7000 parts. Solar System is the name AMD has given to the sub-category of Sea Islands directly related to mobile products, the 8000M.
The slide that started this confusion - and our questions.
What might make things even more confusing is that there are some 8000-series parts that are already shipping in OEM desktops and notebooks that use verbatim HD 7000 GPU specs. So what you have is a combination series with Radeon HD 8000 that is made up of some rebrands and at least a couple of "new" chips thus far. Those two new GPUs, Mars and Oland (Radeon HD 8650 and HD 8670) depending on the mobile or desktop target, are already out and you can find them if you look hard. They are NOT available in the channel or for DIY PC users.
Our readers might be disappointed to learn that Sea Islands is heavily focused on the notebook and mobile markets though AMD did indicate that there some good things coming for the channel users in the future in 2013.
We also learned that the HD 7900-series will remain the company's high end parts through the end of 2013 but AMD said that there are new SKUs set to be released in this series sometime this year as well. Will that be the elusive HD 7990 dual-GPU product or maybe just something in the mainstream 7800 segments? They wouldn't tell us but we are definitely hoping for higher performance parts. You might also expect to see these new 7000-series parts to use Sea Islands silicon...
The Radeon HD 7970 looks like it will stay a focus for AMD throughout 2013.
Many readers might be wondering why AMD is breaking its standard cadence of near-yearly GPU releases. The answer came from AMD's Roy Taylor, VP of Channel Sales, who said that "7000 series parts are continuing to ramp UP, sales are increasing" so it is premature for AMD, as a company intending to make money, to introduce a new series or architecture.
In fact Roy was very emphatic about relieving us of potential ambiguity.
We have products, we have a road map. We are not announcing them now because we want to reposition the ones we have now. We are not sitting still, we do not lack resources, we do not lack imagination.
So what can you expect for the future? Sea Islands chips will continue to be released and eventually in the desktop, channel market and some of them will be branded as 7000-series parts and some of them will be branded as 8000-series parts. They wouldn't give us information on whether or not you'll see BIGGER chips (which we would assume would be faster) than the current HD 7900 cards or if they would all be in the mainstream segment.
AMD thinks its partnerships with key games like Crysis 3 will help keep momentum in 2013.
The residual message from this call was that AMD wants everyone to know that they have the best products on the market today and to maintain that momentum, AMD will enhance drivers, establish big partnerships with gaming companies and developers and release SOME new GPUs.
AMD was cagey again when asked about the possibility of a new architecture by the end of 2013 but based on the reactions of AMD reps I tend to believe we will see it, though probably very very close to the end of that time. (Update: AMD did in fact say that an entire new product stack would be releaed by the end of 2013.)
That all clear now?
Subject: General Tech | August 6, 2012 - 01:47 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: space, rover, photos, nasa, mars rover, mars, curiosity
NASA’s latest rover, named Curiosity has successfully landed on Mars a few minutes ago. The NASA team members were understandably ecstatic and gleeful as their hard work paid off. The first fruits of their labor arrived in the form of images from Mars.
An artist's depiction of the Curiosity rover on Mars
Using a rocket-powered skycrane, the one-ton rover was lowered onto the Martian surface to begin its two year mission collecting data for research into everything from water on Mars to the planets past life forms.
The NASA employees in the control room celebrate a successful landing.
Doug McCuistion, Director of the Mars Exploration Program for NASA’s Washington Headquarters stated in a recent press release:
“Curiosity is a bold step forward in learning about our neighboring planet, but this mission does not stand alone. It is part of a sustained, coordinated program of Mars exploration. This mission transitions the program's science emphasis from the planet's water history to its potential for past or present life."
It is an exciting time for NASA, and I’m interested to see what comes out of the Curiosity-aided research! The first images from Mars started arriving soon after the Curiosity rover landed, and more should be coming soon. You can find a collection of images from the Curiosity landing on the NASA website.
One of the first images from Mars
PS While the Xbox 360 gamers got a Mars rover landing game for Kinect, PC users can now play around with their own skycrane-delivered rovers in Kerbal Space Program.
UPDATE: Several low resolution images have been posted to the NASA site and can be seen below. Higher resolution images should become available later.
Images courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech
Subject: General Tech | September 1, 2011 - 05:13 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, nvidia, mars ii, mars, GTX580, coolermaster, CM Storm, asus, 580
PC Perspective Podcast #168 - 9/01/2011
This week we talk about the ASUS MARS II, Coolermaster CM Storm Headphones, News of the Week, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano and Scott Michaud
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- 0:00:38 Introduction
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- 0:02:34 CM Storm Sirus Headphones Review
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- 0:46:35 Cedar Trail preview, can it keep Intel's netbook lineup alive?
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Is a GTX 590 just not enough for you?
A Legacy of Unique Engineering
ASUS has often been one of only a handful of companies that really pushes the limits of technology on their custom designed products including graphics cards, sound cards, notebooks, motherboards and more. Just a little over a year ago I wrote a review of the ASUS ARES Dual Radeon HD 5870 graphics card - the first of its kind and it was labeled the "Ultimate Graphics Card" at the time. Life on the top of mountain doesn't last that long in the world of the GPU though and time (and the GTX 590 and HD 6990) left the Greek god of war in the rearview mirror.
This time around we have a successor to the MARS - the NVIDIA version that combines two top-level GPUs on a single PCB. The new ASUS MARS II we are reviewing today is a pair of binned GTX 580 GPUs paired together for full-time SLI and built with a limited edition run of 999 units. In many ways the MARS II and the ARES share a lot of traits: custom designed cooling and PCB, a unique aesthetic design, limited edition status and significant physical weight as well. Of course, the price tag is also pretty high and if you aren't comfortable reading about a $1300 graphics card you might as well turn around now... For those that dare though, you can be sure that the MARS II will have you dreaming about PC gaming power for years to come!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | May 31, 2011 - 02:41 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: computex, asus, GTX 580, mars, matrix, ROG
While also announcing a set of new motherboard at Computex 2011, ASUS was also showcasing two new graphics cards in the Republic of Gamers line based on NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 580 GPU. The MATRIX GTX580 and MARS II cards will offer a unique take on performance and engineering that haven’t been seen in the enthusiast graphics markets before.
The MATRIX GTX580 will offer support for TweakIt, ProbeIt and SafeMode overclocking capabilities at the hardware level while the GPU Tweak software will allow the user to adjust setting and monitor the card in the OS. The card is built with a 19-phase construction (!!) which should offer very impressive power efficiency as well as stability during overclocking. The cooler on the MATRIX card also promises to be 20% improved on the NVIDIA reference design.
The MARS II goes a step further by including a PAIR of GTX 580 GPUs on a single PCB offering what will likely be the fastest graphics card on the planet. The same hardware features like TweakIt and ProbeIt as well as the GPU Tweak software and the 19-phase power construction.
It looks like if you want the fastest graphics solutions available ASUS will have you covered with either the MATRIX GTX580 or the MARS II, depending on your wallet capacity.