AMD caches in on fast boot times with downloadable RAMDisks

Subject: Storage | December 12, 2012 - 02:50 PM |
Tagged: radeon, cache, radeon ramdisk

We've heard mentions of AMD's downloadable RAMDisk software which will portion off a part of your system RAM to act as a cache drive to give you all the benefits of an SSD cache drive without the costs.  There are three levels, two free levels which will give you 4GB if you do not have Radeon branded memory and 6GB if you do.  For $18.99 you can get the Xtreme version which will allow you up to 64GB on any type of RAM and will get rid of the upgrade now pop up which you will see on the free versions.  This software should work with any modern CPU from AMD or Intel which is a great move on AMDs part to help make this software popular.  Hardware Canucks checked the boot time with a Super Anti-Spyware scan that is launched during boot which slowed the RAMDisk down a bit however the launch time of CS5 was significantly faster than even an SSD.  Check it out here, or just download it from here.

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"With memory prices on the decline and Intel's RST caching offering a great solution for budget conscious buyers, AMD is reviving the idea of memory-based application acceleration. Called Radeon RAMDisk, it promises to reduce load times to mere seconds on even the most basic of systems."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

PCPer Live! Far Cry 3 Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 5, 2012 - 04:47 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, far cry 3, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the live stream you can watch the replay embedded right here!  Tune in to see some Far Cry 3 action as well learn about some of the technology that Ubisoft has included in the title!

On December 4th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Far Cry 3.  Far Cry has long been a franchise that includes great gameplay and never before seen graphics technology and the third installment looks to follow that trend!  Early previews of the game have been very exciting!

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Far Cry 3 Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - December 4th

PC Perspective Live! Page

Warning: this one will DEFINITELY have mature language and content!!

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

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AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as helping me with some co-op gaming!

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Far Cry 3 Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

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Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!

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The GPU wars will start up again in the New Year

Subject: General Tech | December 3, 2012 - 01:40 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, radeon 8xxx

The next Sea Islands GPU should arrive in the beginning of the year as AMD struggles to bring in enough revenue to remain competitive.  We don't know the exact specs, though there were some leaked a while ago that you can speculate from, nor is it clear if AMD will lead the new series with the high end or midrange so you don't have to hold off on asking for that new GPU for Christmas.  Of course this means that NVIDIA will be immediately be countering this move and you can expect to see new Kepler based cards around the same time.  Pricing will likely be an interesting battleground, as AMD's last cards came out at a price which in hindsight was too high so we will have to wait to see if NVIDIA will attempt to undercut AMD's pricing again.  AMD did not refute the news that DigiTimes posted, so you can be pretty sure they are on the mark with the date.

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"AMD reportedly plans to release its Radeon HD 8000 series GPUs in the second quarter of 2013 as the company is currently going through a business reorganization to aid its poor performance in the third quarter, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

AMD originally planned to release the GPU series at the end of the fourth quarter to compete against Nvidia's products."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

Here's one of those non-existant HD 7990's for you

Subject: Graphics Cards | November 23, 2012 - 01:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, southern islands, hd 7990

PowerColor ignored the claims that there would be no dual GPU HD 7990 and created the DEVIL13, with two southern island GPUs on a single PCB.  Both GPUs run at the standard HD 7970 speed of 925MHz, with a button to overclock them to 1000MHz and ups the amount of voltage provided to the cores as well, the 6GB of RAM run at the stock 5.5GHz effective.  Seeing three 8pin PCIe power connectors is impressive, as is the 3 slot card its self.  [H]ard|OCP overclocked the card to a stable 1125MHz GPUs and 6.3GHz memory which put its performance noticeably above that of the SLI'd GTX 680 that they compared this card to.  The question remains, if you can get the exact same performance from two overclocked Powercolor HD 7970s for $860 then why spend $1000 on the hard to find DEVIL13

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"PowerColor has beaten AMD to the punch with its own creation of a dual-GPU Radeon HD 7970 CrossFireX solution in a single video card package. We evaluate this awe inspiring video card and of course overclock it to its highest potential. We put it up against the best GTX 680 SLI solution also overclocked, all with the latest drivers."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PCPer Live! Hitman: Absolution Game Stream - Win Games and Graphics Cards!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 20, 2012 - 01:06 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, hitman: absolution, amd

UPDATE: If you missed the event last night we have the full replay here for you!  Enjoy!

On November 20th on the PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player game action of the new Hitman: Absolution.  If you have never played a Hitman game before I think PC gamers will love the combination of action and stealth as well as some of the humor you'll find in the assassination attempts. 

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Image from Videogamer.com

Hitman: Absolution Game Stream

5pm PT / 8pm ET - November 20th

PC Perspective Live! Page

The stream will be sponsored by AMD and its Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

bundle.jpg

AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of attempts at effectively offing some fools.

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Hitman: Absolution Game Stream:

  • 2 x Sapphire FleX HD 7870 GHz Edition 2GB (!!)
  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

sapphire.jpg

Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games (as well as some Radeon graphics cards) and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winners!

Stop in on the 20th for some PC gaming fun!!

PCPer Live! Medal of Honor Warfighter Game Stream - Win FREE Games!!

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 9, 2012 - 03:40 PM |
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, amd

UPDATE: Did you miss the live stream yesterday?  Well don't fret - you can still watch the single player and multi-player action of Medal of Honor Warfighter in the video below.  Sorry, all the prizes have been handed out though but check back in at pcper.com for two more upcoming game streams!!

This afternoon on our PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player and multi-player game action of latest title to use the Frostbite 2 engine, Medal of Honor Warfighter.  You can stop in and watch us take on a bit of the campaign in the game and then view my likely repetitive demise in some multi-player matches as well.

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Medal of Honor Warfighter Game Stream

12pm PT / 3pm ET - TODAY

PC Perspective Live! Page

The stream today will be sponsored by AMD and their Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about here.  Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:

  • FREE Sleeping Dogs
  • FREE Hitman: Absolution
  • FREE Far Cry 3
  • 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter

bundle.jpg

AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of while I get sniped from the windows.

Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Medal of Honor Game Stream today as well. 

  • 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
  • 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
  • 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
  • 5 x Far Cry 3 keys

Pretty nice, huh?  That's a LOT of games and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winner!

Stop in today for some PC gaming fun!!

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

A curious new driver from AMD

In case you missed the news, AMD is going to be making a big push with their Radeon brand from now until the end of the year starting with an incredibly strong game bundle that includes as many as three full games and 20% off the new Medal of Honor.  The second part of this campaign is a new driver specifically the 12.11 beta that will be posted to the public later this week.

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AMD is claiming to have made some substantial improvements on quite a few games including the very popular Battlefield 3 and the upcoming Medal of Honor (both of which use the same base engine).  But keep in mind that 15% is a LOT and this is the best case scenario in specific maps and you may not see benefits on others. 

There are going to be some debates about the validity of these performance boosts from AMD until we can get some more specific details on WHAT has changed.  Essentially the company line is that they have finally "caught up" to the GCN GPU architecture introduced with the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012.  We traditionally see this happen with new GPU architectures from both vendors but for it to have taken this long is troublesome and will surely cause some raised eyebrows from gamers and the competition. 

We decided to run through the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition with this new 12.11 beta driver to compare it to the 12.9 beta driver we had just completed testing on a few weeks ago.  AMD claims performance advantages for all the GCN cards including the 7700/7800/7900 cards though we only had time to test a single card for our initial article.  The results are on the following pages...

Continue reading our look at the new AMD 12.11 Beta Catalyst Driver!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Various

PhysX Settings Comparison

Borderlands 2 is a hell of a game; we actually ran a 4+ hour live event on launch day to celebrate its release and played it after our podcast that week as well.  When big PC releases occur we usually like to take a look at performance of the game on a few graphics cards as well to see how NVIDIA and AMD cards stack up.  Interestingly, for this title, PhysX technology was brought up again and NVIDIA was widely pushing it as a great example of implementation of the GPU-accelerated physics engine.

What you may find unique in Borderlands 2 is that the game actually allows you to enabled PhysX features at Low, Medium and High settings, with either NVIDIA or AMD Radeon graphics cards installed in your system.  In past titles, like Batman: Arkham City and Mafia II, PhysX was only able to be enabled (or at least at higher settings) if you had an NVIDIA card.  Many gamers that used AMD cards saw this as a slight and we tended to agree.  But since we could enable it with a Radeon card installed, we were curious to see what the results would be.

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Of course, don't expect the PhysX effects to be able to utilize the Radeon GPU for acceleration...

Borderlands 2 PhysX Settings Comparison

The first thing we wanted to learn was just how much difference you would see by moving from Low (the lowest setting, there is no "off") to Medium and then to High.  The effects were identical on both AMD and NVIDIA cards and we made a short video here to demonstrate the changes in settings.

Continue reading our article that compares PhysX settings on AMD and NVIDIA GPUs!!

AMD Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition Revisited

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: radeon, amd, video, pitcairn, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870

There have been quite a few new graphics card releases this year and with the now crowded GPU market, we have gotten many requests to revisit some of the earlier launches to see how they stack up in the latest GPU landscape.  One such card is AMD’s Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, which has seen some dramatic improvements since its initial release in March. 

AMD’s entire lineup of graphics cards based on the Southern Islands architecture were released between the months of January and March of this year, with only a few updates during the summer to combat new releases from NVIDIA.  Though they don’t get as much review time anymore, the Tahiti, Pitcairn and Cape Verde GPUs still have a lot to offer gamers and the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition is a perfect example of that.

Thanks to recent price cuts, the Sapphire Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition and all other Pitcairn GPUs can be found for much less than when they were launched.  With a starting price of $350 in March, some base HD 7870s can be found online for $250 and sometimes less with rebates today making it a great deal for gamers on a budget. 

You can check out all of our graphics card reviews right here to see how the market currently stands but there are really very few bad choices anymore.

Details Leak on AMD's Sea Islands HD 8900 Series Graphics Cards

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2012 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: tenerife, Sea Islands, radeon, GCN, amd, 8970

(Updated to add additional information on the 8900 series rumors – mainly on Radeon 8950.)

Earlier this week, we reported on rumors of two upcoming mid-range AMD 8800 series graphics cards based on the Sea Islands architecture. As mentioned previously, Sea Islands is the successor to the Southern Islands architecture used on the 7000 series. It features an improved Graphics Core Next GPU processor architecture based on TSMC's 28nm process. With that said, the chip will draw less power and be faster on GPGPU workloads thanks to several efficiency tweaks. Graphics cards based on Sea Islands will support DirectX 11, and will be available early next year.

AMD Radeon HD 8970 Tenerife Sea Islands GPU.jpg

While the 8850 and 8870 are based on the Oland GPU, this newly leaked Radeon HD 8970 will use the "Sea Islands" Tenerife GPU. New information seems to suggest that AMD will actually brand it the Venus XTX for 8970 cards and Venus XT/Pro for 8950 cards, though Oland would remain the chip name for 8800 series cards.

Tenerife offers up some impressive (but realistic) specifications, including 2,560 shaders, 160 texture units, 48 ROPs, and a relatively massive 384-bit memory bus. Also impressive is an alleged transistor count of 5.1 billion, which puts it a great deal above the Radeon 7970's 4.31 billion transistors. This rumored Tenerife/Venus XTX GPU (whichever AMD ends up calling it) will have a 250W TDP and will be use in the 8970 flagship graphics card. Venus XT/Pro will scale back the chip a bit by featuring 2,304 shaders, 144 texture units, and 32 ROPs. No word yet on what the TDP will be.

Both the HD 8970 and HD 8950 are said to support 3GB of GDDR5 memory running at 6GHz on a 384-bit bus, which works out such that the cards have approximately 322 GB/s of bandwidth! Further, the 16 additional ROP units in the Radeon HD 8970 will give it a nice performance boost over the 8950 and 8800 series, especially when running multiple monitors in Eyefinity configurations.

As far as specifications go, we do not yet know the die size of the GPU or what the GPU base (and boost) clockspeeds are beyond a source indicating the boost frequency of the 8970 will be above 1050 MHz. According to PC Perspective's GPU packrat reviewer Josh Walrath, the Tenerife GPU will have a much larger die than that of Oland. Because it will feature a sizeable increase in number of transistors, but still be based on a 28nm process, the die size will be somewhere between 380mm^2 and 420mm^2.

To put that in perspective, the 8850/8870 has a die size of 270mm^2, and the current generation predecessor (7950/7970) has a die size of only 365mm^2.

The following chart compares the various rumored Radeon 8000-series graphics cards to their previous generation counterparts.

  Radeon HD 7850 Radeon HD 8850 Radeon HD 7870 Radeon HD 8870 Radeon 7950 Radeon 8950 Radeon HD 7970 Radeon HD 8970
Die Size 212mm^2 270mm^2 212mm^2 270mm^2 365mm^2 ~400mm^2 365mm^2 ~ 400mm^2 
Shader Count 1024 1536 1280 1792 1792 2304 2048 2560
TMUs 64 96 80 112 112 144 128 160
ROPs 32 32 32 32 32 32 32 48
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Bandwidth 153.6 GB/s 192 GB/s 153.6 GB/s 192 GB/s 240 GB/s 322 GB/s 288 GB/s 322 GB/s

*Tenerife die size is estimate only, actual die size is still unknown.

The AMD Radeon HD 8970 will be AMD's next generation single-GPU flagship graphics card, and it looks to offer up some respectable hardware. The Radeon HD 8950 should be a decent step up in performance versus the 7950, though it would have been nice to see the 8970's additional ROP units stick around in the 8950. Unfortunately we do not know what this Tenerife (aka Venus) GPU-based  graphics card will be priced at. For now, we will just have to be cautiously optimistic and wait a few months to see how much this card will cost. The wait should not be very long either, if rumors are true as they seem to indicate that the 8970 will enter manufacturing in late 2012 and launched in early (January/February) 2013.

Are you excited for AMD's next-generation flagship?

Source: WCCF Tech