More Oland leaks, this time with open sauce goodness

Subject: General Tech | February 5, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: Sea Islands, radeon, GCN, amd, 8970, oland, hd 8000, RadeonSI, gallium, mesa

Phoronix has good news for Linux users about the "RadeonSI" Gallium3D driver which AMD has slowly been developing for the HD 7000 series, MESA has announced the driver is being developed for the HD 8000 series.  The project commit is a candidate for MESA 9.1 and the Linux 3.9 kernel which could lead to some issues as most Linux flavours are using 3.8 or earlier but should bode well for the future.  This hopefully signals a greater commitment to OpenCL and other projects AMD has started but not managed to fully develop.  We also have quite a few PCI IDs from the commit statement, 0x6600, 0x6601, 0x6602, 0x6603, 0x6606, 0x6607, 0x6610, 0x6611, 0x6613, 0x6620, 0x6621, 0x6623, and 0x6631 are all listed.

g3d_phor.jpg

"While AMD has yet to officially introduce their Radeon HD 8000 series, published today was the initial open-source Linux graphics driver support for handling the Radeon HD 8800 "Oland" graphics cards."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Phoronix
Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

Another update

In our previous article and video, I introduced you to our upcoming testing methodology for evaluating graphics cards based not only frame rates but on frame smoothness and the efficiency of those frame rates.  I showed off some of the new hardware we are using for this process and detailed how direct capture of graphics card output allows us to find interesting frame and animation anomalies using some Photoshop still frames.

d31.jpg

Today we are taking that a step further and looking at a couple of captured videos that demonstrate a "stutter" and walking you through, frame by frame, how we can detect, visualize and even start to measure them.

dis1.jpg

This video takes a couple of examples of stutter in games, DiRT 3 and Dishonored to be exact, and shows what they look like in real time, at 25% speed and then finally in a much more detailed frame-by-frame analysis.

 

Video Loading...

 

Obviously this is just a couple instances of what a stutter is and there are often times less apparent in-game stutters that are even harder to see in video playback.  Not to worry - this capture method is capable of seeing those issues as well and we plan on diving into the "micro" level as well shortly.

We aren't going to start talking about whose card and what driver is being used yet and I know that there are still a lot of questions to be answered on this topic.  You will be hearing more quite soon from us and I thank you all for your comments, critiques and support.

Let me know below what you thought of this video and any questions that you might have. 

Author:
Manufacturer: PC Perspective

A change is coming in 2013

If the new year will bring us anything, it looks like it might be the end of using "FPS" as the primary measuring tool for graphics performance on PCs.  A long, long time ago we started with simple "time demos" that recorded rendered frames in a game like Quake and then played them back as quickly as possible on a test system.  The lone result was given as time, in seconds, and was then converted to an average frame rate having known the total number of frames recorded to start with.

More recently we saw a transition to frame rates over time and the advent frame time graphs like the ones we have been using in our graphics reviews on PC Perspective. This expanded the amount of data required to get an accurate picture of graphics and gaming performance but it was indeed more accurate, giving us a more clear image of how GPUs (and CPUs and systems for that matter) performed in games.

And even though the idea of frame times have been around just a long, not many people were interested in getting into that detail level until this past year.  A frame time is the amount of time each frame takes to render, usually listed in milliseconds, and could range from 5ms to 50ms depending on performance.  For a reference, 120 FPS equates to an average of 8.3ms, 60 FPS is 16.6ms and 30 FPS is 33.3ms.  But rather than average those out by each second of time, what if you looked at each frame individually?

Video Loading...

Scott over at Tech Report started doing that this past year and found some interesting results.  I encourage all of our readers to follow up on what he has been doing as I think you'll find it incredibly educational and interesting. 

Through emails and tweets many PC Perspective readers have been asking for our take on it, why we weren't testing graphics cards in the same fashion yet, etc.  I've stayed quiet about it simply because we were working on quite a few different angles on our side and I wasn't ready to share results.  I am still not ready to share the glut of our information yet but I am ready to start the discussion and I hope our community find its compelling and offers some feedback.

card.jpg

At the heart of our unique GPU testing method is this card, a high-end dual-link DVI capture card capable of handling 2560x1600 resolutions at 60 Hz.  Essentially this card will act as a monitor to our GPU test bed and allow us to capture the actual display output that reaches the gamer's eyes.  This method is the best possible way to measure frame rates, frame times, stutter, runts, smoothness, and any other graphics-related metrics.

Using that recorded footage, sometimes reaching 400 MB/s of consistent writes at high resolutions, we can then analyze the frames one by one, though with the help of some additional software.  There are a lot of details that I am glossing over including the need for perfectly synced frame rates, having absolutely zero dropped frames in the recording, analyzing, etc, but trust me when I say we have been spending a lot of time on this. 

Continue reading our editorial on Frame Rating: A New Graphics Performance Metric.

Podcast #231 - Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh and more!

Subject: General Tech | December 20, 2012 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: video, virtu, VIA, tegra 4, Samsung, radeon, podcast, nvidia, nvelo, nuc, lucid, Intel, hackintosh, gigabyte, Dataplex, arm, amd, 8000m

PC Perspective Podcast #231 - 12/20/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the Intel NUC, AMD 8000M GPUs, Building a Hackintosh and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano and Chris Barbere

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:13:41

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. 0:01:50 We are going to try Planetside 2 after the podcast!
  2. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:02:50 Intel Next Unit of Computing NUC
    2. 0:17:55 Corsair AX860i Digital ATX Power Supply
    3. 0:19:00 HP Z1 Workstation All in One
    4. 0:25:00 Building a Hackintosh Computer - A Guide
  3. 0:32:35 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  4. News items of interest:
    1. 0:33:30 Cutting the Cord Complete!
    2. 0:36:10 VIA ARM-based SoCs in upcoming ASUS tablet
    3. 0:42:00 Lucid MVP 2.0 will be sold direct
    4. 0:44:50 Samsung acquires NVELO SSD Caching Software
    5. 0:49:00 AMD announces mobility 8000M series of GPUs
    6. 0:54:15 Some NVIDIA Tegra 4 Details
    7. 0:58:55 NEC Unveils Super Thin Ultrabook
    8. 1:00:30 Win a Sapphire HD 7870 GHz Edition FleX!!
  5. Closing:
    1. 1:02:30 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Panasonic GH2 Micro 4/3 Camera
      2. Josh: Preparation is key!
      3. Allyn: Cheap RAM
      4. Chris: Had solar panels installed this week
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

AMD Announces Mobility 8000M Graphics Family with Modified Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards, Mobile | December 17, 2012 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: radeon, mobility, amd, 8800m, 8700m, 8600m, 8500m, 8000m

AMD appears to be jumping the gun a bit here but has decided to announce the Radeon 8000M-series of mobile GPUs prior to CES.  Before you get all riled up about the next generation of graphics technology, you should know that the new parts we are showing here are still built on the same 28nm Graphics Core Now (GCN) architecture that you'll find in the Radeon HD 7000 series of desktop graphics cards and even some already-existing Radeon mobility parts like the HD 7970M.  We were told there are "some changes" but details were minimal.

slide1.jpg

Radeon HD 8500M and 8600M GPUs will both feature 384 stream processors with the variance related to the maximum clock speed.  The 8600M will hit 775 MHz core clock while the 8500M will cap out at 650 MHz.  Memory speeds are identical.  Keep in mind that the desktop Radeon HD 7750 card has 512 stream processors and it runs at up to 900 MHz so you that can put the performance of these mainstream GPUs in perspective.

slide2.jpg

The 8700M uses the same 384 stream processor GPU though it gets a bit higher clock speed at 850 MHz.  The 8800M is the only GPU announced today to increase the core count to 640 stream processors and a clock speed of 700 MHz for a total compute capability of 992 GFLOPs.  Though the specifications are nearly equivalent to the build of the desktop Radeon HD 7770 part it is worth mentioning that the theoretical peak performance of that GPU is 1.28 TFLOPs; nearly 30% higher than the 8800M.

slide3.jpg

AMD was coy but hinted that this mainstream product announcement will be added to later in Q1 with higher end enthusiast-level SKUs.  No 8900s yet guys, check back later.

When asked about the changes in this mobility GPU release compared to the 7000M series already available today, we only know that this is built on the same 28nm process but that the "architecture is slightly different and more efficient" than the 7000 chips.  These are NEW chips and are NOT rebrands of currently available products.  We don't have die sizes, transistor counts or TDPs until further notice.

slide8.jpg

slide9.jpg

AMD did provide a couple of quick graphs comparing the performance of the Radeon HD 8870M against the GeForce 650M G5 and The 8770M against its own previously releaesd 7670M part.  Take all of this with a grain of salt until we can do our own testing, as per usual.

For now, I would say our readers should be very timid about the idea of a new series of GPUs from AMD without more information on the actual changes in performance will be compared to Souther Islands.  Based on what we are hearing the changes are very minor.

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.

AMD_Radeon_RAMDisk_Xtreme_RDx.jpg

"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!

fc3-1.jpeg

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

neversettlematrix.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 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

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 December 4th for some PC gaming fun!!

fc3-2.jpg

fc3-3.jpg

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.

radeon.jpg

"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

H_Devil13.jpg

"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. 

hitman2.jpg

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!!