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

CiiNow Engineering Open Cloud Gaming Platform With AMD Radeon Graphics Hardware

Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2012 - 10:41 AM |
Tagged: virtualization, radeon, onlive, gaming, cloud gaming, ciinow, amd

In the wake of OnLive going bankrupt and selling itself to new investors, a new cloud gaming company has emerged called CiiNOW. The company was founded in 2010 and now has 24 employees. It has managed to raise more than $13 million USD, but with a new investment from new chip designer AMD CiiNow is ready to go public with its software. Interestingly, instead of starting its own cloud gaming service, CiiNow is positioning itself as a Middleware company by selling its virtualization and gaming software to other companies. Those business customers would then use CiiNow’s software to start their own cloud gaming services.

Ciinow website.jpg

In the deal with AMD, CiiNOW will recommend AMD Radeon graphics cards to customers as well as supporting them on its software platform. According to CiiNow, its virtualized platform is able to run on any data center or cloud computing platform’s hardware. While OnLive generally required specialized servers where the graphics card was dedicated to providing games to one (or a small number of) user(s), CiiNow claims to be able to provide up to eight 720p HD streams per server blade, and up to 272 HD streams per traditional server rack. On the user side of things, CiiNow has stated that gamers would need at least a Mbps internet connection in order to play the streamed games effectively. Company CEO Ron Haberman was quoted by Venture Beat in stating the following:

“One of the big issues with cloud gaming is that no one likes to talk about costs, we are more economical because we virtualize any hardware that fits underneath our software.”

Ciinow_how it works.jpg

While the company has not gone into details about how the virtualization software works on off-the-shelf servers, they claim that it is an extremely scalable solution that can support rapidly growing numbers of end users without dramatically increasing hardware costs. It's impossible to say how well cloud gaming services based on this technology will work without more details or a hands on, but it is nice to see someone else take up the mantle from OnLive – especially with competitor Gaikai being bought out by Sony. CiiNow wants its technology to be used to deliver AAA titles to gamers over the Internet, so I'm interested in how they are going to pull that off using varying hardware with CiiNow's software layer running on top (specifically, the performance they will be able to get out of the hardware and how it will be sliced up between clients/gamers).

The company has said that games will not need to be ported to the virtualized software to work, only a DRM free copy from the publisher needs to be provided to load it onto the platform. Further, the cloud gaming provider using CiiNow's software will be able to support game pads and other controllers to interact with the streamed games. CiiNow does not list specific latency numbers on its site, but claims that it is using a low latency H.264 video stream to send the gameplay down to users. It remains to be seen whether or not it will be able to match or exceed NVIDIA's GRID technology in that respect, however.

There are still a lot of questions about how CiiNOW's software will work, and whether it will advance cloud gaming in general. Fortunately, you should be able to get some answers soon as the company's software is now available to the public, and we should start to see some new cloud gaming providers popping up based on the virtualization technology. Reportedly, the company has completed several trial runs in Europe and has potential customers in the US, Korea, and Australia. CiiNow claims that it could take around two months from when a customer orders equipment before its cloud gaming service can go live, so the first fruits of CiiNow's labor might emerge by the end of this year.

There is a preview of a cloud gaming service up on CiiNOW's website, but no partners with plans to launch gaming services have been publicly announced yet. 

In the video below, CiiNOW CEO Ron Haberman introduces the company's new cloud gaming platform.

Continue reading for my speculation and brief thoughts on cloud gaming. Feel free to join the comment discussion (no registration required).

Source: Venture Beat

AMD is slashing graphics prices, the war is on!

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 22, 2012 - 06:31 PM |
Tagged: radeon, price cuts, amd

While this move could hurt AMD's bottom line, there is only good news for gamers looking to upgrade their system with a new (or another) GPU from AMD.  With the release of NVIDIA's GTX 660 Ti at a price close to that of the HD 7870 and performance closer to an HD 7950, AMD has once again cut the pricing of their cards.  The price cuts should kick in by the end of the week, so hold off purchasing those cards for another week to benefit from the new pricing and to give NVIDIA a chance to respond as well.

AMD Radeon update.png

You've gotta love it when graphics hardware pricing starts trending away from the $500 mark!

****Update****

There are two HD7950 available on NewEgg for $320, though if you include MIR this XFX model is the least expensive while most others are sitting at $330 after MIR.  The 7870 GHz editions are starting to move towards the $230 mark which is better than promised and seem to have pushed the HD7850 out of the picture at $210 as that extra $20 gets you a lot more performance.

Be sure to check out our reviews on these recent graphics cards to find out which fit your specific needs!

Source: AMD

Graphics Card (GPU) Stock Check - July 17th, 2012

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: stock check, radeon, nvidia, HD 7970, hd 7950, hd 7870, hd 7850, hd 7770, hd 7750, GTX 690, gtx 680, gtx 670, geforce, amd

Due to popular request, I am going to try to keep our readers up to date on the current availability of graphics cards and pricing on the market.  With the recent price drops from AMD, the frequent out-of-stock status of the GTX 680 cards and the release of the GTX 670, I thought this would be a great summary of the current situation.

7970ge.jpg

AMD's Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB

We will try to post new updates weekly or maybe more frequently as we see fit.  Newegg is our partner of choice for this today, so let's see what we have.

AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series

Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition 3GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $499

Radeon HD 7970 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $429

Radeon HD 7950 3GB - In Stock
Starting at $349

Radeon HD 7870 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $299

Radeon HD 7850 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $239

Radeon HD 7770 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $124

Radeon HD 7750 1GB - In Stock
Starting at $109

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 600 Series

GeForce GTX 690 4GB - Out of Stock
Starting at $999

GeForce GTX 680 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $499

GeForce GTX 670 2GB - In Stock
Starting at $399

In a stunning change of fate, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 has been steadily in stock for the last few weeks but the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition that we reviewed on June 24th has yet to show its face.  Yes, you can find HD 7970 cards running at 1000 MHz core clock speeds (and higher) though they don't have the 6.0 Gbps memory speeds nor the "PowerTune with Boost" technology that really set the new version of the GPU apart. 

When asked, AMD told us to expect Sapphire and XFX models in stock early next week - so we'll definitely keep an eye on the online retailers for that. 

The only other changes are some more price drops on the AMD side.  You can now get a standard HD 7970 for $80 less than the GeForce GTX 680 and the Radeon HD 7950 for $50 less than the GTX 670.  AMD knows that with NVIDIA's great branding and marketing they needed to make a case for their GPUs over the competition and these types of price cuts really give gamers two great options for their gaming dollar.

We are still waiting on NVIDIA's answer for sub-$399 GPUs based on Kepler - hopefully we won't be waiting long.

If you are looking for our latest graphics reviews to judge the performance of the above cards, here you go:

Sapphire Launches 6GB TOXIC 7970 Graphics Card

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 17, 2012 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: toxic edition, sapphire, radeon, overclocked GPU, gpu, 7970 ghz edition

GPU add-in-board partner Sapphire Technology has launched a new factory overclocked graphics card based on the AMD 7970 GHz Edition GPU (which we did a live video review of recently). That particular chip is built on the 28nm Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and brings several improvements over the initial (non GHz Edition) 7970 GPU. The main difference between the two is that the GHz variant is a higher binned part that also features a new GPU boost technology similar to NVIDIA’s dynamic overclocking function.  The new Sapphire Toxic card takes that chip and pushes it to the max with two levels of factory overclocked settings.

11197-04_HD 7970_TOXIC_6GBGDDR5_2miniDP_HDMI_2DVI_PCIE_FBC_634780592147333159_600_600.jpg

Packing the company’s custom dual 90mm fan and heatpipe-equipped Vapor-X cooler, the HD 7970 TOXIC Edition features 6GB of GDDR5 memory, 2,048 stream processors, and a 7970 GHz Edition GPU. Out of the box, the card has a base GPU clockspeed of 1050 MHz and a boost speed of 1100 MHz. On the memory side of things, it runs the GDDR5 at 6,000 MHz (effective). When you press a button – which the company calls the Lethal Boost Button – the base clockspeed becomes 1100 MHz and the boost speed becomes 1200 MHz. The Lethal Boost also overclocks the memory to 6400 MHz (effective).

11197-04_HD 7970_TOXIC_6GBGDDR5_2miniDP_HDMI_2DVI_PCIE_C03_634780592016604321_600_600.jpg

The card also includes a 12 layer black PCB with a new eight phase power design package for the GPU and an additional power phase for the VDDCI and MVDD along with other high-end goodies to deliver the stable voltage necessary for the high factory overclocks. Rear IO on the graphics card includes two DVI ports – one dual link and one single link – one mini-DisplayPort, and one full-sized HDMI port. In all, it is a dual slot card and measures 275mm in length, and 115mm wide. You will be able to purchase the Toxic edition card for $680. It looks like a really good card, but it’s not cheap.

Source: Sapphire

New HD7970 GHz Editions and new pricing for all models

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 13, 2012 - 02:59 PM |
Tagged: tahiti, radeon, hd7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, hd 7870 ghz edition, hd 7870, amd

AMD today announced that the HD7970 GHz Edition will be available on July 16th for a MSRP of $500.  As well there will be a 7870 GHz Edition as well, retailing for around $300 which is a rather nice price point for a premium model of the 7870.  As far as changes to existing models, the Radeon HD 7970 will be available for $429 and the HD 7950 will be available for $349.  While these prices may disappoint early adopters, perhaps the fact that a CrossFire setup has become more affordable will give some comfort.

image001.png

These new prices will come in conjunction with AMD's "Three-for-Free promotion" which will allow you to choose three DX11 games to acquire for free along with your purchase of a Tahiti based Radeon GPU.  For those on a lower budget, the 7870 GHz Edition will net you a free copy of DiRT Showdown.

Source: AMD

Gigabyte Releases Lower Clocked Revision of R7770 OC GPU

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 3, 2012 - 08:36 PM |
Tagged: radeon, hd 7770, graphics cards, gpu, clock speed, amd

Gigabyte has had an overclocked version of the Radeon HD 7770 graphics card for a couple months now, but the company is already readying a second revision of the card. Curiously, the new revision will maintain the same hardware but will run at slightly lower clock speeds. While the current revision (1.0) runs at 1100 MHz and 5000 MHz for the GPU core and memory respectively, the updated graphics card will run at 1050 MHz and 4500 MHz.

5596_big.jpg

Beyond the lower clock speeds, the new revision of the GV-R7770 OC card maintains the same PCB, chips, and cooler design. That hardware includes a 28nm GPU, 1GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit interface, and a PCI-E 3.0 expansion slot. Display outputs include a DVI port, full-size HDMI port, and two mini DisplayPorts. It also maintains the same custom Gigabyte heatsink and fan.

According to Videocardz, users will be able to identify which revision they are getting before handing over any money by looking at the box. Alternatively, users can identify which revision it is by looking at the sticker on the underside of the card just above the PCI-E connector. As a new revision, especially with the release of higher-binning chips from AMD, it is a bit confusing that the card is being released with lower clock speeds than its predecessor. It may be that the higher factory overclock was not stable on enough cards and Gigabyte was having to deal with too many returns – that’s only a guess though.

All the same, if you are shopping for a 7770 graphics card and have been considering the Gigabyte model, be sure to double check which revision you are getting.

Source: Videocardz

Live Review Recap: AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 11:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, HD 7970, hd 7970 ghz edition, 7970, 7970 ghz edition, video, live review

A PC Perspective Live Review Recap is a recorded version of a previously live streamed event from http://pcper.com/live.  If you couldn't make the original air time, or simply want to re-watch, the on-demand version is provided below!

On the day of the release of AMD's latest flagship graphics card, the Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition, Evan Groenke (Desktop Graphics Product Manager) stopped by the PC Perspective offices to sit with us and talk about the new GPU.  In the live event we went over the company's stance and mindset with the release, the new boost capability that the card integrates, performance from our review and even some questions and answers with some giveaways.

I really want to thank AMD and Evan for stopping by and chatting with us and our readers.  Be sure you keep checking back at http://pcper.com/live for more live events you can be a part of!

AMD introduces GPU Boost with the new HD 7970 GHz Edition

Subject: Graphics Cards | June 22, 2012 - 03:22 PM |
Tagged: tahiti 2, tahiti, radeon, amd, 7970 ghz edition, 7970

If you hurry you can catch Ryan doing a live review of the new Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition, otherwise you can always catch the article here.

Of course, we were not the only ones to review the card that represents AMD's attempt to win back the single GPU performance crown from NVIDIA.  [H]ard|OCP also examined the updated HD7970, which should be available fairly soon for a price of $500.  The GHz Edition is slightly faster than the original, with a 1000MHz base clock and 1050MHz Boost Clock, and an effective memory speed of 6GHz, though the power consumption should not change much.  It did start pulling a bit more power once [H] had overclocked it to 1180MHz and 6.4GHz for the memory, but even with AMD's GPU Boost it looks like NVIDIA still reigns ... though with less of a lead than before.

H_GHz.jpg

"We have been documenting AMD's struggle to compete with the NVIDIA Kepler generation since it was introduced. Today AMD attempts to strike back with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition. This video card features higher operating speeds and introduces AMD's version of GPU Boost. Will the performance justify a price of $499?"

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

Graphics Cards

 

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

A new SKU for a new battle

On launch day we hosted AMD's Evan Groenke for an in-studio live interview and discussion of about the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.  For the on-demand version of that event, check it out right here.  Enjoy!

AMD has had a good run in the discrete graphics market for quite some time. With the Radeon HD 5000 series, the company was able to take a commanding mindshare (if not marketshare) lead from NVIDIA. While that diminished some with the HD 6000 series going up against NVIDIA's GTX 500 family, the release of the HD 7970 and HD 7950 just before the end of 2011 stepped it up again. AMD was the first to market with a 28nm GPU, the first to support DX11.1, the first with a 3GB frame buffer and the new products were simply much faster than what NVIDIA had at the time. 

AMD enjoyed that crowned location on the GPU front all the way until the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 launched in March. In a display of technology that most reviewers never thought possible, NVIDIA had a product that was faster, more power efficient and matched or exceeded just about every feature of the AMD Radeon HD 7000 cards. Availability problems plagued NVIDIA for several months (and we just now seeing the end of the shortage) and even caused us to do nearly-weekly "stock checks" to update readers. Prices on the HD 7900 cards have slowly crept down to find a place where they are relevant in the market, but AMD appears to not really want to take a back seat to NVIDIA again.

amd01.jpg

While visiting with AMD in Seattle for the Fusion Developer Summit a couple of weeks ago, we were briefed on a new secret: Tahiti 2, or Tahiti XT2 internally. An updated Radeon HD 7970 GPU that was going to be shipping soon with higher clock speeds and a new "boost" technology in order to combat the GTX 680. Even better, this card was going to have a $499 price tag.

Continue reading our review of AMD Radeon HD 7970 3GB GHz Edition graphics card!!