Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) will NOT utilize AMD hUMA with Kabini-based SoC

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | August 22, 2013 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: sony, ps4, playstation 4, Kabini, hUMA, amd

UPDATE: I have added new info at the bottom of this post with more commentary from AMD (kind of).

You might have seen some reports in the last couple of days claiming that the upcoming Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) will have a big advantage over the Xbox One thanks to its unique ability to support AMD's hUMA memory architecture.  hUMA, heterogeneous unified memory architecture, is an exciting new memory technology that AMD has built into upcoming APUs.

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Josh published a story on hUMA that sums it as so:

The idea behind hUMA is quite simple; the CPU and GPU share memory resources, they are able to use pointers to access data that has been processed by either one or the other, and the GPU can take page faults and not rely only on page locked memory.  Memory in this case is bi-directionally coherent, so coherency issues with data in caches which are later written to main memory will not cause excessive waits for either the CPU or GPU to utilize data that has been changed in cache, but not yet written to main memory.

ps4-hrdware-large18.jpg

There's just one problem with these various reports (VR-Zone, ExtremeTech): they're incorrect.  After sending some emails to our representatives at AMD I was told that "Kabini doesn't support hUMA" which is the APU that both the PS4 and Xbox One processors are based on.  AMD further clarified with us:

Our spokesperson made inaccurate statements about our semi-custom APU architectures and does not speak for Microsoft, Sony or the AMD semi-custom business unit responsible for co-developing the next generation console APUs.

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So while the PS4 will still be a faster system thanks to its higher SIMD processor (GPU core) count, there is no support for a true heterogeneous unified memory architecture in either upcoming console platform.

NOTE: I have had several people point out that it's possible Sony and Microsoft worked on their own custom memory architectures that will perform similar functionally to hUMA.  That is entirely possible but means that official hUMA support isn't on the SoCs.

UPDATE: AMD contacted me again to make another comment.  Essentially, they said that the correction statement to the original statement claiming hUMA was part PS4 was "inaccurrate" but that this correction does NOT mean the opposite claim is true.  Even when pressed for a more specific and debate-ending comment, AMD wouldn't give us any more information. 

So does the PS4 have support for some type of heterogeneous unified memory?  Maybe.  And the Xbox One?  Maybe.  At this point, I'd stop listening to anything AMD has to say on the subject as they are likely to recant it shortly thereafter.  Many readers have emailed me with their thoughts and I personally feel that its more likely the original statement from AMD (that the PS4 will have the edge with a hUMA design) will turn out to be the truth in the long run...

GeForce 326.80 (Beta) Drivers Now Available

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 20, 2013 - 12:24 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, geforce 326.80

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The new GeForce 326.80 beta driver is now available to download. An essential update for gamers sneaking into Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist, today’s driver ensures maximum performance and system compatibility in the brand new stealth title, which is jam-packed with PC-exclusive features and technology, including NVIDIA HBAO+ Ambient Occlusion, NVIDIA TXAA Temporal Anti-Aliasing, out-of-the-box NVIDIA SLI support, and much much more. For a full rundown, head on back to GeForce.com tomorrow when we’ll detail all of Blacklist’s impressive tech.

New in GeForce R326 Drivers Performance Boost

  • Increases performance by up to 19% for GeForce 400/500/600/700 series GPUs in several PC games vs. GeForce 320.49 WHQL-certified drivers. Results will vary depending on your GPU and system configuration.
  • Here is an example of measured gains:
    • GeForce GTX 770:
      • Up to 15% in Dirt: Showdown
      • Up to 6% in Tomb Raider
    • GeForce GTX 770 SLI: ·
      • Up to 19% in Dirt: Showdown
      • Up to 11% in F1 2012
  • 4K Displays · Adds support for additional tiled 4K displays Extended support for tiled 4K features

Source: NVIDIA

How are Add-In GPUs Selling Anyway?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 19, 2013 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: jpr, Matrox, s3, amd, nvidia

Well, according to John Peddie Research (JPR), not too good if you are Matrox or S3. The total market for add-in boards decreased 5.4% from last quarter. 14.0 million were shipped across the entire industry. Neither company accounted for a thousandth of that value leaving them with a maximum 7000 units shipped, best case scenario. This industry is, basically, a two horse race.

GPU suppliers, market share
  This Quarter Prev. Quarter Last Year
AMD 38.0% 35.7% 40.3%
Matrox 0.0% 0.0% 0.3%
NVIDIA 62.0% 64.3% 59.3%
S3 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Two horses unless you count the Intel Xeon Phi. While technically not a graphics processor despite hardware design, 48,000 of these coprocessors were sold, already, for the Tianhe-2 supercomputer. This is at least seven-fold more than an entire quarter for Matrox. Unfortunately JPR does not report on Intel add-in cards despite its overlap with the GPU add-in market. These numbers could get even more interesting as years progress.

As for the two big players, AMD and NVIDIA, both hold very dominant positions. Almost spiting the 750,000 unit industry decline, AMD experienced a total increase of 0.8% quarter-over-quarter. Their market share gained 2.3% as a result of this growth. NVIDIA experienced a total decrease of 8.9%.

In all, AMD has been doing better than the industry average. They are fighting the slight decline in the graphics industry while simultaneously helping GPUs hold off against larger declines in PC systems.

Source: JPR

AMD Gains GPU Market Share From Last Quarter

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | August 16, 2013 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, APU, amd

Despite a slight decline in PC sales compared to last quarter, graphics processors are on the rise. Jon Peddie Research attributes the heightened interest in graphics, with a decline in systems, to a trend towards multiple GPUs in a system. Crossfire and SLI, according to the report, are not driving this drift but they are relevant. More importantly, consumers are adding discrete graphics to systems with integrated solutions.

amd-new2.png

AMD has experienced an increase in shipments of 47% for laptop APUs. Desktop heterogeneous processors declined but, in all, shipments increased 11%. Intel, likewise, saw an increase albeit just 6%. NVIDIA declined 8%. AMD now enjoys a 5.8% lead in total market share over NVIDIA.

Many PCs have access to multiple graphics processors simultaneously. With an increase of available GPUs, software developers might take the plunge into fully supporting heterogeneous architectures. You could imagine a game which offloads physics or AI pathfinding to secondary graphics. Sure, the increased heat would slightly limit the turbo-performance of the CPU, but the increased parallel performance should overtake that decreased serial performance for a sensible developer.

JPR claims an average of nearly 1.4 GPUs available per system.

The increased laptop heterogeneous processors is a major win for AMD. Still, I wonder how much Never Settle played in to users dropping discrete graphics into machines which would otherwise have integrated (chipset or processor) graphics. The discrete graphics market has declined and yet somehow AMD got a boost from double-attach or replaced graphics.

The report only discusses consumer x86 tablets, desktops, laptops, and some hybrid between the previous three categories. Other processor architectures or x86 servers are not covered.

Source: JPR

Does GALAXY’s new GTX 780 belong in The Hall of Fame?

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 15, 2013 - 07:04 PM |
Tagged: galaxy, gtx 780, hall of fame edition, factory overclocked

The GALAXY GTX 780 Hall of Fame Edition is more than just a pretty white PCB, the GPU runs at a Boost Clock of 1.1GHz which is a full 200MHz above stock out of the box, after tweaking [H]ard|OCP managed to get it to 1376MHz but backed off to an even 1.3GHz to enable the RAM to run at 6.3GHz.  When testing at that maximum speed this card could gp head to head with the mighty TITAN and provide the same quality of game play, a rather impressive performance for a less expensive card.  That showing as well as the overall design of the card and unique look helped net the GTX 780 HOF a Gold Award!

H_HOF.jpg

"If you are interested at all in the fastest GeForce GTX 780 video card we’ve seen out-of-the-box yet, then take a look at GALAXY’s GeForce GTX 780 Hall of Fame Edition. You’ll also find the highest overclock ever achieved on a GTX 780 waiting for you with this video card. You don’t want to miss this."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Win 1 of 5 EVGA Pro SLI Bridges!!

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 14, 2013 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: sweepstakes, sli, nvidia, giveaway, evga, contest

UPDATE: Winners have been selected and contacted - if you weren't one of the five winners check back for more contests and giveaways!!  Thanks for listening!!

While at Quakecon this year EVGA showed off its new collection of Pro SLI Bridges that add a bit of sexy to any NVIDIA multi-GPU system.  These are much more than just the standard SLI bridge that you know of today: they are sleek, have a brushed metal finish and if you have GTX 700-series or TITAN graphics card, they light up as well!

evga1.jpg

Because EVGA is a big supporter of PC Perpsective, they are sending over a handful of the 3-Way Pro SLI Bridges (that can also be used in 2-Way configurations) to give away to our readers. 

How can you win one of the five free units that EVGA sent us?

  1. Fill out the form below with the requested information. 
  2. Listen to this week's (Episode #264) PC Perspective Podcast (live or after the fact) and I'll give you the code word to include in the form below.
    1. You can download or watch the podcast right here: http://pcper.com/podcast

That's it!!  You can win anywhere in the world and our winners will be randomly picked from the submissions we receive no later than the 20th of August at 6pm ET.

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A big thanks goes to EVGA for providing these units!!

Source: EVGA

AMD Launches Never Settle Forever: Choose Your Own Game Bundles

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 14, 2013 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: radeon, never settle forever, never settle, amd

It should come as no surprise to our readers that we at PC Perspective have been big fans of what AMD has been doing with game bundles over the last year.  With the start of the Never Settle campaign in October of 2012, AMD began down a path to help sell Radeon cards with amazing game bundles and pack ins that NVIDIA and its GeForce brand still have yet to match.  It was an amazing move for a company that really wanted to drive sales and gain market share in the discrete graphics space.

Fast forward to today, past the Never Settle Reloaded and Never Settle Level Up campaigns and AMD has another offer for gamers looking to upgrade their GPU: Never Settle Forever.  The crux of this new campaign is choice.  AMD is allowing gamers to select the free game or games they get out of a curated list rather than having AMD select them for you.

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Depending on the card you buy and the tier it falls in, you'll be able to select 1, 2 or 3 games from a list.  There are a few catches though that we need to discuss.  First, the game list for each tier is NOT the same.

nsf3.jpg

For example, Tomb Raider is only avaiable in the top tier.  The currect tier sets work out as follows:

  • Gold Tier (3 games): HD 7950 and HD 7970
  • Silver Tier (2 games): HD 7800 series
  • Bronze Tier (1 game): HD 7770 and HD 7790

The Radeon HD 7990 is not included on these tiers but it will continue with the "8 free games" bundle for the life of the card we were told.

When you buy a card from a participating retailer you'll get a code that you can then take to AMD's Radeon Rewards website and redemption portal.  You enter your reward code, register yourself and then you get to browse the games in the available packages.  Here are some of the interesting notes:

  1. Once you register your code, you have until December 31st, 2013 to perform your transaction.
  2. You can only perform a SINGLE transaction meaning you must use all of your game choices at one time.  You CANNOT select one game now and another game later.
  3. Other games can be added or removed at any time in the Never Settle Forever bundle so once something leaves you cannot get that game anymore.
  4. There are no promises on what other games may or may not be added to the program between now and the end of the year.

Not being able to split up your selections is a hard pill to swallow as you means you cannot pick up Tomb Raider today and then plan on getting another title next month; if Tomb Raider is gone when a new game is added you will not have access to it.  There is likely no techical reason for this restriction other than publisher and business agreements in place with AMD.

It is a letdown that AMD has not included any new games with this bundle refresh.  All 9 of the available titles in the Gold tier have been bundled with AMD cards before.  Even worse, arguably the two best titles from the previous campaign are missing: Bioshock Infinite and Crysis 3.  We do expect other games to be added but AMD would only allude that "new retail games will be added on several occasions" before the end of the year.  Does that mean Battlefield 4, Thief or watch_dogs?  While I can't say for certain I think it is pretty likely.

So where does that leave us with the new Never Settle Forever bundle today?  It's kind of a mixed bag as it stands with the games avaiable in the tiers today getting long in the tooth.  Of the 9 games available in Gold only DMC, Tomb Raider and Blood Dragon were released this year.  Dues Ex and Dirt 3 were released in 2011 and the rest were sometime in that magical year of 2012.  And of those 9 games only two of them are currently for sale for the $49 value (DMC and Tomb Raider) that AMD places on a single game title.  Others can be found for $39 (Far Cry 3), $24 (Hitman) or $14 (Blood Dragon). 

nsf1.jpg

AMD is still the leader in the bundle and add-on battle for discrete graphics cards but this particular launch is a bit less astounding than the previous ones have been.  The upside though is that AMD can now very easily add other games to the mix without having to re-launch the entire program which was obviously the point of this revamp.  So while Never Settle Forever doesn't have me as excited as the original campaign, I have a feeling 2013 holds some very good things for it!

Source: AMD

Galaxy GeForce GTX 780 HOF Hall of Fame brings back the white PCB

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 8, 2013 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: galaxy, gtx 780, gk110, hall of fame

I remember the first time I saw a white PCB - it was on a Soyo motherboard built on a chipset that very few people reading this post today will remember.  Our friends at Galaxy just sent over word that its new GeForce GTX 780 3GB HOF (Hall of Fame) Edition card was now shipping and available at Amazon.com and TigerDirect.com sporting a fantastic looking white PCB!

hof1.jpg

As you probably know the GeForce GTX 780 is based on the same GK110 GPU as the GTX TITAN with fewer CUDA cores enabled and with a 3GB frame buffer it is definitely a step above other single-GPU offerings available (except the TITAN obviously).  Even better, the HOF Edition from Galaxy is overclocked to a base clock of 1006 MHz compared to the reference speed of 863 MHz!!  Galaxy claims this is the highest clocked air-cooled GTX 780 in the world!

hof2.jpg

You can learn more about the Galaxy GTX 780 HOF Edition over at its website or by heading over to Amazon.com and TigerDirect.com.

Source: Galaxy

AMD Drops Radeon HD 7990 to $699 with 8 Free Games

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 7, 2013 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hd 7990, never settle, never settle reloaded

An interesting bit of information just came to PC Perspective this morning and it revolves around the price of the AMD Radeon HD 7990.  If the title didn't tip you off, we have found that Newegg.com is listing various HD 7990 dual-Tahiti graphics cards for $699!!

7990price.png

When the card launched in April, it had a retail price of $999 and since then had come down to the ~$880 range.  Today though, AMD has definitely made an aggressive move against NVIDIA by lowering the price of its flagship product a full $300.

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Not only that, but the Radeon HD 7990 6GB dual-GPU card will still include 8 free PC games, while supplies last.  As part of the Never Settle series of bundles, the HD 7990 includes Crysis 3, Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider, Far Cry 3, Blood Dragon, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs and Deus Ex.  If you don't own all or some of those titles, that makes the HD 7990 price drop even MORE appealing.

The Radeon HD 7990 hasn't been a card to avoid controversy.  Our initial review of the card showed that CrossFire scaling was resulting in very poor perceived performance and our Frame Rating system was able to detail how and why very precisely.  But on August 1st, AMD released a new Catalyst 13.8 driver that introduced a frame pacing fix for the problem for single monitor (non 4K) users. 

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I would highly encourage any user thinking about buying the Radeon HD 7990 to read over my Catalyst 13.8 updated article to see if the hardware makes sense for you.  With a $699 price tag, compared to the $999 of the GeForce GTX 690 or GTX TITAN from NVIDIA, the product is spectacularly interesting as long as you don't use multi-display Eyefinity or one of the new 4K dual-head displays like the ASUS PQ321Q

For gamers that are using a single panel though, hopefully at 2560x1440 or 2560x1600, this price drop might turn things around.  Check out those new $699 prices at Newegg!

Source: Newegg

So you want a second opinion on Frame Pacing, eh?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 2, 2013 - 12:44 PM |
Tagged: video, stutter, radeon, nvidia, hd 7990, frame rating, frame pacing, amd

Scott Wasson from The Tech Report and Ryan have been discussing the microstuttering present in Crossfire and while Ryan got his hands on the hardware to capture the raw output first, The Tech Report have been investigating this issue as in depth as Ryan and Ken have been.  Their look at the new Catalyst and the effects of Frame Pacing show the same results as you saw yesterday in Ryan's article; for essentially no cost in performance you can get a much smoother experience when using a CrossFire system on a single display.  In their article they have done a great job of splicing together videos of runthroughs of several games with the Frame Pacing disabled on one side and enabled on the other, allowing you to see with your own eyes the difference in game play, without having to have your own Crossfire system.

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"Can a driver fix what ails the Radeon HD 7990? Will the new Catalysts magically transform this baby into the fastest graphics card on the planet? We go inside the second to find out."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

New NVIDIA 326.41 Beta Graphics Drivers Add Shield PC Game Streaming Support

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 2, 2013 - 02:50 AM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, nvidia, shield, pc game streaming, gaming, geforce

NVIDIA recently released a new set of beta GeForce graphics card drivers targetted at the 400, 500, 600, and 700 series GPUs. The new version 326.41 beta drivers feature the same performance tweaks as the previous 326.19 drivers while baking in beta support for PC game streaming to NVIDIA’s Shield gaming portable from a compatible GeForce graphics card (GTX 650 or better). The new beta release is also the suggested version to use for those running the Windows 8.1 Preview.

NVIDIA has included the same performance tweaks as version 326.19. The tweaks offer up to 19% performance increases, depending on the particular GPU setup. For example, users running a GTX 770 will see as much as 15% better performance in Dirt: Showdown and 6% in Tomb Raider. Performance improvements are even higher for GTX 770 SLI setups, with boosts in Dirt: Showdown and F1 2012 of 19% and 11% respectively. NVIDIA has also added SLI profiles for Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Batman: Arkham Origins.

The NVIDIA Shield launched recently and reviews are making the rounds around the Internet. One of the exciting features of the Shield gaming handheld is the ability to stream PC games from a PC with NVIDIA graphics card to the Shield over Wi-Fi.

The 326.41 drivers improve performance across several games on the GTX 770.

The other major changes are improvements to tiled 4K displays, which are displays with 4K resolutions that are essentially made of two separate displays, and the monitor even shows up to the OS as two separate displays despite being in a single physical monitor. Using DisplayPort MST and tiled displays allows monitor manufacturers to deliver 4K displays with higher refresh rates.

Interested GeForce users can grab the latest beta drivers from the NVIDIA website or via the links below:

Source: Tech Spot

Overclocked and custom cooled, check out ASUS' custom GTX 650 Ti card

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2013 - 04:58 PM |
Tagged: asus, gtx 650 ti boost, DirectCU II, factory overclocked

The sub-$200 GPU market is getting crowded which is great for enthusiasts without pockets deep enough to drop $400+ on a GPU as they can upgrade a card now and consider getting a second card some time down the road.  At $175 ($165 after MIR) the ASUS GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost DirectCU II OC 2GB is fully customized with a boost clock of 1085MHz though a stock 6GHz effective on the RAM.  Thanks to the impressive design and cooling of the card [H]ard|OCP pushed those up to 1150MHz and 6.2GHz on the RAM which pushed its performance even further passed the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition that it tested against. 

h_650ti.jpg

"Today on the test bench for your reading pleasure, we have the ASUS GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost DirectCU II OC 2GB that comes in at the $175 mark. We will compare it to the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition 2GB to determine which factory overclocked card can run circles around the other."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta is now available

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 1, 2013 - 02:54 PM |
Tagged: frame pacing, Catalyst 13.8 Beta, catalyst, beta, amd

Yes, you too can now benefit from the Frame Pacing which Ryan has been testing and posted the results to.  For anyone with a multi-GPU system using Radeon cards this is an update worth installing as you will see a significant benefit to your gaming experience, along with the other benefits that the new Catalyst offers.

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Highlights of the Windows AMD Catalyst™ 13.8 Beta release:

  • Support for CrossFire Frame Pacing
    • Frame Pacing ensures that frames rendered across multiple GPUs in a CrossFire configuration will be displayed at an even and regular pace
    • Enabled through the AMD Catalyst Control Center; Globally or on a per application basis
    • Supported for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications and resolutions up and including 2560x1600 (single display)
  • OpenGL 4.3 support – full support for the OpenGL 4.3 feature set
  • Performance improvements found in AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta:
    • Metro Last Light – Improves performance up to 7% on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
  • OpenGL support for User Profiles and Catalyst Application Profiles:
    • Users can now create per application 3D setting profiles for OpenGL applications
    • OpenGL applications are now supported through Catalyst Application Profile updates (for single GPU and AMD CrossFire configurations)
  • AMD Enduro Technology enhancement – The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU

Windows Catalyst Package:  http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-8WINBetaDriver....


Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst 13.8 Beta release:
This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new features:

  • OpenGL 4.3 – full support for the OpenGL 4.3 feature set
  • SLED11 SP3 support
  • PowerXpress A+I support with Intel Haswell on SLED11 SP3
  • Dynamic primary surface resizing
  • Kernel 3.10 support

Resolved Issue highlights:

  • Enduro Technology on AMD + AMD Ubuntu platforms
  • Source Engine games hang when running on the High Performance ASIC
  • Maya 2011-2013 – Various visual corruptions issues have been resolved
  • Maya 2011-2013 – Mesh/Polygons selection performance has been improved
  • Unigine Heaven – Intermittent Crashes have been resolved
  • Unigine Heaven – Performance has been improved up to 11% on single GPU configurations
  • Left 4 Dead 2 – Visual corruption issues have been resolved
  • Visual artifacts are no longer seen with XvBA playback and CABAC=No

“Testing use Only” watermark has been removed.

Linux Catalyst Package: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-8LINBetaDriver....

Source: AMD

Extreme Windows, Extreme Eyefinity, 11,520 x 2160 Gaming

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Displays | July 25, 2013 - 07:32 PM |
Tagged: eyefinity, crossfire, 4k

Sharp recently sampled a few of their 32" 4K monitors to Microsoft's Extreme Windows. The blog, known for editorializing what enthusiasts can do with Microsoft products, combined three 3840 x 2160 monitors into a 3x1 Eyefinity configuration at 60 Hz; the screen, itself, measures about 7 feet diagonally. This configuration, unlike the already-supported three-display 30 Hz and single-display 60Hz 4K modes, required AMD to develop a customized driver before Sharp's repo-team reclaimed their $15,000 worth of monitors.

They had a day until their door was to be knocked.

4k-eyefinity-01.jpg

The system, three Radeon HD 7970s in Crossfire, successfully drove... they were playing Dirt 3, by the way... the three monitors at 60 Hz with between 62 and 70, of software recorded, FPS. 11,520 x 2160, at 60 Hz, requires 1.5 billion colors to be calculated within a second of animation; that is 1.5 gigapixels. Ignore, for a moment, stutter caused by including Crossfire with an Eyefinity setup. Every calculation, whether properly drawn to the monitor or not is, and must be, performed; 1.5 gigapixels is impressive and an accomplishment for Radeon hardware.

4k-eyefinity-02.jpg

Lastly, I need to call out drama as I see it: power supplies. It is not hard to find a PSU which can support a three-GPU system and no reason for it to be hanging outside the case. It might give off the bleeding-edge appearance, but this is not arc welding. If they really were concerned, they could have picked up a higher capacity device from the shelf of a local component reseller.

Unreal Engine 4 on Mobile Kepler at SIGGRAPH

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | July 24, 2013 - 05:15 PM |
Tagged: Siggraph, kepler, mobile, tegra, nvidia, unreal engine 4

SIGGRAPH 2013 is wrapping up in the next couple of days but, now that NVIDIA removed the veil surrounding Mobile Kepler, people are chatting about what is to follow Tegra 4. Tim Sweeney, founder of Epic Games, contributed to NVIDIA Blogs the number of ways that certain attendees can experience Unreal Engine 4 at the show. As it turns out, NVIDIA engineers have displayed the engine both on Mobile Kepler as well as behind closed doors on desktop PCs.

Not from SIGGRAPH, this is a leak from, I believe, GTC late last March.

Also, this is Battlefield 3, not Unreal Engine 4.

Tim, obviously taking the developer standpoint, is very excited about OpenGL 4.3 support within the mobile GPU. In all, he did not say too much of note. They are targeting Unreal Engine 4 at a broad range of platforms: mobile, desktop, console, and, while absent from this editorial, web standards. Each of these platforms are settling on the same set of features, albeit with huge gaps in performance, allowing developers to focus on a scale of performance instead of a flowchart of capabilities.

Unfortunately for us, there have yet to be leaks from the trade show. We will keep you up-to-date if we find any, however.

Source: NVIDIA Blogs

NVIDIA Launches Flagship Quadro K6000 Graphics Card For Visual Computing Professionals

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 23, 2013 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: workstation, simulation, quadro k6000, quadro, nvidia, k6000, gk110

Today, NVIDIA announced its flagship Quadro graphics card called the K6000. Back in March of this year, NVIDIA launched a new like of Quadro graphics cards for workstations. Those cards replaced the Fermi-based predecessors with new models based on NVIDIA’s GK-104 “Kepler” GPUs. Notably missing from that new lineup was NVIDIA Quadro K6000, which is the successor to the Quadro 6000.

NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GK110 GPU.jpg

Contrary to previous rumors, the Quadro K6000 will be based on the full GK110 chip. In fact, it will be the fastest single-GPU graphics card that NVIDIA has to offer.

The Quadro K6000 features a full GK110 GPU, 12GB of GDDR5 memory on a 384-bit bus, and a 225W TDP. The full GK110-based GPU has 2,880 CUDA cores, 256 TMUs, and 48 ROPs. Unfortunately, NVIDIA has not yet revealed clockspeeds for the GPU or memory.

NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GK110 GPU Specifications Comparison.jpg

Thanks to the GPU not having any SMX units disabled, the NVIDIA Quadro K6000 is rated for approximately 1.4 TFLOPS of peak double precision floating point performance of and 5.2 TFLOPS of single precision floating point performance.

The chart below illustrates the differences between the new flagship Quadro K6000 with full GK110 GPU and the highest tier Tesla and consumer graphics cards which have at least one SMX unit disabled.

NVIDIA GK110-Based Graphics Cards

  Quadro K6000 Tesla K20X GTX TITAN
CUDA 2,880 2,688 2,688
TMUs 256 224 224
ROPs 48 48 48
Memory 12GB 6GB 6GB
Memory Bus 384-bit 384-bit 384-bit
Memory Bandwidth 288 GB/s 250 GB/s 288 GB/s
Single Precision FP 5.2 TFLOPS 3.95 TFLOPS 4.5 TFLOPS
Double Precision FP ~1.4 TFLOPS 1.31 TFLOPS 1.31 TFLOPS

The NVIDIA GTX TITAN gaming graphics card has 2,688 CUDA cores, 224 TMUs, and 48 ROPs and is rated for peak double and single precision of 1.31 TFLOPS and 4.5 TFLOPS respectively. On the other hand, the lower-clocked Tesla K20X compute accelerator card has 2,688 CUDA cores, 224 TMUs, and 48 ROPs along with lower clockspeeds on the memory and GPU. Because of the lower clockspeeds, the K20X is rated for double and single precision floating point performance of 1.31 TFLOPS and 3.95 TFLOPS and memory bandwidth of 250GB/s versus the 288GB/s bandwidth on the TITAN and K6000.

NVIDIA_Quadro_K6000_workstation_graphics_card_gk110.jpg

NVIDIA® Quadro® K6000 GPU

In all, the new K6000 is an impressive card for professional users, and the GK110 chip should perform well in the workstation environment where GK104 was the only option before. NVIDIA claims that the GK110 is up to 3-times the performance of the Quadro 6000 (non K) predecessor. It is also the first Quadro GPU with 12GB of GDDR5 memory, which should lend itself well to high resolutions and artists working with highly detailed models and simulations.

NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GK110 GPU With 12GB GDDR5.jpg

Specifically, NVIDIA is aiming this graphics card at the visual computing market, which includes 3D designers, visual effects artists, 3d animation, and simulations. The company provided several examples in the press release, including using the GK110-based card to render nearly complete photorealistic vehicle models in RTT Deltagen that can run real time during design reviews.

NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GK110 GPU Used To Created Photorealistic Vehicle Models In Real Time.jpg

The Quadro K6000 allows for larger and fully populated virtual sets with realistic lighting and scene detail when 3D animators and VFX artists are working with models and movie scenes in real time. Simulation work also takes advantage of the beefy double precision horsepower to support up to 3-times faster simulation run times in Terraspark's InsightEarth simulation. Users can run simulations with wider areas in less time than the previous generation Quardo cards, and is being used by oil companies to determine the best places to drill.

NVIDIA Quadro K6000 GK110 GPU Content Creation.jpg

Pixar's Vice President of Software and R&D Guido Quaroni had the following to say regarding the K6000.

"The Kepler features are key to our next generation of real-time lighting and geometry 
handling. The added memory and other features allow our artists to see much more of the 
final scene in a real-time, interactive form, which allows many more artistic iterations."

The K6000 is the final piece to the traditional NVIDIA Quadro lineup and is likely to be well recieved by workstation users that need the increased double precision performance that GK110 offers over the existing GK104 chips. Specific pricing and availability are still unknown, but the K6000 will be available from workstation providers, system integrators, and authorized distribution partners beginning this fall.

Source: NVIDIA

Samsung Exynos 5 Octa Returns to ARM Mali GPUs

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | July 23, 2013 - 04:01 AM |
Tagged: Samsung, mali, exynos

Exynos, the line of System on a Chip (SoC) products from Samsung, were notably absent of ARM Mali GPUs. This, apparently, struck concern over how viable Mali will continue to be and whether ARM will continue to lose designs to competitors such as Imagination Technologies.

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Then Samsung announced, Monday evening for us North Americans, the upcoming Exynos 5 Octa Processor will embed six ARM Mali-T628 GPU cores. The T628 GPU cores are capable of OpenCL 1.1 and OpenGL ES 3.0 standards which should allow applications to offload heavy batches of tasks, such as computational photography processing, with high efficiency and performance.

The Exynos 5 Octa contains four ARM Cortex-A15 cores at 1.8GHz, supported by four additional Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3GHz. These processors are currently being sampled and should be produced in August.

Read on for the press blast from Samsung PR.

Factory Overclocked Sapphire Radeon HD 7990 Atomic With Water Cooler Pictured

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 19, 2013 - 02:13 AM |
Tagged: Tahiti XT, sapphire, radeon hd 7990, hd 7990 atomic, hd 7990, dual gpu, 7990

Sapphire appears to be preparing to unleash a factory overclocked dual GPU card called the Radeon HD 7990 Atomic. EXPReview managed to uncover several photos and specification details of the upcoming graphics card. It is quite an impressive card, that features a custom PCB, beefy power delivery electronics, 6GB of total GDDR5, and (best of all) two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GPUs cooled by a full cover closed loop water cooler!

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The Sapphire HD 7990 Atomic is based around a custom 12-layer PCB. The card also features an 18-phase VRM, 50A chokes, LFPAK MOSFETS, and Tantalum capacitors. Sapphire has divided the total 18-phase VRM up such that each GPU and 3GB of memory gets 6+2+1 power phases. Of course, the HD 7990 Atomic uses two AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition GPUs for a total of 4,096 stream processors.

Sapphire has not released clockspeed information, but it should be overclocked significantly beyond the company’s existing dual gpu 7990 card’s base and boost clockspeeds of 950 MHz and 1000 MHz.

Other features include a PLX PEX8747 PCI-E 3.0 bridge chip that connects the two 7970 GPUs together, a dual BIOS switch that will allow users to run the 7990 at stock or at overclocked speeds, and a single crossfire connector to enable quad-Crossfire multi-GPU setups. The graphics card is powered by three 8-pin PCI-E power connectors. Finally, it provides six mini-DisplayPort video outputs.

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In order to effectively cool the factory overclocked card, Sapphire is bundling a pre-installed self-contained liquid cooler. The closed loop cooler consists of a full cover water block on the HD 7990 Atomic, a 240mm radiator with two 120mm fans, and a combination pump and reservoir that fits within a 5.25” optical drive bay.

Naturally, how much this card will cost and where it will be available is still unknown. With that said, ChipLoco indicates that the card is coming sometime within the “next few weeks.” The extent of the factory overclock is also unknown. It is definitely a high end card worthy of enthusiasts and overclockers. Unfortunately, it utilizes a custom PCB, so it may be difficult to find alternative blocks should users wish to integrate it into their existing custom water loops.

Source: ChipLoco

NVIDIA Releases 326.19 Beta Driver, Adds Support for 4K Tiled Displays!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | July 18, 2013 - 08:16 PM |
Tagged: pq321q, PQ321, nvidia, drivers, asus, 4k

It would appear that NVIDIA was paying attention to our recent live stream where we unboxed and setup our new ASUS PQ321Q 4K 3840x2160 monitor.  During our setup on the AMD and NVIDIA based test beds I noticed (and the viewers saw) some less than desirable results during initial configuration.  The driver support was pretty clunky, we had issues with reliability of booting and switching between SST and MST (single and multi stream transport) modes caused the card some issue as well. 

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Today NVIDIA released a new R326 driver, 326.19 beta, that improves performance in a couple of games but more importantly, adds support for "tiled 4K displays."  If you don't know what that means, you aren't alone.  A tiled display is one that is powered by multiple heads and essentially acts as multiple screens in a single housing.  The ASUS PQ321Q monitor that we have in house, and the Sharp PN-K321, are tiled displays that use DisplayPort 1.2 MST technology to run at 3840x2160 @ 60 Hz. 

It is great to see NVIDIA reacting quickly to new technologies and to our issues from just under a week gone by.  If you have either of these displays, be sure to give the new driver a shot and let me know your results!

Source: NVIDIA

XFX's Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition has doubled the memory but not the performance

Subject: Graphics Cards | July 18, 2013 - 02:49 PM |
Tagged: xfx, HD 7790 Black Edition

The XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition has several advantages over a regular HD 7790, a factory overclock of 75MHz to 1075MHz on the GPU and an effective 6.4GHz on the memory, of which there is twice the amount as a regular 1GB model.  To go along with the overclock is XFX's Double Dissipation custom cooling and components which they refer to as Duratec Professional Grade, which helped [H]ard|OCP reach speeds of 1230MHz GPU and 7GHz GDDR5 when overclocking with no noticeable change in temperatures.  This is rather impressive performance for a card who's smaller brother costs only $140 after MIR, the pricing of the 2GB model should be only $20 more than that.  Unfortunately for AMD, at the end of the day [H] cannot recommend this card over the euqally expensive but higher performing GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost 2GB.

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"Today we are strapping the XFX Radeon HD 7790 Black Edition to our test bench and pitting it against a GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. Each card is equipped with 2GB of GDDR5 and is attractively priced for the value minded gamer. The gloves will come off and we will find out whether the Black Edition is worthy of a Black Belt or a Black Eye."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP