ARMA III is designed solely for the PC and it shows

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | October 2, 2013 - 02:20 PM |
Tagged: gaming, ARMA III

Forget Crysis, if you want to hammer your PC pick up ARMA III and try turning up the settings!  Even an i7-3770K @ 4.8GHz and GTX 780's in SLI struggle to render this game with all the graphical bells and whistles turned on.  The close up landscapes and objects are gorgeous with high quality textures but to truly get into the feel of the game you need to be able to turn up the veiw distance and number of displayed objects as you can see from [H]ard|OCP's screenshots below.  [H] spent ia bit of time breaking down the best playable settings for numerous GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD as well as showing you the impact that MSAA and PPAA has on the visual quality as well as your PCs performance.  If you want to show off the superiority of a high end gaming machine then this is the game for you.

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"ARMA III is our focus point for today. It features a large open world environment designed on a massive continent measuring 270 square kilometers. To go along side this massive continent is a max visibility range of 20km. Combine this with ARMA III's impressive looking graphics and we have a game that demands performance."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta V2 has been released for Windows and Linux

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 30, 2013 - 06:30 PM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, catalyst 13.10, beta, windows, linux

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AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta V2 for Windows:

  • Includes 32-bit single GPU and CrossFire game profile for Battlefield 4
  • Total War: Rome 2 CrossFire profile update
  • CrossFire frame pacing improvements for CPU-bound applications
  • Resolves image corruption seen in Autodesk Investor 2014
  • Resolves intermittent black screen when resuming from a S3/S4 sleep state if the display is unplugged during the sleep state on systems supporting AMD Enduro Technology
  • Updated AMD Enduro Technology application profiles

o Profile highlights:

  • Total War: Rome 2
  • Battlefield 4
  • Saints Row 4
  • Splinter Cell Blacklist
  • FIFA 14

AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta for Linux:

Resolved issue highlights:

  • System hang up when startx after setting up an Eyefinity desktop.
  • Permission issue with procfs on kernel 3.10
  • System hang observed while running disaster stress test on Ubuntu 12.10
  • Hang is observed when running Unigine on Linux
  • AC/DC switching is not automatically detected
  • Laptop backlight adjustment is broken
  • Glxtest failures observed in log file with forcing on Anti-Aliasing
  • Cairo-dock is broken
  • Severe desktop corruption is observed when enabled compiz in certain cases 
  • glClientWaitSync is waiting even when timeout is 0
  • C4Engine get corruption with GL_ARB_texture_array enabled

Source: AMD

TechReport: AMD Plans Frame Pacing Driver for CrossFire, Eyefinity, and 4K... This Autumn

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 26, 2013 - 03:35 AM |
Tagged: frame rating, frame pacing, amd

Scott Wasson of The Tech Report just received an interview with Raja Koduri, head of Graphics Hardware and Software Development at AMD, a few hours ago. Part of the interview discussed frame the frame pacing issues we, as well as The Tech Report, published over the last year. In short, the news seems good for owners of Radeon graphics cards, future and even current.

Vsync-3.png

The "Hawaii" powered Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X graphics cards are expected to handle CrossFire pacing acceptably at launch. Clearly, if there is ever a time to fix the problem, it would be in new hardware. Still, this is good news for interested customers; if all goes to plan, you are likely going to have a good experience out of the box.

Current owners of GCN-based video cards, along with potential buyers of the R9 280X and lower upcoming cards, will apparently need to wait for AMD to release a driver to fix these issues. However, this driver is not far off: Koduri, unclear whether on or off the record, intends for an autumn release. This driver is expected to cover frame pacing issues for CrossFire, Eyefinity, and 4K.

Koduri does believe the CrossFire issues were unfortunate and expresses a desire to fix the issue for his customers.

Keep checking PC Perspective for more information as it comes out!

Editor's Note: I just spoke with Raja Koduri as well and he basically reiterated everything that Scott noted in his story on The Tech Report as well.  The upcoming 290X will have frame pacing at Eyefinity and 4K resolution at launch while the cards below that in the R9 series, and users of Radeon HD 7000 cards (and likely beyond) will need some more time before the driver is ready.  I'll be able to talk quite a bit more about the changes to BOTH architectures very shortly so stay tuned for that.

Source: Tech Report

AMD GPU Lineup Announced: R9 and R7 Series

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | September 25, 2013 - 05:23 PM |
Tagged: radeon, R9 290X, R9, R7, GPU14, amd

The next generation of AMD graphics processors are being announced this afternoon. They carefully mentioned this event is not a launch. We do not yet know, although I hope we will learn today, when you can give them your money.

amd-gpu14-01.jpg

When you can, you will have five products to choose from:

  • R7 250
  • R7 260X
  • R9 270X
  • R9 280X
  • R9 290X

AMD only provides 3D Mark Fire Strike scores for performance. I assume they are using the final score, and not the "graphics score" although they were unclear.

amd-gpu14-02.png

The R7 250 is the low end card of the group with 1GB of GDDR5. Performance, according to 3DMark scores (>2000 on Fire Strike), is expected to be about two-thirds of what an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti can deliver. Then again, that card retails for about ~$130 USD. The R7 250 has an expected retail value of less than < $89 USD. This is a pretty decent offering which can probably play Battlefield 3 at 1080p if you play with the graphics quality settings somewhere around "medium". This is just my estimate, of course.

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The R7 260X is the next level up. The RAM has been double over the R7 250 to 2GB of GDDR5 and its 3DMark score almost doubled, too (> 3700 on Fire Strike). This puts it almost smack dab atop the Radeon HD 6970. The R7 260X is about $20-30 USD cheaper than the HD 6970. The R7 is expected to retail for $139. Good price cut while keeping up to date on architecture.

amd-gpu14-04.png

The R9 270X is the low end of the high end parts. With 2GB of GDDR5 and a 3DMark Fire Strike score of >5500, this is aimed at the GeForce 670. The R7 270X will retail for around ~$199 which is about $120 USD cheaper than NVIDIA's offering.

amd-gpu14-05.png

The R9 280X should be pretty close to the 7970 GHz Edition. It will be about ~$90 cheaper with an expected retail value of $299. It also has a bump in frame buffer over the lower-tier R9 270X, containing 3GB of GDDR5.

amd-gpu14-06.png

Not a lot is known about the top end, R9 290X, except that it will be the first gaming GPU to cross 5 TeraFLOPs of compute performance. To put that into comparison, the GeForce Titan has a theoretical maximum of 4.5 TeraFLOPs.

amd-gpu14-07.png

If you are interested in the R9 290X and Battlefield 4, you will be able to pre-order a limited edition package containing both products. Pre-orders open "from select partners" October 3rd. For how much? Who knows.

We will keep you informed as we are informed. Also, the announcement is still going on, so tune in!

Source: AMD

AMD GPU14 Event Live Stream and Live Blog

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: live, hawaii, amd

In case you didn't know, AMD is hosting a live stream to talk about the new AMD Hawaii series of GPUs.  You should definitely be on our PC Perspective Live! page right now to participate and watch!

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NVIDIA Mends Open Sores? Documentation for Nouveau.

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 25, 2013 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, Nouveau, linux

AMD commit numerous updates to the open source driver community, three months ago, and has otherwise assisted the Linux community in the past. The same has not been true for NVIDIA. Despite a respectable (albeit lacking compared to Windows) proprietary driver for Linux, this GPU vendor was not adored by the community. They have not been accused of malice, it would just seem to be control over both the end-user experience and, of course, their secret sauce.

Well, NVIDIA is being more cooperative.

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I, obviously, do not have a crystal ball of fortune telling (the journalist house of auction ran out and the gift shop is just too expensive) so it is anyone's guess the future extent of NVIDIA's involvement. For now, their assistance included 42 pages of Device Control Block documentation and proprietary developers answering questions on the Nouveau mailing list.

Many, from Ars Technica to our staff discussions at PC Perspective, note how the change of heart aligns with the SteamOS announcement. I do not really believe these events are related if only because I doubt NVIDIA would wait to contact developers until Valve spoke up. I would have to expect that SteamOS would not be a surprise to NVIDIA especially after Gabe Newell discussed Maxwell virtualization all the way back at CES.

You would think they would have come about while working with NVIDIA on the game streaming technology. You know, allow a single desktop to utilize multiple games across multiple devices. Even still, you would think NVIDIA would just put even more effort into their proprietary driver rather than help Nouveau.

Either way, we will keep an ear out for NVIDIA involvement with the open source community.

Images and Benchmarks of AMD Radeon R9-290X Hawaii Leak Out

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 21, 2013 - 11:58 PM |
Tagged: radeon, leak, hawaii, amd

What better way to spend your weekend than to comb over photos and graphs to try and figure out everything you can about the upcoming AMD Hawaii GPU just days before they announce it during a live stream?  A collection of leaks including pictures and benchmarks made their way onto the web (they have a way of doing that) from our friends in China.  I spotted a post from our buddy Hassan at WCCFTech that detailed much of the information available so far. 

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The first picture was actually posted by Johan Andersson, lead developer at DICE over Twitter with a not-too-vague comment about Hawaii and Volcanic Islands. 

 

 

A website with the convenient name of udteam.tistory.com posted images with quite a bit more detail including some with the cooler removed. 

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The GPU here is apparently going to be called the AMD Radeon R9-290X as AMD shifts to a completely new naming scheme with this generation.  We already discussed an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner in which he said the die of Hawaii was 30% smaller than NVIDIA's GTX TITAN and would be more efficient per die area than the GeForce option. 

hawaii4.jpg

Other specifications that have been compiled (that are still rumors really at this point) include a 512-bit memory interface (quad 128-bit controllers more than likely based on the memory layout), 4GB of GDDR5, 5+1 phase power and 8+6 pin power connections (very reasonable for a flagship).  The die size is being estimated at 424 mm2 (larger than Radeon HD 7970 but smaller than TITAN) and price estimates are sitting at $599

hawaii7.jpg

hawaii8.jpg

We even found a couple of benchmarks claiming to have performance results of this new beast of a GPU.  Though the name of the card on the result is blocked out we are supposed to believe these are results from the AMD R9-290X and they are impressive if true.  In both of the graphs here the new Hawaii GPU is faster than the $999 GeForce GTX TITAN at a significantly lower price! 

All signs are pointing to AMD's next 28nm GPU to be a high end gamer's dream graphics card.  That is, IF all these rumors and leaks turns out to be accurate.  We still don't know the key data points like stream processor count, but we'll know it all in due time.  (Maybe next week?)  We still have concerns about the status of AMD's multi-GPU fixes but if the company can get that worked out in time for this relesae, I expect AMD to make a big splash this fall with a revamped Radeon brand.

Source: Various

Battle of the budget boards; MSI's 650 Ti TF BE

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 05:55 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, msi, 650ti boost, Twin Frozr

To give you the full name, the MSI N650 Titanium TwinFrozr 2GD5/OC Boost Edition is $170 after MIR, whereas you can pick up the HD 7850 that [H]ard|OCP chose to contrast against for a mere $130 after rebate.  That price difference means that NVIDIA really has to perform quite a bit better than the AMD card to beat it in a performance per price perspective.  From the numbers in the review you can clearly see that the 650Ti is the better performing card, especially with the respectable overclock that [H] managed which does make it the best card under $200; on the other hand if your budget is tight the performance gap is not as big as the price gap which might make that HD 7850 a better choice.

By the way, that NVIDIA card has a Boost clock which means that it might steal some of your megahertz away when it gets too hot, which is apparently a horrible experience and if you somehow disable that feature and cook your GPU ... obviously that is not your fault.

H_frozr.jpg

"Today we evaluate MSI's high-end GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST line with the flagship overclocked Gaming Edition MSI N650Ti TF 2GD5/OC BE. With falling prices on AMD Radeon video cards we will compare it to the AMD Radeon HD 7850 to see which will emerge as the victor in the sub-$200 price price range."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Catalyst Driver 13.9 has been released for selected products

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 19, 2013 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd, catalyst 13.9

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FEATURE HIGHLIGHTS OF AMD CATALYST™ 13.9

The AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL is AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1. It does not include support for Frame Pacing or the very latest AMD CrossFire™ optimizations. AMD Catalyst 13.10 Beta includes additional performance improvements and fixes not found in AMD Catalyst 13.9 WHQL.

AMD’s first logo certified driver for Windows 8.1
Includes WDDM 1.3 support for:

  • AMD Accelerated Processors (“Kabini” & “Temash”) for Desktop, Notebook or Tablet PCs, including: A4-1200, A4-1250, A4-5000, A4-5100, A4-5150, A6-1450, A6-5200, A6-5250, A6-5350, E1-2100, E1-2200. E1-2500, E1-2600, E1-2650, E2-3000, E2-3100
  • AMD Accelerated Processors (“Richland”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-5700, A10-5745M, A10-5750M, A10-5757M, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-5500, A8-5500B, A8-5545M, A8-5550M, A8-5557M, A8-5600K, A6-5345M, A6-5350M, A6-5357M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-5145M, A4-5150, A4-5300, A4-5300B
  • AMD Accelerated Processors (“Trinity”) for Desktop or Notebook PCs, including: A10-4600M, A10-4655M, A10-4677M, A10-5700, A10-5800B, A10-5800K, A8-4500M, A8-4555M, A8-4557M, A6-4400M, A6-4455M, A6-5400B, A6-5400K, A4-4300M, A4-4355M, A4-5300, A4-5300B
  • AMD Radeon HD 8000 Series
  • AMD Radeon HD 7000 Series
  • AMD Radeon HD 6000 Series
  • AMD Radeon HD 5000 Series

Support for AMD Features:

  • AMD Eyefinity
  • OpenCL™
  • OpenGL
  • UVD
  • AMD Dual Graphics/AMD CrossFire Technology
  • AMD Overdrive
  • AMD Catalyst Control Center/Vision Engine Control Center

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 enhancements: The AMD Catalyst Control Center now shows which applications are active on the Performance GPU and the Power saving GPU.

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Source: AMD

AMD Confirms Hawaii GPU Will Use 28nm Process

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 17, 2013 - 10:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, radeon, hawaii

As we get closer and closer to the reveal of AMD's next generation graphics chip code named Hawaii, details will find their way out. 

hawaiimap.jpg

Tonight I came across an interview with AMD's Matt Skynner on Forbes.com that offered up one confirmation that we all suspected: AMD's Hawaii GPU will keep the same 28nm process technology utilized with the Radeon HD 7000 parts.

Another thing I can tell you is about the process node: this GPU is in 28nm. Some have speculated that it was 20nm and it’s not for a specific reason: At 28nm for an enthusiast GPU, we can achieve higher clock speeds and higher absolute performance.

Straight from the horses mouth.  Based on those comments we can also assume that clock speeds will be higher than 1.0 - 1.1 GHz we are seeing today with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition so performance increases will not be the sole result of shader count changes and increases. 

Skynner also assures gamers they are not targeting the $999 price range, at least not initially. 

They’re coming in Q4. I can’t reveal a pricepoint but we’re looking at more traditional enthusiast GPU pricepoints. We’re not targeting a $999 single GPU solution like our competition because we believe not a lot of people have that $999. We normally address what we call the ultra-enthusiast segment with a dual-GPU offering like the 7990. So this next-generation line is targeting more of the enthusiast market versus the ultra-enthusiast one.

AMD is targeting a much smaller die size that NVIDIA has with GK110, the latest iteration of NVIDIA's massive GPU offerings. 

It’s also extremely efficient. [Nvidia's Kepler] GK110 is nearly 30% bigger from a die size point of view. We believe we have the best performance for the die size for the enthusiast GPU.

amdgpu.jpg

The rest of the interview is a little cookie-cutter though he does briefly reference some of the issues that have caught the Radeon HD 7990 by surprise. 

Sorry, still no details on if/when Battlefield 4 will hit the Never Settle bundles!

Source: Forbes.com

Never Settle Forever now with Saint's Row IV

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems | September 10, 2013 - 12:51 AM |
Tagged: amd, never settle forever, never settle, Saints Row IV

A month after the launch of the choose your own adventures, "Never Settle Forever", we get another entry for the gold tier: Saint's Row IV.

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Yet another territory they claim.

Two Radeon cards, the HD 7950 and the HD 7970 (with or without GHz edition), qualify for this tier in AMD's promotion. Desktop PCs built with a Radeon HD 8900 installed also count toward this promotion. When you go for the gold, so to speak, you can choose three of the following (now) eleven games to enjoy your new hardware with:

  • Saint's Row IV
  • Tomb Raider
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • DMC
  • Sleeping Dogs
  • Far Cry 3
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution
  • DiRT 3
  • DiRT: Showdown
  • Sniper Elite V2

AMD prepared a statement about their partnership with Saint's Row IV publisher, Deep Silver:

“AMD and Deep Silver have a long and successful history of collaboration across their many excellent games, and Saints Row IV is another example of their outstanding development talent.  We are very proud to have their partnership in the AMD Gaming Evolved program and Never Settle Forever bundle,” said Ritche Corpus, director of developer relations and alliances team, Graphics Business Unit, AMD. “As a result, PC gamers with AMD Radeon™ graphics cards can fire up their copy of Saints Row IV knowing that they are receiving the best possible experience. And as the exclusive hardware partner for Saints Row IV, the AMD Gaming Evolved program continues to demonstrate its relentless commitment to ensuring the world’s most exciting games are exclusively optimized for AMD Radeon™ hardware.”

AMD is not finished with Never Settle and claims more will arrive in the coming months. I would expect the switch to choose-your-bundle gives the company slightly more freedom to add extra titles without ballooning costs or removing popular entries. I hope we will see titles available in other tiers, except for the HD 7990 which should keep its 8 game promotion, along with more gold entries.

Either way, we will keep you updated as we hear more.

Source: AMD

ASUS' Direct CU II works well with GTX 780s

Subject: Graphics Cards | September 5, 2013 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: asus, GTX 780 DC II OC, DirectCU II, gtx 780

With 3GB of memory ASUS' GeForce GTX 780 DirectCU II OC card strays from the pack in terms of features and design.  With new and improved DirectCU II cooling on the card, high quality chokes and 10 phase power you should be able to push far ahead of the factory overclock of 889MHz with a boost of 941MHz.  You can use [H]ard|OCP's result of 1093-1145MHz core and 6.158GHz memory as a goal to try to reach, as long as you are willing to put the power sliders all the way to the right.  Check out how it performs in their full review.

H_780CU2.jpg

"ASUS revamped the DirectCU II cooling system and visual style, providing a full non-reference video card with the ASUS GeForce GTX 780 DiretCU II OC. New is the hybrid CoolTech fan providing improved airflow, and a 10mm heat pipe. We will see how this video card performs against several GPUs."

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

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Holy Free Non-Free Free To Play NVIDIA!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 31, 2013 - 04:30 PM |
Tagged: geforce, F2P, bundle

If you read Jeremy's post, yesterday, and actually were a fan of in game currency then how about a new bundle? If you pick up a GeForce GTX 650 or participating GTX 700M-based notebooks, you will receive a total $75 split between three Free-to-Play (F2P) titles. One of the titles, Warframe, is also optimized for NVIDIA hardware with the inclusion of PhysX support primarily for particle effects, it would seem.

The bundle includes:

  • Warframe - 465 Platinum (Normally $25)
  • Dungeons and Dragons: NeverWinter - 1,000,000 Astral Diamonds (Normally $25)
  • Marvel Heroes - 2600 Gold (Normally $25)

NVIDIA stresses that you must make your purchase (be it a system containing a GTX 650, a discrete add-in GTX 650, or a laptop containing a GTX 700M) from one of the participating merchants. Codes will not be provided if the retailer, or 'e-tailer', is not a partner for this program.

Press blast after the break.

Source: NVIDIA

GCN-Based AMD 7000 Series GPUs Will Fully Support DirectX 11.2 After Driver Update

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 26, 2013 - 01:24 AM |
Tagged: amd, Windows 8.1, microsoft, directx 11.2, graphics cards, gaming, GCN

Earlier this month, several websites reported that AMD’s latest Graphics Core Next (GCN) based graphics cards (7000 series and 8000 series OEM lines) would not be compatible with the Windows 8.1-only DirectX 11.2 API. This was inferred from a statement made by AMD engineer Laylah Mah in an interview with c1 Magazin.

AMD Radeon 7970 GHz Edition.jpg

An AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.

Fortunately, the GCN-based cards will fully support DirectX 11.2 once an updated driver has been released. As it turns out, Microsoft’s final DirectX 11.2 specification ended up being slightly different than what AMD expected. As a result, the graphics cards do not currently fully support the API. The issue is not one of hardware, however, and an updated driver can allow the GCN-based 7000 series hardware to fully support the latest DirectX 11.2 API and major new features such as tiled resources.

The updated driver will reportedly be released sometime in October to coincide with Microsoft’s release of Windows 8.1. Specifically, Maximum PC quoted AMD in stating the following:

"The Radeon HD 7000 series hardware architecture is fully DirectX 11.2-capable when used with a driver that enables this feature. AMD is planning to enable DirectX 11.2 with a driver update in the Windows 8.1 launch timeframe in October, when DirectX 11.2 ships. Today, AMD is the only GPU manufacturer to offer fully-compatible DirectX 11.1 support, and the only manufacturer to support Tiled Resources Tier-2 within a shipping product stack.”

So fret not, Radeon 7000-series owners, you will be able to fully utilize DX 11.2 and all its features once games start implementing them, and assuming you upgrade to Windows 8.1.

Source: Maximum PC

AMD Pushing PC Gaming at Gamescom 2013 in Cologne

Subject: Graphics Cards | August 23, 2013 - 04:40 PM |
Tagged: never settle, gamescom, amd

In much the same way as it was at E3 this year, AMD has plastered themselves all over the show floor at Gamescom 2013 in Cologne, Germany.  The annual game celebration in Europe focuses not just on PC gaming but consoles as well but with AMD APUs at the heart of both the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4, they are about as universal as you can get.

gamescom1.jpg

The AMD booth at Gamescom obviously leans heavily on the world of PC gaming with both next-generation consoles not coming until November but the big draw is obviously the Battlefield 4 section that allows gamers to walk up and play.  Due out October 29th here in North America, BF4 is likely to be one the biggest titles of the year available on current consoles, PC and the PS4 and Xbox One.  And though nothing is confirmed it will likely be bundle game for Radeon graphics cards at some point as well...

gamescom3.jpg

Red capes and Battlefield 4

Much like the Penny Arcade Expo coming up next month in Seattle, Gamescom is an event where the public is invited to get hands on with impressive games and impressive technology without having to filter it through the eye of the media.  AMD showcases unique capabilities of the PC gaming market in the booth as well like the 5-screen Eyefinity configuration seen here DiRT Showdown.

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As is usually the case with public events, you're going to meet some interesting characters while you walk around but that is part of the fun!  If you have never attended Gamescom, PAX, Blizzcon, Quakecon or anything like it, I would highly encourage you make plans to do so as it will really revitalize your excitement for gaming!  While shows like CES and Computex drain me of energy, these public-facing experiences are much more spirited.

gamescom4.jpg

Charlie?

Other booths at the show are also running AMD-powered gaming systems for all of their demonstrations including Gaming Evolved partners like Deep Silver, Square-Enix, EA/DICE and Red5.  If you haven't seen games like Thief or Saints Row IV in action then you are missing out and locals in Cologne still have the opportunity to do so.  AMD claims that all the demo systems running these PC games are Radeon-powered: Battlefield 4, The Sims 4, Firefall, Saints Row IV, Need for Speed Rivals, FIFA 2014, Murdered Soul Suspect, and Final Fantasy XIV.

gamescom5.jpg

Even with all the other discussion and debate about AMD graphics technologies, the second half of 2013 is going to be incredibly exciting on all fronts!

Source: Gamescom

Futuremark Gets Down To... Its... Business with VR-Zone

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | August 23, 2013 - 01:31 AM |
Tagged: Futuremark, AnTuTu, benchmarking

VR-Zone tossed the bees nest in a paint shaker and received a fairly sedate outcome.

A little background information is required. AnTuTu, a mobile benchmark developed by AnTuTu Labs, has been accused of inaccurate scores and bias towards specific hardware. Leaked BayTrail-T benchmarks, surpassing our expectations of Intel's capabilities, were harshly refuted based on AnTuTu's credibility. More recently, certain Samsung GPUs have been allegedly recorded self-overclocking during that benchmark but not elsewhere.

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Scene from Cloud Gate, latest Windows 3DMark.

Oliver Baltuch, president of Futuremark, accepted an interview with VR-Zone to discuss business and ethics in their marketplace. Futuremark is a direct competitor to AnTuTu and a household name in the benchmarking community. Being modest Fins, self-proclaimed, they did not wish to discuss whether AnTuTu was less honest than they are. Futuremark does disagree with AnTuTu's process, however, and has some suggestions for better results.

The design process for 3D Mark Android begun with 25 pages of specification proposal. Each vendor is given a chance to reply to that proposal and these responses are compared. Changes to the specification must be reviewed by a committee sitting between the financial department and the engineering department.

Baltuch made the point that all of their finances for the last five years, according to Finnish law, can be reviewed for about $7 USD. Despite being a private company, the law mandates no deals can be made in secret.

On the engineering side of things, drivers are approved only if they follow specific guidelines. Unapproved results will be removed from their website and leaderboards followed by a polite conversation with the manufacturer. Drivers are not allowed to identify their benchmarks intent on modifying settings due to that information.

Almost every benchmark they release gets negative responses from some upset vendor or vendors.

The relatively short interview is wrapped up with commentary on iOS benchmarks. Futuremark is nearing completion of their first benchmarking app. Apple disallows apps to exceed 60 frames per second, through vsync, which unnecessarily hinders benchmark scores. Working around this, Futuremark developed a method to render frames which are not displayed on screen to keep the processors from idling once at frame rate cap.

Ryan must love that idea...

This concept has, according to the interview, reached internal QA review and is expected to be released in a few weeks.

Futuremark develops benchmarks for x86 Windows, Windows RT, Android, and iOS. Scores are intended to scale linearly to their metrics and are designed to allow cross-platform performance comparisons.

Also check out our interview with Oliver Baltuch from last February discussing 3D Mark.

Source: VR-Zone

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.

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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.

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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