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Subject: Processors | May 4, 2012 - 02:11 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, piledriver, llnao, fm2, APU, AMD A series
EXP Review has managed to get their hands on a set of AMD slides containing information on one of the company’s upcoming processor lines. The Llano successor, known as Trinity, is a new APU due out later this year that is said to bring increases in performance thanks to several architectural enhancements.
A Trinity APU die sitting next to a USB flash drive
Llano is AMD’s currently available Accelerated Processing Unit, or APU. The chips combine updated “Stars” mobile Phenom II CPU cores and Radeon 6000 series graphics cores into a single package. Further, the APUs contain a PCI-E 2.0 controller, integrated memory controller, and UVD3 hardware video decoding units. Some models also support AMD’s Turbo Core and Hybrid Graphics Technology which allow them to automatically boost CPU clockspeeds when lower GPU usage leaves TDP headroom, and to pair with a discrete Radeon HD 6450, 6570, or 6670 GPU in a Crossfire-like configuration. Built on a 32nm silicon on insulator (SOI) manufacturing process by GlobalFoundries, the APUs employ 1.45 billion transistors and have a die size of 228mm2 for the desktop versions. Desktop parts have TDPs of 65 watts or 100 watts depending on the particular chip and connect to the motherboards using the FM1 socket (which was a new socket for AMD, it has 905 contacts). There are both desktop and mobile Llano parts, though they are essentially the same chips. The mobile parts are scaled down desktop Llano chips that run at lower clockspeeds, top out DDR3 support at 1600MHz (versus DDR3 1866MHz on the desktop parts), have lower TDPs of either 35W or 45W, and use a slightly different socket (FS1).
In our review, and what many other users noted, is that Llano’s CPU performance really left something to be desired. Fortunately for AMD, the GPU portion of the chip delivered on performance and made the APU desirable for certain niches. The low power chips had a place in home theater PCs (HTPCs), cheap desktops, and even budget gaming rigs to an extent. Still, the CPU performance really held Llano back in terms of popularity and adoption among enthusiasts.
Llano APU in action during overclocking and gaming tests.
The upcoming Trinity processors bring quite a few enhancements to the table, foremost of which is a revamped CPU part that ditches the old Phenom II processor cores in favor of updated Piledriver architecture CPU modules. The move to the Piledriver x86 cores promises an increase in IPC, leakage reduction, CAC reduction, and increased clockspeeds according to the leaked slides, but the most important change is the increased performance per clock numbers. The Trinity APUs are set to replace the A8–or performance series of–Llano APUs with quad core Trinity processors that utilize two Piledriver modules that each share 2MB cache for 4MB of total L2 cache. In that respect, Trinity will be similar to Llano in that it does not employ any L3 cache that is shared between the CPU and GPU cores. Interestingly, that may mean that using higher clocked RAM can improve performance on Trinity just as it did with Llano. If true, that would make Trinity’s improved DDR3 support–up to DDR3 2133MHz– all the better. On the GPU side of things, Trinity moves to a “Northern Islands” VLIW4 architecture with up to 384 stream processing units. Although the GPU area is physically smaller, it is said to be more efficient than the GPU cores in Llano APUs. The new GPU core is DirectX 11 and OpenCL 1.1 compliant. Also, it includes an updated hardware tessellator engine and hardware encoding unit (AMD Accelerated Video Converter).
Trinity will continue to offer 65W and 100W TDPs as well as a 35W part. The TDPs are the same as those in Llano, but AMD has managed to lower the voltages needed to run Trinity out of the box. Also, AMD is claiming the new Trinity chips will sip power at idle–as low as 1.08 watts.
Trinity also ratchets up the automatic overclocking with Turbo Core 3 support which can boost the CPU clockspeed up to 19% or the GPU clockspeed up to 20% above stock clocks. Even better, the APU is able to allocate power to either the GPU or CPU depending on which area needs the boost and how much TDP headroom the chip has when doing certain tasks. For example, AMD shows that the A10-4600M APU can downclock the GPU from the default clockspeed of 685MHz to 496MHz, allowing the x86 Piledriver cores to achieve up to a 900MHz overclock at a clockspeed of 3.2GHz. Alternatively, when the GPU is needed, it can run at 685MHz while the CPU sits at 2.3GHz. They are likely not able to push the GPU much further as any more reductions in CPU speeds would need to be much bigger than any accompanying GPU increases. And at that point, the GPU would likely become bottlenecked and the system would be starved of too much CPU power anyway.
The Trinity APUs continue to be based on GlobalFoundries’ 32nm SOI manufacturing process, but this time the chips are slightly larger with a die size of 246mm^2. Although the APU is wholly larger than Llano, they actually have fewer transistors at 1.303 billion versus the 1.45 billion in Llano. Although that may seem like a step in the wrong direction, the new CPU modules and GPU cores are much more efficient than those in Llano so it should all balance out and Trinity should come out on top despite the lower transistor count. The Trinity APUs will also feature an improved instruction set that includes AVX, AVX1.1, FMA3, AES, and F16C which should help the CPU in certain tasks.
Overall, Trinity is looking like an improved part versus Llano, especially in the CPU department. Although AMD’s numbers should be taken with more than a grain of salt, they are claiming 26% better desktop system performance as a result of the CPU overhaul. Granted, Bulldozer was not a CPU powerhouse itself when compared to the competition, but it is–at least on paper–a good design. When paired with a relatively good GPU, as is the case of Trinity, the Piledriver [architecture based] (a refined version of the Bulldozer architecture with some under-the-hood tweaks) cores should at the least not hold the GPU back, and at best make the CPU processor performance good enough to make the Trinity APU all the more desirable to an even wider range of potential buyers. Pricing of the new APUs is still up in the air, but they are set to release later this month if a certain leak is to be believed.
I think that we can expect to see an all around better chip with Trinity, though pricing will be the ultimate factor in determining how popular it is. I suspect that Intel will still carry the CPU crown, but if the price is right, AMD can sell a lot of Trinity chips to builders that only need decent CPUs to support good integrated GPU cores in systems where the GPU is more important. I am anxiously awaiting reviews of the new Trinity chips and hoping that AMD continues to have successful chips with their line of APUs.
Subject: Processors | May 2, 2012 - 04:14 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, i7-3770k
Anyone who has been keeping up with the reviews coming out which try overclocking Intel's new Ivy Bridge processor will be familiar with the large amount of power required to hit high frequencies. While the voltages required to overclock Ivy Bridge and its predecessor Sandy Bridge are very similar, Ivy Bridge's stock voltage is lower so the change is greater for Ivy Bridge. That larger increase could be one cause of the higher heat that Ivy Bridge generates. Another theory is that the heatspreader could be a cause as Intel used thermal paste in the design as opposed to the fluxless solder present on SandyB, however other tests have shown that this does not seem to be the case. The Tech Report has gathered together the current facts on this hot topic, so you can check out the numbers for yourself right here.
"Folks across the web have reported some eye-poppingly high temperatures for their overclocked Ivy Bridge processors, leading to some tough questions about the causes. Does Ivy Bridge truly run hotter than its predecessor, Sandy Bridge, and if so, why? We checked into it, and the answers were surprising, to say the least. Have a look."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Ivy Bridge's heat problems persist, even with the removal of its IHS @ Tweaktown
- Intel Ivy Bridge Processor Overclocking Proves Challenging For Some Motherboard Makers @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Core i5-3570K "Ivy Bridge" Processor Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Intel Ivy Bridge i5-3570K and i7-3770K Review @ Madshrimps
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge GPU Performance @ techPowerUp
- Ivy Bridge on air: The Core i7-3770K overclocked on four motherboards @ The Tech Report
- Intel Core i7-3770 Ivy Bridge CPU @ SPCR
- Intel Third Generation Core i7 3770K Review @ OCC
- Intel Core i7 3770K "Ivy Bridge" Processor Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Intel Core i7-3770K 3.5GHz Ivy Bridge Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- Ivy Bridge Temperatures – It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here @ Overclockers.com
- Overclocking Intel’s HD 4000 @ SemiAccurate
- Intel HD 4000 Ivy Bridge Graphics On Linux @ Phoronix
- Desktop Ivy Bridge. Intel Core i7-3770K and Core i5-3570K @ X-bit Labs
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- CPU shoot-out: Intel Atom D2700 vs. AMD E-450 @ Hardware.Info
- AMD A8-3870K Black Edition APU Review @ Madshrimps
- AMD Trinity APU Preview: Evolution or Devolution? @ VR-Zone
Subject: Processors | April 23, 2012 - 12:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z77, Ivy Bridge, Intel, i7-3770k, i5-3570, 3770k, 3570, 22nm
Intel's latest die shrink and architecture refinement, aka their "Tick", has arrived in the form of Ivy Bridge. This CPU is actually only one third CPU, a third devoted to Intel's HD4000 graphics core, and the final third comprised of a shared L3 cache, memory controller and other IO devices. [H]ard|OCP did an almost direct comparison between Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge, with the 2600K having the same amount of cores as the 3770K and only lags behind by 100MHz in raw speed. The overall performance increases and new features that this new architecture were targeted more at the mainstream user than the enthusiast in [H]'s opinion but if you are building a new machine and aren't going for overclocking records then they wholeheartedly recommend Ivy Bridge.
You can catch Ryan's full review right here though you cannot yet buy it.
"The new Ivy Bridge processor has already been well covered across the Internet due to leaks of Intel parts into review sites' hands. So at this point there is little to tell in all honesty. But today we work to tell you what you most likely already know; Ivy Bridge looks to be a very solid product but offers little in the way of an upgrade from Sandy Bridge."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge Linux Performance @ Phoronix
- Intel's Core i7-3770K 'Ivy Bridge' @ The Tech Report
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge CPU Review @ Neoseeker
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Processor @ Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Core i7 3770k @ Tweaktown
- Intel Core i7 3770K Ivy Bridge Review @ HCW
- Intel i7 3770k - Ivy Bridge @ Overclockers.com
- Intel Core i7 3770K (Ivy Bridge) @ Bjorn3D
- Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K @ LostCircuits
- Intel Core i7-3770K - Ivy Bridge @ Ivy Bridge
- Asus ROG Maximus V Gene Z77 w/ Intel i7 3770K @ Kitguru
- Intel DZ77GA-70K and Core i7-3770K @ OC3D
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge CPU and DZ77GA-70K Motherboard Review @MissingRemote
- Core i7-3770K vs. AMD FX-8150 and Core i7-2600K CPU Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge Launch Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Intel i7 3770K Ivy Bridge CPU Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Testing Ivy Bridge: Intel Core i7-3770K @ TechSpot
- Intel i7-3770K Ivy Bridge @ LanOC Reviews
- Core i7 3770K & 3750 & review with Z77 DZ77GA-70K mobo @ Guru 3D
- Intel Core i7 3770K / Core i5 3570K / Core i5 3550 Ivy Bridge review @ Hardware.Info
- AMD's FX-8150 Bulldozer Benefits From New Compilers, Tuning @ Phoronix
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | April 23, 2012 - 12:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, Ivy Bridge, Intel, asus, 3770k
Last week our good friends at ASUS stopped by the PC Perspective offices to bring along their entire new lineup of Z77 motherboards and show off the changes and new features being offered. At the time, there we were something we couldn't show you including our overclocking demonstration as it was using the brand new Intel Ivy Bridge processor. Not only can we now show you that but we have broken up the demo portion of the video in quicker, bite-sized segments.
JJ Guerrero shows us the basics of overclocking Ivy Bridge both from the updated UEFI and the AI Suite II software.
WiDi on the Desktop
Did you know that desktop PCs using the correct Intel wireless controllers will be able to support Wireless Display technology?
Subject: Motherboards, Processors | April 14, 2012 - 01:26 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, video, live review, Ivy Bridge, asus
In case you haven't noticed, there are Z77 motherboards for sale ahead of the launch of Intel's 3rd generation Core processor. In line with the release of this new CPU, our friends at ASUS are stopping by the PC Perspective offices to give our readers a chance to see the company's entire Z77 lineup and their impressive new feature set demonstrated and explained on camera.
You will hear about features like Wi-Fi GO!, Digi+ Power Control, SupremeFX III audio technology, GameFirst networking technology, the mPCIe Combo Card, Fan Xpert 2 software and a whole lot more! Stay tuned for our full Ivy Bridge processor and launch review!!
We also want to use this opportunity to solicit questions from our readers and fans that they might have about the Intel Z77 chipset, the Ivy Bridge processor and the new line of ASUS Z77 motherboards. You submit these questions in one of several ways:
- Leave a comment on this news post.
- Send me a questions via Twitter, to @ryanshrout.
- Leave a question on our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/pcper
To make things better, on launch day, we'll be giving away a few ASUS Z77 motherboards as well so be sure you submit your questions SOON! We are recording the content for this on Sunday, April 15th, so hurry!!
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | April 13, 2012 - 11:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Z77, video, msi, live review, Intel, gigabyte, ECS, asus
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!
Z77 chipset based motherboards are already available and on the market and while we can't share performance or details on the Ivy Bridge processor yet, we can show off and discuss the Z77 chipset and motherboards. In our Live Review we did a quick unboxing and preview of several models including:
- MSI Z77A-GD65 - $169
- Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H - $189
- Intel DZ77GA-70K - $239
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe - $274
- ECS Z77H2-AX (Non Golden Model - $164)
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 4, 2012 - 04:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, Knight's Corner, gpgpu
NVIDIA steals Intel’s lunch… analogy. In the process they claim that optimizing your application for Intel’s upcoming many-core hardware is not free of effort, and that effort is similar to what is required to develop on what NVIDIA already has available.
A few months ago, Intel published an article on their software blog to urge developers to look to the future without relying on the future when they design their applications. The crux of Intel’s argument states that regardless of how efficient Intel makes their processors, there is still responsibility on your part to create efficient code.
There’s always that one, in the back of the class…
NVIDIA, never a company to be afraid to make a statement, used Intel’s analogy to alert developers to optimize for many-core architectures.
The hope that unmodified HPC applications will work well on MIC with just a recompile is not really credible, nor is talking about ease of programming without consideration of performance.
There is no free lunch. Programmers will need to put in some effort to structure their applications for hybrid architectures. But that work will pay off handsomely for today’s, and especially tomorrow’s, HPC systems.
It remains to be seen how Intel MIC will perform when it eventually arrives. But why wait? Better to get ahead of the game by starting down the hybrid multicore path now.
NVIDIA thinks that Intel was correct: there would be no free lunch for developers, why not purchase a plate at NVIDIA’s table? Who knows, after the appetizer you might want to stay around.
You cannot simply allow your program to execute on Many Integrated Core (MIC) hardware and expect it to do so well. The goal is not to simply implement on new hardware -- it is to perform efficiently while utilizing the advantages of everything that is available. It will always be up to the developer to set up their application in the appropriate way.
Your advantage will be to understand the pros and cons of massive parallelism. NVIDIA, AMD, and now Intel have labored to create a variety of architectures to suit this aspiration; software developers must labor in a similar way on their end.
Subject: Processors | April 3, 2012 - 12:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: virtualization, ubuntu 12.04, Sandy Bridge E, Intel, FX 8150, Core i7 3960X, bulldozer, amd
Phoronix is taking the latest Ubuntu release and testing the performance on AMD's FX 8150 against Intel's Core-i7 3960X to see their relative performance in a virtual environment. Both machines had issues, Xen had critical issues which prevented it from running on the Bulldozer and ASUS motherboard system, while the Sandy Bridge chip had issues with Virtualbox. The testing was not so much a comparison of the performance difference between the two chips as it is a test of efficiency of these processors running tasks when virtualized. As both chips averaged 90%+ of base performance when virtualized you can see that both architectures have come a long way in this particular usage.
Also, keep your eyes out for a CPU review from Josh which should be arriving soon.
"With the upcoming availability of Ubuntu 12.04 "Precise Pangolin" being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be quickly making its way into many enterprise environments, here's a look at the virtualization performance of this popular Linux distribution. In particular, being looked at is the Linux virtualization performance of KVM, Xen, and Oracle VirtualBox compared to bare metal when using Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme and AMD Bulldozer hardware."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Xeon E5 2600: Interview with Intel IT's Ajay Chandramouly @ TechSpot
- Intel To Launch Ivy Bridge Desktop Processors This Week @ TechARP
- Mobile CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel Ivy Bridge Overclocking with the Core i7 3770K and Core i5 3570K CPUs @ Tweaktown
- AMD A8-3870 FM1 CPU @ Rbmods
Subject: Processors | March 19, 2012 - 06:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, cpu, 22nm
Jeremy posted earlier that Guru3D managed to spot a list of Ivy Bridge processors on Intel's site before getting taken down; however, they did not indicate any specific release dates. A recent article over at TechARP today did mention two dates that are allegedly going to be the launch date and release date for Intel's latest Ivy Bridge 22nm processors.
According to the article, Intel will launch their Ivy Bridge CPUs on Friday March 23, 2012, and then the actual release date (when hardware will be available) will be April 29, 2012.
Among the new processors are Intel's standard TDP parts at 77 Watts and low voltage parts with 65 Watt TDPs. Of the standard voltage parts, the "K" series Ivy Bridge CPUs will feature Intel's newest HD 4000 processor graphics and unlocked multipliers. All the nitty-gritty details including clock speeds and core counts are shown in the chart below. The HD 2500 GPU will is the chip that the remaining processors use.
|Model||Cores / Threads||Clock Speed / Turbo Boost (GHz)||L3 Cache||Processor Graphics||TDP||Launch Price ($USD)|
|i7-3770K||4 / 8||3.5 / 3.9||8 MB||HD 4000||77 W||$332|
|i7-3770||4 / 8||3.4 / 3.9||8 MB||HD 4000||77 W||$294|
|i5-3570K||4 / 4||3.4 / 3.8||6 MB||HD 4000||77 W||$225|
|i5-3570||4 / 4||3.4 / 3.8||6 MB||HD 2500||77 W||$215|
|i5-3550||4 / 4||3.3 / 3.7||6 MB||HD 2500||77 W||$205|
|i5-3470||4 / 4||3.2 / 3.6||6 MB||HD 2500||77 W||NA|
|i5-3450||4 / 4||3.1 / 3.5||6 MB||HD 2500||77 W||$184|
|i5-3330||4 / 4||3.0 / 3.2||6 MB||HD 2500||77 W||NA|
Further, Intel's low voltage Ivy Bridge processors on the desktop feature clock speeds ranging from 2.7 GHz to 3.1 GHz and between 2 and four cores. Of these CPUs, only the top end Intel Core i7-3770T and i7-3770S along with the Core i5-3470T processors will include Intel's Hyper-Threading technology. Also, only the two top end low voltage parts and the Intel Core i5-3475S Ivy Bridge CPU will use Intel's new HD 4000 processor graphics. The remaining parts will use the HD 2500 GPU. The chart below lists the current desktop lineup of low voltage parts including price, core count, and clock speeds.
|Model||Cores / Threads||Clock Speed / Turbo Boost (GHz)||L3 Cache||Processor Graphics||TDP||Launch Price ($USD)|
|i7-3770S||4 / 8||3.1 / 3.9||8 MB||HD 4000||65 W||$294|
|i7-3770T||4 / 8||2.5 / 3.7||8 MB||HD 4000||65 W||$294|
|i5-3570S||4 / 4||3.1 / 3.8||6 MB||HD 2500||65 W||$205|
|i5-3570T||4 / 4||2.3 / 3.3||6 MB||HD 2500||65 W||$205|
|i5-3550S||4 / 4||3.0 / 3.7||6 MB||HD 2500||65 W||$205|
|i5-3475S||4 / 4||2.9 / 3.6||6 MB||HD 4000||65 W||NA|
|i5-3470S||4 / 4||2.9 / 3.6||3 MB||HD 2500||65 W||NA|
|i5-3470T||2 / 4||2.9 / 3.6||3 MB||HD 2500||65 W||$184|
|i5-3450S||4 / 4||2.8 / 3.5||6 MB||HD 2500||65 W||$184|
|i5-3330S||4 / 4||2.7 / 3.2||6 MB||HD 2500||65 W||NA|
More Ivy Bridge information on Ivy Bridge's 22nm tri-gate transistors and a preview of the Intel Core i7-3770K is available here and here respectively. Jeremy also tracked down an image of the above charts here.
Subject: Processors | March 19, 2012 - 06:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, sandy bridge, sandy bridge-e, i7-3770K (ES), i7-2600K, i7-3960x
VR-Zone took a processor from each of Intel's last three architectures, clocked them all to 4.7GHz and started benchmarking. By clocking them all the same you get to see a better comparison of the performance of the various architectures, although the motherboard chipset does introduce a variable into the performance results. As well, the Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770K is an engineering sample and so may not perfectly reflect the performance of the final retail product. Drop by to see how these chips compare in synthetic benchmarks.
"Intel's Core i7-3770K (ES) vs i7-2600K vs i7-3960X, nuff said! We have also included a brief USB 3.0 controller shootout inside, involving the new Z77 (Panther Point) Native USB implementation and other popular solutions."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Second Generation Core i7 3820 Review @ OCC
- Intel Xeon E5-2600 Sany Bridge-EP Server Processors @ Legit Reviews
- Intel Core i7 2700K Review @ HCW
- Core i7 3820 @ Guru of 3D
- Intel Ivy Bridge: everything you need to know @ Techspot
- The Ivy Bridge Preview: Core i7 3770K Tested @ AnandTech
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- AMD FX-8120 Bulldozer @ Rbmods
Subject: Processors | March 14, 2012 - 06:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: RISC, embedded systems, cortex-m0+, cortex-m, arm, 32-bit
ARM has recently announced a new 32 bit processor for embedded systems that sips power and is one of the lowest power designs yet. This new ARM processor is a new entrant to the Cortex M lineup and has been labeled the ARM Cortex-MO+. The chip features a full 32-bit RISC instruction set and is manufactured using the older, and low cost, 90nm process.
The magic happens when we look at the power draw, and according to ARM it will sip power at a mere 9µA (9 microamps) per Megahertz (MHz). It can further run any code designed for (existing) Cortex-M series processor including the Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4. The new Cortex-M0+ is intended to be used in embedded systems and as microcontroller applications controlling larger machinery.
There is no word yet on pricing or availability; however, support has been promised by the Keil Microcontroller Development Kit and third part software such as Code Red, Micruim, and SEGGER. Freescale and NXP Semiconductor further have been named licensees of the technology thus far. In the case of NXP Semiconductor, they plan to replace existing 8 bit microcontrollers with the ARM Cortex-MO+ in devices such as their UPS units, active cabling, and touchscreens. Freescale, on the other hand, plans to develop their own version of the Cortex-MO+ in the form of the Kinetis L series processor. They will further use the low power chip to operate appliances, portable medical systems, and lighting (among others).
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile | March 8, 2012 - 04:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ray tracing, tablet, tablets, knight's ferry, Intel
Intel looks to bring ray-tracing from their Many Integrated Core (Intel MIC) architecture to your tablet… by remotely streaming from a server loaded with one or more Knight’s Ferry cards.
The anticipation of ray-tracing engulfed almost the entirety of 3D video gaming history. The reasonable support of ray-tracing is very seductive for games as it enables easier access to effects such as global illumination, reflections, and so forth. Ray-tracing is well deserved of its status as a buzzword.
Render yourself in what Knight’s Ferry delivered… with scaling linearly and ray-traced Wolfenstein
Screenshot from Intel Blogs.
Obviously Intel would love to make headway into the graphics market. In the past Intel has struggled to put forth an acceptable offering for graphics. It is my personal belief that Intel did not take graphics seriously when they were content selling cheap GPUs to be packed in with PCs. While the short term easy money flowed in, the industry slipped far enough ahead of them that they could not just easily pounce back into contention with a single huge R&D check.
Intel obviously cares about graphics now, and has been relentless at their research into the field. Their CPUs are far ahead of any competition in terms of serial performance -- and power consumption is getting plenty of attention itself.
Intel has long ago acknowledged the importance of massively parallel computing but was never quite able to bring products like Larabee against anything the companies they once ignored could retaliate with. This brings us back to ray-tracing: what is the ultimate advantage of ray-tracing?
Ray-tracing is a dead simple algorithm.
A ray-trace renderer is programmed very simply and elegantly. Effects are often added directly and without much approximation necessary. No hacking around is required in the numerous caveats within graphics APIs in order to get a functional render on screen. If you can keep throwing enough coal on the fire, it will burn without much effort -- so to speak. Intel just needs to put a fast enough processor behind it, and away they go.
Throughout the article, Daniel Pohl has in fact discussed numerous enhancements that they have made to their ray-tracing engine to improve performance. One of the most interesting improvements is their approach to antialiasing. If the rays from two neighboring pixels strike different meshes or strike the same mesh at the point of a sharp change in direction, denoted by color, between pixels then they are flagged for supersampling. The combination of that shortcut with MLAA will also be explored by Intel at some point.
A little behind-the-scenes trickery...
Screenshot from Intel Blogs.
Intel claims that they were able to achieve 20-30 FPS at 1024x600 resolutions streaming from a server with a single Knight’s Ferry card installed to an Intel Atom-based tablet. They were able to scale to within a couple percent of theoretical 8x performance with 8 Knight’s Ferry cards installed.
I very much dislike trusting my content to online streaming services as I am an art nut. I value the preservation of content which just is not possible if you are only able to access it through some remote third party -- can you guess my stance on DRM? That aside, I understand that Intel and others will regularly find ways to push content to where there just should not be enough computational horsepower to accept it.
Ray-tracing might be Intel’s attempt to circumvent all of the years of research that they ignored with conventional real-time rendering technologies. Either way, gaming engines are going the way of simpler rendering algorithms as GPUs become more generalized and less reliant on fixed-function hardware assigned to some arbitrary DirectX or OpenGL specification.
Intel just hopes that they can have a compelling product at that destination whenever the rest of the industry arrives.
Subject: Processors | March 6, 2012 - 03:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xeon E5-2600, Sandy Bridge-EP, Romley, Grizzly Pass, Bighorn Peak
Somehow SemiAccurate got their hands on an Intel R2000 Romley system, featuring a pair of E5-2600 running on a S2600GZ 2S board, in a 2U rackmount case. The performance impressed them as they had to create artificial loads to even try to stress the machine. That wasn't all that is impressive about this new platform; as it is designed as a server platform energy savings during low usage times is a key factor for administrators. Romley goes far beyond reducing frequency and power consumption when idle and actually has 16 power savings profiles which offers control far beyond what has been possible previously. As well there are large benefits to moving the PCIe controller onto the die, which you can read all about at SemiAccurate.
"To give you an idea on how good it is, SemiAccurate spent the last few weeks testing the Intel R2000 (Bighorn Peak) 2U platform based on the S2600GZ (Grizzly Pass) 2S Romley board, and it quickly became obvious we could not stress it with any real workload, only artificial workloads would make this beast sweat. I could not find a way to stress both the memory subsystem and the CPUs at once. To make matters worse, none of this touched the most important modern bottleneck, the network and I/O. Tests didn’t stress the platform evenly, what used to be system tests became subsystem tests, and were obviously the compute equivalent of makework."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Xeon E5-2670 vs Core i7-3960X @ The Inquirer
- The Xeon E5-2600: dual Sandybridge for Servers @ AnandTech
- Intel Core i7-3820 Extreme Edition CPU @ Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Sandy Bridge-E i7-3820 CPU Review @ Madshrimps
- Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel Core i7-3820 Quad-Core @ SSD Review
- Intel Core i7-3820 Sandy Bridge-E Processor Review @Hi Tech Legion
- CPU Performance Comparison Guide @ TechARP
Subject: Processors | March 6, 2012 - 02:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xeon E5-2600, xeon e5, xeon, Sandy Bridge E, lga2011, Intel
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 6, 2012 – Addressing the incredible growth of data traffic in the cloud, Intel Corporation announced the record-breaking Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family. These new processors deliver leadership performance, best data center performance per watt, breakthrough I/O innovation and trusted hardware security features to enable IT to scale. These processors are not only at the heart of servers and workstations, but will also power the next generation of storage and communication systems from leading vendors around the world.
Forecasts call for 15 billion connected devices and over 3 billion connected users by 2015. The amount of global data center IP traffic is forecasted to grow by 33 percent annually through 2015, surpassing 4.8 zetabytes per year, more than 3 times the amount in 2011. At these levels, each connected user will generate more than 4GB of data traffic every day – the equivalent of a 4-hour HD movie. This will increase the amount of data that needs to be stored by almost 50 percent per year. In order to scale to meet this growth, the worldwide number of cloud servers is expected to more than triple by 2015.
“The growth in cloud computing and connected devices is transforming the way businesses benefit from IT products and services,” said Diane Bryant, Intel vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group. “For businesses to capitalize on these innovations, the industry must address unprecedented demand for efficient, secure and high-performing datacenter infrastructure. The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family is designed to address these challenges by offering unparalleled, balanced performance across compute, storage and network, while reducing operating costs.” The key requirements to enable IT to scale are performance, energy efficiency, I/O bandwidth and security. With the best combination of performance, built-in capabilities and cost-effectiveness, the new Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product families are designed to address these requirements, and become the heart of the next-generation data center powering servers, storage and communication systems.
Leadership Performance with Best Data Center Performance per Watt
Supporting up to eight cores per processor and up to 768GB of system memory, the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family increases performance by up to 80 percent, compared to the previous-generation Intel Xeon processor 5600 series. The family also supports Intel Advanced Vector Extension (Intel AVX) that increases the performance on compute-intensive applications such as financial analysis, media content creation and high performance computing up to 2 times.
Additional built-in technologies such as Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, Intel Hyper-Threading Technology and Intel Virtualization Technology provide IT with flexible capabilities to increase the performance of their infrastructure dynamically. These performance advances have led the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family to capture 1510 new dual socket x86 world records.
Modern data centers must improve the raw performance they deliver, but also do so efficiently by reducing power consumption and operating costs. The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family continue Intel’s focus on reducing total cost of ownership by improving energy efficient performance more than 50 percent as measured by SPECpower_ssj 2008 compared to the previous generation Intel Xeon processor 5600 series. These processors offer support for tools to monitor and control power usage such as Intel Node Manager and Intel Data Center Manager, which provide accurate, real-time power and thermal data to system management consoles. In addition, Intel’s leadership performance allows IT managers to meet their growing demands while optimizing software license and capital costs.
I/O Innovation and Network Capabilities
With the unprecedented growth in data traffic it is essential that systems not only improve computational abilities, but also enable data to flow faster to support data-hungry applications and increase the bandwidth within the data center. The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family meets these needs with Intel Integrated I/O (Intel IIO) and Intel Data Direct I/O (Intel DDIO). Intel DDIO allows Intel Ethernet controllers and adapters to route I/O traffic directly to processor cache, reducing trips to system memory reducing power consumption and I/O latency. The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family is also the first server processors to integrate the I/O controller supporting PCI Express 3.0 directly into the microprocessor. This integration reduces latency up to 30 percent11 compared to prior generations and with PCI Express 3.0 can up to triple the movement of data into and out of the processor.
The high-performance processing power along with Intel Integrated I/O and advanced storage features such as PCIe non-transparent bridging and asynchronous DRAM refresh, makes the Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family also an ideal choice for storage and communications solutions.
Increasing bandwidth demands driven by server virtualization and data and storage network consolidation have led to strong growth in 10 Gigabit Ethernet deployments, with adapter port shipments exceeding 1 million units in each quarter of 2011. Today’s announcement of the Intel Ethernet Controller X540 demonstrates Intel’s commitment to driving 10 Gigabit Ethernet to the mainstream by reducing implementation costs. This industry-first single-chip 10GBASE-T solution is designed for low-cost, low-power LAN on motherboard (LOM) and includes flexible I/O Virtualization and Unified networking support at no additional cost.
The Intel Xeon processor E5-2600 product family reaffirms Intel’s commitment to providing a more secure hardware foundation for today’s data centers. Intel Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (Intel AES-NI14) helps systems to quickly encrypt and decrypt data running over a range of applications and transactions. Intel Trusted Execution Technology (Intel TXT15) creates a trusted foundation to reduce the infrastructure exposure to malicious attacks. These features in partnership with leading software applications will help IT protect their data centers against attack and scale to meet the demands of their customers.
Extensive Industry Support
Starting today, system manufacturers from around the world are expected to announce hundreds of Intel Xeon processor E5 family-based platforms. These manufacturers include Acer, Appro, Asus, Bull, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Inspur, Lenovo, NEC, Oracle, Quanta, SGI, Sugon, Supermicro and Unisys.
Subject: Processors | March 1, 2012 - 03:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel
A sharp pair of eyes at Guru of 3D spotted a pdf on an Intel site which has since been taken down. While it is too bad we cannot give you the original PDF, Guru3D did post the pertinent information for those waiting patiently for Ivy Bridge to finally arrive.
As you can see the TDPs are impressively low, the desktop models ranging from 77W at the top end down to a 35W rating on the only dual core desktop model. On the mobile side the TDPs range between 17W to 35W, with more than half of those models being dual core. Also worth noting is the new graphics core, the HD4000 which is only available to two of the Core-i5 models, if you want the new core on a desktop then the Core-i7 is the way to go. On the mobile side, all models are listed as having HD4000 which might help Intel compete against AMD's Llano as consumers will not have to investigate the Intel chip in their laptop to determine which level of graphics processor they possess. Making a purchasing decision easier will go a long way to giving peace of mind to consumers that only want to spend their money and not their time researching before they buy.
Still no solid release date though.
Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets | February 29, 2012 - 12:03 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: just delivered, z77a-gd65, Z77, sandy bridge, msi, Ivy Bridge, Intel
In preparation for Intel's 3rd generation of Intel Core microprocessor architecture (can you see we are dancing around things already), MSI has started showing a new line of motherboards. While at CES in January we saw the Z77A-GD65 option that will be available soon and offers some interesting new specs and features.
The Z77A-GD65 sports Military Class III components as well as support for a host of new items including PCI Express 3.0 and USB 3.0. While we can't share much more than that in terms of details I thought it might be worth showing off a few shots of the upcoming motherboard from our friends at MSI.
Subject: Processors | February 28, 2012 - 12:51 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: trinity, FX-8120, FX-6200, FX-4170, FX, FM3, bulldozer, amd, am3+
Since AMD held their Analysts’ Day, we have not heard a whole bunch from their CPU division. The graphics side has been in full gear launching the HD 7000 series of products, and soon we will see the final pieces of that particular puzzle fall into place. What about the CPU group? We have heard about Trinity for ages now, but that particular launch is still months away. The last CPU update detailed the “K” series of unlocked Llano chips. What about Bulldozer? Is there a new stepping? How is GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 32 nm SOI/HKMG progressing?
I don’t have all those answers, unfortunately. Since AMD proceeded to sack most of the PR team, our contacts have all but disappeared. Questions emailed to AMD are often not returned. Requests for CPU information (or samples) are ignored. Are these people just simply overworked, or is AMD clamping down on information? Hard to say. My guess here is that they are taking the philosophy of, “No news is good news.” If a company does not send out review samples, they do not have to deal with products receiving bad reviews. I am not saying that the FX processors are necessarily bad, but they do not match up well against Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge parts. At least AMD parts are priced appropriately overall for their level of performance. If we look at overall results, the FX-8150 does match up fairly well with the i5-2500K, and they both exist very close to each other in price points.
What we do know is that AMD has released two new processors into the market with the FX-4170 and the FX-6200. The FX-4170 is a new dual module (four core) 125 watt TDP part that is clocked at an amazing 4.2 GHz stock speed, and a turbo that goes to 4.3 GHz. This is the fastest consumer grade processor in terms of clockspeed, but it obviously is not the fastest processor on Earth. The original FX-4100 is a 95 watt TDP part at 3.6 GHz stock/3.8 GHz turbo, 4 MB L2 cache, and 8 MB of L3. The FX-6200 is perhaps the more interesting of the two. It has a base clock of 3.8 GHz and a max turbo speed of 4.1 GHz. This is a pretty hefty increase from the FX-6100 with its base 3.3 GHz and 3.9 GHz turbo. The 6100 is a 95 watt TDP part while the new 6200 is 125 watt TDP. The 6200 is a three module (six core) part with 6 MB of L2 cache and 8 MB of L3.
The last bit of news is that the FX-8120 is getting a price cut to put it more in line against the competition. The email that we received about this and the previous announcements was amazingly generic and fairly uninformative. We do not know the prices, we do not know the rollout schedule, and we have no idea how much the FX-8120 is going to be chopped. We have seen the retail market already cut the prices down on the FX-8xxx series. The high end FX-8150 was introduced around $289 but now it can be readily available for $259. Now that demand has dropped in the PC sector and AMD’s supply has caught up, it is no wonder we are seeing new SKUs and the lowering of prices.
My goal is to try to get a hold of some of these parts, as they do look interesting from a value standpoint. The FX-6200 is of great interest for many users due to the nice provisioning of cores, L3 caches, and speeds. Throw in a decent price for this particular product, and it could be a favorite for budget enthusiasts who want to stick with AMD products. The area where it does fall down is that of TDP when compared to Intel’s Sandy Bridge parts at that price point. The jump to 3.8 GHz base speed and 4.1 GHz turbo should make it very comparable in stock clocked performance to anything Intel has in that price range.
Overclocking could be interesting here, but since it is already a 125 watt TDP part I do not know how much headroom these products have. 4.8 GHz is very likely, but on air cooling I would not expect overclocked speeds to reach much more above that. Still, these are interesting parts and give plenty of bang for their price. Add in pretty mature support for AM3+ motherboards, and AMD still has a chance with enthusiasts. The only real issue that is looming is PCI-E 3.0 support for the AM3+ ecosystem. We have not heard anything about the upcoming (or is it cancelled?) 1090FX chipset, other than it is based on 890FX/990FX and should not support PCI-E 3.0. With AMD’s push for APUs, I would expect the upcoming Trinity parts to introduce PCI-E 3.0. AMD also looks like they will start funneling the enthusiasts towards FM2 platforms and Trinity based parts. While AMD looks to support AM3+ with Piledriver based cores, my best guess here is that AM3+ will be phased out sooner rather than later.
The next 6 months will be critical for AMD and their path moving forwards. At the very least we will have a better idea of where the company is going under the new management. I am still expecting some big changes from AMD, and if Trinity can give Intel a run for its money in terms of per clock CPU performance, then they could have a winner on their hands and adjust their roadmap to further exploit that particular product release.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 27, 2012 - 12:30 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra 3, quad-core, k3v2, k3, Huawei
Never heard of Huawei? Well you will going forward. The Chinese telecommunications company that claims 110,000 employees, 46% of which are planted in R&D departments, is entering in the market to compete against Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, NVIDIA and others by building an ARM-based SoC for its own mobile devices.
Details are limited for now though we expect to hear more as Mobile World Congress progresses but here is what we know. The Huawei K3V2 CPU will be a quad-core Cortex A9 part with "16 GPUs" - though we don't have any reference what is meant by "a GPU". The A9s will run at either 1.2 GHz or 1.5 GHz and Huawei does mention that these will have
64-bit support a 64-bit memory controller as compared to the 32-bit controller on Tegra 3.
The company did have some performance claims that put the K3V2 ahead of the Galaxy Nexus (Exynos 3110) and ASUS Transformer Prime (Tegra 3). If you believe in marketing slides the new Huawei CPU will be about twice as fast in GPU performance and 49% faster in purely CPU-based tests while using 30% less power. Man, if we had a dollar for every time someone claimed these kinds of gains...
Hopefully we'll see some tests on this new SoC soon in the form of the Huawei Ascend D quad phone available this year.
Subject: Processors | February 26, 2012 - 10:38 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Intel, Ivy Bridge, delay
If you hadn't heard yet, last week we talked about a potential delay to the release of Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processor. Well pretty much everything we feared was "kind of" confirmed by Intel's Sean Maloney when he said:
“I think maybe it’s June now."
Huh. It's gets worse though as Maloney apparently was "blaming the push back on the complexity of the new manufacturing process." That process in particular was the 22nm tri-gate technology that Intel has been touting as one of its biggest developments in recent years.
Is this completely altered now??
The EETimes story gets more specific with date quotes from Jim McGregor of In-Stat.
Jim McGregor of In-Stat told EE Times that according to his industry sources in Taiwan, Intel's Ivy Bridge server parts were only delayed from April 8 until April 29, though the dual core i5 and i7 parts for notebooks had been pushed out from a planned May 13th launch to June 3.
Last week we were hearing that Intel would still launch Ivy Bridge parts in April but wouldn't send out the mass shipments until June, and while that is still possible, that seems much less likely after hearing Maloney's words today.
And if you haven't had enough bad news for today, there is this comment that pretty much backs up my thoughts that I laid out in our 190th episode of the PC Perpsective Podcast last week:
“It doesn’t really matter because there’s not really any compelling competition right now,” said one industry analyst on condition of anonymity, referring to AMD’s recent lag in the market.
AMD, we need you in our lives so badly. Please don't leave us here...alone...
Subject: Processors, Mobile | February 26, 2012 - 01:56 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: tegra, Samsung, quad-core, MWC 12, MWC, exynos
While details are still sparse as we await the official start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona tonight/tomorrow, it appears that Samsung plans to announce a new quad-core processor as part of its Exynos line. It will be the first Samsung SoC based on 32nm technology rather than the 45nm currently in production and will be available in both quad- and dual-core variant.
According to the story over at Unwiredview it will be available in frequencies ranging from 200 MHz all the way up to 1.5 GHz while offering lower power consumption than current options. I am curious how this actually stacks up though as we have seen that Tegra 3 doesn't REALLY offer lower power consumption and longer battery life even though that was a promise from NVIDIA. It definitely can offer less power consumption per performance unit, but in the end battery life is king for these mobile devices.
What about graphics performance? The story had this to say:
The new Exynos comes paired with the latest version of Samsung’s own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can generate up to 57 MPolygons/s.
Samsung claims that the new processor will offer 26% more performance compared to Exynos parts based on the 45nm process and I assume they are referring to dual-core vs dual-core results. Other claims include battery life improvements of "up to 50%" - we'd love to see it but we'll wait for actual devices to ship and showcase it before really getting excited.
The good news is that quad-core performance will be coming to more devices and NVIDIA won't be the only SoC designer on the block offering them. The use-cases for quad-core performance on a mobile device, phone or tablet, may still be in question though we never doubt the software side of the equation to utilize as much horsepower as it is provided.