Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | November 17, 2012 - 04:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: layoffs, amd
Personally, I am starting to get numb to AMD restructuring news -- and that is never good.
Less than a month ago we reported on the semiconductor design company’s decision to cut 15% of their workforce. The company still has life in it and has a respectable presence in all upcoming videogame consoles along with its inclusion within many consumer laptops and desktops but it is clearly not as much life as they need.
Original rumors stated that cuts could be on the order of 10-30% which 15% would be on the lighter side of. With rumors of more cuts coming in January I wonder if this was a last minute decision to break up the layoffs into two less dramatic installments.
One of the beauties of the tech industry is the low cost of starting or turning a company around; it would be irresponsible to completely count out a player while it still has access to millions of capital. AMD is also sitting upon lots of assets which could be liquidated and their employees have ridiculous talent to be employable elsewhere. I have been noticing that most chatter about the topic is not based in concern with AMD and their employee’s future but with concern about an x86 competitor to Intel.
This is pretty much the same concern which I have been having about Windows 8: the house of cards may be standing but it is still a house of cards. We rely upon the proprietary standards which Intel and others impose upon the art, the word being used both in literal and “artisan / practical art” contexts which includes utensil applications.
Concern mounts but practically no-one grafts it to similar instabilities in other platforms.
No I am not saying abolish technology patents or anything like that: I am simply saying that this is yet another drop in the torrent of concerns with content upstream to proprietary platforms.
These issues rightfully cause alarm but are not isolated events.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 15, 2012 - 04:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, call of duty, black ops 2
NVIDIA will be celebrating the release of Call of Duty: Black Ops II by launching the first-ever “GeForce GTX Call of Duty Rivalries” competition which pits top colleges against each other in Call of Duty: Black Ops II four-person, last team standing multiplayer matches. Participants in the first round of competition include the storied rivalries of Cal vs. Stanford, USC vs. UCLA and UNC vs. NC State. Two additional wildcard colleges from any accredited college in the United States will also be chosen by the Facebook community to field teams. See details on GeForce.com or visit NVIDIA’s Facebook page on how you can walk away with a Maingear gaming rig.
In addition to the contest NVIDIA also released the GeForce 310.54 beta driver with specific benefits for players of Black Ops 2, specifically the inclusion of TXAA.
- Delivers up to 26 percent faster performance in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and up to 18% faster performance in Assassin’s Creed III.
- Provides smooth, shimmer-free graphics with NVIDIA TXAA antialiasing in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 and Assassin’s Creed III.
- Improves performance by up to 16% in other top games likes Battlefield 3, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and StarCraft II.
As always, our new driver includes new profiles for today’s top titles, increasing multi-GPU performance.
- Hawken – Added SLI profile
- Hitman: Absolution – Added SLI profile
- Natural Selection 2 – Added SLI profile
- Primal Carnage – Added SLI profile
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 15, 2012 - 01:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nvidia, catalyst, forceware
We have seen quite a few driver updates since the release of cards like the HD 7970 GHz Edition and the GTX 680 which inspired [H]ard|OCP to revisit the performance of these cards in several games. Some results were not surprising, the two top cards have historically run neck and neck in performance and price and that remains true now. There was a definite loser however, the performance of the GTX 660 Ti matches that of the HD7870 but the price is similar to the much faster HD7950. Check out the full results here.
"With the recent release of new beta drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA, and the upping of clocks by AMD, significant performance gains have been claimed by both parties for current generation video cards. We will investigate with a 6-way roundup comparison to see if we can crown a champion."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680 4GB @ Legion Hardware
- Sparkle Calibre X680 Captain @ Kitguru
- ASUS HD 7970 3GB Matrix Platinum Edition Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 650 Ti 1GB @ eTeknix
- MSI GEFORCE GTX 660 HAWK 2GB @ Tweaktown
- Call Of Duty Black Ops II VGA Graphics performance with 21 cards @ Guru of 3D
- A Look at NVIDIA's Kepler-based Tesla K-Series GPU Accelerators @ Techgage
- ASUS GeForce GTX 660 Ti DirectCU II TOP @ Guru of 3D
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 Ti Review @ Neoseeker
- Benchmarking NVIDIA's R310 Linux Driver Improvements @ Phoronix
- Clock-For-Clock, Nouveau Can Compete With NVIDIA's Driver @ Phoronix
- HIS Radeon HD 7750 IceQ X Turbo 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD FirePro W5000 Professional Graphics Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- HIS 7970 IceQ X² GHz Edition & 7950 IceQ X² Boost Clock @ Legion Hardware
- Sapphire HD 7770 FleX @ TechwareLabs
- Asus Matrix HD 7970 Platinum 3GB @ eTeknix
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 13, 2012 - 06:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
When AMD promised to move off of a monthly release schedule for their Catalyst Control Center and drivers, we didn't think that would mean we would see multiple releases from them every month. If you count the beta versions then that is exactly what is happening, today the release of the 12.11 Beta 7 driver is available on their beta driver page. We have listed the improvements offered by previous versions of the 12.11 Beta driver and they are quite impressive, this particular version adds one more to the list of improvements. Players of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 should be grabbing this driver as the improvement is specific to the CrossFire compatibility of that game. AMD does not specify a percentage increase but they do state you will see much better performance on CrossFire systems, especially if you are playing at 2560 x 1600 and above ... which you really should be if you are running a CrossFire system. It has all the previous benefits as well, so if you've been holding off on upgrading your graphics driver, this might be a good excuse to do so.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 13, 2012 - 04:15 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tahiti, HPC, gpgpu, firepro s10000, firepro
On Monday, AMD launched its latest graphics card aimed at the server and workstation market. Called the AMD FirePro S10000 (for clarity, that’s FirePro S10,000), it is a dual GPU Tahiti graphics card that offers up some impressive performance numbers.
No, unfortunately, this is not the (at this point) mythical dual-7970 AMD HD 7990 graphics card. Rather, the FirePro S10,000 is essentially two Radeon 7950 GPUs on a single PCB along with 6 GB of GDDR5 memory. Specifications on the card include 3,584 stream processors, a GPU clock speed of 825 MHz, and 6 GB GDDR5 with a total of 480 GB/s of memory bandwidth. That is 1,792 stream processors and 3 GB of memory per GPU. Interestingly, this is a dual slot card with an active cooler. At 375W, a passive cooler is just not possible in a form factor necessary to fit into a server rack. Therefore, AMD has equipped the FirePro S10,000 GPGPU card with a triple fan cooler reminiscant of the setup PowerColor uses on its custom (2x7970) Devil 13, but not as large. The FirePro card has three red fans (shrouded by a black cover) over a heatpipe and aluminum fin heatsink. The card does include display outputs for workstation uses including one DVI and four mini DisplayPort ports.
AMD is claiming 1.48 TFLOPS in double precision work and 5.91 TFLOPS in single precision workloads. Those are impressive numbers, and the card even manages to beat NVIDIA’s new Tesla K20X with big Kepler GK110 and the company’s dual GPU GK104 Tesla K10 by notable margins. Additionally, the new FirePro S10000 manages to beat its FirePro 9000 predecessor handily. The S9000 in comparison is rated at 0.806 TFLOPS for double precision calculations and 3.23 TFLOPS on single precision work. The S9000 is a single GPU card equivalent to the Radeon 7950 on the consumer side of things with 1,792 shader cores. AMD has essentially taken two S9000 cards and put them on a single PCB, and managed to get almost twice the potential performance without needing twice the power.
Efficiency and calculations per watt were numbers that AMD did not dive too much into, but the company did share that the new FirePro S10000 achieves 3.94 GLOPS/W. AMD compares this to NVIDIA’s dual GPU (Fermi-based) Tesla M2090 at 2.96 GFLOPS/W. Unfortunately, NVIDIA has not shared a single GPU GFLOPS/W rating on its new K20X cards.
|AMD S10000||AMD S9000||NVIDIA K20X||NVIDIA K10|
|Double Precision||1.48 TF||0.806 TF||1.31 TF||0.19 TF|
|Single Precision||5.91 TF||3.23 TF||3.95 TF||4.58 TF|
|Architecture||Tahiti (x2)||Tahiti (x1)||GK110||GK104 (x2)|
|Memory Bandwidth||480 GB/s||264 GB/s||250 GB/s||320 GB/s|
|Memory Capacity||6 GB||6 GB||6 GB||8 GB|
|Core clock speed||825 MHz||900 MHz||732 MHz||745 M|
Other features of the AMD FirePro S10000 include support for OpenCL, Microsoft RemoteFX, Direct GPU pass-through, and (shared) virtualized graphics. AMD envisions businesses using these FirePro cards to provide GPU hardware acceleration for virtualized desktops and thin clients. With Xen Server, multiple users are able to tap into the hardware acceleration offered by the FirePro S10000 to speed up desktop and speed up programs that support it.
Operating systems in particular have begun tapping into GPU acceleration to speed up the user interface and run things like the Aero desktop in Windows 7. High end software for workstations also have a high GPU acceleration adoption rate, so there are benefits to be had, and AMD is continuing to offer it with its latest FirePro card.
AMD is offering up a card that can be used for a mix of compute or graphics output, making them an interesting choice for workstations. The FirePro S10000’s major fault lies with a 375W TDP, and while the peak performance is respectable it is going to use more power while provided that compute muscle.
The cards are available now with an MSRP of $3,599. It is neat to finally see AMD come out with a dual GPU card with Tahiti chips, and it will be interesting to see what kind of design wins the company is able to get for its beastly FirePro S10000.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 13, 2012 - 01:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Intel, firepro, firepro s10000, HPC, Xeon Phi, 3120A, 5110P, Knight's Corner
AMD's new Tahiti based FirePro S10000 sports a little more than just a GPU upgrade it sports two GPU updates as this is a dual GPU card. According to The Register it should run about $3,600 and need 375W to perform, numbers which make it a more efficient card than the S9000 even though it needs significantly more cash and power to run. It is a 2 slot card, a necessity in the server and workstation world and while it does not support CrossFire it does support EyeFinity with its DVI port and four Mini DisplayPorts.
The Register also got some news about Xeon Phi, Intel's answer to the HPC cards on offer from AMD and Intel. Knights Corner is the evolution of Larrabee into an actual product, in this case two 62 core cards though not all of the cores are active. The passively cooled 5110P has 60 cores running at 1.053GHz, while the 3120A has 57 cores clocked slightly higher at 1.1GHz and sports a fan. Both cards produce just over a teraflop of double precision floating point math, compared to the 1.48 teraflops offered by AMD's S10000 or the 1.3 offered by the Tesla K20x. Check out more on these coprocessors at The Register.
"With the FirePro S10000, not only is the GPU geared down to 825MHz, but the memory is similarly downshifted to 5GHz. The memory interface is 384-bit wide on each GPU, with two blocks of GDDR5 memory yielding a total of 6GB. (This could be a little skinny on the memory for some HPC workloads, given that the S9000 card has 6GB of memory for one Tahiti GPU.) Each GPU can access 240GB/sec of memory bandwidth linking to each 3GB chunk of GDDR5 memory.
Because the card is double-stuffed, it can deliver a very impressive 5.91 teraflops SP and 1.48 teraflops DP in peak floating point oomph."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The TR Podcast 123: Incremental improvements
- Microsoft Makes Direct X 11.1 a Windows 8 Exclusive @ Slashdot
- Random Linux Commands to Make Google Talk, Fix Wifi, Find Duplicate Files, and More @ Linux.com
- Microsoft Surface RT may only achieve 60% of forecasted sales @ DigiTimes
- Windows chief Steven Sinofsky leaves Microsoft @ The Inquirer
- Fedora 'Spherical Cow' delayed by bugs, Secure Boot @ The Register
- Microsoft rolls out always-on Skype for Windows Phone 8 @ The Register
- Gaming in Windows 8 vs Windows 7: what's the difference in performance? @ Hardware.info
- Windows 7 vs Windows 8 – The Definitive Performance Guide @ hardCOREware
- How to Change the Start Screen Background in Windows 8 @ TechSpot
- TP-Link TL-WDR3600 and WDR4300 review: two shades of black @ Hardware.info
- Win 1 El'Druin ARPG Gaming Mouse, 2 Hellion Gaming Mice and 1 Aegis Gaming Pad @ NikKTech
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 9, 2012 - 03:40 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, tahiti, radeon, never settle, live, amd
UPDATE: Did you miss the live stream yesterday? Well don't fret - you can still watch the single player and multi-player action of Medal of Honor Warfighter in the video below. Sorry, all the prizes have been handed out though but check back in at pcper.com for two more upcoming game streams!!
This afternoon on our PC Perspective Live! page we will be streaming some single player and multi-player game action of latest title to use the Frostbite 2 engine, Medal of Honor Warfighter. You can stop in and watch us take on a bit of the campaign in the game and then view my likely repetitive demise in some multi-player matches as well.
Medal of Honor Warfighter Game Stream
12pm PT / 3pm ET - TODAY
The stream today will be sponsored by AMD and their Never Settle game bundles which we previously told you about here. Depending on the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series GPU that you buy this holiday season you could get as much as $170 in gaming content including:
- FREE Sleeping Dogs
- FREE Hitman: Absolution
- FREE Far Cry 3
- 20% off Medal of Honor Warfighter
AMD's Robert Hallock (@Thracks on twitter) will be joining us via Skype to talk about the game's technology, performance considerations as well as making fun of while I get sniped from the windows.
Of course, just to sweeten the deal a bit we have some prizes lined up for those of you that participate in our Medal of Honor Game Stream today as well.
- 3 x Complete Never Settle Bundles (Sleeping Dogs, Hitman, Far Cry 3, 20% Off MoH)
- 5 x Sleeping Dogs keys
- 5 x Hitman: Absolution keys
- 5 x Far Cry 3 keys
Pretty nice, huh? That's a LOT of games and all you have to do to win is be present on the PC Perspective Live! Page during the event as we will announce both the content/sweepstakes method AND the winner!
Stop in today for some PC gaming fun!!
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2012 - 05:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: graphics drivers, Catalyst 12.11 Beta, Catalyst 12.10, amd
Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.10: Ready for Windows 8
For AMD Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000 and HD 7000 Series users, Microsoft has certified today’s AMD Catalyst 12.10 release as “compatible with Windows 8.” With this driver, these products offer full support for WDDM 1.2, which is an updated model for graphics drivers that Microsoft has developed to ensure smooth performance and wide compatibility in their new operating system.
- Target-Independent Rasterization (TIR): TIR is a new rendering path that enables superior anti-aliasing in Direct3D driver applications
- Native Stereo 3D Support: Windows 8 natively supports stereoscopic 3D gaming and videos via compatible applications
- Unified Video API: Video playback has been integrated into the DirectX 11 API, enabling simultaneous video and gaming content. Transcoding performance may also be improved for supporting applications.
- Optimized screen rotation for rotation aware devices Improved sleep/resume performance
- Optimized GPU power consumption
Major technologies / features also supported under Windows 8:
- AMD Eyefinity technology
- Unified Video Decoder (UVD)
- AMD Dual Graphics
- AMD CrossFire technology
- AMD Overdrive
- AMD Catalyst Control Center
- Vision Engine Control Center
Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.10: AMD Catalyst Mobility support for AMD Enduro Technology
AMD Catalyst Mobility now includes support for AMD Enduro Technology. AMD Enduro Technology is currently supported on all notebook Intel IvyBridge platforms and AMD Comal platforms that support the AMD Radeon HD 7900M, 7800M, 7700M.
AMD Enduro Technology for Notebooks delivers:
- Unbeatable battery life
- GPU accelerated performance for gaming, video, and compute apps
- A Seamless and automatic experience
New Enduro Technology features found in Catalyst 12.10:
Re-designed Catalyst Control Center user interface View all profiled applications View recently run applications Profile applications based on power source Expert mode control and customization Performance centric AC Battery centric DC
AMD’s latest Catalyst Application Profile:AMD Catalyst 12.10 CAP1 (to be used with AMD Catalyst 12.11 Beta as well)
Find the latest available AMD Catalyst CAP here http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/windows/Pages/radeonaiw_vista64.aspx
- Crysis 2: Resolves performance issues seen in CrossFire mode
- Darksiders 2: Resolves screen flickering seen in CrossFire mode
- Max Payne 3: Resolves Menu flickering when Anti-Aliasing is enabled through the Catalyst Control Center
- FIFA 13: Improves CrossFire performance, and improve single GPU performance ·
- Project C.A.R.S.: Resolves screen flickering seen in CrossFire mode
- Natural Selection 2 - Resolves Menu flickering when Anti-Aliasing is enabled through the Catalyst Control Center
Resolved issue highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.10 (from AMD Catalyst 12.8)
Tri and Quad CrossFire + Eyefinity configurations
- Users will no longer see lower than expected performance in certain DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 applications
- FireFox - corruption is no longer observed on CrossFire configurations
- Enabling Overdrive settings no longer increases clocks in all power states
- AMD Video Converter support is available in AMD Catalyst 12.9 Beta Windows 7 and Windows Vista packages
- Resolves the system delay observed when opening the Windows Audio system tray on Multi-GPU configurations to configure HDMI Audio settings
Feature Highlights of AMD Catalyst 12.10 Linux Driver: New OS Support
This release of AMD Catalyst Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems
Ubuntu 12.10 early look support RHEL 6.3 production support
Subject: Graphics Cards | October 22, 2012 - 03:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: asus, Matrix HD 7970 Platinum, amd, factory overclocked
The ASUS Matrix HD 7970 Platinum is an impressive card, physically as well as the performance it offers. It is a triple slot card measuring 11.25" long and 5.5" deep, so you might want to measure the space you have before thinking of purchasing one, it also weighs in at over 3lbs (1.4kg) which you should also keep in mind. While it is factory overclocked to 1050MHz on the GPU and memory of 6.6GHz, if you plan on leaving those numbers untouched you are missing out on the real reason to pick up this particular HD 7970. When [H]ard|OCP put the 20-phase Super Alloy Power technology and chokes to the test they hit 1310MHz on the GPU and pushed the memory to 7GHz, far beyond what any other HD 7970 they've reviewed could manage. That overclock was definitely noticeable when they benchmarked the card, which helped it win a Gold Award as the best HD 7970 they've seen ... even if it is hard to find for purchase.
"ASUS is launching its highest-end ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum video card today, poised to give you the best experience possible out of a Radeon HD 7970. This highly customized video card is geared directly towards the hardware enthusiast. Come see the highest overclock we've ever achieved on a 7970 GHz Edition based video card."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- ASUS Radeon HD 7970 ROG MATRIX Platinum @ Guru of 3D
- Asus Matrix HD 7970 Platinum Review @ OCC
- ASUS MATRIX HD 7970 Platinum @ Bjorn3D
- ASUS HD 7970 Matrix Platinum 3 GB @ techPowerUp
- Asus Matrix HD7970 Platinum @ Kitguru
- Sapphire Radeon HD 7970 3GB Vapor-X Video Card Review @ Legit Reviews
- Gigabyte HD 7970 Super Overclock Review @ Hardware Canucks
- HIS Radeon HD 7750 iCooler 1GB Low Profile Review @ NikKTech
- Sapphire HD 7950 Vapor-X @ Bjorn3D
- HIS 7970 IceQ X2 3GB GHz Edition Review @ HardwareLOOK
- AMD Radeon HD 7660D On Linux @ Phoronix
- AMD Catalyst: Ubuntu 12.10 vs. Windows 7 @ Phoronix
- AMD 12.11 "Never Settle" Driver Performance @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Catalyst 12.11 Never Settle Driver Performance article and Bundle @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Never Settle Game Bundle & Catalyst 12.11 Driver Performance @ Legit Reviews
- AMD Catalyst 12.11 Performance Analysis @ techPowerUp
- NVIDIA Chips Comparison Table @ Hardware Secrets
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Ti Power Edition 1GB @ Bjorn3D
- EVGA Geforce GTX 650Ti SuperSuperClocked Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Gigabyte GeForce GTX 650Ti Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- MSI GTX 650 Power Edition OC Review @ OCC
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 650 Ti OC 2GB @ Bjorn3D
- ZOTAC GeForce GTX 650 Ti AMP! Edition 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- GeForce GTX 660 Ti Graphics Cards from Asus, EVGA, Gigabyte, Inno3D, KFA2, MSI, Palit and Zotac @ X-bit Labs
- MSI GeForce GTX 660 HAWK 2 GB @ techPowerUp
- MSI GeForce GTX 650Ti Power Edition OC Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- ASUS GTX 650 Ti DirectCU II TOP @ Guru of 3D
- Inno3D GTX 680 iChill Black Edition and GTX 660 Ti iChill Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Gigabyte GTX 650 OC @ Funky Kit
- MSI GeForce GTX 650 Power Edition OC Video Card Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Inno3D iChill HerculeZ GeForce GTX 660 @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GeForce GTX 660 HAWK Edition @ Guru of 3D
- MSI GEFORCE GTX 650 1GB Power Edition @ Tweaktown
A curious new driver from AMD
In case you missed the news, AMD is going to be making a big push with their Radeon brand from now until the end of the year starting with an incredibly strong game bundle that includes as many as three full games and 20% off the new Medal of Honor. The second part of this campaign is a new driver specifically the 12.11 beta that will be posted to the public later this week.
AMD is claiming to have made some substantial improvements on quite a few games including the very popular Battlefield 3 and the upcoming Medal of Honor (both of which use the same base engine). But keep in mind that 15% is a LOT and this is the best case scenario in specific maps and you may not see benefits on others.
There are going to be some debates about the validity of these performance boosts from AMD until we can get some more specific details on WHAT has changed. Essentially the company line is that they have finally "caught up" to the GCN GPU architecture introduced with the Radeon HD 7970 in January of 2012. We traditionally see this happen with new GPU architectures from both vendors but for it to have taken this long is troublesome and will surely cause some raised eyebrows from gamers and the competition.
We decided to run through the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition with this new 12.11 beta driver to compare it to the 12.9 beta driver we had just completed testing on a few weeks ago. AMD claims performance advantages for all the GCN cards including the 7700/7800/7900 cards though we only had time to test a single card for our initial article. The results are on the following pages...