Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | December 15, 2011 - 04:03 AM | Scott Michaud
NVIDIA lays as the current front-runner for the “Last Year’s Best Decision, This Year” award. You may remember our coverage last June of the AMD Fusion Developer Summit; industry members such as ARM, Microsoft, and of course AMD discussed the potential of utilizing specialized processors and developing on open platforms such as OpenCL and Microsoft’s announced C++ AMP. Do you know what would have been an amazing announcement for AFDS to stomp OpenCL and C++ AMP? That NVIDIA would open up CUDA. Know what announcement missed that bus by a whole half a year? NVIDIA will open up CUDA.
Your platform pooh-pooh? Bear a CUDA.
While I just harassed NVIDIA for their timing, it might not be too late. CUDA is still a powerhouse of a GPGPU platform with substantial software support from absolute mammoth software packages such as Adobe Creative Suite to smaller projects like KGPU. With the open sourcing of the CUDA compiler, NVIDIA is also permitting manufacturers like AMD and even Intel to support CUDA with their GPUs, x86 CPUs, and other processing units. While I am excited at this outcome, I am still somewhat confused about NVIDIA’s timing: they are just a little late to open up and crush the market, and they seem quite abrupt if they originally intended CUDA to survive as a forever-proprietary computing platform.
The Low Cost Sandy Bridge-E
In the conclusion to my original story looking at the performance characteristics of the Sandy Bridge-E platform, I wrote this:
I am most interested in the Core i7-3930K (as I think most of you will be), but we are going to have to wait a bit to see if we can get performance and power results for that part.
Well good readers, I am here with that information! After getting my hands on the Core i7-3930K processor that makes up the other 50% of the available options for the X79 chipset motherboards, I can definitively say that THIS is the processor you want. Unless you are crazy-go-nuts rich.
With a clock speed only about 2.5% lower than its bigger brother yet a price that is 44% lower, the LGA2011 socket definitely has its enthusiast favorite.
The Sandy Bridge-E Summary
I am not going to bother reprinting everything that we discussed about the new Sandy Bridge-E processor architecture, the X79 chipset and platform changes here though if you haven't read about them before today, you should definitely take a look at my earlier article.
Here is a quicker summary:
The answer might surprise you, but truthfully not a whole lot has changed. In fact, from a purely architectural stand point (when looking at the x86 processor cores), Sandy Bridge-E looks essentially identical to the cores found in currently available Sandy Bridge CPUs. You will see the same benefits of the additional AVX instruction set in applications that take advantage of it, a shared L3 cache that exists between all of the cores for data coherency and the ring bus introduced with Sandy Bridge is still there to move data between the cores, cache and uncore sections of the die.
Turbo Boost technology makes a return here as well with the updated 2.0 version in full effect - there are more steppings in scalability on this part than on the Nehalem or Westmere CPUs.
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | December 6, 2011 - 04:45 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, core i7, APU, amd, a8-3850
Our collection of videos comparing the AMD A8-3850 Llano APU to the Sandy Bridge-based Core i3-2105 have been very popular. We thought we would wrap up 2011 with one final video that looks at the integrated graphics solutions on both processors in five of the top games released in 2011. Here is what and how we compared them:
- Batman: Arkham City - 1920x1080 - Low
- Portal 2 - 1920x1080 - Very High
- Battlefield 3 - 1366x768 - Low
- Skyrim - 1920x1080 - Low
- Modern Warfare 3 - 1920x1080 - High
Not to give away the secret but...
Be sure you check out our Video Perspective below!!
Subject: Processors | December 5, 2011 - 01:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, i3-3200, i7-3700, i5-3500, i5-3400, 22nm, tri-gate
Good news for those of you who have been waiting to upgrade in the hopes that Ivy Bridge will be arriving on time. It seems your patience has paid off but you will have to wait a while longer before you can get your hands on Intel's next tick. You can look forward to more PCIe 3.0 lanes, just like those who've jumped onto the new Sandy Bridge E chips and a bump on the GPU portion of the chip. X-bit Labs doesn't have any pricing for the new chips, but they do list all of the models you will be able to buy. One thing you should note are the impressive TDPs, they may not count as low power CPUs but they're certainly lower than other Intel and AMD chips currently on the market.
"Intel Corp. has notified its partners about its decision to introduce of its next-generation code-named Ivy Bridge processors in the second quarter of 2012. Previously the company planned to release the Core i 3000-series central processing units (CPUs) for desktops in March - April timeframe, which left a possibility to unveil the chips in the first quarter."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel Core i7-3690X-EE @ LostCircuits
- Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Review @ Techgage
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- AMD FX-8150 CPU @ Metku.net
- AMD FX-8150 With The Open64 5.0 Compiler @ Phoronix
Subject: Processors | December 1, 2011 - 11:50 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Ivy Bridge, Intel, delayed, 22nm
Although Intel’s latest Sandy Bridge successor, Ivy Bridge, was slated for a January 2012 launch, the situation is now looking more bleak. According to these slides over at BSN, Intel is delaying Ivy Bridge until at least April. While the top end Core i7 3770 Ivy Bridge processor might be available as soon as Q2 2012, it is also the most expensive part, and usually not the one that the majority of enthusiasts are waiting for. Rather, the important processors to watch for are the mid range and overclocker-friendly Core i5 series which will be available in Q3 2012 at the earliest if the current road-map holds true. The i5 3550 part may come out in Q2 2012 along with the top end i7 CPU; however, the majority of i5 processors will be released as soon as Q3 2012.
Further, the budget Core i3 Ivy Bridge parts are in the same boat as the i5 processors, with at least one (possibly) becoming available along with the top end Core i7 part in Q2 2012 and the rest slowly trickling out over the remainder of the year. While it is generally the case that the top end processor(s) are released first, followed by the lower end and less expensive parts, the delay has pushed back a April release for some of the budget parts to a Summer release. Needless to say, it is less than ideal for those consumers eagerly waiting for certain chips to go on sale. Not to mention that for those adventurous few that were willing to pay top dollar for the top end i7 chip this January now have to wait even longer.
The delay is likely due to Intel wanting to get as much money as possible out of the Sandy Bridge platform, and the lackluster launch of AMD’s Bulldozer products. Intel is likely taking the extra time to refine the new chipsets and the PCIe 3.0 support (that is also not technically rated for PCIe 3.0 speeds, sort of (heh)). On the other hand, Bright Side Of News speculates that the delay may be in part due to various retirements throughout the company requiring more development time in addition to needing more time to flesh out the graphics drivers for the GPU portion of Ivy Bridge processors.
Were you hoping for an Ivy Bridge upgrade early next year? Because of the further delays, will you spring for a top end Sandy Bridge system or wait it out for Ivy Bridge despite the money burning a hole in your pocket? As someone that is still rocking a 1156 system, I was hoping to skip Sandy Bridge and go for Ivy Bridge (I seem to love near-end-to-life sockets); however, with the delays I’m not sure what I’ll be doing now.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 25, 2011 - 08:45 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xeon, SC11, mic, many integrated core, knights corner, Intel
This year saw the 40th anniversary of (the availability of) the world’s first microprocessor- the Intel 4004 processor- and Intel is as strong as ever. On the supercomputing and HPC (High Performance Computing) front, Intel processors are powering the majority of the Top 500 supercomputers, and at this years supercomputing conference (SC11) the company talked about their current and future high performance silicon. Mainly, Intel talked about its new Intel Xeon E5 family of processors and the new Many Integrated Cores Knights Corner Larrabee successor.
The Intel Xeon E5 is available now.
The new Xeon chips are launching now and should be widely available within the first half of 2012. Several (lucky) supercomputing centers have already gotten their hands on the new chips and are now powering 10 systems on the Top 500 list where the 20,000 Xeon E5 CPUs are delivering a combined 3.4 Petaflops.
According to benchmarks, Intel is expecting a respectable 70% performance increase on HPC workloads versus the previous generation Xeon 5600 CPUs. Further Intel stated that the new E5 silicon is capable of as much as a 2x increase in raw FLOPS performance, according to Linpack benchmarks.
Intel is reporting that demand for the initial production run chips is “approximately 20 times greater than previous generation processors.” Rajeeb Hazra, the General Manager of Technical Computing of Intel’s Datacenenter and Connected Systems Group, stated that “customer acceptance of the Intel Xeon E5 processor has exceeded our expectations and is driving the fastest debut on the TOP 500 list of any processor in Intel’s history.” The company further reiterated several supercomputers that are set to go online son and will be powered by the new E5 CPUs including the 10 Petaflops Stampede computer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center and the 1 Petaflops Pleiades expansion for NASA.
While Intel processors are powering the majority of the world’s fastest supercomputers, graphics card hardware and GPGPU software has started to make its way into quite a few supercomputers as powerful companion processors that can greatly outperform a similar number of traditional CPUs (assuming the software can take advantage of the GPU hardware of course). In response to this, Intel has been working on it’s own MIC (Many Integrated Core) solution for a few years now. Starting with Larrabee, then Knights Ferry, and now Knights Corner, Intel has been working on silicon that using numerous small processing cores that can use the X86 instruction set to power highly parallel applications. Examples given by Intel as useful applications for their Many Integrated Core hardware includes weather modeling, tomography, and protein folding.
Knights Corner is the company’s latest iteration of MIC hardware, and is the first hardware that is commercially available. Knights Corner is capable of delivering more than 1 Teraflops of double precision floating point performance. Hazra stated that “having this performance now in a single chip based on Intel MIC architecture is a milestone that will once again be etched into HPC history” much like Intel’s first Teraflop supercomputer that utilized 9,680 Pentium Pro CPUs in 1997.
What’s interesting about Knights Corner lies in the ability of the hardware to run existing applications without porting to alternative programing languages like Nvidia’s CUDA or AMD’s Stream GPU languages. That is not to say that the hardware itself is not interesting, however. Knights Corner will be produced using Intel’s Tri-Gate transistors on a 22nm manufacturing process, and will feature “more than 50 cores.” Unlike current GPGPU solutions, the Knights Corner hardware is fully accessible and can be programmed as if the card is it’s own HPC node running a Linux based operating system.
More information on the Knights Corner architecture can be found here. I think it will be interesting to see how well Knights Corner will be adopted for high performance workloads versus graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD, especially now that the industry has already begun adapting GPGPU solutions using such programming technologies like CUDA, and graphics cards are becoming more general purpose (or at least less specialized) in hardware design. Is Intel too late for the (supercomputing market adoption) party, or just in time? What do you think?
Subject: Processors | November 23, 2011 - 01:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, bulldozer, cool 'n' quiet, Turbo Core, linux, fx-8150
AMD's Cool'n'Quiet feature, which lowers your CPU core frequencies when they are not under heavy usage has been around for a while, but Phoronix though it was time to revisit the Linux support for this feature and Turbo Core as we have a brand new architecture to test. They fired up the FX-8150 again, running under Ubuntu 11.10 with the Linux 3.1 kernel and started benchmarking. Their results show that AMD's power saving features are still working well under Linux, better when using single threaded applications than with multi-threaded but still worth enabling for those who want lower heat production and energy consumption. It is hard to say how much you will save on power though, as the software Phoronix used to measure, fam15h_power, never budged from the 125W mark even when the system was pulling less power from the wall.
"For those wondering about the impact that AMD's Cool 'n' Quiet and Turbo Core technologies have under Linux for the latest-generation Bulldozer processors, here are some tests illustrating the changes in performance, power consumption, and operating temperature."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Bulldozer for Servers: Testing AMD's "Interlagos" Opteron 6200 Series @ AnandTech
- AMD's Bulldozer server benchmarks are here, and they're a catastrophe @ Ars Technica
- How-To: 8 GHz on Bulldozer @ Overclockers.com
- AMD FX-8150 Bulldozer Overclocking On Ubuntu Linux @ Phoronix
- Desktop CPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Intel HiZ Is Finally Ready For Sandy Bridge @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i7 3930K @ Tweaktown
- Intel Core i7-3930K, Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition Processors for LGA 2011 @ X-bit Labs
- Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU @ Benchmark Reviews
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | November 21, 2011 - 10:00 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, sandy bridge, mw3, modern warfare 3, Intel, APU, amd
There is little denying that Call of Duty: Modern Warfar 3 is a success; I think it sold like 19 billion copies on the first night. Something like that. So, as we have done quite a bit in recent months, we wanted to see how our processor-graphics based solutions compared to each other in the title. We recently took a look at how Battlefield 3 performed and we had a lot of great feedback on that post - so let's try this again!
Luckily for gamers (or not, depending on your point of view), MW3 is pretty light on graphics hardware. We did our testing at 1920x1080 with the following quality settings:
With 2x anti-aliasing enabled and most quality settings turned up to their highest options, the game still looked pretty good during our testing. No, it's no Battlefield 3, but very few titles are.
Both systems come in with a total cost of about $450 with the Core i3-2105 and A8-3850 at the center of each configuration.
As you might guess, the integrated graphics on the AMD Llano APU outperforms the Sandy Bridge graphics, but by how much? Check out the video for all the details!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | November 15, 2011 - 05:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: AMD VISION Engine, amd, fusion, APU, steady video
The AMD VISION Engine is the name that AMD is using to describe the new features they are offering for users of their GPUs, APUs and those with both. One example is the AMD Steady Video feature that Ryan and Ken showed off in July. That is not all, this encompasses the hybrid Crossfire that exists in Llano laptops with discrete GPUs straight through to support for 30bit colour depth (aka 10bit per channel, 10 bit per pixel) and the GPU accelerated Flash.
If you are interested in getting more from your APU then head to the AMD VISION site to download their driver package, think of it as a Catalyst with benefits.
Subject: Processors | November 14, 2011 - 03:12 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, sandy bridge-e, x79, 3960x extreme edition
It has been a while since Intel has released a CPU at $1000, which has felt a little strange as historically they've had a flagship processor in that price range. Sangy Bridge E spells the return to this price point with the Core-i7 3960X Extreme Edition CPU. The basic stats will make you drool, 6 cores and 12 threads of 32nm, 130W TDP CPU with a base clock of 3.3GHz, Turbo speed of 3.9GHz and 15MB of shared cache. The benchmarks however leave something to be desired; certainly it is faster than the original Sandy Bridge but it does not leave the competition eating its dirt. Single GPU gamers probably won't even notice a change from previous chips, however with the extra power of the 3960X paired with the amazing amount of PCIe lanes available on the X79 series of motherboards, multi-GPU users may benefit much more from this chip. That still doesn't change [H]ard|OCP's final comment about this chip, "Sandy Bridge E, maximizing BitTorrent ratios, one desktop at a time."
"Intel debuts its $1000+ Extreme Edition 3960X processor parroting how great it is for the gamer and enthusiast. With 6 cores and 12 threads, a new motherboard and chipset platform, and quad channel DDR3, Intel as done the impossible, given us everything we don't want, and nothing we do want."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Intel's Core i7-3960X processor: Sandy Bridge goes Extreme @ The Tech Report
- Intel Core i7 3960X (Sandy Bridge E) Review: Keeping the High End Alive @ AnandTech
- Intel Sandy Bridge E 3690X CPU Reviewed @ Madshrimps
- Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition CPU Review @ Hardware Secrets
- Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition Review @ HCW
- Intel's X79 Chipset, Core i7 3960X & DX79SI Motherboard @ Bjorn3D
- Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme and X79 Chipset Launch - Core i7-3960X Processor Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Intel Core i7-3690X Extreme Edition CPU @ Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Sandy Bridge Extreme Core i7 3960X Review @ OCC
- Intel Core i7-3960X Processor Extreme Edition Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition @ Tweaktown
- Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition and Core i7-3930K processors for LGA 2011 Platform @ X-bit Labs
- Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy Bridge-E Review @ Neoseeker
- Intel Sandy Bridge-E Debuts: Core i7-3960X @ Techspot
- Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition @ Legion Hardware
- Intel i7 Sandy Bridge Extreme @ Overclockers.com
- Intel Core i7-3960X @ OC3D
- Intel Sandy Bridge-E i7-3960X CPU Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Intel i7 3960X EE / Gigabyte GA X79 UD3 / 16GB GSkill Ripjaws Z (2133mhz) @ Kitguru
- Intel i7 3960X EE / Asus Rampage IV Extreme / Corsair GTX8 (2400mhz) / Quad GTX590 @ Kitguru
- Intel i7 3960X EE / Asus P9X79 Deluxe / 32GB Corsair Vengeance (1600mhz) @ Kitguru
- Intel Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E Processor Review @ Legit Reviews
- Core i7 3960X processor & MSI X79A-GD65 & ASUS Rampage IV Extreme @ Guru3D