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
An update to a great architecture
This article will focus on the new Ivy Bridge, 3rd Generation Core Processor from a desktop perspective. If you are curious as the performance and features of the Ivy Bridge mobile processors, be sure to check out our Core i7-3720QM ASUS N56VM review here!!
One of the great things about the way Intel works as a company is that we get very few surprises on an annual basis in terms of the technology they release. With the success of shows like the Intel Developer Forum permitting the release of architectural details months and often years ahead of the actual product, developers, OEMs and the press are able to learn about them over a longer period of time. As you might imagine, that results in both a much better understanding of the new processor in question and also a much less hurried one. If only GPU cycles would follow the same path...
Because of this long-tail release of a CPU, we already know quite a bit about Ivy Bridge, the new 22nm processor architecture from Intel to be rebranded as the 3rd Generation Intel Core Processor Family. Ivy Bridge is the "tick" that brings a completely new process technology node as we have seen over the last several years but this CPU does more than take the CPU from 32nm to 22nm. Both the x86 and the processor graphics portions of the die have some changes though the majority fall with the GPU.
Ivy Bridge Architecture
In previous tick-tock scenarios the "tick" results in a jump in process technology (45nm to 32nm, etc) with very little else being done. This isn't just to keep things organized in slides above but it also keeps Intel's engineers focused on one job at a time - either a new microprocessor architecture OR a new process node; but not both.
For the x86 portion of Ivy Bridge this plan stays in tract. The architecture is mostly unchanged from the currently available Sandy Bridge processors including the continuation of a 2-chip platform solution and integrated graphics, memory controller, display engine, PCI Express and LLC along with the IA cores.
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)
More MHz for the Masses
AMD has had a rough time of it lately when it comes to CPUs. Early last year when we saw the performance of the low power Bobcat architecture, we thought 2011 would be a breakout year for AMD. Bulldozer was on the horizon and it promised performance a step above what Intel could offer. This harkened back to the heady days of the original Athlon and Athlon 64 where AMD held a performance advantage over all of Intel’s parts. On the graphics side AMD had just released the 6000 series of chips, all of which came close in performance to NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture, but had a decided advantage in terms of die size and power consumption. Then the doubts started to roll in around the April timeframe. Whispers hinted that Bulldozer was delayed, and not only was it delayed it was not meeting performance expectations.
The introduction of the first Llano products did not help things. The “improved” CPU performance was less than expected, even though the GPU portion was class leading. The manufacturing issues we saw with Llano did not bode well for AMD or the upcoming Bulldozer products. GLOBALFOUNDRIES was simply not able to achieve good yields on these new 32 nm products. Then of course the hammer struck. Bulldozer was released, well behind schedule, and with performance that barely rose above that of the previous Phenom II series of chips. The top end FX-8150 was competitive with the previous Phenom II X6 1100T, but it paled in comparison to the Intel i7 2600 which was right around the same price range.
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
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