Subject: Systems | November 29, 2015 - 09:12 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, playstation 4, ps4, amd, Jaguar, APU
Of the eight Jaguar cores that Sony added to the PlayStation 4 APU, two were locked down the console's operating system and other tasks. This left the developer with six to push their workloads through. This was the same as the Xbox One until Microsoft released an update last year, which unlocked one to give seven.
NeoGAF users report that, allegedly, PlayStation 4 games can now utilize seven of the eight cores after a recent SDK update from Sony. They source a recent changelist for FMOD, a popular audio management library for PC, mobile, and console platforms, which references targeting “the newly unlocked 7th core.”
Since this is not an official Sony announcement, at least not publicly, we don't know some key details. For instance, is the core completely free, or will the OS still push tasks on it during gameplay? Will any features be disabled if the seventh core is targeted? How frequently will the seventh core be blocked, if ever? What will happen if you block it, if anything? The Xbox One is said to use about 20% of their unlocked seventh core for Microsoft-related tasks, and claiming the remaining 80% is said to disable voice recognition and Kinect features.
The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are interesting devices to think about. They go low frequency, but wide, in performance, similar to many mobile devices. They also utilize a well-known instruction set, x86, which obviously has a huge catalog of existing libraries and features. I don't plan on every buying another console, but they move with the industry and has a fairly big effect on it (albeit much less than previous generations).
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 29, 2015 - 05:25 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics driver, radeon, crimson
Users have been reporting that the latest AMD graphics driver, Radeon Software Crimson Edition, has been incorrectly setting fan speeds. Some users report that the driver spins up fans to 100% and others report that they slow down to 30% regardless of load.
Over the weekend, AMD acknowledged the issue and claim that a fix is intended for Monday.
Some users also claim that the card will stick with that fan setting until it cooks itself. This seems odd to me, since GPUs (and CPUs of course) are now designed to down-volt if temperatures reach unsafe levels, and even cut power entirely if heat cannot be managed. We haven't really seen reports of graphics cards cooking themselves since the Radeon HD 5000 series implemented hardware in response to Furmark and OCCT. That said, the driver bug might some how override these hardware protections.
In the mean time, you'll either want to keep an eye on your fan settings and reset them as necessary, or roll back to the previous driver. AMD didn't comment on the high fan speed issue that some were complaining about, so I'm not sure if this fix will address both issues.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 26, 2015 - 03:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers, GCN, terascale
The Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture is now a minimum requirement for upcoming AMD graphics drivers. If your graphics card (or APU) uses the TeraScale family of microarchitectures, then your last expected WHQL driver is AMD Catalyst 15.7.1 for Windows 7, 8.x, and 10. You aren't entirely left out of Radeon Software Crimson Edition, however. The latest Crimson Edition Beta driver is compatible with TeraScale, but the upcoming certified one will not be.
GCN was introduced with the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series, although it was only used in the Radeon HD 7700 series GPUs and above. The language doesn't seem to rule out an emergency driver release, such as if Microsoft breaks something in a Windows 10 update that causes bluescreens and fire on older hardware, but they also don't say that they will either. NVIDIA made a similar decision to deprecate pre-Fermi architectures back in March of 2014, which applied to the release of GeForce 343 Drivers in September of that year. Extended support for NVIDIA's old cards end on April 1st, 2016.
I wonder why AMD chose a beta driver to stop with, though. If AMD intended to support TeraScale with Crimson, then why wouldn't they keep it supported until at the first WHQL-certified version? If they didn't intend to support TeraScale, then why go through the effort of supporting it with the beta driver? This implies that AMD reached a hurdle with TeraScale that they didn't want to overcome. That may not be the case, but it's the first thing that comes to my mind none-the-less. Probably the best way to tell is to see how people with Radeon HD 6000-series (or lower-end 7000/8000-series) cards work with Radeon Software Crimson Beta.
Likely the last drivers that users with Radeon HD 6000-series graphics need are 15.7.1 or Radeon Software Crimson Edition Beta. We will soon learn which of the two will be best long-term.
Or, of course, you can buy a newer GPU / APU when you get a chance.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 25, 2015 - 02:54 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: radeon, r9 nano, mini ITX, amd, obsidian 250d, corsair
When Ryan tested out how the R9 Nano performs in tiny cases he chose the Cooler Master Elite 110, the Raijintek Metis, the Lian Li PC-Q33BL and their PC-Q30X. The card did slow down somewhat because of a lack of airflow in the case but that was quickly remedied with a drill press and we saw vast improvements in the in-game frequencies. [H]ard|OCP performed a similar experiment with the Cooler Master Elite 110 as well and found similar results.
They are now back at it again, this time testing in a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX case, which is large enough to accommodate a full sized GPU and provide improved airflow. They tested the Nano against a GTX 980 Ti and a R9 Fury X as they cost a similar amount to the tiny little Nano. They tested the cards at both 1440p and 4K resolutions and as you might reasonably expect the Nano fell behind, especially at 4K. If you have a case which can fit a full sized GPU then the Nano does not make sense to purchase, however in cases in which the larger cards will not fit then the Nano's performance is unmatched.
"Our second installment covering our AMD Radeon R9 Nano in a Small Form Factor chassis is finally done. We will upgrade the case to a Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini ITX PC Case and compare the R9 Nano to price competitive video cards that can be installed. We game at 1440p and 4K for the ultimate small form factor experience."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition Is A Letdown On Linux @ Phoronix
- Radeon Software Crimson; The Review @ Hardware Canucks
- AMD Radeon Software Crimson Editon Detailed Briefing @ TechARP
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 24, 2015 - 09:08 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, radeon software, radeon, live, giveaway, freesync, crimson, contest, amd
UPDATE: Did you miss today's live stream? No worries! You can get the full rundown of the new Radeon Software Crimson Edition driver and get details on new features like FreeSync Low Frame Rate Compensation, DX9 frame pacing, custom resolutions, and more. Check out the video embed below.
It's nearly time for the holidays to begin but that doesn't mean the hardware and software news train comes to a halt! This week we are hosting AMD in the PC Perspective offices for a live stream to discuss the upcoming release of the new AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition. Earlier in the month we showed you a preview of what changes were coming to the AMD GPU driver and now we are going to not only demo it for you but let the community ask AMD questions directly about it!
And what's a live stream without prizes? AMD has stepped up to the plate to offer up some awesome hardware for those of you that tune in to watch the live stream!
- 2 x AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB Fiji Graphics Cards
- 2 x PowerColor PCS+ Radeon R9 380 Graphics Cards
AMD Radeon Software Crimson Live Stream and Giveaway
12pm PT / 3pm ET - November 24th
Need a reminder? Join our live mailing list!
The event will take place Tuesday, November 24th at 12pm PT / 3pm ET at http://www.pcper.com/live. There you’ll be able to catch the live video stream as well as use our chat room to interact with the audience. To win the prizes you will have to be watching the live stream, with exact details of the methodology for handing out the goods coming at the time of the event.
I will be joined by Adrian Costelo, Product Manager for Radeon Software, and Steven Gans, UX Designer for Radeon Software. In short, these are the two people you want to hear from and have answer your questions!
If you have questions, please leave them in the comments below and we'll look through them just before the start of the live stream. Of course you'll be able to tweet us questions @pcper and we'll be keeping an eye on the IRC chat as well for more inquiries. What do you want to know and hear from AMD?
So join us! Set your calendar for Tuesday at 12pm PT / 3pm ET and be here at PC Perspective to catch it. If you are a forgetful type of person, sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list that we use exclusively to notify users of upcoming live streaming events including these types of specials and our regular live podcast. I promise, no spam will be had!
FreeSync and Frame Pacing Get a Boost
Make sure you catch today's live stream we are hosting with AMD to discuss much more about the new Radeon Software Crimson driver. We are giving away four Radeon graphics cards as well!! Find all the information right here.
Earlier this month AMD announced plans to end the life of the Catalyst Control Center application for control of your Radeon GPU, introducing a new brand simply called Radeon Software. The first iteration of this software, Crimson, is being released today and includes some impressive user experience changes that are really worth seeing and, well, experiencing.
Users will no doubt lament the age of the previous Catalyst Control Center; it was slow, clunky and difficult to navigate around. Radeon Software Crimson changes all of this with a new UI, a new backend that allows it to start up almost instantly, as well as a handful of new features that might be a surprise to some of our readers. Here's a quick rundown of what stands out to me:
- Opens in less than a second in my testing
- Completely redesigned and modern user interface
- Faster display initialization
- New clean install utility (separate download)
- Per-game Overdrive (overclocking) settings
- LiquidVR integration
- FreeSync improvements at low frame rates
- FreeSync planned for HDMI (though not implemented yet)
- Frame pacing support in DX9 titles
- New custom resolution support
- Desktop-based Virtual Super Resolution
- Directional scaling for 2K to 4K upscaling (Fiji GPUs only)
- Shader cache (precompiled) to reduce compiling-induced frame time variance
- Non-specific DX12 improvements
- Flip queue size optimizations (frame buffer length) for specific games
- Wider target range for Frame Rate Target Control
That's quite a list of new features, some of which will be more popular than others, but it looks like there should be something for everyone to love about the new Crimson software package from AMD.
For this story today I wanted to focus on two of the above features that have long been a sticking point for me, and see how well AMD has fixed them with the first release of Radeon Software.
FreeSync: Low Frame Rate Compensation
I might be slightly biased, but I don't think anyone has done a more thorough job of explaining and diving into the differences between AMD FreeSync and NVIDIA G-Sync than the team at PC Perspective. Since day one of the G-Sync variable refresh release we have been following the changes and capabilities of these competing features and writing about what really separates them from a technological point of view, not just pricing and perceived experiences.
Podcast #376 - Intel Speed Shift, CPU Coolers from Noctua and DEEPCOOL, Broadwell-E Rumors, and more!
Subject: General Tech | November 19, 2015 - 02:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, noctua, Deepcool, Gamer Storm Gabriel, Intel, speed shift, amd, R9, fury x, trixx, Broadwell-E, kaby lake, nvidia, shield tablet k1, knights landing, asus, chromebit
PC Perspective Podcast #376 - 11/19/2015
Join us this week as we discuss Intel Speed Shift, CPU Coolers from Noctua and DEEPCOOL, Broadwell-E Rumors, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:19:22
Week in Review:
0:32:10 This episode of PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Braintree. Even the best mobile app won’t work without the right payments API. That’s where the Braintree v.0 SDK comes in. One amazingly simple integration gives you every way to pay. Try out the sandbox and see for yourself at braintreepayments.com/pcper
News item of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 18, 2015 - 01:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Sapphire TriXX, R9 Fury X, overclocking, hbm, amd
The new version (5.2.1) of Sapphire's TriXX overclocking utility has been released, and it finally unlocks voltage and HBM overclocking for AMD's R9 Fury X.
(Image credit: Sapphire)
Previously the voltage of the R9 Fury X core was not adjustable, leaving what would seem to be quite a bit of untapped headroom for the cards which shipped with a powerful liquid-cooling solution rated for 500 watts of thermal dissipation. This should allow for much better results than what Ryan was able to achieve when he attempted overclocking for our review of the R9 Fury X in June (without the benefit of voltage adjustments):
"My net result: a clock speed of 1155 MHz rather than 1050 MHz, an increase of 10%. That's a decent overclock for a first attempt with a brand new card and new architecture, but from the way that AMD had built up the "500 watt cooler" and the "375 watts available power" from the dual 8-pin power connectors, I was honestly expecting quite a bit more. Hopefully we'll see some community adjustments, like voltage modifications, that we can mess around with later..."
(Image credit: Sapphire)
- You can download the new TriXX v5.2.1 software from the product page at Sapphire here.
Will TriXX v5.2.1 unleash the full potential of the Fury X? We will have to wait for some overclocked benchmark numbers, but having the ability can only be a good thing for enthusiasts.
Subject: General Tech | November 18, 2015 - 12:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, firepro, boltzmann, HPC, hsa
AMD has announced the Boltzmann Initiative to compete against Intel and NVIDIA in the HPC market this week at SC15. It is not a physical product but rather new a way to unite the processing power of HSA compliant AMD APUs and FirePro GPUs. They have announced several new projects including the Heterogeneous Compute Compiler (HCC) and Heterogeneous-compute Interface for Portability (HIP) for CUDA based apps which can automatically convert CUDA code into C++. They also announced a headless Linux driver and HSA runtime infrastructure interface for managing clusters which utilizes their InfiniBand fabric interconnect to interface system memory directly to GPU memory as well as adding P2P GPU support and numerous other enhancements. Check out more at DigiTimes.
"The Boltzmann Initiative leverages HSA's ability to harness both central processing units (CPU) and AMD FirePro graphics processing units (GPU) for maximum compute efficiency through software."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Open-Sources Visual Studio Code @ Slashdot
- Microsoft's gamble pays off as half of enterprises pledge Windows 10 in 2016 @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft chief Satya drops an S bomb in Windows 10, cloud talk @ The Register
- Trend Micro warns of Ashley Madison fallout and rise in data breaches @ The Inquirer
- How to Test-Drive OpenStack @ Linux.com
- Adobe releases out-of-band security patches – amazingly not for Flash @ The Register
- Asus RP-AC56 802.11ac wireless extender @ Kitguru
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 16, 2015 - 09:34 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, radeon, GCN
Late last week, Forbes published an editorial by Patrick Moorhead, who spoke with Raja Koduri about AMD's future in the GPU industry. Patrick was a Corporate Vice President at AMD until late 2011. He then created Moor Insights and Strategy, which provides industry analysis. He regularly publishes editorials to Forbes and CIO. Raja Koduri is the head of the Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.
I'm going to be focusing on a brief mention a little more than half-way through, though. According to the editorial, Raja stated that AMD will release two new GPUs in 2016. “He promised two brand new GPUs in 2016, which are hopefully going to both be 14nm/16nm FinFET from GlobalFoundries or TSMC and will help make Advanced Micro Devices more power and die size competitive.”
We have been expecting AMD's Artic Islands to arrive at some point in 2016, which will compete with NVIDIA's Pascal architecture at the high end. AMD's product stack has been relatively stale for a while, with most of the innovation occurring at the top end and pushing the previous top-end down a bit. Two new GPU architectures almost definitely mean that a second one will focus on the lower end of the market, making more compelling products on smaller processes to be more power efficient, cheaper per unit, and include newer features.
Add the recent report of the Antigua architecture, which I assume is in addition to AMD's two architecture announcement, and AMD's product stack could look much less familiar next year.