The next generation of id tech might make Ryzen shine

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2017 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: id software, amd, ryzen, robert duffy

Over at HEXUS you can sit back and watch a video of Robert Duffy from id Software discuss the potential of AMD's Ryzen processors in the next generation of game engines, with some hints about Vega.  He is confident that the team at id will be able to utilize the large core counts of Ryzen processors to enable great performance in 4K and even 8K with the new engine.  He specifically mentioned "framerate improvements, improved realism, and improved AI in games - all from the extra cores and threads available.

They were not able to tease any secret information from him, but the video is worth watching for both those interested in Ryzen or looking for information on what is next from id Software.

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"AMD has published a video interview with id Software's CTO (Chief Technical Officer), Robert Duffy. Unsurprisingly the interview talks up the capabilities and potential of AMD Ryzen tech in gaming engines, and in particular in the next generation id tech currently in development."

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Gaming

Source: HEXUS

Could Vega be just around the corner?

Subject: General Tech | April 26, 2017 - 02:32 PM |
Tagged: amd, Vega, rumours

A Facebook post from AMD Poland has started rumours flying around the interwebs as the implication is we will see it arrive this quarter; though perhaps taking a Facebook post as a verified source may lead to disappointment.  However, there is a bit more evidence than just the post which Digital Trends has displayed, we have seen CompuBench results of a mysterious AMD GPU which is very likely to be Vega.  It will have 64 compute units which translates into 4096 stream processors unless something very strange is going on.  The benchmarks also list two frequencies 1GHz and 1.2GHz which indicates computing performance of 8.2 TFLOPS and 9.8 TFLOPS respectively which puts it in the neighbourhood of the GTX 1080's 8.9 TFLOPS.  That will not necessarily directly translate into gaming performance but does indicate that AMD has a nice surprise in store for us. 

Don't forget to add a bit of salt to your rumour consumption and keep your eyes peeled for more information.

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"Of course, it’s entirely possible that someone at AMD Poland spoke out of turn, and so this information should be considered unverified at this point. But there’s other information that seems to confirm an imminent release, such as a Vega GPU showing in CompuBench benchmark results — something that usually happens shortly before a new component is released."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

BIOSTAR Launches First Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboards

Subject: Motherboards | April 24, 2017 - 07:31 PM |
Tagged: X370GTN, small form factor, SFF, ryzen, racing, motherboard, mITX, mini-itx, biostar, B350GTN, amd, AM4

We covered news of BIOSTAR's upcoming mini-ITX motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors at the beginning of March, and now the company has made them official. The RACING X370GTN and B350GTN are "the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform", and both support up to 95W AM4 processors and DDR4 speeds up to 3200 MHz - though officially only up to 2667 MHz for Ryzen CPUs.

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"BIOSTAR is thrilled to announce the latest addition to the growing mini-ITX family of BIOSTAR motherboards with the introduction of the world’s first mini-ITX motherboards for AMD AM4 platform and the first mini-ITX RGB LED-capable motherboards with AMD X370 and AMD B350 chipsets. BIOSTAR is pleased to welcome the new BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN mini-ITX motherboards into the RACING Series family.

Both motherboards aim to deliver the best balance of form and function, delivering the full potential that the AMD AM4 platform offers especially with AMD RYZEN CPUs, all in a small package.  The BIOSTAR RACING X370GTN and RACING B350GTN comes equipped with BIOSTAR 2nd-gen RACING features like 5050 LED Fun Zone with dual 5050 LED header for DIY customization, the BIOSTAR exclusive VIVID LED DJ with full RGB LED control that lets enthusiasts design their own system lighting with precise control. Together with that, BIOSTAR also adds performance and quality features for maximum system performance and stability."

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Both motherboard models are identical (other than the chipset, of course)

The full specs from BIOSTAR for both motherboards are reproduced below:

BIOSTAR Mini-ITX AM4 Motherboard Specifications
Model X370GTN B350GTN
Form Factor Mini-ITX (170 mm x 170 mm)
Chipset AMD X370 AMD B350
CPU Support AMD A-series APU / Ryzen CPU / NPU for Socket AM4
Maximum CPU TDP (Thermal Design Power) : 95Watt
Memory Support Dual Channel DDR4 3200(OC)/ 2933(OC)/ 2667/ 2400/ 2133/ 1866 MHz
Support Non-ECC & ECC Un-buffered DIMM Memory modules
2 x DDR4 DIMM Memory Slot
Max. Supports up to 32GB Memory
* DDR4 2667 for AMD Ryzen CPU
Storage 4 x SATA3 Connector
Support SATA RAID: 0,1,10
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
* M.2 (32Gb/s) : The bandwidth is depended on CPU, Ryzen is 32Gb/s ; APU & NPU is 16Gb/s
LAN Realtek RTL8118AS - 10/100/1000 Controller
Support Super LAN Surge Protection
Audio Realtek ALC892 8-Channel Blu-ray Audio
Support BIOSTAR Hi-Fi
USB 1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-C port (1 on rear I/Os)
1x USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gb/s) Type-A port (1 on rear I/Os)
6x USB 3.1 Gen1 (5Gb/s) port (4 on rear I/Os and 2 via internal header)
2x USB 2.0 port (2 via internal header)
Expansion Slots 1 x PCI-E x16 3.0 Slot (x16 for Ryzen CPU only, NPU/APU run at x8 speed)
Rear I/O 1 x PS/2
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C Port
1 x USB 3.1 Gen2 Port
4 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Port
1 x HDMI Connector, resolution up to 4096 x 2160 @24Hz or 3840 x 2160 @30Hz
1 x DVI-D Connector, resolution up to 1920 x 1200 @60Hz
1 x RJ-45 Port
5 x Audio Connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Port
Internal I/O 1 x USB 3.1 Gen1 Header
1 x USB 2.0 Header
4 x SATA3 6Gb/s Connector
1 x M.2 Key M 32Gb/s Connector, support M.2 type 2260/ 2280 SATA 6Gb/s & PCI-E Storage(on the back of the motherboard)
1 x Front Audio Header
1 x Front Panel Header
1 x CPU Fan Header
1 x System Fan Header
2 x 5050 LED Header
OS Support Windows 7 (x64), Windows 10 (x64)

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The rear I/O for both the X370 and B350 versions

As to pricing, BIOSTAR has set the MSRP for the RACING X370GTN at $129, with the RACING B350GTN at $109. A search of Amazon and Newegg does not show results for either board at time of press, but we should expect these in the retail pipeline soon.

Source: BIOSTAR

The RX 580 on Linux, locked stock and overclock

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 24, 2017 - 06:08 PM |
Tagged: linux, RX 580, amd, overclocking, Polaris

Phoronix have had a chance to test out the refreshed Polaris RX 580 on the Linux 4.11 kernel and Mesa 17.1-devel, initially the AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver update was not included thanks to interesting timing.  The performance deltas are as you would expect, a slight increase in performance that is relative to the increased clock speeds, just as when run on Windows.  They also had a chance to try overclocking the new card, AMD added support for overclocking GCN 1.2 and newer cards on their proprietary Linux driver in 2016.  They managed to increase the core by 6% without running into stability issues however when they overclocked the memory, they saw serious performance decreases.  Check out the steps they tried along with the results from the overlocked GPU here.

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"Yesterday I posted the initial Radeon RX 580 Linux benchmarks while now with having more time with this "Polaris Evolved" card I've been able to try out a bit more, like the AMDGPU Linux overclocking support. Here are the ups and downs of overclocking the Radeon graphics card under Linux."

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Source: Phoronix

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 21, 2017 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers

During the lull in game releases, AMD has released a new graphics driver with official, WHQL-certified support for Windows 10 Creators Update. As we’ve discussed in the past, I tend to err on the side of, “If you do a decent job at internal QA and the user can choose to skip a version or three, then rapid release is probably better than sitting around for a Microsoft certificate”. I mean, why not push out fixes as they are available if there’s no obvious downsides?

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Every so often, a WHQL version needs to be certified, though, if only to be accepted into Windows Update. Note that I don’t actually know whether this specific driver will be pushed by Microsoft after an update to the Creators Update – it’s just an example of a situation where WHQL matters.

That aside, the release notes for Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.3 do not state any specific fixes or changes. The main reason for this driver is to support the Creators Update for Windows 10, as well as add support for the new Radeon RX 570 and Radeon RX 580 graphics cards.

Source: AMD

Joe Macri on Ryzen

Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2017 - 08:05 PM |
Tagged: video, amd, Joe Macri, ryzen

TechARP just posted a video of AMD's Joe Macri discussing the new Ryzen processors from AMD.  It is not quite 20 minutes long which gives you a chance to quickly hear from AMD about what they feel the new architecture means for the company, as well as the impact it will have on gamers and enthusiasts.  He does mention the HSA Foundation and how AMD is working towards a basic change in how PCs utilize resources. They also embedded a link to a video featuring AMD's Radeon Product Marketing Manager, Adam Kozak, on the new 500 series if you have time.

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"AMD Corporate Vice President, Product Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Fellow, Joe Macri, flew in to brief us on the disruptive nature of the new AMD Ryzen processors. Join us for his full tech briefing!"

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Source: TechARP

Rumor: Intel Expects Coffee Lake and Basin Falls Early

Subject: Processors | April 19, 2017 - 08:00 PM |
Tagged: skylake-x, ryzen, kaby lake x, Intel, Core, coffee lake, amd

According to DigiTimes, Intel is expecting to release several new processors earlier than they had originally planned. That said, there are two issues with this report. The first point, which should be expected, is that it compares internal dates that were never meant to be public. It is not like Intel has changed their advertised roadmap.

The second problem is that it’s somewhat contradicted by Intel’s earlier, public statements.

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Their rumor claims that Intel will push up the launch of Basin Falls, which is Skylake-X, Kaby Lake-X, and X299, by about two months (around June). It also claims that Coffee Lake, which was originally scheduled for January 2018, will be released in August 2017. Both of these moves are being attributed to AMD’s new products.

The potential, somewhat, sort-of contradiction comes from a tweet that Intel made back in February. In it, they said that the 8th generation of Core processors are expected for 2H’17. This time frame doesn’t include January, although it only barely includes August, too. If Intel was always planning on launching Coffee Lake for the “back to school” season, then at least that half of DigiTimes’ story would be completely incorrect. On the other hand, if Intel’s tweet was talking about a sampling / paper launch in December, with volume shipment soon to follow, then DigiTimes would be fairly accurate.

We don’t know unless someone at Intel confirms either-or.

As for Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X, it would be interesting to see them launch at Computex / E3. Previous rumors (also from DigiTimes) that place it in the Gamescom, which is a huge gaming conference in Cologne. Interestingly, this rumor claims that only the four-, six-, eight-, and ten-core models will arrive at the time, with a twelve-core model waiting until the whole line was supposed to launch.

This omission makes me wonder if, in fact, Intel are rushing the launch, but they realize that they cannot get enough good chips to fill out the top-end SKU. In that case, it would make sense to push the smaller and partially-disabled chips out the door, while banking the big chips that can run all twelve cores at a reasonable voltage for some clock rate.

If so, that would, in fact, speak volumes about AMD’s roadmap (and Intel’s opinion of it).

Source: DigiTimes

Teaching an old star new tricks, the Radeon RX 580

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 18, 2017 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: RX 580, radeon, Polaris, amd, powercolor, red devil

Ryan covered the improvements over the previous Polaris based cards the RX 580 offers, a higher Rated Clock and standardizing memory frequency of all RX 580 models to 8GHz.  That lead to the expected increase in performance compared the the RX 480, in a marketplace somewhat different than what the first Polaris chips arrived in.  Consumers now know what NVIDIA's current generation cards provide in performance and prices have settled as much as can be expected in the volatile GPU market.  Those using cards several generations old may be more receptive to an upgrade than they were with the previous generation, especially as the next large launches are some time off; we shall see if this is true in the coming months.

One particular reason to consider upgrading is VR support, something [H]ard|OCP covers in their review.  The improved speeds do not provide miracles in their VR Leaderboard however they do show improvements in some games such as Serious Sam, with reprojection rates dropping markedly.

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"AMD is launching the AMD Radeon RX 500 series today, and we lead with a custom retail Radeon RX 580 GPU based video card from PowerColor. We’ll take the Red Devil RX 580 Golden Sample video card through the paces and see how it compares to the competition at the same price point."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

What is old is new again

Trust me on this one – AMD is aware that launching the RX 500-series of graphics cards, including the RX 580 we are reviewing today, is an uphill battle. Besides battling the sounds on the hills that whisper “reeebbrraannndd” AMD needs to work with its own board partners to offer up total solutions that compete well with NVIDIA’s stronghold on the majority of the market. Just putting out the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards with same coolers and specs as the RX 400-series would be a recipe for ridicule. AMD is aware and is being surprisingly proactive in its story telling the consumer and the media.

  • If you already own a Radeon RX 400-series card, the RX 500-series is not expected to be an upgrade path for you.
     
  • The Radeon RX 500-series is NOT based on Vega. Polaris here everyone.
     
  • Target users are those with Radeon R9 380 class cards and older – Polaris is still meant as an upgrade for that very large user base.

The story that is being told is compelling; more than you might expect. With more than 500 million gamers using graphics cards two years or older, based on Steam survey data, there is a HUGE audience that would benefit from an RX 580 graphics card upgrade. Older cards may lack support for FreeSync, HDR, higher refresh rate HDMI output and hardware encode/decode support for 4K resolution content. And while the GeForce GTX 1060 family would also meet that criteria, AMD wants to make the case that the Radeon family is the way to go.

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The Radeon RX 500-series is based on the same Polaris architecture as the RX 400-series, though AMD would tell us that the technology has been refined since initial launch. More time with the 14nm FinFET process technology has given the fab facility, and AMD, some opportunities to refine. This gives the new GPUs the ability to scale to higher clocks than they could before (though not without the cost of additional power draw). AMD has tweaked multi-monitor efficiency modes, allowing idle power consumption to drop a handful of watts thanks to a tweaked pixel clock.

Maybe the most substantial change with this RX 580 release is the unleashing of any kind of power consumption constraints for the board partners. The Radeon RX 480 launch was marred with issues surrounding the amount of power AMD claimed the boards would use compared to how much they DID use. This time around, all RX 580 graphics cards will ship with AT LEAST an 8-pin power connector, opening overclocked models to use as much as 225 watts. Some cards will have an 8+6-pin configuration to go even higher. Considering the RX 480 launched with a supposed 150 watt TDP (that it never lived up to), that’s quite an increase.

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AMD is hoping to convince gamers that Radeon Chill is a good solution to help some specific instances of excessive power draw. Recent drivers have added support for games like League of Legends and DOTA 2, adding to The Witcher 3, Dues Ex: Mankind Divided and more. I will freely admit that while the technology behind Chill sounds impressive, I don’t have the experience with it yet to claim or counterclaim its supposed advantages…without sacrificing user experience.

Continue reading our review of the Radeon RX 580 graphics card!

Take 5 to read through the Ryzen roundup

Subject: Processors | April 11, 2017 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: z270, ryzen 5, ryzen, amd, 1600X, 1400

As you have already read through Ryan's review of the Ryzen 1600X and 1500X running on MSI's B350 Tomahawk you know about how the chips measure up to Intel's offerings at the same price point.  Life being what it is, there is always a trade between testing everything and publishing results in a timely manner so it is possible that we missed your favourite game, benchmark or test setting which is why roundups such as this exist.  For instance over at [H]ard|OCP the tests were performed on an MSI Krait Z270 Gaming motherboard and they also had a chance to review the $169 Ryzen 5 1400. 

Drop by to take a look and don't forget there are a whole lot more just below.

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"AMD has been on a tear with its new Ryzen 7 CPUs over the past few weeks and now it is time for the Ryzen 5 processor family performance to be explored. We are giving away the AMD Reviewer's Kit with a 1600X and 1500X, instead we bought 1600 and 1400 processors to review here today. All data is retail CPUs, and all overclocked to 4GHz."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP