Subject: Graphics Cards | February 14, 2017 - 05:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, graphics drivers
Just in time for For Honor and Sniper Elite 4, AMD has released a new set of graphics drivers, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1, that target these games. The performance improvements that they quote are in the 4-5% range, when compared to their previous driver on the RX 480, which would be equivalent to saving a whole millisecond per frame at 60 FPS. (This is just for mathematical reference; I don’t know what performance users should expect with an RX 480.)
Beyond driver overhead improvements, you will now be able to utilize multiple GPUs in CrossFire (for DirectX 11) on both titles.
Also, several issues have been fixed with this version. If you have a FreeSync monitor, and some games fail to activate variable refresh mode, then this driver might solve this problem for you. Scrubbing through some videos (DXVA H.264) should no longer cause visible corruption. A couple applications, like GRID and DayZ, should no longer crash under certain situations. You get the idea.
If you have an AMD GPU on Windows, pick up these drivers from their support page.
Get your brains ready
Just before the weekend, Josh and I got a chance to speak with David Kanter about the AMD Zen architecture and what it might mean for the Ryzen processor due out in less than a month. For those of you not familiar with David and his work, he is an analyst and consultant on processor architectrure and design through Real World Tech while also serving as a writer and analyst for the Microprocessor Report as part of the Linley Group. If you want to see a discussion forum that focuses on architecture at an incredibly detailed level, the Real World Tech forum will have you covered - it's an impressive place to learn.
David was kind enough to spend an hour with us to talk about a recently-made-public report he wrote on Zen. It's definitely a discussion that dives into details most articles and stories on Zen don't broach, so be prepared to do some pausing and Googling phrases and technologies you may not be familiar with. Still, for any technology enthusiast that wants to get an expert's opinion on how Zen compares to Intel Skylake and how Ryzen might fare when its released this year, you won't want to miss it.
Subject: Editorial | February 9, 2017 - 06:59 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: TSMC, Samsung, Results, quadro, Q4, nvidia, Intel, geforce, Drive PX2, amd, 2017, 2016
It is most definitely quarterly reports time for our favorite tech firms. NVIDIA’s is unique with their fiscal vs. calendar year as compared to how AMD and Intel report. This has to do when NVIDIA had their first public offering and set the fiscal quarters ahead quite a few months from the actual calendar. So when NVIDIA announces Q4 2017, it is actually reflecting the Q4 period in 2016. Clear as mud?
Semantics aside, NVIDIA had a record quarter. Gross revenue was an impressive $2.173 billion US. This is up slightly more than $700 million from the previous Q4. NVIDIA has shown amazing growth during this time attributed to several factors. Net income (GAAP) is at $655 million. This again is a tremendous amount of profit for a company that came in just over $2 billion in revenue. We can compare this to AMD’s results two weeks ago that hit $1.11 billion in revenue and a loss of $51 million for the quarter. Consider that AMD provides CPUs, chipsets, and GPUs to the market and is the #2 x86 manufacturer in the world.
The yearly results were just as impressive. FY 2017 featured record revenue and net income. Revenue was $6.91 billion as compare to FY 2016 at $5 billion. Net income for the year was $1.666 billion with comparison to $614 million for FY 2016. The growth for the entire year is astounding, and certainly the company had not seen an expansion like this since the early 2000s.
The core strength of the company continues to be gaming. Gaming GPUs and products provided $1.348 billion in revenue by themselves. Since the manufacturing industry was unable to provide a usable 20 nm planar product for large, complex ASICs companies such as NVIDIA and AMD were forced to innovate in design to create new products with greater feature sets and performance, all the while still using the same 28 nm process as previous products. Typically process shrinks accounted for the majority of improvements (more transistors packed into a smaller area with corresponding switching speed increases). Many users kept cards that were several years old due to there not being a huge impetus to upgrade. With the arrival of the 14 nm and 16 nm processes from Samsung and TSMC respectively, users suddenly had a very significant reason to upgrade. NVIDIA was able to address the entire market from high to low with their latest GTX 10x0 series of products. AMD on the other hand only had new products that hit the midrange and budget markets.
The next biggest area for NVIDIA is that of the datacenter. This has seen tremendous growth as compared to the other markets (except of course gaming) that NVIDIA covers. It has gone from around $97 million in Q4 2016 up to $296 million this last quarter. Tripling revenue in any one area is rare. Gaming “only” about doubled during this same time period. Deep learning and AI are two areas that required this type of compute power and NVIDIA was able to deliver a comprehensive software stack, as well as strategic partnerships that provided turnkey solutions for end users.
After datacenter we still have the visualization market based on the Quadro products. This area has not seen the dramatic growth as other aspects of the company, but it remains a solid foundation and a good money maker for the firm. The Quadro products continue to be improved upon and software support grows.
One area that promises to really explode in the next three to four years is the automotive sector. The Drive PX2 system is being integrated into a variety of cars and NVIDIA is focused on providing a solid and feature packed solution for manufacturers. Auto-pilot and “co-pilot” modes will become more and more important in upcoming models and should reach wide availability by 2020, if not a little sooner. NVIDIA is working with some of the biggest names in the industry from both automakers and parts suppliers. BMW should release a fully automated driving system later this year with their i8 series. Audi also has higher end cars in the works that will utilize NVIDIA hardware and fully automated operation. If NVIDIA continues to expand here, eventually it could become as significant a source of income as gaming is today.
There was one bit of bad news from the company. Their OEM & IP division has seen several drops over the past several quarters. NVIDIA announced that the IP licensing to Intel would be discontinued this quarter and would not be renewed. We know that AMD has entered into an agreement with Intel to provide graphics IP to the company in future parts and to cover Intel in potential licensing litigation. This was a fair amount of money per quarter for NVIDIA, but their other divisions more than made up for the loss of this particular income.
NVIDIA certainly seems to be hitting on all cylinders and is growing into markets that previously were unavailable as of five to ten years ago. They are spreading out their financial base so as to avoid boom and bust cycles of any one industry. Next quarter NVIDIA expects revenue to be down seasonally into the $1.9 billion range. Even though that number is down, it would still represent the 3rd highest quarterly revenue.
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 9, 2017 - 02:46 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, nvidia
New graphics drivers are a boon to everyone who isn't a hardware reviewer, especially one who has just wrapped up benchmarking a new card the same day one is released. To address this issue see what changes have been implemented by AMD and NVIDIA in their last few releases, [H]ard|OCP tested a slew of recent drivers from both companies. The performance of AMD's past releases, up to and including the AMD Crimson ReLive Edition 17.1.1 Beta can be found here. For NVIDIA users, recent drivers covering up to the 378.57 Beta Hotfix are right here. The tests show both companies generally increasing the performance of their drivers, however the change is so small you are not going to notice a large difference.
"We take the AMD Radeon R9 Fury X and AMD Radeon RX 480 for a ride in 11 games using drivers from the time of each video card’s launch date, to the latest AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.1.1 Beta driver. We will see how performance in old and newer games has changed over the course of 2015-2017 with new drivers. "
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Intel Celeron/Pentium/Core i3/i5/i7 - NVIDIA vs. AMD Linux Gaming Performance @ Phoronix
- PowerColor Radeon RX 470 Red Devil (4GB) @ Custom PC Review
- GeForce GTX 1080 @ Hardware Secrets
Subject: Editorial | February 9, 2017 - 10:50 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, Zen, Windows 10 Game Mode, webcam, ryzen, quadro, Optane, nvidia, mini-stx, humble bundle, gddr6, evga, ECS, atom, amd, 4k
PC Perspective Podcast #436 - 02/09/17
Join us for ECS Mini-STX, NVIDIA Quadro, AMD Zen Arch, Optane, GDDR6 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom
Program length: 1:32:21
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
1:14:00 Zen Price Points Leaked
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Allyn: Low cost OBD II scanner
Subject: Processors | February 8, 2017 - 09:38 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zen, Skylake, Samsung, ryzen, kaby lake, ISSCC, Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, AM4, 14 nm FinFET
Yesterday EE Times posted some interesting information that they had gleaned at ISSCC. AMD released a paper describing the design process and advances they were able to achieve with the Zen architecture manufactured on Samsung’s/GF’s 14nm FinFETT process. AMD went over some of the basic measurements at the transistor scale and how it compares to what Intel currently has on their latest 14nm process.
The first thing that jumps out is that AMD claimes that their 4 core/8 thread x86 core is about 10% smaller than what Intel has with one of their latest CPUs. We assume it is either Kaby Lake or Skylake. AMD did not exactly go over exactly what they were counting when looking at the cores because there are some significant differences between the two architectures. We are not sure if that 44mm sq. figure includes the L3 cache or the L2 caches. My guess is that it probably includes L2 cache but not L3. I could be easily wrong here.
Going down the table we see that AMD and Samsung/GF are able to get their SRAM sizes down smaller than what Intel is able to do. AMD has double the amount of L2 cache per core, but it is only about 60% larger than Intel’s 256 KB L2. AMD also has a much smaller L3 cache as well than Intel. Both are 8 MB units but AMD comes in at 16 mm sq. while Intel is at 19.1 mm sq. There will be differences in how AMD and Intel set up these caches, and until we see L3 performance comparisons we cannot assume too much.
(Image courtesy of ISSCC)
In some of the basic measurements of the different processes we see that Intel has advantages throughout. This is not surprising as Intel has been well known to push process technology beyond what others are able to do. In theory their products will have denser logic throughout, including the SRAM cells. When looking at this information we wonder how AMD has been able to make their cores and caches smaller. Part of that is due to the likely setup of cache control and access.
One of the most likely culprits of this smaller size is that the less advanced FPU/SSE/AVX units that AMD has in Zen. They support AVX-256, but it has to be done in double the cycles. They can do single cycle AVX-128, but Intel’s throughput is much higher than what AMD can achieve. AVX is not the end-all, be-all but it is gaining in importance in high performance computing and editing applications. David Kanter in his article covering the architecture explicitly said that AMD made this decision to lower the die size and power constraints for this product.
Ryzen will undoubtedly be a pretty large chip overall once both modules and 16 MB of L3 cache are put together. My guess would be in the 220 mm sq. range, but again that is only a guess once all is said and done (northbridge, southbridge, PCI-E controllers, etc.). What is perhaps most interesting of it all is that AMD has a part that on the surface is very close to the Broadwell-E based Intel i7 chips. The i7-6900K runs at 3.2 to 3.7 GHz, features 8 cores and 16 threads, and around 20 MB of L2/L3 cache. AMD’s top end looks to run at 3.6 GHz, features the same number of cores and threads, and has 20 MB of L2/L3 cache. The Intel part is rated at 140 watts TDP while the AMD part will have a max of 95 watts TDP.
If Ryzen is truly competitive in this top end space (with a price to undercut Intel, yet not destroy their own margins) then AMD is going to be in a good position for the rest of this year. We will find out exactly what is coming our way next month, but all indications point to Ryzen being competitive in overall performance while being able to undercut Intel in TDPs for comparable cores/threads. We are counting down the days...
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2017 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, FreeSync2, David Glen, Syed Hussain
TechARP published a video of their interview with AMD's David Glen and Syed Hussain in which they discussed what to expect from FreeSync 2. They also listed some key points for those who do not wish to watch the full video; either can be found right here. The question on most people's minds is answered immediately, this will not be a Vega only product and if your GPU supports the current version it will support the sequel. We will not see support for it until a new driver is released, then again we also await new monitors to hit the market as well so it is hard to be upset at AMD for the delay.
"While waiting for AMD to finalise Radeon FreeSync 2 and its certification program for their partners, let’s share with you our Q&A session with the two key AMD engineers in charge of the Radeon FreeSync 2 project – David Glen and Syed Athar Hussain."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 72% of 'Anonymous' Browsing History Can Be Attached To the Real User @ Slashdot
- Google AI's zoom and enhance photo tech gives you nowhere to hide @ The Inquirer
- AMD's daring new money-making strategy: Sue everyone! Mwahaha @ The Register
Subject: Processors | February 3, 2017 - 08:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: titan x, ryzen, report, processor, nvidia, leak, cpu, benchmark, ashes of the singularity, amd
AMD's upcoming 8-core Ryzen CPU has appeared online in an apparent leak showing performance from an Ashes of the Singularity benchmark run. The benchmark results, available here on imgur and reported by TechPowerUp (among others today) shows the result of a run featuring the unreleased CPU paired with an NVIDIA Titan X graphics card.
It is interesting to consider that this rather unusual system configuration was also used by AMD during their New Horizon fan event in December, with an NVIDIA Titan X and Ryzen 8-core processor powering the 4K game demos of Battlefield 1 that were pitted against an Intel Core i7-6900K/Titan X combo.
It is also interesting to note that the processor listed in the screenshot above is (apparently) not an engineering sample, as TechPowerUp points out in their post:
"Unlike some previous benchmark leaks of Ryzen processors, which carried the prefix ES (Engineering Sample), this one carried the ZD Prefix, and the last characters on its string name are the most interesting to us: F4 stands for the silicon revision, while the 40_36 stands for the processor's Turbo and stock speeds respectively (4.0 GHz and 3.6 GHz)."
March is fast approaching, and we won't have to wait long to see just how powerful this new processor will be for 4K gaming (and other, less important stuff). For now, I want to find results from an AotS benchmark with a Titan X and i7-6900K to see how these numbers compare!
Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2017 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Vega, Jeffrey Cheng
Tech ARP had a chance talk with AMD's Jeffrey Cheng about the new Vega GPU memory architecture. He provided some interesting details such as the fact that the new architecture can handle up to 512 TB of addressable memory. With such a large pool it would be possible to store data sets in HBM2 memory to be passed to the GPU as opposed to sitting in general system memory. Utilizing the memory present on the GPU could also reduce costs and energy consumption, not to mention the fact it will perform far more quickly. Pop by to watch the video to see how he feels this could change the way games and software could be programmed.
"Want to learn more about the AMD Vega memory architecture? Join our Q&A session with AMD Senior Fellow Jeffrey Cheng at the AMD Tech Summit!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Mozilla kills Firefox OS as it backs away from IoT ambition @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft tells OEMs that the secret to Windows 10 success is to be more 'cool' @ The Register
- Microsoft Introduces GVFS (Git Virtual File System) @ Slashdot
- 'Webroot made my PCs s*** the bed' – AV update borks biz machines hard @ The Register
- Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Wi-Fi Router System @ Custom PC Review
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2017 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Socket AM4, ryzen, noctua, NH-U12S SE-AM4, NH-L9x65 SE-AM4, NH-D15 SE-AM4, amd
If you are already planning your new AMD Ryzen build and are wondering what gigantic brown and tan coolers might work then Noctua has a page that will make you smile. They have listed all of their current coolers which can be made compatible with AM4 using a free adapter which you can order from that page. They also list some which could be made compatible but are not eligible for the free adapter and those which will not work at all.
Along with the compatibility list comes three brand new coolers, which you can see larger than life by clicking on their names. The NH-D15 SE-AM4 is a contender for Morry's next favourite cooler for mATX boards, 980g of metal and that is before you add the two 140mm fans. The NH-U12S SE-AM4 is slimmer 580g but is still 158mm tall and will use a 120mm fan. For those who prefer their coolers in petite sizes the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is a svelte 340g and stands a mere 65mm while wearing its custom fit 92mm fan.
You can pick them up soon, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 at $99.90, NH-U12S SE-AM4 for $64.90
and the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 at $52.90. PR below the fold.