Subject: Motherboards | October 3, 2012 - 02:52 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, motherboard, gigabyte, fm2, APU
AMD’s latest Trinity APUs launched yesterday, and with that Gigabyte launched its flagship socket FM2 motherboard, the GA-F2A85X-UP4. This board was shown off earlier this year, but now we have all the details. This motherboard is packed with all the Gigabyte technology you would expect from an enthusiast board, and some of the more interesting features include the Ultra Durable 5 capacitors, a digital PWM array, single package IR3550 PowIRStage ICs, and dual APU clock generators to push overclocking of non-K edition processors as far as possible – at least in theory. Also interesting is the inclusion of Lucid’s Virtu MVP GPU virtualization technology, two EFI BIOS chips, switchable graphics, and the ability to crossfire certain 6000-series discrete graphics cards with the GPU in the Trinity APU.
Internal connectivity options include the FM2 socket, four DDR3 DIMM slots (up to 64GB @ 1866MHz), seven SATA 6Gbps ports, one eSATA 6Gbps port, and support for RAID O, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD. Furter, the GA-F2A85X-UP4 supports three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. The first slot runs at x16 or x8 if there are two GPUs installed. The second and third slots run at x8 and x4 respectively. Gigabyte has also included three PCI-E 2.0 x1 slots for sounds and networking cards.
Internal IO headers include one CPU fan, four system fans, one S/PDIF, one USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, one serial, one clear CMOS, and one TPM.
Rear I/O on the flagship Trinity motherboard includes:
- 1 x PS/2
- 1 x VGA
- 1 x DVI
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x DisplayPort
- 1 x S/PDIF
- 4 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x eSATA
- 1 x RJ45
- 6 x analog audio jacks
This board is packing a lot of hardware, and the price is right around $130 depending on the retailer. The GA-F2A85X-UP4 is available now. Interestingly Gigabyte has also announced the F2A85XM-D3H based on the same A85X chipset as the flagship F2-A85X-UP4 as well as some lower tier motherboards based on the A75 and A55 chipsets with new FM2 sockets. Unfortunately, these motherboards do not appear to be available yet. If you are interested in those boards (which should cost less), keep an eye out for the F2A75M-D3H, and F2A55M-HD2 – or simply watch PC Perspective’s homepage of course!
In the meantime, you can find more photos of the GA-F2A85X-UP4 on Gigabyte's website.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | October 2, 2012 - 04:44 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, silent pc, passive cooling, asus, APU, amd
AMD officially launched its desktop Trinity APUs (Accelerated Processing Units) today, and along with the new processors are a number of new socket FM2 motherboards to support them. One of the cooler motherboard and Trinity APU pairings was shown off today in a completely silent PC by ASUS and AMD in the Akihabara district of Tokyo, Japan.
The silent system is nested inside a Streacom FC5 chassis that does double duty as a case and heatsink for the AMD APU. Inside the system is an unidentified power supply, two DDR3 DIMMS, Corsair Force SSD, ASUS F2A85-M PRO motherboard, and – of course – the AMD A10-5700K APU that we recently reviewed.
The APU is covered by an aluminum and copper block that is then connected to the metal case via four heatpipes. Then, the outside of the case has a finned design to provide more cooling surface area (but likely just to make it look cooler, heh).
This passively cooled system would make for a really nice home theater PC case, and the GPU prowess of the Trinity APU is well suited to such a task. You can find more photos of the fan-less Trinity system over at FanlessTech.
What do you think of Trinity, and will you be using it in your next build?
Subject: Processors | September 13, 2012 - 01:03 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: trinity, fm2, cpu, athlon, APU, AMD A series, amd, a75
NVIDIA’s new Kepler graphics cards (such as the GTX 660 we recently reviewed) will be getting most of the PC enthusiast attention today, but there is a bit of news about AMD to talk about as well.
The Trinity APU die.
Thanks to a Gigabyte motherboard compatibility list that was accidentally leaked to the internet, it was revealed that Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) would be repurposing Trinity APU dies that don’t quite make the cut due to non-operative graphics cores. Instead of simply discarding the processors, AMD is going to bin the chips into at least three CPU-only Athlon-branded processors. The Athlon X4 730, X4 740, and X4 750K are the three processors that are (now) public knowledge. All three of the CPUs have TDP ratings of 65W, and the X4 750K is even unlocked – allowing for overclocking. Further, the processors are all quad core parts with a total of 4MB of L2 cache (1MB per core).
The new Athlon-branded processors will be supported by the A75 chipset and will plug into FM2-socket equipped motherboards.
The following chart details the speeds and feeds of the Athlon processors with Trinity CPU cores.
|Athlon X4 730||2.8GHz||65W|
|Athlon X4 740||3.2GHz||65W|
|Athlon X4 750K||3.4GHz||65W|
Unfortunately, there is no word on pricing or availability. You can expect them to be significantly cheaper than the fully fledged Trinity processors to keep them price-competitive and in-line with the company's traditional CPU-only processors.
Would you consider rolling a Trinity-based Athlon in a budget build?
Read about the new direction of AMD as it moves to producing Vishera processors and beyond.
Subject: Motherboards | September 10, 2012 - 09:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mini-itx, htpc, fusion, biostar, APU, amd, a68i-350 deluxe, a68
While Intel has gotten a lot of Mini-ITX love lately, AMD is not out of the game yet. Motherboard manufacturer Biostar recently launched an AMD Fusion APU powered Mini-ITX motherboard that would make for a nice little HTPC. The A68I-350 Deluxe is based around some of the latest technologies including support for DDR3, PCI-E 3.0, and USB 3.0 standards.
The A68I-350 Deluxe motherboard measures 17 cm x 17 cm and comes with a bundled dual core AMD Fusion 350D APU. A heatsink and passive cooling for the south bridge are also provided in the package. The graphics card, memory, storage and other accessories are up to you, however. The Mini-ITX board features two DDR3 DIMM slots that support a maximum of 16 GB. Located in the lower right-hand corner are three SATA 3 6Gbps ports. Below that is a single PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot for a graphics card or other peripheral. Additional internal IO includes:
- 1 x printer header
- 2 x USB 2.0 header
- 1 X front panel audio
- 1 X front panel header (hdd, power, reset, ect)
- 1 x S/PDIF-OUT header
- 1 x CPU fan header
- 1 x system fan header
- 1 x serial header
According to Biostar, the motherboard also uses all solid capacitors to improve longevity.
Rear IO on the board is not quite as extensive as some of the other offerings available, but is still fairly good for the price. It features two PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse, one HDMI out, one VGA output, two USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports, one Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8111F Gigabit controller), and three audio output jacks (Realtek ALC662 6-channel HD audio).
The AMD APU that comes with the A68I-350 Deluxe features Radeon 6310 graphics, which are not the fastest but will still provide plenty of oomph for watching videos on the big screen. While it has not yet shown up at online retailers like Amazon and Newegg yet, it is reportedly already shipping and will have an MSRP of € 66 (euros) or approximately $84 USD. Considering the Intel options that have recently surfaced are going for $100+ easily, this Biostar motherboard should provide a nice budget option for your next HTPC or small form factor PC build!
You can find more information on the A68I-350 Deluxe over at the Biostar website.
Subject: General Tech | August 7, 2012 - 10:41 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: FirePro APU, APU, amd, a320, a300
AMD announced today that it is extending the professional FirePro brand to its Accelerated Processing Units–APUs. Aimed at the professional market, AMD is hoping to get its APUs into workstations that perform computer aided design (CAD) work as well as multimedia content creation and editing. Thanks to the APU’s built-in VILW4 graphics, it can be used with GPU-accelerated software to speed up workloads.
Currently, there are two FirePro chips planned–the A300 and A320 APU. Both processors are based on the company’s consumer Trinity APUs. They feature four Piledriver CPU cores and a VLIW4 GPU architecture with 384 stream processors and dedicated UVD video decoding hardware. The A300 is clocked at a 3.4 GHz with a turbo speed of 4 GHz. On the other hand, the A320 has a base clockspeed of 3.8 GHz and a turbo clockspeed of 4.2 GHz. The A320 is even unlocked, which would allow open overclocking.
|APU Model||TDP||CPU Cores||CPU Clockspeed (base/max turbo)||Stream Processors||GPU Clock||Unlocked|
|AMD FirePro A300||65W||4||3.4 GHz/4 GHz||384||760 Mhz||No|
|AMD FirePro A320||100W||4||
3.8 GHz/4.2 GHz
The new FirePro APUs differ from the consumer lineup in that AMD has put them through more testing to ensure reliability and compatibility with industry software.
- AMD Eyefinity Technology support
- AMD Turbo Core
- Display resolutions up to 10,240 x 1600 for multi-monitor setups
- Discrete Compute Offload support that allows the pairing of the APU graphics and a discrete GPU to accelerate GPGPU software.
- 30-bit color support
- Dedicated UVD hardware for media encoding
It is an interesting move for AMD to get into the workstation and professional design market. The company has been putting out dedicated graphics cards aimed at professionals for a long time, and now with the company betting its future on HSA and APUs, it was only a matter of time before they started aiming APUs at the professional market as well. The A300-series APUs will be available in various workstation integrators (OEMs for workstations) starting this month. Unfortunately, there is no word yet on pricing or whether the processors will be sold individually or not. You can see the full press release on the AMD website.
A selection of parts
AMD is without a doubt going through some very tough times with massive personnel issues as well as some problems with products and profitability. But that doesn’t mean the current product line from AMD is without merit and that you can’t build a great system for various environments, including those users looking for a mainstream and small form factor gaming and home theater PC.
While preparing for Quakecon 2012 we needed to build a system to take on the road for some minor editing and presentation control purposes. We wanted the PC to be small and compact, yet still powerful enough to take on some basic computing and gaming tasks. I happen to have some AMD Llano APUs in the office and thought they would fit perfectly.
If you are on the hunt for a small PC that can do some modest gaming and serve as an HTPC, then you might find our build here interesting. And while it isn't nearly as exciting as building a Llano PC while blindfolded - it's pretty close.
Case: Lian-Li PC-Q08B
Subject: Processors | July 20, 2012 - 11:21 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: quarterly earnings, loss, APU, amd
AMD recently released its Q2 2012 earnings (as did Intel), and things are continuing to look bleak for the number two x86-64 processor company. The company stated that the lower than expected numbers were the result of a weak economy and during a time of the year when people are not buying computers. The may be some truth to that as the second quarter is in the post-Christmas holiday season lul and before the big back-to-school retail push. On the economy front, it’s harder for me to say but without going political or armchair economist on you, the market seems better than it has been but is really still recovering–At least from a consumer perspective.
AMD reported revenue of $1.41 billion in the second quarter of 2012, which does not seem terrible, but when compared to Intel’s $13.5 billion Q2 revenue, and the fact that AMD’s numbers represent an 11-percent lower value than last quarter and 10-percent decrease versus Q2 2011, it’s easy to say that things are not looking good for the company.
According to Paul Lilly over at MaximumPC, when breaking AMD’s numbers down by business segment it gets even worse. Its Computing Solutions business fell 13-percent versus the previous quarter and Q2 2011. On the other hand, the company has the ever-so-slightly better news that the graphics card division stayed the same versus last year and was down 5-percent versus last quarter. The company was quoted as stating that the respective revenue drops were due to lower desktop sales in China and Europe and a “seasonally down quarter.”
PC Perspective’s Josh Walrath recently wrote up an editorial (note: pre-earnings call) that talks about AMDs new plan to focus on APUs, take on less risk, and push out new products faster. As a future-looking article, it talks about the impact of the company’s upcoming VIshera and Kaveri processors as well as AMD’s increased focus on heterogeneous system architectures. It remains to be seen if that new path for company will help them to make money or if it will hurt them. AMD cautions that Q3 2012 may not see increased revenue, but here’s hoping that they will be able to pull together for a strong Q4 and sell chips during the big holiday shopping season.
I for one am excited about the prospects of Kaveri and believe that HSA could work and is what AMD needs to focus on as it is one advantage that they have over NVIDIA and Intel – NVIDIA does not have an x86-64 license and Intel’s processor graphics leave room for improvement, to put it mildly. AMD may not have the best CPU cores, but it’s not an inherently bad design and where they are moving with the full convergence of the CPU and GPU is much farther ahead of the other big players.
Read more about AMD's Q2 2012 earnings (transcript).
Subject: General Tech, Processors | July 12, 2012 - 03:51 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, llano, APU, comiccon
If you are in the San Diego area today or tomorrow, you should make it a point to stop by Belo San Diego (http://www.belosandiego.com/ 438 E Street), a night club near the convention area, to visit with the AMD and the Geek and Sundry group.
Felicia Day, most popular for her role in the web-series The Guild, will be part of the on going event between 10am and 2am both today (the 12th) and tomorrow sponsored by AMD. She is excited to be there - just look!
If you stop by the Belo nightclub during those hours you can take home a FREE AMD A8-3870K APU (with accompanying motherboard) if you agree to use your social media outlets (Twitter and Facebook) to tell your friends about the experience. You will in fact become an AMD Social Media Reviewer!
Sorry, if you aren't in the San Diego area, you are out of luck on this promotion. This is just another reason why attending ComicCon is so enticing!
Podcast #208 - AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHZ Edition, Intel Core i5-3470, our Blindfolded APU build and more!
Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2012 - 05:18 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Vertex 4, thunderbolt, ssd, podcast, nvidia, i5-3470, hd7970, blindfolded, APU, 7970 ghz edition
PC Perspective Podcast #208 - 06/28/2012
Join us this week as we talk about the AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHZ Edition, Intel Core i5-3470, our Blindfolded APU build and more!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malvantano
This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
Program length: 1:05:24
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- 0:01:42 AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
- 0:09:10 Live Review Recap: AMD Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition
- 0:10:30 Silverstone Crown Series CW02 case review
- 0:13:50 Intel Core i5-3470 IVB Review
- 0:21:11 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
- 0:22:05 Live Video Recap: AMD Llano APU Blindfolded Build
- 0:25:50 ASUS ROG Matrix HD 7970 coming soon
- 0:30:00 Sandia Cooler Prototype
- 0:39:50 Dell Ubuntu Notebooks
- 0:43:40 Can a 12-core ARM cluster hit critical mass?
- 0:48:20 Google announces Nexus 7 tablet powered by Tegra 3
- 0:55:55 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: General Tech, Systems | June 23, 2012 - 06:04 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, llano, blindfolded, APU, amd
Well, we did it! Today I successfully built an AMD A-series APU based computer while blindfolded LIVE. At the start of the event I went over the various components used for the build including the AMD A8-3800 APU, MSI A75 motherboard, Corsair 550D case and 650 watt power supply and more. After showing it all, I wrapped a scarf around my head and went to work.
There were quite a few more hurdles than I expected including spreading the thermal paste correctly, screwing the motherboard into the case and finding the pins for the front panel power button. I was surprised at how easily I was able to install the APU, memory and heatsink, but that likely comes with years of practice and experience with the hardware.
In all, it took me 1 hour and 18 minutes to get to a Windows screen using a pre-installed OS on a Western Digital 1TB hard drive. That was MUCH longer than I had originally thought it would take, so I have been humbled by those DIY PC users that build their own on without sight a regular basis!
If you missed the live event we hosted at http://pcper.com/live you can find the replay hosted right here below. Enjoy watching me completely make a fool of myself!
Update: The winner of the blindfolded system was selected, congrats goes to Darren who gets the task of rebuilding this rig! :D