Is the GPU in Intel Kaby Lake-G More Polaris than Vega?

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | April 9, 2018 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: Vega, Polaris, kaby lake-g, Intel, amd

Over the weekend, some interesting information has surfaced surrounding the new Kaby Lake-G hardware from Intel. A product that is officially called the “8th Generation Intel Core Processors with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics” is now looking like it might be more of a Polaris-based GPU than a Vega-based one. This creates an interesting marketing and technology capability discussion for the community, and both Intel and AMD, that is worth diving into.

PCWorld first posted the question this weekend, using some interesting data points as backup that Kaby Lake-G may in fact be based on Polaris. In Gordon’s story he notes that in AIDA64 the GPU is identified as “Polaris 22” while the Raven Ridge-based APUs from AMD show up as “Raven Ridge.” Obviously the device identification of a third party piece of software is a suspect credential in any situation, but the second point provided is more salient: based on the DXDiag information, the GPU on the Hades Canyon NUC powered by Kaby Lake-G does not support DirectX 12.1.

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Image source: PCWorld

AMD clearly stated in its launch of the Vega architecture last year that the new GPUs supported DX 12.1, among other features. The fact that the KBL-G part does NOT include support for it is compelling evidence that the GPU might be more similar to Polaris than Vega.

Tom’s Hardware did some more digging that was posted this morning, using a SiSoft Sandra test that can measure performance of FP16 math and FP32. For both the Radeon RX Vega 64 and 56 discrete graphics cards, running the test with FP16 math results in a score that is 65% faster than the FP32 results. With a Polaris-based graphics card, an RX 470, the scores between FP32 and FP16 were identical as the architecture can support FP16 math functions but doesn’t accelerate it with AMD’s “rapid packed math” feature (that was a part of the Vega launch).

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Image source: Tom's Hardware

And you guessed it, the Kaby Lake-G part only runs essentially even in the FP16 mode. (Also note that AMD’s Raven Ridge APU that integrated Vega graphics does get accelerated by 61% using FP16.)

What Kaby Lake-G does have that leans toward Vega is support for HBM2 memory (which none of the Polaris cards have) and “high bandwidth memory cache controller and enhanced compute units with additional ROPs” according to the statement from Intel given to Tom’s Hardware.

It should be noted that just because the benchmarks and games that can support rapid packed math don’t take advantage of that capability today, does not mean they won’t have the capability to do so after a driver or firmware update. That being said, if that’s the plan, and even if it’s not, Intel should come out and tell the consumers and media.

The debate and accusations of conspiracy are running rampant again today with this news. Is Intel trying to pull one over on us by telling the community that this is a Vega-based product when it is in fact based on Polaris? Why would AMD allow and promote the Vega branding with a part that it knows didn’t meet the standards it created to be called a Vega architecture solution?

Another interesting thought comes when analyzing this debate with the Ryzen 7 2400G and Ryzen 5 2200G products, both of which claim to use Vega GPUs as a portion of the APU. However, without support for HBM2 or the high-bandwidth cache controller, does that somehow shortchange the branding for it? Or are the memory features of the GPU considered secondary to its design?

This is the very reason why companies hate labels, hate specifications, and hate having all of this tracked by a competent and technical media. Basically every company in the tech industry is guilty of this practice: Intel has 2-3 architectures running as “8th Generation” in the market, AMD is selling RX 500 cards that were once RX 400 cards, and NVIDIA has changed performance capabilities of the MX 150 at least once or twice.

The nature of semi-custom chips designs is that they are custom. Are the GPUs used in the PS4 and Xbox One or Xbox One X called Polaris, Vega, or something else? It would be safer for AMD and its partners to give each new product its own name, its own brand—but then the enthusiasts would want to know what it was most like, and how did it compare to Polaris, or Vega, etc.? It’s also possible that AMD was only willing to sell this product to Intel if it included some of these feature restrictions. In complicated negotiations like this one surely was, anything is feasible.

These are tough choices for companies to make. AMD loves having the Vega branding in more products as it gives weight to the development cost and time it spent on the design. Having Vega associated with more high-end consumer products, including those sold by Intel, give them leverage for other products down the road. From Intel’s vantage point using the Vega brand makes it looks like it has the very latest technology in its new processor and it can benefit from any cross-promotion that occurs around the Vega brand from AMD or its partners.

Unfortunately, it means that the devil is in the details, and the details are something that no one appears to be willing to share. Does it change the performance we saw in our recent Hades Canyon NUC review or our perspective on it as a product? It does not. But as features like Rapid Packed Math or the new geometry shader accelerate in adoption, the capability for Kaby Lake-G to utilize them is going to be scrutinized more heavily.

Source: Various
Author:
Manufacturer: Intel

System Overview

Announced at Intel's Developer Forum in 2012, and launched later that year, the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) project was initially a bit confusing to the enthusiast PC press. In a market that appeared to be discarding traditional desktops in favor of notebooks, it seemed a bit odd to launch a product that still depended on a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, yet didn't provide any more computing power.

Despite this criticism, the NUC lineup has rapidly expanded over the years, seeing success in areas such as digital signage and enterprise environments. However, the enthusiast PC market has mostly eluded the lure of the NUC.

Intel's Skylake-based Skull Canyon NUC was the company's first attempt to cater to the enthusiast market, with a slight stray from the traditional 4-in x 4-in form factor and the adoption of their best-ever integrated graphics solution in the Iris Pro. Additionally, the ability to connect external GPUs via Thunderbolt 3 meant Skull Canyon offered more of a focus on high-end PC graphics. 

However, Skull Canyon mostly fell on deaf ears among hardcore PC users, and it seemed that Intel lacked the proper solution to make a "gaming-focused" NUC device—until now.

8th Gen Intel Core processor.jpg

Announced at CES 2018, the lengthily named 8th Gen Intel® Core™ processors With Radeon™ RX Vega M Graphics (henceforth referred to as the code name, Kaby Lake-G) marks a new direction for Intel. By partnering with one of the leaders in high-end PC graphics, AMD, Intel can now pair their processors with graphics capable of playing modern games at high resolutions and frame rates.

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The first product to launch using the new Kaby Lake-G family of processors is Intel's own NUC, the NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon). Will the marriage of Intel and AMD finally provide a NUC capable of at least moderate gaming? Let's dig a bit deeper and find out.

Click here to continue reading our review of the Intel Hades Canyon NUC!

CES 2018: Dell Introduces XPS 15 2-in-1 Powered By Kaby Lake-G

Subject: Mobile | January 9, 2018 - 01:00 PM |
Tagged: Vega M, rx vega m, laptop, kaby lake-g, dell xps 15 2-in-1, dell, convertible, CES 2018, CES

Following up on its updates to the XPS 13 last week, Dell today is unveiling a new 15-inch model of its XPS 2-in-1 lineup. The XPS 15 2-in-1, as it's officially named, is powered by the new Kaby Lake-G platform, which pairs an 8th Gen Intel Core processor with AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics.

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The 15.6-inch touchscreen display is available in both 1080p and 4K resolutions with up to 400-nits brightness and 100 percent Adobe RGB coverage. The display also supports Dell's new Active Pen, an optional $99 accessory which offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity with tilt support and palm rejection technology.

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Despite its powerful Intel and AMD Radeon components, Dell claims that the XPS 15 2-in-1's 75Whr battery is good for up to 15 hours of battery life.

Check out the complete specs:

Processor Options Intel Core i7-8705G
Intel Core i5-8305G
Memory 8GB DDR4 2400MHz
16GB DDR4 2400MHz
Graphics Integrated Radeon RX Vega M
4GB HBM2
Display 15.6-inch 3200x1800 (100% Adobe RGB)
15.6-inch 1920x1080 (100% sRGB)
Capacitive touchscreen with active pen support
Storage 128GB SATA SSD
256GB PCIe SSD
512GB PCIe SSD
1TB PCIe SSD
AC Adapter 130W
Battery 75Whr
Up to 15 hours
I/O 2 x Thunderbolt 3
2 x USB 3.1 Type-C
microSD Card Reader
3.5mm audio in/out
Connectivity Killer 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1
Dimensions 354 x 235 x 16mm
Weight Starting at 4.3lbs

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Complete pricing information for all configurations is not yet available, but Dell states that the new XPS 15 2-in-1 will start at $1299.99 and will be available for purchase sometime this spring.

Source: Dell

CES 2018: HP Spectre x360 15 Updated With Kaby Lake-G: 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPUs Paired with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics

Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: rx vega m, rx vega, radeon rx vega, laptop, kaby lake-g, Kaby Lake G, Intel, hp, convertible, CES 2018, CES, amd

HP today announced an update to its Spectre x360 15-inch convertible laptop, introducing a new model based on Intel's "Kaby Lake-G" platform: an 8th generation Core processor paired with integrated AMD Radeon RX Vega M graphics. For those who who need NVIDIA graphics, a model of the Spectre x360 15 with Kaby Lake-R processors and NVIDIA's GeForce MX150 is also available.

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The new 2018 model of the Spectre x360 15 retains similar styling to its 2017 predecessor, but with a few important changes. Overall thickness is increased from 17.9mm to 19.45mm in order to accommodate the more powerful internal hardware (a change that HP advertises as "2.5X more performance for about a grain of rice thicker"), and the weight increases from 2017's 4.43lbs to 4.62lbs for the Kaby Lake-R model and 4.72lbs for Kaby Lake-G.

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The 2018 model also sees a redesigned keyboard. The speaker grills that flanked the 2017 model's keyboard are gone in order to make room for a new edge-to-edge keyboard with numeric keypad. As a result, the laptop's touchpad is shifted left to remain centered with the main keyboard.

Other features include the 15.6-inch Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen display with a 4K UHD resolution, an 84 Wh battery (good for 13.5 hours of battery life on the Kaby Lake-R model and 12 hours for Kaby Lake-G), USB 3.1 Type-A, HDMI 2.0, an SD Card Reader, and up to two Thunderbolt 3 ports depending on configuration.

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Specs and pricing for the Spectre x360 15:

  KBL-R KBL-R KBL-G KBL-G
CPU 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8th Gen Intel Core i7
Memory 8GB RAM 16GB RAM 8GB RAM 16GB RAM
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX150 NVIDIA GeForce MX 150 Radeon RX Vega M Radeon RX Vega M
Storage 256GB SSD 512GB SSD 256GB SSD 512GB SSD
Display 15.6-inch UHD Touchscreen 15.6-inch UHD Touchscreen 15.6-inch UHD Touchscreen 15.6-inch UHD Touchscreen
Connectivity 1 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB Type-C 3.1
1 x USB Type-A 3.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
SD Card Reader
1 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB Type-C 3.1
1 x USB Type-A 3.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
SD Card Reader
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB Type-A 3.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
SD Card Reader
2 x Thunderbolt 3
1 x USB Type-A 3.1
1 x HDMI 2.0
SD Card Reader
Price $1369.99 $1599.99 $1449.99 $1699.99

Beyond the standard configurations shown above, storage upgrades up to 2TB will also be available, although upgrade pricing is not yet available. All models include the standard HP Pen, with the more advanced HP Tilt Pen available as a $90 accessory.

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The HP Spectre x360 15 will be available starting March 18th from HP.com and Best Buy.

Source:
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

The end of the world as we know it?

A surprise to most in the industry that such a thing would really occur, AMD and Intel announced in November a partnership that would bring Radeon graphics to Intel processors in 2018. The details were minimal at the time, and only told us specifics of the business relationship: this was a product purchase and not a license, no IP was changing hands, this was considered a semi-custom design for the AMD group, Intel was handling all the integration and packaging. Though we knew that the product would use HBM2 memory, the same utilized on the RX Vega products released last year, it was possible that the “custom” part was a Polaris architecture that had been retrofitted. Also, details of the processor side of this technology was left a mystery.

Today we have our answers and our first hands-on with systems utilizing what was previously known as Kaby Lake-G and what is now officially titled the “8th Generation Intel Core Processors with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics.” I’m serious.

8th Gen Intel Core processor.jpg

For what I still call Kaby Lake-G, as it easier to type and understand, it introduces a new product line that we have not seen addressed in a very long time – high performance processors with high performance integrated graphics. Even though the combined part is not a single piece of silicon but instead a multi-chip package, it serves the same purpose in the eyes of the consumer and the OEM. The marriage of Intel’s highest performance mobile processor cores, the 8th Generation H-series, and one of, if not THE fastest mobile graphics core in a reasonable thermal envelope, the Vega M, is incredibly intriguing for all kinds of reasons. Even the currently announced AMD APUs and those in the public roadmaps don’t offer a combined performance package as impressive as this. Ryzen Mobile is interesting in its own right, but Kaby Lake-G is on a different level.

From a business standpoint, KBL-G is a design meant to attack NVIDIA. The green giant has become one of the most important computing companies on the planet in the last couple of years, leaning into its graphics processor dominance and turning it into cash and mindshare in the world of machine learning and AI. More than any other company, Intel is worried about the growth and capability of NVIDIA. Though not as sexy as “machine learning”, NVIDIA has dominated the mobile graphics markets as well, offering discrete GPU solutions to pair with Intel processor notebooks. In turn, NVIDIA eats up much of the margin and profitability that these mainstream gaming and content creation machines can generate. Productization of things like Max-Q give the market reason to believe that NVIDIA is the true innovator in the space, regardless of the legitimate answer to that question. Intel see that as no bueno – it wants to remain the leader in the market completely.

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Continue reading our overview of the new Intel 8th Gen Processors with Vega M graphics!

CES 2018: Intel Introduces Kaby Lake-G Powered Enthusiast NUC

Subject: Systems | January 7, 2018 - 08:14 PM |
Tagged: Vega M, NUC 8 Enthusiast, nuc, mini PC, kaby lake-g, Intel, core i7, CES 2018, CES, amd, 8th generation core

Intel has announced a new imagining of their high-end NUC mini-PC called the NUC 8 Enthusiast. The most significant difference between this and the previous high-end NUCs from Intel is that this one doesn't rely on Intel's integrated graphics as AMD Vega M graphics are onboard, and along with them the promise of some legitimate gaming muscle.

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What exactly is under the hood? There are two variants, with the NUC8i7HVK (which offers 100W AMD RX Vega M graphics) and NUC8i7HNK (with 65W AMD Vega M graphics). Here first are the specs for the NUC8i7HVK:

  • GPU and GFX: 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8809G  3.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 100W Radeon™ RX Vega M GH graphics, 1063 MHz – 1190 MHz Unlocked and VR-capable
  • RAM: Dual channel DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs, 1.2V, 32GB maximum
  • Storage: 2x M.2 22x42/80 (key M) slots for SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe or AHCI SSD, RAID-0 and RAID-1 capable
  • SDXC slot
  • Connectivity: 2x rear Thunderbolt™ 3 (40 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C™ connector Front USB 3.1 Gen2 via USB-C™ and front USB type-A connector Front charging USB 3.0, 4x rear USB 3.0, 2x internal USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 via headers Front Consumer Infrared port
  • Video Outputs: Front and rear HDMI 2.0a (4K 60Hz, HDR) connectors DisplayPort 1.3 via 2x rear Mini DisplayPort ports, and 2x rear Thunderbolt™ USB-C™ ports All ports support HDCP 2.2
  • Networking:  2x Intel® 10/100/1000 Mbps (i219-LM and i210-AT) Ethernet ports Intel® Wireless-AC 8265 M.2 22x30 card, IEEE 802.11ac 2x2 + Bluetooth v4.2, internal antennas
  • Audio: Up to 7.1 multichannel digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort signals 3.5mm front headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker / TOSLINK combo jack
  • Enclosure:  Metal and plastic with replaceable lid, Kensington lock with base security
  • Dimensions: 221 x 142 x 39 mm (1.2 L)
  • Internal Headers:  Common I/O header with Front Panel, CEC, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB2.0 signals
  • Power Adapter: 19V DC 230W power supply with replaceable AC cords
  • Other Features: 
    • Replaceable lid with customizable RGB LED illumination and front panel status RGB LEDs
    • Quad beam-forming mic array
    • VESA mounting plate included
    • Three-Year Warranty

That Core i7 8809G processor listed above is also unlocked, allowing for whatever overclocking might be possibile in this small form-factor. The differences with the NUC8i7HNK are strictly in the CPU/GPU area:

  • 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8705G  3.1 GHz to 4.1 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 65W Radeon™ RX Vega M GL graphics, 931 MHz – 1011 MHz

Besides the new Kaby Lake-G chips there is a lot more I/O in this NUC than we saw with the "Skull Canyon" enthusiast model (NUC6i7KYK), and here the taller design (39 mm vs. 28 mm) doesn't hurt.

NUC8i7HVK Back Panel.jpg

With the bottom half of the rear panel reserved for cooling there is still room for 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x mini DisplayPort, a full size HDMI, dual LAN, 4x USB 3.0 ports, and 3.5 mm audio (with optical). Up front there is a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, two more USB 3.0 ports (one charging), another full-size HDMI, SDXC card slot, and a second 3.5 mm audio.

NUC8i7HVK Front Panel.jpg

Just how effectively this small device can cope with the demands of a 65W or 100W GPU - and potentially overclocked quad-core CPU - remains to be seen, but the thicker chassis compared to that previous "Skull Canyon" NUC suggests this has been accounted for.

So how much will this enthusiast-class NUC cost you? MSRP for the 65W GPU version is $799, and the 100W GPU version is $999. Availability is set for March 2018.

Source: Intel

Rumour mill; Vega makes an appearance on Kaby Lake G?

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2018 - 12:28 PM |
Tagged: Vega, kaby lake-g, Intel, amd

If the leaked chip specifications over at The Inquirer are accurate, we will be seeing AMD Vega GPUs moving into Intel's chip package.  The tortuously named i7-8809G will have a TDP of 100W, a base clock of 3.1GHz and a Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics accelerator in addition to Intel's own HD 630.  The chip has since disappeared from online listings but hints at what could be a very interesting reveal at CES this year; we will know more in just a few short days.  NVIDIA has not yet made any comments about this reveal, which could have a significant impact on their lower end sales.

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"Listed as an Intel Core i7-8809G, the quad-core eight-thread processor comes sporting both integrated Intel HD 630 graphics and packaged graphics acceleration in the form of the Radeon RX Vega M GH."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

Rumor: Hades Canyon NUC with AMD Graphics Spotted

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 9, 2017 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: Skull Canyon, nuc, kaby lake-g, Intel, Hades Canyon VR, Hades Canyon, EMIL, amd

Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of new mobile-focused CPUs integrating AMD Radeon graphics, we have our first glimpse at a real-world design using this new chip.

HadesCanyon.jpg

Posted on the infamous Chinese tech forum, Chiphell earlier today, this photo appears to be a small form factor PC design integrating the new Kaby Lake-G CPU and GPU solution.

Looking at the standard size components on the board like the Samsung M.2 SSD and the DDR4 SODIMM memory modules, we can start to get a better idea of the actual size of the Kaby Lake-G module.

Additionally, we get our first look at the type of power delivery infrastructure that devices with Kaby Lake-G are going to require. It's impressive how small the motherboard is taking into account all of the power phases needed to feed the CPU, GPU, and HBM 2 memory. 

NUC_roadmap.png

Looking back at the leaked NUC roadmap from September, the picture starts to become more clear. While the "Hades Canyon" NUCs on this roadmap threw us for a loop when we first saw it months ago, it's now clear that they are referencing the new Kaby Lake-G line of products. The plethora of IO options from the roadmap, including dual Gigabit Ethernet and 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports also seem to match closely with the leaked NUC photo above.

Using this information we also now have a better idea of the thermal and power requirements for Kaby Lake-G. The base "Hades Canyon" NUC is listed with a 65W processor, while the "Hades Canyon VR" is listed with as a 100W part. This means that devices retain the same levels of CPU performance from the existing Kaby Lake-H Quad Core mobile CPUs which clock in at 35W, plus roughly 30 or 65W of graphics performance.

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These leaked 3DMark scores might give us an idea of the performance of the Hades Canyon VR NUC.

One thing is clear; Hades Canyon will be the highest power NUC Intel has ever produced, surpassing the 45W Skull Canyon. Considering the already unusual for a NUC footprint of Skull Canyon, I'm interested to see the final form of Hades Canyon as well as the performance it brings! 

With what looks to be a first half  2018 release date on the roadmap, it seems likely that we could see this NUC or other similar devices being shown off at CES in January. Stay tuned for more continuing coverage of Intel's Kaby Lake-G and upcoming devices featuring it!

Source: Chiphell