Podcast #239 - NVIDIA GTX TITAN, PlayStation 4 Hardware, SSD Endurance and more!

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2013 - 02:58 AM |
Tagged: titan, Tegra 4i, tegra 4, ssd, ps4, podcast, nvidia, Intel

PC Perspective Podcast #239 - 02/21/2013

Join us this week as we discuss NVIDIA GTX TITAN, PlayStation 4 Hardware, SSD Endurance and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

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  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 0:59:53

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:01:20 Crysis 3 Live Game Stream - Win Free Stuff!!
    2. 0:03:20 Gigabyte GA-F2A85X-UP4 FM2 Motherboard Review: Overkill for Trinity?
    3. 0:09:25 NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN Preview - GK110, GPU Boost 2.0, Overclocking and GPGPU
    4. 0:24:15 Taking an Accurate Look at SSD Write Endurance
  2. 0:27:20 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:28:50 AMD wants to set the record straight on its future GPU strategy
    2. 0:36:05 A Crowd Funded Mini-ITX Case, the NCASE M1
    3. 0:38:30 Sony's Fourth Playstation (PS4) Specs Revealed
      1. Next Generation Consoles Likely Not Compatible
    4. 0:45:15 NVIDIA Releases Tegra 4i: Mini-Me!
  4. Closing:
    1. 0:49:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: Excel 2013.. or not.
      2. Jeremy: WobbleWorks $75 Pen-Sized 3D Printer on Kickstarter
      3. Josh: Sweet lookin Monitor... not without quirks
      4. Allyn: Gunnar
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

February 21, 2013 | 05:08 AM - Posted by rwmcclarin

Just to let you know, the video is set to private. Here and on Youtube.

February 21, 2013 | 07:16 AM - Posted by Prodeous (not verified)

Same for me, can't watch :(

February 21, 2013 | 08:29 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

youtube.com/pcper , same thing, private

February 21, 2013 | 09:23 AM - Posted by Ss3trnks2

Anyone else not hearing audio for this?

February 21, 2013 | 09:39 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)


February 21, 2013 | 09:40 AM - Posted by MarkT (not verified)

Correction: still audio issues

February 21, 2013 | 09:48 AM - Posted by DeadOfKnight (not verified)

No sound.

February 21, 2013 | 09:56 AM - Posted by hih64

No sound.

February 21, 2013 | 10:10 AM - Posted by YTech2 (not verified)

Sorry, no audio here as well. :(

February 21, 2013 | 10:36 AM - Posted by Goose_67a

No audio.

February 21, 2013 | 10:49 AM - Posted by Goofus Maximus (not verified)

Ditto. Animated video, but accompanied by the silence of the grave...

(insert spooky graveyard background noise here)

February 21, 2013 | 10:49 AM - Posted by fvbounty (not verified)

No sound and I can't read lips...LOL

February 21, 2013 | 12:18 PM - Posted by DeadOfKnight (not verified)


February 21, 2013 | 05:01 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I have no idea why your video would still have no sound.  I deleted that one.

February 22, 2013 | 02:42 AM - Posted by ezjohny

On the the PS4 I would want to see the teraflops at 2.5 instead of 2.0 for the next generation in gameplay with the right amount of stream processor and shaders.

February 22, 2013 | 03:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Besides a shocking sticker pricer for the Surface-pro, users are also reporting shocking of the electrical kind!


February 22, 2013 | 04:12 PM - Posted by onion uk (not verified)

just to let you know the video & audio are working fine for me in the UK.

good pod cast, i really want that fx chip i see behind josh every week! ha ha

February 23, 2013 | 12:46 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)


It's a semi-custom ********APU*******. THAT MEANS ONE CHIP.

It's also elements from the 2013 roadmap = Jaguar + 8xxx GPU = full HSA implementation.

!!! FULL HSA IMPLMENTATION !!! That's fricking H-U-G-E.

Jeez, how cutting edge tech clueless are you guys?

February 23, 2013 | 01:07 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

You might want to re-read what all he wrote.  There are many, many details left out that he does not cover.  Is it fully HSA?  Does it in fact have the unified address space?  How is the memory controller implemented?  What speed is it running at and how does that affect the CPU cores vs. the GPU portion?  Those 8 Jaguar cores, do they share a common crossbar, or do they do cache coherency through the memory controller/main memory?  Microsoft called Xenos a "chip" but it was in fact two dies on a single substrate.  I still think that for fabrication reasons it will be two dies sharing a substrate.  I could easily be wrong, but that is the price of speculation.  I just think that for now they will be two separate chips but as the years go by we will see those two combined into one as process technology advances.

I do like where Sony is heading with this.  They are really pushing the shared processing power characteristics from what they are saying.  But too many details are missing for us to really say, "Hey, this is a fully functional HSA implementation."  We can say, at the very least, that Sony will help AMD out tremendously when it comes to software support and in fact leveraging the GPGPU performance of their products in next generation games.  That certainly is something to get excited about.

February 23, 2013 | 03:41 PM - Posted by spigzone (not verified)

"What exactly is a semi-custom APU? Let me elaborate:

At the most basic level, an APU is a single chip that combines general-purpose x86 central processing unit (CPU) cores with a graphics processing unit (GPU) and a variety of system elements, including memory controllers, specialized video decoders, display outputs, etc."

I'm not seeing the slightest ambiguity in that statement. It's definitively and unequivocally a single die/chip. Why in blue blazes would AMD want to regress to two chips on a substrate when they've had years of experience implementing APUs?


"In the case of the PS4, we leveraged the building blocks of our 2013 product roadmap ... This unique APU architecture enables game developers to easily harness the power of parallel processing to fundamentally change the console gaming experience. Not only creating the opportunity for new possibilities in software design, but also faster and more fluid graphics."

Again, where's the ambiguity? The 2013 roadmap IS: HSA > architecture integration > unified address space > pageable system memory > fully coherent cpu/gpu memory.

That's the whole POINT of using 2013 roadmap elements. It's also what makes GDDR5 so doable. That whole paragraph just REEKS of HSA. It would be insane for Sony not to want the most up to date HSA compliant hardware possible in their new console.

A little common sense here please.

February 23, 2013 | 03:54 PM - Posted by spigzone (not verified)

ps. Separate chips on one substrate would also negate HSA implementation and so negate the reason for using 2013 roadmap elements.

Ryan and Josh thinking this through to any depth = FAIL.

February 23, 2013 | 04:18 PM - Posted by spigzone (not verified)

pps. AMD - "This is going to be a very exciting year for gamers, especially for those with AMD hardware in their PCs and consoles, as we have even more game-changing (pun intended) announcements still to come."

This is what really pulls my curiosity chain. HOW is AMD going to synergistically leverage their consoles~HSA wins to take down Intel and Nvidia in the computer gaming space. I suspect Kaveri + companion AIB GPUs are going to be an extremely price competitive next gen game gaming monster combination and become the processors and AIBs of choice for gamers.

February 23, 2013 | 04:26 PM - Posted by spigzone (not verified)

ppps. "Look for some more exciting things happening at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in March when we will provide even more info on how we are working with game developers to make AMD the hardware of choice for running the best games!"

Nvidia is up a proprietary de nile without a console paddle.

February 24, 2013 | 12:45 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath


Condescend much?  Couple of things...

Just because it is an APU does not mean that it will be a fully implemented HSA solution.  Trinity is an APU, but it does not have the fully HSA feature set- primarily the shared memory addresses with the x86 space.  Think as well of the upcoming Jaguar chip with the GCN graphics portion.  AMD, so far, has not mentioned that it would be fully HSA compliant.  I am not saying that it isn't HSA, but would you not think that if it was a feature of the chip that AMD would have mentioned it by now?  We have seen the parts in tablets and notebooks at CES, but they were light on the exact details.  My fear is that they do not feel that it would be worth the time/effort to make it fully HSA compliant, even though it features a GCN based graphics portion.  If it is in fact HSA, that would be great!  Having a ton of low cost, low power chips in a multitude of devices can only help HSA.  But why was it not listed as a feature when it was introduced last month?

Why would AMD go with a 2 chip solution?  Well, it is not what AMD wants, but what Sony wants.  Sony was burned horribly on PS2 and PS3 in terms of complex processors and poor yields.  The graphics portion of the PS4 on 28 nm would be approximately 200 mm sq (compared to a full Pitcairn die at 212 or so).  My best guess is that it will feature the memory controller which will feed not only the GPU but the CPU.  It is going to be more robust in ways than what Pitcairn features, and therefore larger.  A quad core Jaguar, with cache, and without its GPU portion looks to be around 70 mm square (the core is really only a small part of the die while the cache, fabric, crossbars, etc. taking up a lot of space.  So when we combine two of those for around 140 mm square, add it to the 200 mm graphics portion, throw in more transistors to do power, grounding, more routing etc.  We are looking at a chip that would be around 360 mm square.  That is a pretty large chip.  AMD has had experience with such a chip with Tahiti, as it is around 365 mm sq.  However, yields could be a problem at first.  Also, we are expecting such a chip to be integrated into a console with 8 GB of high speed memory, a hard drive, power supply, blue ray drive, associated chipset features and outputs, and a controller/video-kinnect thingy.  This first generation of parts might be tricky to fabricate since it is "semi-custom" and unique so far.  It might be less risky to fabricate the two portions (much like Microsoft did with Xenos) to improve overall yields (less die space equals fewer potential defects per die).  Integrating them together on a substrate with direct wire connections between the two chips would still allow a LOT of bandwidth from the memory controller to the CPU portion.

Again, I could be wrong here, as 360 mm squared is not that big of a die (as compared to GK110 which is 550 mm squared).  Sony might be taking the risk of lower yields with the thought that it will eventually improve and they can take the financial hit at the beginning of the lifecycle of the PS4, only to have yields improve over time as well as minor revisions down the road plus process changes in the future.

Separate chips on the same substrate does not negate HSA though.  The GPU portion would have the memory controller and a high speed bus would feed the CPU.  It could still do all the HSA features (if they are present) in such a setup.  There might be a small amount of extra latency from the CPU to main memory, but it will certainly not break anything or cause major issues.  About the only thing that I would see as a problem, and this will happen if it is a single chip or not, and that is cache coherency between the two Jaguar four core units.  Unless AMD has implemented something interesting, cache coherency would be handled through the main memory for the two modules.

Too many questions still out there before we can say anything is concrete.  Can't wait to learn more about it.

February 24, 2013 | 08:44 PM - Posted by psoomah (not verified)

Some fairly tortured suppositional reasoning to support a conclusion directly contrary to Sony and AMD info.

AMD directly states it's an APU and an APU, by definition, has the CPU and GPU on the same die, do you know of ANY credible source that says otherwise? Sony's post even press release called it a 'single-chip custom processor'.

No reason for AMD and Sony to insert HSA into general public info releases at this time, it would just confuse the public.

The 2013 roadmap clearly states 'new HSA features' for GCN 2.0, Kaveri and Kabini. That obviously includes Jaguar.

Occam's razor applies here. 2013 roadmap GCN and Jaguar elements include HSA implementation. Simple explanation is the PS4 is HSA compliant.

HSA is in it's early stages, but AMD has the 1.0 foundational elements in place, Hsail, Code XL and so on, to make it usable now even if it's capabilities will be growing and maturing into the future.

HSA introduces very substantial programming efficiencies and allows offloading considerable CPU functions to the GPU not previously possible and that is a perfect fit for the relatively slow and underpowered Jaguar cores coupled with a beast of a GPU section.

Everything points to a single die APU with a robust HSA implementation and it's easily the most logical and simplest explanation.

February 25, 2013 | 10:37 AM - Posted by Josh Walrath

I wouldn't call it tortuous, but it is supposition.  Which is fun in its own right and usually creates discussion. I'm all for that.

I could easily be wrong, and probably am, but I think my reasoning is not without merit.  There are a couple of people I can check with that will probably give more info on Jaguar and if it is in fact HSA compliant.  I guess my info that I had received was that Kaveri was going to be the first fully HSA compliant part.

Here is a honest question for you, and one that I do not have the answer for.  What do you think OS support will look like for the PS4?  Implementing HSA in an OS is not exactly non-trivial from my understanding.  Perhaps in a closed system like the PS4 it would be easier to do than as compared to a Windows environment, but I will be curious to see how that unfolds.  From the demos we certainly know that OpenCL is supported, and the Havok demo using the GPU was really cool, but HSA is a big step above that.

Not trying to be a naysayer, but the actual technical info that we have been passed has been rather slim.

February 25, 2013 | 12:17 PM - Posted by psoomah (not verified)

Your reasoning is not without merit, the original postulate that reasoning was based on is without merit ~ APU can mean two chips on a substrate.

TONS of technical info on, or available from, the AMD HSA website. Short story is a RELEASED standalone CodeXL module for Linux, more particularly Ubuntu 64 11.1 or later. The PS4 is Linux based. Heh.


Here's an overview of the HSA toolkit. Notice 8 of the 9 support Linux ... *cough* Steam Box *cough*.


AMD is also co-developing it's HSA tools with it's partners and customers, and Sony has got to be a priority for the time being, so ... win win. AMD rapidly advances it's HSA platform with real world applications and Sony rapidly advances it's PS4 development tools at a fraction of the cost of the PS3.

AMD has a rather staggering array of synergies in motion with it's HSA initiative and APU processors.


While 2013 is architecture integration, 2014 is SYSTEM integration. Notice the 'Extend to discrete GPU' box on the bottom right.


That's when Nvidia is cut out of the AMD APU picture and while the idea AMD APUs are about to supplant Intel as the gaming processors of choice seems like crazy talk to most at present, I consider it a near certainty. People just haven't THOUGHT THROUGH the synergies AMD gained with having it's HSA APUs in both major consoles and how that will translate to AMD's advantage in the PC processor space into the future.

Nvidia is in deep deep trouble in the PC graphics space ... and eventually in the Professional graphics space (and all those Tegra design wins that failed to materialize means specs missed beyond salvage which in turn means Nvidia is leaving a wake of pissed off companies including those that were forced to market with Tegra due to time/need constraints).

February 25, 2013 | 03:00 PM - Posted by Josh Walrath

Direct from John Taylor at AMD:  Kabini+Temash are AMD's first SoCs, but they are not full HSA. Kaveri is HSA, but not an SoC.

February 25, 2013 | 04:33 PM - Posted by psoomah (not verified)

Makes sense. SOC's only need the SOC centric elements, they don't need to account for discrete GPUs for example.

'Not full HSA' doesn't mean 'not fully functional SOC based HSA'.

Did you ask if the PS4 APU in particular was SOC HSA replete?

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