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Subject: Systems, Mobile | September 12, 2016 - 01:57 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: VR One, msi, VR, backpack, htc vive
MSI released some more images of their VR One backpack PC designed to give you more freedom of movement when playing around in VR and to make it easier to cart around to show off to friends and relations. We know very little about the internals as of yet, it will have an unspecified overclocked CPU and a GTX 10 series graphics card and will weigh 2.2kg empty, 3.6kg with a batteries installed; it ships with two which are hot-swappable. At 1.5 lbs each, it will be very interesting to see which storage cell technology they used to reach the estimated 1.5 hours of full speed gameplay. It also ships with an adapter so you can utilize mains power.
The VR One is HTC VIVE optimized though in theory an Oculus should work as the connectivity includes an HDMI port, MiniDP and one ultra-speed Thunderbolt 3 port, aka USB 3.1 Type-C as well as four USB 3.0 ports. Cooling is provided by two 9cm ultra blade fans and 9 heat pipes which should only produce noise 41dBA which is good as the system will be on your back while you are using it.
Not all the flashing lights on the backpack are for show, LEDs will tell you the status of your battery to let you know when to swap it out. This can be achieved without shutting the system down, presumably there is a physical switch on the armoured shell of the backpack to allow this feat as it would not accomplish much simply doing it in VR. You can pop by MSI for more information on the MSI Dragon Center system software and the SHIFT Technology, aka the fan controller.
Subject: General Tech | September 12, 2016 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mit, terahertz camera, georgia tech
MIT have come up with a camera which radiates EM at terahertz frequencies which can read a bit of a closed book thanks to the difference in reflectivity between ink and paper. This is less a spy device than a way to read ancient scrolls and parchments which could disintegrate at a touch. The camera can only penetrate to a depth of about nine pages before the clarity of the image degrades and the text can no longer easily be read. The software the camera communicates with is able to recognize the letters and words in the images, it is not the scientists who read the manuscripts directly. The Inquirer points out that this means it is also capable of defeating captchas, an impressive feat in and of itself though one with possible negative repercussions.
"IMAGINE IF you could read a book like Superman. Well, thanks to research by MIT and Georgia Tech, X-ray vision could be the next big thing in reading after the team created a camera that can read closed books."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Mos Eisley Recreated By Obsidian Artists Just For Fun @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Samsung to 'remotely deactivate' Note 7 handsets after six-year-old injured @ The Register
- Intel pulls out hard cash to gobble virtual CPU upstart Soft Machines @ The Register
- Firefox 49 Postponed One Week Due To Unexpected Bugs @ Slashdot
- Seagate is being sued by its own staff over big leaky phish @ The Register
- Sony’s PS4 Pro: The Pros, The Cons & The Baffling @ Techgage
Subject: Editorial | September 12, 2016 - 12:13 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: sweepstakes, giveaway, contest, cancer, amy
Every once in a while I call upon our amazing community to help out someone in need. We have done raffles for the Down Syndrome Association, others to support members that have suffered heart attacks, and now I ask for your help in supporting my own family. My sister-in-law, a 30 year old mother of two amazing children, was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer last month. As you might expect in an environment where both parents need to work to support the kids, losing your income from a semi-full-time position can have a dramatic impact.
As a result, I am raffling off an EVGA provided GeForce GTX 1080 ACX 3.0 graphics card worth over $700. In return, I ask that readers and fans of PC Perspective donate to my sister-in-law Amy's GoFundMe campaign with a minimum of $5.00. Getting even a small portion of our audience to pitch in will make a dramatic difference in the family's stability and mind set as she continues with the first several sessions of chemotherapy.
I encourage you to enter the contest below and contribute to the GoFundMe campaign. From all of us at PC Perspective and the Shrout/Roark family: Thank you.
Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 07:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: pc gaming, Kalypso, humble bundle
Update: Annnnnnnnnnnd it's over. Sorry everyone who just noticed the post. Original below.
If you have heard about the On The House promotion from EA's Origin service, then this will sound familiar. For the next eighteen hours, the Humble Store is giving away Tropico 4 from Kalypso Media Digital. It does not include any of the expansions or DLC, but it normally retails for $17 CDN and you're getting it for free if you redeem it before it expires. Also, according to the Steam page, the game requires that users register a (free) account with Kalypso to login.
Again, you're getting it for free, though, and I know of a few people that love it. Tropico is a city-building game of sorts, except that, instead of playing as an omnificent being that benevolently rules over a region, you play as an actual dictator. I haven't played it myself, but I just added it to my Steam account, so I'll hopefully get around to it soon.
Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 03:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: doom, pc gaming, bethesda
Adrian Courrèges is a software developer who, from time to time, does a break down on rendering techniques for major gaming titles. His latest one is on DOOM, and it explains, in remarkably simple (given the subject matter) terms, how the game draws a frame at a point early in the game. Most of the information was gathered from using debug tools, but a bit was pulled from Tiago Sousa and Jean Geffroy's slide deck at last month's SIGGRAPH conference.
I obviously cannot really summarize what the article says in this post. You kind-of need to read it for yourself. The post goes into how Vulkan is used for updating Mega-Textures, but it doesn't go into anything like asynchronous compute, though. Most of the figures are animated too, usually by a slideshow of images, but a few WebGL demonstrations are included, too.
Subject: Motherboards | September 9, 2016 - 01:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Z170X-Designare, gigabyte, RGB
At $250 the Gigabyte Z170X-Designare motherboard is a bit on the expensive side for this chipset but it does come with a long list of features which make it interesting. This ATX board has both three reinforced PCIe 16x and 1x slots as well as onboard U.2, Thunderbolt 3 with dual USB 3.1 Type-C, and dual Intel LAN which is more that you find on a Z170 board. Modders Inc offers more information on additional features present on this board, including the RGB rash present on it, as well as performance benchmarks in this recent review.
"The majority of mainstream motherboards are priced under $200. When it comes to describing one situated north of this border, "practical" is not exactly the first word that comes to mind. For the budgetary pragmatic, this is indulgence territory and for the most part that is a correct assessment. But as the old proverb goes, all work and no play …"
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Asus Republic Of Gamers RAMPAGE V Edition 10 @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS Z170 Pro Gaming Aura @ Kitguru
- MSI Z170A MPOWER GAMING TITANIUM (Intel LGA1151) @ techPowerUp
- ASRock Fatal1ty X99 Professional Gaming i7 @ Kitguru
- Gigabyte X99-Ultra Gaming @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rumour, nvidia, gtx 1050
DigiTimes have heard that NVIDIA hope to release the GTX 1050 at the end of the month or early in October but there are hints it may be somewhat of a paper launch. NVIDIA will have some silicon for sale but only a few who are quick enough on the draw will be able to purchase them; similar to the launch of the GTX 1080 and 1070 or even AMD's new cards for that matter. Both vendors had great difficulty providing retailers with cards to sell at launch, the supply has increased and prices are much closer to the MSRP than they were a month ago but there are still plenty of out of stock models when you start looking for deals.
Hopefully this situation will resolve soon, but for now patience is recommended for upgraders on a tight budget.
"Nvidia's Pascal-based GeForce GTX 1080, 1070 and 1060 graphics cards are seeing strong demand from the market and therefore are currently in tight supply. To further expand into the market, Nvidia is planning to release its mid-range GTX 1050 graphics card at the end of September at the earliest."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Humble Summer Sale Kicks Off With Free Tropico 4 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Apple markets the iPhone 7 as a penis in Hong Kong @ The Inquirer
- Ten-year-old Windows Media Player hack is the new black, again @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | September 9, 2016 - 07:00 AM | Scott Michaud
The Blender Foundation maintains the most popular, free, open-source 3D suite, Blender. One major component of any 3D application is the chunk that turns 3D geometry into one or more 2D images. This is often passed to third-party software, like mental ray or Pixar Renderman, but basically everyone has their own internal ones.
About five years ago, Blender released a new rendering engine, called Cycles, whose just-released 2016 demo reel is embedded above. Not being held back by history, they swung for the fences with it. It supports multiple GPUs (albeit mostly NVIDIA, even to this day, due to CUDA vs OpenCL at the time -- but AMD might be commissioning development soon) and integrates tightly with the editor. It produces great images, although it's very slow for cartoonish imagery (but Blender is working on a viewport renderer for that sort of content anyway).
Also, Blender with Cycles is what we used for our recent animation projects. Version 2.78 is currently in release candidate mode, and should be released very soon.
Back in 2008, a customer purchased a laptop from Sony, but refused to accept its end-user license agreement due to its pre-installed software. The customer contacted Sony, demanding to be reimbursed for the junkware. Sony, instead, offered a refund for the PC. The customer, instead of taking the refund, sued Sony for about 3000 Euros.
According to The Register, the EU's highest court has just ruled against the customer.
Honestly, this makes sense. The software was around when they purchased the computer, and Sony offered a refund. Yes, companies should offer crapware-free versions of their laptops, even for a slight fee. If adware-free version existed at all, then there might be an issue, but that would belong with Microsoft (or whoever owns the actual platform). It shouldn't be a burden for the individual system builders, unless collusion was involved.
It's also funny to think that, since the laptop was purchased in 2008, we are probably talking about a Vista-era device. Interesting to think about the difference in speed between the legal system and the tech industry.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 9, 2016 - 03:59 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, graphics drivers, linux
Unfortunately, I don't tend to notice when Linux drivers get released; it's something I want to report more frequently on. Luckily, this time, I heard about NVIDIA's 370.28 graphics drivers while they were still fresh. This one opens up overclocking (and underclocking) for GeForce 10-series GPUs, although NVIDIA (of course) mentions that this is “at the user's own risk”. It also fixes a bunch of Vulkan bugs.
Many of these fixes were in the previous, but beta-class drivers, 370.23. It, like 370.28, also includes experimental support for PRIME Synchronization. PRIME handles choosing which GPU drives a given display, which may be different from the GPU that is rendering that image. I'm not too familiar with the system, and I've heard some jokes from the Linux community over the last couple of years about its almost vaporware-like status, but I don't have any personal experience with it.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 9, 2016 - 12:26 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: mid tower, E-ATX Case, antec
Antec revealed a new mid tower case aimed at gaming PCs for the European market. The GX1200 mid tower measures 510mm x 200mm x 510mm and supports motherboards up to E-ATX in size. The GX1200 is rather stylized with angled front and top panels along with a large windowed side panel and hexagonal mesh front panel grill. I/O sits on the top edge and includes two audio jacks, a power button, two USB 3.0 ports, and a button to control the LEDs (on/off and mode selection e.g. pulsing, color changing, blinking, and fading).
Antec includes two 120mm RGB LED fans on the front intake and the case also sports an LED under-glow lighting. The case mounted LEDs and up to six fans are controlled using the “Antec Magic Box” which is the company’s fan controller. In addition to the included front intake fans, users can install a 140mm fans in the front and back and two 140mm fans on top. On the water cooling front, it is possible to install a 120mm radiator in back, 280mm radiator up top and a 360mm radiator in the front. Not bad for a mid-tower though you do give up optical drives (there are no 5.25” bays on this case).
Internally, the Antec GX1200 features a bottom mounted PSU (with removable dust filter albeit removable from the rear much to Ryan’s dismay) in its own chamber to help hide cables and isolate heat, two 3.5” bays, three 2.5” SSD mounts, seven PCI slots, and support for graphics cards up to 410mm (~16-inches) in length. There are also various locations to tie up cable bundles behind the motherboard tray as well as holes to pass wires through (though there are no rubber grommets, they are just cut outs).
I am not a huge fan of the aesthetics (I have seen worse though and I may just be getting old hah!), but it does seem like a functional case. It will be available in Europe for 84€ (approximately $95 USD) soon. There is no word on US availability yet.
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 11:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: google, chrome, http, https
Many software vendors want to impose security and encryption basically everywhere. Google and Mozilla are two of the more vocal organizations about it, and they have been slowly implementing ways to discourage insecure HTTP (in favor of HTTPS). Some of these make sense, like preventing insecure sites from accessing your webcam so the video stream cannot be intercepted, while others seem a bit pushy, like lowering HTTP-based sites down in search results.
This announcement's change is technologically benign, but is designed to make HTTP feel a bit uncomfortable. Rather than just promote HTTPS sites with a secure padlock symbol, Google Chrome 56 and later will begin to add a “not secure” label to HTTP sites. At first, Google claims that it will only mark sites that transmit sensitive data, like passwords and credit card info. They intend to expand this to all HTTP websites going forward.
Again, this has pros and cons. The main benefit of encryption is that it's much harder to view or manipulate what flies across the data stream. One major disadvantage is that the content needs to be authenticated, which is a concern for truly anonymous expressions. Google Chrome treats local, offline content as secure, but that use case could be easily forgotten, and that could have terrible rammifications, especially in areas controlled by oppressive governments that massively censor art.
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 04:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, dx 12, deus ex: mankind divided, Crimson Edition 16.9.1, amd
As of today you can now try out Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with DX12 enabled if you enable beta content in the game. The fifth patch offers several bug fixes but it also allows you to try out DX12 on your system. You can see where to head on your Steam client if you have never played with beta settings before. Once you have enabled beta content and Steam has synced, you will see a DirectX 12 option in the game's Display Options, assuming your card supports it.
For AMD users this should bring performance improvements as long as you first upgrade to the newly released Crimson Edition 16.9.1 driver which you can grab right here. The release notes from Edios/Square Interactive state that 'There are no visual or gameplay differences between the two DirectX versions.' so you will not see new features in your game. The new patch also states that it does not support multiple GPUs in DX12 so ensure you are only using a single card.
We have not been able to test the new patch or driver as of yet, however Guru of 3D did post some quick results in an update to their review of the game. AMD's RX 480, R9 390X and Fury X all see some improvements in 1080p and 1440p but at 4k the card's performance is already topped out. NVIDIA's cards all showed a slight drop at lower resolutions and like AMD, 4k performance is unchanged. The new DX12 patch is not enough to unseat the TITAN X and GTX 1080 as the top performers though.
If you have any issues when playing the game simply disable DX12 and get back to your game. We should see more patches in the near future as the game developers and the two GPU providers work on improving compatibility.
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 02:32 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: laguz, audio, Kennerton, earbuds
Though they somewhat resemble tiny microphones, these Kennerton Audio Laguz are indeed in-ear headphones. They may not work on the new iPhone without an adapter but for anything else the standard plug will work just fine. These $110 earbuds have tiny 8mm dynamic driver with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz. The metal body and stress relief should ensure these headphones last a while but the price is somewhat steep, then again TechPowerUp didn't seem to find that price off-putting.
"Kennerton Audio's newest mid-end offering, the Laguz, is put to the test. Priced at $110, it will face fierce competition from the Brainwavz S5 and HiFiMAN RE-400. The Laguz is absolutely tiny and features a rugged aluminum design that is pretty unique."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Powerbeats 2 Wireless Headset @ Hardware Secrets
- LucidSound LS-30 Wireless Universal Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum RGB 7.1 Surround Gaming Headset Review @ NikKTech
- Cooler Master MasterPulse Over-Ear With Bass FX @ eTeknix
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:28 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Zen, VR, video, ssd, sony, qualcomm, ps4 pro, ps4, prodigy, power9, podcast, phanteks, logitech, iPhone 7, Intel, IBM, gtx 1050, geekbench, Enthoo, corsair, carbide, amd, a10, 600p
PC Perspective Podcast #416 - 09/08/16
Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 600p, Leaked Zen Performance, new iPhone and PS4 and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the 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, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Razer PAX 2016
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Josh: 4K Blu-ray! And Games!
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2016 - 01:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: mcafee, Intel, antivirus
In a strange turn of events it seems that McAfee has risen once again to appear on the marketplace in a move reminiscent of a certain Uncle Duke story line. Intel has sold their majority stake, worth $3.1bn in cash, to a private equity firm called TPG. Intel retains 49% of the shares, not quite breaking even on the purchase they made back in 2010 but having seen solid profits from that business while they were running it. TPG has now renamed itself McAfee and Chris Young, the general manager of Intel Security will be a part of the new team. Pop by The Register for more on the antivirus company that just keeps coming back, but there is no word as of yet from the company's namesake.
"Intel is selling off a majority stake in its security software arm – formerly known as McAfee – to private equity firm TPG, which will rename itself to, er, McAfee."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Nexmon Turns Nexus 5 (and RPi3!) Into WiFi Toolkit @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft To Launch At Least One Surface All-In-One PC Next Month @ Slashdot
- The honor 8 Smartphone With Aurora Glass Revealed @ Tech ARP
- iPhone what? Raspberry Pi has shipped 10 million computers @ The Inquirer
- Samsung lowering foundry quotes to vie for orders @ DigiTimes
- Scientists' sneaky smartphone software steals 3D printer designs @ The Register
- Intel Basis fans burned again: Refund checks for scalding smartwatches bounce @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2016 - 09:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: sony, ps4, ps4 pro, microsoft, Project Scorpio, xbox
At today's media briefing event, Sony announced two new versions of their PlayStation 4 console. The first is not even given a new name; they are just referring to it as the “new slimmer and lighter PS4” in their marketing material. It replaces the current version with one that is about 30% smaller, 16% lighter, and 28% more power efficient, according to a press release provided by AMD.
This update will be sold for $299.99 USD ($379.99 CDN) starting on September 15th.
The main topic of discussion was the PlayStation 4 Pro, though. Like Microsoft is doing with Project Scorpio, Sony wants the PS4 Pro to be compatible with the same catalog of titles, but do so at higher resolution and color depths. Sony claims that this generation is basically maxing out what can be done with 1080p. PC developers do not seem to have a problem using performance for new features, but the point that development costs are quickly becoming the limiting factor is valid to some extent.
In terms of specifications, while the CPU got an unspecified speed bump, the main upgrade is a new GPU, which is rated at 4.2 TFLOPs. This is about 30% slower than Microsoft's announced Project Scorpio (6 TFLOPs) but it also will arrive a year sooner. Will this lead time matter, though? The software catalog is already being built up by both companies, and it has been since each console launched in 2013.
Did they ever explain the extra ring on the case?
Also, because Microsoft started with a weaker console, scaling up to 4K resolution should be easier for their game developers. Project Scorpio is about 4.6x faster than the Xbox One, and it intends to draw four times the number of pixels. The gap between the PS4 and the PS4 Pro is just 2.3x. That could be a problem for them. (Meanwhile, us PC gamers can strap multiple 10+ TFLOP GPUs together for true 4K at decent frame rates, but that's another discussion.)
Granted, theoretical is different than real-world. We'll need to re-evaluate the industry in a couple of years, once an appropriate amount of hindsight is available. Also, Sony claims that PlayStation VR will still be available for both consoles, and that it will be a good experience whatever you choose. This is clearly aimed at Microsoft requiring Project Scorpio for their upcoming VR initiative, although likely to prevent confusion in their own fan base, rather than prodding their competitor.
Again, the PlayStation 4 Pro is launching this year, November 10th, and is expected to retail for $399.99 USD ($499.99 CDN). It's not a big jump in performance, but it's also not a big jump in price, either. In fact, I would consider it priced low enough to question the value of the regular PS4, even at $299.
What are your thoughts? Is this actually priced too low for pro?
Subject: Mobile | September 7, 2016 - 09:16 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: smartphone, mobile, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iphone, DCI P3, apple, a10
Another Apple announcement is in the books, and with it comes the expected refresh to the iPhone lineup. The new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus offer some notable upgrades from the previous models, though it's the lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack that has been getting much of the attention.
Looking past the omission of the headphone jack for a moment, what exactly is new and noteworthy here? For starters, the iPhone 7 brings a new SoC to the table with the A10, a new design that is Apple's first foray into a "big.LITTLE" type of configuration. Unlike the A9 SoC's processor, a dual-core 1.85 GHz design, the A10 now offers a pair of high-performance cores, and a pair of high-efficiency cores that Apple says require only 1/5 of the larger pair's power. This sort of processor configuration is obviously similar to a number of existing ARM designs, which similarly combine faster and slower cores in an effort to reduce power consumption - though the 1/5 number is significant. It will be enlightening to see what the actual core speeds are - as well as particulars on the GPU, which is "50% faster" than the A9's PowerVR GT7600.
Other major updates include the cameras, which now features optical image stabilization (OIS) in the regular 7 as well as the 7 Plus (it was a 6/6s Plus-exclusive feature previously). The camera - or rather cameras - on the iPhone 7 Plus provide separate wide-angle and telephoto lenses, and allow for some powerful depth-of-field effects as demoed during the presentation. The displays contain another significant update - but not in resolution. The previous (low) 750x1344 resolution from the 6s remains in the iPhone 7, with the 7 Plus sticking to 1080x1920. The upgrade comes from the backlighting, which now provides 25% greater brightness and much wider color from the DCI P3 color space.
The lack of a 3.5 mm headphone jack was rumored for months leading up to today's announcement, and of course it will be a controversial topic. The Lightning connector is the only port on the iPhone 7/7 Plus, and Lightning-connected earbuds are included along with a 3.5 mm adapter (which also includes the DAC and headphone amp). The new haptic motor for the new non-mechanical home button is partly to blame for the omission of the headphone jack, but might also have been removed as part of the process to make the iPhone water resistant - a first for Apple.
Wireless earbuds ("AirPods") were also announced, which look pretty much like the existing "EarPods" with the cord cut off. One final note on sound: the new iPhones have stereo speakers for the first time, with sound claimed to be 50% louder than previous, and now emanating from both ends of the phone.
The family of iPhones now includes the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, along with existing 6s, 6s Plus, and the iPhone SE. In a surprising move, Apple announced that they would upgrade last year's 6s models to shipping with double the base storage - 32GB vs. 16GB - for the same price.
Pre-orders for the new iPhones begin on September 9th, with pricing beginning at $649 for the 32GB iPhone 7, and $769 for the 32GB iPhone 7 Plus.
Subject: Motherboards, Processors | September 7, 2016 - 08:08 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, Summit Ridge, Excavator, Bristol Ridge, amd, A12-9800
This week AMD officially took the wraps off of its 7th generation APU lineup that it introduced back in May. Previously known as Bristol Ridge, AMD is launching eight new processors along with a new desktop platform that finally brings next generation I/O to AMD systems.
Bristol Ridge maintains the Excavator CPU cores and GCN GPU cores of Carrizo, but on refreshed silicon with performance and power efficiency gains that will bring the architecture started by Bulldozer to an apex. These will be the last chips of that line, and wil be succeeded by AMD's new "Zen" architecture in 2017. For now though, Bristol Ridge delivers as much as 17% higher per thread CPU performance and 27% higher graphics performance while using significantly lower power than its predecessors. Further, AMD has been able to (thanks to various process tweaks that Josh talked about previously) hit some impressive clock speeds with these chips enabling AMD to better compete with Intel's Core i5 offerings.
At the top end AMD has the (65W) quad core A12-9800 running at 3.8 GHz base and 4.2 GHz boost paired with GCN 3.0-based Radeon R7 graphics (that support VP9 and HEVC acceleration). These new Bristol Ridge chips are able to take advantage of DDR4 clocked up to 2400 MHz. For DIY PC builders planning to use dedicated graphics, AMD has the non-APU Athlon X4 950 which features four CPU cores at 3.5 GHz base and 3.8 GHz boost with a 65W TDP. While it is not clocked quite as high as its APU counterpart, it should still prove to be a popular choice for budge builds and will replace the venerable Athlon X4 860 and will also be paired with an AM4 motherboard that will be ready to accept a new Zen-based "Summit Ridge" CPU next year.
The following table lists the eight new 7th generation "Bristol Ridge" processors and their specifications.
|CPU Cores||CPU Clocks Base / Boost||GPU||GPU CUs||GPU Clocks (Max)||TDP|
|4||3.8 GHz / 4.2 GHz||Radeon R7||8||1,108 MHz||65W|
|A12-9800E4||4||3.1 GHz / 3.8 GHz||Radeon R7||8||900 MHz||35W|
|A10-9700||4||3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz||Radeon R7||6||1,029 MHz||65W|
|A10-9700E||4||3.0 GHz / 3.5 GHz||Radeon R7||6||847 MHz||35W|
|A8-9600||4||3.1 GHz / 3.4 GHz||Radeon R7||6||900 MHz||65W|
|A6-9500||2||3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz||Radeon
|A6-9500E||2||3.0 GHz / 3.4 GHz||Radeon
|Athlon X4 950||4||3.5 GHz / 3.8 GHz||None||0||N/A||65W|
To expand on the performance increases of Bristol Ridge, AMD compared the A12-9800 to the previous generation A10-8850 as well as Intel's Core i5-6500. According to the company, the Bristol Ridge processor handily beats the Carrizo chip and is competitive with the Intel i5. Specifically, when comparing Bristol Ridge and Carrizo, AMD found that the A12-9800 scored 3,521.25 in 3DMark 11 while the A10-8850 (95W Godavari) scored 2,880. Further, when compared in Cinebench R11.5 1T the A12-980 scored 1.21 versus the A10-8850's 1.06. Not bad when you consider that the new processor has a 30W lower TDP!
With that said, the comparison to Intel is perhaps most interesting to the readers. In this case, the A12-9800 is about where you would expect though that is not necessarily a bad thing. It does pull a bit closer to Intel in CPU and continues to offer superior graphics performance.
|AMD A12-9800 (65W)||Intel Core i5-6500 (65W)||AMD A10-8850 (95W)|
3DMark 11 Performance
|PCMark 8 Home Accelerated||3,483.25||3,702||Not run|
|Cinebench R11.5 1T||1.21||Not run||1.06|
Specifically, in 3DMark 11 Performance the A12-9800's score of 3,521.25 is quite a bit better than the Intel i5-6500's 1,765.75 result. However, in the more CPU focused PCMark 8 Home Accelerated benchmark the Intel comes out ahead with a score of 3,702 versus the AMD A12-9800's score of 3,483.25. If the price is right Bristol Ridge does not look too bad on paper, assuming AMD's testing holds true in independent reviews!
The AM4 Platform
Alongside the launch of desktop 7th generation APUs, AMD is launching a new AM4 platform that supports Bristol Ridge and is ready for Zen APUs next year. The new platform finally brings new I/O technologies to AMD systems including PCI-E 3.0, NVMe, SATA Express, DDR4, and USB 3.1 Gen 2.
According to Digital Trends, AMD's AM4 desktop platform wil span all the way from low end to enthusiast motherboards and these boards will be powered by one of three new chipsets. The three new chipsets are the B350 for mainstream, A320 for "essential," and X/B/A300 for small form factor motherboards. Notably missing is any mention of an enthusiast chipset, but one is reportedly being worked on and will arive closer to the launch of Zen-based processors in 2017.
The image below outlines the differences in the chipsets. Worth noting is that the APUs themselves will handle the eight lanes of PCI-E 3.0, dual channel DDR4, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, and two SATA 6Gbps and two NVMe or PCI-E 3.0 storage devices. This leaves PCI-E 2.0, SATA Express, additional SATA 6Gbps, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 connection duties to the chipsets.
As of today, AMD has only announced the availability of AM4 motherboards and 7th generation APUs for OEM systems (with design wins from HP and Lenovo so far). The company will be outlining the channel / DIY PC builder lineup and pricing at a later (to be announced date).
I am looking forward to Zen and in a way the timing of Bristol Ridge seems strange. On the other hand, for OEMs it should do well and hold them over until then (heh) and enthusiasts / DIY builders are able to buy into Bristol Ridge knowing that they will be able to upgrade to Zen next year (while getting better than Carrizo performance with less power and possibly better overclocking) is not a bad option so long as the prices are right!
The full press blast is included below for more information on how they got their benchmark results.
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 7, 2016 - 08:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: dirty pool, nvidia, geforce experience, geforce
Update (September 7th @ 9:34pm): It's been pointed out in our comments that the new GeForce Experience cannot be used without logging in. It supports NVIDIA, Google, and Facebook accounts.
It's been in Beta for a while, but NVIDIA has just officially launched their new GeForce Experience application. The release version is 126.96.36.199, so be sure to check for updates if you were in the beta and your settings panel shows an earlier version. Also, there's an “allow experimental features” checkbox right under the version number, too, also in the settings panel. It defaults to on for me, so you might want to take a look if you use GeForce Experience for anything professional (ex: Twitch streaming).
Anywho, the new version runs a lot better for me than the previous one. I used to have quite long load times, often literally in the minutes, with version 2. With version 3, it often pops up in less than a second, or maybe a couple of seconds at the worst.
Obviously, if you don't use GeForce Experience, then you don't really need to update. WHQL drivers can still be downloaded from their website (although installing drivers through GeForce Experience 3.0 has been fairly bug-free for me) and most of its other features can be obtained with other applications, like OBS Studio. That said, it's free and pretty good, so it's worth giving it a try.