KGPU lets the Linux kernel harness your GPU's power

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 6, 2011 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged: linux, kgpu, gpgpu

PC Per has discussed using the GPU as a massively-parallel augment to the CPU for a very long time to allow the latter to focus on the branching logic (“if/then/else”) and other processes it is good at that GPUs are not. AMD and Intel both have their attempts to bundle the benefits of a GPU on to their CPU parts with their respective technologies. Currently most of the applications outside of the scientific community are gaming and multimedia; however, as the presence of stronger GPUs saturates, we are seeing more and more functions relegate to the GPU.

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So happy together!

KGPU is an attempt to bring the horsepower of the GPU to the fingertips of the Linux kernel. While the kernel itself will remain a CPU function, the attempt allows the kernel to offload the parallel stuff to the GPU for large speed-ups and keep the CPU free for more. Their current version shows whole multiple speedups of eCryptfs, an encrypted filesystem, in terms of maximum read and write bandwidth by allowing the GPU to deal with the AES cipher.

We should continue to see speedups as tasks that would be perfect for the GPU are finally allowed to be with their true love. Furthermore, as the number of tasks relegated to the GPU increases we should continue to see more and stronger GPUs embedded in PCs which should decrease the fears for PC game developers worried about the number of PCs capable of running their applications. I am sure that is great news to many of our frequent readers.

Source: KGPU Project

Tri-Fire/SLI redux, look at the difference SandyBridge makes!

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 6, 2011 - 01:09 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, crossfire, sli, triple, sandybridge

Not too long ago [H]ard|OCP examined the price to performance ratio between a triple SLI GTX580 system and a Tri-Fire HD6990 and HD6970 and discovered that as far as value goes, NVIDIA could not touch AMD.  A reader of theirs inquired if it was the aging Core i7-920 that was holding the cards back even with the overclock of 3.6GHz.  A SandyBridge system with a Core i7-2600K and an ASUS board with the NF200 bridge chip was used to revisit the performance of the two vendors GPUs.  The result; we can hardly wait for the Z68 boards to come out!

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"We have re-tested performance between GTX 580 3-Way SLI and Radeon HD 6990+6970 Tri-Fire with a brand new Sandy Bridge 4.8GHz system. Our readers wanted to know if the CPU speed would improve performance and open up the potential of this triple-GPU performance beasts. To put it succinctly, they were right. The results completely turn the tables upside down and then some."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

What is AIDA64 Extreme Edition? Only the new improved replacement for the Everest benchmarking tool

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Systems, Storage | May 4, 2011 - 06:43 PM |
Tagged: ssd, everest, benchmarking, benchmark, aida64, aida

BUDAPEST, Hungary - May 04, 2011 - FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme Edition 1.70 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business Edition 1.70 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises.

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The new AIDA64 release further strengthens its solid-state drive health and temperature monitoring capabilities, and implements support for the latest graphics processors from both AMD and nVIDIA.

New features & improvements

  • LGA1155 B3 stepping motherboards support
  • Preliminary support for AMD “Bulldozer” and “Llano” processors
  • Intel 320, Intel 510, OCZ Vertex 3, Samsung PM810 SSD support
  • GPU details for AMD Radeon HD 6770M, Radeon HD 6790
  • GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce GT 520, GT 520M, GT 550M, GT 555M, GTX 550 Ti, GTX 590

Pricing and Availability
AIDA64 Extreme Edition and AIDA64 Business Edition are available now at www.aida64.com/online-store. Additional information on product features, system requirements, and language versions is available at www.aida64.com/products. Join our Discussion Forum at forums.aida64.com.

AIDA64 license renewal is now available. For more information, visit www.aida64.com/aida64-renewal.
A migration program is available for all EVEREST customers at www.aida64.com/everest-upgrade.

Source: AIDA

Graphics shipments rise 10% despite falling PC sales; NVIDIA share drops

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 3, 2011 - 10:37 PM |
Tagged: jpr, nvidia, gpus, amd, Intel

In a mixed report coming from Jon Peddie Research, information about the current state of the GPU world is coming into focus. Despite seeing only 83 million PCs shipping in Q1 2011 (a 5.4% drop compared to Q4 2010), the shipment of GPUs rose by 10.3%. While this no doubt means that just as many in the industry have been predicting, the GPU is becoming more important to the processing and computing worlds, there are several factors that should be considered before taking this news as win for the market as whole.

First, these results include the GPUs found in Intel and AMD’s CPU/GPU combo processors like the Sandy Bridge platforms, AMD’s Fusion APU and the more recent Intel Atom cores as well. If a notebook or desktop system then ships with a discrete solution from AMD or NVIDIA in addition to one of those processors, then the report indicates that two GPUs have shipped. We can assume then that because ALL Sandy Bridge processors include a GPU on them that much of this rise is due to the above consideration. 

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JPR does warn that there is a concern that this 10.3% rise in GPU shipments (not sales, necessarily) could result in a significant stock overage going in to the second quarter of the year and might stifle shipment numbers for Q2 and Q3 2011. If both AMD and NVIDIA have been stock piling graphics cards on store shelves (you know, due to these continuous low-to-mid-range GPU wars) then this seems like a likely scenario as we go into the mid-year cycle.
 
Looking at individual market share numbers both Intel and AMD gained at the expense of NVIDIA, the lone notable company in this fight without a CPU/GPU platform to fall back on. 
 
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AMD and Intel both saw slight improvements in their market share from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011 (0.6% and 1.9% respectively) while NVIDIA’s dropped by 2.5%. However it is the year-to-year growth that should really scare the executives at NVIDIA; the company has dropped from 28% to 20% of the total GPU shipments while AMD grew 3.3% and Intel improved by 4.8%. 
 
As mentioned above, these numbers look worse than they probably are for NVIDIA. The drop from 28% to 20% is based on unit sales of the total GPUs that JPR counts. Because of drastic increase in CPU/GPU combination parts on the market that number that NVIDIA is now a portion of has increased pretty quickly. What would be more accurate to report NVIDIA’s current state is to see how their discrete sales have compared to AMD’s discrete shipments. Is NVIDIA’s market share in danger because of these changes? Yes. But is it as dire as these JPR results seem to indicate? I don’t believe so. 
 
These types of reports are interesting for us to look at and discuss but sometimes the obtuse nature of the statistics and the lack of detail to break down the results really can change the picture pretty dramatically. More data points are always better but the knowledge to parse them is even more…better.
Source: JPR

AMD's new DX11 compatible embedded E6760 GPU can handle 6 displays

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 3, 2011 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: e6760, embedded, gpu, amd, eyefinity

Usually reading off a list of the abilities of an embedded GPU are fairly quick ... determine if it can handle YouTube in high definition and maybe play WoW and move on.  APUs offer a bit more interest for enthusiasts with interesting load sharing applications with a discreet GPU and the rise of SandyBridge and Bobcat seem to spell the end of the GPU embedded on a motherboard.  However there are still a few tricks left before the end of the line, the new Radeon E6760 isn't going to win many speed races but it can support up to 6 monitors, a nice trick when you consider that many of these chips will be running displays in casinos, airports and medical imaging.  The E4690 is finally retiring, meet the new E6760 at AnandTech.

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"Kicking off our coverage of embedded GPUs is AMD’s Radeon E6760, which is launching today. The E6760 is the latest and greatest AMD embedded video card, utilizing the Turks GPU (6600/6700M) from AMD’s value lineup. The E6760 isn’t a product most of us will be buying directly, but if AMD has it their way it’s a product a lot of us will be seeing in action in the years to come in embedded devices."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: AnandTech

AMD Catalyst 11.4 for Linux Released

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Chipsets | May 3, 2011 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: ubuntu, rhel, Red Hat, opensuse, linux, driver, catalyst, ati, amd

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In a previous article we stated:

"Highlights of the Linux AMD Catalyst™ 11.4 release include: This release of AMD Catalyst™ Linux introduces support for the following new operating systems Ubuntu 11.04 support (early look) SLED/SLES 10 SP4 support (early look) RHEL 5.6 support (production)"

AMD introduced a new feature into Linux with Catalyst™ 11.4, PowerXpress.

  • PowerXpress: Will enable certain mainstream mobile chipsets to seemlessly switch from integrated graphics to the dedicated graphics. *note: This only applies to Intel Processors with on chip graphics and AMD dedicated graphics and must be switched on by invoking switchlibGL and switchlibglx and restarting the Xorg server.

If you are running RHEL 5.6 or SLED/SLES 10 SP4 and need the driver you can get it here.

If you are running Ubuntu 11.04, install the driver under the "Additional Drivers" program.

If you are running a BSD variant you must still use the Open-Source driver "Radeon" and "RadeonHD" as AMD has yet to release a BSD driver.

Be sure to check back to PCPer for my complete review of the 11.4 driver and PowerXpress.

Source: AMD

AMD Llano Integrated Graphics Looks Like HD 6550

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | May 2, 2011 - 07:59 PM |
Tagged: llano, fusion, amd

On Valentine’s Day, AMD reached out to us after our relationship with Intel’s Sandy B. broke down. A mug, some chocolate, and a promise of a wonderful date with their good friend Llano was AMD’s hope to help us move on to a more stable relationship. Months have gone by and we have made up with Sandy with many a great SATAday spent together. While Llano has yet to appear, AMD did urge us to keep waiting by revealing some of her measurements and an option for another playful partner.

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Image from Donanim Haber

Llano’s GPU, as reported by Donanim Haber (translated to English), will feature 400 stream processors which will be clocked at 594 MHz. TechPowerUp also reports that it will be DirectX 11 compatible as expected and can pair up with one of AMD’s “Turks” based discrete GPUs: the HD 6570 and HD 6670. This combined GPU will be registered to the system as a Radeon HD6690 using Hybrid CrossFireX.

Just under two weeks ago we reviewed the aforementioned "Turks" based HD 6670 and 6570 with games like Left 4 Dead 2. Alone, those cards were able to play many games with antialiasing for people with monitor resolutions of 1680x1050. Llano will not perform as well as those cards but should be able to play those same games, and others, with just a few settings reduced. That said, Llano is also not a discrete card and thus it is not necessarily fair to compare it with one. Lastly, Llano can also be paired with those cards for further performance benefits making them all the more enticing for gamers not wishing to purchase higher end discrete graphics cards.

Source: Donanimhaber

Which is better, three heads from NVIDIA or three from AMD

Subject: Graphics Cards | May 2, 2011 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: tri-fire, triple, crossfilre, 3-way, sli, GTX580, HD6990, HD6970

[H]ard|OCP just finished a review that most enthusiasts would sell their souls ... or at least cash in their retirement savings ... to do themselves.  They decided to find out which was better, a $1500 triple GTX 580 system or a $1100 HD 6990 + HD 6970 system.  The findings are really quite clear, as is th efact that scaling has improved to the point where dropping that third GPU into your PC actually does make some sense to do.

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"We've seen what a Radeon HD 6990 can do when paired with a Radeon HD 6970 for "Tri-Fire" performance. Now it is time to find out what three NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 video cards in 3-Way SLI game like in comparison. We will look at A2A performance comparisons and discuss which setup offers the best gameplay experience."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Battlefield 3 footage looks impressive, will it appease PC gamers?

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 28, 2011 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: graphics, battlefield 3, battlefield

Got 12 minutes to spare?  No, how about at least a few?  I promise you'll be pretty impressed by what you see.  I think I am late to the game in posting this but EA released a 12 minute video showing gameplay of the upcoming Battlefield 3 game.  While we don't know anything about the minimum specifications of the game yet, we can assume that it will indeed take advantage of some of the latest graphics hardware.  

Take a look!  And if you are really tight on time, just to the 2:30 mark.

Considering that many people were disappointed in the appearance of the recently released Crysis 2, the considerable work being put into the Battlefield 3 PC game is going to be well appreciated.  In fact, this quote from developer DICE really proves our point that "building for consoles" is stupid:

"So for our target of what we want to hit, we are now using the more powerful platform to try and prove what we see gaming being in the future rather than using the lowest common denominator, instead of developing it for the consoles and then just adding higher resolution textures and anti-aliasing for the PC version. We’re do it the other way around, we start with the highest-end technology that we can come up with and then scale it back to the consoles."

Source: YouTube

AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets to get NVIDIA SLI Support

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Chipsets | April 28, 2011 - 09:45 AM |
Tagged: sli, nvidia, amd, 990x, 990fx, 970

In a move that is long overdue, NVIDIA's Tom Peteresen announced on a blog post that SLI multi-GPU support was finally going to be offered on AMD platforms with the upcoming launch of the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets.  On previous AMD platforms users have not been able to use multiple NVIDIA graphics cards in SLI because NVIDIA simply did not allow licensing of the technology on them.  As of this month, that policy is changing.

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According to the post, NVIDIA has had a change of heart and wants to "make sure gamers can benefit from the new CPU competitive landscape and ensure they have NVIDIA SLI – the highest performance, most stable multi-GPU solution - to game on!"  The lack of SLI on previous chipsets was the result of Intel being the dominate CPU platform of choice for gamers in recent years. 

ASUS, Gigabyte, ASRock, and MSI are going to be the first out of the block with motherboard based on the AMD 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets with SLI support according to NVIDIA's Petersen. 

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This doesn't change NVIDIA's stance on the whole licensing and charging motherboard vendors to integrate SLI thing, however.  In an ideal world, NVIDIA would have announced that they were opening up SLI to work on ANY motherboard, future or present, that has enough PCI Express slots on them, just like we see today with AMD's own CrossFire technology.  Despite pressure to do that, NVIDIA is standing by its current formula and expanding into the realm of AMD chipsets.  

Regardless, today is a good day for AMD fans and gamers alike that want more choice and more variety in their system build options for the future.  The AMD Llano and Bulldozer-based processors just got a little more gaming friendly.

Source: NVIDIA