Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 29, 2011 - 08:58 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: gpgpu, CUDA
If you have seen our various news articles regarding how a GPU can be useful in many ways, and you are a developer yourself, you may be wondering how to get in on that action. Recently Microsoft showed off their competitor to OpenCL known as C++ AMP and AMD showed off some new tools designed to help developers of OpenCL. Everything was dead silent on the CUDA front at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, as expected, but that does not mean that no-one is helping people who do not mind being tied in to NVIDIA. An open-sourced project has been created to generate template file for programmers wishing to do some of their computation in CUDA and wish a helping hand setting up the framework.
You may think the videocard is backwards, but clearly its DVI heads are in front.
The project was started by Pavel Kartashev and is a Java application that accepts form input and generates CUDA code to be imported into your project. The application will help you generate the tedious skeleton code for defining variables and efficiently using the GPU architecture leaving you to program the actual process to be accomplished itself. The author apparently plans to create a Web-based version which should be quite easy with the Java-based nature of his application. Personally I would find myself more interested in the local application or a widget to leaving my web browser windows to reference material. That said, I am sure that someone would like this tool in their web browser, possibly more people than are like-minded with me.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 28, 2011 - 05:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: msi, cyclone, factory overclocked, hd6850
While here at PC Perspective we have been busy with Hawks and Lightning, OCIA went for a Cyclone. The particular whirlwind in this case being the MSI R6850 Cyclone PE/OC, which as the name implies sports a custom cooling solution and a factory overclock. The custom cooler really makes this card stand out, instead of the full shroud we are used to seeing there is a 90mm PWM-controlled 9-blade fan with the card its self being fully exposed. The overclock, 85 MHz on the GPU taking it to 860MHz and the memory bumped 100MHz to 1.1GHz, 4.4GHz effective, which OCIA made even more impressive by overvolting the card with MSI's Afterburner software. To MSI's credit, the card is priced similarly to other HD6850s unlike many other factory overclocked cards which carry a premium price tag. If you have less than $200 to spend on a GPU, this card might be for you.
"Discrete computer graphics are one of the toughest markets to keep current with. New graphics cores are released on a pretty frequent basis from both ATI and NVIDIA and with naming schemes that change nearly as often, it can be difficult to determine where each card stands in relation to others in the same price range. Today we will be taking a look at the MSI R6850 PE / OC graphics card, a mid-range GPU that was launched at the end of last year. Codenamed Barts, this GPU is built on a 40nm process with support for DirectX 11 & Open GL 4.0. Other notable features include HDMI 1.4a & DisplayPort 1.2 support as well as AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology and CrossfireX support."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire HD 6450 1 GB Passive @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon HD6850 & HD6950 CrossFire Performance @ BmR
- HIS Radeon HD6970 IceQ Turbo GFX @ Metku.net
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB DiRT 3 Edition Graphics Card Review @ HardwareHeaven
- Open-Source Radeon HD 6000 Series Still Borked @ Phoronix
- AMD ATI Chips Comparison Table @ Hardware Secrets
- Radeon Driver Power Management Has Room For Improvement @ Phoronix
- Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 23 @ Tech ARP
- Asus Geforce Direct CU II, GTX580 and GTX570 @ The Inquirer
- ECS GTX 560 vs Zotac GTX 560: Budget cards battle @ t-break
- ASUS RoG Matrix GTX 580 Platinum 1.5GB DX11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | June 27, 2011 - 04:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: dx11, crysis 2
Last Wednesday we reported on the announcement of the Crysis 2 DX11 patch and high resolution texture pack upcoming for the 27th of June. Looking at the calendar it appears as if your graphics card just ran out of time to rule the roost. Clocking in at 546 megabytes for the DirectX 11 update and 1695 megabytes for the high resolution texture pack the new updates are not small especially since that does not include the size of the 1.9 patch itself. The big question is whether these updates will push the limits of your computer, and if so, is it worth it?
Can you run me now? … Hello?
VR-Zone benchmarked the new updates on an Intel Core i7-965 system paired with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580. We believe they accidentally mislabeled their Extreme Quality benchmark with their Ultra Quality benchmark as the ultra is the more intensive of the two settings; also, ultra should have the biggest difference between DX9 and DX11 settings as DX11 effects are not enabled at the extreme settings. ((Update: 6/28/2011 - That's exactly what happened. VR-Zone fixed it; it is correct now.)) Under that assumption you are looking at approximately 40 FPS for a 1080p experience with that test system and all the eye-candy enabled. That is a drop of approximately 33% from its usual 60 FPS under extreme settings.
But how does it look? Read on for all of that detail.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | June 24, 2011 - 01:13 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: linux, Ivy Bridge, Intel
Back when Sandy Bridge launched, Intel had some difficulty with Linux compatibility due to their support software not being available long enough ahead of launch for distribution developers to roll it in to their releases. As a result, users purchasing Sandy Bridge hardware would be in for a frolic in the third-party repositories unless they wished to wait four or five months for their distributions to release their next major version. This time Intel is pushing code out much earlier though questions still remain if they will fully make Ubuntu’s 11.10 release.
You mean there's Intel... inside me?
Intel came down hard on themselves for their Sandy Bridge support. Jesse Barnes, an open-source Linux developer at Intel, posted on the Phoronix Forums his thoughts on the Sandy Bridge Linux issue:
"No, this is our job, and we blew it for Sandy Bridge. We're supposed to do development well ahead of product release, and make sure distros include the necessary code to get things working … Fortunately we've learned from this and are giving ourselves more time and planning better for Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge."
Now, six months later as support for Ivy Bridge is getting released and rolled into their necessary places, Intel appears to be more successful than last time. Much of the code that Intel needs to release for Ivy Bridge is already available and rolled in to the Linux 3.0 kernel. A few features missed the deadline and must be rolled in to Linux 3.1 kernel. While Phoronix believes that Fedora 16 will still be able to roll in support in time it is possible that Ubuntu 11.10 may not unless the back-port the changes to their distribution. That is obviously not something Intel would like to see happen given all their extra effort of recent.
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 24, 2011 - 12:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: powercolor, amd, HD6970, factory overclocked
Head over to [H]ard|OCP to meet the PowerColor PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 with a 60MHz bump on the CPU to 940MHz and memory of 1425MHz which is a 50MHz bump, along with an improved cooler. They also added some extras to the back of the card, a dual-link DVI-I port, a single-link DVI-I port, one HDMI port, and two mini-DisplayPort jacks which will make setting up EyeFinity a breeze. The boosted speed helped in overcoming the GTX 570 in almost every single benchmark, pity that the same can be said of the price as it costs more than NVIDIA's card and doesn't surpass it in performance enough to justify the increased cost.
"PowerColor's highest-end Radeon HD 6970 is on our test bench today. The PCS+ Radeon HD 6970 has a respectable out-of-the-box overclock, a custom cooler, and a free game, but does it offer value for its price premium?"
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- AMD's Dual Radeon Graphics for desktops unveiled @ VR-Zone
- Sapphire Radeon HD 5850 Xtreme 1GB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire HD6670 Ultimate, HD6750 & HD6770 Review @ OCC
- HIS 6870 IceQ X Turbo X @ Overclockers.com
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate @ TechwareLabs
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6770 & HD 6670 Review @ Neoseeker
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 2GB Dirt 3 Edition @ Tweaktown
- AMD HD 6990 4GB Dual Graphics Video Card with 3 and 5-Monitor Eyefinity Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Arctic Accelero Xtreme Plus II @ Madshrimps
- Contemporary Graphics Cards in Duke Nukem Forever @ X-bit Labs
- Two Graphics cards from Palit: GeForce GTX 560 Sonic Platinum and GeForce GTX 560 Ti Sonic @ X-bit Labs
- ASUS MATRIX GeForce GTX 580 1536MB Platinum OC @ Tweaktown
- EVGA GeForce GTX 580 3GB Review @ Hardware Canucks
- SLI Performance: Core i5 Sandy Bridge vs Phenom II X6 1100T @ Bjorn3D
Subject: Graphics Cards | June 20, 2011 - 01:38 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Eric Demers, APU
The Tech Report was present for AMD's Eric Demers keynote at the FDC in Seattle last week. They captured quite a few of the slides on camera which you can examine at the bottom of their article. We have seen quite a bit of coverage on the next generation of AMD's Fusion processors, but how can you get sick of reading inside information! Still no news on Bulldozer yet though.
"At the Fusion Developer Summit here in Bellevue, Washington this morning, AMD Graphics CTO Eric Demers made some interesting revelations about his company's next graphics processor architecture. While he didn't talk about specific products, he did say this new core design will materialize inside all future AMD products with GPUs in them over the next few years."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6950 @ Phoronix
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6750 1GB Video Card Review @ ThinkComputers
- PowerColor HD 6850 SCS3 1 GB @ techPowerUp
- AMD Radeon 6450 512MB Graphics Card Review @ eTeknix
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate Edition 1GB DDR5 DX 11 Video Card Review @Hi Tech Legion
- Sapphire HD 6750 @ Overclockers.com
- AMD vs Nvidia: 2nd gen DirectX 11 Battle of the GPUs @ t-break
- Sapphire Radeon HD 6670 Ultimate 1GB @ Tweaktown
- AMD Catalyst 11.6 Windows 7 Driver Analysis @ Tweaktown
- AMD Catalyst 11.6 Driver Analysis @ eTeknix
- A Fresh Look At The Nouveau Gallium3D Driver Performance @ Phoronix
- Workstation Graphics Card Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Palit GeForce GT 520 1GB @OCAU
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile | June 17, 2011 - 04:35 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: webgl, microsoft
WebGL: Heaven or Hell?
(Image from MrDoob WebGL demo; contains Lucy model from Stanford 3D repository)
WebGL is an API very similar to OpenGL ES 2.0: the API used for OpenGL features in embedded systems, particularly smart phones. The goal of WebGL is to provide a light-weight, CSS obeying, 3D and shader system for websites that require advanced 3D graphics or even general purpose calculations performed on the shader units of the client’s GPU. Mozilla and Google currently have support in their public browsers with Opera and Apple shipping support in the near future. Microsoft has stated that allowing third-party websites that level of access to the hardware is dangerous as security vulnerabilities that formerly needed to be exploited locally can now be exploited from the web browser. This is an area of expertise that Microsoft knows all too well from their past attempts at active(x)ly adding scripting functionality to the web browser evolving into a decade-long game of whack-a-mole for security holes.
But skeptics to Microsoft’s position could easily point to their effort to single out the one standard based on OpenGL, competitor to their still-cherished DirectX standard. Regardless of Microsoft’s motives it seems to put to rest the question of whether Microsoft will be working towards implementing WebGL in any release of Internet Explorer currently in development.
Do you think Microsoft is warning its competitors about its past ActiveX woes, or is this more politically motivated? Comment below (registration not required.)
Introducing the AMD FSA
At AMD’s Fusion 11 conference, we were treated to a nice overview of AMD’s next generation graphics architecture. With the recent change in their lineup going from the previous VLIW-5 setup (powered their graphics chips from the Radeon HD 2900 through the latest “Barts” chip running the HD 6800 series) to the new VLIW-4 (HD 6900), many were not expecting much from AMD in terms of new and unique designs. The upcoming “Southern Isles” were thought to be based on the current VLIW-4 architecture, and would feature more performance and a few new features due to the die shrink to 28 nm. It turns out that speculation is wrong.
In late Q4 of this year we should see the first iteration of this new architecture that was detailed today by Eric Demers. The overview detailed some features that will not make it into this upcoming product, but eventually it will all be added in over the next three years or so. Historically speaking, AMD has placed graphics first, with GPGPU/compute as the secondary functionality of their GPUs. While we have had compute abilities since the HD 1800/1900 series of products, AMD has not been as aggressive with compute as has its primary competition. From the G80 GPUs and beyond, NVIDIA has pushed compute harder and farther than AMD has. With its mature CUDA development tools and the compute heavy Fermi architecture, NVIDIA has been a driving force in this particular market. Now that AMD has released two APU based products (Llano and Brazos), they are starting to really push OpenCL, Direct Compute, and the recently announced C++ AMP.
Continue reading for all the details on AMD's Graphics Core Next!
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 16, 2011 - 02:41 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: llano, liveblog, fusion, APU, amd, AFDS
The AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011 is set to begin at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT and promises to bring some interesting and forward looking news about the future of AMD's APU technology. We are going to cover the keynotes LIVE right here throughout the week so if you want to know what is happening AS IT HAPPENS, stick around!!