crookedvulture writes "AMD's recently introduced Radeon R9 290X is one of the fastest graphics cards around. However, the cards sent to reviewers differ somewhat from the retail units available for purchase. The press samples run at higher clock speeds and deliver better performance as a result. There's some variance in clock speeds between different press and retail cards, too. Part of the problem appears to be AMD's PowerTune mechanism, which dynamically adjusts GPU frequencies in response to temperature and power limits. AMD doesn't guarantee a base clock speed, saying only that the 290X runs at 'up to 1GHz.' Real-world clock speeds are a fair bit lower than that, and the retail cards suffer more than the press samples. Cooling seems to be a contributing factor. AMD issued a driver update that raises fan speeds, and that helps the performance of some retail cards. Retail units remain slower than the cards seeded to the press, though. Flashing retail cards with the press firmware raises clock speeds slightly, but it doesn't entirely close the gap, either. AMD hasn't explained why the retail cards are slower than expected, and it's possible the company cherry-picked the samples sent to the press. At the very least, it's clear that the 290X exhibits more card-to-card variance than we're used to seeing in a PC graphics product."
Want business-intelligence news delivered to your inbox? Signup for SlashBI Update now.
MojoKid writes "There's a great deal riding on the launch of AMD's next-generation Kaveri APU. The new chip will be the first processor from AMD to incorporate significant architectural changes to the Bulldozer core AMD launched two years ago and the first chip to use a graphics core derived from AMD's GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture. A strong Kaveri launch could give AMD back some momentum in the enthusiast business. Details are emerging that point to a Kaveri APU that's coming in hot — possibly a little hotter than some of us anticipated. Kaveri's Steamroller CPU core separates some of the core functions that Bulldozer unified and should substantially improve the chip's front-end execution. Unlike Piledriver, which could only decode four instructions per module per cycle (and topped out at eight instructions for a quad-core APU), Steamroller can decode four instructions per core or 16 instructions per quad-core module. The A10-7850K will offer a 512-core GPU while the A10-7700K will be a 384-core part. Again, GPU clock speeds have come down, from 844MHz on the A10-6800K to 720MHz on the new A10-7850K but should be offset by the gains from moving to AMD's GCN architecture."
An anonymous reader writes "DragonFlyBSD 3.6 was released [Monday] with the big new features being dports, Intel and AMD Radeon KMS kernel graphics drivers, major SMP improvements, and improved language support. Dports is the new package management system based upon the FreeBSD Ports collection and replaces pkgsrc as the default; over 20k packages are available via dports. Major SMP scaling improvements come via reducing lock contention within the kernel and other multi-core enhancements. The Intel and Radeon graphics drivers on DragonFlyBSD were ported from the FreeBSD kernel, which in turn were ported from the upstream Linux kernel."
alphadogg writes "With memory, as with real estate, location matters. A group of researchers from AMD and the Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory have found that the altitude at which SRAM resides can influence how many random errors the memory produces. In a field study of two high-performance computers, the researchers found that L2 and L3 caches had more transient errors on the supercomputer located at a higher altitude, compared with the one closer to sea level. They attributed the disparity largely to lower air pressure and higher cosmic ray-induced neutron strikes. Strangely, higher elevation even led to more errors within a rack of servers, the researchers found. Their tests showed that memory modules on the top of a server rack had 20 percent more transient errors than those closer to the bottom of the rack. However, it's not clear what causes this smaller-scale effect."
SmartAboutThings writes "Chip maker AMD has announced that it's won 2 CES Innovation Awards for a gaming tablet the company plans to show off at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The device is called "Project Discovery" and will come with AMD's Mullins chip that is a 64-bit, x86-based chip, perfectly suitable for Windows 8.1. The low-power Mullins APU (accelerated processing unit) is AMD's answer to Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm, aimed at fanless tablets, ultrathin notebooks, and 2-in-1 devices. The 28nm processor is expected to consume as little as 2 watts of energy while in use. The obtained images show that the upcoming AMD tablet is quite similar to Razer Edge."
An anonymous reader writes "There's many improvements due in the Linux 3.13 kernel that just entered development. On the matter of new hardware support, there's open-source driver support for Intel Broadwell and AMD Radeon R9 290 'Hawaii' graphics. NFTables will eventually replace IPTables; the multi-queue block layer is supposed to make disk access much faster on Linux; HDMI audio has improved; Stereo/3D HDMI support is found for Intel hardware; file-system improvements are on the way, along with support for limiting the power consumption of individual PC components."
MojoKid writes "The seemingly never-ending onslaught of new graphics cards as of late continues today with the official release of the AMD Radeon R9 270. This mainstream graphics card actually leverages the same GPU that powered last-year's Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition. AMD, however, has tweaked the clocks and through software and board level revisions updated the card to allow for more flexible use of its display outputs (using Eyefinity no longer requires the use of a DisplayPort). Versus the 1GHz (GPU) and 4.8Gbps (memory) of the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition, the Radeon R9 270 offers slightly lower compute performance (2.37 TFLOPS vs. 2.56 TFLOPS), but much more memory bandwidth--179.2GB/s vs. 153.6GB/s to be exact. AMD and its add in board partners are launching the Radeon R9 270 today, with prices starting at $179. The Radeon R9 270's starting price is somewhat aggressive and once again puts pressure on NVIDIA. GeForce GTX 660 cards, which typically performed lower than the Radeon R9 270 are priced right around the $190 mark. Along with this card, AMD is also announcing an update to its game bundle, and beginning November 13 Radeon R9 270 – R9 290X cards will include a free copy of Battlefield 4. NVIDIA, on the other hand, is offering Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassins Creed – Black Flag, plus $50 off a SHIELD portable gaming device with GTX 660 and 760 cards."
MojoKid writes "At APU13 today, AMD announced a full suite of new products and development tools as part of its push to improve HSA development. One of the most significant announcements to come out the sessions today-- albeit in a tacit, indirect fashion, is that Kaveri is going to pack a full 512 GPU cores. There's not much new to see on the CPU side of things — like Richland/Trinity, Steamroller is a pair of CPU modules with two cores per module. AMD also isn't talking about clock speeds yet, but the estimated 862 GFLOPS that the company is claiming for Kaveri points to GPU clock speeds between 700 — 800MHz. With 512 cores, Kaveri picks up a 33% boost over its predecessors, but memory bandwidth will be essential for the GPU to reach peak performance. For performance, AMD showed Kaveri up against the Intel 4770K running a low-end GeForce GT 630. In the intro scene to BF4's single-player campaign (1920x1080, Medium Details), the AMD Kaveri system (with no discrete GPU) consistently pushed frame rates in the 28-40 FPS range. The Intel system, in contrast, couldn't manage 15 FPS. Performance on that system was solidly in the 12-14 FPS range — meaning AMD is pulling 2x the frame rate, if not more."
An anonymous reader writes "Nvidia lifted the veil on its latest high-end graphics board, the GeForce GTX 780 Ti. With a total of 2,880 CUDA cores and 240 texture units, the GK110 GPU inside the GTX 780 Ti is fully unlocked. This means that the new card has an additional SMX block, 192 more shader cores, and 16 additional texture units than the $1,000 GTX Titan launched back in February! Offered at just $700, the GTX 780 Ti promises to improve gaming performance over the Titan, yet the card has been artificially limited in GPGPU performance — no doubt in order to make sure the pricier card remains relevant to those unable or unwilling to spring for a Quadro. The benchmark results simply illustrate the GTX 780 Ti's on-paper specs. The card was able to beat AMD's just-released flagship, the Radeon R9 290x by single-digit percentages, up to double-digits topping 30% — depending on the variability of AMD's press and retail samples."
crookedvulture writes "The back and forth battle for PC graphics supremacy is quite a thing to behold. Last week, Nvidia cut GeForce prices in response to the arrival of AMD's latest Radeons. That move caused AMD to rejigger its plans for the new Radeon R9 290, which debuted today with a higher default fan speed and faster performance than originally planned. This $400 card offers almost identical performance to AMD's flagship R9 290X for $150 less. Indeed, it's often faster than Nvidia's $1000 GeForce Titan. But the 290 also consumes a lot more power, and its fan spins up to 49 decibels under load. Fortunately, the acoustic profile isn't too grating. Radeon R9 290 isn't the only new graphics card due this week, either. Nvidia is scheduled to unveil its GeForce GTX 780 Ti on November 7, and that card could further upset the balance at the high end of the GPU market. As AMD and Nvidia trade blows, PC gamers seem to be the ones who benefit." Additional reviews available from AnandTech, PC Perspective, Hot Hardware, and Tom's Hardware.
An anonymous reader writes "Linus Torvalds announced the Linux 3.12 kernel release with a large number of improvements through many subsystems including new EXT4 file-system features, AMD Berlin APU support, a major CPUfreq governor improvement yielding impressive performance boosts for certain hardware/workloads, new drivers, and continued bug-fixing. Linus also took the opportunity to share possible plans for Linux 4.0. He's thinking of tagging Linux 4.0 following the Linux 3.19 release in about one year and is also considering the idea of Linux 4.0 being a release cycle with nothing but bug-fixes. Does Linux really need an entire two-month release cycle with nothing but bug-fixing? It's still to be decided by the kernel developers."
An anonymous reader writes "Intel shipped open-source Broadwell graphics driver support for Linux this weekend. While building upon the existing Intel Linux GPU driver, the kernel driver changes are significant in size for Broadwell. Code comments from Intel indicate that these processors shipping in 2014 will have "some of the biggest changes we've seen on the execution and memory management side of the GPU" and "dwarf any other silicon iteration during my tenure, and certainly can compete with the likes of the gen3->gen4 changes." Come next year, Intel may now be able to better take on AMD and NVIDIA discrete graphics solutions."
Billly Gates writes "AMD may have trouble in their CPU department with Intel having superior fabrication plants. However, in the graphics market with GPU chips AMD is doing well. AMD earned a very rare Elite reward from Tomshardware as the fastest GPU available with its fastest r9 for as little as $550 each. NVidia has its top end GPU cards going for $1,000 as it had little competition to worry about. Maximum PC also included some benchmarks and crowned ATI as the fastest and best value card available. AMD/ATI also has introduced MANTLE Api for lower level access than DirectX which is cross platform. This may turn into a very important API as AMD/ATI have their GPUs in the next generation Sony and Xbox consoles as well with a large marketshare for game developers to target"
MojoKid writes "AMD has launched their new top-end Radeon R9 290X graphics card today. The new flagship wasn't ready in time for AMD's recent October 8th launch of midrange product, but their top of the line model, based on the GPU codenamed Hawaii, is ready now. The R9 290 series GPU (Hawaii) is comprised of up to 44 compute units with a total of 2,816 IEEE-2008 compliant shaders. The GPU has four geometry processors (2x the Radeon HD 7970) and can output 64 pixels per clock. The Radeon R9 290X features 2816 Stream Processors and an engine clock of up to 1GHz. The card's 4GB of GDDR5 memory is accessed by the GPU via a wide 512-bit interface and the R290X requires a pair of supplemental PCIe power connectors—one 6-pin and one 8-pin. Save for some minimum frame rate and frame latency issues, the new Radeon R9 290X's performance is impressive overall. AMD still has some obvious driver tuning and optimization to do, but frame rates across the board were very good. And though it wasn't a clean sweep for the Radeon R9 290X versus NVIDIA's flagship GeForce GTX 780 or GeForce GTX Titan cards, AMD's new GPU traded victories depending on the game or application being used, which is to say the cards performed similarly."
JoshMST writes "Why are we in the middle of GPU-renaming hell? AMD may be releasing a new 28-nm Hawaii chip in the next few days, but it is still based on the same 28-nm process that the original HD 7970 debuted on nearly two years ago. Quick and easy (relative terms) process node transitions are probably a thing of the past. 20-nm lines applicable to large ASICs are not being opened until mid-2014. 'AMD and NVIDIA will have to do a lot of work to implement next generation features without breaking transistor budgets. They will have to do more with less, essentially. Either that or we will just have to deal with a much slower introduction of next generation parts.' It's amazing how far the graphics industry has come in the past 18 years, but the challenges ahead are greater than ever."
MojoKid writes "EA took the wraps off Battlefield 4 this past week, offering players a chance to try an early beta. AMD has also been talking up Battlefield 4 in combination with their new Radeon R series line with a vengeance, highlighting the features of its new Mantle API and close partnership with DICE, Battlefield 4's developer. Sometimes, enough modest changes evolve into an entirely new product, and when you factor in the tessellation improvements, terrain deformation, Mantle API support, enhanced audio cues, and better particle effects, that's what BF4 is shaping up to be. And it appears likely the game is going to be a premiere title across all of the current and future consoles plus PCs. Battlefield 4 is going to be closely watched for a number of reasons; Mantle performance, comparisons between the Xbox 360 / PS3 and Xbox One / PS4 versions, and, of course, on its own merits."
MojoKid writes "Over the past few years, a handful of mobile graphics companies have emerged but the top dog, by far, has been Imagination Technologies, with Qualcomm, Nvidia and ARM all picking up significant businesses of their own as well. But now, there's a new kid on the block — a company with a tiny, highly customized GPU, a number of recent design wins, and a strong product portfolio. Vivante got started in 2004 and started licensing its GPU designs in 2007. The company's early wins have been in Eastern markets, but this past year, it's begun to show up in devices intended for the West, including the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and Google's Chromecast. Vivante has taken a different approach to core design from most of the other companies that play in this space. All modern GPUs are explicitly designed to be modular and scalable. Typically what that means is that a company like Nvidia or AMD defines a single compute unit that can be duplicated throughout the GPU design. Vivante's GPUs are modular as well, but with a much finer level of granularity. Each of the three shaded blocks (3-D Pipeline, Vector Graphics Pipeline, 2-D Pipeline) can be segmented or stacked into various configurations. A GPU core, in other words, could contain more ultra-threaded shaders, or additional vector graphics engines, up to 32 cores in total. One of the advantages of this tiny, modular architecture is that you can clock the cores like gangbusters. According to Vivante, the 28nm high performance silicon variant of the Vivante architecture can clock up to 1GHz at full speed, but fall back to 1/64th of this in power saving mode, or roughly 16MHz."
crookedvulture writes "The first reviews of AMD's Radeon R7 and R9 graphics cards have hit the web, revealing cards based on the same GPU technology used in the existing HD 7000 series. The R9 280X is basically a tweaked variant of the Radeon HD 7970 GHz priced at $300 instead of $400, while the R9 270X is a revised version of the Radeon HD 7870 for $200. Thanks largely to lower prices, the R9 models compare favorably to rival GeForce offerings, even if there's nothing exciting going on at the chip level. There's more intrigue with the Radeon R7 260X, which shares the same GPU silicon as the HD 7790 for only $140. Turns out that graphics chip has some secret functionality that's been exposed by the R7 260X, including advanced shaders, simplified multimonitor support, and a TrueAudio DSP block dedicated to audio processing. AMD's current drivers support the shaders and multimonitor mojo in the 7790 right now, and a future update promises to unlock the DSP. The R7 260X isn't nearly as appealing as the R9 cards, though. It's slower overall than not only GeForce 650 Ti Boost cards from Nvidia, but also AMD's own Radeon HD 7850 1GB. We're still waiting on the Radeon R9 290X, which will be the first graphics card based on AMD's next-gen Hawaii GPU." More reviews available from AnandTech, Hexus, Hot Hardware, and PC Perspective.
An anonymous reader writes "NVIDIA was caught removing features from their Linux driver and days later Linux developers have caught and confirmed AMD imposing artificial limitations on their graphics cards in the DVI-to-HDMI adapters that their driver will support. Over years AMD has quietly been adding an extra EEPROM chip to their DVI-to-HDMI adapters that are bundled with Radeon HD graphics cards. Only when these identified adapters are detected via checks in their Windows and Linux Catalyst driver is HDMI audio enabled. If using a third-party DVI-to-HDMI adapter, HDMI audio support is disabled by the Catalyst driver. Open-source Linux developers have found this to be a self-imposed limitation and that the open-source AMD Linux driver will work fine with any DVI-to-HDMI adapter."
jones_supa writes "Things are starting to look even better for the status of open specifications for AMD Radeon HD hardware. AMD's Alex Deucher announced via his personal blog that programming guides and register specifications on the 3D engines for the Evergreen, Northern Islands, Southern Islands, and Sea Islands GPUs are now in the NDA-free public domain. These parts represent the 3D engines on the Radeon HD 5000 through Radeon HD 8000 series graphics processors."