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Hardware

Last Thursday Roy Taylor AMD’s VP of Global Channel Sales made an appearance in MaximumPC’s no BS podcast primarily to sit down with Origin PC’s CEO Kevin Wasielewski & discuss the situation that had occurred back in October of last year which revolved around Origin PC ceasing to offer AMD GPUs to customers.

Both parties cleared the air and made amends. But a LOT of very exciting information was revealed in the process. So without any further delay lets get into the juicy bits !

AMD Dragon

Next Gen HEDT FX CPUs & 20nm GPUs in the Works

So lets get the relatively less exciting stuff out of the way first. Roy Taylor AMD’s VP of Global Channel sales discussed AMD’s R9 285 graphics card coming in September 2nd powered by the all new Tonga GPU which promises incredible performance at significantly higher power efficiency compared to AMD’s current R9 280 graphics card. We covered this already in great detail here.

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Hardware

In October of last year news broke of Origin PC making the announcement to discontinue offering AMD graphics cards in their systems and opting to offer Nvidia GPUs exclusively instead. This announcement came as a shock to many especially because it was made shortly after AMD announced their now very successful R9 290 series of GPUs.

Origin PC & AMD

AMD & Origin PC Finally Sit Down Together & Make Amends

The internet was rife with speculation at that time and some news sites ‘namely a website called SemiAccurate’ even went as far as to say that Origin PC had received large sums of marketing money from AMD’s competitor, NVIDIA, to convince Origin PC of dropping AMD graphics cards.

Origin PC was very quick to dispel these allegations afterwards when GameFront pushed Origin PC for a comment :

Devin Connors: Has Origin PC received any incentive, cash or otherwise, from Nvidia that led to the discontinuation of AMD GPU sales by Origin PC?
Kevin Wasielewski: No. In fact, I called my NVIDIA rep and told them I am dropping AMD.  Not the other way around.
DC: Did SemiAccurate reach out to you for comment before they published their article today?
KW: They did not reach out to me.  No calls, emails, or tweets.

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Hardware

NVIDIA is nearing the launch of their second generation of Maxwell graphics card which are rumored to launch in Septmeber. While we have all known the second generation of Maxwell cards as the GeForce 800 series, it’s now reported by Videocardz that NVIDIA would instead use the GeForce 900 series branding for the graphics cards featuring their next generation Maxwell architecture which will include the GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970. GeForce GTX 980

NVIDIA Rumored To Launch GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 Maxwell GPUs

A few days ago, a leak emerged of two upcoming mobility based GPUs based on the Maxwell architecture. The GPUs included the GeForce GTX 980M and GeForce GTX 970M. While it was previously assumed that NVIDIA’s mobility generation of Maxwell chips would be codenamed GeForce GTX 880MX and GeForce GTX 870MX that would have caused some confusion in the market, NVIDIA planned to keep their lineup simple by skipping the 800 series branding and moving on with the GeForce 900 series branding scheme. But NVIDIA seems to be not only skipping the GeForce 800 series naming scheme for the mobility lineup but they are doing the same for the desktop lineup. Hence the products which were supposed to be called the GeForce GTX 880 and GeForce GTX 870 would now be called GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 instead.

So according to the report, the Maxwell generation of graphics cards will now be branded as the GeForce 900 and GeForce 900M series. The two graphics cards from NVIDIA were supposed to be launched during sometime in September and the launch schedule will remain that way. The press event for the cards is going to take place between September 9th – 10th while the NDA is supposedly going to lift on 19th September on both cards. As for the specifications, we don’t have any new information aside from the rumored specifications we reported in the GeForce GTX 880 and GTX 870 leaks but the cards will end up with 4 GB of GDDR5 memory running on a 256-bit bus interface. If the reported date is correct, then we might see some reference designs prior to launch but aside from that we will have to wait to see if the information is legit or not.

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Hardware

Its not everyday that you decide to upgrade the heart of your gaming rig, but I bet that when you do so, accidentally getting a ‘fake’ card isn’t a thought that crosses your mind. Unfortunately for some German gamers, this proved to be a very depressing mistake. In Germany, Counterfeit GPUs under the SKU name “Nvidia GTX 660 4096 BULK” have been selling by the the thousands if reports are to be believed.  GTX 660 4096 BULK Fake Nvidia GPU

Counterfeit GPUs Named “GTX 660 4096 Bulk” Flood German Markets

There have been counts of fake GPUs in the past too, and it is slightly alarming that the severity of these incidents is escalating, along with the fact that they are growing in numbers. You can see the hi resolution picture of the GPU above and it looks some kind of very cheap ITX version with a Zotac GTX 440 cooler. Infact, GTX 440 is the correct guess because the actual die inside the cards is the GF106 chip. This is the same chip that was present in the GTX 440.  The so called GTX 660 only has about 144 Cuda Cores all clocked at about 900 Mhz. It features a 128Bit Bus interface and DDR3 Memory. So you can be rest assured that this is a very very bad buy indeed. Now heise.de, the same guys that broke the news i believe, took one GPU apart and took some snaps of the core which are visible below:

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Hardware

NVIDIA is gearing up for a big launch in its Tesla line of professional graphics cards with the upcoming Tesla K80. In a leak, Videocardz managed to spot references of the Tesla K80 graphics card along with a few GPUs based on the Maxwell architecture however launch dates for the new cards are not known at the moment so we will get on with the specifications.NVIDIA Tesla K80 GK210-DUO

NVIDIA Tesla K80 “GK210-DUO” Graphics Card Heading Out To The Professional Market

Since the Tesla K80 is a dual-chip graphics card, it will feature two GK210 chips which are codenamed as the “GK210-DUO”. The Tesla K80 will essentially be two Tesla K40s on a single board which will result in improved performance and efficency as compared to using two separate Tesla K40 cards. The specifications will include two GK210 chips featuring 5760 CUDA cores (2880 CUDA Cores each), 448 TMUs and 96 ROPs. Judging from the Tesla K40 board, we can expect a memory size as high as 24 GB on the Tesla K80 board since the Tesla K40 featured 12 GB of GDDR5 memory. The memory will be featured along a 384-bit bus interface and will feature a TDP of around 375W, similar to the GeForce GTX Titan Z.

The core and memory clock speeds are currently unknown but NVIDIA’s previous Tesla K10 which was based on two GK104 cores featured lower clock speeds compared to its consumer counterpart, the GeForce GTX 690. For cooling, the card can adopt a passive heatsink design if the thermals are under control. The other variants that have been leaked include several upcoming Maxwell based graphics cards for the Quadro and Tesla series that include the recent GM107 based cards including the GM204 based series which will be branded as the Tesla M and Quadro M series.

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Hardware

[Op-Ed] I just wanted to share a short update on the Maxwell mobility front and a follow up to our original article. As I have already told you before Nvidia is gearing up for a big reveal sometime around the Second Week of September and this will probably include details about the Maxwell Mobility series too. However,  some solid rumors spotted by Cloudfire (NotebookReview) seem to indicate that the GTX 980M and GTX 970M will launch around 11th October, which is after the time the Nvidia Reveal is scheduled.Maxwell-GTX-880-

The Curious Case of the GTX 900 Series Nomenclature in Maxwell Mobility

I have to say, the naming of the Maxwell Mobility series has been bugging me ever since it was revealed. I just don’t get why Nvidia would name the mobility series 9xx. Sure, it makes sense in itself because Nvidia is shifting to a new architecture, but it does not make marketing sense because you would then have a nomenclature that indicates the mobility chips are stronger the the Desktop variants! Introducing a new architecture by adding the “MX” suffix is perfectly fine as fine goes, and they have used this trick in the past too, so why stop now? I have expressed my hunch for something fishy previously as well and I would like to elaborate on it once more.

The rumor that I mentioned earlier was spotted by the user Cloudfire on OEM Forums. It states that the GTX 980M and GTX 970M are scheduled to be listed in OEMs on the 11th of October. This is around three weeks after the time the Nvidia Reveal is supposed to take place. Now there are a couple of obvious implications on why Nvidia is going with this nomenclature. Note that these implications are not mutually exclusive. Option 1 is that Nvidia is doing this just to product differentiate between the mostly Kepler based 8xx series and the mostly Maxwell based (probably) 9xx series. This one is of course the most probable.  Option 2 is that Nvidia is introducing 20nm based Maxwell and once again wants to product differentiate completely with the 8xx series. There is evidence to the 20nm Mobility claim and though, logically, it appears probable, the evidence is stacking towards this. Option 3 is that Nvidia has done something radical and extended the digitus medius to the leak scene. This scenario includes the GPUs being entirely 20nm, or the desktop GPUs being named GTX 900 Series too, or both.

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Hardware

[Editorial] Today we’re going to bring you on a journey that will get you one step closer to seeing the world in the eyes of AMD and Intel and reflect on how different yet quite similar those images truly are. To understand the philosophies of both companies we have to also understand the architectures inside the products they make and get to know the reasons behind the decisions made in designing those architectures intimately.

Intel and AMD Microarchitectures – Exploring the Past, Present and the Future (Part I)

Lets start from the beginning, in 2006 AMD made the decision to buy ATi with the vision to fuse GPU cores and CPU cores into a single piece of silicone called the Accelerated Processing Unit or APU for short. AMD called this effort “Fusion” and it was the company’s main advent from buying ATi. In 2010 Intel released the first processor to feature integrated graphics but just like the company’s first effort to make a dual or a quad core processor the resulting product was a multi-chip module or an MCM for short. Intel called this design Clarkdale & it was not a fully integrated monolithic solution. The graphics portion had its own separate die and it was connected to the main CPU die using an interposer.

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Hardware

AMD has officially unveiled their next generation “Tonga” graphics processing unit which will be featured inside the Radeon R9 285 series graphics cards. The Tonga graphics chip has been unveiled at AMD’s ongoing “30 Years of Graphics and Gaming Commemoration” event where the chip maker has announced several new technologies including the Radeon R9 285 graphics card.AMD Radeon R9 285 Specifications

AMD Unveils The Power Efficient Radeon R9 285 “Tonga Pro” Graphics Card

This isn’t the first time we are hearing of Tonga as it has already been launched with the FirePro W7100 GPU for professional market back at SIGGRAPH 2014. The Tonga GPU is highly efficient and the basic purpose of the new cards is to rival the upcoming Maxwell generation of graphics processing units from NVIDIA. As noted, the first generation Maxwell architecture featured on the GM107 was just the beginning delivering the most low power and highly efficient chip in the industry. NVIDIA is on the verge of introducing their next generation GM204 core which will be integrated on their performance segment cards unveiling in September 2014. AMD has to answer them sooner or later and now is the best time to introduce new products which will replace the year old rebrands featured in the Radeon R9 and R7 series lineups. AMD also has a separate event planned in September related to a new high-end chip but we will talk about it later.

The Radeon R9 285 is built on the Tonga Pro architecture but before going into the architectural details, let’s focus on the details of the card itself. The Radeon R9 285 has 1792 stream processors, 112 TMUs and 32 ROPs. The Radeon R9 285 will ship with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory running across a 256-bit interface. The core clock is maintained at 933 MHz and boost clock at 988 MHz while the memory frequency is maintained at 1375 MHz which results in a 5.5 GHz effective memory clock pumping out 176.2 GB/s bandwidth. The card additionally comes with XDMA CrossFire technology and TrueAudio DSPs which allows to switch load off the CPU and put audio processing task to the DSPs instead for enhanced manageability and performance.

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Hardware

amd 30 years graphics live stream

AMD 30 Years of Graphics and Gaming Live Blog and Live Stream

Note: the live blog initially takes some time to load. After that, it will update automatically and no refresh is required.

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Hardware

We are just a few minutes away from the official announcement of the Radeon R9 285 graphics card but it seems like someone over manufacturer Sapphire’s website was misinformed and leaked the entire graphics card lineup prior to the event itself. The Sapphire Radeon R9 285 series lineup will feature six new variants which will include both reference and non-reference designs with 2 GB and 4 GB models available to consumers on 2nd September.Sapphire Radeon R9 285_Box

Sapphire Radeon R9 285 “Tonga Pro” Graphics Lineup Leaked

The Sapphire Radeon R9 285 will include four Dual-X variants along with two ITX compact variants. The M-ITX variants will be the first compact models from Sapphire which will feature a shorter PCB similar to the ASUS and MSI Mini-ITX and Gaming variants which have been met which a good response from the hardware community. The Radeon R9 285 Compact will feature a PCB measuring 171mm long and feature a single fan which will cool the heatsink assembly underneath it that utilizes a heatpipe design. The compact models will come in overclock and reference models.

The Dual-X model will be available in four variants, two 2 GB and two 4 GB models which will be available in reference and overclocked frequencies. The specifications of the Radeon R9 285 “Tonga Pro” based graphics cards are pretty straight forward now. For specifications, the card will 1792 stream processors, 112 texture mapping units and 32 ROPs. It  will be available in 2 GB and 4 GB GDDR5 variants with memory running across a 256-bit bus interface and the clock speeds are maintained at 918 MHz core and 1375 MHz memory which result in a cumulative bandwidth of 176 GB/s. The power is provided through dual 6-Pin connectors and display outputs include Dual-DVI, HDMI and a display port for all three cards.

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Hardware

Drivers are very interesting things; they usually work out of sight but are just as important as the GPU itself. It is with these thoughts in mind that I would like to post something very interesting today: a benchmark comparison (courtesy of DG Lee over at IYD.KR) of all the driver releases between and including Catalyst 13.9 WHQL and 14.7 RC. I would also like to point out a very interesting anomaly that I noticed in the benchmarks.AMD A-Series Old Robot

Curious Watch Dogs Anomaly – Catalyst 13.9 WHQL to 14.7 RC Shows 4% Improvement Overall

Let me begin by saying that the benchmarks were conducted by DG Lee and all measures were taken to ensure that the system remained constant and only the drivers were changed. Catalyst versions were completely and thoroughly removed before the next version was benchmarked, since drivers are notorious for sticking around after they have out stayed their welcome. Lets begin with the testing rig used:

  • Intel Core i7 4770K
  • AVEXIR DDR3 PC3-12800 CL9 16GB (4×4)
  • AMD R9 280X 3GB
  • ASUS Maximus VII Hero
  • Team L3 SSD 240GB
  • Corsair AX 750 GOLD
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
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Hardware

[Rumor] This new leak is courtesy of CHW.com who have spilled some of the beans on AMD’s upcoming GPU architecture code named “Faraway Islands” & has revealed some very interesting information with regards to this new architecture but before we dive into the details keep a pinch of salt handy as always.

Volcanic-Islands

AMD To Introduce Faraway Islands Based Graphics Cards Next Year

AMD has been awfully quiet on its GPU roadmap as of late.  Ever since the launch of Hawaii back in October of last year nothing major about AMD’s upcoming GPUs has leaked, except recently about Tonga. And even information regarding Tonga only appeared a while after information surfaced regarding GM204 & the GTX 880 which it’s based on. So even though Tonga is going to be released before GM204, information surrounding it was much more scarce & much more difficult to come by. All of this can be attributed to AMD’s relatively recent re-invigoration of its old culture of secrecy.

Thankfully the silence has been broken and we have a few very interesting pieces of information to dig into. The first being a new code name “Faraway Island’s”. Now a quick google search would net you a few results about Pokemon and nothing resembling a real location on planet earth that is until I stumbled on The Faroes. Whether indeed these are the referenced Faraway Islands or not I still cannot confirm.

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Hardware

A couple of days ago I wrote a piece about a GPU from AMD called the ‘R7 250XE’ and I mentioned that this is either a GPU with lowered TDP or a new core altogether. Turns out, the former was right. The R7 250XE is AMD’s answer to the Maxwell GTX 750/Ti which was a power house in the “no power connector” required sector. This GPU as you might have guessed is a highly efficient variant of the 250X which requires no external power connector and takes all its power from the PCI-E.Radeon_R7_250X_1

AMD R7 250XE ‘Eco’ GPU Revealed – No External Power Connector Required, TDP <75W

Now that I have more details on the GPU I can confirm that the GPU is infact just a more efficient revision of the Cape Verde GPU which is featured in the R7 250X and HD 7770. The ‘E’ stands for Eco, not Expert as I previously thought it did. The card is ideal for compact builds and should be priced around $65. That’s as cheap as a dGPU gets. Since the card takes all its power from the PCI-E, we can be rest assured that TDP is less than 75W (the max wattage PCI-E can provide). The current spotlight for connector-less cards is occupied by 1st Generation Maxwells and though, the 250XE will not be able to beat them on performance, it will surely be able to beat their Price Point.

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Hardware

Introduction

Here we are back again to review another one of AMD’s latest Radeon R7 graphics card from their AIC partner HIS (Hightech Information Systems). Almost two and half years have been passed since AMD introduced their GCN core architecture and it shouldn’t be a surprise if I told you that the architecture is still being featured on AMD’s latest Volcanic Islands Radeon R7 and Radeon R9 series graphics cards.

The Volcanic Islands family is branded as the Radeon R200 series and takes performance and value to the next level. Technically speaking, the Radeon R200 series cards which include the Radeon R9 280X, Radeon R9 270X, Radeon R9 270, Radeon R7 265, Radeon R7 260X, Radeon R7 260, Radeon R7 255, Radeon R7 250X, Radeon R7 250 and Radeon R7 240 are GCN rebrands aside from the latest Hawaii based Radeon R9 290X and Radeon R9 290, with the addition of new features but rather than giving away the same cards at the same price ranges, AMD added a few new features which we will detail in this article and slashed the prices so much that the Tahiti chip that once was $549 can now be bought for $299 US.

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Hardware

Videocardz was the first site to unveil the upcoming Radeon R9 285 graphics cards and they are first again in unveiling the launch date of the Tonga based cards. According to their information, AMD’s Radeon R9 285 is officially geared for launch on 2nd September while the Radeon R9 285X will be unveiled later during the same month.AMD Radeon R9 285

AMD Radeon R9 285 “Tonga Pro” Officially Launches On 2nd September

AMD has already mentioned that they have a event planned for 23rd August which will be livestreamed to the public audience. The so called “30 Years of Graphics and Gaming Commemoration” will take place on Saturday where Richard Huddy, AMD’s Chief Gaming Scientist is going to brief and detail their next generation of graphics appliances and products. AMD has already teased that there are going to be announcements regarding a GPU over at the event and they showed us a large “Evolution of AMD Radeon GPUs” infographics a few days ago that leaves room for a new announcement that remains to be seen on 23rd August 2014.

A slide posted from Videocardz which is part of the NDA material sent to press and reviewers has revealed that the announcement will be regarding AMD’s next generation Tonga GPU architecture which has higher efficiency that translates into almost half the power consumption of Tahiti yet being faster than the Radeon R9 280 series cards. But it should be pointed out that the entire conference is not restricted to a single announcement and we may even see some new surprise announcements regarding the software side of things such as Mantle or DirectX 12 API support from AMD, even at this point of time, AMD is working on the much awaited HBM (High Bandwidt Memory) which is expected to make its way into GPUs sooner or later so something about that would be really interesting however don’t take my word on this.



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