Thursday, January 3rd 2013

AMD to Fix GCN Latency Issues with Driver Updates

Last month, an investigative report by The TechReport found out that despite being faster, AMD's Radeon HD 7950 graphics card isn't "smoother" than NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 Ti, in that shows signs of higher frame-delivery latency, a theory proven by high-speed camera recordings. Over the holiday, AMD's David Baumann responded in discussions around the web talking about the issue, in which he put AMD's stand.

Apparently, AMD Catalyst drivers still have refinement left in working perfectly with GPUs based on the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture. Baumann explained that GCN, and AMD's older Very Long Instruction Word (VLIW) architectures feature fundamentally different memory management, and drivers that make the most of it are still a work in progress. Baumann stated "Over the early part of the year you'll see a few driver updates help this across a variety of games."

He continued "Additionally, when we switched from the old VLIW architecture to the GCN core there was a significant updates to all parts of the driver was needed – although not really spoken about the entire memory management on GCN is different to prior GPU's and the initial software management for that was primarily driven by schedule and in the meantime we've been rewriting it again and we have discovered that the new version has also improved frame latency in a number of cases so we are accelerating the QA and implementation of that."Source: The TechReport
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95 Comments on AMD to Fix GCN Latency Issues with Driver Updates

#1
james888
Good. YAY! :toast:

So it was just a memory problem with old code being used? I'll wait until I see a benchmark showing the results of the new drivers. Happy to see my 7970 continually getting better.
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#2
buggalugs
Interesting, this issue has been around for a long time on AMD cards so it will be good if they can fix it. It makes me wonder why it took so long to address it. Dont they test this kind of thing during development?

Hmmm this could answer the question:

"8) If what we ultimately care about is smooth gameplay, gamers should be demanding frame latency measurements instead of throughput from all benchmarking sites. "

I guess we all judge cards based on FPS, maybe its time for a new benchmark. It shouldnt be either/or though why cant we have both? FPS and latency?
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#3
wiak
their code monkeys where just monkeying around :respect:
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#4
Jstn7477
I hope they fix all the other issues like desktop flickering and fans cycling on/off every 10 seconds when the monitor is off. Still waiting for Newegg to ship my freakin Accelero Xtreme 7970 that I ordered 4 days ago, as my stock cooler doesn't have busted fans but somehow lost cooling capacity recently. Hitting 90c at stock clocks sucks.
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#5
SK-1
Well kudos to The TechReport for getting AMD off their butts.
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#6
RejZoR
I just hope these fixes won't incluide just few specific modern games and that would be it. I want a fix that works across all titles and not just cherry picked ones.
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#7
sergionography
by: Jstn7477
I hope they fix all the other issues like desktop flickering and fans cycling on/off every 10 seconds when the monitor is off. Still waiting for Newegg to ship my freakin Accelero Xtreme 7970 that I ordered 4 days ago, as my stock cooler doesn't have busted fans but somehow lost cooling capacity recently. Hitting 90c at stock clocks sucks.
if your hitting 90c then there must be a problem, check the air flow in your case or something


on another note i wonder it all has to do with memory or the shaders
because when the gtx660ti was compared to the 7950 there is one thing that make them a bit different, and thats in the way amd and nvidia made them weaker than the top end parts, nvidia limited memory bandwidth, amd deactivated some of the shaders, meaning nvidias shaders are most likely working at ease because they are capable of rendering more than that they are fed from memory hence the lower latency, while amds shaders have all the bandwidth they need with the shaders maxing out hence the stalls.
i might be totally off on this as im trying to use imagination here lol, but if anyone has any background knowledge on the issue i would love to learn a thing or two
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#8
Jstn7477
Took my side panel off, no difference. Replaced TIM, no difference. The XFX DD cooler is crap. The 6950 I had before only hit 75c max in the same case and fans.
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#9
Zubasa
by: Jstn7477
Took my side panel off, no difference. Replaced TIM, no difference. The XFX DD cooler is crap. The 6950 I had before only hit 75c max in the same case and fans.
The fact that the 7970 has a higher TDP than the 6950 means it requires more cooling.
So the it is normal for the 7970 to run warmer when given the same amount of cooling as the 6950.

In fact a 7970Ghz edition has about 25% higher TDP than the 6950.
The temperature of the 7970 actually corresponds nicely to the increased TDP.
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#10
LAN_deRf_HA
This won't be a simple or fast process. Half the fixes will need to be per game, the other half will take rewriting fundamental parts of the driver. It could be a year before they make thorough progress. I hope more sites switch to this latency testing focus so that they keep feeling the pressure to fix it.
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#11
Jack1n
Well AMD thanks for remmbering to fix your 7xxx cards with 8xxx around the corner.
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#12
Deadlyraver
I am surprised that AMD hasn't addressed these issues sooner.
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#13
Ferrum Master
Well I also hate the artifacting that is still present in many games... I hope they fix that also soon...
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#14
sergionography
by: Zubasa
The fact that the 7970 has a higher TDP than the 6950 means it requires more cooling.
So the it is normal for the 7970 to run warmer when given the same amount of cooling as the 6950.

In fact a 7970Ghz edition has about 25% higher TDP than the 6950.
The temperature of the 7970 actually corresponds nicely to the increased TDP.
higher tdp doesnt mean its ok to run hot, it just means it requires more cooling
but yea ive heard about xfx having horrible cooling and fan profiles, so to set it up manualy is usually not a bad idea because anything above 75-80c is way too hot

by: Jack1n
Well AMD thanks for remmbering to fix your 7xxx cards with 8xxx around the corner.
this isnt about 7000 its about gcn, a totally new architecture since vliw which amd used since the hd 2000 series. in other words every bit of work they put in now will carry on to the next gen parts, however for those complaining IDK what youre complaining about, those who bought the cards knew what they were buying and the performance they expect, and ever since their cards are only getting faster with every driver update, that is free performance so hardly anything to complain about, yes the latency is higher than 660ti, but the games are still pretty darn playable unless your eyes can detect 240hz
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#15
RejZoR
by: Ferrum Master
Well I also hate the artifacting that is still present in many games... I hope they fix that also soon...
I se that quite often in TES Skyrim. Random flashing triangles.
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#16
blibba
It shouldn't take a Techreport review to make AMD to a decent job with their drivers, but I'm glad they're working on it. Hopefully other sites will drop the misleading FPS benchmarks in the future.
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#17
Prima.Vera
They should do this with older generation also starting with 3xxx series...
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#18
Ferrum Master
by: RejZoR
I se that quite often in TES Skyrim. Random flashing triangles.
YES exactly, I am just playing Skyrim again too I got the itching feel and worry - maybe my card is bad and so on... but naaah... Mostly DX9 games are plagued... DX11 has it way rarer but has still, for example Farcry3...

There for I don't really know how to OC the card :D, leaving it stock as I cannot understand where is the safe limit :shadedshu

But Skyrim with all HD textures and AA8 etc mods... man it looks good, and it eats up all 3GB of vram easly even on my 1680*1050 rez...
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#19
Zubasa
by: sergionography
higher tdp doesnt mean its ok to run hot, it just means it requires more cooling
but yea ive heard about xfx having horrible cooling and fan profiles, so to set it up manualy is usually not a bad idea because anything above 75-80c is way too hot
90C is actually still within normal operating temperature for a 7970.
There is a difference when the fan profile is optimized for cooling or for noise, and in this case XFX have chosen to reduced noise.
I never said it is OK to run hot, but what I meant was the case's cooling have to be tweaked with the extra TDP as well.
The cooler just moves the heat off the card, but the case need to move the heat outside at an adequate rate as well.
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#20
Widjaja
by: RejZoR
I se that quite often in TES Skyrim. Random flashing triangles.
One of a handful of people I have seen who have reported this on TPU.
It definitely is there and would have been the cause of any an RMA.

The BETAs have ironed them out for me but seems to have been more reports with people using 79xx series now rather than the 78xx series.
Also noticed the performance issue I was having in NFSMW 2012 and SR3 have been resolved significantly so there have been noticeable improvements since the 12.8 drivers I had been using.

Although I have been noticing more Z-Fighting in the BETAs when it comes to Far Cry 3.
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#21
SetsunaFZero
by: Zubasa
90C is actually still within normal operating temperature for a 7970.
this is imo still kind to high

by: Zubasa
There is a difference when the fan profile is optimized for cooling or for noise, and in this case XFX have chosen to reduced noise.
i can double this, xfx cooling isn't topnosh. My old xfx 6950(dualfan with big heatsink) on PLimit 20% was slightly nosier and with OC to 920MHz i needed to set a custom fan profile or the card would overheat soon under full-load. Temps where around ~72°C

my new asus 7950 directCu2 with triple slot cooler has stable Temps around 65°C with OC at 1200/1400 PLimt 20 :)
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#22
Jstn7477
by: Zubasa
90C is actually still within normal operating temperature for a 7970.
There is a difference when the fan profile is optimized for cooling or for noise, and in this case XFX have chosen to reduced noise.
I never said it is OK to run hot, but what I meant was the case's cooling have to be tweaked with the extra TDP as well.
The cooler just moves the heat off the card, but the case need to move the heat outside at an adequate rate as well.
90c at 3000 RPM is far from quiet, unfortunately. :(
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#23
Zubasa
by: Jstn7477
90c at 3000 RPM is far from quiet, unfortunately. :(
I guess there is something seriously wrong with that card you have :ohwell:
Have you tried contacting XFX and ask whats the deal?
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#24
Jstn7477
by: Zubasa
I guess there is something seriously wrong with that card you have :ohwell:
Yeah, I can't even overclock it anymore now after repasting it because it will suddenly shoot up to 95c if I add a little voltage without clock increase and the PC blanks out. Idle temp is around 40c and BOINC still runs it at 55-60c but fire up Far Cry 3 and the card practically reaches meltdown after a minute or two.
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#25
Zubasa
by: Jstn7477
Yeah, I can't even overclock it anymore now after repasting it because it will suddenly shoot up to 95c if I add a little voltage without clock increase and the PC blanks out. Idle temp is around 40c and BOINC still runs it at 55-60c but fire up Far Cry 3 and the card practically reaches meltdown after a minute or two.
What is interesting is I just tested my card with Unigine Heaven turned all the way up, and I am getting 90C @3000RPM as well, but my card isn't crashing at all.
I wonder what actually is the problem that causes your XFX to crash. I have all the cases fans turned down at the moment.

Edit: @1050/1500 it gets up to 96C and the card is still going :wtf:
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