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Announcing the TechPowerUp Winter's End WCG Challenge

With spring nearly upon us, it's time to give the old horses crunching overclocked through the winter one grand, last run. TechPowerUp World Community Grid (WCG) team, one of the world's top-10 teams, with over 4,000 years of aggregate CPU time, and over 20 million results submitted; brings to you the Winter's End WCG Challenge.

Simply crunch for the TechPowerUp WCG Team between 26th Feb (00:00 UTC) and 6th Mar (00:00 UTC), and multiple winners along the leaderboard stand to win some sick community-sponsored prizes, including an AMD FX-8350 CPU + ASUS Crosshair V Formula motherboard combo, a fully-built crunching rig, numerous SSDs, CPU coolers, and more. So what are you waiting for?! For more information, and to participate, visit this page.

AMD's Excavator Core is Leaner, Faster, Greener

AMD gave us a technical preview of its next-generation "Carrizo" APU, which is perhaps the company's biggest design leap since "Trinity." Built on the 28 nm silicon fab process, this chip offers big energy-efficiency gains over the current-generation "Kaveri" silicon, thanks to some major under-the-hood changes.

The biggest of these is the "Excavator" CPU module. 23 percent smaller in area than "Steamroller," (same 28 nm process), Excavator features a new high-density library design, which reduces die-area of the module. Most components are compacted. The floating-point scheduler is 38% smaller, fused multiply-accumulate (FMAC) units compacted by 35%, and instruction-cache controller compacted by another 35%. The "Carrizo" silicon itself uses GPU-optimized high-density metal stack, which helps with the compaction. Each "Excavator" module features two x86-64 CPU cores, which are structured much in the same way as AMD's previous three CPU core generations.

AMD Seeks New GPU Driver Developers for CPU Optimization

AMD put up a new Linkedin job post, looking for a new engineer that can better optimize graphics drivers for CPUs. AMD graphics drivers are known in the developer community to be rather CPU-heavy compared to NVIDIA's drivers. The company changed that perception to some extent with the development of its own Mantle 3D API, which is essentially a CPU-optimization exercise disguised as new technology. Sensing that not every developer is willing to implement Mantle, the company is looking to optimize its drivers to be CPU-efficient across other more industry-standard APIs. If you have the chops, and you're willing to work out of Boxborough, MA or Sunnyvale, CA., find the posting here.

AMD FirePro M5100 Powers Panasonic Toughbook CF-54

AMD today announced that Panasonic selected AMD FirePro M5100 mobile professional graphics to provide users on-the-move with quality, performance and innovation in a variety of work environments in the new Panasonic Toughbook CF-541. The Panasonic Toughbook CF-54 with AMD FirePro mobile professional graphics is designed to deliver outstanding graphics performance matched with world-class reliability for professionals in the automotive, telecommunications, construction, manufacturing, mining and defense industries or for professionals that require a portable workstation solution designed for a semi-harsh indoor or outdoor environment.

Panasonic Toughbook is legendary for its ruggedness and is widely known for its reliability and durability, even in extreme operating conditions. The inclusion of AMD FirePro mobile professional graphics creates a bold new category for architects, project managers and engineers who demand the ultimate combination of durability, reliability and workstation-class performance with certified application support.

Acer Announces XG270HU Monitor with AMD Freesync

The Acer XG270HU gaming monitor with AMD FreeSync technology and support for AMD Radeon R-Series GPU eliminates screen tearing and stuttering to offer users an ultra-smooth gaming experience. This 27-inch monitor also comes with WQHD (2560 x 1440) resolution, a fast 144Hz refresh rate, and an edge-to-edge frameless design for enhanced gaming performance and seamless viewing.

With FreeSync technology, the XG270HU monitor's frames are synced with the graphics card's frames to eliminate screen tearing and stuttering. This technology minimizes lag and latency, thereby offering ultra-smooth action sequences that are essential for enjoying the latest games. The XG270HU's edge-to-edge frameless display maximizes the viewing area and affords a seamless viewing experience for multi-monitor setups. Its fast 1ms response time assures that actions or dramatic transitions will be rendered smoothly without smearing or ghosting effects.

Radeon R9 380X Based on "Grenada," a Refined "Hawaii"

AMD's upcoming Radeon R9 380X and R9 380 graphics cards, with which it wants to immediately address the GTX 980 and GTX 970, will be based on a "new" silicon codenamed "Grenada." Built on the 28 nm silicon fab process, Grenada will be a refined variant of "Hawaii," much in the same way as "Curacao" was of "Pitcairn," in the previous generation.

The Grenada silicon will have the same specs as Hawaii - 2,816 GCN stream processors, 176 TMUs, 64 ROPs, and a 512-bit wide GDDR5 memory interface, holding 4 GB memory. Refinements in the silicon over Hawaii could allow AMD to increase clock speeds, to outperform the GTX 980 and GTX 970. We don't expect the chip to be any more energy efficient at its final clocks, than Hawaii. AMD's design focus appears to be performance. AMD could save itself the embarrassment of a loud reference design cooler, by throwing the chip up for quiet custom-design cooling solutions from AIB (add-in board) partners from day-one.

We're Putting Finishing Touches to the Radeon 300 Series: AMD

In a response to a question on its Facebook page on whether AMD's next-generation Radeon 300 series comes out before GTA V PC launch (March), the company responded, stating that it's giving finishing touches to its new lineup. "We're still putting finishing touches to the 300 series, to make sure they live up to expectation," the reply from AMD's official Facebook handle stated. In its recent Q4-2014 and FY-2014 results investors' call, AMD CEO Lisa Su stated that her company will launch its next-generation GPU and CPU/APU products only in Q2-2015.


Source: WCCFTech

Raptr Gamer-Community Service Hacked

If bad news from the green team covered last week, this week begins with one from the red. AMD's Gaming Evolved Raptr app, designed roughly along the lines of NVIDIA's GeForce Experience, but with an added Raptr gamer-community extension, is in trouble. Raptr CEO Dennis Fong, in an e-mail to its members, reported that the Raptr service has been hacked, and the attackers may have stolen details such as usernames, first- and last-names (names given during sign-up), e-mail addresses, and Raptr password hashes (without salt).

Fong maintains that thanks to Raptr's 2-step verification system, Raptr Reward Points held by compromised accounts shouldn't be affected. He asks all users to change their passwords, with new ones that are tough (mix of capital and small letters, numbers, and special characters). If your Raptr password is similar to passwords you used on other online services (eg: e-mail accounts), you must change them as well.

The letter follows.

Top Three Graphics Card Vendors Net 12 Million in Shipments, in 2014

According to stats put out by Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes, the top three graphics card vendors by shipments were ASUS, Gigabyte, and MSI (in that order), 2014. ASUS leads the pack with over 5 million graphics cards shipped in the year. Gigabyte comes in second, with over 3.6 million cards shipped. MSI is third, with between 2.8 and 3 million cards shipped in the year. The three sell both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards. 2014 overall, has seen graphics card shipments drop by 10 percent, owing to a pop in the bubble created by crypto-coin miners in 2013. Other notables from the report include a rise in shipments from PRC-based vendors such as Colorful and Onda.

Source: DigiTimes

BIOSTAR Announces TA70U3-LSP Socket FM2+ Motherboard

BIOSTAR has released the latest mainboard, based on the exclusive A70M chipset from AMD, the TA70U3-LSP, which offers LAN Surge Protection built directly into the board. The TA70U3-LSP supports FM2+ APUs, USB 3.0 and SATA3. AMD A70M chipset (exclusive from BIOSTAR) supports USD 3.0 and SATA3, it becomes the best upgrade option of current entry level A58 chipset boards.

The TA70U3-LSP is based on the AMD FM2+ socket design that will support AMD Multi-Core (x4, x2) socket FM2+/FM2 processors AMD A-series/ E2-series processors all in a full-sized ATX form factor. It has 3 PCI slots and 2 DIMM slots supporting up to 32Gb of DDR3 ram and uses the newest SATA 6Gb/s bus which is twice the speed of current SATA 3G connections with 6 SATA connectors along with USB 3.0. There is also support for AMD Dual Graphics Technology, as well as support for full HDMI 3D 1080p.

AMD to Launch New GPUs and APUs Only After March: CEO

In its an investor conference-call following its Q4-2014 and FY-2014 results, AMD stated that it will release new GPU and APU products starting Q2-2015, or only after March. "Going into the second quarter and the second half of the year with our new product launches, I think we feel very good about where we are positioned there," said Lisa Su, chief executive officer.

Q2-2015 will start off with the company's "Carrizo" line of all-in-one and notebook APUs. These chips will integrate the company's new "Excavator" CPU cores, with an integrated graphics core based on Graphics CoreNext 1.2 architecture (the same one AMD built its "Tonga" GPU on). Around the same time, AMD will launch new Opteron "Seattle" enterprise CPUs, which integrate up to eight ARM Cortex A-57 64-bit cores, targeting the ultra-dense server market. In Q2-2015, AMD will launch its latest Radeon Rx 300 series graphics processors. Its performance-segment part, the R9 380, will feature 4,096 GCN 1.2 cores, double that of its predecessor, and 4 GB of stacked HBM (high-bandwidth memory). Its mid-range chip, codenamed "Trinidad" will succeed "Curacao," and offer performance competitive to the $200-ish price-point.


Source: KitGuru

Lenovo Gets Back to School with New ThinkPad 11e Laptops

Lenovo today announced at the Bett learning technology event the latest ThinkPad 11e series available as a traditional laptop or Lenovo's innovative YOGA multimode form with its four iconic modes - Laptop, Stand, Tent and Tablet. Purposely designed to address the needs of school administrators, educators and students in K-12 classrooms, the ThinkPad 11e series with Windows provides the trusted and ruggedized build of Think-branded products paired with upgraded technical specifications such as a more efficient fan blade and latest generation processors. For an enhanced user experience, the ThinkPad 11e series is also available with an optional ActivePen which accurately mimics a user's actual handwriting on paper.

ActivePen delivers the familiarity and simplicity of using pen and paper into a digital environment. Improved pen accuracy and pressure sensitivity results in a more natural feel and buttons allow for easy access to frequently used functions. In addition to Intel's pre-loaded Education Software, which offers tools and applications tailored for a better 21st century learning experience, the ThinkPad 11e series now comes with Lenovo WRITEit and REACHit software, improving collaboration and productivity for students and educators. This powerful combination of innovative hardware and software will make taking notes, sending homework assignments and conducting group projects easier for students and teachers, equating to a more productive learning experience inside and outside the classroom.

MSI Launches New All-in-One PCs based on AMD Beema Platform

MSI is excited to announce the launch of three new All-in-One PC's equipped with AMD's latest energy efficient Beema APU platform. The Adora20 5M and AE200 5M include a 19.5" anti-glare display featuring MSI Anti-Flicker & Less Blue Light Technology, to effectively reduce eyestrain and eye fatigue during long working hours. The new AE220 5M features a similar display with a 21.5" size and a compact design which blends seamlessly into modern interiors. With an ultra-slim casing (only 23mm at its thinnest point), the MSI Adora20 5M brings a new level of perfect home PC experience.

The new All-in-One PC's feature the latest E2-6110 and A4-6210 Quad Core APUs of AMD's Beema platform with a 28nm production process and SoC (System on Chip) APU processor technology. Evolved from AMD's previous Kabini platform design, the latest AMD Beema platform provides higher performance while power consumption is reduced up to 20%. The AMD Beema APUs are fitted with new AMD Radeon R2 and R3 built-in graphics, increasing exceptional rendering performance by 10% for a big boost in multimedia and 3D performance compared to previous generations. Users can now enjoy high performance and quality from a discrete graphics card without the need for a dedicated graphics solution.

AMD Reports 2014 Fourth Quarter and Annual Results

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today announced revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 of $1.24 billion, operating loss of $330 million and net loss of $364 million, or $0.47 per share. Non-GAAP(1) operating income was $36 million, non-GAAP(1) net income of $2 million and breakeven non-GAAP(1) earnings per share.

"We made progress diversifying our business, ramping design wins and improving our balance sheet this past year despite challenges in our PC business," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "Annual Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment revenue increased over 50% as customer demand for products powered by our high-performance compute and rich visualization solutions was strong. We continue to address channel headwinds in the Computing and Graphics segment and are taking steps to return it to a healthy trajectory beginning in the second quarter of 2015."

Next AMD Flagship Single-GPU Card to Feature HBM

AMD's next flagship single-GPU graphics card, codenamed "Fiji," could feature High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM). The technology allows for increased memory bandwidth using stacked DRAM, while reducing the pin-count of the GPU, needed to achieve that bandwidth, possibly reducing die-size and TDP. Despite this, "Fiji" could feature TDP hovering the 300W mark, because AMD will cram in all the pixel-crunching muscle it can, at the expense of efficiency from other components, such as memory. AMD is expected to launch new GPUs in 2015, despite slow progress from foundry partner TSMC to introduce newer silicon fabs; as the company's lineup is fast losing competitiveness to NVIDIA's GeForce "Maxwell" family.

Source: The TechReport

AMD Bleeds Three Top Execs

In its latest 8-K filing form, AMD mentions a vastly different top-brass, indicating that three of its top executives left the company, in what is the biggest corporate shakeups in the ailing company's history. These include John Bryne, GM of Computing and Graphics Business Group (the person overseeing the company's core CPU and GPU businesses); Colette LaForce, Chief Marketing Officer; and Raj Naik, Chief Strategy Officer.

The most notable departure is that of Bryne, who was promoted to his post from being Chief Sales Officer just 7 months ago. LaForce was hired to her post in 2012, she held the same position in Dell before joining AMD. Naik joined the company around the same time as LaForce. AMD announced these changes, stating: "These changes, including the additions of Forrest Norrod and James Clifford to our management team last quarter, collectively are part of implementing an optimal organization design and leadership team to further sharpen our execution and position AMD for growth."

Source: Anandtech

AMD Embedded G-Series SoC Accelerates New QNAP NAS System

2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) -- AMD today announced that the AMD Embedded G-Series system-on-chip (SoC) will be powering the new TVS-863+ and the TVS-x63 platform from QNAP, a leading provider of network attached storage (NAS) systems. The platform, designed for small to medium-sized business (SMB) and small office/home office (SOHO) customers, is a leader in its class. The TVS-x63+ series is also a very affordable option for 4/6/8-bay SMB NAS servers that feature10GbE support and hardware-accelerated encryption.

"The new QNAP NAS system based on the AMD Embedded G-Series SoC exemplifies AMD's continued dedication to innovation on embedded solutions," said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Embedded Solutions. "NAS is a great application for the AMD G-Series SoC, taking advantage of the strong compute, low-energy consumption, and integrated GPU for display and acceleration."

AMD and Technology Partners Showcase World's First Shipping FreeSync Displays

2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - AMD today announced the expansion of the FreeSync ecosystem as technology partners including BenQ, LG Electronics, Nixeus, Samsung, and Viewsonic showcased their upcoming commercially available FreeSync-enabled displays at the 2015 International CES.

The unveiling of new FreeSync-enabled displays demonstrates the industry's commitment to open standards-based technology that enables improved gaming by synchronizing dynamic refresh rates of the displays to the frame rate of AMD Radeon R-Series graphics cards and current generation APUs. The result greatly reduces input latency and helps reduce or eliminate visual defects during gaming and video playback. The new displays range in size between 24" to 34", supporting refresh rates of 30 to 144 Hz, and resolutions of 1080p up to Ultra HD, offering a variety of options for every gamer's needs and at virtually every price point.

AMD Brings the Future of Computing to Life at 2015 International CES

2015 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) - AMD and its technology partners are ready to wow attendees of the 2015 International CES with a wide range of new products and technology demonstrations that showcase AMD's view of the future of computing, and reinforce the company's surround computing leadership. The company will showcase an array of innovations powered by the latest AMD Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), Radeon Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) technologies, and embedded designs that push the boundaries of modern computing.

"AMD is contributing to the excitement of CES 2015 with new graphics and computing technology that powers breakthrough consumer and commercial computing experiences of today and tomorrow," said John Byrne, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics business group, AMD. "This year, we continue to see inspiring developments in virtual reality, Ultra high Definition 4K resolution computing and beyond, computing form factor and intuitive user interface innovation. AMD is thrilled to power the best of these with new generations of our smart, innovative, and efficient technology."

AMD to Switch to GlobalFoundries' 28 nm SHP Node in 2015

Faced with continuous development roadblocks with TSMC, AMD is reportedly planning to switch to the 28 nm SHP process of GlobalFoundries, to build GPUs in 2015. The 28 nm SHP (super high-performance) node will allow the company to lower voltages, giving it greater room to increase clock speeds of its upcoming GPUs. AMD's GPUs in 2015 could be based on its latest Graphics CoreNext 1.2 architecture, and AMD needs every means to minimize voltages, and crank up clock speeds.

The company hasn't abandoned TSMC completely just yet, with reports speaking of AMD using the Taiwanese fab's 16 nm FinFet node to manufacture its next-generation "Zen" CPUs. Zen is the successor to AMD's "Bulldozer" architecture and its derivatives ("Piledriver" and "Steamroller.") It could feature a radically different core design.

Source: BitsandChips.it

AMD to Power Next-Generation NES

Nintendo is working on a next-generation gaming console to succeed even the fairly recent Wii U. The company is reacting to the plummeting competitiveness of its current console to the likes of PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. Reports suggest that Nintendo would make a course-correction on the direction in which it took its game console business with the Wii, and could come up with a system that's focused on serious gaming, as much as it retains its original "fun" quotient. In that manner, the console could be more NES-like, than Wii-like.

Nintendo could ring up AMD for the chip that will drive its next console. It's not clear if AMD will supply a fully-integrated SoC that combines its own x86 CPU cores with its GCN graphics processor; or simply supply the GPU component for an SoC that combines components from various other manufacturers. The Wii U uses IBM's CPU cores, with AMD's GPU, combined onto a single chip. There's no word on when Nintendo plans to announce the new console, but one can expect a lot more news in 2015-16.Source: Expreview

AMD Working on "Dynamic Frame Rate Control" Feature

AMD is working on a new software feature for its Radeon graphics cards, which it calls "Dynamic Frame Rate Control." Revealed informally to the web, by AMD director of PR Chris Hook, who goes by the handle "AMD_Chris" on various forums, Dynamic Frame Rate Control, or DFRC, is a frame-rate limiter, which gives you power savings when you reduce frame-rates. This probably works by reducing clock speeds to achieve the desired frame-rates.

Sounds a lot like V-Sync? Well the way AMD describes it, DFRC is a frame-rate limiter with a slider. Whereas V-Sync makes the GPU spit out frame-rates to match the monitor's refresh-rate. When a game runs, say, 100 FPS, and you enable V-Sync to bring that down to 60 FPS, your GPU is still running at 3D-performance clocks, unless the 3D load is way too low, and the driver decides to change the power state altogether. DFRC probably achieves lower frame-rates by underclocking the GPU, and increasing the clocks, whenever the scene gets more demanding, and the output FPS drops below the target. Hook describes the energy savings with DFRC as "mind blowing." This peaks our curiosity.


Source: 3DCenter.org

Biostar Announces A70MGP Socket FM2+ Motherboard

BIOSTAR has released the latest mainboard based on the exclusive A70M chipset from AMD, the "A70MGP". The A70M is a value line chipset that supports FM2+ APUs, USB 3.0 and SATA3 and the BIOSTAR boards based on that chipset offer a better value versus price performance ratio compared to boards based on the A68H or A58 chipsets.

Although AMD has just recently launched the A68H chipset, which supports FM2+ APUs, because these new (exclusive to BIOSTAR) A70M boards support USD 3.0 and SATA3, they offer an upgrade level that is higher than the current entry level A58 chipset boards.

AMD Appoints New Global Consumer Sales Head

As part of recent AMD organizational changes, Mario Silveira has been promoted to head of worldwide consumer sales within the company's Computing and Graphics business unit.

Silveira, 40 years old, joined AMD in 2010 and most recently served as head of consumer go-to-market sales for the EMEA region. As he broadens his responsibility to a worldwide remit, the role of head of consumer sales for EMEA has been assigned to Gabriele Rentocchini, who will now be responsible for overseeing all sales and marketing activities related to the retail and consumer go-to- market segments in the region.

AMD Announces Move to Nasdaq

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that it is transferring its stock exchange listing to The Nasdaq Stock Market from The New York Stock Exchange, effective after market close on December 31, 2014. AMD shares are expected to begin trading as a Nasdaq-listed security on January 2, 2015 and will continue to trade under the symbol AMD. This transfer is expected to be seamless for AMD investors and shareholders.

"We are excited to join other industry-leading technology companies listed with Nasdaq and believe this move will help AMD reach investors and shareholders more efficiently and effectively as we continue transforming the company for long-term growth," said Devinder Kumar, senior vice president and chief financial officer, AMD. "We are proud to welcome AMD to Nasdaq and look forward to a successful partnership with the company and its shareholders," said Bruce Aust, Vice Chairman at Nasdaq.
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