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AMD Readying an Answer to GeForce GTX 1050 Ti

With the arrival of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 1050, the sub-$150 graphics card market is beginning to heat up. AMD is finding itself with a price-performance gorge between the Radeon RX 460 and the RX 470. Citing multiple sources, VideoCardz suspects that AMD is up to something - a new Polaris 10 "Ellesmere" based SKU positioned between the RX 460 and RX 470, referred to either as the "RX 465" or the "RX 470 SE."

The new SKU is further cut down from the Polaris 10 stack, in a bid to lower TDP below the 100W mark, to around 90W. The chip features 1,792 stream processors across 28 Graphics CoreNext compute units (CUs), out of the 36 CUs physically present on the chip. The RX 470 features 32 CUs, while the RX 480 maxes out all available CUs. AMD is leaving the memory bus untouched. It features 4 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface, ticking at 7.00 GHz (GDDR5-effective), churning up 224 GB/s of memory bandwidth - double that of the GTX 1050 series. There's also talk of yet another SKU, with 1,536 stream processors (24/36 CUs enabled), which AMD could position against the GTX 1050 (non-Ti).

AMD's Q3 2016 Earnings Call - Revenue is Up, Debt is Down

AMD today released their earnings call for 3Q 2016, giving us some interesting tidbits in regards to their financial robustness. The balance of AMD's economics seems to be pending towards better execution, and, coeteris paribus, a much better outlook for the coming quarters, after the monumental missteps in the past that almost threw AMD under the proverbial bus. Reception for the results seems to be a tangled mess, however, with some sides claiming that AMD beat expectations, while others prefer to draw attention to AMD's 2% stock decline since the report was outed.

AMD posted revenue of $1,307 million, up 27% sequentially and 23% year-over-year. This revenue was distributed unevenly through AMD's divisions, though. "Computing and Graphics" segment revenue was $472 million, up 9% from Q2 2016, primarily due to increased GPU sales (where Polaris picked up the grunt of the work, being responsible for 50% of AMD's GPU revenue), offset by lower sales of client desktop processors and chipsets; whereas "Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom" segment revenue was $835 million, up 41% sequentially, primarily due to record semi-custom SoC sales (such as those found in Microsoft's XBOX One and Sony's PS4 and upcoming PS4 Pro).

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.2 Beta

AMD today released a new beta update to their Radeon Software Crimson Edition. Version 16.10.2 Beta features driver support for upcoming games like "Battlefield 1", "Sid Meier's Civilization VI", "Titanfall 2", "Serious Sam VR Early Access", as well as "Eagle Flight VR". Also included is a new AMD CrossFire profile for "Sid Meyer's Civilization VI" under DX11, and Battlefield 1 AMD CrossFire profile updates for the game's launch.

The release notes also list some fixed issues, namely:
  • Fan speed may sometimes remain elevated on select Radeon RX 400 series graphics products even when an application has been exited;
  • Eyefinity group settings may not be retained after driver upgrade when using AMD CrssFire configurations;
  • Gears of War 4 may experience an application hang when using select high resolution and quality configurations i some specific game maps;
  • DirectX 12 content may be unable to launch on some older CPUs that do not support "popcnt" instruction.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.2 Beta for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

NVIDIA Claws Back Console Chips Business: Nintendo Switch Announced

After months of speculation, the lid is off Nintendo's "NX" project, with the company finally announcing today its much-awaited games console, the Nintendo Switch. With an expected release slated for March 2017, the console blurs the line between a games console and a handheld device, by making use of a docking station which will allow it to connect to a television, much like a traditional games console, while instantly entering a so called "portable mode" when it is undocked. As both a console and a portable device, the Nintendo Switch will use cartridges known as Game Cards, displaying games in a "high definition display" embedded on the console while on the go, with two detachable Joy-Con controllers stepping in as input devices.

For PC hardware enthusiasts, that may not be all too interesting. What is arguably more interesting is that this games console will make use of NVIDIA hardware: most notably, a custom Tegra processor is the one pulling out all of the console's processing needs, with the graphics being served by what the company calls "the same architecture as the world's top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards."

PowerColor Starts Selling the DEVIL Box External Graphics Solution

TUL Corporation, a leading and innovative manufacturer of AMD graphic cards since 1997, has announced DEVIL BOX is ready to sell Now. PowerColor DEVIL BOX is based on AMD XConnect Technology which was introduced on March 16th, 2016 by AMD. AMD had developed this technology in collaboration with Intel's Thunderbolt group and Razer Inc.

The PowerColor DEVIL BOX is primarily for the users who would like to have an even more powerful graphics card on his/her notebook in pursuit of desktop-class graphics performance. With a qualified graphics card, not limited to either AMD or nVidia, installed in the PowerColor DEVIL BOX and connecting with Thunderbolt 3 specification, gamers and enthusiasts will be able to play any types of games on the market without sacrificing the portability of a thin'n'light notebook.

Closer to the Metal: Shader Intrinsic Functions

Shader intrinsic functions stand as a partial solution for granting developers more control over existing computational resources and how they are leveraged. This capability (much touted by AMD as a performance-enhancing feature on their GCN-based products) essentially exposes features and capabilities that exist on the hardware developers are programming for, but wouldn't generally be able to access. This can happen either because they're being abstracted by a high-level API (Application Programming Interface, like DX11), or because the API isn't functionally able to access them. To understand why high-level APIs such as DX11 don't usually offer support for a piece of hardware's full feature list, or full processing capabilities, we must first look at the basic architecture of a given computer system.

AMD Details Radeon Pro Pipeline for Cinematic VR Content

AMD today outlined powerful new solutions to two of the largest issues facing professional VR content creators today: how to create compelling VR content that approaches cinematic fidelity, and how to maximize that content's viewership. In the opening keynote at VR on the Lot, a two-day summit bringing together the top players in media, entertainment and technology, AMD detailed innovative Radeon Pro technologies designed to fuel the creation of real-time photorealistic VR content, and announced collaborations to facilitate the distribution of premium VR content to out-of-home experiences around the world.

"In creating Radeon Pro, we sought to address the industry's biggest problems, and for many creators, there's none bigger than cinematic VR content," said Roy Taylor, corporate VP and head of alliances, content and VR, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD. "Bringing your creative vision to life can be a demanding and laborious process and working in VR, those demands are exponentially multiplied. Through extraordinary Radeon Pro hardware and software, we're helping alleviate the technical burdens of creativity, empowering artists to focus on telling their story, and through our efforts in location-based entertainment, giving them new opportunities to share their work with the world."

Swiftech to Launch Custom Water Block for AMD's RX 480

Rouchon Industries Inc., dba Swiftech, is reportedly bringing to market a custom water block for AMD's RX 480. According to reddit user CBwardog, who spoke with a company representative, the water block is expected to come in an Acetal + Nickel package, bearing a price-tag of $99.95. No official announcement from Swiftech at this time, though it is expected that the water block will become available for sale to end-users worldwide through the usual channels in a mere three weeks.

Source: Reddit

Tech Industry Leaders Unite, Unveil New High-Perf Server Interconnect Technology

On the heels of the recent Gen-Z interconnect announcement, an aggregate of some of the most recognizable names in the tech industry have once again banded together. This time, it's an effort towards the implementation of a fast, coherent and widely compatible interconnect technology that will pave the way towards tighter integration of ever-more heterogeneous systems.

Technology leaders AMD, Dell EMC, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, NVIDIA and Xilinx announced the new open standard to appropriate fanfare, considering the promises of an up-to 10x performance uplift in datacenter server environments, thus accelerating big-data, machine learning, analytics, and other emerging workloads. The interconnect promises to provide a high-speed pathway towards tighter integration between different types of technology currently making up the heterogeneous server computing's needs, ranging through fixed-purpose accelerators, current and future system memory subsistems, and coherent storage and network controllers.

AMD to Supply Cloud Server Chips to China's Alibaba

In another business-deal-gone-right for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. in chinese soil, the company is now going to provide China's Alibaba giant with server chips with which to power the company's cloud vision. Whilst Alibaba is most commonly known due to its e-commerce activities (through the Aliexpress and Taobao brands), the chinese company is diversifying, even going so far as entering the entertainment space. Now, Alibaba is bidding to carve itself an even larger piece of the cloud market from the likes of Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's Web Services.

The deal was announced this Friday at the Alibaba Computing Conference by Lisa Su (AMD's CEO) and Simon Hu (president of Alibaba Cloud, the chinese giant's cloud computing arm). Through it, AMD will see its Radeon Pro chips supporting and expanding upon the increasingly-in-demand cloud computing capabilities of the chinese company, which already powers around 35% of China's websites.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 WHQL

AMD today released the WHQL-signed variants of the Radeon Software Crimson Edition version 16.10.1 drivers, which it released earlier this month. Besides optimization for "Gears of War 4" and "Mafia III," and CrossFire profiles for "Shadow Warrior 2," these drivers come with support for the Oculus Asynchronous Spacewarp feature on graphics cards based on the "Polaris 10" silicon (Radeon RX 480, RX 470). Grab the drivers from the links below.

AMD defines Asynchronous Spacewarp as the following.
ASW compares previously rendered frames, detects the motion between them, and extrapolates the position of scene components to create a new synthetic frame. Using this technology, synthetic frames will accurately approximate the fully-rendered frames they're designed to replace.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 WHQL for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

AMD's RX 470 may see price-cut in wake of NVIDIA's GTX 1050 Ti Launch

According to TweakTown, AMD may be preparing to bring the fight to the as-of-yet unannounced GTX 1050 Ti with a $10 price-drop on their 1080p price-performance king RX 470 from the current $179, bringing the price down to $169. NVIDIA is purportedly planning to bring the GTX 1050 Ti to market at the $149 price point, with a rated TDP of only 75 W and apparently no need for additional power connectors (at least on reference designs). However, faced with a measly $20 difference from the supposedly higher-performing RX 470 - which could sometimes be up to 30% faster - the battle for the $150 bracket might prove to be an uphill battle for the green camp.

Add to that the latest updates unveiled by Oculus on Oculus Connect 3, with the RX 470 being stamped with the VR-ready approval, as well as the greater availability and lower price of FreeSync monitors (sometimes with as much as four times the number of FreeSync offers versus G-Sync ones), and it really does seem that AMD is poised to offer the best value in its price bracket. Of course, things get muddier if you take into account the current pricing landscape for graphics cards from either manufacturer (where most models are selling upwards of their MSRP).

AMD to Enter the Aerospace Industry with CoreAVI Avionics Technology

In what promises to be AMD's most ambitious (and lucrative) semi-custom hardware deal to date, the company partnered with CoreAVI, a leading manufacturer of commercial jet avionics, to develop high-performance cockpit display modules that perform on-the-fly terrain mapping. The company is designing special variants of its Radeon embedded GPUs and APUs (as in accelerated processing units, not auxiliary power); which drive high-resolution cockpit displays with reliable levels of performance.

The company is tapping into its most proven GPU IP and the ubiquitous x86 CPU architecture to drive PFD (primary flight display) modules. AMD hardware's surplus-to-requirement processing power comes in handy in accelerating terrain mapping software on-the-fly. On the software side of things, AMD is tapping into open industry standards such as OpenGL, custom-built for mission-critical (safety-critical) applications. AMD isn't new to the CoreAVI product stack. The company has been supplying extended temperature-range variants of its Radeon embedded GPUs to the company for some time now.

A video presentation follows.

Industry Leaders Join Forces to Promote New High-Performance Interconnect

A group of leading technology companies today announced the Gen-Z Consortium, an industry alliance working to create and commercialize a new scalable computing interconnect and protocol. This flexible, high-performance memory semantic fabric provides a peer-to-peer interconnect that easily accesses large volumes of data while lowering costs and avoiding today's bottlenecks. The alliance members include AMD, ARM, Cavium Inc., Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Huawei, IBM, IDT, Lenovo, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, Microsemi, Red Hat, Samsung, Seagate, SK hynix, Western Digital Corporation, and Xilinx.

Modern computer systems have been built around the assumption that storage is slow, persistent and reliable, while data in memory is fast but volatile. As new storage class memory technologies emerge that drive the convergence of storage and memory attributes, the programmatic and architectural assumptions that have worked in the past are no longer optimal. The challenges associated with explosive data growth, real-time application demands, the emergence of low latency storage class memory, and demand for rack scale resource pools require a new approach to data access.

AMD's ZEN to Implement Advanced Security Features not found in Intel's solutions

Thanks to AMD's incorporation of an ARM-based "AMD Secure Processor" in their upcoming ZEN micro-architecture, the company is poised to offer something competitor Intel's microprocessors yet don't: memory encryption. This processor, and its underlying technologies, could prove to be a stepping-stone for AMD towards regaining lost server market share. Essentially, because in a market ever more steered by cloud computing considerations, it allows for the client's data to be encrypted at every moment of the work chain. Assuming all works as intended, for the first time not even cloud providers, with either hypervisor-level privileges or even physical access to the servers, will be able to carry out any malicious actions against their clients.

One only has to consider the writing on the wall: Morgan Stanley predicts that by 2018, 30% of Microsoft's revenue will stem from its cloud services; Amazon Web Services (AWS) generated $7.88B in revenue on Q4 2015, up 69% over 2014; and worldwide spending on public cloud services by itself will grow from $70B in 2015 to an estimated $141B in 2019. Cloud computing is here to stay, and with security being as important as it is for some businesses, this is an important area of investment for AMD. This "AMD Secure Processor" will work on essentially two fronts: SME (Secure Memory Encryption) and SEV (Secure Encrypted Virtualization), backed by an hardware-based SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm).

HP Inc. Innovates Its Premium Consumer Portfolio for Holiday

HP Inc. today unveiled its latest generation premium consumer PC line-up for the 2016 holidays. The next generation portfolio features a thinner and lighter convertible with better battery life for portability and a beautifully designed all-in-one to bring amazing sound experiences into the home.

"Premium customers have high expectations around device performance and quality for consuming media and productivity whether at home, work or on the go," said Kevin Frost, vice president and general manager, consumer personal systems, HP Inc. "We are strengthening our leadership in premium with our redesigned PC portfolio to deliver big power in thin and light designs to be even more portable and revolutionize our all-in-one to bring amazing sound into the home."

AMD and Oculus Shatter VR Barriers With $499 CyberPowerPC VR Ready System

AMD, CyberPowerPC, and Oculus VR announced a breakthrough Oculus VR-ready gaming desktop priced at just US $499. At the beginning of 2016, you needed to spend a minimum of $949 to build a desktop that meets Oculus VR minimum requirements. Under its hood, is an AMD FX-4350 quad-core processor, Radeon RX 470 4 GB graphics card, 8 GB of dual-channel memory, 1 TB of HDD storage, and a DVD drive. The desktop also includes a keyboard and mouse. The only other piece of hardware you need to spend on is the Oculus Rift HMD itself.

CyberPowerPC is also selling a slightly more premium variant in the Gamer Xtreme VR desktop, priced at just $699. For $200 more, you get an Intel Core i5 "Skylake" quad-core processor, Radeon RX 480 8 GB graphics, pre-installed Windows 10, and WiFi WLAN adapter, besides all that you get with the $499 variant.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1

AMD today released its latest version of its Radeon Software Crimson Edition drivers. Version 16.10.1 comes with optimization for "Gears of War 4" and "Mafia III." The drivers also add CrossFire support for "Shadow Warrior 2." The drivers also correct various game-specific bugs, including the stutter and crash affecting CrossFire systems on "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided," FPS drops with "The Crew," surface flickers for CrossFire systems in "Battlefield 1," and CrossFire/FreeSync users noticing flickering on "Paragon." A Radeon WattMan bug that prevents it from applying its settings, was also fixed.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.10.1 for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

AMD Announces the 7th Generation AMD PRO Processors

AMD at the Canalys Channels Forum announced the first PCs featuring 7th Generation AMD PRO APUs (formerly codenamed "Bristol Ridge PRO"). Built for business, AMD PRO APUs deliver increased computing and graphics performance, improved energy efficiency, while providing a secure and stable platform to protect customers' IT investments.

"In the past two years we made incredible progresses in the commercial client segment. Since its inception in mid-2014, AMD PRO processor unit shipments increased more than 45 percent enabling businesses all over the world to simplify IT with secure, high performance, reliable solutions" said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business, AMD. "We are thrilled to have PC market leaders like HP and Lenovo expanding their use of AMD technology in their business client portfolios."

AMD Aggressively Clearing Inventory to Make Room for ZEN

AMD is reportedly "aggressively clearing" its inventories of current-generation processors, such products in the AM3+ and FM2+ packages; to make room for next-generation processors based on the "ZEN" architecture, and new 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, both of which are built in the new socket AM4 package. You should be able to find AMD FX CPUs at attractive prices, so current 4-core and 6-core users could be lured to upgrade to faster 8-core chips, including those featuring the company's Wraith silent CPU cooler.

Taiwan industry observer DigiTimes reports that AMD will launch its next-generation "ZEN" processors, and motherboards based on the high-end X370 chipset, alongside the 2017 International CES expo, in early January. 2017 promises to be a big year for the company as it's not only attempting to regain competitiveness in the performance desktop CPU space, but also high-end graphics, with its Radeon "VEGA" family.

Source: DigiTimes

NVIDIA GeForce Making a Comeback to Apple?

NVIDIA could be close to scoring design wins with Apple, for its MacBook, iMac, and Mac Pro families. This came to light in a job posting at NVIDIA, which calls for applicants to "help produce the next revolutionary Apple products." Although Apple has offered options of both NVIDIA and AMD GPUs on its Mac products in the past, the company hasn't offered NVIDIA GPUs for several generations now, with AMD Radeon being the only discrete GPU choice for MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Pro products, with the only other choices being integrated GPUs by Intel.

Source: Bloomberg

GIGABYTE AMD B350 Socket AM4 Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of a socket AM4 motherboard by GIGABYTE. Positioned as an entry-mainstream offering by the company to launch with AMD's 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, while being ready for upcoming "ZEN" based CPUs and APUs, this board appears to be based on AMD B350 chipset, the company's mid-tier socket AM4 chipset alongside the entry-level A320 and enthusiast-segment X370. This board appears to feature a rectangular CPU cooler retention-module like older AMD sockets. Could the "square" bolt-type RM we spotted on OEM boards, as well as AMD's own platform demonstrator board not make it to the DIY segment?

This unnamed (label not clearly pictured) motherboard is built in the micro-ATX form-factor, drawing power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It uses a 7-phase CPU VRM. AMD appears to have introduced new voltage domains with AM4, probably because these are full-fledged SoCs, with core-logic completely integrated. The board features four DDR4 DIMM slots, and PCI-Express gen 3.0 slots. The B350 chipset wires to the SoC over PCI-Express gen 3.0, and puts out additional downstream general-purpose PCIe gen 3.0 lanes, besides additional SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.1 ports.

Source: Eteknix

AMD Takes Embedded Applications to the Next Level With New GPUs

AMD announced the AMD Embedded Radeon E9260 and E9550 graphics processing units (GPUs), the industry's first discrete embedded graphics cards leveraging the new AMD Polaris architecture. The cards are ideal for applications requiring rich multimedia and 4K video in power-constrained embedded environments. Use cases include immersive casino gaming, digital signage, 4K teleconferencing and interactive digital whiteboards, enhanced medical imaging for clinical diagnoses, and transportation instrumentation.

The Polaris GPU architecture leverages an optimized 14nm FinFET process designed to deliver a dramatic performance-per-watt gain over previous generations of embedded GPU architecture. Providing up to 5.8 TFLOPS performance in a sub-95W TDP power profile, the new embedded GPUs offer advanced 4K encode/decode multimedia processing capabilities and support for up to six displays on the E9550.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2

AMD Wednesday released the latest version of Radeon Software Crimson Edition. Version 16.9.2 (beta). These drivers come with day-one optimization for "Forza Horizon 3," the latest addition to Microsoft's smash-hit race sim. The drivers also lack the AMD Gaming app by Raptr, the app that started out at AMD's equivalent to NVIDIA GeForce Experience. This move shaves the installer size by about 35 MB.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.9.2 for Windows 10 64-bit | Windows 10 32-bit | Windows 8.1 64-bit | Windows 8.1 32-bit | Windows 7 64-bit | Windows 7 32-bit

AMD Gives Away "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided" with Select AMD FX Processors

AMD is giving away game codes to "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided," with select AMD FX desktop processors. Game-codes will be included with the AMD FX-8370 with Wraith, FX-8370 (standard), FX-8350 with Wraith, FX-8350 Black Edition, FX-8320E, FX-8320, FX-8300, FX-6350 with Wraith, FX-6350, and FX-6300. With the game code to a recently launched AAA game title added, you can imagine just how the value-proposition of parts such as the $99 FX-6300 is enhanced. The giveaway is limited to select retailers, AMD will update us on more participating retailers shortly. Newegg is handling the promotion in the US.
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