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AMD Phasing Out CrossFire Brand With DX 12 Adoption, Favors mGPU

An AMD representative recently answered PC World's query regarding the absence of "CrossFire" branding on their latest Radeon Software release, which introduced multi-GPU support for AMD's Vega line of graphics cards. According to the AMD representative, it goes down to a technicality, in that "CrossFire isn't mentioned because it technically refers to DX11 applications. In DirectX 12, we reference multi-GPU as applications must support mGPU, whereas AMD has to create the profiles for DX11. We've accordingly moved away from using the CrossFire tag for multi-GPU gaming."

G.Skill Releases AMD Ryzen-optimized Trident Z RGB DDR4 Memory

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, announces a new lineup of Trident Z RGB DDR4 memory kits with enhanced compatibility on the latest AMD platforms. Specifically designed for AMD Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper platforms, now there are vibrant options up to the popular DDR4-3200MHz CL14 or the massive 128GB (8x16GB) kits at up to 2933MHz. For a full range of memory kit capacity options, the new Trident Z RGB memory kit models are available at DDR4-2400MHz in 2-, 4-, and 8-module kit configurations with 8GB and 16GB modules, which allows for 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, or 128GB memory kits for your AMD system.

AMD currently has two platform offerings, where Ryzen supports dual-channel with 2 or 4 memory modules and Threadripper supports quad-channel memory with 4 or 8 memory modules. To give a boost in memory performance to AMD number-crunching workstations and high-end graphic rendering systems, G.SKILL offers several selections for each AMD platform, including memory speeds of up to DDR4-2933MHz or ultra-high capacity at 128GB (8x16GB).

AMD CrossFireX Scaling is Actually Pretty Terrible with Mixed RX Vega

Yes, this is the third post today about AMD introducing multi GPU support for RX Vega with their Crimson ReLive 17.9.2 beta drivers but it had to be made. First up, the caveats- we were only able to test the driver on a CrossFire setup involving one RX Vega 64 and one RX Vega 56 GPU so results with two of the same may differ. Secondly, these are beta drivers so there is a level of lenience here I am willing to afford to AMD. That said, the driver which came with its own announcement and internal results had to show something good and this means showing good scaling across multiple games.

The driver allows CrossFire to be enabled with a mix of the two Vega 10 SKUs, and we set about testing a few games from our GPU benchmark suite using the same testing methodology as always. Tests were done at 4K to minimize a CPU bottleneck of any kind, and the games tested include some of the most popular games today including some that AMD themselves used in the announcement. However, after a few hours of testing, we can simply not recommend using the driver for CrossFire- at least for a mixed setup as we did. More on this after the break.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2 Drivers

First AMD announced they were releasing it, but now they actually have. Radeon Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2 drivers brings with it CrossFire support for two RX Vega 64 or 56. AMD claims to have over 80% scaling with two RX Vega 64 cards in CrossFire in a few games as we saw before, and now they get to also support multi-GPU game profiles in addition to single GPU ones. In that regards, we have a multi-GPU profile included here for Project Cars 2 which drops in a few hours on Steam.

AMD has also fixed an issue with the installer as well as Hearts of Iron IV, but those looking for a solution to the flickering issues in games including Overwatch will still have to wait unfortunately. There is a list of known issues provided at well, which you can take a look at after the break. As always, you can download the installer right here via the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.9.2 Beta

AMD Enables Vega CrossFire with Upcoming 17.9.2 Drivers, Over 80% Scaling

AMD announced today they are bringing multi-GPU support for RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 with their upcoming Radeon Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2 drivers. This CrossFire support is for two GPUs only, so it appears AMD is going on the same path as NVIDIA in not having official support for three or more GPUs, which by itself is a point of discussion. Note that these drivers are not out yet, and this announcement serves to alert the user base to what is coming up.

AMD also provided a (low resolution, we are working on a suitable replacement) internal result chart comparing gaming performance with average FPS as the metric, for two RX Vega 64 cards relative to one. We see very impressive scaling in some games such as Far Cry Primal, Metro Last Night Redux, Sniper Elite 4, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt a performance increase of more than 80 percent compared to the single GPU performance. As usual, take these numbers as an indication of how things go since we do not have more details available on the testing methodology at this point either. Lastly, no word yet on what else has changed with these drivers but hopefully AMD have addressed the ongoing bugs with Overwatch at the very least.

Tesla Motors Develops Semi-custom AI Chip with AMD

Tesla Motors, which arguably brought electric vehicles to the luxury-mainstream, is investing big in self-driving cars. Despite its leader Elon Musk's fears and reservations on just how much one must allow artificial intelligence (AI) to develop, the company realized that a true self-driving car cannot be made without giving the car a degree of machine learning and AI, so it can learn its surroundings in real-time, and maneuver itself with some agility. To that extent, Tesla is designing its own AI processor. This SoC (system on chip) will be a semi-custom development, in collaboration with the reigning king of semi-custom chips, AMD.

AMD has with it a clear GPGPU performance advantage over NVIDIA, despite the latter's heavy investments in deep-learning. AMD is probably also banking on good pricing, greater freedom over the IP thanks to open standards, and a vast semi-custom track-record, having developed semi-custom chips with technology giants such as Sony and Microsoft. Musk confirmed that the first car in which you can simply get in, fall asleep, and wake up at your destination, will roll out within two years, hinting at a 2019 rollout. This would mean a bulk of the chip's development is done.

Source: CNBC

AOC Announces Retail Availability of AGON Curved QHD Gaming Monitor

AOC, a worldwide leader in monitor display technology, today announces the newest member of the Agon monitor collection, the premium line of AOC gaming monitors. The AG322QCX is a curved 32-inch, QHD gaming monitor with a refresh rate of 144Hz, 4ms response time and AMD FreeSync technology. This monitor is made for enthusiast and competitive esports gamers, like AOC partner, Team Liquid, allowing them to race through games without stutter, screen tearing and motion blur. The AG322QCX will be available at Microcenter for $429.99 MSRP.

The 32-inch monitor features a 2560x1440 QHD screen with a 1800R curve. The curved VA panel offers vibrant colors for a more exciting and immersive visual experience to be enjoyed while gaming. The AG322QCX's curve conforms to the way the eye sees and helps reduce eye fatigue. Team Liquid, winners of The International Dota 2 Tournament, use AOC monitors to prepare for competitions, as they compete at the highest level of esports.

Noctua Announces Two AM4-compatible Low-profile Coolers

Noctua today presented two updates to its range of quiet low-profile CPU coolers. Successors to the award-winning NH-L9a and NH-L12, the new NH-L9a-AM4 and NH-L12S models now support the AM4 socket of AMD's Ryzen processors. Whereas the NH-L9a-AM4 stands a mere 37mm tall, which makes it ideal for use in compact HTPCs or Small Form Factor cases that offer minimum clearance for CPU coolers, the slightly bigger NH-L12S comes equipped with the new NF-A12x15 PWM fan and combines excellent compatibility, surprising efficiency and remarkable flexibility.

"AMD has made a big impact on the market with its Ryzen architecture and the platform will become even more interesting for compact HTPC builds when the first Ryzen-based APUs are introduced next year," says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "We're thus updating two of our award-winning low-profile models to support Ryzen's AM4 socket."

More Details Emerge on Gigabyte X399 Designare EX

The X399 Designare EX, to which we were privy to a sneak peek already, stands to be Gigabyte's flagship X399 motherboard for AMD's Threadripper platform. Gigabyte, however, seem to have taken a little too much inspiration from their own AORUS X399 Gaming 7, since even the PCB color has been appropriated form that board. Changes are mostly aesthetic: black heatsinks have turned silver, with some added bluish bling that would make any Halo fan smile, and the backplate has a premium feel to it. Overall, I quite like the design accents in this board, though again, this seems to be a case of a slight redressing of an already existing product - with an accompanying increase to its price-tag. If the AORUS Gaming 7 retails for $389, you should see this one crossing the $400 threshold easily.

Source: AnandTech

Aqua Computer Intros cuplex kryos NEXT TR4 Water Block for Ryzen Threadripper

Aqua Computer rolled out the cuplex kryos NEXT TR4, a variant of their cuplex kryos NEXT flagship CPU water block with support for AMD socket TR4, designed for Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors. Available in all the variants the cuplex kryos NEXT normally comes in, we have options with a copper, nickel-plated copper, and even silver cold plate variants with POM acetal, acrylic, and metal tops. The blocks feature a dense copper micro-fin lattice with 200 μm spacing between fins, standard G 1/4 threading. These new blocks come with factory-fitted socket TR4 retention modules, and include a tube of Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut thermal compound. Available now, the exposed-copper cold plate variant is priced at 59.90€, and the nickel-plated copper variant at 64.90€ with other variants priced as can be seen on the Aqua Computer web shop. Aqua Computer also mentioned that given the lack of sales of the X399 platform, they are not looking into making a new design to match the larger CPU IHS at this time.

Custom-design Radeon RX Vega Cards by Mid-October

Still reeling under supply issues and overpricing, AMD's Radeon RX Vega line of graphics cards may finally be available in custom-design products from the company's AIB (add-in board) partners by mid-October, according to a Hardware.fr report. ASUS was the first to announce custom-design RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 graphics cards under its ROG Strix series, back in August. The cards were, however, nowhere to be found in the markets.

AIB partners will begin announcing their custom-design RX Vega series products in the coming weeks, with retail availability slated for mid-October. Radeon RX Vega 64 is currently available in three AMD-reference design SKUs, the standard reference-design, the premium "silver" air-cooled reference-design, which features a brushed aluminium cooler shroud and LED ornaments; and a more premium AIO liquid-cooled variant with higher clocks. The RX Vega 56 is available in vanilla standard reference-design.

Source: Hardware.fr

GeIL Intros Super Luce RGB Lite DDR4 Memory

GeIL today introduced the Super Luce RGB Lite DDR4 memory series. These modules are practically identical to the Super Luce RGB Sync, which the company launched earlier this month, with a few key differences. The Super Luce RGB Lite lacks software-based RGB LED management, and has a preset combination of multi-color lighting that's put out from its diffuser. It lacks any cabling to the RGB header of your motherboard or RGB controller. This is in contrast to the Super Luce RGB Sync, which comes with a thin RGB cable, and supports software such as ASUS Aura Sync, giving you control over the lighting.

Under the illuminated heatspreaders, however, the Super Luce RGB Lite is identical to its sibling. Available in speeds ranging from DDR4-2133 to DDR4-3000, these modules come in densities of 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB, making up single-module and dual-channel kits of 4 GB, 8 GB (2x 4 GB), 16 GB (2x 8 GB), and 32 GB (2x 16 GB). There are also AMD Edition variants of these modules, which are individually tested by GeIL to work at their advertised speeds with AMD Ryzen processors. The modules are backed by lifetime warranties, and are expected to be about 10 to 15 percent cheaper than comparable Super Luce RGB Sync kits.

AMD's James Prior Clarifies Threadripper's "Dummy Dies"

Much has been said regarding AMD's Threadripper CPUs, particularly when it comes to how they are manufactured. At first, we thought Threadripper was actually EPYC in disguise, due it having what appeared to be four full-fledged 8-core modules - the same design as AMD's server-bound 32-core EPYC chips. The presence of gold-plating under all four dies seemed to confirm that these were in fact four full Threadripper dies, instead of two dies and two spacers (as AMD's statements led us to believe) for even IHS pressure on the four dies, instead of the uneven pressure that would result from the chip only having two physical dies present.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper MCM De-lidded and De-packaged

PC enthusiast Der8auer, with access to a Ryzen Threadripper processor, took it completely apart for science. It won't be the first time that a Threadripper HEDT processor was de-lidded (its integrated heatspreader removed), revealing that it has four "Zeppelin" 8-core dies, making it practically identical to AMD's 32-core Epyc processors; however, it's the first time that someone completely removed the dies from the package.

Ryzen Threadripper processors are built by completely disabling two out of four "Zeppelin" dies on an Epyc multi-chip module (MCM). Two diagonally opposite dies are disabled. The disabled dies can't be reenabled, at least not on an X399 chipset motherboard, as the Threadripper HEDT platform lacks DRAM, PCIe, and possibly even power wiring for the disabled dies.

Source: Der8auer

AMD Raven Ridge Ryzen 5 2500U with Vega Graphics APU Geekbench Scores Surface

A Geekbench page has just surfaced for AMD's upcoming Raven Ridge APUs, which bring both Vega graphics and Ryzen CPU cores to AMD's old "the future is Fusion" mantra. The APU in question is being tagged as AMD's Raven Ridge-based Ryzen 5 2500U, which leverages 4 Zen cores and 8 threads (via SMT) running at 2.0 GHz with AMD's Vega graphics.

According to Geekbench, the Ryzen APU scores 3,561 points in the single-core score, and 9,421 points in the multi-core score. Compared to AMD's A12-9800, which also leverages 4 cores (albeit being limited to 4 threads) running at almost double the frequency of this Ryzen 5 2500U (3.8 GHz vs the Ryzen's 2 GHz), that's 36% better single-core performance and 48% better multi-core performance. These results are really fantastic, and just show how much AMD has managed to improve their CPU (and in this case, APU) design over their Bulldozer-based iterations.

Source: Guru3D

ZOTAC Announces ZBOX MAGNUS EK and ER Series Compact Gaming Desktops

ZOTAC International, a Hong Kong based and a global manufacturer of innovation which created the first-ever Mini Gaming PC, continues to push the MAGNUS Series to a previously impossible level. With the all-new MAGNUS EK and ER Series powered by high-performance Intel or AMD Ryzen processors with a ZOTAC GeForce GTX 1070/1060 Series graphics card, ZOTAC is showcasing the first Mini PC series ever built with desktop sized graphics cards. Packing the punch that rivals full-size desktop rigs twice their weight, they are solid choices even for demanding pro gamers.

ZOTAC takes the unprecedented step of packing the best-performing desktop graphics card into the small footprint of the Gaming Mini PC paired with a next-generation processor. MAGNUS EK Series features a 7th Gen Intel Core quad-core processor based on the Kaby Lake architecture to deliver higher frequencies in speeds for a powerful gaming experience. Plus it adds the revolutionary new Intel Optane Memory that enables quick access times while allowing for larger storage capacities.

Raja Koduri On a Sabbatical from RTG till December, AMD CEO Takes Over

Raja Koduri, chief of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), has reportedly taken an extended leave from the company, running up to December 2017. Ryan Shrout, editor of PC Perspective stated that he got confirmation from the company about this development. Company CEO Lisa Su has taken direct control over RTG in the meantime.

Formed in 2015 after a major internal reorganization, RTG handles a bulk of AMD's graphics IP, developing and marketing products under the Radeon brand, including Radeon RX series consumer graphics chips, Radeon Pro series professional graphics chips, and Radeon Instinct line of GPGPU accelerators. This move is of particular significance as Q4 tends to be the biggest revenue quarter, as sales rally on account of Holiday.

MicroCenter Starts Limiting GPU Orders per Customer

Taking a distinct approach towards the whole GPU availability and stock issues that we've been seeing in the past few months - mainly due to the cryptomining craze, partly due to low yields on particular GPUs, MicroCenter has started implementation of hard limits on the amount of graphics cards a single user can purchase. According to the new policy, users can buy up to two graphics cards for the base pricing (varying on model) as-is, but orders including more than two units show each additional graphics card coming in at a staggering $10,000 online. This is true for both NVIDIA and AMD-based graphics cards.

In practice however, things are not as harsh as the pricing here leads one to believe. This is a deterrent to people wanting to purchase more than two GPUs, with a senior level employee needed to be able to add three or more cards for each customers. Once approved, you get to buy the graphics cards at prices that remain between the store and the customer depending on the number of units available and required but the local Microcenter here told TechPowerUp that it is certainly not $10,000/card. Microcenter has made this policy known in person, where most of their sales tend to happen. As such, it is their attempt at limiting access to GPUs for mining conglomerates or particularly affluent individual miners, which would otherwise - as has been the case - buy up the entire inventory. It also marks a particularly strong position from MicroCenter, since usually, for retailers and e-tailers as well as for AMD, a sale is a sale, independent of use or buyer case. The company is likely missing out on some additional orders from miners by going this route, and the fact that they are willing to do so really speaks to how strong their vision is for how the market should be behaving. Likely, it isn't that difficult to circumvent this imposed restriction - but the simple fact that it exists is of note. And while this isn't a new approach (we've seen some retailers do the same around RX Vega 64's launch), this might make it more likely for other retailers to follow suit.

Update: The story initially mentioned that the $10,000 per card from three cards and up was an actual store policy, and it has been updated to reflect its nature as a deterrent instead.

Sources: MicroCenter, via ETeknix

AMD To Change Suppliers for Vega 20 GPUs on 7nm, HBM2 Packaging for Vega 11

AMD's RX Vega supply has seen exceedingly limited quantities available since launch. This has been due to a number of reasons, though the two foremost that have been reported are: increased demand from cryptocurrency miners, who are looking towards maximizing their single node hashrate density through Vega's promising mining capabilities; and yield issues with AMD's Vega 10 HBM2 packaging partner, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE). It's expected that chip yield for Vega 10 is also lower per se, due to it having a 484 mm² die, which is more prone to defects than a smaller one, thus reducing the amount of fully-enabled GPUs.

AMD's production partner, GlobalFoundries, has historically been at the center of considerations on AMD's yield problems. That GlobalFoundries is seemingly doing a good job with Ryzen may not be much to say: those chips have incredibly small die sizes (192 mm²) for their number of cores. It seems that Global Foundries only hits problems with increased die sizes and complexity (which is, unfortunately for AMD, where it matters most).

On The Story of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Product Development

In a Forbes interview conducted by Anthony Leather, AMD officials Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing John Taylor, Sarah Youngbauer of AMD's communications team, and James Prior, AMD's Senior Product Manager, have shed some light on the development process for AMD's equivalent of a flash hit - their HEDT, HCC Threadripper chips. Threadripper, which leverages AMD's Zen architecture used in their Ryzen and EPYC processors, makes use of an MCM design with up to 16 cores and 32 threads, with AMD's svelte Zen, 8-core base units linked through the company's high speed interconnect Infinity Fabric.

This has allowed the company to scale designs from four core processors with Ryzen 3, all the way towards the current cream of the crop Threadripper 1950X. It's an extremely scalable design, which brings with it improved yields and some pretty significant cost savings for AMD due to smaller dies. This, in turn, means the company is able to more agressively price their Ryzen and Threadripper processors compared to the competition, at least when it comes to high core and thread counts for the same price bracket - and the success of that business decision is showing.

For our forum lurkers, this article is marked as an editorial.

PSA: Flashing RX Vega 56 with RX Vega 64 BIOS Does Not Unlock Shaders

When TechPowerUp released GPU-Z v2.3.0 earlier this week, AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 users who had flashed their graphics cards with the video BIOS of the higher RX Vega 64, discovered that their stream processor count had shot up from 3,584 to higher counts under 4,096. Some of these users felt it more or less explained the performance jump experienced after the BIOS flash. Some users even saw wrong stream processor-counts of their untouched RX Vega 56 reference-design cards. TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.3.0 incorrectly reports the stream processor count of flashed RX Vega 56 graphics cards, and some RX Vega 56 graphics cards out of the box; due to some under-the-hood bug in the way it reads the registers of AMD's new GPUs. We are working on an update to GPU-Z, which will fix this bug.

As we explained in our older article, flashing your RX Vega 56 with the BIOS of RX Vega 64 does not unlock stream processors, and the performance jump can be explained with the increased clock speeds. RX Vega 64 BIOS runs your RX Vega 56 reference-design graphics card at the higher reference clock speeds of 1247 MHz core, 1546 MHz boost, and 945 MHz memory; compared to the 1156/1471/800 MHz reference clocks of the RX Vega 56. This significant increase in clock speed is sufficient to explain the increased performance. Since the TMU count is tied to the number of GCN compute units visible to GPU-Z, the TMU count of certain RX Vega 56 cards is being incorrectly displayed. The upcoming update of GPU-Z addresses this as well.

Do Inflated AMD Radeon GPU Prices Have an Official Sanction?

Over the past couple of months, inflation in AMD Radeon GPU prices, in part fueled by silicon shortages, and in part by non-gamers (read: crypto-currency miners) buying up graphics cards, have impacted the AMD Radeon brand in the eyes of its target audience - PC gamers and graphics professionals. It was initially believed that market forces are driving the inflation, and that AMD had little to do with the price inflation. We then uncovered a clue that not just end-users, but even retailers are being sold AMD Radeon graphics cards at prices way above AMD's launch SEP. A Tweet by an official AMD Twitter handle shows that inflated AMD Radeon graphics card prices has the company's official sanction.

"@AMDGaming," a verified Twitter handle held by AMD, which promotes the company's products targeted at gamers, such as AMD Radeon graphics cards, and Ryzen processors; posted a promotion in which an XFX branded Radeon RX 570 graphics card, which is being sold at USD $279, including a free coupon for a "Quake Champions" pack free, was made to appear as if at its price, it's a great deal. The RX 570 was launched at USD $169 for the 4 GB variant, and $199 for the 8 GB variant. The XFX Radeon RX 570 4 GB RS (the card being marketed in the Tweet) was launched at $179. The Tweet was met with angry reactions for how blatantly AMD was marketing price-inflated Radeon graphics cards, without actually doing something about taming the prices.

Phanteks Announces Glacier C399a Water Block for Ryzen Threadripper

With the release of AMD's newest flagship CPU, the X399 Threadripper, Phanteks is excited to introduce the Glacier Series C399a. The full CPU waterblock from Phanteks are designed to work seamlessly with AMD's new X399 Threadripper which allows serious overclocking and extreme performance.

Made from premium materials according to the finest standards of craftsmanship from Phanteks, the C399a water block delivers extreme cooling and improve stability under high overclocks for the enthusiasts. The C399a is custom designed for the AMD TR4 socket VITON sealing from the Automotive and Aerospace Industries ensure the best reliability and longevity.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.3.0 Released

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, the graphics subsystem information, diagnostic, and monitoring utility PC enthusiasts swear by. Version 2.3.0 adds support for new GPUs, and comes with several under the hood improvements. To begin with, GPU-Z 2.3.0 adds official support for AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56; Radeon Pro WX 7100 and WX 3100; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Mobile, GeForce MX150, and Quadro M2200. We've added a new VRM efficiency monitoring feature, and VDDC/VDDCI power readings for AMD "Polaris" based graphics cards. Also addressed are bugs with GPU and memory activity monitoring on Radeon RX 500 series; missing or incorrect information on AMD graphics cards running on 17.7.2 drivers; and a rare crash on machines with AMD CrossFire configurations.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.3.0

The change-log follows.

RX Vega Achieves 43 MH/s @ 130 W in Ethereum Mining

AMD's RX Vega is more along the lines of an original computing card that was moved over to the consumer segment for gaming workloads than the other way around. Raja Koduri himself has said something along those lines (extrapolating a little more than what he can actually say), and that much can be gleaned with at least a modicum of confidence through AMD's market positioning and overall computing push. In the argument between gamers and miners, Raja Koduri didn't have all that much to say, but for AMD, a sale is a sale, and it would seem that after some tweaking, RX Vega graphics cards can achieve much increased levels of mining efficiency than their Polaris counterparts, further showing how Vega handles compute workloads much better - and more efficiently - than traditional gaming ones.
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