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BIOSTAR Launches Gaming-Ready A10N-8800E SoC Motherboard with AMD Carrizo and AMD Radeon R7 Graphics

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, launches the gaming-ready A10N-8800E SoC motherboard. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E sports a compact mini-ITX form-factor, perfect for small-form-factor gaming PCs and HTPCs. The A10N-8800E packs a powerful Carrizo architecture-based AMD FX-8800P quad-core processor with an integrated AMD Radeon R7 Graphics for superb processing performance, power efficiency and game-ready graphics. The A10N-8800E supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, up to a speed of DDR4-2133 and a maximum capacity of 32GB (2x16GB). The motherboard also packs 1 x M.2 Key M 16Gbps slot for high-performance PCIe NVMe M.2 solid-state drives.

BIOSTAR Introduces Edge Computing Solution with SoC Motherboard -A10N-8800E

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, introduces a solution for edge computing, the BIOSTAR A10N-8800E system-on-chip (SoC) mini-ITX motherboard, for faster data access and computing over traditional cloud solutions. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E integrates the AMD FX-8800P processor, typically found in AMD mobile computing, for superb processing performance and power efficiency. Even with a mini-ITX form factor, it includes features such as dual channel DDR 4 2133 support, USB3.1 Gen. 1, PCI-e M.2 16Gb/s and HDMI output. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E is an excellent motherboard for edge computing applications for home, office or online gaming.

AMD Quietly Releases New A8-7680 Carrizo APU For Socket FM2+

In what will likely seem baffling to many, AMD is releasing a new APU for their ancient FM2+ socket. While the release of the newly minted A8-7680 was alluded to previously via an ASRock BIOS update for their A68H motherboards, many considered it a fake at the time. However, with AMD's own literature listing the processor for the mass market, along with it popping up at various etailers with the product number AD7680ACABBOX, its release is now all but certain.

The processor is still being manufactured on the old 28 nm node and is very similar to the older A8-7600, with this speculated to also being a quad-core design based on the AMD Excavator architecture. It would appear the main difference between the two, noting that the A8-7680 specs are not formally released yet, is a 400 MHz increase on the base clock bringing it up from 3.1 GHz on the A8-7600 to 3.5 GHz on the A8-7680. Sadly, the boost clock remains the same at 3.8 GHz as noted at various etailers. Currently, only the A68 chipset works with the new CPU with the following boards having all received BIOS updates adding support for the A8-7680: Asus A68HM-K, A68HM-Plus, Gigabyte F2A68HM-DS2 rev1.1, F2A68HM-H rev1.1, F2A68HM-S1 rev1.1, MSI A68HM-E33-v2, ASRock FM2A68M-HD+, and FM2A68M-DG3+.
The rumored specifications follow.

AMD Announces Radeon Software Beta for Vulkan

AMD announced its first public beta driver featuring support for the Vulkan API. The company is a major contributor to the development of the API, since most of it is based on its Mantle code. Version 16.15.1009 supports Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. All of AMD's Graphics CoreNext based GPUs and APUs support Vulkan. This includes the company's Radeon HD 7700 series thru HD 7900 series; R9/R7 200 series, R9/R7 300 series, the R9 Fury series, and AMD APUs based on the "Godavari" and "Carrizo" silicons. This driver comes just in time for the Vulkan release of The Talos Principle.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Beta for Vulkan

AMD Socket AM4 to Transition "Excavator" and "Zen" Architecture

A lot is riding on AMD's upcoming desktop CPU socket, codenamed AM4. Some of the first motherboards based on this socket are expected to launch in March 2016. What makes the socket particularly interesting (and important) is that it's a transition point for AMD's two major CPU architecture generations - "Excavator" and "Zen." Excavator is an incremental upgrade of AMD's less than successful "Bulldozer" architecture, while "Zen" is its next major one. AM4 is also going to be a common socket for AMD's desktop APU and many-core CPUs.

Some of the first socket AM4 APUs could be "Bristol Ridge." Succeeding the company's "Carrizo" APUs, it will be available in both socket AM4, supporting DDR4 memory, and FP4, supporting both DDR3 and DDR4. This chip will implement "Excavator" CPU cores. In its AM4 avatar, "Bristol Ridge" will offer up to four CPU cores, with TDP ranging between 45W-65W, and with support for DDR4-2400 memory. Later in 2016, AMD could debut its first "Zen" multi-core CPUs, which feature the company's next-gen, performance-focused CPU cores.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z 0.8.6

TechPowerUp released version 0.8.6 of GPU-Z, the popular graphics subsystem information and diagnostics utility, which gives you detailed info on your installed graphics chips, and lets you monitor the various sensors of your GPUs. To begin with, the new version comes with DirectX 12 support, with the ability to tell which feature-level of Direct3D your hardware supports. Command-line usage has been added with the "/help" argument. Support was added for several GPUs, notably GTX 950, Microsoft Surface Book GPU, R9 Nano, and AMD "Carrizo" iGPU.

The app can now wake up AMD GPUs in laptops that are power-gated to conserve power (and which would hence not get properly detected). BIOS reading is improved, and incorrect fan-speed reading, and a rare BSOD in AMD R9 Fury series GPUs, are fixed. Several stability improvements for Intel iGPUs were made, with the addition of support for Intel "Braswell," "Cherry Lake," and "Skylake" iGPUs. AMD GPU clock speed detection with no AMD driver installed, has been improved. A rare case of misreading BIOS in multi-GPU setups, has been fixed. Voltage monitoring on some Sapphire graphics cards has been fixed.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 0.8.6 | GPU-Z 0.8.6 ASUS ROG Themed

The change-log follows.

AMD Pro A12 "Carrizo" Chip Offers TDP as Low as 12W

AMD's "Excavator" module could fetch big power dividends for the company, with the top of the line Pro A12 "Carrizo" APU for mobile platforms offering TDP as low as 12W (normal usage), going up to 35W (maximum stress). AMD allows users to set the TDP for their processors. Built on the existing 28 nm process, these chips offer TDPs as low as the ones offered by Intel, built on 22 nm and even 14 nm nodes.

This is made possible because "Excavator" features heavily compacted registers and decode engines, and AMD spent a lot of R&D kicking out redundant or useless components from the silicon. The recently launched A-Series Pro "Carrizo" APUs feature two "Excavator" modules (four CPU cores), a GPU with eight GCN 1.2 compute units (512 stream processors), 2 MB of total cache, dual-channel DDR3-2133 integrated memory controllers.

AMD Zen Features Double the Per-core Number Crunching Machinery to Predecessor

AMD "Zen" CPU micro-architecture has a design focus on significantly increasing per-core performance, particularly per-core number-crunching performance, according to a 3DCenter.org report. It sees a near doubling of the number of decoder, ALU, and floating-point units per-core, compared to its predecessor. In essence, the a Zen core is AMD's idea of "what if a Steamroller module of two cores was just one big core, and supported SMT instead."

In the micro-architectures following "Bulldozer," which debuted with the company's first FX-series socket AM3+ processors, and running up to "Excavator," which will debut with the company's "Carrizo" APUs, AMD's approach to CPU cores involved modules, which packed two physical cores, with a combination of dedicated and shared resources between them. It was intended to take Intel's Core 2 idea of combining two cores into an indivisible unit further.

AMD Announces PRO A-Series Processors for Business

AMD today introduced its most powerful line of AMD PRO A-Series mobile and desktop processors (formerly codenamed "Carrizo PRO" and "Godavari PRO") to deliver exceptional value and performance for today's challenging workloads. The new line of AMD PRO A-Series processors offer enhanced performance, reliability and opportunity to business users and IT decision makers and are designed for the future with Microsoft Windows 10. With its AMD PRO mobile processors, AMD powers some of the first-to-market Windows 10-enabled commercial notebook systems for those looking to upgrade.

"The innovative architecture of new AMD PRO processors delivers compelling performance to stay ahead of the evolving demands of business today," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, computing and graphics, AMD. "Going PRO with AMD means unmatched dependability with platform stability, processor longevity and an opportunity for richer system configurations. AMD gives its customers choice and affordability to meet specific business needs, without compromising the ability to manage and maintain a secure, stable, and reliable environment."

Study Shows 6th Gen. AMD A-Series APU Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50%

Results of an AMD carbon footprint analysis of its 6th Generation A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), codenamed "Carrizo," show that using the new processor can result in a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the previous generation APU. The study results are based on the widely accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) established by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and were announced today during an AMD sponsored media panel on energy efficient information technology. Research shows that 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have established public targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

"Creating low-power, energy efficient products is a key element of our business strategy, and in turn, we are working alongside our customers to reduce the environmental footprint of technology while relentlessly improving performance," said Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer, AMD. "The results from the carbon footprint study for the latest AMD APU demonstrate our commitment to continued energy efficiency gains, sustainability, and lower operating costs for consumers and enterprises."

AMD Doesn't Trust its Own Processors - Project Quantum Driven by Intel Core i7-4790K

One of the three unexpected products based on the "Fiji" GPU, which AMD announced at its E3 event, Project Quantum, or the quest to design a 4K-worthy SFF gaming PC, which runs two "Fiji" GPUs in CrossFire, had the press assume that the rest of the system could be AMD-based, such as AMD-branded (albeit Patriot Memory manufactured) memory, AMD-branded (albeit OCZ manufactured) SSD; and importantly an AMD-made CPU or APU. Given its liquid-cooling, the prospect of a 95W "Godavari," or even upcoming "Carrizo" APU didn't seem far-fetched. Even a 95W FX CPU could have been deployed, since AM3+ on mini-ITX is not impossible.

When taken apart, Project Quantum was shown to be running an Intel Core i7-4790K "Devil's Canyon" CPU, on an ASRock-made mini-ITX motherboard, with its non-essential parts soldered out. The i7-4790K is neighbored by a pair of half-height Crucial Ballistix memory modules, which is excusable, since there are no half-height AMD Radeon memory modules, yet. The SSD is AMD-branded. The unit features a unified liquid cooling solution that's custom-made for AMD, by Asetek. A large (200 mm?) radiator, with a single fan, cools the CPU, the PCH, as well as the two "Fiji" GPUs.

AMD Unveils 6th Generation A-Series Processor

AMD today announced its 6th Generation A-Series Processor, the world's first high-performance Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) in a System-on-Chip (SoC) design. Previously codenamed "Carrizo," the 6th Generation AMD A-Series Processor takes advantage of extensive AMD processor and graphics IP enabling exceptional computing experiences not possible before. The 6th Generation AMD A-Series Processor is the most versatile notebook processor ever produced, built to excel at today's and tomorrow's consumer and business applications, delivering premium streaming entertainment, unmatched smooth online gaming, and innovative computing experiences, with all day unplugged performance.

The world's first high-performance Accelerated Processing Unit in a SoC design marks a number of technology firsts: the world's first High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) hardware decode support for notebooks, the first Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) 1.0-compliant design, and the first ARM TrustZone-capable high-performance APU. The new processor harnesses up to 12 Compute Cores -- 4 CPU + 8 GPU -- leveraging AMD "Excavator" cores and the third generation of AMD's award-winning Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. The result is a groundbreaking processor that boasts more than twice the battery life of its predecessor, up to 2x faster gaming performance than competitive processors, innovative computing experiences enabled through HSA, and a premium Microsoft Windows 10 experience with support for DirectX 12, adding up to an extraordinary experience for consumers.

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 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.

AMD Mobile "Carrizo" Family of APUs Arrive in 2015

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today at its Future of Compute event announced the addition of its first high performance system-on-a-chip (SoC), codenamed "Carrizo", and a mainstream SoC codenamed "Carrizo-L" as part of the company's 2015 AMD Mobile APU family roadmap. In collaboration with hardware and software partners, these new 2015 AMD Mobile APUs are designed as complete solutions for gaming, productivity applications, and ultra high-definition 4K experiences. With support for Microsoft DirectX 12, OpenCL 2.0, AMD's Mantle API, AMD FreeSync and support for Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 operating system, the 2015 AMD Mobile APU family enables the experiences consumers expect.

"We continue to innovate and build upon our existing IP to deliver great products for our customers," said John Byrne, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics business group, AMD. "AMD's commitment to graphics and compute performance, as expressed by our goal to improve APU energy efficiency 25x by 2020, combines with the latest industry standards and fresh innovation to drive the design of the 2015 AMD Mobile APU family. We are excited about the experiences these new APUs will bring and look forward to sharing more details in the first half of next year."

AMD to Drag Socket FM2+ On Till 2016

AMD's desktop processor and APU platforms are not expected to see any major changes till 2016, according to a BitsnChips report. The delay is attributed to a number of factors, including DDR4 memory proliferation (i.e. for DDR4 memory to get affordable enough for target consumers of APUs), and AMD's so-called "project Fast-Forward," which aims to place high-bandwidth memory next to the APU die, for the AMD's increasingly powerful integrated graphics solutions to overcome memory bottlenecks.

The company's upcoming "Carrizo" APU is targeted at low-TDP devices such as ultra-slim notebooks and tablets; and is the first chip to integrate AMD's next-generation "Excavator" CPU micro-architecture. "Carrizo" chips continue to use DDR3 system memory, and therefore it's possible that AMD may design a socket FM2+ chip based on "Excavator," probably leveraging newer silicon fab processes. But otherwise, socket FM2+ is here to stay.
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