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AMD Ryzen Infinity Fabric Ticks at Memory Speed

Memory clock speeds will go a long way in improving the performance of an AMD Ryzen processor, according to new information by the company, which reveals that Infinity Fabric, the high-bandwidth interconnect used to connect the two quad-core complexes (CCXs) on 6-core and 8-core Ryzen processors with other uncore components, such as the PCIe root-complex, and the integrated southbridge; is synced with the memory clock. AMD made this revelation in a response to a question posed by Reddit user CataclysmZA.

Infinity Fabric, a successor to HyperTransport, is AMD's latest interconnect technology that connects the various components on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, and on the upcoming "Vega" GPU family. According to AMD, it is a 256-bit wide bi-directional crossbar. Think of it as town-square for the chip, where tagged data and instructions change hands between the various components. Within the CCX, the L3 cache performs some inter-core connectivity. The speed of the Infinity Fabric crossbar on a "Summit Ridge" Ryzen processor is determined by the memory clock. When paired with DDR4-2133 memory, for example, the crossbar ticks at 1066 MHz (SDR, actual clock). Using faster memory, according to AMD, hence has a direct impact on the bandwidth of this interconnect.

AMD's RX 500 Series Reportedly Delayed

We've previously covered how AMD's RX 500 series is to be a rebrand of the company's successful RX 400 series. Previous reports pegged the RX 500 series' launch on April 11th; now, it would seem that there has been a slight, one-week delay on the launch date, with it having been pushed back to April 18th. Apparently, this delay is looking to allow more time to "fine-tune the drivers".

The RX 500 series are purportedly straight rebrands from equivalent RX 400 series GPUs (RX 580 will be a rebrand of the RX 480, and so on down the ladder). The need for driver fine-tuning seems a little baffling considering these straight rebrands, but may have more to do with the reported Polaris 12 chips that are expected for launch than any other metric. Remember, RX 500 chips are expected to carry somewhat higher clock-speeds than their RX 400 originals, with some improved power/performance ratio being derived from improvements in foundry processes. But if the rebranding scheme holds up, don't expect these to bring in any meaningful changes towards these cards' performance. AMD is hoping Polaris tides them over through the mainstream market until it can introduce its Vega-based, high-performance GPUs, which are heralded to mark AMD's return to the high-performance consumer graphics segment in a while. Fingers crossed.

Source: Thanks @TheMailMan78!

Vega Shows Up Beating a GTX 1080 in CompuBench, But Hold the Hypetrain

The Vega based line of AMD GPUs are definitely a big unknown at this point, so any sightings or benchmarks of it are highly sought after by the rumormill. Well, here is another one to add to your pile of rumor-material folks: AMD has posted a card benchmark to Compubench that bests even the GTX 1080.

Why hold the hype?

There are two obvious issues. One, this is a compute only benchmark, and has little relevance to the average gamer. Two, in the same benchmark, a 980TI also beats the 1080. Stranger yet, the 1080 is also beaten by its little brother, the 1070. Take this one with a grain of salt, for the obvious reasons. It won't stop the the hypetrain from using this info to its own end, but maybe you can avoid being smashed by it by using some critical thinking.

AMD Talks Zen 3, "Raven Ridge," and More at Reddit AMA

AMD, at its post-Ryzen 7 launch Reddit AMA, disclosed some juicy details about its other upcoming socket AM4 chips, beginning with the rest of the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 "Summit Ridge" processor roll-out, and a little bit about its 8th generation socket AM4 APU, codenamed "Raven Ridge." To begin with, AMD CEO Lisa Su stated that "Raven Ridge" will also be sold under the Ryzen brand. This would mark a departure from the less-than-stellar A-series branding for its performance APUs. "Raven Ridge" likely combines a "Zen" quad-core CPU complex (CCX) with an integrated GPU based on one of AMD's newer GPU architectures (either "Polaris" or "Vega").

The range-topping Ryzen 7 series will lead the company's lineup throughout Q1, with six-core and quad-core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 series launches being scheduled for later this year. Our older reports pinned Ryzen 5 series rollout for Q2, and Ryzen 3 series for the second half of 2017. This is likely also when the company rolls out "Raven Ridge" initially as mobile Ryzen products (BGA packages, which will likely also be used in AIOs), and later as desktop socket AM4 parts.

AMD's RX 500 Series of Graphics Cards Rumored as Rebrands of RX 400 Series

The folks at Heise online have put forward a report on how AMD's RX 500 series of graphics cards will be little less than direct rebrands of the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 GPUs that AMD introduced with its RX 400 series of graphics cards. Apparently, a straight rebrand is in order, with the RX 580 entering the fray in the place of the RX 480, the RX 570 substituting the RX 470, and so on. Heise reports that the Polaris 10-based RX 500 should see the light of day as soon as April 4th, with Polaris 11-based solutions coming in a little later, on April 11th.

Videocardz, however, reports that these will be slightly more than a straight rebrand - if you can call a slight bump in clockspeeds as trumping a rebrand. The RX 580 is supposed to ship with base clocks ar 1340 MHz (74 MHz more than the reference RX 480), with the RX 570 carrying a much less significant 38 MHz increase over its RX 470 counterpart. Videocardz also reports on the possibility of AMD introducing a new Polaris 12 GPU with the RX 500 series, which will apparently be an even lower-end part than even Polaris 11.

Whatever Happened to the GTX 980 Ti to GTX 1080 Ti Step-up Programme

Just before Holiday 2016 (December), we were intrigued by a curious line in a LinkedIn job-posting, which at the time confirmed that NVIDIA is working on the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, and more importantly, that existing users of the GeForce GTX 980 Ti would have a priority in a pre-order queue, or a "Step Up Offer." A step-up offer is that in which GTX 980 Ti users would have the ability to trade-in their GTX 980 Ti cards for new GTX 1080 Ti cards, at a price significantly lower than buying a brand-new GTX 1080 Ti card. From the looks of it, there is no sign of such an offer.

The other, more scary detail about the GTX 1080 Ti, which was doing rounds at the time, was its fabled $999 price-tag, with fears of NVIDIA price-gouging with the new card so as to not cannibalize inventory of premium GTX 1080 cards in stock, some of which are still priced over the $700 mark. Alas, the GTX 1080 Ti launched at $699, a price we're sure NVIDIA partners with unsold super-premium GTX 1080 cards won't take kindly, and the GTX 1080 got its price cut to $499. NVIDIA is taking no chances with its market preparation for AMD's next-generation Radeon RX Vega.

On NVIDIA's Tile-Based Rendering

Looking back on NVIDIA's GDC presentation, perhaps one of the most interesting aspects approached was the implementation of tile-based rendering on NVIDIA's post-Maxwell architectures. This has been an adaptation of typically mobile approaches to graphics rendering which keeps their specific needs for power efficiency in mind - and if you'll "member", "Maxwell" was NVIDIA's first graphics architecture publicly touted for its "mobile first" design.

This approach essentially divides the screen into tiles, and then rasterizes the entire frame in a per-tile basis. 16×16 and 32×32 pixels are the usual tile sizes, but both Maxwell and Pascal can dynamically assess the required tile size for each frame, changing it on-the-fly as needed and according to the complexity of the scene. This looks to ensure that the processed data has a much smaller footprint than that of the full image rendering - small enough that it makes it possible for NVIDIA to keep the data in a much smaller amount of memory (essentially, the L2 memory), dynamically filling and flushing the available cache as possible until the full frame has been rendered. This means that the GPU doesn't have to access larger, slower memory pools as much, which primarily reduces the load on the VRAM subsystem (increasing available VRAM for other tasks), whilst simultaneously accelerating rendering speed. At the same time, a tile-based approach also lends itself pretty well to the nature of GPUs - these are easily parallelized operations, with the GPU being able to tackle many independent tiles simultaneously, depending on the available resources.

AMD Names Radeon "Vega" Product Line as Simply Radeon RX Vega

AMD's hottest announcement from its Capsaicin & Cream event is the brand unveil for consumer graphics products based on the "Vega" architecture. The lineup will be called simply Radeon RX Vega (likely with brand extensions to denote tiers and model numbers). The company also unveiled the "V" (for Vega) logo we've seen from CEO Lisa Su's presser from last week. The product unveil video illustrates how "Vega" will span across the consumer-graphics, pro-graphics, and Radeon Instinct data-center GPU lines.

AMD and LiquidSky Intro GeForce Now-rivaling Game Rendering Service

AMD introduced a remote rendering service rivaling NVIDIA GeForce Now, which it developed in partnership with LiquidSky, a company which will operate the service using AMD Radeon "Vega" based remote GPUs, that can stream to a variety of devices including low-power notebooks, tablets, and handhelds. The company will launch the service at prices competitive with GeForce Now. Watch this space for more.

What sets LiquidSky apart from GeForce Now is its pricing. The basic plan is ad-supported, and is hence practically free, with a pay-as-you-go plan starting at $4.99, and monthly plans starting at $9.99.

AMD "Vega" High Bandwidth Cache Controller Improves Minimum and Average FPS

At its Capsaicin & Cream event today, AMD announced that its High Bandwidth Cache Controller (HBCC), a feature introduced by its "Vega" GPU architecture to improve memory management, will increase game performance tangibly. The company did a side-by-side comparison between two sessions of "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided," in which a HBCC-aware machine purportedly presented 2x better minimum FPS, and 1.5x better average FPS scores, than a non-HBCC-aware system (though the old, trusty frame-rate counter was conspicuously absent from both demos).

AMD also went on to show how HBCC seemingly halves memory requirements, by deliberately capping the amount of addressable memory on the HBCC-aware system to only 2 GB - half of the 4 GB addressable by the non-HBCC-aware system, while claiming that even so, the HBCC-enabled system still showed "the same or better performance" through its better memory management and bandwidth speeds. If these results do hold up to scrutiny, this should benefit implementations of "Vega" with lower amounts of video memory, while simultaneously reducing production costs and overall end-user pricing, since smaller memory pools would be needed for the same effect.

AMD "Zen" Based APUs Later This Year

An AMD representative, responding to a Reddit question on AMD Ryzen branding, confirmed that the company will launch Mobile SoCs (APUs) based on the "Zen" micro-architecture later this year. The logical next-step for AMD with "Zen" beyond "Summit Ridge" has been to combine one or more quad-core "Zen" CCX (CPU complexes) with an integrated graphics core based on one of its newer GPU architectures ("Polaris" or "Vega").

The AMD representative confirmed that the company will launch mobile SoCs that combine "Zen" CPU cores with an integrated GPU, in the second half of 2017. This could hint at the availability of "Zen" powered notebooks, of all shapes and sizes by Holiday 2017. Over the year, AMD will begin launching "Zen" based products, starting off with 8-core high-end Ryzen 7 processors on March 2nd, six-core and some of the higher-end quad-core Ryzen 5 series processors in Q2-2017, and some of the lower-end quad-core Ryzen 3 parts in the second-half of 2017, now joined by mobile SoCs around the same time.

AMD Radeon Vega Power Connectors Pictured

At its first reveal of the Radeon Vega graphics card on the sidelines of the 2017 International CES show, AMD was careful to conceal the power-connectors of its graphics card prototype (using tissue paper), even though teaser images of the card were splattered all over the web. From this week's reveal of a Radeon Vega graphics card running on an AMD Ryzen 7-1800X powered machine, the veil is off the power connector layout. Apparently, AMD's reference design Radeon Vega 10 graphics card is air-cooled, and it draws power from a combination of 8-pin and 6-pin PCIe power connectors.

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1080 (reference) makes do with a single 8-pin connector, although most custom-design GTX 1080 cards feature 6-pin + 8-pin layouts. The GP102-powered TITAN X Pascal reference, too, draws power from 6+8 pin connectors. It's interesting to note here, that the power connectors feature a string of LEDs near their contact points on the PCB. The Radeon R9 Fury X, too has something like this, although the LEDs are used to alert users of faulty power input, or power draw. In the image below, we see that LEDs over only one connector are lit up. Could this indicate that AMD is making sure users are aware that the card isn't drawing power from both connectors all the time?

NVIDIA Counts Down to GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Launch

NVIDIA's GeForce.com website today was updated to greet us with a curious-looking countdown to evening, February 28. The countdown goes with the caption "It's Almost Time," with "Ti" in bold lettering. This just about confirms launch of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, NVIDIA's next high-end graphics card based on the same "GP102" silicon as the TITAN X Pascal. It remains to be seen if the company endows the SKU with more CUDA cores than the TITAN X Pascal, or less. A lot will depend on what NVIDIA's product managers learned about AMD's upcoming Radeon Vega.

AMD Ends Windows 8.1 32-bit Support with Latest Radeon Software Release

With its latest Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.2.1 drivers, AMD decided to stop releasing regular WHQL-signed drivers for the 32-bit version of the Windows 8.1 operating system. At first we thought AMD's web-admins accidentally missed publishing the driver (so we could post it on our Downloads section). When we got in touch with AMD, we were told that the company doesn't have new drivers for 32-bit Windows 8.1. We were even told that it's because nobody cares about 32-bit Windows 8.1 anymore, citing extremely low download numbers.

Apparently, AMD is cutting down costs and time for its driver development team by discarding operating systems and architectures that only a few people use. It was first to dump Windows XP support, and support for Windows 8 (in favor of Windows 8.1). While the company does provide 64-bit Windows 8.1 WHQL drivers as regularly as its popular Windows 7 and Windows 10 ones; it is skipping support for 32-bit Windows 8.1 going forward. The company will not release any new Windows 8.1 32-bit drivers anymore. One way out of this is to upgrade to Windows 10 while you still can. Updating to Windows 10 from Windows 8.1 is pretty smooth, and maybe you can consider an upgrade to 64-bit, since most new AAA games are limited to 64-bit only.

AMD Reveals Ryzen 7 Family, Pricing, and Radeon Vega Logo

At a press event by AMD, company CEO Lisa Su unveiled the first three AMD Ryzen desktop processor models, the top-dog Ryzen 7-1800X, the Ryzen 7-1700X, and the Ryzen 7-1700. The R7-1800X is priced at USD $499, followed by the R7-1700X at $399, and the R7-1700 at $329. The three chips will be available for purchase on the 2nd of March, 2017. The R7-1800X is clocked at 3.60 GHz, with a TurboCore frequency of 4.00 GHz, and the XFR (extended frequency range) feature, which further overclocks the chip, depending on the effectiveness of your CPU cooler.

The Ryzen 7-1700X ships with 3.40 GHz clocks, with 3.80 GHz TurboCore frequency, and the XFR feature. The Ryzen 7-1700 lacks XFR, and comes with slightly lower clocks, at 3.00 GHz core, and 3.70 GHz TurboCore. All three are true 8-core chips, with 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. Also featured are dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controllers, and an integrated PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex. The Ryzen 7-1700 has a TDP of just 65W (for a performance 8-core chip that's a kick in the butts of Intel's engineers), and will include an AMD Wraith Max cooling solution, while the 1700X and 1800X have TDP rated at 95W, and will come without coolers. At its media event, CEO Lisa Su stated that at $499, the Ryzen 7-1800X "smokes" the Intel Core i7-6900K eight-core processor. The company also unveiled the branding of its Radeon Vega enthusiast graphics family. Lastly, feast your eyes on the beautiful, 14 nm, Made-in-USA die-shot of Ryzen.

AMD to Detail Vega Some More at Capsaicin 2017 Event

AMD in a press release today, stated that in its 2017 "Capsaicin Live" event held on the sidelines of the Game Developers Conference, it will reveal "exciting new details surrounding Vega," its next-generation GPU architecture, on which the company is expected to launch its next high-end graphics card. The company is hosting the much talked about "Capsaicin and Cream" launch event on the 28th February, 2017. It is expected to launch its next-generation Ryzen performance desktop processors, and talk some more about its "Vega" GPU architecture. Besides Ryzen and Vega, AMD will showcase some of Summer 2017's most anticipated AAA game launches that take advantage of VR.

Arkane's New IP is Prey to AMD's Vega - Possible Hint at Launch Window

It all seems to go back to AMD these days, doesn't it? If it isn't the company's upcoming Ryzen CPUs that stand in the limelight (a rare thing nowadays, with a seemingly neverending amount of leaks around them and the accompanying AM4 platform), it's the company's Vega graphics architecture that makes waves with new info or new leaks.

Now, reports are coming in (with solid imagery at that) regarding a collaboration between Arkane and AMD, marrying Arkane's promising new IP, Prey, and AMD's upcoming Vega architecture. This may sound like an interesting, if not at all important, piece of information. But digging deeper, this is probably indication of Vega's expected launch window. Considering that AMD's woman of the moment, Lisa Su, has previously placed Vega's launch in Q2 2017 (spanning April, May, and June), and adding 1+1, this places AMD's Vega launch before Prey's - after all, it wouldn't make much sense to market a game as being optimized for a given architecture.... If users can't actually use it.

As an avid reader and story addict, I admit that Arkane's take on the world of Dishonored in its second iteration left me a little underwhelmed (though the worldbuilding, gameplay and art direction were simply sublime). However, judging from Prey's trailers and some hands-on impressions running the world wide web, it looks as if Arkane has again hit the proverbial nail in the head. And from what AMD promises, Vega will be here to power it when it launches on May 5th.

NVIDIA to Host GeForce GTX Gaming Celebration Event at GDC 2017

Not to be outdone by AMD, and making sure to keep the landscape populated with enough green, NVIDIA has announced its presence in the upcoming GDC 2017. Could this be the choice battleground for an announcement regarding the (now) almost mythical GTX 1080Ti?

Let's see what the company has to say: "You're invited to attend the GeForce GTX gaming celebration! Come join us for an evening of awesome PC gaming, hardware, tournaments and of course free food, drinks and a few other amazing surprises. Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the event will start promptly at 7 PM. The celebration will take place in downtown San Francisco, CA."

Let's just say that the company has history of announcing its top-of-the-line Ti models on GDC (much like it did with 2015's GTX 980 Ti), and that NVIDIA closes their announcement with a very tentative (if generic) "You won't want to miss this". And with rumors of AMD being prepared to show off its Vega architecture on the same day, as well as the expected release of its highly anticipated Ryzen CPUs, February 28th is looking out to be one of the best days of the year for enthusiasts.

AMD's Stock Soars on FY 2016 Results

AMD recently shared their FY 2016 results - which beat expectations and showed a company poised for either a big return to form (or a monumental backflip) solely on the success or failure of its two upcoming products for the CPU and graphics space, Ryzen and Vega.

Share value is based on both tangible and intangible characteristics of the company it's based upon, and in this case, AMD seems to have garnered even more attention after its solid FY 2016 execution, building confidence and expectation on its upcoming product launches. As we speak, AMD's shares have increased by 16.3% up to $12.06 a share, increasing its market cap up to $10.93B.

AMD's Vega-based Cards to Reportedly Launch in May 2017 - Leak

According to WCCFTech, AMD's next-generation Vega architecture of graphics cards will see its launch on consumer graphics solutions by May 2017. The website claims AMD will have Vega GPUs available in several SKUs, based on at least two different chips: Vega 10, the high-end part with apparently stupendous performance, and a lower-performance part, Vega 11, which is expected to succeed Polaris 10 in AMD's product-stack, offering slightly higher performance at vastly better performance/Watt. WCCFTech also point out that AMD may also show a dual-chip Vega 10×2 based card at the event, though they say it may only be available at a later date.

AMD Says "ZEN" CPU Architecture is Expected to Last 4 Years

After spending almost 4 years developing and perfecting (as much as can be perfected in such an amount of time) it's ZEN CPU architecture, AMD is looking to extract some mileage out of it. Mark Papermaster, AMD's chief technology officer, confirmed the four-year lifespan in a conversation with PC World at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, though he declined to discuss specifics. When asked how long ZEN would last (especially comparing to Intel's now-failing two-year tick-tock cadence, Papermaster confirmed the four-year lifespan: "We're not going tick-tock," he said. "ZEN is going to be tock, tock, tock."

AMD Showcases its Ryzen CPUs Powering Their Upcoming Vega Architecture

At CES 2017, AMD set-up a demo room in which it showcased a PC powered by a Ryzen CPU and a Vega GPU playing Star Wars Battlefront at 60 FPS, reportedly at Ultra HD, with confirmed Ultra quality settings. Some sources do report that the frame rate at 4K Ultra settings occasionally dropped to 57 or 58 fps, but it still remains a strong showing from the company's upcoming Vega graphics architecture, as well as the prowess of its Ryzen CPUs.

AMD VEGA Cube is a Coffee Mug-sized Contraption with 100 TFLOP/s Compute Power

AMD VEGA Cube (working name), is an unannounced product by the company, which could see the light of the day as a Radeon Instinct deep-learning GPGPU solution. This [grande] coffee mug-sized contraption is four GPU subunit boards making up four sides of a cube (well, cuboid), with two sides making up the air channel, likely with space for a compound heatsink or liquid-cooling block, drawing heat from the GPUs lining the inner walls of the cube. The combined compute power of the VEGA Cube, hence, is 100 TFLOP/s (FP16), or 50 TFLOP/s (FP32, single-precision).

Each GPU board is similar in function to NVIDIA's Tesla P100 NVLink board. It has the GPU, VRM, and a high-speed interconnect. The GPUs here in question could be VEGA 10, a multi-chip module with a 25 TFLOP/s (FP16, 12.5 TFLOP/s FP32) GPU die, and 8 GB of HBM2 memory. There are four such GPU boards facing each other. AMD could deploy its much talked about NVLink-alternative, the GMI Coherent Data Fabric, which enables a 100 GB/s data path between neighboring GPUs. It remains to be seen if AMD makes an actual Radeon Instinct product out of this, or of it will remain a really groovy proof of concept.

AMD "Vega" Demoed in Sonoma, California

AMD's next-generation high-end graphics card, based on the "Vega" architecture, was showcased at an event in Sonoma CA, earlier this week. While the architecture is being debuted with the Radeon Instinct MI25 deep-learning accelerator, a prototype graphics card based on the silicon was exhibited by the company, showing Vulkan API gaming.

AMD was pretty tight-lipped about the specifications of this prototype, but two details appear to have slipped out. Apparently, the chip has a floating point performance of 25 TFLOP/s (FP16), and 12.5 TFLOP/s (FP32, single-precision). On paper, this is higher than the 11 TFLOP/s (FP32) of NVIDIA TITAN X Pascal. The other important specification that emerged is that the card features 8 GB of HBM2 memory, with a memory bandwidth of 512 GB/s. This, too, is higher than the 480 GB/s of the TITAN X Pascal. It remains to be seen which market-segment AMD targets with this card.

This article was updated on Dec 15 to accommodate AMD's request to remove all info regarding the demo system, the shown game and its performance, which has been put under NDA retroactively.

AMD Announces the Radeon Instinct Family of Deep-Learning Accelerators

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today unveiled its strategy to accelerate the machine intelligence era in server computing through a new suite of hardware
and open-source software offerings designed to dramatically increase performance, efficiency, and ease of implementation of deep learning workloads. New Radeon Instinct accelerators will offer organizations powerful GPU-based solutions for deep learning inference and training. Along with the new hardware offerings, AMD announced MIOpen, a free, open-source library for GPU accelerators intended to enable high-performance machine intelligence implementations, and new, optimized deep learning frameworks on AMD's ROCm software to build the foundation of the next evolution of machine intelligence workloads.

Inexpensive high-capacity storage, an abundance of sensor driven data, and the exponential growth of user-generated content are driving exabytes of data globally. Recent advances in machine intelligence algorithms mapped to high-performance GPUs are enabling orders of magnitude acceleration of the processing and understanding of that data, producing insights in near real time. Radeon Instinct is a blueprint for an open software ecosystem for machine intelligence, helping to speed inference insights and algorithm training.
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