Early Benchmarks for AMD’s “Llano” Platform Surface

Apparently somebody got their hands on the AMD A8-3800 Quad-Core APU along with Gigabyte’s GA-A75-UD4H motherboard and they did exactly the right thing. Ran several benchmarks. Aside from the two feature parts, other parts used were 4GB (2x2GB) of GSKILL DDR3-1600 RAM, a standard 1TB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 HDD, and note that the graphics is the on-board Radeon HD 6550D that’s on the same die.

What we found fairly darn impressive (for an integrated solution) were the benchmarks in the gaming department with these scores (at 1080p):

  • Street Fighter 4: 50.32 FPS
  • Hawx: 54 FPS (DX9) / 22 FPS (DX10)
  • Hawx 2: 46 FPS (DX9) / 34 FPS (DX11)
  • Resident Evil 5: 29.0 FPS (DX9) / 27.4 FPS (DX10)

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LucidLogix Embeds Multi-GPU Tech on Intel H67 & Z68 Chipsets

We remember mentioning this when they were going to showcase a working concept of this innovative technology at CES early this year, but now it has become reality. LucidLogix announced this week that their Virtu Solution are licensed out on select Intel desktop boards with the H67 and Z68 chipsets, and their Virtu GPU virtualization software will come bundled on several SKUs of genuine Intel boards.

A quick recap if you’re not familiar with Virtu, it’s a software platform that allows systems to take full advantage of the media processing features that are built into the 2nd gen Intel Core CPUs and 3D gaming performance of discrete GPUs. In short, both graphics processing units can be working cooperatively to offer the best of both worlds.

Formerly, external graphics solutions simply disabled on-board integrated solutions but now with Lucid’s Virtu it’s viable to run single or dual discrete GPUs and still be able to utilize the transcoding horsepower and efficiency of Intel HD graphics in 2nd gen Intel Core CPUs. Asides from Intel making Virtu available in many motherboard SKUs based on H67 and Z68 chipsets where the Virtu brand will be featured on the board’s packaging for system integrators and end users, but no solid details yet.

Roundup: AMD Radeon HD 6790

With their top of the line offering released and out of the way, AMD has expectedly put together an answer to NVIDIA’s GTX 550 Ti mid-range card. The new graphics unit retails for the same ($149), and comes clocked at 840MHz for graphics and shader speeds with 1GB of GDDR5 at 4.2GHz. We got reviewers acknowledge that this may have been a late response to their competitor’s GTX 460, but that’s a card that is slowly leaving the scene to be replaced by the less powerful GTX 550 Ti (awkwardly). If you’d want the latest video card for this particular price point then AMD’s solution does seem like the better option, but the new HD 6790 is suffering the same fate as its counterpart alternative since an HD 6850 can be had for close to the same price with rebates (if you don’t mind them that is). In all it’s a good card, and a tad lower price would have made it superb. All the detailed info and benchmarks below.

AMD’s Llano Platform Outperforms Sandy Bridge in Demo

There’s been quite the buzz with AMD’s Bulldozer architecture lately, however their Llano platform is still on schedule for release this year as well. In case you guys haven’t seen the video, the results aren’t surprising with them favouring AMD’s solution. Their director of Client Technology, Godfrey Cheng, says:

“People are using more modern workloads like 3D graphics, HD video and Internet surfing in a much more prevalent manner…we all dabble with spreadsheets and word processing…but any modern x86 CPU-based PC can handle these workloads with ease.  But with these modern applications, the capacity to multitask, improve image quality and enhance power efficiency are much more important than raw x86 performance in determining how good a consumer’s experience is with a particular PC.”

“AMD’s “Llano” and Intel’s “Sandy Bridge” are roughly equal in size and transistor count…But…An analysis of the two components’ die area shows that AMD has invested much more heavily in graphics, parallel compute and video whereas Intel has invested much more of its silicon area in improving classic x86 performance.”

It’s hard to tell how both environments or workloads were exactly set up, so we’re uncertain if there’s any bias in the demo. Check out the video below (1080p toggle enabled only after playing clip) and judge for yourself.

 

Interested in a Cheaper HD 6950 (or 6970)?

A bunch of UK retailers are selling a new card, essentially it’s a (Sapphire) HD 6950 with just 1GB of GDDR5 memory and that’s half of what standard usually comes with. You can look it up by typing in “11188-01-40G” on Google, but we’re still uncertain when these will make it overseas to the Americas. Right now the part is identical in terms of all the other specs, asides from the memory cut. Based on the costs of the standard version that are being listed, we ballpark a $50 difference in this 1GB model however don’t take our estimate as it’s just an educated guess.

UPDATE: German site, HT4U.net claims that several other vendors will follow suit, and offer both HD 6950 and 6970 cards with less memory. Not sure about you guys, but they just turned our heads.

The HD 6950 Can Have Its Shaders Unlocked

Get one of these for Christmas? It seems like this particular model has its performance capped through software rather than hardware, and a simple BIOS flash can bring gains of a HD 6970. The guys at TechPowerUp wrote a guide with details of how this is done, but take note that a HD 6950 only uses two 6-pin PCIe power connectors whereas the 6970 uses an 8-pin and 6-pin. Both of these cards are based on the same design and only the number of shaders vary, 1408 on the 6950 opposed to 1535 on the 6970.

Hitachi 7mm-Thick Hard Drive, Now Available in 500GB

Why? Because traditional magnetic hard drives aren’t to be replaced by SSDs anytime soon, and more storage room taking up less physical space is always welcomed right? You may think that’s a couple millimeters don’t make a whole difference, but it’s crucial when it comes to installing these 2.5 inch drives into certain devices like PMPs and such. Specs wise, the Z5K500 spins at a standard 5400RPM, while the Z7K320 takes it to 7200RPM for more of your dollar. Intrigued for an upgrade?

Roundup: AMD Radeon HD 6970 and 6950

Looks like AMD pulled off a release in time for the holiday shopping season by introducing the Radeon HD 6970 and 6950 a couple days ago, although the pair aren’t perfect – the HD 6970 is indeed a viable alternative to the GTX 570 and even the GTX 580 in some cases. These cards are definitely a step up and should please enthusiasts or gamers alike, but we want shine the spotlight (as many of the reviews did as well) above the HD 6950 in particular as it’s currently noted as the new best performance/price value oriented card.

We had another roundup planned for today, but this launch of the new AMD cards was just simply impossible to put off for another time. Check out the reads we gathered below and feel free to give us your thoughts on these cards in the comments below!

UPDATE: For those of you who wanted more on the model scheme or how all their cards stack up at this point, check out the article by AnandTech – it’s very in-depth and they also have a price comparison of the video cards versus competition as well.

AMD Prepares HD 6970 and 6950 Launch

Based on released specs from un-named sources, AMD’s Radeon HD 6970 won’t be a close competitor to NVIDIA’s GTX 580 – given that it would result in a lower cost about $50-70 less. From previous rumours, their future flagship card will come loaded with 2GB of memory on a 256-bit bus running at an effective 1375MHz, 96 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a core clock of 880MHz. Mum’s the word on availability for this month, since there were already talks of limited initial shipment volumes. If you’re looking into getting one of these, you better be on the lookout starting tomorrow.

Intel’s Atom Won’t Support DirectX 11

Here’s an article with some love for mobile computing, as we noticed we were lacking these posts recently! It appears that info for Intel’s next-gen Atom platform (Cedar Trail) has started to leak out, and the processors won’t have any support for DirectX 11 graphics. The Cedar Trail D (Desktop) and Cedar Trail M (Mobile) will however be compatible with DirectX 10.1, however bearing a similar architecture to the soon to be released Sandy Bridge chips.

There has been much improvement over the former and more recent Atom processors because the new CPUs will have enough power to take on Full HD decoding and hardware acceleration for MPEG2, VC1, ACV, and H.264. Cedar Trail will also support the Blu-ray 2.0 profile, which includes picture-in-picture and online content.