Former AMD engineer talks about Bulldozer
X-bit Labs reports an ex-AMD engineer spoke out about some of the reasons why Bulldozer disappoints:
The reason why performance of the long-awaited Bulldozer was below expectations is not only because it was late, but because AMD had adopted design techniques that did not allow it tweak performance, according to an ex-AMD engineer.
Cliff A. Maier, an AMD engineer who left the company several years ago, the chip designer decided to abandon practice of hand-crafting various performance-critical parts of its chips and rely completely on automatic tools. While usage of tools that automatically implement certain technologies into silicon speeds up the design process, they cannot ensure maximum performance and efficiency.
Automated Design = 20% Bigger, 20% Slower
"The management decided there should be such cross-engineering [between AMD and ATI teams within the company] ,which meant we had to stop hand-crafting our CPU designs and switch to an SoC design style. This results in giving up a lot of performance, chip area, and efficiency. The reason DEC Alphas were always much faster than anything else is they designed each transistor by hand. Intel and AMD had always done so at least for the critical parts of the chip. That changed before I left - they started to rely on synthesis tools, automatic place and route tools, etc.," said Mr. Maier in a forum post noticed by Insideris.com web-site.
Apparently, automatically-generated designs are 20% bigger and 20% slower than hand-crafted designs, which results in increased transistor count, die space, cost and power efficiency.
"I had been in charge of our design flow in the years before I left, and I had tested these tools by asking the companies who sold them to design blocks (adders, multipliers, etc.) using their tools. I let them take as long as they wanted. They always came back to me with designs that were 20% bigger, and 20% slower than our hand-crafted designs, and which suffered from electro-migration and other problems," the former AMD engineer said.
Inefficiencies in Design?
While it is unknown whether AMD used automatic design flow tools for everything, there are certain facts that point to some inefficient pieces of design within Bulldozer. Officially, AMD claims that the Zambezi/Orochi processor consists of around 2 billion transistors, which is a very large number.
AMD publicly said that each Bulldozer dual-core CPU module with 2MB unified L2 cache contains 213 million transistors and is 30.9mm2 large. By contrast, die size of one processing engine of Llano processor (11-layer 32nm SOI, K10.5+ micro-architecture) is 9.69mm2 (without L2 cache), which indicates that AMD has succeeded in minimizing elements of its new micro-architecture so to maintain small size and production cost of the novelty.
As a result, all four CPU modules with L2 cache within Zambezi/Orochi processor consist of 852 million of transistors and take 123.6mm2 of die space. Assuming that 8MB of L3 cache (6 bits per cell) consist of 405 million of transistors, it leaves around whopping 800 million of transistors to various input/output interfaces, dual-channel DDR3 memory controller as well as various logic and routing inside the chip.
800 million of transistors - which take up a lot of die space - in an incredibly high number for various I/O, memory, logic, etc. For example, Intel's Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" quad-core chip with integrated graphics consists of 995 million.
While it cannot be confirmed, but it looks like AMD Orochi/Zambezi has several hundreds of millions of transistors that are a result of heavy reliance onto automated design tools.
The Result? Profit Drop!
As a consequence of inefficient design and relatively low performance, AMD has to sell its eight-core FX series processors (315mm2 die size) for up to $245 in 1000-unit quantities. By contrast, Intel sells hand-crafted Core i-series "Sandy Bridge" quad-core chips (216mm2 die size) for up to $317 in 1000-unit quantities. Given the fact that both microprocessors are made using 32nm process technology [and thus have comparable per-transistor/per square mm die cost], the Intel one carries much better profit margin than AMD's microprocessor.
AMD did not comment on the news-story.
MSI list of Bulldozer supporting motherboards
MSI has published a list of its motherboards that support AMD's new Bulldozer chip, you can check it out over here.
MSI released the mainboard BIOSes with full AMD AM3+ 8-core CPU support for download today. Enthusiasts that own one of the listed mainboards1 can now download the update to support the latest AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs (B2 Stepping). For those planning to purchase a new mainboard, if the box is labeled with "Supports AM3+ CPU with New BIOS," the mainboard will support the powerful AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs out of the box. Enthusiasts that have purchased a mainboard that is on the list of compatible mainboards can update the BIOS themselves to support the latest AM3+ 8-core CPUs. Also, new in this BIOS update is official support for MSI's proprietary ClickBIOS II system optimization tool for all AMD 900 mainboards. The graphical UEFI BIOS provides mainboard-level support, and exporting OC Profiles to USB drives offers unparalleled convenience.
Support for Latest AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs Out of the Box with Designated Mainboards
Starting today, enthusiasts can purchase MSI mainboards with a "Supports AM3+ CPU with New BIOS" label on the box. The labeling indicates that the mainboard has been updated with the latest BIOS and already supports the AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs (B2 Stepping), so users can enjoy the extreme performance of the next-generation processors straight out of the box. Buyers of MSI mainboards on the list of compatible models will not need to buy a new mainboard. Once they update to the new BIOS, their mainboard will be ready for AMD AM3+ 8-core CPUs.
ClickBIOS II on all MSI AMD 900 Mainboards
All MSI AMD 900 mainboards now also come with MSI's proprietary ClickBIOS II UEFI. System settings can be adjusted using the mouse, and the ClickBIOS II utility also supports online driver updates, BIOS updates and full-system backups. Also, for the first time ever, OC profiles can also be exported to USB drives under UEFI, a very convenient feature for overclocking enthusiasts.
New Battlefield 3 Maps Revealed
Batman: Arkham City Launch Trailer
Prices AMD FX-8150 Black Edition already falling
Last weeks released AMD FX processors have gotten quite a bit of attention from the tech press and and end-users in the forums. I was just browsing some price watch engines and it seems that prices are already dropping, quite a bit.
The new 8-core AMD FX-8150 Black Edition can already be spotted for a price as low as 213 EUR. Considering this product launched at 245 EUR 5 days ago, that's quiite a difference.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 launched
NVIDIA introduced its second-generation 3D Vision:
The best 3D technology for the PC just got better with the introduction of new NVIDIA(R)3D Vision(TM) products, which deliver greater realism and immersion than ever for 3D games, movies and photos.
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2, the next generation of NVIDIA's award-winning 3D technology, features sleek, newly-redesigned, gamer-inspired glasses. It also introduces NVIDIA 3D LightBoost(TM) technology, a unique new display technology that dramatically improves the 3D experience by delivering images that are up to twice as bright and colors that are far richer than those provided by other 3D display technologies.
These features give gamers the ultimate 3D platform for this fall's hot new titles, including Batman: Arkham City, LA Noire and more. In addition, through the NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready ecosystem, NVIDIA is delivering the industry's broadest selection of high-quality 3D content and supported displays.
"Gorgeous, bright, crystal-clear 3D worlds are created by NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 glasses with 3D LightBoost monitors and notebooks," said Phil Eisler, general manager of 3D Vision at NVIDIA. "NVIDIA's engineering team has made incredible enhancements in 3D on PCs, creating a breathtaking gaming experience that's better than the best Hollywood 3D movie."
NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 Glasses NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses were designed specifically for gamers and 3D enthusiasts. They provide deeper immersion in games through lenses that are 20 percent larger than those in first-generation glasses, resulting in a wider viewing area and increased external light blocking. In addition, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are made of soft composite materials for a more comfortable fit with gaming headphones.
The glasses, which feature NVIDIA's advanced active-shutter and IR wireless technologies, allow gamers and 3D enthusiasts to access the broadest selection of high-quality 3D content available today, including more than 550 full-HD 1080p 3D games, more than 100 Blu-ray 3D movies and thousands of 3D videos and photos from YouTube and 3DVisionLive.com. In addition, NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are fully backwards-compatible with all existing NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready content and supporting products, including more than 70 different 3D Vision monitors, notebooks and projectors, video applications, and cameras.
NVIDIA 3D LightBoost Technology NVIDIA 3D LightBoost is a new NVIDIA display technology that delivers up to 2X brighter 3D images than existing 3D solutions and improved color quality. It also dramatically increases environmental lighting, making gaming keyboards and mice more visible, and reducing 3D ghosting.
The first NVIDIA 3D LightBoost-certified desktop display is the ASUS VG278H, a 27-inch LED full HD (1920x1080) monitor, featuring a 3D HDMI 1.4 input, as well as a Dual-link DVI input for full HD 1080p 3D gaming. ASUS' exclusive Trace-Free II Technology features 120Hz refresh rates and 2ms response times, resulting in vivid, ultra-smooth visuals. Expected to be available by the end of October 2011, the ASUS VG278H includes NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses and is priced at $699 (USD MSRP).
Additional NVIDIA 3D LightBoost-compatible displays from Acer and BenQ are expected to ship in the coming months. NVIDIA 3D LightBoost compatible notebooks include several Toshiba models -- Satellite P770/P775, Dynabook Satellite T572, Dynabook T572, and the Qosmio X770/X775 -- with others expected in the coming months.
3D Vision 2 Pricing and Availability The 3D Vision 2 glasses kit, which includes one pair of NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses and a wireless USB IR emitter, will be available from the leading retailers/e-tailers worldwide in October for $149 (USD MSRP). It will also be available on the NVIDIA online store. Extra NVIDIA 3D Vision 2 glasses are available for $99 (USD MSRP).
Danger Den Q20 Black Series Case
Danger Den is pleased to announce it's latest enthusiast case, designed for the most extensive liquid cooling setups. The color cases options are back at Danger Den with the new Q20 Black Series Case! The Q20 has standard color options for the top and bottom panels as well as the front and back grills. Now you can easily match your case color to your planned modding theme!
The front grill allows the Q20 to have an air filter that can easily be removed and blown off, keeping the dust out of your case! The internal fan shroud can be configured to mount 120mm or 140mm fans. If you want to liquid cool you can match the radiator to the fans.
- Size: 20.75" Tall x 7.3" Wide x 18.2" Deep
- Several color options available
DRAM Market Starts to Stabilize, possibly
Consumers don't have any reason to feel bad about low memory prices, but the makers of DRAM do, though they might finally be able to risk a hope, albeit a small one softpedia reports:
The past year saw DRAM prices fall almost constantly, with the few episodes of rebound far between and just enough to torment memory makers with false hopes that were invariably crushed not much later.
Cumulatively, prices of memory have fallen by roughly 50% since the start of the ongoing year (2011).
This was a direct result of the poor demand on the part of consumers, as well as of overstocked inventories due to rapid advancement to better manufacturing processes.
The fourth and final quarter of the year has arrived, however, and with it some hope, though a very faint one, to put it mildly.
Apparently, during the first half of October, DRAM prices managed not to go any lower, though staying flat wasn't an overly large improvement either.
Still, at least there is one shred of evidence that memory chips could reach some price stability, though there is also every bit of possibility that this is just another temporary reprieve.
The world economy is not doing much better than at the start of the year after all, and even China's National Day holiday went by without any spike in PC shipments.
DRAM makers cut supply a while ago and will go on producing less for some time yet, unsurprisingly.
The one glimmer of hope that exists now is that ultrabooks will sell well, taking random access memory module sales levels (and, by extension, DRAM chip shipments) upward again.
For those who want numbers, 2 GB DDR3 modules slid down 2%, selling for about $10.50 (7.64 Euro) while 4 GB, the new mainstream now, stuck to $19-20 (13.83
Iiyama ProLite 23-inch Full HD LED Monitor
Iiyama released a new 23-inch monitor, the ProLite X2377HDS. It makes use of an LED-backlit IPS panel, that can provide high contrast ratios as well as good viewing angles, of 178
OCZ Deneva 2 and Intrepid SSDs get mSATA
OCZ is preparing to launch mSATA editions of its Deneva 2 and Intrepid SSDs, both models are currently sampling to OEM customers.
These new solutions target slim servers, network security devices, but also dual drive notebooks and tablets. The mSATA-enabled Deneva 2 makes use of a SandForce controller, has 20nm-class MLC NAND Flash memory, a MTBF (mean time before failure) of 2 million hours, TRIM support, and delivers up to 80,000 random 4k write IOPS and a 550 MB/s bandwidth.
The Intrepid mSATA drives feature the Indilinx Arowana Flash Transition Layer that provides increased sequential write speeds and IOPS, and the Indilinx Ndurance Technology for enhanced endurance.
"Embedded system designers require small format, cost-effective SSD solutions that do not compromise performance or reliability. Unlike standard drives, OCZ mSATA SSDs are much smaller with no outer housing, making them an easy to deploy storage solution for mobile computing, boot modules for virtualization applications, or HDD caching, allowing for high capacities, high performance, and low power consumption in a very compact form factor.
"OCZ Deneva 2 and Intrepid mSATA solid state drives provide OEMs with the flexibility to address storage and caching requirements within innovative form factors, including embedded and dual-drive devices and blade servers," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "These new SSDs are available in a wide range of capacities and configurations to deliver exceptional scalability, performance, and endurance, all with a compact and energy efficient design."
The mSATA industry-standard design combined with OCZ's extensive firmware support provides high levels compatibility for simplified system integration, with proprietary caching software made available to OEMs for data management appliances. OCZ Deneva 2 mSATA SSDs include key enterprise reliability features such as best-in-class endurance (e.g., minimal write amplification, intelligent block management and wear-leveling), and advanced encryption and ECC. For maximum performance, the Deneva 2 mSATA series offers 6Gbps throughput rates with up to 80,000 random 4k write IOPS and 550MB/s of bandwidth. Likewise, the OCZ Intrepid mSATA Series features Indilinx Arowana Flash Transition Layer with Hyper-Queuing, resulting in increased sequential write speeds and IOPS. The Intrepid Series also maximizes the lifespan of low-endurance flash with Indilinx Ndurance
Zalman CNPS12X high-end cooler
We have shown it a couple of times before now, but Zalman released the CNPS12X, a new high-end cooler that weighs a whopping 1kg. The cooler features six direct-touch heatpipes which convey the heat to two heatsinks that are made almost entirely of nickel-plated copper. The fins are cooled by three fans, which have a minimum noise level of 22dBA. In Europe the cooler can be found for pre-order for just under 70EUR.
Measuring 151 x 132 x 154 mm (L x W x H), and weighing exactly 1 kg, the CNPS12X uses a design that's essentially identical to that of the NH-D14 from Noctua, that of two fin stacks. It's just that the stacks here are somewhat circular in shape, and that the CNPS12X uses three fans: an intake (before the first stack), a conveyer (between the two stacks), and an exhaust (after the second stack). All three fans are 120 mm in size, and are illuminated by blue LEDs.
The fans seem to be using 3-pin (voltage) method of speed control. Supplied with the cooler are three RC5 intermediate resistors, which make the fans spin at speeds between 850 and 1100 RPM with as low as 22 dBA noise output. Without the RC5, the fans spin between 950 and 1200 RPM, with at least 24 dBA noise output.
Syndicate Single-Player Gameplay Trailer
Square Enix's new 3D engine is looking awesome
Square-Enix have been demonstrating their new graphics engine, called
Corsair High-Performance Quad Channel 32GB Memory Kit
Corsair announced a high-performance quad channel Dominator 32GB DDR3 memory kit.
The Dominator 32GB Quad Channel kit (part number CMT32GX3M4X1866C9) consists of four rigorously-screened 8GB DDR3 DRAM modules with Corsair’s patented DHX+ heatsinks. It operates at 1.5V and is designed to run at 1866MHz, with 9-10-9-27 C9 timing. Corsair has compatibility tested the new 32GB Quad Channel kit with upcoming quad channel platforms as well as current dual channel platforms.
"The new Dominator 32GB Quad Channel memory kit is designed for high-performance PC enthusiasts using the latest motherboards, whether they're overclockers, gamers, or simply want a large amount of state-of-the-art memory," said Thi La, Vice President of Memory Products at Corsair. "Corsair is a market leader in high-performance memory, and we're pleased to be first to market with a high-performance 32GB quad channel kit."
The Dominator 32GB Quad Channel kit will be available in October from authorized Corsair retailers and etailers worldwide for a US MSRP of $999. To get the full story on Corsair’s complete line of high-performance Dominator DDR3 memory kits, please visit.
AMD FX 8150 - 8120 - 6100 and 4100 performance review
Yesterday AMD released the FX series Zambezi - Bulldozer based processors. Everybody has been focusing on that most high-end AMD FX 8150 processor. However there where three other processors released.
In this article we'll look at all four processors, the AMD FX 8150 - 8120 - 6100 and 4100 in a quickie performance review.
This article is nothing more then a performance overview of all four processors released yesterday. So this article is basically functions as a performance chart overview.
You can find the article here.
AMD Radeon HD 7900 GPUs Will Use Liquid Chamber Cooling
At the AMD Fusion 11 Taipei conference AMD has disclosed additional details about its next-generation Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards, including the fact that high-end solutions will come with a new liquid chamber cooling solution.
AMD had on display such a cooler during the conference together with a slide that detailed the main differences between its cooling technology and the one utilized by its competitors in vapor chamber designs.
The technology is going to be used by all of AMD's partners who follow the reference design set by the chip maker for the Radeon HD 7900 series graphics cards.
As most of you know, AMD's upcoming Radeon HD 7000 graphics card series will be comprised of low- and mid-range solutions based on the VLIW4 architecture introduced with the Radeon HD 6900 GPU series as well as from high-end solutions in the HD 7900 range.
These will use the Next Generation Core (NGC) architecture that we have covered in a series of previous articles, so we are not going to get into this now, but the key aspect of NGC is that it will improve the performance and functionality of GPGPU computing.
According to Corporate VP & General Manager of AMD
Another 93,000 Sony accounts hacked
Sony announced hackers have breached about 60,000 PlayStation Network accounts as well as 33,000 Sony Entertainment accounts. According to details released by Sony Chief Information Security Officer Philip Reitinger, hackers obtained a large amount of user data from other companies or websites, and used a brute-force attack to hack the Sony accounts:
According to Sony, the hackers obtained a large amount of user data from other companies or websites. The hackers were attempting to sign-in to numerous accounts using ID and password pairs, and while the
Sony recalls 1.6 million Bravia TVs due to fire hazard
Blimey .. A report over at Bloomberg reports the company is forced to recall 1.6 million Bravia LCD TVs sold worldwide since 2007 because a faulty component can lead to melting and/or fire.
Sony recalled the liquid-crystal display TVs after a September incident in which a customer noticed a small fire and smoke, said Yuki Shima, a Tokyo-based spokeswoman for the world