AMD Now Includes Wraith Cooler With FX 8350 and FX 6350

AMD’s upcoming CPU architecture, codenamed Zen, is going to offer a 40 percent IPC improvement compared to Excavator and could dawn in a new era of competitiveness. Hopefully, if AMD can produce something which rivals Intel, it could instigate a pricing war and make enthusiast processors more affordable. Clearly, many consumers are eagerly anticipating Zen’s release which makes the current range seems rather outdated. Despite this, there are some users who own AM3+ motherboards and don’t want to upgrade to an entirely new platform. On another note, consumers on a tight budget might feel they’re a great option to create an affordable HTPC.

Traditionally, bundled CPU coolers are fairly poor at thermal dissipation due to the low fin array and compact heatsink size. Also, they can be alarmingly loud under full load which makes for a shoddy desktop experience. As a result, I always encourage people to invest in a third-party cooler, such as the Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO. Interestingly, Intel decided to ditch the stock cooler altogether on Skylake K series chips because they knew people would be opting for a better option. Although, this didn’t reduce the retail price at all! During CES this year, AMD displayed their new Wraith stock cooler capable of lower thermals compared to the previous model and significantly reduced noise. The design evokes a premium feel and it looks rather nice.

Today, AMD announced that they will now bundle this new cooler with the FX 8350 and FX 6350. Previously, this was limited to the FX 8370 and A10-7890K. The FX 6350 will retail for $129.99 while the FX 8350’s price is set at $179.99. This is fantastic news for consumers wanting to order a new AMD processor right now. Of course, if you can wait, it would be advisable given the upcoming Zen release.

Are you looking forward to Zen?

AMD Pre-Announces Bristol Ridge APUs – Claims 50% x86 Improvement

After launching Excavator with Carrizo last year, we’re getting the next iteration based on the same architecture. Dubbed Bristol Ridge, the new lineup features an improved DDR4 memory controller among other things. Today, we’re only getting the notebook side of the launch, with the desktop chips and platform to launch later in the year. AMD is touting some major gains over their Kaveri Steamroller APUs launched in 2014. The reason for the pre-announcement is HP outing Bristol Ridge with their new  Envy x360 notebook at GTC.

According to AMD, Bristol Ridge improves x86 performance by nearly 50% over Kaveri/Steamroller. This is pretty good given that Excavator actually features less L2 cache. Even compared to Carrizo, Bristol Ridge manages to post a 10% improvement due to the DDR4 memory controller. AMD’s IMC performance has generally been good but not amazing and hopefully, there will be even more improvements for Zen’s DDR4 controller.

On the graphics side, there are significant gains up to 18% in some cases. This is even with the iGPU portion staying constant. This is all probably due to the use of DDR4 which is a god improvement over DDR3. As we all know, AMD’s APUs are highly reliant on good memory bandwidth in order to feed the iGPU and CPU portions at the same time. With good memory, the APUs can see massive gains in gaming performance. Hopefully, we’ll get more benchmarks that aren’t dubious leaks.

AMD Raven Ridge APUs May Combine Zen and Polaris With HBM

One of the first applications that came to mind with HBM was pairing it up with an AMD APU. Proven to work as VRAM with the Fiji GPUs last year, HBM also has possible applications to act as a high-speed cache for other applications where density is important. While we’ve known that AMD has been planning APUs with HBM, the latest report points to Raven Ridge, the 2017  series of APUs that follow Bristol Ridge, to have HBM.

According to the source, Raven Ridge will utilize AMD’s upcoming Zen CPU cores likely paired with Polaris GCN iGPU. With 14nmLPP and Polaris, AMD can stuff a much larger iGPU with their APUs without worrying too much about extra costs or ballooning die size. However, even with the current generation of APUs, the iGPU is bottlenecked at the high-end, something even DDR4 won’t fully solve.

In order to keep growing APU GPU performance, AMD also needs to increase the memory bandwidth. One way, of course, is to use eDRAM as Intel has done with notable success. That, however, is expensive, leading to the top SKUs costing near $400. In comes HBM to the rescue at a relatively lower cost, allowing a large yet budget friendly cache pool to help reduce bandwidth constraints. To produce this, AMD has tapped Amkor, the same firm that worked on Fiji interposers to package Raven Ridge.

With at least, 1GB HBM buffer, the APU will be very well fed, allowing for the iGPU to grow to at least R7 370 performance levels before running out of steam. AMD is also probably working on HMC to supplant HBM in the future as well. If AMD manages to pull this off, Raven Ridge will be the most potent APUs yet, securing the crown against Intel.

Intel Seeks AMD GPU Patent Licensing

After Samsung and Nvidia had their recent legal spat, more light has been shed on the world of GPU patents and licensing.  While Intel holds their own wealth of patents, no doubt some concerning GPUs, Nvidia and AMD, being GPU firms, also hold more important patents as well. With Intel’s cross-licensing deal with Nvidia set to expire in Q1 2017, the chip giant is reportedly in negotiations with AMD to strike up a patent deal.

Being one of the big two GPU designers, AMD probably has many important and critical GPU patents. Add in their experience with APUs and iGPUs, there is probably quite a lot there that Intel needs. With the Nvidia deal expiring, Intel probably sees a chance to get a better deal while getting some new patents as well. Approaching AMD also makes sense as being the smaller of the two GPU makers, AMD may be willing to share their patents for less. It’s also a way to inject some cash into AMD and keep it afloat to stave off anti-trust lawsuits.

AMD also has a lot to offer with the upcoming generation. The GPU designer’s GCN architecture is ahead of Nvidia’s when it comes to DX12 and Asynchronous Compute and that could be one area Intel is looking towards. Intel may also be forced into cross-licencing due to the fact with some many patents out there, there have to be some they are violating. The biggest question will be if AMD will consider allowing their more important and revolutionary patents to be licensed.

With the Nvidia deal being worth $66 million a quarter or $264 million a year, AMD has the chance to squeeze out a good amount of cash from Intel. Even though $264 million wouldn’t have been enough to put AMD in the black for 2015, it wouldn’t have hurt to have the extra cash.

AMD Launches A10 7890K and Athlon X4 880K

AMD has been getting ever more cyclical with their releases after their latest organizational shuffle. Last month, we saw the launch of the A10 7860K & Athlon X4 845 APU and CPU and this month we’re 2 more chips. Today, we are getting the A10 7890K and Athlon X4 880K, both of which sit on the top of the FM2 product stack for APU and CPU respectively.

Like their predecessors, the new chips feature a decent clock speed boost, 5% each of their slower siblings, or 200mhz increase. While it doesn’t look like much, that’s still more than the differentiation Intel gives their chips which is often only 100mhz. Despite only being 95W class chips, the 7890K will feature the 125W Wraith cooler while the 880K gets an all-new 125W Thermal solution. The 7890K runs at 4.1-4.3 Ghz with the iGPU at 866Mhz while the 880K is 4.0-4.2Ghz.

According to AMD, the 125W thermal solution is simply the Wraith cooler without the illuminated shroud, will all of the improve efficiency and performance. The A10 7870K will also feature with the new 125W cooler despite being 95W chips. This should allow for decent overclocking given the extra overhead or even  lower noise levels for stock usage. This should help AMD with their image that some consumers have of their chips being loud and hot.

ASRock Announces The A88M-ITXac FM2+ Motherboard

With the release of AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture upon us, it seems motherboard manufacturers are attempting to maximize sales from the current AM3+ and FM2+ platforms before it’s been replaced. To enthusiasts opting for the best possible hardware solutions, this isn’t going to interest them, but there’s still some usage scenarios where the low-cost options make sense. For example, you could use this motherboard in a HTPC or create a home-made NAS. The ASRock A88M-ITXac adopts the compact ITX form-factor and based on AMD’s A88X chipset supporting FM2+ APUs and CPUs. Furthermore, the socket is wired to two DDR3 slots housing up to 32GB of dual channel DDR3-2400 memory. There’s also a single x16 PCI-E graphics slot, to insert a high-end discrete GPU.

On another note, the motherboard contains six SATA 6Gb/s ports, an M.2 port on the reverse side of the PCB, and 802.11ac WLAN capable of speeds up to 433 Mbps. ASRock have also implemented Bluetooth 4.0 functionality and gigabit Ethernet. In terms of connectivity, there’s a HDMI 1.4a port, dual link DVI, D-Sub, four USB 3.0 ports and 6-channel audio solution. Another intriguing feature revolves around the ability to use a discrete Radeon graphics card in combination with an APU. This enhances the gaming performance and utilizes every aspect of your hardware setup.

Even though the FM2+ socket is rather outdated, I still believe there’s some merit to purchasing the platform especially if you’re building a small form factor media PC. The A88M-ITXac offers a great deal of features in a neat package. Although, there’s no information yet regarding pricing or availability. Hopefully, this should be unveiled very soon especially when you consider Zen is just around the corner.

Do you think there’s still a need for AM3+ or FM2+ motherboards? I personally wouldn’t purchase one, but at least consumers have that extra option for a low-cost build.

AMD Launches A10 7860K & Athlon X4 845

Despite being stuck on the 28nm node for the past while, AMD has been working to bring more CPUs to consumers with better binning and performance as the process and technology matures. Case in point is the A10-7860K Godavari and Athlon X8 845 Carrizo chips launching today. Both chips are focused on increasing performance/watt either by using a new architecture design or simply better binning and process improvements.

First up is the 2M/4T Athlon X4 845, a 65W Carrizo part based on of the “Excavator” architecture. As expected of an Athlon part, it does not have an iGPU and uses the FM2+ platform with DDR3 and PCIe 3.0 x8. As the sole desktop Excavator part, the chip is a bit of a curiosity with only 2MB of L2 instead of the usual 4MB but still manages to have a higher IPC due to improved pre-fetch, large L1 cache and better branch prediction. The low power nature of Excavator also limits the clock speeds to 3.5-3.8Ghz.

Next we have the A10-7860K which is a Steamroller based 2M/4T chip with 512 GCN Stream Processors. With a 3.6-4.0Ghz clock speed, the chip places lower than the 7890K and 7870K but it comes in with a 30W lower TDP at 65W. Despite the lower TDP, the 7860K will get the 95W cooler which should make it a good choice for an HTPC/budget gamer. Overall these chips should tide AMD over till more Excavator and Zen based APUs hit later this year.

AMD Unifies Desktop Zen CPU and APU Sockets

In the days before AMD launched their APUs, all of their consumer CPUs largely used the socket across their lineup. When AMD launched their Llano series of APUs in 2011, they used the an incompatible FM1 socket instead of the AM3/3+ due to the need to integrate the iGPU. With the subsequent Trinity and Richland APUs, AMD kept a different socket in FM2. This year AMD is finally moving to a unified socket.

Officially confirmed as AM4, this new socket will combine the CPU and APU lineups for AMD. This means users will no longer have to decide which platform as well as chip they want, simplifying the decision to between a CPU or APU. This means users can purchase an APU on a budget and upgrade to a dedicated CPU and GPU later on without having to buy a new motherboard. This should help drive sales of AMD chips since it simplifies choice and offers more flexibility.

In bringing the two platforms together, we can finally expect to see Zen CPUs become a SoC. This is because the APU lineup already has the PCIe lanes tied to the CPU directly which bring along power savings and better performance, something the CPU lineup will finally pick up. Zen is expected to bring DDR4 support along as well. The biggest questions will be AMD have another socket meant for higher end chips like Intel does, whether or not the Zen CPUs will have some form of on-die graphics like Intel does and if AM4 will still be PGA.

AMD Zen APU with Insane Memory Bandwidth Spotted

Ever since Llano launched back in 2011, AMD has been pushing their APUs as being the next big thing. Combining a powerful CPU and GPU on one die, the APU allows even budget users to enjoy strong graphics to play games or use it for compute. In 2016, AMD is looking to combine their new Zen CPU architecture with their Polaris based graphics and it looks like something revolutionary will happen. According to a leaked paper, AMD may be planning a multi-core Zen APU coupled with a massive iGPU and an HBM cache with 128GB/s of bandwidth

For AMD, APUs have stayed strong even as their CPU line faltered, with their iGPU beating out Intel solutions. This changed though with Intel’s Iris Pro graphics that came with an eDRAM cache, with the high-speed cache helping put Intel neck and neck with AMD’s top APUs. The only bright side for AMD is that Intel’s chips have cost significantly more than AMD’s offerings. With the launch of a competitive CPU architecture in Zen, a new GPU architecture in Polaris and a large HBM cache, AMD has a chance to surge past Intel in this critical segment.

At a peak of 128GB/s, the HBM cache performs similarly to that of the memory of graphics cards like the GTX 760 and 960. If AMD adds in a high-performance iGPU, the APU has the chance to match or even exceed $150 graphics cards. With this APU, AMD is truly bringing gaming to the masses. Maybe in 2016, we may finally see AMD APUs powering Apple products.

AMD’s New AM4 Chips Could be Set for Spring 2016 Launch

AMD’s new line of CPUs and APUs are hotly awaited amongst hardware enthusiasts and long-time fans of the company. These new chips, set to make use of AMD’s upcoming AM4 socket have been the subject of a number of leaks, the latest of which saw a number of AM4 products being spotted on a leak from Zauba’s shipping database. The leak included mention of multiple components, with both an AM4 quad-core CPU, quad-core GPU and also an AM4 motherboard.

The leak shows that the components had been shipped to AMD’s testing facility in India, and WCCFtech believe that they belong to the Bristol Ridge family of APUs. As can be seen, 3 different batches of deliveries were made in late October and early November. Included in these were a batch of AM4 APU prototypes and a further batch of AM4 CPU prototypes, both with a TDP of 65W. The later of the shippings included an AM4 motherboard with the FOC acronym, MYRTLE codename and mentioned DDR4 support. FOC stands for Full Operational Capacity, meaning it is likely that the AM4 motherboard specifications are complete.

When you start to aggregate the data on AMD’s leaks, it starts to paint a picture of just when the chips could be released. A leaked BIOS microcode update three months ago showed the addition of functionality for AMD’s new AM4 chips. And WCCFTech notes that the last leak on a chip sent for testing, the mobile chip Carrizo, saw the chips being released just 4 months later.

This all could mean that AMD’s new shot at the gaming CPU crown could be on the way soon, both with its high-end Summit Ridge chips, and more budget all-in-one Bristol Ridge and Stoney Ridge APU chips. The question of whether AMD will be able to oust Intel from their position at the top, which has seemed secure for many years now, and return to the days of the Athlon remains to be seen.

AMD Begins Transition to Socket AM4 Zen Architecture

Documents have surfaced, via Benchlife.info, that suggest AMD is starting its transition from Excavator architecture to Zen architecture, with the company’s new Socket AM4 arriving on new motherboards by March 2016.

AMD has been using its Socket AM3 for over six years, so is well overdue an upgrade. The AM4 socket will support both Zen CPUs and Bristol Ridge APUs, plus DDR4 RAM and future FX CPU and APU support. DDR3 will not be supported, however. The 14nm Zen processors will support Simultaneous Multi-Threading Support Technology (SMT), allowing a performance increase of up to 40% Instruction Per Clock (IPC).

Recent unverified reports suggest that the Zen architecture has been fully tested by AMD and has “met all expectation[s]” with no “significant bottlenecks”, with hopes high that the new processor line could rejuvenate the ailing chipmaker and be more “competitive against Intel” following the relative failure of its Fury GPU series this year.

AMD’s Zen architecture, built on the company’s new 14nm process, will prioritise increasing per-core performance over core count and multi-threading, and will sport 95W TDP.

The Zen’s March release date, which constituted an independent rumour last week, is sooner than expected, which was projected for a Q4 2016 release. This separate leak seems to corroborate the early release.

GlobalFoundaries Builds First AMD Chips on 14nm FinFET process

GlobalFoundaries has proudly revealed that it has built its first AMD chips on its advanced 14nm FinFET process, involving LPP silicon, with AMD planning to integrate the results into its products, including CPUs, GPUs, and APUs, soon. The process allows chips to deliver greater processing power over a smaller area while drawing less power to do so.

“FinFET technology is expected to play a critical foundational role across multiple AMD product lines, starting in 2016,” Mark Papermaster, AMD‘s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, said. “GlobalFoundaries has worked tirelessly to reach this key milestone on its 14LPP process. We look forward to GlobalFoundaries’ continued progress towards full production readiness and expect to leverage the advanced 14LPP process technology across a broad set of our CPU, APU, and GPU products.”

“Our 14nm FinFET technology is among the most advanced in the industry, offering an ideal solution for demanding high-volume, high-performance, and power-efficient designs with the best die size,” Mike Cadigan, Senior Vice President of Product Management for GlobalFoundaries, added. “Through our close design-technology partnership with AMD, we can help them deliver products with a performance boost over 28nm technology, while maintaining a superior power footprint and providing a true cost advantage due to significant area scaling.”

After qualifying its 14nm process during the third-quarter of this year, GlobalFoundaries will be ” ramping with production-ready yields” and “excellent model-to-hardware correlation” at its Fab 8 facility in New York, with full-scale production intended during 2016.

Apple Considering Custom AMD Zen SoCs for iMac

Having moved from PowerPC to Intel’s x86 a little under a decade ago, it looks like Apple may be considering a CPU switch again. This time around, the rumours point o a much less dramatic change, with Intel being dropped in favour of AMD. This is due to AMD’s new Zen architecture which is expected to launch next year, with the new chips expected to improve their IPC by 40% and bring them much closer to Intel’s offerings. A move by Apple to use Zen would serve as a high-profile endorsement and an indicator of Zen’s performance.

One of the biggest reasons Apple may consider a change to AMD is due to the latter’s semi-custom designs. AMD allows their customers to make and choose their own style of APU SoC, allowing creative blends like the chips found in the PS4 and XBox One. While Intel’s move towards better iGPUs can be traced partially to pressure from Apple, AMD would allow more flexibility than Intel currently allows. It would allow Apple, for instance, to order a custom APU paired with HBM in a unique configuration available only to Apple.

Another reason is that Apple stands to save a good chunk of cash as AMD chips ar generally cheaper and the 2nd place chip manufacturer is in a worse bargaining position. While Apple could design their own chips, the need for x86 support still requires either Intel or AMD. Supporting AMD also allows Apple to gain a better bargain from Intel if Apple continues to source chips from the latter.

Apple has started a shift to include more AMD chips recently. Despite using Nvidia for a long period, Apple has moved to include AMD’s Radeon 7970, R9 285 and M370X in their systems. A move to using AMD CPUs and APUs makes sense as long as the performance and efficiency are there. As long as Apple can maintain their computing experience for users with ADM chips, it is unlikely many of Apple’s customers will care.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information 

Fujitsu Purchase 85% Shares in AMD Operations

AMD have just announced that they are now on a joint venture with electronics giant, Fujitsu. The two companies will be pairing together to provide factories in Penang (Malaysia) and Suzhou (China). Fujitsu will be getting a whopping 85 percent of the joint venture, which is suspected to heavily reduce AMD’s capital expenditure. Approximately 1700 workers at the two factories will become employees of the new venture the companies stated. For AMD, this is all for $371 Million in cash and retain a 15% stake in the new entity.

AMD announced on their investor relations page:

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) and Nantong Fujitsu Microelectronics Co., Ltd (NFME) (SZSE: TFWD) today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to create a joint venture combining AMD’s high-volume assembly, test, mark, and pack (ATMP) facilities and experienced workforce in Penang, Malaysia and Suzhou, China with NFME’s established outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) expertise. Upon close, the new business will leverage the capabilities of 5 facilities and approximately 5,800 employees to offer differentiated ATMP capabilities and scale to service a broad range of customers. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2016, pending successful completion of regulatory approvals.

The transaction is expected to be closed in the first half of 2016, pending completion of regulatory approvals. The joint venture positioned to take advantage of the increasing demand for semiconductor assembly and test services (SATS).

AMD also state:

According to Gartner Research, the SATS market revenue is expected to be $27.4 billion for 2015, with growth of 1.1 percent. The 2014 through 2019 CAGR for the market is forecast to be 4.6 percent, leading to approximately $34 billion in total estimated market revenue by 2019

  • AMD will contribute to the joint venture:

    • ATMP facilities in Penang, Malaysia and Suzhou, China
    • Approximately 1,700 employees — including the site leadership teams which will continue to provide management and oversight
  • NFME will purchase an 85 percent share of AMD’s Penang and Suzhou operations, and serve as controlling partner for the new combined business.

  • As consideration for the transaction, at close AMD expects to receive approximately $371 million from NFME, record cash of $320 million, net of expenses, and retain 15 percent ownership of its Penang and Suzhou operations.

  • Post close, AMD expects the transaction to be cost neutral with significantly reduced AMD capital expenditures.

  • There are no planned workforce reductions at AMD’s Penang or Suzhou facilities in conjunction with the creation of the joint venture.

I think AMD are back on the radar now, they seemed to be struggling in the market recently and share value was dropping rapidly. This move by Fujitsu has helped AMD get back into the market and will hopefully providing us with some awesome new chips and tech. The company reported that they were down 5% on their gross margin this year, due to an inventory write down of $65 million. Their woes were concentrated on its PC business, with suffered a $181 million loss on $424 million revenue.

AMD have been serving us for 45 years now, they’ve driven some serious innovation in their processors, graphics and visualization technologies, big building blocks for gaming, immersive platforms and data centers.

 

AMD Introduces PRO A-Series Processors

AMD introduced its most powerful line of AMD PRO A-Series mobile and desktop processors to date, formerly codenamed Carrizo PRO and Godavari PRO. Along with the new APUs, AMD also introduced the AMD PRO Control Center that features easy-to-use tools such as AMD Energy Saver, PC Health Center, USB Blocker, and Wireless Display.

Mobile users can now utilize even more AMD power than ever before as AMD is introducing the first AMD PRO A12 processor, the fastest to date. It comes with 4 CPU cores with a clock up to 3.4GHz and 8 GPU Radeon R7 cores with up to 800MHz and 512 graphics compute cores. The new APUs also feature a hardware level ARM TrustZone where sensible tasks can be run in a secure environment and it is the first commercial processor in the industry designed to be compliant with the Heterogenous Systems Architecture 1.0 (HSA).

Key features of the new AMD PRO mobile processor include:

  • First commercial processor in the industry designed to be compliant with the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) 1.0 specification to make programming accelerators such as the GPU far simpler, leading to greater application performance at low power consumption.
  • First ARM TrustZone capable commercial performance APU with a dedicated AMD Secure Processor. ARM TrustZone runs on top of the hardware enabling sensitive tasks to run on the AMD Secure Processor – in the “secure world” – while other tasks are run in “standard operation.”
  • First commercial performance APU with a true System-on-Chip (SoC) design to provide substantial gains in CPU, graphics and multimedia performance.
  • First commercial processor with High-Efficiency Video Compression (HEVC) decoder capability for mainstream notebooks to stream HD and Ultra HD content.

The AMD PRO desktop chips retain the same socket as the previous APUs but come with enhanced performance. AMD didn’t reveal what the exact model names are or what they are called, but they should be available in HP products starting yesterday and recognizable through the AMD PRO label.

AMD’s Carrizo APU Reduces Carbon Footprint by 46%

Earlier this year, AMD launched the A-series APUs under the “Carrizo” codename which strive for energy efficiency and lower wattage demands. In 2014, AMD outlined the 25×20 energy strategy to produce chips 25 times more efficient than current products by 2020. According to AMD’s research team, the extremely efficient Carrizo architecture has put the company on course to reach its 2020 target. More specifically, Carrizo chips alter the core voltage to gauge power demands and ensures the maximum frequency is only used when required.

In the enthusiast market, AMD has struggled to compete with Intel especially in single-threaded performance. However, this is a fairly niche sector and it’s sensible for AMD to work hard to manufacture low-cost, high-yield APUs which provide an excellent wattage to performance ratio. In the future, discrete graphics cards might become obsolete and replaced by APUs as computational demands are offset to a server. Whatever the case, AMD needs to make their products more energy efficient and that also applies to the Radeon brand. Thankfully, the Fiji architecture is a step in the right direction and illustrates AMD’s policy towards modern CPUs and GPUs.

Despite this, the majority of press coverage will surround AMD’s future high-end desktop CPUs and I hope they can produce something to shake up the market and make Intel feel less comfortable.

Thank you Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Radeon to Split from AMD as a Separate Business

AMD has announced that it is spinning off its Radeon graphics card brand as a separate division. Raja Koduri has been appointed as the Head of the division, dubbed the Radeon Technology Group. Koduri has been with AMD for many years, with a brief stint at Apple in-between. While Radeon is not yet its own business entity, it is thought that AMD is preparing for that eventuality, and that the new division is part of that transition.

AMD acquired Radeon back in 2005 as part of its $5.4 billion purchase of ATI Technologies, both becoming absorbed by the new parent company. AMD has been fighting a battle on two fronts ever since – against Intel with its microprocessors and versus NVIDIA with its graphic cards range – and is losing both, with stock falling to a five-year low of $1.45 billion. Designating Radeon as a separate division is part of AMD’s larger strategy to recover ground against NVIDIA.

The Radeon Technology Group will have the autonomy to pursue its own strategy for developing and selling graphics cards and GPUs, while APUs are presumed to be the purview of both AMD and Radeon.

Former head of Radeon Matthew Skinner is leaving the business after 17 years, while Roy Taylor and Sean Burke are expected to take on key roles in the new Radeon Technology Group.

Thank you Venture Beat for providing us with this information.

AMD to Release Zen in Q4 2016 Suggests Report

Ever since AMD launched the much maligned Bulldozer CPUs, fans have been waiting for chips that would be competitive performance wise with Intel. Next year, however, that is set to change with the launch of the new Zen architecture. Set to provide up to 40% increase in IPC and performance, many are hoping the new chip will provide what it takes to revitalize the CPU market.

While many had hoped that Zen would arrive quickly in 2016, the latest report appears to show that those hopes will be dashed. According to those in the motherboard industry, Zen won’t be launching till Q4 2016, the last 3 months of the year. This will also likely be behind Intel’s Skylake refresh, Kaby Lake and around the time that the enthusiast Skylake-E series launch. With a late 2016 launch, AMD risks introducing a product in between an upgrade cycle. A Q4 launch would also place it behind the back to school season but might make it in time for the 2016 holiday sales.

Sources are speculating that the delayed launch is due to issues with GlobalFoundries’ 14nm process. This process was created in partnership with Samsung so it’s likely Samsung also won;t be able to supply any chips to AMD earlier. GlobalFoundries has been a source of problems for AMD with delays to the 28nm and later 20nm nodes causing either poorer than expected performance or some say even product cancelations.

Thank you DigiTimes for providing us with this information

AMD Silos GPU Business Into Radeon Technologies Group

When a company is in trouble, one of the many steps it can take is to reorganize for better efficiency. For the much-besieged AMD, siloing the relatively more successful GPU business from the CPU division is their latest attempt to return to profitability. Named the Radeon Technologies Group, the new group will be headed by renowned graphics guru Raja Koduri who has been promoted to Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of the new division.

Radeon Technologies Group will comprise of the graphics technologies used to drive discrete GPUs, APUs, and semi-custom products like those used in consoles. As head, Koduri will oversee everything from hardware to software and from development to marketing. This continues the trend of letting engineers lead which was kickstarted when Lisa Su became CEO, herself being an engineer. Koduri has had a long pedigree in the graphics sector, moving from S3 to ATI and later on AMD and Apple before returning in 2013.

Ever since AMD bought out ATI all those years ago, there has been an internal struggle between the CPU and GPU divisions in terms of resource allocation. It became apparent that the two sides did not work too well together given how long it took the reason for the ATI purchase, the APUs, to come out. Another issue was that despite a strong showing on the GPU side, the profits were being diverted to shore up the CPU side, leading to reduced investment on the GPU side that has now become apparent. Separating the two sides should allow them to both respond to the market faster and better utilize their resources.

With the siloing of the different divisions, AMD becomes more of a holding company, with relatively segregated units each targeting a different sector. Given the investments in APUs and semi-custom solutions though, we should still expect co-operation between the CPU and GPU units. Hopefully with the arrival of Greenland and Zen for 2016, both the CPU and GPU divisions will be able to stand strong on their own and even if one side should fall, the other half should survive. It wouldn’t be surprising if there is a shuffle on the CPU side of things as well so stay tuned!

AMD Preparing Updated A8 and A10 APUs

AMD’s strategy regarding APUs is to update the range with small boosts on a regular basis. The new flagship A10-7890K features an increased frequency of 4.1GHz compared to 3.9GHz on the previous model. AMD’s lower-end chip, the A8-7690K will reportedly be at least 100MHz faster than the current A8 APU. According to CPU-World, it’s uncertain if the revised APUs will receive any kind of improvement in terms of GPU frequency. Technically, the latest A8 and A10 products contains four “Steamroller” cores, DirectX 12 functionality, GCN 1.1 architecture, a second-generation video encoding engine (VCE) and fourth-generation unified video decoder (VCE). This allows for smooth, high-quality playback across a number of widely used codecs.

Both APUs employ the latest “Kaveri” design instead of the older “Godavari” process. As a result, the circuitry is improved and allows for a higher and more efficient power delivery. AMD hopes this will entice overclockers, and provide the headroom required to push the frequency even further.

While there’s no official release date, early predictions indicate a release within the next 3-4 months. Performance wise, APUs don’t really interest me as someone opting for extreme-grade hardware. Although, they are very useful for HTPCs and machines without huge gaming demands.

Do you currently use an APU?

Thank you Softpedia for providing us with this information.

Intel Skylake Gen9 iGPU Graphics Examined

While much of the focus for Skylake has been on the CPU side, Intel has also invested heavily in improving the iGPU side of things as well. As part of IDF 2015, Intel shared some details about what makes their iGPUs tick. Intel has long been improving their iGPUs and eroding the budget space for AMD and Nvidia.

With their Gen9/Skylake graphics, Intel largely makes iterative improvements. API support is one noticeable area of improvement with support improved to DX12/11.3, OpenCL and OpenGL 4.4. The architecture largely remains the same with the 3 domains of unslice, slice and subslice. For the unslice which is pretty much the GPU control unit, Intel introduced a number of improvements, most notably improved bandwidth to memory and better performance.

The biggest changes can be found in the slice, where all the Execution Units (EU) can be found. Each Alice is made up of 24 EUs which is the smallest iGPU Intel will ship in most cases. Here, Intel improved on MSAA performance for 2x, 4x and 8x while also adding 16x. While most iGPU gamers probably want higher fps rather than fewer jaggies, for the top end GT4 unit with eDRAM, 16x may be an option for say 720p.

 

Another major feature is the inclusion of lossless colour compression which is critical for the bandwidth starved iGPU. By compressing at up to a 2:1 ratio, 3-11% gains can be found in games as it increases the practical memory bandwidth for loading textures. Since the iGPUs have relatively low bandwidth and fast cache memory, moving textures from system ram quickly is critical. Both AMD and Nvidia have implemented lossless colour compression for their GPUs and it’s what allows the R9 380 and GTX 960 to have narrow 256 and 128-bit memory bus respectively. The lossless colour compression ties in with the improved ring, L3 and IMC bandwidth and latency. Other changes are an increase to the top GT4 SKU to have 72 EUs (3 slices), increased L3 cache available to the iGPU and improved pixel fill rate. This ties into the subslice which can now output up to 12 texels/CLK.

On the video front, Intel has improved their Codec support for encoding and decoding. HEVC (High-Efficiency Video Coding) 8bit, also known as H.265, encode and decode is supported and both VP8 and MJPEG decode added. HEVC 10bit is supported for decode but will require the use of the GPU and not dedicated hardware units. These additions should make streaming/recording HEVC 8bit on the iGPU much more palatable as you’re going to be losing a lot fewer frames compared to a software solution.

With Intel making such huge strides in the iGPU space, both AMD and Nvidia must be worried as Intel already dominates iGPU marketshare. AMD should probably update their APUs soon as well as they don’t yet support any form of large cache like HBM and Intel has caught up with important features like colour compression, API support and accelerated encoding/decoding. 2016 will be very interesting as AMD may finally catch up on the CPU front with Zen, HBM may be used as a cache and the GPU side continues to grow.

AMD Leaks Exascale Heterogeneous Processor Through IEEE Filings

In a paper to the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer), AMD has revealed the existence of their Exascale Heterogeneous Processor or EHP. Pretty much a massive APU, the EHP will combine a massive 32 Zen cores with a Greenland graphics portion and up to 32GB of HBM2, all on top of a 2.5D interposer. Unlike the Fiji GPUs, the EHP will also be connected to more NVRAM (Non-Volatile RAM) with the HBM acting more like a fast cache.

At this point, it is difficult to determine if this massive EHP would actually become a product or not due to the huge complexity of the chip. At 32 CPU cores along with what appears to a be a massive GPU portion for the APU itself, that chip would push the very limits of what is possible. The largest announced Zen CPU is a 16 core variant though higher core counts might be made for the enterprise segment. However, the enterprise segment has generally used separate GPUs when needed. I suppose this is where HSA comes in, with GPU cores being turned to general processing tasks.

As expected, given the complexity of the EHP, a silicon interposer is used to link the HBM modules to the APU. A chip that integrated everything would likely be beyond our current technical ability. It’s interesting that AMD has decided to still fuse the massive CPU and GPU together as a silicon interposer could let the CPU and GPU dies be made separately and still communicate with each other almost as if they were on the same chip, though that could impact HSA.

If this EHP does come to fruition, AMD is likely hoping the combination of HBM, HSA, 16nm and Zen will allow them to take a stab back at the much more lucrative enterprise segment. The EHP may be just the answer AMD needs to combat Intel’s Xeon and Xeon Phi as well as Nvidia Tesla’s; it will be interesting to see how the market will react to these massive EHPs and HSA.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information

AMD Releases Budget Friendly A8-7670K APU

AMD has unveiled their latest highly affordable APU which operates at 3.6GHz and turbos up to 3.9GHz on the stock profile. The A8-7670K’s GPU frequency performs at a respectable 757MHz which is a 37MHz boost from the A8-7650K. This combines with the 4-core CPU to produce good framerates at 1920×1080 providing the games aren’t too graphically intensive.

This chip is designed to compete with the highly popular Intel G3258 which overclocks like a dream and accompanies high-end discrete graphics cards remarkably well. AMD believes their APU line can complete with a value-orientated CPU and GPU combo from Intel and NVIDIA. According to AMD’s benchmarks, the $117.99 APU outperforms a G3258 and GT 730 in a variety in tests. As the chart below shows, the A8-7670K can achieve up to 21fps more than competing solutions.

Additionally, the APU’s 4-core architecture lends itself to better multithreaded performance and computational workloads. It even competes with the Intel Core i3-4160 at a lower price point. It’s not a revolutionary step but one which cements the viability of APUs in budget systems. Furthermore, the lack of a discrete card works superbly in combination with an Mini-ITX build.

The A8-7670K also supports DirectX 12, Virtual Super Resolution, HSA and can work alongside other AMD graphics products. AMD has always been perceived as the value option and the A8-7870K seems to reinforce that notion.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

AMD May Take the Lead in Console Chip Manufacturing

AMD already makes chips for Sony and Microsoft’s consoles, namely the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, the company seems to want to expand and take over more console chip manufacturing deals. The latest rumours say that Nintendo may be the company’s next client.

Rumour has it that Nintendo’s upcoming console will be fitted with the NX AMD APU. CEO Lisa Su confirmed that AMD has two “semi-custom” chip designs in the works and the company expects it will bring “billions of dollars in revenue”. Also, Nintendo already moved from using IBM’s Power PC to using AMD GPUs and Intel x86 CPU architecture. It would make sense for the two companies working together again in making a new console.

This means that Nintendo’s rumoured console, dubbed the NX, will still be based on x86 architecture, the same architecture now used on the Wii U. However, compared to the Wii U, the rumoured NX console will be fully AMD powered. If this is true, Nintendo seems to drop Intel’s x86 CPU in favour of having both CPU and GPU replaced by the AMD NX APU.

Nintendo is looking forward to revealing their upcoming NX console next year, which they say will have more processing power and greater memory bandwidth. There is also a rumour that the Nintendo NX will be priced at around $150, which is not that much considering the hype they are making. Now we just have to wait and see more detailed specs once they become available. Stay tuned!

AMD Tapes Out First FinFET Chips – Expect Arrival Q2/Q3 2016

While much of the focus from yesterday’s financial call was the poor state of finances, another small tidbit about future plans was mentioned. CEO Lisa Su revealed that AMD has taped out their first FinFET chips back in June this year. While the exact process node has not been revealed, we can assume it is either TSMC 16nm or Samsung/Global Foundries 14nm.

From when the chip first gets taped out to initial production, it takes about a year for the chip to get to market. It takes about 3 months for the chip to get produced, and about 1 month to implement all the fixes. Then the cycle happens once more, taking another 4 months, then finally, production is ramped up, taking a grand total of about 12 months. This means we can expect the FinFET chips to arrive about June/July in 2016, assuming AMD doesn’t hit any major obstacles.

FinFETs will help AMD claw back power efficiency from Intel, who already moved to FinFETs with their mainstream 22nm process back in 2013. Given the timeframe, the chip is likely either  a GCN Arctic Islands chip or a Summit Ridge Zen based processor. Both, but especially on the CPU side, can do with better efficiency as Nvidia and Intel are ahead on that front. FinFETs can also reduce overclocking headroom so AMD will have to focus on improving instruction efficiency to compensate. In all, 2016 looks to be a good year for AMD if they can make it there.

AMD Records Loss of $181 million in Q2 2015

 

AMD has published their financial report for the second quarter of 2015 and recorded a loss of $181 million or $0.23 per share. In comparison, AMD’s financial standing at the same point last year yielded a $30 million net loss or $0.05 per share. The GAAP revenue figures illustrate the downturn in AMD’s total revenue from $1.44B in Q2 of 2014 to $942M in Q2 2015. These results are pretty abysmal and a staggering 34% reduction year-over-year. Even more shocking is the fact that AMD  has seen a 54% decrease year-over-year from Q2 2014 in the computing and graphics market. AMD believes the root cause is dwindling PC sales meaning their APUs in OEM machines are deployed in such a short supply.

Additionally, AMD initially planned to launch a number of 20nm APU products but transferred to a FinFET process. This move cost AMD $33 million which explains why AMD’s financials are so poor. However, Q3 2015 figures should lead to improved financials due to AMD’s 300 series and Fiji graphic cards. While the 300 cards are fairly basic rebrands, they do offer a good price to performance ratio compared to NVIDIA’s GTX 960, 970 and 980. However, the Fury X wasn’t the game changer we were all hoping for and struggles to keep up with custom cooled GTX 980 Tis.

So what does the future hold for AMD? That’s a very difficult question to answer given their precarious position. Even though the figures are awful, it doesn’t mean AMD are going to suddenly fold in the coming months. The next quarter is vital and they need strong sales from the new graphical line-up. If NVIDIA continue to dominate this market share and extend their advantage, then AMD will be in a very difficult position without the R&D resources required to compete.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Death of Tick Tock – Intel Delays Cannon Lake for Kaby Lake

In a worrying sign for the semi-conductor industry, Intel appears to have delayed their 10nm process indefinitely. According to slides obtained by BenchLife, Intel no longer makes mention of Cannon Lake, the 10nm die shrink of Skylake. Instead, Kaby Lake will launch as its replacement for 2017, still at 14nm along with some refreshed Skylake processors.

Intel has previously faced significant difficulties in their transition to ever lower lithographies. Moving to 14nm was problematic, prompting a delay to Broadwell by nearly a year. While that single misstep didn’t signal the end of the alternating cycle of shrink and architecture change, another delay will be pretty troubling. Intel has previously expressed confidence that they would reach 7nm on silicon, but these delays aren’t inspiring confidence.

In terms of Kaby Lake, it seems largely to be the same as Skylake and in some ways, reminds us of Broadwell. Kaby Lake looks to be focused on being a mobile update. The desktop line continues on LGA 1151 but is still under the Skylake name which again reaffirms the mobile nature of Kaby Lake. Support for USB 3.1 is added for the PCH but AVX512 is not mentioned. The most interesting chip looks to be Kaby Lake-H which has 2x 128MB of eDRAM cache. This should be a big boon for the iGPU and acting as an L4 cache but may hit diminishing returns as results may not scale as well as before.

With Intel facing delays in introducing new processes and architectures, AMD has a golden opportunity to catch up. 2016 is also the year that AMD is introducing their new Zen CPU and APUs, which combined with a largely stagnant Intel, might provide a chance to reclaim market share. AMD may also have a counter for the eDRAM cache for the APU or even the CPU line with the now proven HBM. Next year looks be quite the set up for a rematch between AMD and Intel.

Thank you BenchLife for the information