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AMD Catalyst Omega features (1)

Its not often that GPU driver updates change things significantly and usually, it’s done on the cusp of a launch of new hardware with features that require these drivers to be ready before launch. Perhaps we’re a few weeks away from more GPUs from AMD, perhaps not. But if you’re currently a Radeon HD7000 or R7 and R9-series owner, you’d better take note of what these drivers are doing, because there’s a clear sign that AMD means business for 2015. Called “Omega”, AMD says these new drivers, otherwise known as Catalyst 14.12, will bring in new features and more tricks to owners of the Radeon R9 285 and above. Hit the jump for moar!

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With all the focus on Nvidia’s GSync scaler and software allowing variable refresh rates, it’s been a while since anyone paid attention to AMD’s pushing of the open standard for Displayport 1.2a as adopted by VESA, also known as Adaptive Refresh aka FreeSync. AMD’s “Future of Compute” inaugural event is being held in Singapore and the company announced a collaboration with Samsung for the first Adaptive Refresh monitors with the UltraHD 4K resolution.

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While Nvidia is whipping up a storm thanks to the Big Maxwell graphics cards, AMD is trying to downplay it as much as possible by dropping prices of its products everywhere. The latest cuts come to the APU family and will start in the US and Canada, slowly making their way to other parts of the world eventually. The quad-core A10-7850K drops $37 to fall to $143, the A10-7800 sheds $32 to drop to $133, the A10-7700K drops from $160 to $123, the A8-7600 sees a small decrease from $110 to $92 and the dual-core, unlocked A6-7400K drops from $85 to $58, making it the best-value budget chip underneath the Intel Pentium G3258.

AMD says these price cuts are permanent and will be the new recommended retail price moving forward. I hope we see them soon because I’d like to have more APUs in my Builder’s Guide again. Seeing a A10-7850K for almost the same price as a Core i5-4690K breaks my heart.

Source: Tech Report

maxwell leak memory compression

With the Geforce GTX980 and GTX970 launching pretty much tomorrow everywhere with it almost guaranteeing that the internet will break just like it did today thanks to iOS 8, I’ve decided to hold off on putting my article on the Radeon R9 285 up because of a few details I’ve now seen on the official press slides for Big Maxwell. Nvidia’s also doing a colour compression hardware trick that’s pretty much like black magic, but that brings much bigger returns for Big Maxwell than it does for Tonga. Nvidia is also talking a little more about how it works and why they’re doing it so at the risk of being late with my Tonga coverage I’d much rather have the right information about how the two implementations differ than just suck it out of my thumb and spend time revising it later once its published.

So the GTX980 and GTX970 is launching soon and Tonga’s analysis will be in this weekend! So there’s still going to be something to read and I’ll have to talk for about 20 minutes straight on next week’s podcast in addition to my Podcast challenge.

Matrox is a graphics company that’s been around for almost 36 years and for the most part they’ve been in the professional market, making graphics solutions for multiple monitors and being the only vendor for some time  that could do multi-monitor and a sort of Surround/Eyefinity-esque setup with their products. With less than 1% of market share, though, they’ve decided to halt development of their in-house GPUs in favour of licensing a custom design from AMD. AMD will supply Matrox with what looks like the equivalent of the Radeon R7 250X and Matrox in turn gets access to a far superior architecture, HSA, up to six Displayport connectors on a single card (with the option of turning that into a possible eighteen connected monitors using Displayport hubs) and they don’t have to invest further in R&D and the complex manufacturing process they currently have.

“The AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) GPU we selected for our new product line allows Matrox to continue designing and manufacturing professional, reliable video cards. Matrox add-in boards strike the perfect balance between video output density, performance and power consumption,” said David Chiappini, vice president of research and development, Matrox Graphics. “Our enterprise and industrial customers will continue to benefit from Matrox multi-display board designs, easy-to-use PowerDesk software, direct customer support and long product life cycles.”

Source: TechpowerUp

Together with the launch of the Radeon R9 285 yesterday (my analysis is in the works), AMD also launched three new processors for their Socket AM3+ lineup. They are the FX-8320E, FX-8370e and FX-8370. All are eight-core processors based on the Piledriver architecture manufactured on the 32nm process. The E-variants ship with a 95W TDP to keep power consumption an heat generation low, while the FX-8370 replaces the FX-8350 as AMD’s mid-range flagship processor. It’ll be the one to get, with a base clock of 4.0GHz, a boost clock of 4.3GHz and much higher overclocking headroom thanks to the mature production process at Global Foundries.

AMD hasn’t announced pricing for the South African market, but we’ll get them sooner or later. Don’t expect them to be priced competitively against Intel though, because there’s a much smaller market for FX chips here than in other parts of the world.

Source: TechpowerUp

Up in the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave (also known as the United States) AMD has begin a sweeping promotion for their dual-GPU monster, the Radeon R9 295X2. The card is now discounted further to $999, making the Nvidia Geforce GTX Titan Z three times as expensive for less than 90% of the Radeon’s performance. The card still sells locally for over R20,000 though, so there’s very little reason to get one over two R9 290X GPUs which will be slightly less than R15,000 all together.

Although the price cuts probably won’t reach us in time to make any real difference, this is a good sign – it’s a sign that Nvida’s Maxwell graphics cards are on the way and AMD is discounting their dual-GPU monster to grab some attention before it’s lost in the wave of Big Maxwell.

The Radeon R9 295X2 is a dual-GPU card with two full Hawaii GPUs with 4GB GDDR5 for each chip and an effective 1024-bit memory interface. It requires some very particular power supplies to run properly and it comes with a bundled self-contained water-cooled radiator, fan and twin pumps on the copper block covering the GPUs. It’s easily the world’s most powerful single graphics card on the planet and AMD’s very happy to remind everyone of this fact when people look at the ludicrous price of the Titan Z and sit shaking their heads.

Source: TechpowerUp

There’s a new HWBot submission that’s at least one world record with AMD’s brand-spanking new FX-8370. It’s a higher-clocked version of the outgoing FX-8350 and still made on the 32nm Global Foundries process. Finnish-based overclocker “The Stilt”  managed to take one of these chips to a blistering 8.722GHz under LN2 with 2.004V, almost matching a world record set previously at 8.79GHz at 2.064V by Andre “lpza4n” Yang. What’s different about this achievement though is that it’s done with all eight cores enabled, whereas Yang’s overclock was done with only two cores enabled.

The overclock was done with the FX-8370 picked from a retail batch of chips along with a ASUS Crosshair V motherboard, 8GB of AMD Radeon Performance memory and a ASUS Radeon R9 290X DirectCU II. Whether this is an indication of what most FX chips can do now that AMD’s been making them for over eight years isn’t certain, but it’s definitely a great technical achievement that AMD and Global Foundries can get a chip that is almost perfectly made.

Source: KitGuru


The Radeon R9 285 has only just been announced by AMD and already several specialist versions of it have been revealed. The R9 285 itself only launches on 2 September, so there’s enough time for AMD’s partners to steal the limelight before the launch to show off what they’ve been working on. Sapphire was the first out of the gate with a mini-ITX variant of the Tonga-based GPU and it’s called the R9 285 Compact.

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ASUS Strix Radeon R9 295 2GB (1)

AMD’s live stream event may have been horribly cheesy, but there were some interesting announcements coming out of it. AMD had some fun things going on like the ALS Ice Bucket challenge with a voting rig for online viewers to choose who would get the bucket, as well as some giveaways to the live audience they had as well as some Twitter users who were lucky enough to win a Radeon R9 290. AMD’s biggest part of the presentation, though, was the Tonga family of graphics cores.

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