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AMD Releases New Tonga GPU, Lowers 8-core CPU To $229

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the tech-marches-on dept.

Graphics 98

Vigile (99919) writes AMD looks to continue addressing the mainstream PC enthusiast and gamer with a set of releases into two different component categories. First, today marks the launch of the Radeon R9 285 graphics card, a $250 option based on a brand new piece of silicon dubbed Tonga. This GPU has nearly identical performance to the R9 280 that came before it, but includes support for XDMA PCIe CrossFire, TrueAudio DSP technology and is FreeSync capable (AMD's response to NVIDIA G-Sync). On the CPU side AMD has refreshed its FX product line with three new models (FX-8370, FX-8370e and FX-8320e) with lower TDPs and supposedly better efficiency. The problem of course is that while Intel is already sampling 14nm parts these Vishera-based CPUs continue to be manufactured on GlobalFoundries' 32nm process. The result is less than expected performance boosts and efficiency gains. For a similar review of the new card, see Hot Hardware's page-by-page unpacking.

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This urge I get sometimes (4, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47806135)

Sometimes I want to send headlines of this sort back to 1998 and see how the people of that era would react.

Re:This urge I get sometimes (1)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47806345)

Maybe FrozenPiss (or whatever that troll's name) is a time traveler from the future? That would explain some things.

WEeee (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806145)

First...?

I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (5, Informative)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47806159)

I PC game, and for the first time in decades have zero reasons to upgrade. My rig is now about 2 years old and runs every title at max setting. Unless I upgrade to 4K monitor (and I see no reason to) my PC should last me another 3-4 years before I get bumped to medium settings.

I just can't justify upgrading everything for messily 10% gain. As such, both Intel and AMD have to work harder on backwards compatibility. I might buy new CPU when it goes on sale if I also don't have to upgrade motherboard and RAM.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (2)

LordWabbit2 (2440804) | about 4 months ago | (#47806213)

Couldn't agree more - gone are the days when you needed to upgrade every six months, now I only feel the need to upgrade every ~3 years. RAM is so cheap I stuck another 16gb in my machine just for the hell of it. I don't bother writing anything to DVD either, I just buy another external HDD - in fact I am using the SATA port for my main SSD, the DVD drive is not even plugged in anymore.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 4 months ago | (#47806327)

For gaming, right? I imagine things might speed up a little now we have a new generation of consoles. On the other hand, as graphics get better and better, game dev costs skyrocket, so perhaps we really are seeing a ceiling.

(No matter how many times I encounter it, the flagrant mis-attribution in your sig still annoys me.)

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47807237)

(No matter how many times I encounter it, the flagrant mis-attribution in your sig still annoys me.)

In the old days, they would tie his limbs to horses and pull him in twain for that one.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47807677)

I am still on a system I built in 2008. I have upgraded the graphics card a couple times and added a SSD. Granted that I can't run max settings on newer games, but it still works.

Compare that to 20 years ago when my new 486 was out of date within 8 months.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | about 4 months ago | (#47807759)

Back in the day, my parents had a board game called "Lie, Cheat & Steal" [amazon.com] . A pretty fun game!

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (2)

Kargan (250092) | about 4 months ago | (#47809297)

How can I tolerate you?

(NOTE: This is a Tool reference, I'm not just being a random jerk).

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

LordWabbit2 (2440804) | about 4 months ago | (#47815535)

Fixed that for you - although I was not attributing it to anyone, I was just saying who I stole it from. Considering it's generally attributed to Mark Twain who himself attributed it to Benjamin Disraeli, so no one really knows - did it really matter?

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (3, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47806289)

2 years old puts you on par with the latest generation of console hardware, which is what AAA developers target, and indie devs tend to focus more on whatever idea/style they're trying to show than pushing polygons.

In a year or two, when it becomes clear that there are certain kinds of things that can only be done on that years' hardware(maybe something physics related, or AI, or as a pipe dream ray tracing) then your 2 year old rig might start to have some trouble.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

HetMes (1074585) | about 4 months ago | (#47806789)

Why in a year or two, and not a decade? What you suggest sounds like the technology push of TV manufacturers with their 3D, curved screens, 4k resolution TVs that nobody seems to be waiting for.
Maybe we've arrived at a situation where the technology to do anything you could reasonably want is simply here, and gaming is going back to providing a unique experience and captivating story lines.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47807021)

2 years ago is the FX-8320 (Steamroller), then later the FX-8350 (Piledriver). Both are significantly faster than the jaguar cores in the One & PS4.

Physics can already be done on the GPU very well - the development we're waiting for is getting data back off the GPU and into main system memory fast enough for the CPU to be able to use it (ie, this stuff being used for gameplay, not just eye candy). That won't happen until there's a rethink on how GPUs are connected to the mainboard, so even if a system made in a years time can do it, it'll be another half decade after that before you see games using it (they'll have to wait for these systems to become common, and then design new engines from the ground up that can actually make use of it.)

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 4 months ago | (#47807317)

Physics can already be done on the GPU very well - the development we're waiting for is getting data back off the GPU and into main system memory fast enough for the CPU to be able to use it (ie, this stuff being used for gameplay, not just eye candy). That won't happen until there's a rethink on how GPUs are connected to the mainboard

This isn't the turn of the century with your new fangled AGP 4x graphics card. PCI Express is symmetric. You can pull data in from peripherals just as fast as you can push it out. If there is a bottleneck in pulling computed physics data from modern graphics cards, it's entirely the fault of the internal design of those modern graphics cards.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47810189)

Not to mention, the entire point of the AMD APUs (including the Jaguar-core ones the GP disparages) is that the GPU and CPU are the same damn chip, so they use the same damn memory. At this point, if it's slow then it's not even the fault of the hardware; it's the fault of the driver or API. If you're trying to get data from host to device using an APU and it's actually moving bits around, then you're doing it wrong [amd.com] .

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47810209)

I actually have Phenom II (Thuban), got CPU the same year it came out in (googled: it came out in 2010, so that would be 4 years now?!). I did performance comparisons to both steamroller and piledriver and decided minute gain was not worth the hassle of rebuilding the system. I did upgrade GPU, RAM and SSD.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

jma05 (897351) | about 4 months ago | (#47807745)

> In a year or two, when it becomes clear that there are certain kinds of things that can only be done on that years' hardware

Rather than argue speculatively like this, why not argue more concretely with a case where what we have have today is not possible with 3 or 4 year old hardware? I can't think of anything off the top of my head. Even if there is some technique like that, how widespread is its use in today's content? And how much would a person miss by not having that itty bitty feature?

PC gaming has worked fine on 5 (or more) year old hardware for a while now. It is not a requirement to have to max out every setting of diminishing return, all the time, or to miss an occasional Crysis like game that is intended to show the future than anything else. Our lives won't be empty without that extra little post-processing, which in most cases, would not even be something we would even notice unless specifically told about it. Statistically speaking, the users that chase the edge are a very small minority. Yet, we make them the face of PC gaming and chase away regular people to console gaming, which is far more expensive once all the costs are exposed, based on this faux need to upgrade constantly.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47807849)

Because speculation doesn't require me to have a detailed and complex understanding of the particulars of CPU/GPU limitations. As a developer I've only ever run up against the "I'm rendering way too many polygons" problem.

Which is the kinda thing cleaned up through optimization.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47808261)

I have no clue why you are voted up. Solid two year old computer tech curb stomps the current generation of consoles.The performance metrics are so fat past the current consoles that it is unlikely a trick in hardware will result in his system being underpowered for console ports until the next generation of consoles are released.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47810111)

From the-not-actually-true-also-we're-discussing-approximations-file: I'd be happy to care and update my opinions if you could objectively outline your case with numbers.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 4 months ago | (#47810429)

Many games on the Xbone and a smaller but still non-zero number on PS4 don't even run at 1080p@30hz natively.

This may be rectified as the dev tools improve, but since the hardware is so close to PC-based I doubt we will see as large of an in-gen improvement as we did with older custom hardware consoles.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47810615)

I'm not sure what "many games" have to do with hardware specs, and I'm already familiar with the fact you brought up. So... I think you'll have to clarify your case further, if indeed, you're trying to explain AC's case.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#47810445)

NO it wont. My 570 GTX is still going strong, my 770 will outlive this console generation in raw usability. The only reason i dont even run the 570 anymore is because it sucks power like crazy, but its still a totally viable part.

Re: I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806339)

With a dual Xeon westmere-ep 6 core 32mn @ 95w TDP with a bucket load of ram from 2011 - I need a very good reason to up grade as well.
Perhaps Intel is getting ahead of themselves.. Or not?

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806375)

Exactly.

Because of the push by AAA developers to dumb down graphics so that console games run at playable levels gaming graphical technology seems to be slowing down. Which means a mid level gaming PC (costing about $500 to $600) will not only blow away the current gen console in terms of graphics, but will last well into the next generation, whenever that comes out.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about 4 months ago | (#47806905)

With the "current gen console" you probably mean the PS4 or XBOX One, as they are available already?
Then the said mid level gaming PC might be equivalent. Maybe a bit better but not greatly superior. On the other hand, since the PS4 / XBOX One are fairly new, they might be the "standard" for the next five years or so.

But when the PS5 comes out, whenever that happens, all bets are off.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#47806455)

I PC game, and for the first time in decades have zero reasons to upgrade. My rig is now about 2 years old and runs every title at max setting. Unless I upgrade to 4K monitor (and I see no reason to) my PC should last me another 3-4 years before I get bumped to medium settings.

Why not? Games can actually render 4K detail, unlike the real problem with 4K TVs, there's almost zero native content. I did manage to play a bit at full 2160p and it was beautiful but also totally choking my GTX 670 so I'm currently waiting for a next-gen flagship model (GTX 880/390X probably) for a SLI/CF setup. CPU/RAM don't seem to be holding it back much though, but maybe at 4K so upgrading those too.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

jandrese (485) | about 4 months ago | (#47808491)

But even at 4k resolution you're still using textures designed for a 720p display, because it's a port of a game that was optimized to fit on a single disc and run a 720p.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806549)

Just curious but does this include Battlefield 4?

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

sinij (911942) | about 4 months ago | (#47806687)

No, I do not play BF4 as a protest. Loved BF2, but after BF3 fiasco I am unwilling to give them another dime.

Plus, in-browser game launcher. Enough said.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806851)

This isn't even a die shrink, so the performance gain is non-existant for the thermal tradeoff.

The primary difference between the R9 280 and R9 285 is that 1/3rd less ram and 1/3rd less RAM bus. It's otherwise feature parity and a bit.

I'm waiting for a die shrink. There is no reason why the CPU and GPU can't be on the same process, or at least close-enough. If Intel is going from 22 to 14nm then AMD should be going 20nm or lower.

If you don't already have the third-highest tier video card (the R9 280X) then there is no reason to upgrade anyway. The 280 will run everything out there at 1920x1080x60fps. Anything higher (eg R9 290/290X and the Dual GPU 290X2) actually is less performance for the dollar, and is only really necessary for the 120fps needed for stereoscopic rendering (eg production models of the Occulus VR)

But I digress, we're never actually going to see practical VR in this lifetime. The Occulus is no better than other 3D solutions that have been tried already, doesn't solve motion sickness, and doesn't solve the hand-tracking or gyroscopic 3D positioning. Like, there is a goddamn reason why the Virtualboy was a bust, and 3D Televisions were a bust... the technology hurts.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | about 4 months ago | (#47808991)

I think that 4K displays will shake things up, once they hit a point where they can support >= 60Hz at 4k, and hdmi2 becomes more common, I think it will be relatively awesome and I'm looking forward to it. Though for my own use (mostly development) 4K is probably sufficient today... been considering a 39-42" 4k screen even at reduced refresh rate for my desktop.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47810249)

I think that 4K displays will shake things up, once they hit a point where they can support >= 60Hz at 4k, and hdmi2 becomes more common, I think it will be relatively awesome and I'm looking forward to it. Though for my own use (mostly development) 4K is probably sufficient today... been considering a 39-42" 4k screen even at reduced refresh rate for my desktop.

Go for it now. I have the 39" and 50" 4k Seiki displays. Only 30hz at 4k, but I haven't had an issue with it. The 39 may cause eyestrain at odd angle and low environmental light conditions, but it was great with a lamp in the room. The 50" had no matching issue, even if its the only light source in the room. Amazon's had them (50") for as little as $450 - I was tempted to buy another even though I had no use for it.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47807407)

I PC game, and for the first time in decades have zero reasons to upgrade. My rig is now about 2 years old and runs every title at max setting. Unless I upgrade to 4K monitor (and I see no reason to) my PC should last me another 3-4 years before I get bumped to medium settings.

You can thank consoles becoming popular for that. Given how little money AAA titles make on PC (it generally covers the cost of the port), and yes, I mean money made, not copies actually in use (the only number that matters is "how much $$$ will I get on the PC platform"), so pirates, well, you count for zip. (Same goes for TV, movies, etc - the numbers that matter are commercial view, and everything is based off those numbers so even a stupidly popular series can get canned if it's mostly pirated and gets lower ratings than stupid stuff).

So AAA titles generally produce assets against a 1080p monitor that are only slightly better than what the target consoles can produce. Indie games rarely have a graphics budget, so they're not generally pushing polygons to the max (and they generally target the most popular GPU vendor - Intel).

So there are few reasons to upgrade because there are few PC-only games being released. Heck, even the likes of Blizzard have gone to consoles, leaving Valve to be one of the few PC-only companies left (though they have had forays into PS3, but that was awhile ago).

PC may be the most popular platform by far, but the dollars are being stretched thin because there is just so much content available for it, and most don't need kickass PCs anymore because they're designed to target the low end sub-$500 machines that sell by the boatload (much less PCs are sold that cost over $500, and Apple pretty much dominates above $1000).

It's the best hope for SteamPCs right now, though given the piss-poor hardware specs for the $500 models, their longevity is suspect. (And yes, while there are more expensive SteamPCs, as long as they're compared to consoles...)

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#47807951)

That is the dirty little secret both sides don't want to talk about and why guys like me have branched into home theater and networking setups as there really isn't any reason to upgrade if you aren't one of the 5% or so that push a system to the limit and even they are finding it harder to justify.

What neither chip maker wants to admit is that from 1993 to 2006 what we had was a BUBBLE, no different than the real estate or dotbomb bubbles. The MHz race meant that a 2 year old PC would be seriously struggling to run the latest software and a 3 year old PC probably wouldn't run half of the new programs. In one 4 year stretch I went from 300Mhz to 2200MHz, over 7 times the clockrate while having the memory and storage space just about double with each of the 4 systems between 300Mhz and 2200MHz. Since I too am a gamer during this period I was having to chunk my system almost yearly just because of how quickly the raw power was growing, it was insane.

Now compare to the system I have now....the system is nearly 5 years old, with a 4 year old hexacore and a GPU that has been out nearly 2 years....but why would I build a new one? Thanks to Turbocore my system has no problems playing the latest games, most of which only use a couple of cores, while the RAM is slower DDR2 I have 8 GB of it so games and videos are buttery smooth and with 3TB of HDD space and room for an SSD I'm certainly not hurting on the storage front. All I did was slap in a $100 HD7750 to replace my aging HD4850 (which frankly still played the newer games just fine, it was just a heat monster) and everything plays great, with more bling than I can pay attention to in the heat of battle.

And of course the gamers are the minority...what about the majority? Luckily I have just about the most perfect "Joe Average" test case any PC shop guy could ask for in my dad, his PC usage is about as ordinary and middle of the road as one can get. Webmail, video chat, watching movies, web surfing, you can't get more average when it comes to test cases. When the Phenom IIs dropped right before the Bulldozer release I thought "Ya know, its been awhile since I built him that $199 Phenom I quad special**, now that the prices have dropped maybe its time to upgrade his system" so I ran a log for a couple weeks on his home and office systems just to see how hard they were being slammed...the result? That Phenom I quad was maxing out at 35% and the Pentium Dual at work was maxing out at just 45%!

So there really isn't any reason to upgrade any longer, systems went from "good enough, but just barely" to "fire breathing funny cars that spend more time idling than working". This is also why I have no problem remaining an AMD exclusive shop, as it really doesn't matter if AMD releases on the smallest nm or even comes out with new chips as the ones they have is so overpowered it just isn't funny, and my customers just love how much power I can give them for very little $$$.

**- Man those that missed jumping on the Phenom I don't know what they missed, thanks to the TLB bug I was grabbing those chips for $30 a triple and $45 a quad and to this day they make great desktops, even have a customer that does 3D robotics design on a Phenom I X3 and it works great. The best "bang for the buck" deals right now for those that want a real steal? If you want an HTPC the socket AM1 quads are just nuts, you can grab the APU and the board for less than $100 and if you need an ULV server you can save $15 by swapping the Athlon quad for the Sempron. On the desktop front the Athlon X3s and Phenom X3 on AM3 are just highway robbery, with those chips easily found in the $45 range and paired with a cheap AAC board I'm seeing close to 80% unlocks on these. A 3GHz+ quad for less than $50? You just can't beat that. For the gamers many are recommending the Athlon 750K for FM2 but I'm bucking the trend and saying grab the FX6300 AM3 because you can grab an X6 with a turbo of 4.1 GHz for just $106 shipped. With the FX you are getting two chips in one, a really fast triple for your single threaded games and a hexacore for your multitasking...at $106? Its a steal.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47808287)

Just this weekend I realized that my motherboard's copyright date was 2009 (AMD Phenom X2 unlocked to 4 cores). It's 5 years old already (hard to believe) and I can play all the latest games on the top settings for the price of a $150 graphics card. I'm sure the 16GB RAM and the SSD help, but there is seemingly no reason to upgrade other than 4K, if you want to do that.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 4 months ago | (#47810083)

What neither chip maker wants to admit is that from 1993 to 2006 what we had was a BUBBLE, no different than the real estate or dotbomb bubbles.

That's because it's total horseshit.

In 1993 we had what a 486 at 60MHz or something? In 2006 we were up to the Core 2 processors which were several thousand times faster. It's not a bubble because it never burst. We still get to keep our Core 2 duo processors and they're every bit as fast. And the newer processors have been faster or cheaper or lower power and frequently two or even three out of three.

Whereas in the other bubbles, stuff got expensive then it crashed and the same stuff got cheap again. The only value was the money and people left with the stuff turned cheap had nothing.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 months ago | (#47811643)

We had a growth bubble. Most corporations depend on endless growth to be healthy. When they stop growing, they start dying. When the PC market maxed out, both AMD and Intel suddenly had no idea where they were going next.

When the new Intel processors come out on the new process and we get to see how low they can get power consumption, we'll see if Intel is going to continue to kick ass in the next iteration, which is going to have to be mobile.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47810479)

...All I did was slap in a $100 HD7750 to replace my aging HD4850 (which frankly still played the newer games just fine, it was just a heat monster) and everything plays great, with more bling than I can pay attention to in the heat of battle.

...I ran a log for a couple weeks on his home and office systems just to see how hard they were being slammed...the result? That Phenom I quad was maxing out at 35% and the Pentium Dual at work was maxing out at just 45%!

So there really isn't any reason to upgrade any longer, systems went from "good enough, but just barely" to "fire breathing funny cars that spend more time idling than working". This is also why I have no problem remaining an AMD exclusive shop, as it really doesn't matter if AMD releases on the smallest nm or even comes out with new chips as the ones they have is so overpowered it just isn't funny, and my customers just love how much power I can give them for very little $$$.

Yep. I actually am thinking about "upgrading" my 3-year-old Phenom II x4 840 / Radeon HD 4850 system... not because I need or want anything faster, but because I want the same speed, but quieter and lower-power (and maybe in a smaller box)!

It looks like the A10-7800 (Kaveri) would be an acceptably-equivalent replacement to my current setup, and at 45 watts it could almost be passively-cooled! I just wonder if I should pull the trigger on it (and a mini-ITX motherboard, and a new case) or if I should hold out for a 65-watt APU that can drive a 4k display...

(By the way, I also noticed that you appear to be following AMD hardware much more closely than I have -- is there any other option I should consider, either for the computer I mentioned above, or a minimum cost/power AMD setup for a transcoding/commercial-removing MythTV HTPC? I've been an AMD fan since the K6-2 -- I like rooting for the underdog -- but I keep hearing that low-end Intels are better for that sort of thing.)

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 4 months ago | (#47818439)

Well if you were wanting just playback and not transcoding I'd suggest the Socket AM1 Athlon quads, at 25w I've been using it for HTPCs and it works great in that role but for what you are wanting to do? honestly I'd probably stay away from the APUs, the "bang for the buck" just isn't there yet. Now please remember that with these recommendations I'm having to work without a LOT of the data I require, for example i don't know how many streams you are wanting to process, budget, etc so I'm just gonna throw some things out there with pretty wide parameters because of this.

That out of the way lets talk parts. For an HTPC with transcoding I'd probably go for an AM3+, you can get a board for just $25 [newegg.com] and use the money you save to get FX6300 [newegg.com] . if you need to go cheaper you can get an FX 4130 Black Edition for $72 [amazon.com] or an Athlon X3 450 [amazon.com] and if you spent a little more on the board to get one with AAC I've been seeing more than 80% unlocks on that chip, so for $51 for the used you could have an Athlon X4 at 3.2GHz, can't beat that, in fact my youngest has an unlocked 450 and it plays pretty much any game he desires so its got the strength required for transcoding.

Now for graphics I bet you are wondering "Why should I go discrete instead of APU?" and the answer is simple...bandwidth.Remember when you are multitasking, like say watching a video while doing a transcode lets say, that with an APU your RAM is gonna have to be doing double duty by being the buffer for the GPU as well as being the working memory for the CPU that is gonna end up bottlenecking on ya friend, not to mention 4K is seriously heavy on the bandwidth so having a discrete is just a better call. If you are not gaming I'd go with something like this HD6450 for $37 [newegg.com] or if you want to go dirt cheap and silent this HD5450 for $20 after MIR [newegg.com] . in both cases you get plenty of GPU memory for video buffering, the AMD drivers not only come with codecs that allow hardware acceleration of most formats but also allow drag and drop transcoding to H.264 or VC1, and most importantly you are leaving your options open. Need to process more streams? Well if you started with the X3 you could go to an X6 or even X8 when you spot one on sale. new video format becomes popular? Get a new GPU that has hardware acceleration of that format.

Again remember I'm doing this without a lot of the data I'd normally work with, also remember that the 95w rating when it comes to AMD is the MAX RATING, I've found IRL its a LOT lower. For example my X6 has a TDP of 95w but acording to asrock IES which measures what the board is feeding the CPU with 8 tabs open in Dragon along with several background programs like Steam my chip is pulling between 8.4w-18w and the reason why is simple, more cores means no waiting for jobs so the chip can idle more often. BTW if you want to save even more power? Spend a little more and get an Asrock board as not only do they come with IES which drops the number of phases when idle but they also come with excellent OCing/UCing ability and its trivially easy to underclock an AMD CPU which will naturally lower the power and heat. There are plenty of forums which will show you how to UC an AMD chip, some guys are running sub 1 volt on their AMD quads which can drop a 95w CPU into 45w territory.

Anyway I hope this helps, and as far as Intel? Its just not worth it, the 15% you gain in single threaded isn't worth the premium you pay for the chip and the board and with the APU again you are gonna end up with bottlenecks and with the tasks you are describing multithreaded is gonna matter more anyway as most transcoding software can use as many cores as you can throw. And don't forget you wil probably be wanting to use it WHILE its transcoding and as somebody with an X6 I can tell you that its DAMN nice to be able to use Aiseesoft Total Video Converter and assign it 3 cores to use while I'm watching videos or even gaming and have all my transcoding happen in the background without slowing me down. With AM3+ not only do you have plenty of options but since its been out for years its easy enough to spend a little time looking around bay or Amazon market and find the chips dirt cheap,use the money you save to add where it really counts, more RAM, an SSD for the boot, etc. Its easy enough to find a "VCR style" case to put it in that will look great in a TV cabinet and finally add something like this Lenovo remote [amazon.com] to control it all one handed.

Re:I PC game, and have zero reason to upgrade (1)

rdnetto (955205) | about 4 months ago | (#47824731)

As such, both Intel and AMD have to work harder on backwards compatibility. I might buy new CPU when it goes on sale if I also don't have to upgrade motherboard and RAM.

Intel, ok, but AMD? AMD doesn't make breaking changes to their sockets unless they're needed to support newer memory. They released AM3 to support DDR3 in 2009, and AM3+ is backward compatible. (The FM sockets are for APUs only and therefore not relevant.)
In the same period, Intel has had 4 desktop sockets (twice as many as AMD), and none of which are backward compatible, AFAICT.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Time to cut prices (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 4 months ago | (#47806229)

I suspect my next CPU will be arm(MIPS). I am astonished that I see I CPU the cost of several 1080p tablets. I am a little tired of all the posters of my computer does everything... I would love a faster machine, but at these prices they can whistle, and that is without the escalating cost of ram... and Microsoft bleeding it's monopoly to those tied into it.

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

Wootery (1087023) | about 4 months ago | (#47806281)

and Microsoft bleeding it's monopoly to those tied into it.

What?

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 4 months ago | (#47806417)

I suspect my next CPU will be arm(MIPS)

ARM-devices are awesome, fun toys to play with. There's a good selection of them on dx.com if you happen to be interested. I think it's amazing how full-fledged a computer you can get with a 60€ ARM-device, you just need to supply a HDD, kb+m and display and POOF, you're all set. Plus most of the board allow you to tinker with all sorts of addon extensions and whatnot.

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 4 months ago | (#47807133)

For AMD, these are top end processors. Their very best desktop CPU is now $230. That's pretty good.

To my knowledge, the best current ARM tablets have maybe 4GB of RAM. So if you want something that offers superior performance, an x86_64 bit dual core processor matches or beats any current 8 core ARM chip (correct me if I'm wrong, anyway) plus a minimum motherboard plus 4GB of RAM plus a 32GB USB flash drive plus a cheap case and power supply, not including monitor, keyboard, and mouse will probably run you... $300? That's for much faster computing power than any $300 tablet. It's still competitive in many respects, if not power consumption and portability. (Of course, all of this assumes you install Linux yourself. If you add in a Microsoft OS license, the price comparison gets less favorable.)

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

Guspaz (556486) | about 4 months ago | (#47808553)

$230 is... OK. Performance is roughly comparable to Intel chips at the same pricepoint, but with significantly higher power draw. There may be potential for cost savings in platform costs, I've not looked into it.

Re:Time to cut prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47812939)

You do save money on the platform. It's debateable whether you save any in the long-term, given power costs. For my next computer I would still probably select AMD, all things considered.

FYI (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 4 months ago | (#47807249)

ARM and MIPS are different things. The companies are different, instruction sets are different, cores are different, etc. They've nothing to do with each other.

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809323)

AMD(Intel)

Re:FYI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809453)

It's not analogous.

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 4 months ago | (#47808571)

> I suspect my next CPU will be arm(MIPS). I am astonished that I see I CPU the cost of several 1080p tablets.

Yes. And you will have to "outsource" any interesting computational tasks like something as simple as voice recognition. ARM based devices are good enough only so long as your use of it fits narrowly defined parameters driven by what speciality silicon is on your particular SoC. Even that is limited.

ARM lags behind even ancient and discontinued x86 processors. PCs also have more interesting "speciality silicon" too.

Re:Time to cut prices (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 4 months ago | (#47809611)

They do. AMD will sell you just a core for only $28.625. Isn't it a ripoff ?!?

Sigh. (2, Interesting)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 4 months ago | (#47806319)

This GPU has nearly identical performance to the R9 280 that came before it

Which had nearly identical performance to the 7950 that came before it. Which came out nearly three years ago.

Meanwhile, this says it all [pcper.com] about the CPU. Sure, the AMD might save you $100 over the (faster) Intel, but you'll pay that back on a beefier PSU and cooler and electricity bills to support the beast.

What happened, AMD? I loved you back in the Athlon64 era...

Re:Sigh. (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 4 months ago | (#47806391)

It has much less power consumption than the R9 280 though. It would be more interesting as a laptop version

Re:Sigh. (0)

DuckDodgers (541817) | about 4 months ago | (#47807331)

In the Athlon64 era Intel started negotiating with PC makers under terms like "we'll charge you 50% less per CPU if you sell zero AMD processors, 40% less per CPU if you sell less than 10% of your total sales volume as AMD processors, 30% less per CPU if you sell less than 20% of your total sales volume as AMD processors, and full price otherwise." AMD hemorrhaged cash, and could no longer afford the research investment they needed to make the Steamroller/Bulldozer chip family competitive with Intel's i-line of CPUs.

Hopefully things are turning around.

Re:Sigh. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809331)

What happened? They got a jackass MBA "buisness" CEO that decided it was a good idea to cut R&D and go to automated layout (Instead of hand layout like Intel does) Real fuckwit. The sort of guy that thinks everything besides sales is a cost center to be axed.

Predictably, AMD's products suffered.

Tonga (4, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#47806341)

King Tupou VI wants royalties

Re:Tonga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809311)

I wonder if the r9285.to is still available..

Re:Tonga (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 4 months ago | (#47811021)

King Tupou VI wants royalties

Why? He is already royalty.

still a problem (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 4 months ago | (#47806379)

That's nice. Too bad the single core performance on the 8 core still SUCKS. There's a reason it beats the i5...because it has 2x the cores. Back in Windows 7 where almost all tasks are single core, even those in the OS itself, I need fast single core performance. What AMD needs to invent is hardware core multiplexing. In other words, have 8 cores but represent them to the system as 1 core and handle the distributed processing in the firmware. That would crush Intel.

Re:still a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806669)

What AMD needs to invent is hardware core multiplexing. In other words, have 8 cores but represent them to the system as 1 core and handle the distributed processing in the firmware. That would crush Intel.

It's been invented, it's called superscalar processing, and almost everything uses it. Good branch prediction is hard, as Intel learned with the Itanium.

What AMD needs to do is admit that "modules" and "cores" are the same thing, and that they have a quite decent quad core processor on their hands. This silly doubled-up ALU architecture is strikingly similar to what Intel did with the Pentium 4, and it's having the same results - inferior performance, with deep pipelines and extremely high clocks.

Here's the shortlist of companies that also decided that the x86 FPU could be weakened and that it wouldn't be noticed by "ordinary users", who would be willing to pay less for it:

Cyrix
IDT
NexGen
VIA

VIA is still making embedded stuff, but... AMD needs to get their Barcelona game back. It was the best core on the market, AMD was beginning to dominate with it, but they decided to shoot themselves in the foot for some reason. This is what happens when the top guys at a semiconductor company are salesmen, and not engineers. Kaveri looks promising... we shall see.

Re:still a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47808735)

It's a little more complex than that - Bulldozer would be fine if it weren't a two-wide design*. Haswell, by comparison, is four-wide, which is what makes it about 50% faster. The module architecture would be fine, if a little irregular - faster in some workloads and slower in others as a result of the shared resources - if not for that deficiency. It made sense back when Bulldozer was originally designed, and was apparently roughly equivalent to the Steamroller iteration, but that version was cancelled because of issues with the 45nm process. (It would have been roughly on par with Nehalem, if not somewhat faster.) I don't know why the redesigned version was what it was, but I know why minimal development has occurred since: development was more or less frozen between when they fired their old CEO and hired their new one, which was a catastrophic mistake by the interim CEO.

Your comments about ALU arrangement are incorrect**, and the pipeline, while perhaps deeper than it should have been, is not irrationally deep as with the Pentium 4 (nor does it have that ridiculous issue with being unable to flush a mispredicted branch). The previous K10 core was seriously clock-starved, and a deeper pipeline was very much needed. It's also fairly certain that the issues Global Foundries had with the 32nm node had a negative effect here - AMD clearly targeted higher clock speeds than Global Foundries could deliver, which could only have been the result of poor prediction of node performance on Global Foundries' part, or outright misinformation. I suspect that this latest iteration of processors - 4.1 ghz base clock at 95/125 watts - is about what they were promised for the initial production. Once this was baked into the design, it couldn't be undone, and it is correct that the pipeline is too deep for the clock speeds that the first iteration had, and questionably deep even for the current iteration, but would make sense to allow for later increases to clock speed.

The FPU was not weakened meaningfully, if at all. Floating-point instructions are essentially never more than half of total instructions, allowing two cores to share a FPU without issues in most cases. I'm sure there are exceptions, particularly pathological workloads used in benchmarks, which could hurt sales, but overall it's a good way to save die space and power, and can allow for a much wider FPU in future than would be sustainable for a single core.

Honestly, the real story with Bulldozer and its variants seems to be that Global Foundries sucks.

*The width of the design, in this case, refers to the number of execution units on the integer path. Bulldozer had a shared four-wide decoder per module, and the Steamroller variant has a dedicated four-wide decoder per core.

**The Pentium 4 used ALUs operating on a half-clock cycle (that is to say, twice per ordinary clock cycle), allowing two operations per clock for the simpler instructions. Bulldozer uses two sets of ALUs per module, and also two data caches, and two register files, and so on. They really are separate cores other than the shared front-end and shared FPU.

Re:still a problem (1)

turgid (580780) | about 4 months ago | (#47810649)

Once more AC is 100% correct and informative posting at 0.

Re:still a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47813019)

Mod parent up.

Re:still a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806735)

The solution is not in the hardware but in the software being multi threaded properly... and that is not easy or cost effective for development.

Re:still a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806825)

Probably can't be done efficiently. The problem with multi-threaded applications is that you have to synchronize operations which MUST occur in a particular order to give proper results, and there are a LOT of them - even a=a+1 is not thread safe and will occasionally fail horribly if you access "a" from multiple threads. And frequently synchronizing between threads tends to absolutely kill performance, even when they are all running on the same CPU core (and synchronizing between cores adds even more overhead.)

If it such a thing could be done then it would still be far easier to simply write a compiler that would parallelize the code before hand - unlike CPU microcode a compiler would have the benefit of working with the original functionality specs (aka source code) rather than the single-thread optimized (and thus obfuscated) machine code, simplifying the task considerably. It would also have the benefit of unlimited RAM and run-time in which to tease out parallelizable threads, rather than having to do so in real time while running the program.

The other option, which generally is done by any decent modern OS, is to efficiently distribute single-threaded applications (drivers, system services, programs, etc) between cores so that as few as possible end up being CPU bound. Which works great for multitasking, and at least gives CPU-heavy single-threaded applications their own exclusive core to run on without having the share it with OS-related overhead.

-- Immerman

Re:still a problem (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 months ago | (#47808349)

And yet, Windows 7 and higher ALREADY do this efficiently. Run a single batch file and watch your CPUs in Task Manager. All those single-threaded operations are running on different threads.

No HDMI 2.0 = Not intrested (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806637)

Frustrating!

Re:No HDMI 2.0 = Not intrested (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47806951)

Re:No HDMI 2.0 = Not intrested

Would you be interested in a spell-checker?

I'd rather have a V-8! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47806891)

Or Octapussy.

gaming rig (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47806983)

OK, since Slashdot is running these weekly Tom's Hardware-type posts, lemme axe you something:

I've got a system I put together maybe three years ago. I used a good motherboard bought a good case, good RAM, very good PSU. It was when the first i5s were coming out, so it's an i5-750 (2.7ghz, I think). I didn't spend a lot of dough on a GPU, but I've been able to play everything up to and including Watch Dogs on this setup.

I want to be ready for the fall games (The Crew, GTA V, Dragon Age Whatever, Witcher 3, Arkham Whatever). Should I just start over with a new mobo processor or can I get value out of a new GPU (say, an nVidia 770 or AMD R9 285)?

mobo: Gigabyte GA-P55-UDsomething
RAM: 8 gig
GPU: HD 6850
SSD for system drive and Caviar black for games (maybe I should drop $150 on a 250gig SSD for my games? I'd have to trim down how many Steam and GOG games I have installed though, because now I've probably got 300gig including Wolfenstein (40+gig!)
24" 1920x1080

So what about it. It looks like this fall I might bump up against some of the new games requirements. Whole new rig or can I get mileage out of a new GPU?

Also, my wife thinks a grown man playing computer games is a little bit pathetic, and I can't really argue with her, so it's probably best if I keep the same big coolermaster case so maybe she won't notice I've spent more money my gaming rig. Bad enough when that new keyboard with the Cherry MB Brown keys came and all of a sudden my keyboard was glowing bright blue and I had to explain why I had to replace the old logitech keyboard.

Re:gaming rig (2)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47807185)

Why not actually try the games that you want and then decide if things are too slow at all, rather than listen to some people that will evangelize how cool new stuff is with impunity since it is not their money they are justifying spend on...

Also, my wife thinks a grown man playing computer games is a little bit pathetic, and I can't really argue with her,

What could be pathetic is neglecting responsibilities or pissing away family savings on superfluous stuff. If one takes care of their responsibilities appropriately and is prudent in their spending, it doesn't really matter if a grown man plays computer games or watch telly tubbies or whatever they like so long as it doesn't screw up other people's lives.

Re:gaming rig (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47809011)

If one takes care of their responsibilities appropriately and is prudent in their spending, it doesn't really matter if a grown man plays computer games or watch telly tubbies or whatever they like so long as it doesn't screw up other people's lives.

You're not married, are you?

Thanks for the advice, though. Right now, "Can I Run It" shows that most of the games that have published requirements will run on my machine. I'll save the dough and wait and see. It's not like I can't get a new video card in a day or two from Amazon or Newegg, if it turns out I need it.

Re:gaming rig (1)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47809525)

Indeed, even after installing the software, upgrading is easy. Excepting some DRM crap that could fire if you change too much, but that is BS.

I am actually married and a father too. I can't disappear into a 'mancave' every day for hours on end or spend all our money on high end gaming equipment, but I don't catch flak for spending my time gaming for a short while many days and the occasional 'bender' of gaming. If I covered the house in gaming paraphernalia or something maybe, but as long as I don't go overboard on time or expense, there's no issue.

Re:gaming rig (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#47810555)

Im married and if my wife looked own upon video games I wouldnt have married her. Just saying, not all wives are like yours.

Re:gaming rig (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47811351)

Im married and if my wife looked own upon video games I wouldnt have married her. Just saying, not all wives are like yours.

I know. Some expect you to get a job.

I'm pretty lucky all in all. I was able to retire on my 50th birthday and except for the occasional request to not throw another controller through the window because I'm frustrated with Dark Souls' horrible PC port, she doesn't mind me gaming. Occasionally, when company comes to the house, she'll ask me to put some pants on, though. I like to game au natural. She made me a nice little pad to sit on because my Aero chair was leaving crosshatch marks on my butt.

Is this too much information?

Re:gaming rig (1)

cerberusss (660701) | about 4 months ago | (#47833495)

Occasionally, when company comes to the house, she'll ask me to put some pants on, though. I like to game au natural. She made me a nice little pad to sit on

Yes., way too much information. But funny as hell.

Re:gaming rig (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#47811065)

Also, my wife thinks a grown man playing computer games is a little bit pathetic, and I can't really argue with her

If one takes care of their responsibilities appropriately and is prudent in their spending, it doesn't really matter if a grown man plays computer games or watch telly tubbies or whatever they like so long as it doesn't screw up other people's lives.

You're not married, are you?

I'm married, and I have no problems with my wife's opinion about pretty much any decision I make. If you can't do things you want because your wife won't approve then maybe that's the real problem.

Besides, as far as I can tell the only reason older generations didn't play computer games as adults is that they didn't grow up with them, so they never realized what they were missing. Computer games are no more childish than board games...

Re:gaming rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47807337)

Dont worry, if you can play watchdogs any other game is peanuts.

I cant even start the damn thing because my Nvidia 8800GT doesnt have the right ammount of X.
Yeah, its been a few years since i upgraded, my core 2 E8400 is still going strong though.

Re:gaming rig (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 4 months ago | (#47807369)

I'd say just a new GPU would be fine. I use an Asus 770GTX and can play everything I've tried on max settings @1440p, so you should fine @1080p.

The 770 doesn't take advantage of the higher power efficiency parts in the newest Nvidia generation, but the price on some of the variants is quite good. Newegg has a Zotac verison for $275: http://www.newegg.com/Product/... [newegg.com]

The 280X can be picked up for a little less, bit it uses more power and is louder from what I have read.

Re:gaming rig (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47809047)

I'd say just a new GPU would be fine. I use an Asus 770GTX and can play everything I've tried on max settings @1440p, so you should fine @1080p.

That's good advice. Do you happen to know if new cards like the 770 are backwards compatible with motherboards that don't have the latest PCI-e 3.0? My motherboard has PCI-e 2.0.

Oh, I guess I can go look it up. Thanks for the good advice.

Re:gaming rig (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 4 months ago | (#47807601)

The 6850 while not a bad card now, may struggle to play "next generation" games. That being said AMD cards like the 270x are dead cheap on ebay, or get a card in the $250-$300 range and that should work for a while.

Curious what your wife does for fun?

Re:gaming rig (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 4 months ago | (#47809141)

Curious what your wife does for fun?

She makes fun of grown-ass men who put on helmets with horns on them and play computer games in their underwear.

Personally, I think I look pretty cool in the helmet with the horns, and playing in just my underwear makes me feel more like a level 50 battlemage.

Re:gaming rig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47808047)

Also, my wife thinks a grown man playing computer games is a little bit pathetic, and I can't really argue with her

As opposed to grown men playing hitting egg-sized balls trying to get them into small holes 100 yarcs away? Or grown men kicking a ball around? Or grown men just drinking beer and doing nothing?

I don't play computer games, but a grown man shouldn't apologize for doing whatever floats his boat.

Re:gaming rig (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 4 months ago | (#47810537)

Your CPU is one degree away from continuing to be viable, imho. Anything before Sandy Bridge should be de-commissioned. This is my personal rule.

Parkitect Theme Park Simulation Game! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47807107)

- Intro:

"Parkitect is a simulation game where you get to build a successful theme park! Design roller coasters, install shops and thrill rides, and top it all off with incredible scenery and dynamic landscapes. Management is key: you'll have to look after employees, resources, and park infrastructure. Fail at that and face the consequences! Unhappy cashiers might annoy guests, unhappy custodians will leave your park a mess, and unhappy ride maintenance teams will leave your guests a mess."

= Kickstarter:
https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

= Website:
http://www.themeparkitect.com/ [themeparkitect.com]

Not really 8 cores... (2)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47807127)

If IBM did the processor, they would have called it 4 Core with SMT2. Basically you have 4 modules, with 2 of many of the components, but a lot of shared components. Notably, each of the 4 modules has a single FPU (so it's more like IBM's SMT8 versus SMT4 mode if you talk about their current stuff).

So it's more substantial than hyperthreading, but at the same time not reasonable to call each chunk a 'core'. I think it behaves better than Bulldozer did at launch *if* you have the right platform updates to make the underlying OS schedule workload correctly, but it's still not going to work well (and some workloads work better if you mask one 'core' per module entirely).

Basically, it's actually pretty analogous to NetBurst. NetBurst came along to deliver higher clock speeds since that was the focus of marketing, with some hope of significant workloads behaving a certain way to smooth over the compromises NetBurst made to get there. the workloads didn't evolve that way and NetBurst was a power hungry beast that gave AMD a huge opportunity. Now replace high clock speed with high core count and you basically have Bulldozer/Piledriver in a nutshell. I'm hoping AMD comes back with an architecture that challenges Intel agin, just like Intel came back from NetBurst.

Re: Not really 8 cores... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 4 months ago | (#47809043)

Somewhat analogous to P4 but not quite in that Bulldozer IPC is about at Phenom II levels. See here [anandtech.com] : fully loaded, IPC is equivalent to Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge but single-threaded it's about at Phenom II IPC.

AMD's original goal was to get Bulldozer to have similar IPC as Phenom II. Basically, Piledriver is what Bulldozer should have been.

Re: Not really 8 cores... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47809501)

I'm not saying the IPC is netburst like, but that the overall performance characteristic is low performance relative to what the competition *would* be at '8 cores'. Just like a NetBurst 3.0 ghz would have been trounced by the contemperary AMD at 3.0 ghz (and even much lower), an '8 core' is bested by something with much lower core count. For example, in the url you cite, they effectively consider the FX 8350 as a quad core rather than 8 core solution for the performance to be comparable. This is with a workload that does not take advantage of AVX2 (which would have the Haswell parts pull well ahead of the competition). A quad core 4.1 ghz ivy bridge would have matched the '8 core' 4.1 ghz 8350. So if you get the '8 core' thinking 'twice as fast as ivy bridge quad core', that would be incorrect assumption that AMD is counting on marketing wise.

In short, AMD has '8 cores' that performs like 4 cores, but with heat and power characteristics more closely resembling 8 than 4 cores. Just like an Athlon at 2 ghz could match the performance of a Pentium 4 at 3 ghz, but with much less power/heat than the Pentium 4.

Re:Not really 8 cores... (1)

dshk (838175) | about 4 months ago | (#47809551)

Huh? The two cores of the Bulldozer module indeed has one common FPU unit, but that is a 256 bit one, which can be divided into two 128 bit unit (or even into four 64 bit unit!). I did test FPU performance and in the worst case it was 25% slower, in the best case it was actually faster, when I run two threads on a single module vs on two modules. Usually the difference is very small. Please do not compare the AMD Bulldozer architecture to Intel Hyperthreading, the two technology has very different purposes.

Re:Not really 8 cores... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47809817)

Hence why I compared it very carefully to IBM'S SMT rather than Hyperthreading. IBM SMT has componentsto handle each 'thread' while sharing common components (including FPU in SMT8 but isn't shared in SMT4). It isn't 8 threads in the hyperthreading sense, but neither is it 8 'cores' with respect to how any other CPU vendor calls things cores. IBM is the only other microprocessor vendor that has something that resembles the AMD design, and they do not refer to the components as 'cores'.

I haven't seen any FP intensive code work better than Ivy bridge equivalents (1 ivy bridge core =~ 1 piledriver module no matter what I tried with respect to running one or both of the 'cores'). Haswell of course can roughly double ivy bridge perf when avx2 can be put into optimal play.

AMD is sadly little more than a 'budget' player right now. Releasing inefficient designs to compete roughly with Intel. Though NetBurst was sadder, as you were expected to pay *more* for the crappy inefficient product than the rather good (for the time) Athlons. Here's hoping they get their stuff back.

Not really 8 cores... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809943)

Why do people focus so much on which execution units this or that is scheduled to. These "cores" share an instruction fetch and decode unit, which is all anyone needs to know. That means no matter what marketing voodoo they attempt, the cores can only fetch an instruction packet every other cycle. The theoretical 2x 2 wide execution unit is also a farce because each unit need only accept instructions every other cycle allowing them to have much less logic because of guaranteed reduced throughput. Put it all together and you have what is equivalent to single hyperthreaded core with only 2 execution units worth of logic and no option to turn the hyperthread off and allow continuous fetch on one instruction stream. Utter piece of garbage from what used to be a good company.

Re:Not really 8 cores... (1)

dshk (838175) | about 4 months ago | (#47810175)

That is a nice theory, but it is false. You can easily validate it yourself, as I did, see my other post about the results.

Re:Not really 8 cores... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 4 months ago | (#47815835)

Your results called out the Piledriver explicitly as 'per module' rather than 'per core' to make the numbers match. It basically validates the point you respond to. In practice, it's more complicated and can outshine hyperthreading in some cases, but in your specific citation the processor measures up if you pretend module==core rather than saying it is an 8 core system.

Re:Not really 8 cores... (1)

MildlyTangy (3408549) | about 4 months ago | (#47811139)

/p>

Basically, it's actually pretty analogous to NetBurst. NetBurst came along to deliver higher clock speeds since that was the focus of marketing, with some hope of significant workloads behaving a certain way to smooth over the compromises NetBurst made to get there. the workloads didn't evolve that way and NetBurst was a power hungry beast that gave AMD a huge opportunity. Now replace high clock speed with high core count and you basically have Bulldozer/Piledriver in a nutshell. I'm hoping AMD comes back with an architecture that challenges Intel agin, just like Intel came back from NetBurst.

I dont think it is as easy as that. If there were any major architectural changes that could wring any more large performance gains from x86, Intel/AMD would already have implemented that. But all the low hanging fruit have already been picked. The days of huge performance increases due to architectural changes are long gone. Thats why we went multicore, but beyond 8 cores, the gains diminish rapidly. These days we focus on power efficiency, but that only gets you so far.

I think the next big gains wont come from the CPU architecture itself per se, but in fixing the other bottlenecks in the system. Just look at the massive gains you get from an SSD for example. We need advances in RAM and storage to realise big performance gains these days.

Snore.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47809859)

So they released a new card that's almost exactly the same as my years old 7950, except it has less memory bandwidth (256 vs 384 bit bus), 33% less video ram (3GB vs 2GB) and costs 50$ more than I paid for my 7950. Two years ago. Fail hard.

Their new cpu is still based on the same ancient 32nm process, and they're about to be not one but TWO full process nodes behind intel (even more if you count marketing transistor sizes vs. real transistor structure sizes). Predictably, overall performance and performance per watt are in the shitter. Fail even harder.

Come on, shake your PC, baby (1)

Peter Kingsbury (3046159) | about 4 months ago | (#47810283)

Buy a Tonga!
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