Monday 09 November 2009

Return of the King: AMD HD 5970 Leaks, Looks Poised to Seize Performance Crown


 Christo [PCD]    09 Nov : 14:46
 None    Misc

New card will likely be the most powerful solution on the market when it lands late this month

New card will likely be the most powerful solution on the market when it lands late this month

The AMD/ATI success story in the GPU sector has shown little signs of fading with the transition from the 4000 series to the 5000 series. Continuing its competitive pricing, AMD's 5870, 5850, 5770 and 5750, the world's first DirectX 11 GPUs, are all showing strong sales in their respective price ranges, leaving NVIDIA in a painful wait for its Fermi series to reach market readiness.

Now AMD is reportedly preparing to take the single-card performance crown, currently held by the GTX 295 away from NVIDIA, with the release of a dual GPU single-slot, single-printed circuit board solution. Codenamed Hemlock, the card was initially named 5870 X2, a designation that was reportedly scrapped in favor of the name HD 5970.

Alienbabeltech has leaked what may be the first images of the new card and it looks to be a beast in every way. Measuring 13.5 inches (34.29 cm) long, the prototype 5970 has no reason to feel insecure -- after all, it's endowed with presumably the longest PCB on a mass-produced graphics card to date. It's reportedly a struggle to fit the card inside even full size tower cases like the Antec 1200. It is unknown if these dimensions will carry over to the production card.

The leaked card was perhaps running the leaked Catalyst 9.11 drivers, as the version number in CPU-Z was listed as 8.14.10.708 for the Direct3D driver, versus 8.14.10.700 on Catalyst 9.10. Benchmarks showing the card trouncing the NVIDIA GTX 295 in performance were aired then quickly removed at AMD's request. If these benchmarks holds true, it appears that AMD will wrest the title of having the most powerful single-card solution, at least temporarily, from NVIDIA.

A few scraps of information remained after much of the info was pulled -- apparently the fan will run at 4700 rpm under load. And the card uses one 8-pin and one 6-pin power connector. Pictures also remained posted

According to previously released information, the card will launch late this month and will likely hold the performance crown until NVIDIA launches its DirectX 11 offerings. The card is expected to feature 2 GB of GDDR5 memory and a thrid-party PCI-E bridge, similar to Radeon HD 4800 X2 cards. DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI connections are all included, as would be expected.

Accompanying the HD 5970 will be a dual-GPU variant of the 5850, dubbed the HD 5950. No pricing has been announced, but thus far AMD has been very aggressive with the pricing of its 5000 series.

According to AnandTech, NVIDIA's Fermi, which has been delayed already, won't reach general availability until, at the earliest, Q1 2010. That means that for the holiday season, it appears that the highest end solutions will likely carry the HD 5970 and HD 5950. However, it is rumored that AMD may have supply issues with the HD 5950 and HD 5970 in the first months of availability, so don't count on your HD 5970 dream machine until it arrives.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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NVIDIA Uses Cartoons to Harass Intel


 Christo [PCD]    09 Nov : 14:46
 None    Misc

The feud between two of the hardware's biggest players continues to be ugly

The feud between two of the hardware's biggest players continues to be ugly

NVIDIA and Intel, two of the electronics industry's largest veteran powers, have never been too warm or close. Recently, the pair can't seem to stop stepping on each other's toes. The pair's troubles started last year with NVIDIA releasing its Ion integrated graphics platform, which NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang likened to opening a "can of whoop-[censored]". Intel was not too happy about NVIDIA trying to shove it out of the integrated graphics market with the HD-ready Ion.

Nor did Intel's announcement of an upcoming discrete GPU get greeted by open arms by NVIDIA. NVIDIA, already struggling financially in the chipset industry, then was smacked with a suit by Intel alleging that NVIDIA's license agreements did not allow it to build motherboards for Nehalem processors, or other Intel processors with an integrated memory controller. NVIDIA fired back with a countersuit, demanding that the licensing agreements that supply the tech Intel uses to power its integrated graphics be terminated, threatening Intel's integrated graphics offerings.

Given the pair's history, it's not very surprising that NVIDIA would choose to take a jab at Intel's recent antitrust fines from the EU and the new charges leveled against it in New York. NVIDIA has launched a new site called Intel's Insides, which it hosts and is using as a artistic podium to accuse Intel of alleged illegal activity.

The site is especially critical of CEO Paul Otellini. A recent post features a cartoon with a cross-eyed Otellini denying using "bribery, coercion and kickback relations" to try to corner the market. The site has a rather humorous disclaimer informing readers that it "is not provided, sponsored or endorsed by Intel Corporation."

Intel has yet to respond (and likely won't).
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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Motherboards Supporting USB 3.0 & SATA 6Gbps Now Available


 Christo [PCD]    09 Nov : 14:45
 None    Misc

Forget Intel, mobo makers will go on their own

Forget Intel, mobo makers will go on their own

Technology enthusiasts are the first to adopt faster interfaces. Interface speeds increase every couple of years, and it is no surprise that an upgrade cycle usually follows. No one wants to get stuck with an older interface, especially if they are planning to keep their motherboard for several years.

USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA are both getting speed increases this year in an unusual two-for-one special. USB 3.0 introduces the SuperSpeed mode, which provides raw throughput of 5 Gbps versus the measly 480 Mbps of USB 2.0. The USB interface uses 8b10 encoding, so with overhead USB 3.0 will top out at around 400 MB/s. This standard will quickly be adopted by USB flash drives and digital cameras due to the large amounts of data involved.

The case for 6 Gbps SATA isn't as strong, unless you're into Solid State Drives. While Seagate has shipped the world's first hard drive to support the new standard, it uses magnetic storage and is only able to use the extra bandwidth when reading from cache. However, SSDs have been bandwidth limited since early this year, and SSDs supporting the new interface should have transfer speeds over 500 MB/s.

ASUS and Gigabyte were both showing off motherboards supporting USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA during the Computex trade show in June. They both announced several motherboards last week, and the boards are available in volume. All of these boards use NEC's USB 3.0 host interface controller introduced in June.

ASUS is now shipping the P7P55D-E Premium using Intel's P55 chipset and the P6X58D Premium using the X58 chipset. The P55 chipset only supports the first generation of PCIe with single lane bandwidth of 250 MB/s, so ASUS uses a PLX8613 bridge chip and four PCIe lanes to optimize the throughput potential of the new interfaces.

The company is also making its U3S6 expansion card available for all P7P55D series motherboards. It will plug into a PCIe x4 or x8 connector and add two USB 3.0 and 6 Gbps SATA ports.

Gigabyte is also shipping seven motherboards in its P55A series supporting the new technologies. They have decided against using a bridge chip, but their implementation means you will be unable to use a second PCIe x16 slot for CrossFire or SLI.

Meanwhile, problems at Intel have delayed new chipsets that will use these new technologies until the beginning of 2011. Solutions from motherboard manufacturers will have to do for now.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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