AMD Press Conference Highlightsby Jarred Walton on January 7, 2014 3:00 AM EST
Ian has already written up most of the information AMD covered in their press conference tonight, so if you haven’t already I suggest you start there. Kaveri is the big topic, but they also had plenty more to say about HSA and some of their other platforms, as well as demos of several systems and the current state of their “holodeck initiative” – complete with LaVar Burton (aka Geordi Leforge from Star Trek: TNG). I was without internet during the presentation so instead of a Live Blog I’m just going to post some comments on the highlights, as well as a bunch of images for the interested.
The success of APUs was another point AMD stressed yet again, and they moved from there into a focus on their HSA initiative. TrueAudio was also mentioned along with Mantle, and AMD notes that there are currently three game engines in development with support for Mantle (Frostbite 3, Nitrous, and Asura), with five developers using Mantle in over twenty upcoming games. Battlefield 4 is the closest to release, and AMD demonstrated the Mantle version running on AMD hardware tonight, noting that the Mantle version is running 45% faster than the non-Mantle version on the same system. Other demonstrations included HSA/TrueAudio being used by Nuance to clean up audio streams to the point where they could do speech/voice recognition even in noisy environments. Libre Office noted a speedup of up to 8X with HSA acceleration enabled on a Kaveri A10-7850K vs. the same APU without HSA acceleration, though this was apparently with a huge spreadsheet.
Kaveri is coming out on desktops next week with laptop versions to follow in Q2/Q3, as Ian discussed already. Beyond Kaveri AMD also has Beema and Mullins coming out in this year, with significant improvements in both CPU and GPU performance relative to Kabini and Temash; more importantly than the improvements relative to Kabini/Mullins, AMD had comparisons with Intel’s Bay Trail-T and Bay Trail-M. AMD is claiming Mullins performance 20% faster than Bay Trail-T in PCMark 8 Home and over 250% faster graphics performance in 3DMark11. Similarly, Beema performance is over 25% faster than Bay Trail-M in PDMark 8 Home and over 350% faster in GPU performance in 3DMark11. Even if we take those numbers with a healthy dose of skepticism, AMD is not surprisingly much faster than Intel on the GPU side, and they’re certainly competitive on the CPU side. AMD also announced a few design wins for Beema/Mullins tablets and laptops, with some desktop concepts shown as well.
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camelNotation - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkHere's an article about Libreoffice APU acceleration:
The spreadsheet software Calc should be a great way to showcase the advantages of HSA in easy-to-grasp terms. Probably a good investment for AMD.
kyuu - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkIs there any information on those Beema/Mullins tablet design wins; brand, specs, pricing, availability?
DanNeely - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkDon't forget power consumption; AMDs perennial Achilles heel in mobile.
schizoide - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkAny announcements about BRIX/NUC type small form factor PCs with Kaveri?
Kaveri unfortunately doesn't sound like what we hoped for, essentially the XboxOne/PS4 APU on an open platform, but it does look like it might be appropriate for a HTPC or _maybe_ a low-end primarily in-house streaming target steambox. Bay Trail atom is fast enough for HTPC use but its GPU is way too slow for any gaming at all.
silverblue - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkKaveri was never targetted as an XboxOne/PS4 APU; the GPU is more far more modest than even that of the former. Even with Mantle dragging up performance, it couldn't perform on an equal footing. The key here is that Kaveri features far more powerful CPU cores than those in the consoles, meaning you can have a capable work platform along with decent performance in relatively new games provided you don't go mad with the higher settings modes. At $170-ish, it was never meant to compete with the consoles in the first place - the GPU in the XBox One alone is equivalent to an R7 260 and thus about $130, and that doesn't mention anything about the eSRAM or CPU cores, but you try computing with eight 1.75GHz Jaguar cores - you'd hate it, but their presence doesn't matter on the consoles.
schizoide - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkFrom a HTPC/steambox stance, I would be very happy indeed with a xbox1/PS4-type box available for $500. CPU power doesn't really matter.
abufrejoval - Monday, January 27, 2014 - linkKaveri is currently one of the best generic all rounders, but isn't that the fastest shrinking market in terms of *purchase*? IMHO it competes mostly with the hardware people already own and aren't likely to replace in near-term.
I keep wondering: Why on earth did they miss that chance to capture the high-end gamer desktop and kick Intel where it hurts most?
I'm running Trinity, Richland, Phenom II X4/X6, Sandy Bridge i7-2600, Intel Core2 on desktops and gaming PCs in the family and it is quite clear that the CPU performance on Kaveri will be good enough for just about any game out there at least up to 1080p. But the GPU performance runs into a wall at 720p.
So in terms of pure CPU performance there is basically nothing out there, which requires more than Kaveri: All the *really* compute intensive desktop tasks like real-time video editing/transcoding really are better dealt with by GPU compute or a real VPU (video processing unit).
However, once you add a dGPU to enable today's minimum game resolution (1080p or 2k), you pretty much loose the benefit of half of the silicion real-estate on Kaveri APUs and might as well go with a Haswell i3. And I simply can't imagine game engine builders starting to partition their code into three distinct pools (dGPU, APU-G and APU-C).
In other words you waste the first €150 on your dGPU just to catch with the APU.
What's missing is the ability to stack Kaveris to do 2K and 4K resolutions properly.
We know that GDDR5 support is in the chip and that means you could build Kavery "blades" in a GPU form factor, much more capable at 1080p.
And now you'd just need the ability to stack as many of these as your target resolution requires: Two GDDR5 equipped Kaveris running CrossFire might do quite ok on 2k and four at 4k, costing perhaps €300 each with 8GB of GDDR and 100Watt maximum power.
Most important would the easy programmability of these slices for games developers, with CPU and GPU power growing proportionally.
Sprinkle in Mantle and SteamOS and you got me drooling.
We know they already can do something quite similar within a single SoC on the PS4 and Xbox3, which today probably would result in uneconomic die sizes for a 2x Kavery part (and still miss the 4K target).
Running cache coherency on 2-8 Kaveri type APUs at GDDR5 bandwiths may be a little rough but games should be extremely NUMA friendly.
AMD needs critical size for HSA to pay off and without an up-scale vision I can't see how they'll get that.
AndrewJacksonZA - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - link"though this was apparently with a /huge/ spreadsheet"
What do you consider to be a "huge" spreadsheet? I work in Information Management and the largest spreadsheet that I've seen was 700MB. A SEVEN HUNDRED MEGABYTE XLSX file that took about five minutes to open and consumed a gig and a half of memory when opened.
Oh, and also, thanks for the highlights. ;-)
Gordon Chan - Tuesday, January 7, 2014 - linkI know what it meant by huge spreadsheets. I'm currently a postgraduate student working on liver cancer genomics and the bioinformatics data generated from next generation sequencing data are gigantic. Some Excel files reaches file sizes of around 7XXMB with 3XX,XXX rows times 1X spreadsheets each file took 5-10 min for our laptops to open. Simply using the VLOOKUP and Filter>Sorting functions will make my laptop load for several minutes and sometimes Excel even crashed. I'm using my Core-i5 430M laptop and these simple tasks with the colossal amount of data stressed the CPU usage to 100% and bended my laptop to its knees. If there's acceleration that uses the GPU (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5470) too it should help a bit.
moltentofu - Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - linkGood lord spreadsheet programs are the thing I love to hate...
It's going to probably make me sound like a snob, but what is in Excel that isn't in Python / R / matlab / py extensions?