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Hardware  » AMD fights back

19 posts found
  Cabaloc

Novice Member

Joined: 1/05/12
Posts: 96

 
OP  8/15/12 2:09:43 AM#1

Came across this, good news I guess . lets see Quiz throw his 2 cents on this .

 

http://www.zdnet.com/amd-preparing-launch-of-a-series-fusion-trinity-desktop-apus-report-7000002591/

  Toxia

Advanced Member

Joined: 7/25/09
Posts: 1289

8/15/12 2:26:49 AM#2

So...what am i seeing here?

Does this simply mean laptops with integrated(See: Mostly shitty) GPU's now have the option to combine that GPU into the CPU chip itself? How is that good? Wouldn't that make the Chip work harder, lagging everything else a normal CPU does?

I can see this working for the ever smaller shrinking cell phones and tablets, but for serious gaming, is this much of a breakthough, or a step back?

The Deep Web is sca-ry.

  Cleffy

Elite Member

Joined: 5/09/04
Posts: 5455

8/15/12 4:30:06 AM#3
APUs really need integrated GDDR5 to be great.  They use system memory which makes them a bit slower.  If you design the software around it, it would be more effective at dealing with massive amounts of floating point operations.  It could potentially work better then an Intel CPU if the developer took advatage of the APUs features.  However, thats time and money so its effectively a video and cpu die in 1 processor.  Proximity alone will make some things faster.
  fenistil

Novice Member

Joined: 9/22/11
Posts: 3016

8/15/12 4:37:56 AM#4
Originally posted by Toxia

So...what am i seeing here?

Does this simply mean laptops with integrated(See: Mostly shitty) GPU's now have the option to combine that GPU into the CPU chip itself? How is that good? Wouldn't that make the Chip work harder, lagging everything else a normal CPU does?

I can see this working for the ever smaller shrinking cell phones and tablets, but for serious gaming, is this much of a breakthough, or a step back?

This is not meant for serious desktop PC gaming.It

It is for multimedia system or for less-graphical intensive gaming (indie games, strategy gamers, etc ) and laptops.

It obviously won't be able to compete with high-end standalone GPU's or even with current and possibly previous gen mid-end (let's say from 560 ti and higher). Well I have serious doubts if strongest will be able to challange GTX 460 SE, but nevermind.

It will have it's used though, there are plenty of consumers there that use less powerful GPU's. Some of them are also gamers.

 

Anyway.

There are GPU's inside CPU's for a few years alrady.  This is becoming standard.

Both AMD and Intel does it.   AMD does have better GPU's inside CPU's though.  Intel have better CPU's atm.

 

In example i5-3570k - do have GPU inside.  You don't need separate GPU card or even integra on motherboard to run a PC with it. 

Of course you won't play new games comfortable with it, but it is not meant for.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 7:07:35 AM#5

This is old news, really.  AMD released Trinity chips for laptops in May.  But they didn't have enough of them to be ready to release them for desktops in large volume just yet.  It's a killer product in laptops, but rather "meh" in desktops, so laptops get priority.

There are already some OEM Trinity desktops, which I'd assume uses up failed laptop chips that need too much power to run at the laptop specs, so AMD bumps the voltage and clock speed to get desktop performance out of them.  You can already buy the desktops, so long as you're satisfied with a prebuilt piece of junk:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883157362

  tom_gore

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/27/09
Posts: 1803

8/15/12 7:12:07 AM#6

AMD is totally lost on the gamer/enthusiastic market. Their only market is the APUs, which frankly are not a very big chunk of the total market.

Intel will introduce their new i3 CPUs in September, further pressing AMD against the wall in their only strong market (at the 100 USD range).

  LethalJaxx

Novice Member

Joined: 10/20/06
Posts: 106

8/15/12 7:30:33 AM#7
Originally posted by tom_gore

AMD is totally lost on the gamer/enthusiastic market. Their only market is the APUs, which frankly are not a very big chunk of the total market.

Intel will introduce their new i3 CPUs in September, further pressing AMD against the wall in their only strong market (at the 100 USD range).

You've got that upside-down. It's the gamer/enthousiast market that's very small. Not to mention, profit margins in that market are a joke. APU technology is still developing, but is likely to become a huge market very, very fast, with the desire of increasing the power of portable devices at a very high speed. While desktop development is aimed at cost reduction rather than power over the last few years. Sure, high-value, high-end components are nice advertising, and there is a market fo it, but this is not what these companies live on.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 7:32:53 AM#8
Originally posted by Toxia

So...what am i seeing here?

Does this simply mean laptops with integrated(See: Mostly shitty) GPU's now have the option to combine that GPU into the CPU chip itself? How is that good? Wouldn't that make the Chip work harder, lagging everything else a normal CPU does?

I can see this working for the ever smaller shrinking cell phones and tablets, but for serious gaming, is this much of a breakthough, or a step back?

Moore's Law means that every two years, you can roughly double the transistor count in a given die size.  If you've got 200 mm^2 of die space budgeted and a processor core only takes 10 mm^2, then what do you do with all of the rest of the space?  Some of it will get eaten up by logic to connect the processor cores, but most of it won't.  And there's only so much benefit to adding ever more processor cores anyway--especially if you don't have the memory bandwidth to feed them.

For quite a few years now, the trend has been to integrate more and more things into the same die as the processor.  There was L2 cache, and then L3.  They've integrated memory controllers and more recently PCI Express controllers.  Now they're putting GPUs in there, too, as both AMD and Intel have been doing since about the start of last year.

There are some serious advantages to integrating the GPU into the same die as the processor.  Sending a signal across a chip is lower latency than having to also move it through a processor socket, across a motherboard, into a chipset, back out of the chipset, across the motherboard again, through a PCI Express slot, and finally across a video card.  It's also lower power if you can skip the need for PCI Express lanes and so forth.

It's easier to cool one chip rather than two.  It's probably easier to feed power to one chip rather than two.  It also takes less space to have one chip rather than two.  And it costs less to package one chip rather than two.

One common use for this in laptops is to have discrete switchable graphics.  If you also have a video card, then you turn on the video card when you're playing games, and turn it back off otherwise to save power.  Or rather, the drivers do this automatically.  That makes it possible to have a powerful video card in a laptop that also has long battery life, at least while you're not playing games.

But we're still nowhere near seeing the full power of what AMD has in mind.  Trinity has 4 Piledriver x86 processor cores and 384 GCN shaders.  One Piledriver core is vastly more powerful than 1 GCN shader.  But 96 GCN shaders working together are vastly more powerful than one Piledriver core--at least in programs that can actually put all of the shaders to good use.

The goal is that eventually, code that would traditionally run on a processor will have the scheduler look for pieces that are highly parallelizable.  It will take those pieces and send them off to the GPU instead of the CPU.  It is hoped that this can be done nearly as quickly as processors today that have to send some operations to an integer unit and others to a floating point unit.

We're not there yet.  But we are getting closer.  Trinity can already have the CPU send data in system memory to the GPU by not actually copying any data, but merely having the CPU leave the data in system memory and tell the GPU, there's some data for you right there.  Doing that with a discrete video card is completely impossible, as system memory isn't video memory.

The next step after that is to have the CPU and GPU both able to address unified system memory.  There could be data in system memory that a CPU grabs, modifies, and puts back, and then the GPU grabs that same data, modifies it, and puts it back, and they can go back and forth.  There are some race conditions to be wary of, but it would be comparable to how multiple processor cores can see the same data in system memory.  I'm not sure of this, but I don't think Trinity can do that just yet, but the plan is that next year's Kaveri will be able to.

  Jockan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/03/08
Posts: 4072

8/15/12 7:36:45 AM#9
Originally posted by LethalJaxx
Originally posted by tom_gore

AMD is totally lost on the gamer/enthusiastic market. Their only market is the APUs, which frankly are not a very big chunk of the total market.

Intel will introduce their new i3 CPUs in September, further pressing AMD against the wall in their only strong market (at the 100 USD range).

You've got that upside-down. It's the gamer/enthousiast market that's very small. Not to mention, profit margins in that market are a joke. APU technology is still developing, but is likely to become a huge market very, very fast, with the desire of increasing the power of portable devices at a very high speed. While desktop development is aimed at cost reduction rather than power over the last few years. Sure, high-value, high-end components are nice advertising, and there is a market fo it, but this is not what these companies live on.

 


  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10378

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

8/15/12 7:37:50 AM#10


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by Toxia So...what am i seeing here? Does this simply mean laptops with integrated(See: Mostly shitty) GPU's now have the option to combine that GPU into the CPU chip itself? How is that good? Wouldn't that make the Chip work harder, lagging everything else a normal CPU does? I can see this working for the ever smaller shrinking cell phones and tablets, but for serious gaming, is this much of a breakthough, or a step back?
Moore's Law means that every two years, you can roughly double the transistor count in a given die size.  If you've got 200 mm^2 of die space budgeted and a processor core only takes 10 mm^2, then what do you do with all of the rest of the space?  Some of it will get eaten up by logic to connect the processor cores, but most of it won't.  And there's only so much benefit to adding ever more processor cores anyway--especially if you don't have the memory bandwidth to feed them.

For quite a few years now, the trend has been to integrate more and more things into the same die as the processor.  There was L2 cache, and then L3.  They've integrated memory controllers and more recently PCI Express controllers.  Now they're putting GPUs in there, too, as both AMD and Intel have been doing since about the start of last year.

There are some serious advantages to integrating the GPU into the same die as the processor.  Sending a signal across a chip is lower latency than having to also move it through a processor socket, across a motherboard, into a chipset, back out of the chipset, across the motherboard again, through a PCI Express slot, and finally across a video card.  It's also lower power if you can skip the need for PCI Express lanes and so forth.

It's easier to cool one chip rather than two.  It's probably easier to feed power to one chip rather than two.  It also takes less space to have one chip rather than two.  And it costs less to package one chip rather than two.

One common use for this in laptops is to have discrete switchable graphics.  If you also have a video card, then you turn on the video card when you're playing games, and turn it back off otherwise to save power.  Or rather, the drivers do this automatically.  That makes it possible to have a powerful video card in a laptop that also has long battery life, at least while you're not playing games.

But we're still nowhere near seeing the full power of what AMD has in mind.  Trinity has 4 Piledriver x86 processor cores and 384 GCN shaders.  One Piledriver core is vastly more powerful than 1 GCN shader.  But 96 GCN shaders working together are vastly more powerful than one Piledriver core--at least in programs that can actually put all of the shaders to good use.

The goal is that eventually, code that would traditionally run on a processor will have the scheduler look for pieces that are highly parallelizable.  It will take those pieces and send them off to the GPU instead of the CPU.  It is hoped that this can be done nearly as quickly as processors today that have to send some operations to an integer unit and others to a floating point unit.

We're not there yet.  But we are getting closer.  Trinity can already have the CPU send data in system memory to the GPU by not actually copying any data, but merely having the CPU leave the data in system memory and tell the GPU, there's some data for you right there.  Doing that with a discrete video card is completely impossible, as system memory isn't video memory.

The next step after that is to have the CPU and GPU both able to address unified system memory.  There could be data in system memory that a CPU grabs, modifies, and puts back, and then the GPU grabs that same data, modifies it, and puts it back, and they can go back and forth.  There are some race conditions to be wary of, but it would be comparable to how multiple processor cores can see the same data in system memory.  I'm not sure of this, but I don't think Trinity can do that just yet, but the plan is that next year's Kaveri will be able to.




Didn't AMD say that while they aren't abandoning the desktop market, their focus is going to be on mobile devices and the mobile market? I'm pretty sure I remember this because there was a big hullabullu about them no longer having desktop processors and they had to send out another statement that they weren't abandoning the desktop and gaming market to Intel.

Wouldn't all of that stuff you just said up there dovetail very neatly into having very powerful, but also very mobile friendly chips?

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 7:44:24 AM#11
Originally posted by Cleffy
APUs really need integrated GDDR5 to be great.  They use system memory which makes them a bit slower.

Rumors are that the plan is to integrate memory into the same package as the APU.  It won't be GDDR5, as that takes way too much power.  If the entire APU is supposed to take 35 W, you don't want to use 10 W of that on video memory alone.

Rather, imagine having 1 GB of DDR3 in the same package, but connected to the APU die via a 256-bit bus.  The signals have to travel very short distances, as the APU chip and memory chips are right next to each other.  Apparently they think that silicon interposers can make this work, though I'm fuzzy enough on exactly what those are that I won't try to explain it.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 7:57:05 AM#12
Originally posted by lizardbones

Didn't AMD say that while they aren't abandoning the desktop market, their focus is going to be on mobile devices and the mobile market? I'm pretty sure I remember this because there was a big hullabullu about them no longer having desktop processors and they had to send out another statement that they weren't abandoning the desktop and gaming market to Intel.

Wouldn't all of that stuff you just said up there dovetail very neatly into having very powerful, but also very mobile friendly chips?

Squeezing things into smaller form factors is mainly for mobile.  In a desktop, it's easy to stick a heatsink on however many chips you need to.

But taking instructions that would have traditionally been done on a processor and offloading them to the GPU is for all form factors.  For example, look here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/photoshop-cs6-gimp-aftershot-pro,3208-13.html

That's some benchmarks for Photoshop, which isn't a program that you'd normally associate with highly mobile devices.  If you run everything on the processor, a Llano quad core loses badly to a Sandy Bridge dual core.  But offload some of the work to the GPU using OpenCL and suddenly Llano is faster than Sandy Bridge at everything--and sometimes by a factor of 3 or 4.  In one of their tests, a desktop A8-3850 actually beats an FX-8150 together with a Radeon HD 7970, probably for reasons of latency to transfer data between the CPU and GPU.

AMD isn't just going to put APUs in laptops and tablets.  They're going to put them in servers, data centers, and supercomputers, in addition to desktops.  It's not the right tool for everything.  But if you have a workload that can do most but not all of the computations on a GPU and is very sensitive to latency between the CPU and GPU, then APUs will be the way to go for many years to come.

  lizardbones

Elite Member

Joined: 6/11/08
Posts: 10378

I've become dependent upon spell check. My apologies for stupid grammatical errors.

8/15/12 8:06:35 AM#13


Originally posted by Quizzical

Originally posted by lizardbones Didn't AMD say that while they aren't abandoning the desktop market, their focus is going to be on mobile devices and the mobile market? I'm pretty sure I remember this because there was a big hullabullu about them no longer having desktop processors and they had to send out another statement that they weren't abandoning the desktop and gaming market to Intel. Wouldn't all of that stuff you just said up there dovetail very neatly into having very powerful, but also very mobile friendly chips?
Squeezing things into smaller form factors is mainly for mobile.  In a desktop, it's easy to stick a heatsink on however many chips you need to.

But taking instructions that would have traditionally been done on a processor and offloading them to the GPU is for all form factors.  For example, look here:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/photoshop-cs6-gimp-aftershot-pro,3208-13.html

That's some benchmarks for Photoshop, which isn't a program that you'd normally associate with highly mobile devices.  If you run everything on the processor, a Llano quad core loses badly to a Sandy Bridge dual core.  But offload some of the work to the GPU using OpenCL and suddenly Llano is faster than Sandy Bridge at everything--and sometimes by a factor of 3 or 4.  In one of their tests, a desktop A8-3850 actually beats an FX-8150 together with a Radeon HD 7970, probably for reasons of latency to transfer data between the CPU and GPU.

AMD isn't just going to put APUs in laptops and tablets.  They're going to put them in servers, data centers, and supercomputers, in addition to desktops.  It's not the right tool for everything.  But if you have a workload that can do most but not all of the computations on a GPU and is very sensitive to latency between the CPU and GPU, then APUs will be the way to go for many years to come.




My wife's step-dad uses Photoshop and he can do things in about 20 seconds that I couldn't do in hours, or probably ever. The way I look at him when he's doing stuff like that is the way people look at me when I write code to do something and it's the way I would look at you if I could watch when you type up your posts on hardware. This is just an observation.

Anyway, what you're saying makes me think of three things. Encryption is going to have to get much better, gaming physics are going to get much better and mobile devices are going to get much better at everything.

For every large, complex problem, there is a simple, clear solution that also happens to be absolutely wrong.

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 9:01:34 AM#14
Originally posted by lizardbones


Anyway, what you're saying makes me think of three things. Encryption is going to have to get much better, gaming physics are going to get much better and mobile devices are going to get much better at everything.

The jump in encryption performance might have already happened.  Newer processors have the AES-NI instruction set, which you can think of as a fixed-function block for doing AES encryption and decryption very, very fast.  For performance or energy efficiency, there's simply no way to beat a fixed function block targeted at the particular problem you're trying to solve.

If you're worried that offloading things to GPUs will make encryption schemes breakable, don't be.  When you're designing an encryption scheme, you don't just think about whether today's computers can break it.  You're probably not planning to decrypt and re-encrypt everything you have with some future encryption scheme a decade from now.  Rather, you pick out something that the computers you expect to launch decades from now still won't have enough power to break by brute force.

AES has a 256-bit version, which means more than 10^77 possible keys.  Even in the implausible event that Moore's Law survives until we can use fundamental particles (not even complete atoms!) as transistors, that's still not enough to make a brute-force attack on 256-bit AES that will finish before the sun burns out.

The trouble with gaming physics on a GPU is that you probably want to use the GPU to render the game.  If you're were doing Photoshop on a CPU, then the GPU wasn't doing much, so it's available for use to accelerate the program.  But that's not the case with games.  Where I think it could head is that higher end gaming systems will use a discrete video card to render the game, and the graphics part of the APU to do physics computations.

Offloading things onto the GPU doesn't help with everything.  Some algorithms are single-threaded, and it's just the nature of the algorithm.  Some things are very difficult or impossible to break up into a bunch of different segments of code for which the order in which they execute doesn't matter.  If you can't do that to a huge degree, then there's nothing to gain by moving it to the GPU.

  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3307

8/15/12 12:19:39 PM#15


Originally posted by Mannish

Originally posted by LethalJaxx

Originally posted by tom_gore AMD is totally lost on the gamer/enthusiastic market. Their only market is the APUs, which frankly are not a very big chunk of the total market. Intel will introduce their new i3 CPUs in September, further pressing AMD against the wall in their only strong market (at the 100 USD range).
You've got that upside-down. It's the gamer/enthousiast market that's very small. Not to mention, profit margins in that market are a joke. APU technology is still developing, but is likely to become a huge market very, very fast, with the desire of increasing the power of portable devices at a very high speed. While desktop development is aimed at cost reduction rather than power over the last few years. Sure, high-value, high-end components are nice advertising, and there is a market fo it, but this is not what these companies live on.
 

I agree too - "Gaming" PC's are very niche. Most people with computers, the most strenuous thing they do is maybe run Excel/Word and Facebook.

There is a reason Intel is has been and is still the worlds largest graphics chip manufacturer, and inarguably their graphics suck really really bad - it's because most people don't care (much) about their graphics - they just need enough to make the cards move in Solitare and for their Windows Desktop to show that cute picture of their kitten in the toilet. Or at least they don't care until they decide to go buy Diablo 3 or Call of Duty or something and it totally chokes on their integrated graphics.

APUs in the sense that we see them now (at least x86/x64 varieties) are still a bit too high power to use in "mobile" devices - at least anything really smaller than a netbook. Once you get really mobile (tablets/phones/etc) ARM pretty well has that arena locked up - and nVidia has their new ARM processor (Tegra). Not that AMD and Intel aren't trying to get there (Atom, AMD may start putting in ARM Cortex cores in with their x86 CPUs although that's mainly for security not mobility)

  ShakyMo

Apprentice Member

Joined: 11/21/11
Posts: 7246

8/15/12 12:23:56 PM#16
AMD isn't "totally lost in the gamers market"

Sure Intel make much better cpus.

With gpus it depends on the pricepoint, nvidia have the very high end with the 680, but at just about every other price point AMD is better bang for your buck (especially here in UK, e.g.7870 is cheaper than a 570 with performance like a 580)
  Ridelynn

Elite Member

Joined: 12/19/10
Posts: 3307

8/15/12 12:31:52 PM#17


Originally posted by ShakyMo
AMD isn't "totally lost in the gamers market"Sure Intel make much better cpus.With gpus it depends on the pricepoint, nvidia have the very high end with the 680, but at just about every other price point AMD is better bang for your buck (especially here in UK, e.g.7870 is cheaper than a 570 with performance like a 580)

I agree with this too.

Sure, Intel makes better CPU's - but we are more or less at the point where faster isn't necessarily better. There are very few games where an AMD FX-4100 isn't a fast enough processor to deliver playable framerates (with a suitable video card). The Intel i5-3570 may be a lot faster CPU-wise, but if that difference amounts to 102FPS vice 82FPS then who really cares - both are fast enough, one just has a total cost of about $150 more ($100 for the CPU, about $50 more for a comparable motherboard).

  Quizzical

Guide

Joined: 12/11/08
Posts: 13125

8/15/12 2:16:54 PM#18
Originally posted by ShakyMo

With gpus it depends on the pricepoint, nvidia have the very high end with the 680, but at just about every other price point AMD is better bang for your buck (especially here in UK, e.g.7870 is cheaper than a 570 with performance like a 580)

To the contrary, AMD has the top end with the Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition.  It's both faster and cheaper than a GeForce GTX 680.  The downside is that it's a power hog.

The price point where Nvidia has a strong case is $400 for a GeForce GTX 670.  It used to be a great value as compared to AMD's lineup, but AMD has dropped prices greatly since then, in addition to nudging clock speeds upward and getting some improvement from drivers.  The GTX 670 is still a decent value at $400, but someone who wants to spend around there and prefers AMD isn't really giving up anything except for energy efficiency.

Sometimes you can make a case for a GeForce GTX 560 or GeForce GTX 560 Ti around $170-$200, which fall in the hole between a Radeon HD 7770 and Radeon HD 7850.  But only sometimes, as depending on prices that day, sometimes an older Radeon HD 6870 or Radeon HD 6950 are a better value.

But at any other price point, Nvidia isn't even competitive at all.  It's basically a problem that AMD has its full lineup out with all seven cards (counting the 7970 GHz Edition) at competitive price points, while Nvidia has one good card out in its new lineup and that's it.

The GeForce GTX 660 and/or GTX 660 Ti are rumored to launch tomorrow.  AMD's counter to one or both of them was to increase clock speeds and cut prices on the Radeon HD 7950.  If Nvidia's new card still manages to be a decent value as compared to the new 7950, it will mean that their chip yields are abysmal.

  Jockan

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/03/08
Posts: 4072

8/15/12 6:03:46 PM#19
Originally posted by Ridelynn

 


Originally posted by ShakyMo
AMD isn't "totally lost in the gamers market"Sure Intel make much better cpus.With gpus it depends on the pricepoint, nvidia have the very high end with the 680, but at just about every other price point AMD is better bang for your buck (especially here in UK, e.g.7870 is cheaper than a 570 with performance like a 580)

 

I agree with this too.

Sure, Intel makes better CPU's - but we are more or less at the point where faster isn't necessarily better. There are very few games where an AMD FX-4100 isn't a fast enough processor to deliver playable framerates (with a suitable video card). The Intel i5-3570 may be a lot faster CPU-wise, but if that difference amounts to 102FPS vice 82FPS then who really cares - both are fast enough, one just has a total cost of about $150 more ($100 for the CPU, about $50 more for a comparable motherboard).

 Me and a buddy was talking about this at work a couple of days ago. One pc playing a game at 102FPS and another playing it at 82FPS you can not tell the difference just by looking at them. If I have to use a benchmark to see the difference in something then I dont care about it. Paid $100 for my FX 4100 and finally getting my new AMD Radeon this weekend. LG