AMD Fusion APUs Finally Unveiled

Today, at the ongoing CES 2011 AMD has announced their first ever family of Accelerated Processing Units (APU). The AMD Fusion based APUs will take on Intel’s Atom processors which are targeted towards netbook. According to AMD, their Fusion based APU’s provide a multi-core processor, a powerful Dx11 based GPU along with high definition (1080p) video playback and an all-day’ battery life.

As of now, AMD is offering two series of Fusion APUs E and C. The former is targeted primarily towards mainstream laptops, All-in-ones (AIO) and other small form factor based computers like HTPC. The latter is designed for HD netbooks and other emerging factors.


The E series APUs have a power consumption of 18W with clock speeds in the range of 1.5GHz to 1.6GHz. The C series APUs have a TDP of 9W with clock speeds of 1GHz and 1.2GHz. Both the series offer a dual-core as well as a single-core processor. AMD will also release A series of APUs in the first half of 2011 which will be targeted towards mainstream laptops. The A series APUs will pack up to 4 cores and a powerful Dx11 based discrete GPU.

AMD had to push back the release date of Fusion APUs numerous times before they finally unveiled it. Hopefully, the delays will be worth it and these Fusion APUs from AMD will provide stellar performance.


Convert AMD HD 6950 To HD 6970 With A BIOS Flash

The hardware crazy folks over at Tech Power Up have brought a gift for all AMD HD 6950 owners out there. The gift is definitely going to make every AMD 6950 owner jump with joy.   The TPU (Tech Power Up) guys have found that the AMD HD 6950 can be converted to an AMD HD 6970 by a simple BIOS flash.


AMD launched the Cayman core based HD 6950 and the HD 6970 in the middle of this month. The main difference between the HD 6970 and the HD 6950 are the lower number of shaders and the slower core and memory clock speed of the latter. AMD HD 6950 owners just need to download the AMD HD 6970 BIOS and flash it on their HD 6950 GPU.

Until now, the TPU guys have managed to convert the HD 6950 to the HD 6970 from all popular GPU manufacturers including XFX, Sapphire and PowerColor. AMD HD 6950 owners can read the guide on how to convert their GPU to the HD 6970 here.


AMD Unveils The Radeon HD 6950 And HD 6970 Graphic Cards

Today, AMD has unveiled its next generation high-end graphics card the HD 6970 and HD 6950. Both these cards are the first to be based on the new Cayman architecture. The core of the HD 6950 runs at 800MHz and packs in 1408 stream processors along with 88 texture units and 32 ROPs. The 2GB GDDR5 memory of the GPU is running at 1.25GHz.


The elder sibling of the HD 6950 the HD 6970 packs in 1536 stream processors, 96 texture units and 32 ROPs. The core of the GPU is clocked at 880 MHz while the 2GB GDDR5 memory runs at 1.375 GHz. Both the cards have a 256-bit memory bus width. The cards also support AMD’s EyeInfinity technology.

The HD 6950 and the HD 6970 go on sale starting from today from third parties like Power Color, Sapphire and XFX. AMD has priced both these cards very competitively at only $299 and $369 for the HD 6950 and the HD 6970 respectively.

AMD India Develops Ontario – New Fusion Chip for Netbooks and Tablets

AMD-Fusion The Indian wing of AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) has developed a sophisticated fusion chip called Ontario that is claimed to be three times more powerful and economical than its competition. A fusion chip is one which includes both CPU (Central Processing Unit) and GPU (Graphics Processing Unit).

These super-small Ontario chips are targeted at tablets and netbooks, and are the first in a series of fusion chips planned by AMD. The chipmaker claims that Ontario will be able to deliver 90% of the performance of today’s chips in less than half of the silicon area, which should theoretically lead to less heat generation. The Bobcat based Ontario chips are extremely power efficient with a rating of 9W. Each core is capable of running on less than one watt of power.

AMD Ontario (Img Source: The Hindu)

Ontario was designed by an 86 member team from India who worked on it for two years. Ontario powered devices, including a Windows 7 tablet from Acer, will begin appearing in 2011.

AMD HD 6800 Series Graphics Cards Unveiled

Today, in a press release AMD has announced their next generation mid-range graphics card series the HD 6800. According to AMD, the new HD 6800 series of graphics card provide up to 30% more performance than other competing products. As of now, the HD 6800 series of graphics card consists of the HD 6850 and the HD 6870. Both the cards sport a dual-slot design and they also feature 2 mini-DisplayPort (v1.2), 2 DVI connectors and 1 HDMI 1.4a port. Like their predecessor, both the cards are Dx11 based. ATI_HD_6800

AMD is the market share leader by a landslide in DirectX ® 11 graphics,said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, GPU Division, AMD. Through our sweet spot strategy and our open, industry standards approach, we’ve worked to deliver the best possible experience for gamers. Today, our laser focus on gamers continues with the introduction of what we think is far and away the best graphics card series today, the AMD Radeonâ„¢ HD 6800 series.

The cards also sport MPEG-4 decoding for DivX, Xvid and BluRay 3D along with UVD3 (Unified Video Decoder). The Barts GPU core used in these graphics card is up to 25% smaller than its predecessor Cypress core.

The AMD HD 6850 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory is expected to retail for $179 while its elder sibling the HD6870 will retail for $239 with 1GB of GDDR5 memory on board.

AMD is also expected to release the HD 6950 and the HD6970 by next month.

Adios ATI, It Will Be All AMD from Here On

AMD has announced that it will retire the ATI brand later this year. Four years ago, AMD shocked everyone by acquiring ATI for $5.4 billion. The merger almost cost AMD dearly. The massive expense was financed through $2 million in loans and 56 million shares of AMD stock. Most pundits believed that AMD had made a blunder by coughing up so much for ATI, when it was suffering major losses in the chipset business. However, the merger also brought tangible benefits to the chipset giant. ATI’s strong performance in the recent past has helped AMD boost its brand name, and now AMD is preparing to ship Fusion APUs (CPU+GPU on a single die).


Nevertheless, AMD obviously believes that it stands to gain significantly by retiring the ATI brand name. Come 2011, all products from the Sunnyvale based semiconductor company will bear only AMD branding. According to AMD, an internal survey revealed the following key points:

  1. AMD brand preference triples when the person surveyed is aware of the ATI-AMD merger.
  2. The AMD brand is viewed as stronger than ATI when compared to graphics competitors (presumably NVIDIA).
  3. The Radeon and Fire Pro brands themselves (without ATI being attached to them) are very high as is.

The last point suggests that ATI products are well recognized even without the ATI branding. However, even more crucial is the revelation that most of the consumers consider AMD to be a more significant competitor to Nvidia than ATI. The GPU market has long been dominated by ATI and Nvidia.

Much like 3dfx Voodoo, ATI will always be remembered by geeks and hardware aficionados around the world. Hardcore ATI fans might be disappointed with AMD’s announcement, but at least ATI is going out with respect.

The Next Stop In Processing War: Chip Core Count

Chip manufacturers are never short of innovation. After all, that is what keeps them in business. Intel is planning on its next beast of a chip, the Westmere EX  featuring 10 cores while AMD plans to release the Bullldozer in reply featuring 16 cores per chip.

This has started a new battle between Intel and AMD. Earlier, it was about the total Gigahertz though now, it is about the number of cores. Both times though, AMD beats Intel. AMD processors are extremely flexible and Intel survives only because of its superior business model.

A new development that has been seen in this field is that the chip manufacturers are starting to take servers seriously and most of these high end releases are for servers. These new chips will be used to serve demands in cloud computing, high-performance computing and  parallel  processing.

Another chip manufacturer and startup Tilera, takes matters further by having a chip that can be extended to 64 cores and with further development, it is expected to serve 100 cores next year. SM10000 from Seamicro on the other hand takes matters further by allowing mobile support and allowing up to 512 cores.

This begins a new era of war between the numbers of cores and soon, the processing power will be sent to oblivion.


Dell Unveils Its XPS 7100 Series Of Desktop Computers

Dell has just released its new Studio XPS 7100 series of Desktop computers. Quad cores and/or hexa-cores processors from AMD power the new XPS 7100 series of Desktop computers. The base model of the XPS 7100 starts from $499. The XPS 7100 series of Desktops uses the latest DDR3 RAM for better performance. Dell

The total RAM on the XPS 7100 is upgradeable to 16GB DDR3, and the storage space can be increased to 1.5TB. The graphics card options include either the inbuilt ATI HD 4200 or the HD5450 or the HD 5770 or the top of the line HD 5870 graphics card with 1 GB of graphics memory. A Blu-Ray drive, along with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are also optional. The top-of-the-line XPS 7100 features an AMD Phenom II X6 1055T processor along with an ATI HD 5870 with 1 GB of memory. The AMD Phenom II X6 1055T processor is meant only for OEMs, and will never hit the retail market.

It is nice to see Dell selling computers using processors from AMD. This will help in increasing the market share of AMD in a market, which is dominated by Intel. Keep in mind that the total pricing does not include the price of a LCD monitor. Users need to pay separately for a LCD monitor.

PowerColor ATI HD5970 Comes With 12 Mini DisplayPorts!

The ATI HD5970 is already a monster of a graphics card. The card features 2 cores of ATI HD5870, and has 3200 stream processors along with 160 texture units. The card alsoPowerColor two-chip radeon HD 5970 01 supports ATI EyeFinity and has 3 Mini DisplayPorts. Users can connect up to three displays and combine them to use make it one large monitor. Well now it seems PowerColor is going to release a modified version of the HD5970 with twelve Mini-DisplayPorts.

Twelve Mini-DisplayPorts will allow users to connect up to 12 monitors to a single graphics card! The graphics memory has also been increased to 4GB. The power consumption of this card is surely going to be high, so users must make sure that they have a beefy PSU.

PowerColor intends to give the users a public demo of this monster at the upcoming Computex in June. Earlier, Powercolor had also released a modified version of the ATI HD5770 with five mini-DisplayPorts.

AMD Unveils Two New Six Core Processors And 890FX Chipset

AMD today unveiled two new processors featuring six cores for the general consumer. The two new processors Phenom II 1055T and the Phenom II X6 1090T run at 2.8Ghz and 3.2Ghz respectively. Both the processors have 3MB of L2 cache, and 6Mb of L3 cache. The TDP of both the processors is rated at 125W. The processors will work on motherboards with either AM2+ or AM3 socket, having proper BIOS support.

With AMD Phenom II X6 processors, discerning customers can build an incredible, immersive entertainment system and content creation powerhouse. AMD is answering the call for elite desktop PC performance and features at an affordable price.- said Bob Grim, Director of Client Platform Marketing at AMD.


The processors also feature AMD’s Turbo COREtechnology, which can automatically overclock up to 3 cores. This will allow an increase in performance for single threaded applications. Both the processors have been built on the 45nm fabrication process. The processors contain 904 million transistors and have a die size of 346mm2. AMD also launched the 890FX chipset. The 890FX chipset is more or less identical to its predecessor the 790FX.

The new chipset is built on the 65nm fabrication process. The main difference is the new SB850 Southbridge. The new chipset has support for 14 USB 2.0 ports, and 6 SATA ports but has no USB 3.0 ports. AMD calls the 890FX chipset, a Dx11 based ATI graphics card and a Thuban based six core processor combination Leo the successor to the Dragonplatform.

The MSRP for the Phenom II X6 1090T is 285$ while that of Phenom II X6 1050T is 199$. At this price point the AMD Phenom II X6 processors, seem a much more valuable option compared to the six core i7-980X CPU from Intel, which cost 1000$.