AMD's new Radeon HD 6000M series is the chip maker's second generation of DirectX 11 capable mobile graphics architecture and is a top-to-bottom solution with GPUs for every performance segment.
These latest GPUs deliver up to 1.3 teraFLOPS of compute power and support up to six displays using AMD's Eyefinity technology. AMD also baked in a few other familiar proprietary technology bits, including its HD3D technology (stereo 3D) and EyeSpeed technology (improved streaming performance).
New GPU series include the HD 6300M, 6400M, 6500M, 6600M, 6700M, 6800M, and 6900M. On the top end, the HD 6900M comes with 960 stream processing units, 48 texture units, 128 Z/Stencil ROP units, a GPU clockspeed of 580-680MHz, and memory clockspeed of 900MHz.
Gigabyte today introduced its first AMD fusion board -- the GA-350N-USB3 -- which also happens to be the mobo maker's first ever mini-ITX board for the AMD platform.
"We’re excited about the GA-E350N-USB3 motherboard because it’s the first all-in-one Mini-ITX board with DX11 capabilities, and we expect it to go a long way towards bridging the gap between discrete and integrated graphics performance," commented Tim Handley, Deputy Director of Motherboard Marketing at Gigabyte Technology Co. Ltd. "With its specially designed low profile fansink and multitude of hi-def, high-speed connectors, we expect this little power house to be popular amongst HTPC system integrators, DIY enthusiasts and case modders."
Gigabyte's mini-ITX board sports some big features, such as USB 3.0, SATA 6Gbps, HDMI, dual-BIOS chips, and triple the amount of USB power to enable quick charging of Apple handheld devices (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch).
The board comes with an AMD E-350 dual-core chip and AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics, a combo Gigabyte says is sufficient to playback Blu-ray content.
It's officially 2011 and native USB 3.0 support still isn't all that close to fruition. Blame both Intel and AMD for dragging their feet, and credit NEC and other USB 3.0 chip makers for filling in the gap.
According to DigiTimes, AMD isn't planning to integrate native USB 3.0 support until July of this year. Intel will take even longer adopting the SuperSpeed spec by baking it into its Ivy Bridge platform all the way in January 2012, exactly a year from now.
In the meantime, NEC, ASMedia, and Etron are leading the charge with USB 3.0 chips, more recently turning their attention to AMD's new Ontario and Zacate platforms. This will give the trio at least another year of profitability, DigiTimes says, and maybe longer.
Both Intel and AMD will start pushing the new standard in the months to come, although it's expected that Intel will relegate native USB 3.0 support to only its high-end boards at first.
While Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge processors remain the immediate focus of the world, the Santa Clara-based chip maker is already laying the groundwork for the coming of Ivy Bridge, the 22nm die shrink of Sandy Bridge expected to hit the market in late 2011 or early 2012. Ivy Bridge processors will be fabricated at four of Intel's plants in Oregon and Arizona. However, a Digitimes report suggests that Intel might outsource the production of Ivy Bridge's chipset consort.
If you like to root for the underdog and have been losing sleep wondering how AMD's going to compete against Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture and other upcoming technologies, go ahead and rest easy tonight. According to DigiTimes, AMD expects its global market share for notebook platforms to jump from 11 percent in 2010 to 15 percent in 2011, while targeting a rise in its desktop and server platforms from 20 percent to 25 percent.
Those are ambitious numbers, so how exactly will AMD be able to pull it off? The same way AMD has seemingly always done business -- by appealing to consumers with a strong price-to-performance ratio. Combined with the company's focus on low power consumption, which should help it be a bigger player in the netbook segment, AMD is ready to ring in the New Year.
Of course, it's not as though Intel plans to stand still in 2011. In addition to Sandy Bridge, there's talk that Intel plans to work more closely with Nvidia to push Atom-based netbooks with Nvidia graphics inside, DigiTimes says.
Market research firm iSuppli declared a "microprocessor stalemate" between Intel and AMD, neither of which was able to wrestle any significant share from the other in the third quarter.
Intel's global microprocessor share dropped ever-so-slightly from 80.4 percent in the second quarter to 80.1 percent in the third, while AMD went from 11.5 percent to 11.3 percent. In other words, both chip makers barely budged.
"In reality, the share changes in the third quarter from the two incumbents were extremely small and not at all significant," said Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst for compute platforms at iSuppli. "What is significant, however, is that neither company has been able to take any sizable share away from the other. One reason is that each company offers well-matched competitive product portfolios. Another reason is that end markets are not undergoing significant changes in market share of product lineup that would impact microprocessor market share."
AMD fans may want to delcare a tiny victory for the third quarter after having dropped its share 0.1 percent less than Intel, while Intel's fan base will point to the fact that AMD's share is down 0.8 percent from 2009, while Intel's is down just 0.1 percent.
Nothing to get excited about either way, though 2011 could be quite a different story.
"There remains a very competitive situation between the two dominant suppliers," Wilkins added. "In particular, we look forward to seeing the effect that AMD's forthcoming Fusion products might have on the share situation for these two mega-players."
When AMD launched the Radeon 6800 series back in October, we suggested that some people might be confused by the naming scheme. The Radeon HD 6870 & 6850, code-named Barts, were actually midrange GPUs, and not replacements for AMD’s high end Radeon HD 5870.
Now AMD is releasing its high end GPU, code-named Cayman, in two versions. The high end, which AMD calling its “enthusiast” GPU is the Radeon HD 6970, while the Radeon HD 6950 slots into a space between the 6870 and the 6970. What’s more, the HD 6870 doesn’t replace the dual-GPU Radeon HD 5970. If all that seems once again confusing, it probably is. It’s probably best just to consider AMD’s current naming scheme as unrelated to its old one, despite similarities.
Read on for more info, and all the benchmarks you can handle!
Barring any subsequent hotfixes, AMD graphics card owners have one last driver package to download and install before 2010 comes to a close, Catalyst 10.12.
AMD's newest drivers add support for DivX on the Radeon HD 6800 Series of cards, support for OpenGL 4.1, and includes the AMD Stream 2.3 SDK release. Each one of these comes with their own subset of improvements, particularly OpenGL 4.1, which introduces a bunch of new features and performance improvements.
Installing the Catalyst 10.12 driver suite also stomps out several known issues for Windows 7, Vista, and XP, everything from solving random tearing issues (when playing back XVID files on an extended display) to getting rid of the intermittent hanging issue in Dragon Age Origins.
Like the floppy drive, the VGA port has been one of the mainstays of the PC industry almost from the beginning. And like the floppy drive, the VGA port is on its way out, to be replaced by newer, better technology, TechNewsWorld.com reports.
For the most part, the floppy drive has already been replaced by USB thumb drives. The VGA port is still around, however both Intel and AMD, with the blessing of several computer vendors, said they will phase out support for the soon-to-be legacy connection by 2015.
The reasoning behind this forced retirement is to give DisplayPort and HDMI ports their due. After all, "HDMI and DisplayPort are modern digital interfaces that support higher resolutions and screen sizes," Intel spokesperson Nick Knuppfer points out.
Will you miss the VGA port, or is this move long overdue?
You should have no trouble getting your game on this holiday shopping season. Let's recap your latest options. OnLive just launched its Micro Game console for $99, Nvidia recently outed its GeForce GTX 570 GPU, and according to DigiTimes, AMD is preparing to launch its new Radeon HD 6970 and HD 6950 graphics cards (Cayman) in the third week of December.
Citing un-named sources, DigiTimes says AMD's HD 6970 isn't quite up to par with Nvidia's GTX 580 videocard, so you can figure AMD's part to cost around $50 to $70 less. Previous rumors suggest this flagship part will come with 2GB of memory on a 256-bit bus chugging along at 1375MHz, 96 texture units, 32 ROPs, and a core clockspeed of 880MHz.
How many of these cards will actually be available in December remains to be seen. There's already talk that initial shipment volumes will be limited, so if you're holding out for one of these parts, get your trigger finger ready starting December 15th.