This Week in Computer Hardware 406: Ryzen 5 and Some Sweet TVs!

AMD announces Ryzen 5 CPUs… lots of cores for not much cash! Thinking about a new TV? Robert Heron joins us to talk up the latest from LG, Samsung, and Sony. Headphones burst into flames, tuning the Ryzen 7 for best performance, all the 1080Ti GPUs are sold, and are we going from Lithium batteries to glass batteries?!? Tons of hardware news in this week’s TWiCH!

AMD and Nvidia get ready for next-gen DirectX 12

Microsoft has yet to launch its next-generation DirectX 12 multimedia API, but AMD and Nvidia are both ready with hardware to support it.

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For AMD, its Radeon HD 7000 and Radeon R200 series will support the API, while over at Nvidia support will come from the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell generation of GeForce GPUs.

DirectX 12 isn’t just a small tweak applied to the top of the existing DirectX 11 API; it’s a big revision. It brings to the table a significant number of benefits, as listed by AMD:

Better use of multi-core CPUs

More on-screen detail

Higher min/max/average framerates

Smoother gameplay

More efficient use of GPU hardware

Reduced System power draw

Allows for new game designs previously considered impossible due to restriction by older APIs

Better use of multi-core CPUs is significant. Currently under DirectX 11, no matter how many cores your CPU has, the first core does the majority of the hard work for the API, with the rest of the cores doing very little. Under DirectX 12, the workload will be far better distributed, even across as many as eight cores.

Given that AMD has a number of competitively priced 8-core processors in its line-up, this might give the company an edge over Intel in the gaming arena.

On the Nvidia side of things, there are new multi-sampling shaders, significantly faster geometry shader rendering and ray tracing shadows.

DirectX 12 will also make better use of the GPU resources available to it, which will benefit system with beefier graphics cards. This, in turn, will give those expensive AMD and Nvidia GPUs a little more to do.

This isn’t just about gaming though. It is also going to benefit other emerging areas such as virtual reality because it will allow existing hardware to do more, and work more efficiently.

via AMD and Nvidia get ready for next-gen DirectX 12 | ZDNet.

Like the old days: Why AMD and Nvidia are fighting?

AMD and Nvidia are at it again. The two reigning champs in the market for video game graphics have been fighting since late last month when some performance issues on the PC version of Watch Dogs kicked up a fresh controversy. And given that AMD is still talking about the issue publicly, it doesn’t look like things are going to settle down anytime soon.

Are you one of the people perplexed by all the sound and fury emanating from PC gaming forums? Don’t worry: I am, too. To help us all get up to speed, I prepared a handy guide to the main talking points here.

Have they ever been at peace with one another?

Not really, no. They’re sort of like the Coke vs. Pepsi of video games. That comparison is all the more relevant considering that some of their other competitors, like Intel, have captured a much larger portion of the overall graphics market by appealing to PC users who don’t need to play serious games and thus don’t care as much about spending upwards of $300 for the best graphics card imaginable. Something similar happened when Pepsi and Coke locked horns so intensely that they didn’t notice other, smaller competitors had started making little things called energy drinks.

Is there a substantial difference between their cards?

It depends on who you ask. Last year when we polled our readers, the Kotaku community seemed to overwhelmingly favor Nvidia cards. That doesn’t say anything about performance, mind you—just people’s preferences. But market share could be a significant issue here, since Nvidia has been beating out its closest competitor specifically in the PC realm in recent years. Here’s quick description of Nvidia’s current, enviable position from the financial site The Motley Fool:

NVIDIA has benefited from the growing PC gaming market, with revenue from its GeForce gaming GPUs rising by 15% in fiscal 2014. This growth came during a continuing decline in the PC market as a whole, with NVIDIA specializing in one of the few areas that have remained immune to the PC sales slump. NVIDIA’s share of the discrete GPU market has also been on the rise, with the company now commanding around 65% of the market. NVIDIA was nearly even with rival AMD back in 2010 in terms of market share, but the gap has been widening each year.

What does that have to do with anything?

Well, each company’s influence in the PC gaming market rises and falls depending on the worth that individual game developers give to it. So if a company like, say, Ubisoft thinks that it should form some special partnership with Nvidia because lots of PC gamers use its cards over AMD tech, the company’s executives would probably feel more inclined to form such a special partnership if they were convinced that keeping Nvidia happy would guarantee them the rapt attention of 65 percent of PC gamers.

Full Story: Like the old days: Why AMD and Nvidia are fighting? – TechSpot.

DailyTech – 28 nm AMD APU Lineup is Complete, On Course for H1 2014 Launch

New chip families will feature the PUMA/Steamroller cores and Graphics Core Next GPU compute units

Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) announced a pair of sporty upcoming x86-based, 28 nanometer (nm) processors that will front its mobile processing efforts. It also announced a new HTPC-geared CPU+GPU combo chip that’s sure to please budget shoppers. Officially these chips won’t launch until 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES). But AMD’s revealed enough that it’s painting a very interesting picture for the 2014 chip market as it tries to capitalize on its sales strengths and improve upon its struggling lines.

I. Trinity and Llano Kick Things Off

Since their 2010 introduction AMD’s “accelerated processing units” (APUs) (AMD’s marketing lingo for PC-geared system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs) have sold well, and have been very competitive in some niches. But as mobiles users’ battery life expectations have risen AMD has struggled with power consumption. Even as Intel Corp. (INTC) pioneered industry leading node technology, AMD’s third party fab partners struggled to keep pace in terms of die shrinks.

Ultimately this struggle has had more of an affected on the lower end mobile geared APU stock, than AMD’s desktop-geared offerings.

On the high end of AMD’s APU line is the A8 and A10 brands, the former of which deployed in June 2011 with the launch of the first generation Llano APU and the latter of which deployed in Oct. 2012 as a late add-on to the Trinity series.

Since day one AMD’s APU line competed for very specific market niches — budget laptops with no discrete mobile GPU card — and leaned heavily on price as a selling point. But AMD’s graphical leadership made this formula not only work, but flourish as AMD’s chips rivalled even low-end discrete mobile GPUs at a reduced bill of materials net cost for the GPU+CPU.

DailyTech - 28 nm AMD APU Lineup is Complete, On Course for H1 2014 Launch

DailyTech - 28 nm AMD APU Lineup is Complete, On Course for H1 2014 Launch

Picture top to bottom: Brazos, Trinity (middle), Tahiti (whom Trinity’s on-die GPU is partially derived from) [Image Source: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Last year’s follow-up to Llano, the 32 nm Trinity line of “accelerated processing units” (APUs) added an improved on-die GPU (sometimes referred to as a “dGPU”), which fell somewhere between a Radeon 6000 HD and 7000 HD in architecture. Trinity also ditched the aging K10 architecture for a leaner, enhanced Bulldozer core, code-named Piledriver. Power fell to between 65 to 100 watts.

Full Story: DailyTech – 28 nm AMD APU Lineup is Complete, On Course for H1 2014 Launch.

Nvidia slashes GeForce GTX 780, 770 prices as it preps for GTX 780 Ti launch

Earlier today we reported that Nvidia has added ShadowPlay support to its GeForce Experience software and now we are hearing the GPU maker has slashed the price of some of their high-end GTX 700-series graphics cards and announced a release date for the GTX 780 Ti. Busy day at Nvidia, eh?

The suggested retail price for the GeForce GTX 780 will dropped from $649 to $499 while the GTX 770 will soon sell for $329 versus the previous $399 asking price. The cuts are expected to go into effect starting at 6 a.m. on October 29 so if you are in the market for either of these cards, just wait a day and save yourself enough money to buy some new games on Nvidia’s dime.

The price breaks will position Nvidia’s top cards to better compete with new Radeon hardware from AMD. For example, the GTX 780 will soon serve as a solid alternative to the R9 290X GPU in terms of performance for the dollar. And if that weren’t enough, the GTX 780 and 770 also ship with a free copy of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Batman: Arkham Origins and Splinter Cell: Blacklist and a $100 off coupon for a Shield handheld gaming system.

Elsewhere, Nvidia said the GTX 780 Ti (expected to be a faster version of the GTX Titan) will arrive on November 7 priced at $699 and will ship with the same games bundle and Shield coupon as the GTX 780 and 770.

via Nvidia slashes GeForce GTX 780, 770 prices as it preps for GTX 780 Ti launch – TechSpot.