Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Radeon HD 6970 & 6950 launched… and disappointing.

The Radeon HD 6970 and its slower buddy, the HD 6950, were launched this morning… and kind of blow. OK, they're not bad cards, they're actually better than the HD 5870 and 5850, which they replace and which were already quite good, but the improvement falls seriously short of expectations: basically, the HD 6970 is about equal to the GeForce GTX 570, while the HD 6950 is just a bit faster than the HD 5870.

At least they're pretty…

They also draw a bit more power than the HD 5800s, so there isn't much of an improvement in the performance/W department. I'll probably have further comments on those cards later, but for now, here are a few reviews worth reading:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Graphics update: Radeon HD 6970 & 6950

I haven't been posting much lately, mostly because I've been busy, but also because there's a lot of nonsense floating around about the upcoming Radeons, which makes it quite difficult to sort out the truth from the FUD. That said, the following specs, gathered by Expreview, are almost certain.

Radeon HD 6970: specifications
Radeon HD 6950: specifications
These specifications may not appear all that impressive, but AMD has apparently improved the architecture's efficiency by quite a bit. Indeed, the HD 6970 seems to perform a solid 10% (if not more) above the GTX 570, which would make it almost as fast as the 580, according to performance numbers floating around.

The HD 6950 should therefore be roughly 5% below the GTX 570, perhaps equal or even slightly faster. In any case, it should be quite a close call. Exact power figures and prices have been rather elusive so far, but the cards will be released on December 15, so the wait is almost over.

It's going to be a merry Christmas indeed… :-)

Furthermore, I think that AMD and NVIDIA's renaming practices are dishonest and harmful to consumers, and that they need to stop.

Friday, December 10, 2010

RealWorld Tech: Introduction to OpenCL

Real World Technologies has recently published an introduction to OpenCL, written by David Kanter. It's a pretty good place to start if you're interested in that kind of thing.

Have a nice read.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

AMD Cayman (Radeon HD 6970) on December 15 after all

UPDATE: wrong specs
Well, the title pretty much says it all. AMD's upcoming high-end graphics cards, the HD 6970 and HD 6950, based on Cayman, will be released on December 15, and that's pretty much official.

GeForce GTX 570 reviews out

The GeForce GTX 570 has been released, and reviews are available from the usual suspects: The Tech Report, Anandtech,

In a previous post, I had predicted performance slightly below that of the GTX 480, but apparently I was a bit pessimistic, since it turned out to be a hair higher. As expected, some games do see a slight performance drop, especially in very high definitions, but on average, performance is just a bit higher. The GTX 570 draws about 250W under full load, which is closer to the 470 than to the 480, so that's good news. Noise levels are very reasonable too. All in all, at $350, this card looks like a pretty good addition to NVIDIA's lineup.

That said, it's a bit worrying that the 570's maximum power draw (under Furmark) is higher than the 470's, just as the 580's is higher than the 480's. I don't know about you, but I don't really like the direction this is going.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

AMD Radeon HD 6970 & 6950 on December 8?

Specifications for the HD 6970, plus my own speculation.
We already knew that the GeForce GTX 570 was supposed to be released on December 7, but now it appears that AMD's upcoming high-end graphics cards, the HD 6970 and 6950, should be launched the following day, at least according to ZDNet. Those two are powered by the GPU known as Cayman, which I've already talked about here.

I don't recall hearing that date before, so perhaps ZDNet knows something most other rumor sites don't. Other people have mentioned December 13, or the following week, so who knows?

On a related note, Charlie Demerjian from SemiAccurate says AMD has just reduced allocation for the HD 6950, mostly in favor of the 6970. That's a good sign for yields, though there could be marketing/business reasons for this move too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

SemiAccurate: GF110 is 550mm²

According to Charlie Demerjian's recent post on SemiAccurate, and contrary to what most people thought, NVIDIA's latest GPU, GF110, is actually bigger than GF100, with a very respectable size of about 550mm².

GF110 is the chip that powers the GTX 580 and 570, for those of you who might not remember. However, bear in mind that if GF110 enjoys better yields than GF100 (which is quite likely) it could be cheaper to produce than GF100 ever was, in spite of its larger size.

In any case, unless AMD's Cayman is substantially larger than we've been led to believe, NVIDIA will have a hard time fighting it with such a large chip and the high manufacturing costs that go with it.

Furthermore, I think that AMD and NVIDIA's renaming practices are dishonest and harmful to consumers, and that they need to stop. 

The Tech Report: high-end cards and multi-GPU

The Tech Report has just published an interesting graphics cards review, in which they pitted very high-end graphics cards against pairs of cheaper models, trying to achieve the highest possible performance/price ratio for very high performance levels.

The result is rather interesting, with the best solution being arguably a Crossfire of HD 6850s. The thirteenth page has a nice scatter graph, plotting performance against price.