AnandTech | AMD Radeon HD 7790 Review Feat. Sapphire: The First Desktop Sea Islands

AnandTech | AMD Radeon HD 7790 Review Feat. Sapphire: The First Desktop Sea Islands.


In an industry that has long grown accustomed to annual product updates, the video card industry is one where the flip of a calendar to a new year brings a lot of excitement, anticipation, speculation, and maybe even a bit of dread for consumers and manufacturers alike. It’s no secret then that with AMD launching most of their Radeon HD 7000 series parts in Q1 of 2012 that the company would be looking to refresh their product lineup this year. Indeed, they removed doubt before 2012 even came to a close when they laid out their 8000M plans for the first half of 2013, revealing their first 2013 GPU and giving us a mobile roadmap with clear spots for further GPUs. So we have known for months that new GPUs would be on their way; the questions being what would they be and when would they arrive?
The answer to that, as it turns out, is a lot more complex than anyone was expecting. It’s been something of an epic journey getting to AMD’s 2013 GPU launches, and not all for good reasons. A PR attempt to explain that the existing Radeon HD 7000 series parts would not be going away backfired in a big way, with AMD’s calling their existing product stack “stable through 2013” being incorrectly interpreted as their intention to not release any new products in 2013. This in turn lead to AMD going one step further to rectify the problem by publically laying out their 2013 plans in greater (but not complete) detail, which thankfully cleared a lot of confusion. Though not all confusion and doubt has been erased – after all, AMD has to save something for the GPU introductions – we learned that AMD would be launching new retail desktop 7000 series cards in the first half of this year, and that brings us to today.
Launching today is AMD’s second new GPU for 2013 and the first GPU to make it to the retail desktop market: Bonaire. Bonaire in turn will be powering AMD’s first new retail desktop card for 2013, the Radeon HD 7790. With the 7790 AMD intends to fill the sometimes wide chasm in price and performance between their existing 7770 (Cape Verde) and 7850 (Pitcairn) products, and as a result today we’ll see just how Bonaire and the 7790 fit into the big picture for AMD’s 2013 plans.

AMD GPU Specification Comparison
AMD Radeon HD 7790 AMD Radeon HD 7850 AMD Radeon HD 7770 AMD Radeon HD 6870
Stream Processors 896 1024 640 1120
Texture Units 56 64 40 56
ROPs 16 32 16 32
Core Clock 1000MHz 860MHz 1000MHz 900MHz
Memory Clock 6GHz GDDR5 4.8GHz GDDR5 4.5GHz GDDR5 4.2GHz GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 128-bit 256-bit 128-bit 256-bit
VRAM 1GB 2GB 1GB 1GB
FP64 1/16 1/16 1/16 N/A
Transistor Count 2.08B 2.8B 1.5B 1.7B
Target Board Power ~85W 150W (TDP) ~80W 151W (TDP)
Manufacturing Process TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 28nm TSMC 40nm
Architecture GCN 1.1* GCN 1.0 GCN 1.0 VLIW5
Launch Date 03/22/2013 03/05/2012 02/15/2012 10/21/2010
Launch Price $149 $249 $159 $239

Diving right into things like always, Bonaire is designed to be an in-between GPU; something to go between the 10 Compute Unit Cape Verde GPU, and the 20 CU Pitcairn GPU. Pitcairn, as we might recall, is almost entirely twice the GPU that Cape Verde is. It has twice as many shaders, twice as many ROPs, twice as many geometry processors, and twice as wide a memory bus. Not surprisingly then, the performance gap between the two GPUs at similar clockspeeds approaches that two-fold difference, and even with binning and releasing products like the 7850 this leaves a fairly large gap in performance.

As AMD intends to carry the existing Southern Islands family forward into 2013, their strategy for the mid-to-low end of the desktop market has become one of filling in that gap. This is a move made particularly important for AMD due to the fact that NVIDIA’s GK106-powered GeForce GTX 650 Ti sits rather comfortably between AMD’s 7770 and 7850 in price and performance, robbing AMD of that market segment. Bonaire in turn will fill that gap, and the 7790 will be the flagship desktop Bonaire video card.

So what are we looking at for Bonaire and the 7790? As the 7790 will be a fully enabled Bonaire part, what we’ll be seeing with the 7790 today will be everything that Bonaire can offer. On the specification front we’re looking at 14 CUs, which breaks down to 896 stream processors paired with 56 texture units, giving Bonaire 40% more shading and texturing performance than Cape Verde. As a further change to the frontend, the number of geometry engines and command processors (ACEs) has been doubled compared to Cape Verde from 1 to 2 each, giving Bonaire the ability to process up to 2 primitives per clock instead of 1, bringing it up to parity with Pitcairn and Tahiti. Finally, the backend remains unchanged; like Cape Verde, Bonaire has 16 ROPs attached to a 128bit memory bus, giving it equal memory bandwidth and equal ROP throughput at equivalent clockspeeds.

Moving on to the 7790 in particular, the 7790 will be shipping at a familiar 1GHz, the same core clockspeed as the 7770. So all of those performance improvements due to increases in functional units translate straight through – compared to the 7770, the 7790 has 40% more theoretical compute/shading performance, 40% more texturing performance, 100% more geometry throughput, and no change in ROP throughput. Meanwhile in a move mirroring what AMD did with the 7970 GHz Edition last year, AMD has bumped up their memory clocks. 7790 will ship with a 6GHz memory clock thanks to a higher performing (i.e. not from Cape Verde) memory interface, which compared to the 7770’s very conservative 4.5GHz memory clock means that the 7790 will have 33% more memory bandwidth compared to 7770, despite the fact that the memory bus itself is no wider.

Putting it altogether, so as long as the 7790 is not ROP bottlenecked, it stands to be 33%-100% faster than the 7770. Or relative to 7850, the 7790 offers virtually all of the 7850’s texturing and shading performance (it’s actually 2% faster), while offering only around 60% of the memory bandwidth and ROP throughput.

On the power front, unsurprisingly power consumption has gone up a bit. As a reminder, AMD does not quote TDPs, but rather “typical board power”, which is AMD’s estimate for what power consumption will be like under an average workload. 7770’s official TBP is 80W, while 7790’s is 85W. We’ll have our own breakdown on this in our look at power, temperature, and noise, but it’s fair to say that 7790 draws only a small amount of additional power over the 7770. Ultimately this can be attributed to the fact that while Bonaire is a larger chip, it’s not extremely so, with only the addition of the CUs and additional geometry/ACE pipeline separating the two. Mixed with gradual improvements over the last year on TSMC’s 28nm process, and better power management from AMD, and it’s possible to make these kinds of small improvements while not pushing load power too much higher.

On the note of Bonaire versus Cape Verde, let’s also talk a bit about transistor count and die sizes. Unsurprisingly, Bonaire sits between Cape Verde and Pitcairn in transistor count and die size. Altogether Bonaire comes in at 2.08B transistors, occupying a 160mm2 die. This is as compared to Cape Verde’s 1.5B transistors and 123mm2 die size, or Pitcairn’s 2.8B transistors and 212mm2 die size. For AMD their closest chip in terms of die size in recent history would be Juniper, the workhorse of the Evergreen family and the Radeon HD 5770, which came in at 166mm2.

Moving on, as is consistent with AMD’s previous announcements, the 7790 is being launched as just that: the 7790. AMD has told us that they intend to keep the HD 7000 brand in retail this year due to the success of the brand, and to that end our first Bonaire card is a 7700 series card. The namespace collision is unfortunate – sticking with the 7000 series means AMD is facing the pigeonhole principle and has to put new GPUs in existing sub-series – but ultimately this is something AMD shouldn’t have any real problems executing on. We’ll get into the microarchitecture of Bonaire on our next page, but for gamers and other consumers Bonaire may as well be another member of the Southern Islands GPU family, so it fits in nicely in the 7000 series despite being from a new wave of GPUs.

With that in mind, let’s talk about product positioning and pricing. The 7790 will launch at $149, roughly in between the 7770 and the 7850. AMD will be positioning it as an entry-level 1080p graphics card, and though it’s a 7700 series part its closest competition in AMD’s product stack is more likely to be the 7850, which it’s closer to on the basis of both price and performance.

Against the competition, the 7790’s closest competition will be the GeForce GTX 650 Ti. However with the price of that card regularly falling to $130 and lower, the 7790 is effectively carving out a small niche for itself where it will be a bit ahead of the GTX 650 Ti in both performance and in price. NVIDIA’s next card up is the GTX 660, at more than $200.

For anyone looking to pick up a 7790 today, this is being launched ahead of actual product availability (likely to coincide with GDC 2013 next week). Cards will start showing up in the market on April 2nd, which is about a week and a half from now. Notably, AMD and their partners will be launching stock clocked and factory overclocked parts right away, and from what we’re being told factory overclocked cards will be prolific from day one. Overall we’re expecting this launch to be a lot like the launch of the GTX 560, where NVIDIA did something very similar. In which case we should see both stock and factory overclocked parts right away with more factory overclocked parts than stock parts, and if it does play out like the 560 then stock clocked cards would become a larger piece of the 7790 inventory later in the lifetime of the 7790.

Finally, AMD is wasting no time in extending their Never Settle Reloaded bundle to the 7790. As the 7790 is a cheaper card it won’t come with as many games as the more expensive Radeon cards, but for 7790 buyers they will be receiving a voucher for Bioshock Infinite with their cards. MSRPs/values are usually a poor way to look at the significance of game bundles, but it goes without saying that it’s not too often that $150 cards come with brand-new AAA games.

Spring 2013 GPU Pricing Comparison
AMD Price NVIDIA
$219 GeForce GTX 660
Radeon HD 7850 $179
Radeon HD 7790 $149
$134 GeForce GTX 650 Ti
Radeon HD 7770 $109 GeForce GTX 650
Radeon HD 7750 $99 GeForce GT 640

Read the full review @ AnandTech

Crazy or crazy-smart? Canadian man puts grandparents’ house up for sale … for Bitcoins | VentureBeat

Crazy or crazy-smart? Canadian man puts grandparents’ house up for sale … for Bitcoins | VentureBeat.

 

Crazy or crazy-smart? Canadian man puts grandparents’ house up for sale … for Bitcoins

currency trader is selling his grandparents’ house for as many Bitcoins as he can get his hands on.

Taylor More put the listing up for the family home (pictured above) in Alberta, Canada, several days ago. He told me that the property is worth about $395,000, according to a realtor appraisal.

“This is a good way to get in on the movement early,” he told me. “It’s the best way I could think of to get as many bitcoins as possible.” More is so passionate about the cyber currency that he is willing to negotiate or accept a partial payment.

Bitcoin is a cryptographically secure currency that operates without a central authority, unlike the dollar or yen. It is a favorite of the libertarian and hipster crowd, but it has gained some legitimacy, with sites WordPress.com offering updates in exchange for Bitcoins.

More has yet to receive any offers for the quaint 2-bedroom bungalow that sits on 2.9 acres and boasts mountain views. The problem is that only a handful of people have collected enough Bitcoins needed (between 5,500 and 7,000 depending on the highly fluctuating value) to purchase a house.

More claims this is the first time anyone has sold a house in exchange for Bitcoins.

He hopes to make a profit from the transaction in the short term. Stories of cybercurrency traders making real money by trading Bitcoins are increasingly common.

For this reason, coupled with the fact that there is no centralized authority, it’s considered by some to be the most dangerous project on the Internet.

More’s convinced that Bitcoin will be appealing, given the banking crisis in Europe. He references recent news that one of Cyprus’s largest banks is freezing ATM withdrawals.

He is also hoping the house sale will lure some of Bitcoin’s early adopters. The would-be entrepreneur is working on a project that involves “needing a lot of Bitcoins,” but More would not disclose any further details.

 

Tradehill cofounders Jered Kenna (L-R) and Ryan Singer

Bitcoin evangelists say that More isn’t crazy — and that the house sale is a strategic move for any financier.

Jered Kenna is one of the early proponents of the Bitcoin craze. Kenna announced this week that he would be relaunching TradeHill, a site that was one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, but was shut down after being embroiled in a string of payments fraud charges.

Kenna said if the house sells, it would be an important milestone. “There are people who would buy it for bragging rights alone,” he said.

He continued, “In June of 2011, I called Bitcoin an experiment during an interview with the NY Observer and advised not to bet the house. Had he sold his house for Bitcoin then it would be worth $1.6 million today.”

Tradehill COO Ryan Singer advised that More should still use the normal broker approach to negotiating and documenting the transaction, as Bitcoin is just a settlement mechanism.

As for the grandparents in question, More told me they have recovered from the shock and are moving east to be closer to him. More’s father, a professional hockey player, owns the house and would be financially responsible if the bet doesn’t pay off.

“My family knows it’s for sale, but I’m going to give it some time before I throw this Bitcoin idea on them,” said More.

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/03/21/crazy-or-crazy-smart-canadian-man-puts-grandparents-house-up-for-sale-for-bitcoins/#uoCX5rdkqbGRYwx6.99

Xbox 720 XDK confirms mandatory game installs, always connected console | Games | Geek.com

Xbox 720 XDK confirms mandatory game installs, always connected console | Games | Geek.com.
Xbox Logo
At the beginning of February there was a rumor that Microsoft intended to make the Xbox 720 require an Internet connection to function. In doing so, it would ultimately wipe out the used games market for the next-gen console. That rumor has now been backed up by a document included with the Xbox development kit for the new hardware, known as the XDK.

Installing the XDK opens up access to the help documentation and a page titled “Durango Hardware Overview.” Now this document is marked as preliminary and subject to change, but goes into detailabout what to expect the Xbox 720 hardware to include.

The key part of this document is in paragraph 6, which states that every Durango console will include a hard drive big enough to hold a “large number of games.” The machine will also not support “play from the optical disc.” The next paragraph details how games will ship on Blu-ray discs, must be installed, but will allow play to start as the installation is happening (similar to the system Sony is using for the PS4).

Durango XDK document

In a different section of the document it is detailed that the console will be always on and always connected. So Microsoft is going to employ low power states rather than wanting you to power down the console completely. The always connected part is explained as allowing both the games and the system to be “always current.”

There’s a chance this information is relatively old, say 12 months, but it seems unlikely Microsoft would have changed its mind on such core functionality of the hardware. It looks pretty clear to me that all games will need to be installed, the optical drive won’t be used at all for games beyond allowing installations, and an Internet connection is a must.

The fact games don’t use the optical drive and media post install would mean you could give the game to someone else to install. Microsoft won’t accept that so it looks pretty much guaranteed you’ll have to activate your game online and therefore tie the copy to your account. In other words, no game trade ins or a used game market.

 

Google announces first major Fiber expansion, but it’s still in the Kansas City area | VentureBeat

Google announces first major Fiber expansion, but it’s still in the Kansas City area

Google will add Olathe, Kan. to the list of cities that will get its blazing-fastGoogle Fiber Internet speeds, the company said in a blog post Tuesday.

The Google Fiber initiative brings super-fast gigabyte download and upload Internet speeds to homes, but it doesn’t yet offer a business option. Previously, Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that Fiber was not an experiment and that Google would likely expand the project outside of its first two cities — Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, Mo. So it looks like that’s finally happening.

Olathe is part of the Greater Kansas City area, but this at least shows Google wasn’t kidding around and will bring Fiber to more areas. Choosing another city near Kansas City makes sense because the company will be able to move resources easily to sites there. Google also thinks Olathe, like Kansas City, fits the mold for places that will take advantage of Google Fiber.

“Olathe has become one of the fastest-growing cities in Kansas and has attracted an influx of new businesses and residents,” Google Fiber community manager Rachel Hack wrote in a blog post. “They’ve all noticed what a great community Olathe is, and so have we. We think that Fiber and widespread Internet access will help to create jobs, grow local businesses, and make Olathe even stronger as it grows.”

Consumers will be able to sign up for the service during a pre-registration period. Google has not announced when it will begin taking pre-orders for Fiber in Olathe and said that installation schedules in Kansas City will not be affected by the announcement. Plan pricing ranges from $0/month for basic Internet service (which comes with a one-time $300 “construction fee”) to $70/month for Gigabit Internet and $120/month for Gigabit Internet and TV.
Source: VentureBeat.

Google Launches Drive Realtime API To Let Developers Build Apps With Real-Time Collaboration | TechCrunch

Google just announced the launch of its Google Drive Realtime API, a new tool for developers that will allow them to bring the same real-time collaboration features that power Google Drive to their own apps. The API, Google writes, “handles network communication, storage, presence, conflict resolution, and other collaborative details so you can focus on building great apps.” Google partnered with three-developer focused tools, the collaborative code editor Neutron Drive, the project scheduling tool Gantter and the diagraming tool draw.io to test and launch this API.

To show off the power of the API, Google also developed a cube puzzle that uses the Realtime API, as well as a Drive Realtime API Playground for testing the API. Developers, of course, also need tosign up for the Drive API before they can use the Realtime API, too.

The API, Google writes, provides “collaborative versions of familiar data objects such as maps, lists, strings, and JSON values and automatically synchronizes and stores modifications to these objects.” In addition, developers can also add custom objects and references.

Because the API tracks the collaborators’ presence, developers can alert users when others join, leave or make changes to a document.

Just like on Drive, the Realtime API also ensures that local changes are immediately reflected in the local document thanks to Google’s use of operational transformation (OT) at the core of the system. This means your local app will continue to feel responsive, even on high-latency networks.
Source: TechCrunch.

Core i7-4770K: Haswell’s Performance, Previewed : Core i7-4770K Gets Previewed

A recent trip got us access to an early sample of Intel’s upcoming Core i7-4770K. We compare its performance to Ivy Bridge- and Sandy Bridge-based processors, so you have some idea what to expect when Intel officially introduces its Haswell architecture.

We recently got our hands on a Core i7-4770K, based on Intel’s Haswell micro-architecture. It’s not final silicon, but compared to earlier steppings (and earlier drivers), we’re comfortable enough about the way this chip performs to preview it against the Ivy and Sandy Bridge designs.

Presentations at last year’s Developer Forum in San Francisco taught us as much as there is to know about the Haswell architecture itself. But as we get closer to the official launch, more details become known about how Haswell will materialize into actual products. Fortunately for us, some of the first CPUs based on Intel’s newest design will be aimed at enthusiasts.

Fourth-Generation Intel Core Desktop Line-Up
Cores / Threads TDP (W) Clock Rate 1 Core 2 Cores 3 Cores 4 Cores L3 GPU Max. GPU Clock TSX
i7-4770K 4 / 8 84 3.5 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 8 MB GT2 1.25 GHz No
i7-4770 4 / 8 84 3.4 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 8 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4670K 4 / 4 84 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.6 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.2 GHz No
i5-4670 4 /4 84 3.4 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.6 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4570 4 / 4 84 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.4 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.15GHz Yes
i5-4430 4 / 4 84 3 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.1 GHz 3 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.1 GHz No
i7-4770S 4 / 4 65 3.1 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 8 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4570S 4 / 4 65 2.9 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.2 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.15GHz Yes
i5-4670S 4 / 4 65 3.1 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.4 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4430S 4 / 4 65 2.7 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.9 GHz 2.8 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.1 GHz No
i7-4770T 4 / 4 45 2.5 GHz 3.7 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.1 GHz 8 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4670T 4 / 4 45 2.3 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.2 GHz 3 GHz 2.9 GHz 6 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i7-4765T 4 / 4 35 2 GHz 3 GHz 2.9 GHz 2.7 GHz 2.6 GHz 8 MB GT2 1.2 GHz Yes
i5-4570T 2 / 4 35 2.9 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.3 GHz 4 MB GT2 1.15 GHz Yes

According to Intel’s current plans, you’ll find dual- and quad-core LGA 1150 models with the GT2 graphics configuration sporting 20 execution units. There will also be dual- and quad-core socketed rPGA-based models for the mobile space, featuring the same graphics setup. Everything in the table above is LGA 1150, though. All of those models share support for two channels of DDR3-1600 at 1.5 V and 800 MHz minimum core frequencies. They also share a 16-lane PCI Express 3.0 controller, AVX2 support, and AES-NI support. Interestingly, four of the listed models do not support Intel’s new Transactional Synchronization Extensions (TSX). We’re not sure why Intel would want to differentiate its products with a feature intended to handle locking more efficiently, but that appears to be what it’s doing.

The much-anticipated GT3 graphics engine, with 40 EUs, is limited to BGA-based applications, meaning it won’t be upgradeable. Intel will have quad-core with GT3, quad-core with GT2, and dual-core with GT2 versions in ball grid array packaging. GT3 will also make an appearance in a BGA-based multi-chip package that includes a Lynx Point chipset. That’ll be a dual-core part, though.

In addition to the processors Intel plans to launch here in a few months, we’ll also be introduced to the 8-series Platform Controller Hubs, currently code-named Lynx Point. The most feature-complete version of Lynx Point will incorporate six SATA 6Gb/s ports, 14 total USB ports (six of which are USB 3.0), eight lanes of second-gen PCIe, and VGA output.

Eight-series chipsets are going to be physically smaller than their predecessors (23×22 millimeters on the desktop, rather than 27×27) with lower pin-counts. This is largely attributable to more capabilities integrated on the CPU itself. Previously, eight Flexible Display Interface lanes connected the processor and PCH. Although the processor die hosted an embedded DisplayPort controller, the VGA, LVDS, digital display interfaces, and audio were all down on the chipset. Now, the three digital ports are up in the processor, along with the audio and embedded DisplayPort. LVDS is gone altogether, as are six of the FDI lanes.

Although Dhrystone isn’t necessarily applicable to real-world performance, a lack of software already-optimized for AVX2 means we need to go to SiSoftware’s diagnostic for an idea of how Haswell’s support for the instruction set might affect general integer performance in properly-optimized software.

The Whetstone module employs SSE3, so Haswell’s improvements over Ivy Bridge are far more incremental.

Sandra’s Multimedia benchmark generates a 640×480 image of the Mandelbrot Set fractal using 255 iterations for each pixel, representing vectorised code that runs as close to perfectly parallel as possible.

The integer test employs the AVX2 instruction set on Intel’s Haswell-based Core i7-4770K, while the Ivy andSandy Bridge-based processors are limited to AVX support. As you see in the red bar, the task is finished much faster on Haswell. It’s close, but not quite 2x.

Floating-point performance also enjoys a significant speed-up from Intel’s first implementation of FMA3 (AMD’s Bulldozer design supports FMA4, while Piledriver supports both the three- and four-operand versions). The Ivy and Sandy Bridge-based processors utilize AVX-optimized code paths, falling quite a bit behind at the same clock rate.

Why do doubles seem to speed up so much more than floats on Haswell? The code path for FMA3 is actually latency-bound. If we were to turn off FMA3 support altogether in Sandra’s options and used AVX, the scaling proves similar.

All three of these chips feature AES-NI support, and we know from past reviews that because Sandra runs entirely in hardware, our platforms are processing instructions as fast as they’re sent from memory. The Core i7-4770K’s slight disadvantage in our AES256 test is indicative of slightly less throughput—something I’m comfortable chalking up to the early status of our test system.

Meanwhile, SHA2-256 performance is all about each core’s compute performance. So, the IPC improvements that go into Haswell help propel it ahead of Ivy Bridge, which is in turn faster than Sandy Bridge.

The memory bandwidth module confirms our findings in the Cryptography benchmark. All three platforms are running 1,600 MT/s data rates; the Haswell-based machine just looks like it needs a little tuning.

We already know that Intel optimized Haswell’s memory hierarchy for performance, based on information discussed at last year’s IDF. As expected, Sandra’s cache bandwidth test shows an almost-doubling of performance from the 32 KB L1 data cache.

Gains from the L2 cache are actually a lot lower than we’d expect though; we thought that number would be close to 2x as well, given 64 bytes/cycle throughput (theoretically, the L2 should be capable of more than 900 GB/s). The L3 cache actually drops back a bit, which could be related to its separate clock domain.

It still isn’t clear whether something’s up with our engineering sample CPU, or if there’s still work to be done on the testing side. Either way, this is a pre-production chip, so we aren’t jumping to any conclusions.

Source: Tom’s Hardware.

DailyTech – Is LG Making Monstrous Megalodon for Google Nexus 5 Android Superphone?

Phone will reportedly feature Snapdragon 800, 3 GB of LPDDR3, and 1080p OLED screen

Android and Me is reporting on an interesting rumor about a supposed prototype for Google Inc.’s (GOOG) next generation Nexus phone (the fifth generation model).  Supposedly, LG Electronics, Inc. (KSC:066570) is competing for the contract with a model called “Megalodon”, which appears to have a truly monstrous spec.

The Google-branded smartphones have been a tradition for Google since the 2010 Nexus One by HTC Corp. (TPE:2498).  The Nexus One was succeeded by the Nexus S (Dec. 2010), Galaxy Nexus (Nov. 2011) from Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930), Nexus 4 (Nov. 2012) by LG Electronics

LG will have to work hard to win another contract from Google.  While its Nexus 4 was well received and a hot seller, it was set back by troubling supply shortages during the 2012 holiday season.  A Google rep. described the supplies as “scarce and erratic” — not exactly a glowing recommendation.

But the spec sheet on the Megalodon (if accurate) is hard not to love:

5.2″ OLED Display with 1920×1080 resolution

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOMSnapdragon 800 @ 2.3 GHz

3GB LPDDR3 Ram

16/32/64GB of internal storage

16MP rear camera by OmniVision (4k video recording @30FPS, 1080p video recording @60FPS, Real Time HDR & HDR video recording, optical image stabilization, BSI 2.0)

2.1MP front camera (1080p video recording @30FPS)

3300 mAh Lithium Polymer battery

Front positioned stereo speakers

Qualcomm RF360 (LTE 150 Mbps & HSPA+)

Integrated DVB-T / ATSC-antenna

Gesture like controls (navigation, zoom, etc)


A supposed picture of the “Megalodon” prototype. [Image Source: Android and Me]

The gesture control makes sense; it would put the device in line with Samsung’s just-releasedGalaxy S IV.  The 1080p screen resolution is also pretty predictable; both the HTC One and the GSIV pack 1080p.  The surprises are the inclusion of OLED — a technology LG is indeed pursuing hard — the large battery, and the super-powerful Snapdragon 800.

The Snapdragon 800 won’t be sampling till early next quarter, making the rumor a bit hard to believe.  If LG can pull off the device by the expected October launch date for the Nexus 5, it will have to snatch up much of the early production of Qualcomm’s most prized upcoming high-end chip.

An image (above) also leaked, but it’s hard to see whether the case will be metal or plastic (it looks like the rim is either metal or metallic toned plastic, at least).

Not all past “leaks” of Nexus products panned out; Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) was rumored to be working on a 5-inch Nexus prototype for holiday season last year; instead Google went with the 4.7-inch device from LG.

Source: Android and Me

Source: DailyTech.

DailyTech – Belkin Completes Linksys Purchase

Linksys name will live on

Back in late January of 2013, Belkin announced that it intended the purchase Linksys from Cisco. Cisco had originally purchased Linksys for $500 million in 2003 in an effort to gain access to the consumer networking market. That investment didn’t work out so well for Cisco and the company began searching for a buyer last year.

Belkin announced on March 15 that it completed its acquisition of Linksys. Belkin will continue to manage Linksys as a separate brand and product portfolio, which means the Linksys name will live on as promised.


“Linksys has a rich heritage, a passionate customer base and a wide product line, all of which fueled our decision to acquire the company and our plan to maintain the Linksys brand,” said Chet Pipkin, CEO of Belkin.

Belkin says that Linksys customers and retailers will continue to see new products carrying the name come to the market in the near future. Belkin says that several new announcements will be made sometime this spring.

Support will continue for existing Linksys products and all warranties that are currently valid will be honored on Linksys products.

Source: Belkin

Source: DailyTech.

DeFazio Introduces SHIELD Act to protect American Innovation, Jobs

The SHIELD Act would protect American tech start-ups from predatory lawsuits.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-OR) introduced HR 6245, the bipartisan Saving High-tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes (SHIELD) Act to protect American tech companies from frivolous patent lawsuits that cost jobs and resources. The SHIELD Act will put the financial burden on so-called “patent trolls” that buy patents solely to sue the American tech startups that created the products. The SHIELD Act is cosponsored by Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

The SHIELD Act is supported by a broad coalition of software and computer hardware companies, consumer groups, and venture capitalists.

“Patent trolls don’t create new technology and they don’t create American jobs,” said DeFazio. “They pad their pockets by buying patents on products they didn’t create and then suing the innovators who did the hard work and created the product. These egregious lawsuits hurt American innovation and small technology start ups, and they cost jobs. My legislation would force patent trolls to take financial responsibility for their frivolous lawsuits.”

This bipartisan legislation comes after DeFazio heard from small technology firms in his district struggling as a result of costly patent troll litigation.

“The SHIELD Act ensures that American tech companies can continue to create jobs, rather than waste resources on fending off frivolous lawsuits. A single lawsuit, which may easily cost over $1 million if it goes to trial, can spell the end of a tech startup and the jobs that it could have created.  The tech industry is one of the few bright spots in our economy.  It spurs the economy and creates thousands of high-quality jobs.  This bill combats the problem of patent trolls by moving to a ‘losers pays’ system for software and hardware patent litigation,” said Chaffetz.

Patent trolls often buy broad patents that allow them to file flimsy lawsuits against multiple companies for infringement. Despite very thin evidence to back their lawsuits, companies are often forced to settle because going to court can easily cost over $1 million in legal costs even if the company prevails. Patent trolls most often target software and computer hardware companies. According to a recent Boston University study, patent troll suits cost American technology companies over $29 billion in 2011 alone.

The SHIELD act will force patent trolls to take financial responsibility for their lawsuits by allowing defendants to recoup money spent to successfully defend themselves against junk lawsuits.

The SHIELD Act does not affect innovators with legitimate patent infringement claims.
Read more @ Congressman Peter DeFazio’s website.