Category: Graphics cards

AMD releases AI based Radeons with basic instinct

BasicInstinct002AMD is announcing a new series of Radeon-branded products today, targeted at machine intelligence and deep learning enterprise applications.

Dubbed the Radeon Instinct, the chip is a GPU-based solution for deep learning, inference and training. AMD has also issued a new free, open-source library and framework for GPU accelerators, dubbed MIOpen.

MIOpen is made for high-performance machine intelligence applications and is optimized for deep learning frameworks in AMD’s ROCm software suite.

The first products are the Radeon Instinct MI6, the MI8, and the MI25. The 150W Radeon Instinct MI6 accelerator is powered by a Polaris-based GPU, packs 16GB of memory (224GB/s peak bandwidth), and can manage 5.7 TFLOPS of peak FP16 performance when the wind is behind it and it is going downhill.

It also includes the Fiji-based Radeon Instinct MI8. Like the Radeon R9 Nano, the Radeon Instinct MI8 features 4GB of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) with peak bandwidth of 512GB/s. AMD claims the MI8 will offer up to 8.2 TFLOPS of peak FP16 compute performance, with a board power that typical falls below 175W.

The Radeon Instinct MI25 accelerator uses AMD’s next-generation Vega GPU architecture and has a board power of approximately 300W. All the Radeon Instinct accelerators are passively cooled but when installed into a server chassis you can bet there will be plenty of air flow.

Like the recently released Radeon Pro WX series of professional graphics cards for workstations, Radeon Instinct accelerators will be built by AMD. All the Radeon Instinct cards will also support AMD MultiGPU (MxGPU) hardware virtualisation.

AMD releases Radeon Pro WX 4100

Radeon-Pro-SSG-e1469514780361AMD has released its business end GPUs.

Dubbed the Radeon Pro, the  WX 4100 is the entry-level model with a half-height design for use in small form-factor workstations. The Radeon Pro WX 5100 is the mid-range model while the Radeon Pro WX 7100 is the top of the range. AMD says the 7100 can handle the most demanding design engineering and entertainment workflows and VR content creation.

The spec is still pretty much under wraps, but we know the following spec from copying down the slides:

  • Radeon Pro WX 7100: 32 compute units / > 5 TFLOPs / 8GB memory / 256-bit memory bus
  • Radeon Pro WX 5100: 28 compute units / > 4 TFLOPs / 8GB memory / 256-bit memory bus
  • Radeon Pro WX 4100: 16 compute units / > 2 TFLOPs / 4GB memory / 128-bit memory bus

The Radeon Pro WX 4100 has four mini DisplayPort connectors and the others have four full-size DisplayPort connectors.

The Radeon Pro WX 7100 will clost  just under $1,000 and the Radeon Pro WX 5100 and 4100 will slot in somewhat below that which fits in nicely to their mission critical role. Each has a ten year warranty.

AMD will consolidate its graphics product lines and kill off the FirePro range.  In its place will be the Radeon Pro WX Series cards to serve the professional market for AMD.


Nvidia tinkers with its high end

nvidiaGPU maker Nvidia is making a few changes at its ultra-high-end, and introducing a “new” mobile GPU that’s not really a mobile.

The GeForce GTX 980 has not shipped with the traditional “M” on the end of the model number. For Nvidia fans looking to buy a notebook with the chip inside it, that would not be a problem – they would know that this was not a mobile chip.

Nvidia has done its best to configure the GPU so that it will not drain the battery too fast. It has made some careful optimisations of the components that accompany the GPU. This includes changes to the memory, voltage regulation module, and PCB.

This helped Nvidia take the full desktop GeForce GTX 980 GPU (GM204) and cram it into mobile form factors. These helped it achieve high frequencies at lower-than-typical voltages.

The GPUs are paired to 7Gbps GDDR5 memory and heatsinks with up to 2X the cooling capacity.

Notebooks powered by this GPU will be unlocked, and fully overclockable. And they’ll also offer users the ability to alter fan curves.

The GeForce GTX 980 will apparently allow notebooks powered by the GPU to push multiple screens or power VR gear.

MSI GT80 is huge for a mobile PC, and packs in a mechanical keyboard and 18.4” display and we suspect you will need to be as rich as Croesus to own one. But it is telling that the gaming market is becoming so important that Nvidia is prepared to tinker with its top of the range models to make them fit into notebooks – even if they are not true mobile chips.

We take a dekko at the HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo

Factory over-clocked cards are more common than iPhones in Starbucks at the moment, and not wanting to be left out we’ve got our hands on one of the front runners, the HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo. With iCooler and Turbo in its name it must be good, right?

On paper you would think so. Powered by ATI’s 5870 GPU, this card offers more than the standard model, using a redesigned PCB and cooler to up its clock speeds. The 5870 GPU is no slouch by modern standards, and we were keen to find out how well HIS has tweaked this, so we pit it against the reference design.    

The package and card itself are Modern Warfare 2 branded and a code to download the full game from Steam is included, no doubt in an attempt to ride on the back of the series’ popularity. We’re not complaining about this though; if you’re in the tiny minority of PC gamers who haven’t already played through MW2, the inclusion comes as a nice bonus. The GPU is pre-clocked at 25MHz above the reference design to 875MHz, and the memory gets a similar treatment set to 4900MHz QDR. This alone should give the card a nice boost over other 5870s, and with a new cooler there’s likely to be room for over-clocking.  

To test, we’re plugging it into an AMD set-up using the AMD Phenom II X6 Black Edition 1090T processor, 4Gb DDR3 1600mhz Kingston HyperX memory, Asus CROSSHAIR IV FORMULA 890FX motherboard and a Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive. We’re comparing it to the MSI HD 5870 1GB which uses the same GPU and isn’t over-clocked out of the box. On this set-up we’re running some real-world gaming benchmarks, thanks to Crysis Warhead, Dawn of War 2, Race Driver GRID, and as it ‘s included in the package Modern Warfare II, and synthetic test courtesy of FutureMark Vantage.

Let’s look at the real-world benchmarks first. Not wanting to weigh you down with too many figures the method is simple; we’ll run each game over the same content at 1680×1050 taking the average frame rate.  All the games are run at max settings, apart from Crysis.

Looking at the results, it will come as no surprise that the HIS card has a slight edge over its disadvantaged sibling. However, both cards do perform well and all the games are very playable. One thing that does strike us is that the included game Modern Warfare 2 doesn’t provide much of a test for either.

Before moving onto the FutureMark Vantage, in an attempt to further separate these cards, we see how far the HIS and its new cooler can be pushed. Using MSI’s afterburner software, we slowly crank the core up to 945MHz and the memory 1275MHz or 5100MHz QDR, which is the highest we can reach with the card remaining stable.

Additional over-clocking surpasses our expectations, and although under some stress, the GPU temp was kept within a reasonable range 55 – 68 °C. When pushing the card to the higher clock speeds, the fan does give off a very audible whine. This is in contrast to the card, whilst the GPU isn’t under load as this was noticeably quieter than the standard 5870.

HIS looks to have done a good job at tweaking the 5870 set-up to safely squeeze a few extra MHz and to allow a bit of extra head room for over-clocking. We found the card online for £335, although at most retailers it was around the £350 mark.  Even then, this is only £10-20 more than the standard 5870, and with the addition of Modern Warfare 2 this looks like good value to us. Either way both 5870 cards are excellent and if you really need that extra bit of performance, or like tweaking settings, we can recommend the HIS HD 5870 iCooler V Turbo.

The Good

    * The package with Modern Warfare 2
    * Very stable at default settings
    * Room for over-clocking
    * The Price 

The Bad

    * Fan noise under load
    * Many people have already played Modern Warfare 2