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While suited toward a different crowd for the most part, AMD has made efforts to steal a bit of the limelight strongly shining on Intel and its Sandy Bridge-E/X79 platform by kicking out a big announcement of their own at the same time.
Adter several weeks of being delayed, today finally sees the launch of AMD's first 16-core Opteron server processors, the Bulldozer based Opteron 6200 series (formally known as Interlagos). According to John Fruehe, the director of product parketing at AMD, these new processors are said to be 25 to 30% faster than their 12-cored Opteron 6100 predecessors.
The new Opteron 6200 family of processors includes 6262 HE, 6272, 6274, 6276 and 6282 SE models, running at clock rates of between 1.6 and 2.6GHz with pricing starting at $523 US and going up to $1,019 US. Power draw from the new processors starts at 85 watts and goes as high as 140 watts. The chips are compatible with existing server sockets to make upgrades from older 12-core chips a breeze.
The moment we've all been waiting for has arrived and we can now feast our eyes on the horde of goodness that revolves around Intel's latest top tier performance platform, the LGA 2011 socket based Sandy Bridge-E and its respective X79 chipset.
With the launch now behind us we have our full detailed reviews online of both the top dog processor in the new Sandy-E line in the form of Intel's Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition, as well as our first full X79 motherboard review, putting arguably the most impressive X79 motherboard up on the test bench first - ASUS' mighty ROG series Rampage IV Extreme.
And if you stay tuned, a little later today we'll also be publishing our first Quad Channel memory review suited for use with the new platform.
Below, we have a picture of the AMD accelerated processing units in both FM1 and future FM2 packages, which the latter will be based on the next-generation Trinity APU. In the picture below, "Llano" FM1 APU is on the left, "Trinity" FM2 is on the right.
Both packages are pretty much identical, with the difference between them a set of blanked pins in the sub-central portion of the pin array. The FM2 package sports 904 pins whilst the FM1 package has 1 more at 905 pins. One pin is blanked, whilst a pair of blanked pins are arranged further away from the central cutout.
Intel's new Sandy Bridge-E flagship processor, the Core i7 3960X has been thrown through a handful of benchmarks by Chinese website Inpai.com. The benchmarks put the i7 3960X head-to-head against the Sandy Bridge-based i7 2600K.
Intel's Core i7 3960X will be the bees knees of the Sandy Bridge-E series, featuring 6-cores and 12 threads clocked at stock clocks of 3.6GHz and 3.9GHz when using Turbo Boost. The chip uses a maximum TDP of 130W, features 15MB L3 cache and launches on November 14.
ARM have just announced its next-generation mobile GPU, the Mali-T658. ARM have said that this design is set to offer ten times the performance of their current Mali-400 MP which is found in smartphones such as the amazing Samsung Galaxy S II handset.
T658 is ARM's second GPU using an architecture it calls Midgard. Midgard is designed to support both 3D workloads using modern APIs, with support for both OpenGL ES and Microsoft's Direct3D 11, and computation workloads using OpenCL, Microsoft DirectCompute, and Google RenderScript. Compute tasks get some love, with Midgard supporting full IEEE 754 floating point.
The first Midgard design, the T604, was announced last year, and was licensed by companies such as Samsung and LG. The new T658 is quite the powerhouse, with each core having four arithmetic pipelines, and one each of load/store for texture, doubling the number of arithmetic pipelines found in the T604. Up to eight cores can be integrated into a single GPU, again representing a doubling in performance relative to T604, which allows up to four cores to be ganged together.
Ivy Bridge isn't even here yet, and we're seeing details on Intel's next-generation processor architecture, Haswell. Haswell will be a brand new architecture based on a 22nm fan process which will be matured by Sandy Bridge's successor, Ivy Bridge. This is Intel's "tick-tock" product development model, where we see a "tock" being a new x86 architecture, and a "tick" miniaturizes it to a newer silicon fabrication process.
If Intel's 22nm process all goes to plan, Haswell has an ETA of Q2 2013, with Ivy Bridge taking the lead from Q2 2012 until then. Haswell will feature an all-new socket, LGA1150, which means it will not be compatible with LGA1155 boards. The reason behind this is that Intel have implemented drastic changes in the pin map of the package.
There has been a major change with the component arrangement in the platform that is affecting Haswell's pin map, more specifically, it's Haswell's higher bandwidth chipset bus, rearranged PCIe pins (with FDI pins), rearranged power pins, and miscellaneous pins. It also throws away the separate power domain for the integrated graphics controller.
A British retailer has listed two hexa-core Intel Sandy Bridge-E chips on their website, the Core i7-3930K and Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition. The i7-3960X is priced at £850.79 (inclusive of taxes) which coverts to roughly US$1,361.
The unlocked Core i7-3930K sits at £477.59 (inclusive of taxes) which is around US$764. Earlier this month a Chinese retailer listed these chips, at different prices. The Chinese retailer had the Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition at the equivalent of US$1,227 with the Core i7-3930K sitting at roughly US$912.
The British store is $150 cheaper on the Core i7-3930K, but still a long way from the $583 price point that the chip is meant to be. Then we have the British store quoting a price of $130 higher for the Extreme Edition-flavored Core i7-3960X. Whichever way you look at it, we'll be waiting for proper pricing and its not long to go. This is also what happened when the competition is bulldozed at launch.
AMD have not stopped since the Bulldozer launch, and 2012 is set to be release after release, hopefully. Leaked slides from Turkish-based site Donanim Haber show that the 1090FX and 1070 will arrive as part of the 10-series chipset family for current FX-Series processors as well as any other AM3+ chips.
It will throw away the SB850 south bridge component on the 900-series line, which has been on-board for roughly 18 months now, and instead it will rely on the new SB1060 south bridge that provides up to eight SATA 6Gbps ports.
The 1090FX chipset is set to sport native USB 3.0 support and enough lanes for some dual x16 graphics action, but those same features didn't make it for the lower-end 1070. PCI Express Gen 3.0 is also missing on the 10-series, unfortunately. We shouldn't see support for the new PCIe 3.0 interface on AMD chipsets until Piledriver hits, sometime next year.
AMD's Bulldozer just wasn't enough to not only topple Intel, but to impress customers enough to grab it while it was hot. AMD knows they need to turn it around, we know they need to turn it around and you know they need to turn it around. AMD has always focused on performance-per-watt, and while Fusion has pulled this off, Bulldozer when overclocked is pushing past an astonishing 400W.
The Bulldozer team needs to put their hard hats on and get dirty, with 2012 rolling into view, it needs to happen very soon. Piledriver is an update to current Bulldozer cores and the expected advantages are increased core capacity by up to 25-percent, making more cores available more of the time. Reduced power requirement, making Piledriver more efficient, real world performance boost by somewhere around 10-percent, making each core do more.
We recently saw quite the breath taking overclocking record out of an AMD FX-8150 CPU from world renowned overclocker Andre Yang, cranking it up to a whopping 8.46GHz, above that of AMD's own previous record (at 8.43GHz).
With only 30 odd MHz separating it, Andre Yang has given it another crank and has produced a new record result, taking the processor to an incredible 8584.8MHz exactly; 123.3GHz higher than his previous achievement. We're still waiting to see the new overclock result appear on CPU-Z's validation database, but its authenticity looks good enough for us.