June 24, 2013

The Next AMD Throwdown

So it's getting around that time where you feel the shift in the air and you know something is coming. Being a red team fan (AMD) I'm sitting back waiting for the news to hit on their next mind blowing improvements. For those of you not aware the Radeon HD 8k cards I guess turned out as a rebrand then dropped and so we've had the 7k for an extended time or the 8k was scrapped and started over and will be coming out, either way it looks like we might actually just skip it and go straight to 9k. Though if you search the 9k on google you'll pop up with posts from 2k3 and 2k4 when the radeon 9k cards were still on the market, as opposed to the Radeon HD 9k not out yet. It may even come to pass that we have a whole new numbering system, who knows.

The thing I'm leading to is that the GCN architecture allows GPU's to access system memory provided you have it to spare from my understanding. So while the graphics card may only come with 1gb of gddr5 and that may not be enough for giant 4k textures and high poly models etc if you have a bunch of ddr3 ram for example we'll assume anything over 8gb it can load the textures to there and either process from there or swap from there as necessary saving it from having to swap from the hard drive even if it's an SSD it's still slower than RAM. This in itself is exciting but who knows what else they'll come out with by the time the next GPU's come out. While performance has been incremental and noticeable this extended time between gens will have a very clear difference between cards.

On the CPU side of things there are also some HUGE changes hitting. It's not the standard slight change in pin count or power or cores, they've finally pushed past the 5.0ghz range on stock where we've primarily been floating in and around the 4.0ghz range. This is a very huge leap with untold kinds of consequences provided it's used to it's full extent.

On the motherboards we're looking at some interesting new technologies like Thunderbolt 2 on some upcoming amd based boards and pcie3.0x16 with at least one board already on the market. A couple of them are waterproof as well which means there's no reason not to have liquid cooling now, especially considering how much you'll need it for that 5.0ghz proc running at 200w tdp.

If you're not familiar with thunderbolt here's the basics. It allows a mobo to connect with another set of pcie slots basically and use whatever happens to be attached to them. It also allows you to connect various devices such as a series of hard drives, a monitor, other peripherals etc. From my understanding it can even connect with 4k displays and transfer display information. The interesting part is that it can do this from just one port connecting to many devices at once at some serious speeds. basically it has 2 bidirectional 20gb lanes on the new thunderbolt2 revision as opposed to previously 4 10gb lanes and is fully backwards compatible. So if you need to connect to a few extra graphics cards, or just don't have enough expansion slots, or more likely many of them get blocked by your graphics card/s then this can really be a big help. It's also great for laptops when you need all the extra raw horsepower from a desktop gpu. It's actually a very VERY useful and interesting technology I am eager to get my hands on and play with.

While it's not directly amd related there's also new 4k displays finally hitting market, a few with very small bezel which just makes them look that much bigger even if they're the same size. Though it may seriously tax your gpu to run them now in the next year or so and probably with that next line of amd gpu's you'll be able to run a few nice games at a good speed on them. Then there's also new wifi standards out recently that are giving a nice bump in that department, though they still don't come close to matching a wired ethernet connection. Let alone a high end ethernet with cat6 cable on a fiber optic network.

Really some of the new tech just really has me excited and I'm eagerly awaiting this fall/winter releases to see what all is on the market and you know I'll probably be buying some goodies on cyber monday/black friday sales. I'm feeling it's time for a whole new pc, and part of that includes a new case even and there's plenty of new options there as well. But really I'm thinking a custom fiberglass one. I'll put down circuit lines on the fiberglass, be it green or clear, then a one sided mirror solution then another layer of circuit lines before the clear resin to harden it.  The circuit lines will be partially visible at first then when you have lights on the inside of the case the other set of circuit lines will shadow through. It's an awesome visual effect I experimented with once and I'm really liking the idea. Custom drive bays for the SSD's, everything designed just where I want it, very neat and clean management. I might even be able to design a shroud right into the case itself. That's all beside the point though, I'm thinking whole new system from scratch depending on what I hear about being able to run some games on 4k even if at first it's just a modded skyrim.

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