Liquid cooler manufacturer Asetek, the company that supplies many of the industry's best-known coolers by Corsair, EVGA, and NZXT, saw victory in a patent infringement case against Cooler Master (CMI) in 2014. In that trial, the jury awarded Asetek a 14.5% royalty on all Cooler Master liquid coolers sold in the US.
A recent post by Digitimes, known for reporting on leaked or unofficial information, claims that AMD's anticipated Zen architecture is slated for a late 2016 arrival “at the earliest.” This news follows AMD's nearly endless financial spiral, something we reported on earlier this week. The company is now substantially less than the price it paid for ATi in 2006, a purchase that exceeded $5 billion in acquisition cost to AMD.
It's fitting that, following our giant post about AMD's recent downturn, I'd encounter my old ATi X800 Pro video card. I'd owned machines equipped with VGAs before this one, but this was the first standalone video card I ever bought. The model I purchased came equipped with a massive, top-of-the-line 256MB of GDDR3, a memory technology that ATi – independent of AMD at this time – had recently introduced.
The ATi Radeon X800 Pro used ATi's R420 GPU and was released in 2004, shipping in 256MB and 512MB capacities. For those complaining about the current stagnation on the 28nm process node, this GPU sat on 130nm process. Massive in comparison to today.
AMD is indisputably the most threatened silicon manufacturer in the gaming space. It is also critical to the stability of competitive advancement. The company exhibited a year-over-year revenue decline of 22% in 4Q14, with its PC segment – not differentiated between CPUs and GPUs – falling an additional 15% over its previous quarter. The PC segment lost approximately $56mm in 4Q14, following a $17mm loss in 3Q14. More recently, JPR showed a 26% quarterly decline in GPU sales for AMD, a bigger hit than the usual mid-year 6.86% decline. A lack of specificity between GPUs, CPUs, and APUs ensures limited visibility to the company's anchors, making it difficult to determine which segments are the worst-performing.
In spite of this – or perhaps spurred-on by it – AMD has rebranded itself several times over, promising “transformation” of the company and defining a set of “five pillars.” That promised transformation came in the form of layoffs and the departure of newly-hired executives who were billed to enact game-changing improvements for the company. Regarding AMD's five pillars, as defined by now-defunct CEO Rory Read, none included a direct mention of “gaming” at the top level; instead, the five pillars consisted of ultra-low power devices, embedded devices, semi-custom solutions, professional graphics, and dense servers. None of these explicitly and directly pertain to PC gaming, though semi-custom solutions can be deployed in what ultimately become gaming devices (see: consoles).
Our recent review of AMD's A10-7870K showed that the CPU is a capable refresh on existing Kaveri architecture, but called attention to the fact that the unit is readily outpaced by cheap dGPU + CPU solutions. We noted that the A10-7870K would become more valuable as the price drops – which it has done, now available for $130 against the initial $150.
The hardware industry has been spitting out launches at a rate difficult to follow. Over the last few months, we've reviewed the GTX 980 Ti Hybrid (which won Editor's Choice & Best of Bench awards), the R9 Fury X, the R9 390 & 380, an A10-7870K APU, and Intel's i7-6700K.
We've returned to the world of graphics to look at MSI's take on the AMD Radeon R9 390X, part of the R300 series of refreshed GPUs. The R300 series has adapted existing R200 architecture to the modern era, filling some of the market gap while AMD levies its Fiji platform. R300 video cards are purely targeted at gaming at an affordable price-point, something AMD has clung to for a number of years at this point.
This review of AMD's Radeon R9 390X benchmarks the MSI “Gaming” brand of the card, measuring FPS in the Witcher 3 & more, alongside power and thermal metrics. The MSI Radeon R9 390X Gaming 8G is priced at $430. This video card was provided by iBUYPOWER as a loaner for independent review.
After an extended period of hardware silence, AMD has recently made its resurgence with updated GPU and CPU lines. The Radeon 300 series refreshed the existing R200 lineup, followed shortly by the architecturally revamped Fiji GPU on the Fury X; we've reviewed both of these launches (R9 390 & 380 review / Fury X review). Back in May, we also posted about the company's promised Kaveri refresh – the A10-7870K – and its market positioning.
Today we're reviewing that APU.
Windows 10 was officially released yesterday. With Windows 10 comes DirectX12 and some other changes, such as Xbox Live for the PC. Of course, Windows 10 (and Dx12) also requires new drivers. Both AMD and nVidia have released drivers within the last week to support Windows 10. Because Windows 7 and 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free within a year, these drivers are significant to migration as a potentially large portion of users will be shifting simultaneously.
We’ll first cover AMD’s newest 15.7.1 driver, then nVidia’s 353.62 driver.
The Fury X has been a challenging video card to review. This is AMD's best attempt at competition and, as it so happens, the card includes two items of critical importance: A new GPU architecture and the world's first implementation of high-bandwidth memory.
Some system builders may recall AMD's HD 4870, a video card that was once a quickly-recommended solution for mid-to-high range builds. The 4870 was the world's first graphics card to incorporate the high-speed GDDR5 memory solution, reinforcing AMD's position of technological jaunts in the memory field. Prior to the AMD acquisition, graphics manufacturer ATI designed the GDDR3 memory that ended up being used all the way through to GDDR5 (GDDR4 had a lifecycle of less than a year, more or less, but was also first instituted on ATI devices).
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