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Rumors Point Towards Remarkable Gains for AMD’s Upcoming ‘Big Navi’ GPUs

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There’s been a lot of debate in the past 12 months over whether RDNA2 would deliver a huge improvement over RDNA. The Radeon 5700 and 5700 XT were significant leaps forward for AMD’s products, but they failed to cleanly beat Turing on absolute power efficiency, and while they challenged Nvidia’s RTX GPUs, they weren’t enough to deliver knockout blows. RDNA was important because it demonstrated that after years of iterating on GCN, AMD was still capable of delivering significant advances in GPU technology.

AMD raised eyebrows when it claimed RDNA2 would offer a 1.5x performance per watt improvement over RDNA, in the same way RDNA had improved dramatically over GCN. Generally speaking, such dramatic improvements only come from node shrinks, not additional GPUs built on the same node. Nvidia’s Maxwell is probably the best example of a GPU family that improved over its predecessor without a node change, and the gap between Maxwell and Kepler was smaller than the gap between Pascal and Maxwell, as far as power efficiency improvements and performance gains.

If you increase something by 1.5x twice, your gain over baseline is 2.25x. AMD’s graph conforms to that relative improvement if you measure the heights of the graph bars in pixels.

There are rumors going around that Big Navi might dramatically faster than expected, with performance estimated at 1.95x – 2.25x higher than the 5700 XT. This would be an astonishing feat, to put it mildly. The slideshow below shows our test results from the 5700 XT and 5700. The 5700 XT matched the RTX 2070 (and sometimes the 2080) well, while the 5700 was modestly faster than the RTX 2060 for a slightly higher price. A 1.95 – 2.25x speed improvement would catapult Big Navi into playable frame rates even on the most demanding settings we test; 18fps in Metro Exodus at Extreme Detail and 4K becomes 35-41 fps depending on which multiplier you choose. I have no idea how Big Navi would compare against Ampere at that point, but it would handily blow past the RTX 2080 Ti.

Evaluating the Chances of an AMD Surge

Let’s examine the likelihood of AMD delivering a massive improvement of the sort contemplated by these rumors. On the “Pro” side:

  • AMD has openly declared that it’s trying to deliver a Ryzen-equivalent improvement on the GPU side of its business. As I noted back when RDNA debuted, it’s not fair to judge GCN-RDNA the same way we judged Bulldozer-Ryzen. AMD had five years to work on Ryzen, while the gap from RX Vega 64 to RDNA wasn’t even two.
  • AMD claims to have improved power efficiency by 1.5x with RDNA, and our comparisons between the Radeon RX 5700 and the Radeon Vega 64 back up this claim. The Radeon 5700 delivers 48fps in 1080p in Metro Last Light Exodus and draws an average of 256W during the fixed-duration workload. The Radeon Vega 64 hit 43fps and drew an average of 347W. That works out to an overall performance-per-watt improvement of ~1.5x.
  • Rumors around Big Navi have generally pointed to a GPU with between 72-80 CUs. That’s a 1.8x – 2x improvement, and it makes the claim of 1.95x – 2.25x more likely on the face of it. Nvidia has not been increasing its core counts generation on generation by this much. The 980 Ti had 2,816 GPU cores, the 1080 Ti packed 3,584 and the 2080 Ti has 4,352. Nvidia has been increasing its GPU core count by about 1.2x per cycle.
  • The PlayStation 5’s GPU core clocks remarkably high for a GPU, at over 2GHz. If we assume that the specified 2.23GHz boost clock for the PS5 is equivalent to the boost clock for RDNA2’s top-end GPU’s with the game clock a little lower, we’d be looking at a 1755MHz Game Clock on 5700 XT versus a 2.08GHz game clock on the Radeon RX Next. That’s a 1.18x gain. A 1.18x gain in clock speed plus a 1.8x gain in CU count = 2.124x improved performance. Pretty much bang on estimated target. A 1.18x IPC improvement without any clock increase (or a mix of the two) could also deliver this benefit.

And the cons?

A 1.5x performance per watt improvement is the kind of gain we typically associate with new process nodes. Nvidia pulled this level of improvement once with Maxwell. The GTX 980 Ti was an average of 1.47x faster than the GTX 780 Ti at the same power draw. AMD never delivered this kind of performance-per-watt leap with GCN over the seven years that architecture drove their GPUs, though GCN absolutely became more power-efficient over time.

Running GPUs at high clock speeds tends to blow their power curves, as the Radeon Nano illustrated against the Radeon Fury five years ago. In order for RDNA2 to deliver the kind of improvements contemplated, it needs to be 1.8x – 2x the size while simultaneously increasing clock without destroying its own power efficiency gains. That’s a difficult, though not impossible trick.

Promising a 1.5x improvement in performance per watt — the one piece of information AMD has confirmed — doesn’t tell us whether that gain is coming from the “performance” side of the equation or the “wattage” side. For example, the GTX 980 Ti and the GTX 780 Ti have virtually the same power consumption under load. In that case, the 1.47x improvement came entirely from better performance in the same power envelope. If AMD delivered a successor to the 5700 XT that drew 197W instead of 295W but offered exactly the same performance, it could also claim a 1.5x improvement in performance-per-watt without having improved its actual real-world performance at all. I don’t think this is actually likely, but it illustrates that improvements to performance per watt don’t necessarily require any performance improvements at all.

I haven’t addressed the question of IPC at all, but I want to touch on it here. When Nvidia launched Turing, it paid a significant penalty in die size and power consumption relative to a GPU with an equivalent number of cores, TMUs, and ROPs but without the tensor cores and RT cores. What does that mean for AMD? I don’t know.

The Nvidia and AMD / ATI GPUs of any given generation almost always prove to respond differently to certain types of workloads in at least a few significant ways. In 2007, I wrote an article for Ars Technica that mentioned how the 3DMark pixel shader test could cause Nvidia power consumption to surge.

Certain feature tests could cause one company’s GPU power consumption to spike but not the others. Image by Ars Technica.

I later found a different 3DMark test (I can’t recall which one, and it may have been in a different version of the application) that caused AMD’s power consumption to similarly surge far past Nvidia.

Sometimes, AMD and Nvidia implement more-or-less the same solution to a problem. Sometimes they build GPUs with fundamental capabilities (like asynchronous computing or ray tracing) that their competitor doesn’t support yet. It’s possible that AMD’s implementation of ray tracing in RDNA2 will look similar to Nvidia’s in terms of complexity and power consumption penalty. It’s also possible that it’ll more closely resemble whatever Nvidia debuts with Ampere, or be AMD’s unique take on how to approach the ray tracing efficiency problem.

The point is, we don’t know. It’s possible that RDNA’s improvements over RDNA1 consist of much better power efficiency, higher clocks, more CUs, and ray tracing as opposed to any further IPC gains. It’s also possible AMD has another IPC jump in store.

The tea leaves and indirect rumors from sources suggest, at minimum, that RDNA2 should sweep past the RTX 2000 family in terms of both power efficiency and performance. I don’t want to speculate on exactly what those gains or efficiencies will be or where they’ll come from, but current scuttlebutt is that it’ll be a competitive high-end battle between AMD and Nvidia this time around. I hope so, if only because we haven’t seen the two companies truly go toe-to-toe at the highest end of the market since ~2013.

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Reese Witherspoon Is Shook After Miley Cyrus Reveals Fun Fact About ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Hannah Montana’

Reese Witherspoon Is Shook After Miley Cyrus Reveals Fun Fact About ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘Hannah Montana’ | Entertainment Tonight

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Vin Diesel Teases ‘Big Surprise’ for ‘Fast & Furious’ Fans (Exclusive)

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‘Big victory’ for Buttigieg, ‘big trouble’ for Biden based on latest Iowa results

Whatever the final Iowa caucus results reveal, this much seems certain: Pete Buttigieg had an impressive showing and Joe Biden did not.

It is still unclear when the final tally will be revealed and a winner declared. But with 71 per cent of the results in, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor leads the pack slightly, with 26.8 per cent of the delegates. Buttigieg is followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 25.2 per cent. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is in third place with 18.4 per cent.

And, perhaps most surprisingly, the former vice-president trails in fourth with 15 4 per cent, a disappointing showing for arguably the most high-profile candidate. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has 12.6 per cent.

CBC spoke to experts to offer their insights on what these results mean, so far, to the campaigns of some of the candidates.

Pete Buttigieg


With 71 per cent of the results in, former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg leads the pack slightly, (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

Had Buttigieg finished outside the top three, which poll numbers had suggested was a possibility, his campaign would likely have been over, said Sean Trende, a senior elections analyst for RealClearPolits.com, a political news website that includes polling data.

Buttigieg had gone all out in Iowa, pouring lots of resources into the state. 

“He has very much a lease on life now.”

More than a lease, says Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. Buttigieg’s placement, whether he finishes first or just behind Sanders, is a “big victory” for him.

“Even if Sanders does win, well, big deal. He did what everybody thought he would. But Buttigieg exceeded expectations. And this is an expectations game.”

The results debacle has, unfortunately for Buttigieg, taken away some of the media attention that follows the winner of this first contest in the presidential nomination process.

Still, it will give him some kind of boost as he campaigns in New Hampshire for the Feb. 11 primary vote. And more importantly, it could draw in more fundraising dollars.

Buttigieg’s placing will also motivate voters in the upcoming primary states to take a second look at his candidacy, said Karen Kedrowski, director of the Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University.

Kedrowski said it’s also interesting Buttigieg did so well, because Iowa tends to lean more progressive in the Democratic caucuses.

“It might indicate that caucusgoers were going in with a somewhat different calculus, not necessarily the focus on ideas and policy preferences as much as what they might define as electability.”

But Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a non-partisan political newsletter produced at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, suggested Buttigieg’s success could be short-lived.

He believes Buttigieg, to really transform himself into a real contender, will need to win New Hampshire next Tuesday, a tough challenge considering Sanders perceived lead there.

“Assuming he wins Iowa, maybe he will maybe he won’t, maybe that leads to a breakthrough, ” Kondik said. “Because otherwise, if he sputters out of New Hampshire, I don’t know if there’s anywhere for him.to go.”

Bernie Sanders


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders is in second place, but winning the popular vote. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Sanders was leading in most polls come election night. But a few days before the caucus vote, before an enthusiastic crowd of 3,000 at the arena in Cedar Rapids, Sanders stressed voter turnout would be key to his victory. High turnout he wins, low turnout he loses. 

Estimates so far, suggest a turnout hovering close to 2016 numbers, around 170,000, and a big drop from 2008 when nearly 240,000 participated and Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton, John Edwards and other candidates. This may be a significant factor why Sanders trails in second.

Still, the results so far show he is winning the popular vote and is just slightly behind Buttigieg in the delegate count.

But William Schneider, a professor of policy, government and international affairs at George Mason University, said that if the results stick, that has to be a bit of disappointment for Sanders. While he was expected to win, it’s “not exactly a strong showing.”

Athough he’s beating Biden handily, the strong showing of Buttigieg must give the Sanders’ campaign some serious worry.

So it’s not a big vote of confidence in Sanders. I don’t think it gives him much momentum,” Schneider said.

However, that momentum could be found in New Hampshire, where he could win big, Schneider said 

“He’s a local. New Hampshire voters know him, he got over 60 per cent of the vote against Hillary Clinton,” Schneider said.

Elizabeth Warren


Democratic presidential candidate Senator. Elizabeth Warren was reputed to have the best ground game in Iowa but sits in third place. (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer/Associated Press)

Warren was reputed to have the best ground game in the state, an important element in the Iowa caucus, as getting someone out to vote is a challenging endeavour. Still, according to current results, the Massachusetts senator sits in third place.

“If the results hold, it’s really bad for Warren,” said Evan Siegfried, a Republican strategist.

“Warren also had problems, as she had a vaunted campaign organization, but still only could muster third. She is now facing serious headwinds,” Siegfried said.

And if she doesn’t do well in New Hampshire, the path “gets trickier for her,” Kondik said.

Trende said Warren should hope to finish second there, and ride some momentum to Super Tuesday.

Joe Biden


The campaign of former vice-president Joe Biden had downplayed the importance of Iowa. He is currently trailing in fourth place. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

The former vice president is supposed to be the front-runner, the candidate most familiar to voters, and, according to polls leading up to the caucus, in a pretty tight race with Sanders.

“And to come in fourth. That’s a real letdown,” Schneider said.

It’s more than a letdown, suggested Trende, “Biden is in big trouble.”

Leading up to the caucus, even as far back as September, Biden operatives had been lowering expectations for their candidate in Iowa, saying it was not “a must-win” state, and that instead, they would be focusing their efforts on South Carolina, Nevada, and the Super Tuesday states.

Regardless, it did seem like his team really made a strong play to try to win Iowa, and came up “significantly short,” said Kondik.

Biden is also not expected to do particularly well in New Hampshire, a state Sanders is expected to win. While their team has their eye on South Carolina, and the African American Democratic voters who favour Biden, polls suggest his lead has diminished there, while Nevada may also be problematic..

That leads to another problem: fundraising, an issue his campaign is already having to deal with. Despite his name recognition, Biden has had trouble raising money, and with the loss in Iowa, it could dissuade other potential donors.

“At a certain point. the donors are going to be like, ‘This guy has run for president twice and has never won a race,'” said Trende. Biden ran unsuccessfully in 1988 and 2008 for the presidential nomination of his party.

“If he comes in third or fourth in New Hampshire, loses Nevada it’s gonna, it’s gonna be tough.”

As well, with Buttigieg’s strong Iowa showing, it’s possible that he, not Biden, will become the so-called moderate candidate that those in the political centre of the party rally around. 

“It’s no longer inevitable that Joe Biden is going to be the finalist in the moderate bracket, to go up against the progressive,” said Bannon. “In terms of support for moderates and money,  Mayor Pete struck a major blow against Biden.”

Amy Klobuchar


Democratic presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar had hoped to make a more significant showing in Iowa, but so far remains in fifth place. (Elise Amendola/Associated Press)

Iowa was Klobuchar’s chance to perform well and make a significant showing. She had a quasi-home state advantage, said Kondik, as her home state of Minnesota borders Iowa.

Instead, the results so far have her in fifth place. 

“This to me was her chance. It’s hard for me to imagine a path for her now,” Kondik said.

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Origin’s New ‘Big O’ Packs PS4 Pro or Xbox One S, PC Into the Same Chassis

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Origin PC has a new method of solving the PC-versus-console question — it’ll sell you both in the same chassis. When the company debuted the “Big O” last year, it was a proof-of-concept system that had an Xbox One, PS4, Switch dock, and PC all in the same chassis. The version the company has actually commercialized is a bit more practical, in that you have to choose which platform you want to incorporate — either a PS4 Pro or an Xbox One S “All Digital” Edition.

Streamer’s Paradise

The Big O can be used in console mode, PC mode, or both simultaneously, with separate HDMI ports for the GPU versus the disassembled console. In theory, it’s a perfect console for anyone who wants to stream from console to PC and output the video. Origin will sell you a 4K60-capable capture card if you want one, for another $ 489.

All of the provided images have been of the Xbox One S configuration.

The system is available with any CPU up to an Intel Core i9-9900KS, Core i9-10940X (14-core), Ryzen 9 3950X, or a Threadripper 3970X (32-core). Up to 4TB of SSDs, 32GB of RAM, and GPUs up to and including the RTX 2080 Ti can also be installed. The ability to play the console and PC simultaneously is one of those features that will come in very handy if you have a very specific use-case in mind for the system, and it’ll require some planning to take full advantage of, since you presumably want a large-ish display dedicated to both the PC and the PS4 Pro.

The Big O starts at $ 2,500 for the most basic option (Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, 1TB mechanical HDD, Core i5-9600K, 16GB of RAM, liquid cooling, a GTX 1660 GPU, 240GB SSD, and a 450W PSU). Upgrading to a PS4 Pro from the Xbox One S costs $ 146. That’s actually fairly good as far as the console itself is concerned; an Xbox One S All Digital is a $ 250 console and the PS4 Pro still has a $ 400 official MSRP. There’s no doubt that you’re paying a pretty hefty premium for both the console and the boutique build. But being willing to sign off and warranty a system like this is part of why people buy from boutiques in the first place. I can even see why a professional game streamer with limited space might prefer a setup like this, since you can literally handle both PC and PS4 game streaming on the same set of equipment.

The Big O is available to order now, with ship dates expected in 14-16 days. We’ll be curious to see if this experiment catches on with the market.

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‘Big Brother’: Kat and Nick Open Up About Their Jury House Hook-Up (Exclusive)

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Watch ‘Big Bang Theory’ Cast Film the Very Last Take of the Beloved Sitcom (Exclusive)

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‘Big Little Lies’: All of Laura Dern’s Standout Moments as Renata in Season 2, Episode 2

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‘Big Bang Theory’ Says Goodbye: 16 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From the Emotional Finale Taping

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Watch 98 Degrees’ Jeff Timmons & ‘Big Brother’ Star Jessie Godderz Battle It Out for a Girl! (Exclusive)

One has made a living with his pecs and one has wowed fans around the globe with his abs, but who will win the girl?

98 Degrees heartthrob Jeff Timmons goes head to head with Big Brother alum Jesse Godderz, aka Mr PEC-Tacular, in the new video for their single, “The Girl Is With Me,” premiering exclusively on ET below.

The fun track sees Timmons and Godderz, an actor, wrestler and bodybuilder, vying for the attention of a sexy blonde (played by fellow Big Brother star Morgan Willett) while out a bar.

“It’s a little silly and cheesy, but that’s the point of the whole song,” Timmons tells ET. 

The two hunks decided to work together after connecting on LinkedIn, with Timmons initially asking Godderz to host his Las Vegas male revue show, Men of the Strip. Reluctant, the 32-year-old Tainted Dreams star later came around to the idea of giving music a go with Timmons instead.

Setting out to create a modern-day take on Michael Jackson and Sir Paul McCartney’s “The Girl Is Mine,” Timmons created the song concept and Godderz contributed some of the lyrics before the pair hit the studio to record.

“He was actually a lot better than I expected,” says Timmons of Godderz. “He could sing! He was very apprehensive at first, but then relaxed and it ended up being pretty incredible.”

The guys then reconvened at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, California, to shoot the tongue-in-cheek video together.

While these days, Timmons is enjoying family life and wedded bliss with his beautiful wife, Amanda, the 45-year-old musician admits that the concept of competing for a girl’s love is all too familiar thanks to 98 Degrees’ heyday.

“When we were all single and first became popular, we were like kids in the candy store for the first time with having all the girls around,” admits Timmons, who is preparing to kick off the boy band’s Christmas tour on Nov. 1 in Winnipeg, Canada. “And when there was a certain girl one of the guys liked, pretty much all of us would like her. We had a friendly competition!”

So, who got to gloat, “The girl is with me,” back in those early days?

“Luckily, with boy bands, each guy usually has their own fan base, so I think it ended up working out an even split!” Timmons laughs.


Jessie Godderz


Jessie Godderz

See more on Big Brother and 98 Degrees below.

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