AMPS 2.2 – AMD updates DASH Management Plugin for SCCM 2012

AMD PRO has been gaining momentum in the market. As a trusted provider of innovative technology solutions, AMD is inside the latest generation of console units, jetliner cockpit displays, the world’s fastest energy efficient computer and the systems on an increasing number of workplace desks.

 

So what is making AMD PRO based systems so popular? In addition to the excellent performance and value that are offered by AMD PRO A-Series APUs and the reliability offered with a longer warranty (among a host of other sought after features as you can see on the PRO website), AMD continues to develop and support industry standards. One of the industry standards supported by AMD is the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (DASH) Standard.

In October of 2014, we released the AMPS 2.1 plug-in for SCCM 2012. The AMPS plug-in extends SCCM 2012 to manage the desktop and mobile systems’ out-of-band (irrespective of the power state or the clients’ operating system) using DASH standards.

 

We are pleased to announce the availability of the AMPS 2.2 release to further extend SCCM features and functionality. In the AMPS 2.2 release, additional features supported are:

 

    • Text Redirection
      • Text redirection provides BIOS-assisted console and keyboard redirection to a terminal in the SCCM console.
    • USB Redirection
      • USB Redirection can be used to boot the managed systems to a remote image file such as .iso.
    • Scheduled Power
      • Schedule (at a particular date and time) power operations on a collection of devices.
    • Alert Subscription and Reception
      • Subscribe, receive and encode DASH alerts from managed devices.
    • SCCM 2012 CAS support
      • AMPS supports DASH operations from Central Administrative Site of SCCM 2012.

 

You can find more information on AMD’s DASH manageability solutions in the “Documents and White Papers” section of the AMD Commercial Tools and Resources page. Additional documentation and downloads including AMPS 2.2 are available on the Tools for DMTF DASH page. Please reach out to your AMD representative or visit the forum with any questions or feedback you may have.

 

Jay Hiremath is a Sr. Director – Platform & Software Engineering at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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AMD enables incredible DirectX® 12 performance in new 3DMark® API Overhead Feature Test

UPDATE: The AMD Radeon™ R9 290X graphics card delivers up to 33% higher performance than the GeForce GTX 980 in independent testing from PC Perspective!

 

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Today I’m pleased to welcome the 3DMark® API Overhead Feature Test to the world! This powerful extension to the 3DMark® suite lets everyday users compare the performance of different graphics APIs—Mantle, DirectX® 12 and DirectX® 11—on their PC. The early results are very promising for AMD customers, as the promised performance benefits of DirectX® 12 on full display.

 

I understand that not everyone has a few hours to throw at these kinds of tests, however, so let’s jump right into a few data points I’ve collected to illustrate how big these performance jumps really are.

 

PERFORMANCE

First we’ll look at DirectX® 12’s raw ability to ramp GPU throughput, with higher throughput representing new opportunities to put image quality on screen for you. In the new 3DMark® test, DirectX® 12 delivers performance that’s 10-16X its predecessor on AMD Radeon™ R9 and R7 graphics hardware.

DX12 HW EFficiency.PNG.png

Next I wanted to show you what DirectX® 12 can do for the performance-per-watt of a PC. Using an AMD A-Series APU, the world’s best SoC for DirectX® 12, we see a performance per watt improvement of 511%. In other words, every watt of power consumption just accomplished 6X the work that it could under DirectX® 11.


dx12_APU.PNG.png

Finally, I wanted to show you just how much better DirectX® 12 is at using multi-core CPUs like the AMD FX-8350. This wildly improved use of such CPUs is due to a feature called multi-threaded command buffer recording, which finally allows a multi-core communication lane between your AMD FX processor and AMD Radeon™ GPU. The graph shows this very clearly, with DirectX® 11 demonstrating no benefit beyond two cores even while DirectX® 12 sees an average uplift of +2.9 million draw calls with every CPU core added up to 6 cores.

 

For obvious reasons, multi-threaded command buffer recording is a defining feature in DirectX® 12 that will have a huge impact on the lives of gamers.

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THE ROAD TO OPTIMIZATION
The mind-boggling data I’ve collected from the 3DMark API Overhead Feature Test is testament to our passion for DirectX® 12 and its promise as a graphics API.

Our software developers are months into their work with companies, like Futuremark®, who want to make the most of our DirectX® 12-ready Graphics Core Next architecture. While such work is never truly finished, the early results are plainly impressive.

 

There are other factors at work, too!  AMD has been working on “low-overhead” or “console-like” APIs for over three years. During that time, we’ve been working with top game developers to establish best practices for these APIs on AMD hardware. We expect game developers to have a head start in having their games work great on AMD hardware as a result. By no coincidence, console game development is also targeted at AMD hardware with a unique set of low-overhead graphics APIs.

 

Given that DirectX® 12 will be a transformative experience for millions of gamers, it’s important that hardware vendors like AMD have a 360-degree view of the issue. Thankfully, the pervasive nature of the GCN Architecture in the games industry highlights that AMD stands alone with that perspective.


Today’s extraordinary 3DMark® results show that we’re already putting it to good use.

 

Robert Hallock is the Head of Global Technical Marketing at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 

FOOTNOTES:

  • Image #1: Core i7-4960X, Asus X79 Sabertooth, 16GB DDR3-1866, Windows 10® 10 Technical Preview 2 (Build 10041), AMD Catalyst™ driver 15.20.1012. DirectX® 11 multi-threaded vs. DirectX® 12 multi-threaded. 3840×2160 resolution.
  • Image #2: AMD A10-7850K, Asus A88X-Pro, 8GB DDR3-1866, Windows® 10 Technical Preview 2 (Build 10041), AMD Catalyst™ driver 15.20.1012. DirectX® 11 multi-threaded vs. DirectX® 12 multi-threaded. 1920×1080 resolution.>
  • Image #3: AMD FX-8350, AMD Radeon™ R9 290X, Gigabyte 990FXA-UD5, 8GB DDR3-1866, Windows® 10 Technical Preview 2 (Build 10041), AMD Catalyst™ driver 15.20.1012. DirectX® 11 multi-threaded vs. DirectX® 12 multi-threaded. 3840×2160 resolution.

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AMD FreeSync™ technology has arrived!

No stuttering. No tearing. No extra costs. Just smooth gaming. Those are pretty straightforward and reasonable requests from gamers, right? Today it becomes reality with our latest AMD Catalyst™ driver release. This is our first driver with AMD FreeSync™ technology enabled, and I’m happy to report that there are FreeSync technology-enabled monitors shipping or are about to ship imminently. Should this be your first encounter with AMD FreeSync technology, please make sure you check this out first to learn about how it works! You can also find more information on our website.

 

SPEAKING OF MONITORS

Below you’ll find a chart with all of the AMD FreeSync technology-compatible monitors announced to date. I’ve had the pleasure of playing around with a few of them, and they’re more than worth your consideration. You may prefer the Acer or BenQ’s 1440p models that have a wide refresh rate range (40-144Hz). Alternatively, proponents of IPS panels or ultra-wide aspect ratios would be keen to check out the 29” or 34” options from LG. And more monitors are on their way. Up to 20 monitors supporting AMD FreeSync technology are in the pipe for 2015, in fact!

 

Now, think back to when you saw your first HD video—it was difficult to be satisfied with standard-def content. It was for me, anyhow. That’s how I feel about gaming on AMD FreeSync technology. I always disliked tearing and stuttering, but I couldn’t do much about them with yesterday’s technologies. AMD FreeSync technology changes the game, fixing both tearing and stuttering with smooth gameplay at virtually any framerate. I can now dial up the detail without worrying about whether or not I’m sacrificing smoothness, and I find it difficult to game on normal monitors now.

 

1.png

 

THE DEFINITION OF “FREE”

AMD FreeSync technology costs virtually nothing for a monitor manufacturer to adopt. Most of them already had the relevant components in their supply chains, but needed the right software to come along to expose latent capabilities. With the help of VESA, the DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync specification was born to do exactly that.

 

DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync has no unique material or licensing costs, and AMD FreeSync technology builds on top of that industry standard to give gamers a benefit in all of their games.

 

No licensing. No proprietary hardware. No incremental hardware costs. As some might say: “free as in beer.”

 

All of these savings are reflected in the price tags. Several of the displays announced by our technology partners are up to hundreds cheaper than comparable displays featuring our competitor’s dynamic refresh technology. Other displays, like the ones from LG, are actually cheaper this year with AMD FreeSync than comparable models were last year without. This is the advantage from doing technologies the right way: as open standards with low and inexpensive barriers to entry. You’ve heard that from us time and time again, but it rings true with AMD FreeSync.

 

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Here’s another interesting fun fact: our testing indicates that AMD FreeSync technology doesn’t incur any performance penalties. The competition can’t say the same. In fact, the competition remarked to AnandTech last year that enabling their technology costs you 1ms of latency—an average performance hit of 3-5%. AMD FreeSync technology is smarter than that. Our data suggests a modest performance gain with AMD FreeSync enabled, and that too is the advantage of taking the time to thoughtfully develop an industry standard.


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*footnote

 

FOR TWITCH FPS GAMERS

We heard you guys loud and clear: Vsync isn’t enough. You don’t want it because it limits framerates, and that limits opportunities for the freshest mouse data to reach your eyeballs. Call it what you will: mouse lag, input latency, whatever. With AMD FreeSync™ technology, we uniquely give you the opportunity to turn Vsync off when the framerate of the application leaves the dynamic refresh range supported by the monitor.

 

So, if you have one of those 144Hz BenQ or Acer displays, but you’re a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player that wants to run at 240 FPS… you can! You still get beautifully smooth, tearing-free gameplay from 40-144Hz with those monitors, but you don’t have to sacrifice your input latency to get it when the framerate goes to 145+.

 

Below you can see a conceptual example of this relationship. In this theoretical exercise, the red line reflects framerates and input latency of an application Vsynced to 60Hz, and the blue line demonstrates the superior framerates and mouse latency of a game unrestricted by Vsync.  This is a hypothetical scenario, and you’ll want to tinker with your favorite game, but AMD FreeSync actually gives you the choice—the competition doesn’t.

 

3.png


WRAP UP

AMD FreeSync technology is free of incremental hardware costs, free of performance penalties, free as a standard, open for use by anyone in the gaming industry, and unbelievably smooth framerates are I-can-never-go-back-to-the-old-way incredible for PC gaming.

 

It’s hard to go wrong. What monitor will you buy?

 


Robert Hallock is Technical Marketing Manager for AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

 

 

 

Footnote:

In tests by AMD as of January 30, 2015, enabling AMD FreeSync™ technology on the AMD Radeon™ R9 290X, and G-sync on the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780 had an average performance impact of +0.274% FPS (avg) and -1.447% FPS (avg), respectively, in Alien: Isolation™ (SMAA T1x), BioShock® Infinite, Tomb Raider™, Sniper Elite™ III (2.25x SSAA), and Thief™ (normal quality). All applications were evaluated at 2560×1440 with 8xAA and 16xAF unless otherwise noted. System configuration: i7-4770K CPU, MSI Z87 motherboard, 16GB memory, Windows 8.1 64-bit, AMD Catalyst™ 15.3 Beta, Nvidia 347.52 WHQL driver. G-sync monitor: ASUS ROG Swift PG278Q. AMD FreeSync™ technology monitor: BenQ XL2730Z.

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A Giant Leap Forward for HSA

HSAFoundation-FINAL.JPG.jpg

As the great Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu once observed, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. This quote is often used to remind us that a task that appears daunting at first, can be accomplished by persistent work toward the goal.

 

In June of 2012, leading technology companies and universities took this to heart when they stepped forward with AMD to form the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation. Today the journey is not over, but the Foundation has certainly reached an important milestone: the release of the HSA 1.0 specifications.


So, while the membership of the Foundation takes a moment to savor this important accomplishment before moving on to the next task ahead, what does this mean to the rest of us?


First, let’s briefly summarize why the Foundation came to be in the first place. At its most expansive and visionary, the goal of the HSA Foundation is to change the formula for computing forever. In more specific terms, as explained here in a recent EE Times article, the members joined together to drive the creation of a new architecture that advances and promotes heterogeneous systems, and to help bring HSA-enabled platforms and software solutions to market.


Is it coming to fruition? You better believe it.

 

Let’s review what is now available on http://ift.tt/1ioYyQo. The newly-approved specification comprises the key elements which improve the programmability of heterogeneous processors, the portability of programming code and interoperability across different vendor devices.

 

These include:

  • The HSA System Architecture Specification that defines how the hardware operates;
  • The HSA Programmers Reference Manual (PRM), that targets the software ecosystem, tool and compiler developers;
  • The HSA Runtime Specification that defines how applications interact with HSA platforms.

 

You can program to the HSA specification in higher level languages already, the C++ compiler is available today, as are the Python compiler and the OpenCL™ 2.0 stack. In addition to the programmer focused elements above, AMD is the first member to be delivering the hardware. “Kaveri-based” HSA development platforms are available today and we will deliver “Carrizo” by mid-year.  The HSA Conformance tests are under development by the HSA Foundation now, and we expect “Carrizo” to become the first product in the world that can claim compliance with the specification!

 

So perhaps in conclusion, we should look to another insightful philosopher, from Greece this time, whose words can serve as a well-deserved pat on the back for the Foundation and its members who took that first step.

 

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

 

Manju Hegde, corporate vice president at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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AMD – Arming the Online Gamer

As the program manager for AMD’s online gaming marketing activities, I have spent a lot of time researching online gaming and eSports and one thing is very evident: it is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. AMD recently surveyed over 13,000 passionate gamers and 85% percent of them game over 10 hours a week, while 54% watch over 5 hours of online gaming weekly. MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games have also surged in popularity, with over 27 million daily League of Legends players1 and over 10 million Dota 2 players last month.2

 

AMD uniquely serves the needs of your customers who game or watch online gaming with products and features that offer extraordinary performance and experiences. AMD A-Series A8 and A10 APUs with internal Radeon™ R7 graphics offer superb performance on all the most popular MOBAs for the beginning online gamer. Our A8-7650K APU performs at an impressive average of 60 fps on League of Legends, while the A10-7850K APU provides a stunning average of 96 fps on Counter Strike: Global Offensive and an average of 56 fps on Team Fortress 2.3

 

For your gaming customers who need the firepower to play more resource-intensive AAA titles, Radeon R7 discrete graphics offer budget-conscious gamers the ability to play the latest games at high frame rates for an amazing visual experience. The AMD Radeon R7 260 and the Radeon R7 260X graphics cards offer optimal performance and power efficiency, the ability to play on multiple monitors and 4K-quality MOBA gaming.

 

All of the aforementioned products provide support for AMD FreeSync™ Technology. AMD FreeSync is what your gamer customers have been waiting for – a solution that eliminates screen tearing without the usual lag and latency.4 Rather than delivering frames at intervals that exactly fit the monitor’s refresh rate, AMD FreeSync lets the graphics card control the refresh rate. This eliminates large jumps in frame rate for noticeably smoother gameplay.

 

AMD has long been a leader in gaming. Our processors, APUs and graphics cards have been the foundation of gaming systems for years. In addition, AMD Radeon™ graphics deliver world class performance and breathtaking image quality in the world’s top gaming consoles including the Microsoft Xbox® One, Sony PlayStation® 4, and Nintendo® Wii U™. AMD equips you with great components for your gaming customers, regardless of whether they strictly play MOBAs or the latest AAA titles.

 

 

  Andy Thompson, Product Marketing Manager, Worldwide Channel Marketing at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only. Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.

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Why bother with a professional graphics card?

Why bother with a professional graphics card?

 

One of the great – and terrifying – things about computing is the sheer rate of change. What is the expensive high end today, a moment later becomes the minimum necessary for reasonable performance. Both the rate of development and the ability of the technology industry to feed innovations and improvements down to lower and lower price points is stunning.

The pay-off for this, of course, is the democratization of technology. A decade ago, taking video footage and editing it to a good standard was a task for professionals. Computer-aided design (CAD) was something you did in a design studio, and virtual reality was more virtual than reality. Today however, the value PC you buy from the shop around the corner can cut, splice, add after effects and output to a quality that was previously the domain of high end post-production houses and newsrooms.

This gives rise to a legitimate question: why bother buying the latest and greatest when the mid-range is perfectly capable? I believe it’s a little more complicated than just a simple matter of price.

 

The difference between stellar experiences and mission critical


First, let’s establish what’s different between a consumer and professional graphics card. The average home or business use for a graphics card is not mission critical. Most business PCs, for example, might be used for standard office productivity applications – and consumer graphics cards are excellent for the job they are intended for. In fact, as time goes by, graphics cards are arguably more important than the CPU when it comes to handling quite a lot of the computational load the average user puts on their PC.

When it comes to the latest and greatest games, they are also easily handled, as graphics cards are truly keeping pace with everything the gaming industry throws at them. The bottom line is that the experience offered by consumer graphics cards today are perfect for consumers.

Professional graphics needs, however, are different. They might be used in a multi-GPU installation in a data center for processing huge chunks of information. They might be used for a CAD application tasked with building the design for the next range of high performance cars. They might be rendering the next big Hollywood blockbuster movie. All of these are what we’d call business critical applications, and all of these rely on predictable performance that works reliably every time.

 

The older the better?


There’s another element to this reliability story; most business-critical workstations are built from the ground up with a certain specification. Change that spec, and the whole process needs to be reworked again.

Having access to older solutions, counter-intuitive as it might sound in today’s world, is actually vital. This is one of the reasons why NASA very rarely updated any of the technology in the space shuttle: it worked, and worked reliably and predictably. When the slightest change could mean catastrophe, the focus must be on having a known solution, not a new one.

With the high costs of planning and implementation for mission critical applications, it’s more important to replace professional graphics cards with something exactly the same as opposed to different solutions that may be incompatible with the application you’re running. Therefore, having a longer warranty is vital – for example, AMD FirePro’s warranty is three years. Additionally, access to such products for a longer period of time is equally important – exemplified by AMD FirePro offering two to five years availability.

Finally, there’s the software drivers and interoperability. The makers of professional software programs are very keen to maximise the performance of their applications, and spend a great deal of time making sure the programs are optimised for professional-grade workstations and components. You can be sure, with applications like Autodesk Maya™, Adobe After Effects and AutoCAD running on an AMD FirePro graphics card, the hardware and software are built to run together.

 

 

Infographic-final.jpg

 

The consumer contrast


Consumer grade cards offer their own benefits and are built for specific purposes; they are priced affordably for consumers, and the technology receives regular refreshes and can be blazingly fast for the money. They are created for the everyday needs of users today, offering performance gains and speed for everyday use. In particular, because game developers are constantly pushing the innovation window, the consumer graphics card market is required to keep pace and does so to the benefit of consumers.

  In a nutshell, graphics cards should be fit for purpose. There are plenty of reasons to choose a consumer-grade graphics card; but when it comes to mission critical applications, the benefits to going pro are more highly prized by businesses than raw performance.  Dependability, interoperability and a sustainable long term model – those are the vital elements that make sure the initial investment in pro graphics delivers reliably for years to come.

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One of Mantle’s Futures: Vulkan

glnext-logo.pngSince the advent of Mantle, gamers widely believed that Mantle would become an industry-standard graphics API or, at the very least, inspire successors that would offer similarly powerful benefits to hardware beyond AMD Radeon™ graphics. Many hoped that Mantle would come to OSes beyond Windows, too. These voices weren’t wrong: those were our goals, too!

 

The recent arrival of those oh-so-inspired successors has subsequently honed this chatter to one question: “What does Mantle do now?” AMD has cryptically replied—with very good reason—that Mantle’s destiny is openness and coexistence. Today we’re ready to be clear on one aspect of what that means.

 

The cross-vendor Khronos Group has chosen the best and brightest parts of Mantle to serve as the foundation for “Vulkan,” the exciting next version of the storied OpenGL API.

 

WHAT THIS MEANS

OpenGL has long and deservedly commanded respect for being a fast, versatile and wide open API that works on all graphics vendors across multiple operating systems.

 

Meanwhile, Mantle has seen acclaim for many improvements in gaming and game development: higher framerates, reduced rendering latency, reduced GPU power consumption, better use of multi-core CPUs, and re-pioneering new features like split-frame rendering.

 

Vulkan combines and extensively iterates on these characteristics as one new and uniquely powerful graphics API. And as the product of an incredible collaboration between many industry hardware and software vendors, Vulkan paves the way for a renaissance in cross-platform and cross-vendor PC games with exceptional performance, image quality and features.

 

STAY TUNED FOR MORE INFO

“Open” and “flexible” technologies are an essential piece of AMD’s DNA, and we have a long history in supporting those ideals. Our co-development of the Vulkan API through contributions like Mantle is another chapter in that open technology tale for AMD, an exciting evolution of Mantle, and a big step forward for PC gamers alike.

 

Stay tuned for more information on the specifics of Vulkan from the Khronos Group! We’ll be working hard to make it a fascinating story in the meantime.

 

Robert Hallock is the Head of Global Technical Marketing at AMD. His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied.

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