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Tatwi 11-13-2012 12:52 AM

AMD' s New Trinity APUs: Anyone using one?
 
Howdy,

After searching around many of the hardware sites and Linux sites out there, I wasn't able to find anyone talking about using AMD's new APUs under Linux, so I figured I'd finally make an account and start a conversation! (I'm a very long time reader lol...).

I am curious to know if anyone is playing around with OpenCL for general computing and how the graphics driver support is for AMD these days. Also, are there any optimizations that take into account the single shared floating point unit between two "cores"?

I'm personally still using a Core2 Q8200 and Nvidia GTS450 video card as my main computer, which I am happy with, so I can't personally make use of OpenCL. However, AMD's "heterogeneous computing" concept seems like a really smart way to bring excellent application performance on modest, well balanced hardware. From the benchmarks that I have seen on the web, Handbrake and Winzip OpenCL performance on the A10-5800K APU is very good, which makes me wonder what magic the minds in the Linux community can work with it.

Have any thoughts to share?

salasi 11-13-2012 08:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
...I can't personally make use of OpenCL. However, AMD's "heterogeneous computing" concept seems like a really smart way to bring excellent application performance on modest, well balanced hardware.

I think that is the easy part; it does sound like a smart idea, but, essentially, no one is using it for ordinary, general purpose, programs. You might find something obscure in the areas in which it has most potential (maybe CFD or weather forecasting or something), but for ordinary desktop activities, you'll find almost no ordinary desktop programs that are open source and run natively on Linux that do.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
Also, are there any optimizations that take into account the single shared floating point unit between two "cores"?

I can only think of one general purpose optimisation that would make overwhelming sense and that would be adjust scheduling so that, as far as possible, fp-heavy apps would be scheduled onto different modules, and given that apps don't in any simple way declare how fp-heavy they are, or expect to be, I can't see how that happens in any easy way and I don't know of any efforts to make that happen (not that anyone would tell me, of course).

Outside of the 'obscure app division', there is one intra-app case that is interesting and that concerns games, and there I have to admit that I just don't know, but much magic happens there.

Outside of games and the 'obscure' stuff, fp-heavy isn't common anyway, so maybe it is being treated as a non problem. Except for compute servers?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
After searching around many of the hardware sites and Linux sites out there, I wasn't able to find anyone talking about using AMD's new APUs under Linux, so I figured I'd finally make an account and start a conversation! (I'm a very long time reader lol...).

Phoronix is the only place I can think of that would be likely to.

cascade9 11-13-2012 08:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
I am curious to know if anyone is playing around with OpenCL for general computing and how the graphics driver support is for AMD these days. Also, are there any optimizations that take into account the single shared floating point unit between two "cores"?

As far as I know, no, there isnt anything that will use the GPU section of the APU that wont run the same or better with a standalone video card.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
I'm personally still using a Core2 Q8200 and Nvidia GTS450 video card as my main computer, which I am happy with, so I can't personally make use of OpenCL.

OpenCL does run on GTS450 cards.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828055)
However, AMD's "heterogeneous computing" concept seems like a really smart way to bring excellent application performance on modest, well balanced hardware. From the benchmarks that I have seen on the web, Handbrake and Winzip OpenCL performance on the A10-5800K APU is very good, which makes me wonder what magic the minds in the Linux community can work with it.

A10-5800K is pointless IMO.

Get a FX-4XXX (or better) and a video card, or an intel. Its only a tiny amount more than buying a A10-5880K, is more upgradable, more flexable, and you arent buying a GPU on a CPU that probably wont have enough guts to play the games that you bougth the GTS450 to play (the HD 7660D in the A10 has less power than a GTS450, and even a $70 HD 6670 will easily outrun the HD 7660D)

There is a test at Phoronix-

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...0k_linux&num=1

Not that Phoronix has the reputation it used to.

NyteOwl 11-13-2012 12:34 PM

There are a number of people using Llano and Trinity under Linux with no problems, though I agree not much onlien chatter about it. I have an A10-5800K siting on the desk here that I won that will likely find its way into a media machine or perhaps a small home server.

As the centre of a low power general use machine I think they'de do fine for most things. Intensive computer or graphics requirements would be better served with other processors and GPU's - but of course that's not the niche the AMD APU's are aimed at.

Tatwi 11-13-2012 01:08 PM

Thanks for pointing that out about OpenCL, Cascade9. I had not looked into it, assuming it special hardware level support, but it does work on Nvidia's CUDA GPUs with recent drivers. Nifty (and handy for me).

I feel kind of bad for AMD, in that they are willing to innovate with OpenCL, but Intel and Nvidia are right there doing it too. Apart from good value for the dollar on the +/- $100 cpu market, they just don't have much to offer anymore. I was hoping that OpenCL would give them a bit of a leg up if folks got on board to program for it, but I have the feeling the end result is that it will just end up working better on Nvidia video cards with Intel cpus. Poor AMD...

Still, it would be neat to see some useful apps, like GIMP, get some speed boosts when an AMD APU is available. May as well use those resources if they are there, right? :)

cascade9 11-13-2012 11:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828558)
I feel kind of bad for AMD, in that they are willing to innovate with OpenCL, but Intel and Nvidia are right there doing it too. Apart from good value for the dollar on the +/- $100 cpu market, they just don't have much to offer anymore.

Intel isnt really doing much with OpenCL. IIRC MIC does support openCL, but who is going to buy one of them?

AMD still holds down Intel CPU prices, and even if thats all they had to offer its still A Good Thing. ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828558)
I was hoping that OpenCL would give them a bit of a leg up if folks got on board to program for it, but I have the feeling the end result is that it will just end up working better on Nvidia video cards with Intel cpus. Poor AMD...

You might be suprised. Yes, I know, that is high end GPUs, AFAIK AMD has a similar advantage on lower end GPUs.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/...6,3318-14.html

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tatwi (Post 4828558)
Still, it would be neat to see some useful apps, like GIMP, get some speed boosts when an AMD APU is available. May as well use those resources if they are there, right? :)

Yes, but a video card can do the same job as the onboard GPU.


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