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More details emerge on just what makes an AMD Live! system different

Tomorrow AMD will announce its Live! platform, but we were able to look through some AMD documents that contain updates on what to expect from Live! compliant desktops and media PCs. DailyTech previously reported that an AMD Live! system would come standard with at least the following specifications:

AMD LIVE! Desktop PC
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor (65W energy efficient CPU
  • Discrete or UMA graphics (DX9, HDCP required if HDMI used)
  • 5.1 HD audio with SPDIF output
  • RAID 0. 1 with SATA (NCQ support recommended)
  • 2 to 4 DIMMs of DDR2 667/800MHz
  • Ports: 6 (minimum) USB 2.0 and IEEE 1394 (FireWire 400)
  • GigE LAN and optional 802.11b/g (a is optional)
  • Slots: 16L & 1L PCIe and 1x PCI minimum
  • Low Acoustic Noise level (to be determined)
AMD LIVE! Entertainment PC
Same as LIVE! Desktop PC except:

  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor (35W and 65W energy CPU)
  • SATA HD support
  • Support for low profile form factors

Processor requirements have also been updated. Not only must desktop systems come with dual-core processors, they must also come with processors rated at 4800+ or higher. Athlon 64 FX-62 processors are also Live! compliant. Memory requirements state that systems must also ship with configurations of 1GB or more of system RAM. Strangely, no minimum hard drive capacity requirements are stated. Since Live! media systems are expected to do some PVR duties, large hard drives capacities will likely be required.

Besides the above specifications, AMD's platform design guides states that systems are recommended to focus on thermal dynamics as well as acoustic performance. Launch preparation documents stress that Live! compliant systems must keep noise to a minimum, and in some cases, produce almost no noise at all. Furthermore, AMD documents recommend that only fluid-bearing SATA hard drives be used to cut down on noise.

Microsoft's Away Mode is also a requirement for AMD Live! compliant systems. Away Mode will allow a system to shutdown all components that are unused by a user when they are "away" from the machine. Some of the components listed are: displays, keyboards, mice, remote controls, and other non essentials. The machine continues to operate normally, with the power LED on the system will indicate an off state -- although safety issues may arise from a user thinking that the machine is off when in fact, it's still operating. According to Away Mode specifications, the machine will continue to operate normally so that tasks such as file downloading and transferring can still take place without requiring much power. Away Mode is only supported in Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition with Rollup 2 update. Apparently, the Away Mode feature is part of the Live! specification and is not a feature available to Intel Viiv systems.

AMD says that Live! desktops will begin shipping with its new AM2 platform, and that the new AM2 processors will be equipped with on-die temperature sensors to allow accurate readings of CPU temperature. Using THERMDA and THERMDC pins on the new processors, a Live! system can operate more efficiently and better control the speed of system fans. AMD is also pushing its Cool'n'Quiet technology to help with energy efficiency. Live! systems are required to by fully ACPI compliant, allowing the system processor to enter specific power-states to reduce thermals even further.

AMD's Live! platform is shaping up to be a lot more demanding than Intel's Viiv platform. While both AMD and Intel are out looking for partners in the media industry to provide exclusive content for end users, AMD is putting a lot of effort forward to ensure that Live! compliant computers offer something tangible for customers. The online community previously questioned just what made a Viiv PC so special. AMD is ensuring that Live! systems don't fall into the same trap.

DailyTech previously reported that AMD's Live! compliancy logos were leaked several weeks ago. Information was also revealed that AMD's Live! logo program extended not only to desktop PCs and media PCs, but also portable devices.

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Thermal diode?
By mcphailvdoulton on 5/30/2006 6:27:17 AM , Rating: 2
the article seems to imply that the thermal diode is a new feature. correct me if i'm wrong, but don't all K8 CPUs have it? what we don't have is a good, simple yet powerful monitoring software to go with it like the now-discontinued Motherboard Monitor... the monitoring software that just about all the motherboard brands pack with their products have too much flash and aesthetics - a lot of show but not much go.

RE: Thermal diode?
By JackPack on 5/30/2006 6:43:29 AM , Rating: 2
Likely something more accurate than a diode.

Perhaps something that approaches Core 2's "digital thermal sensor."

RE: Thermal diode?
RE: Thermal diode?
By mcphailvdoulton on 5/30/2006 8:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
unfortunately it does look like it's a diode:

that's THERM al D iode A node and C athode respectively. imho i think what Live! specs mean is that the die temp readout plays a more active role than just being read and displayed or to kick in the thermal cutout. Along with CnQ, the readings (as the article notes) might be used as a reference from which to control system fans or might be more tightly integrated with ACPI for sleep states.

Either way, the point is that the thermal diode seems to be just the usual one that's been on the K8 die all along, not something new as the article seems to imply :)

RE: Thermal diode?
By ChronoReverse on 5/30/2006 11:39:57 AM , Rating: 3
What we don't have is a good, simple yet powerful monitoring software to go with it like the now-discontinued Motherboard Monitor

You mean like Speedfan?

It's just something to counter Intel's Viiv
By zsdersw on 5/30/2006 4:40:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's all it is.. a competitor to Intel's Viiv.

If you're not excited about Intel's Viiv, you shouldn't be excited about AMD's Live!.

RE: It's just something to counter Intel's Viiv
By animedude on 5/31/2006 1:37:30 AM , Rating: 3
Actually I would.
LOL @ Viiv's instant off!!! Just blank the video and is call instant off.

Other the other hand, AMD's away mode is a lot better. Shut down components to conserve energy.

Viiv is a marketing scam.

RE: It's just something to counter Intel's Viiv
By zsdersw on 5/31/2006 6:46:21 AM , Rating: 2
That's not something to be excited about.

By stephenbrooks on 5/31/2006 4:05:28 PM , Rating: 2
Depends who pays your power bill.

By zsdersw on 6/1/2006 7:12:13 AM , Rating: 2
I pay my own power bill.. and I'm not excited about it.

HDCP keys
By peternelson on 5/30/2006 6:24:57 AM , Rating: 2

Since both Intel and AMD seem to require it for compliant systems to their media-ready campaigns,

Does the requirement for HDCP actually necessitate that HDCP KEYS BE PROGRAMMED INTO GRAPHICS CARDS so the feature can actually be USED?

There don't seem many products from ATI or NVIDIA that are truly ready in this way. Perhaps an anandtech roundup showing our choices of HDCP ready cards would be helpful.

RE: HDCP keys
By smilingcrow on 5/30/2006 7:45:44 AM , Rating: 2
It seems dumb to me to release a VGA card or motherboard that has a HDMI connector but doesn’t support HDCP. This is definitely one case where you need to check the manufacturer’s website before buying. But how long is the shelf life for HDMI? DisplayPort seems to be the new connector on the block. WTF, HDMI hasn’t even properly been implemented on PCs yet and it’s already for the chop. It’s just another balls up along the lines of competing HD disc formats and ICT.

RE: HDCP keys
By Johnmcl7 on 5/31/2006 7:28:09 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I'm aware if you have an HDMI connector you must have HDCP whereas with DVI you can use HDCP over it but you don't have to.


RE: HDCP keys
By TheBaker on 5/30/2006 1:12:35 PM , Rating: 2
From everything I have seen, ther are currently NO graphics cards on the market that have HDCP keys in them. There was a big dust-up about it a few months back. It almost kept me from upgrading, until I realized that no-one is really going to be implementing the Image constraint token for a few years anyway, so I will have plenty of time to enjoy my current card beofre needing an HDCP capable card. Besides, that will only apply to Vista systems with HD-DVD or Blu-Ray drives, which will be prohibitively expensive at launch.

RE: HDCP keys
By Fenixgoon on 5/30/2006 3:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
I believe the Sapphire X1600 Pro does have an HDCP key... but otherwise, no one has bothered to implement it yet, the cards are just "HDCP ready/compliant," whichever means they have the chip, not the key

i'm a lil slow
By jsowder18 on 5/30/2006 8:19:28 AM , Rating: 2
ok i'm a lil slow, i don't understand what AMD Live is... is it some kind of standard or something that AMD has came up with or what? [sorry, kind of a noob here]

RE: i'm a lil slow
By armagedon on 5/30/2006 9:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
man you're not alone. Looks like another reason to sell you a more expensive PC because it carries a nice logo. I don't see what make this system any different then the one you can make yourself. Windows media can run on any modern PC so what crappy hype is that ?
an "away" mode ? means that you have to stay inside 2 feet of your system or it will power down.

RE: i'm a lil slow
By rushfan2006 on 5/30/2006 11:35:03 AM , Rating: 1
No worries guys..I've been building my own pc's for well over 10 years now..and while I'm not so caught up on all my geek trivia like some folks are on these forums - bickering about minute details and all like they are working out the formula for teleportation or hyperdrive....however, I can say..these "programs" like this Live crap....its all marketing...its stupid if you ask me. "oh your system is a real system if it doesn't met these specs"...regardless of the fact that most pc builders (most have been building pretty nice boxes with the latest gear on their own maybe my next gaming box I'll label it some fancy spec name based on its hardware components...

SO RETARDED.....the thing is folks will fall for this crap and anally build to meet these specs...



RE: i'm a lil slow
By LCC2286 on 5/30/2006 12:17:01 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think AMD is targeting this Live! thing to DIY pc builders. I can see Live! certfied computers from big OEMs on the shelves of Best Buy, Futureshop, etc. A minimum CPU of 4800+ is really steep only makes sense to use em if you can get a good volume discount..... I can see HP/Compaq producing a couple models.

This is after all marketing - just like the successful Centrino name. We all know we can build computers that will be as good as Live pcs, just not certified.

I'm sure people will buy these certified pcs if they're sitting on the shelves of big stores.....especially if they're looking for a HTPC. my 2 cents

RE: i'm a lil slow
By stephenbrooks on 5/31/2006 4:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
Wonder how long it'll be before er, certain countries figure out how to print out the Live!/Viiv sticky labels and start plastering them on everything?

Nice Logo
By kmcgill on 5/30/2006 6:07:31 AM , Rating: 2
That pink stripe, how

RE: Nice Logo
By peternelson on 5/30/06, Rating: -1
RE: Nice Logo
By Tyler 86 on 5/30/2006 5:34:42 PM , Rating: 5
Not to knock too hard... but I think that, for the majority of LCD users, it is actually pink to them. Sad.
Same bland-ness occurs with cyan and yellow. It's just sickening.
Cyan; perfectly half-blue, half-green, and painfully bright... eye-bleed qualities to a CRT, but on a fairly well automaticly calibrated LCD would be simply sky blue...
As you can imagine, same problem with Magenta.

Can't wait for SEDs.

Electron & Phosphor 4 Life.
Huzzah, bring 3xFP16 (48-bit color) channels to the screen!
Let's show these LCD dorks what real colors look like! :P

RE: Nice Logo
By lazeruus on 6/5/2006 11:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
I think youre liveing five years ago. I am on a calibrated CRT and it is indeed a pink color leaning tword blue spectrum (slight purple hue).

I dont see how someone makeing a general statement that its pink and not giveing you the ecact color code is ground to go off about LCD vs. CRT technology. I believe THAT is whats sad here.

By xdrol on 5/30/2006 6:16:00 AM , Rating: 2
6W energy CPU? WTF?

RE: Super-EE
By peternelson on 5/30/2006 6:22:00 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe 6 watts is when it's turned off ;-)

RE: Super-EE
By JackPack on 5/30/2006 6:41:00 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Super-EE
By KristopherKubicki on 5/30/06, Rating: 0
TV Tuners?
By LCC2286 on 5/30/2006 12:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
I wonder if AMD will specify the type of tv tuner or leave it to MS's MCE requirements? I'm thinking MS requirements....

I've seen numerous PCs (Sony for example) that have MCE2005 installed without any tv tuners! Doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose? If Live! is for media centre PCs they should include/specify at least a PCI tv tuner (PCI dual tv tuner). Or maybe it's common sense that one will be included :)

RE: TV Tuners?
By crystal clear on 5/31/2006 7:19:32 AM , Rating: 2
As per AMD specification the PC should have upto 7.1 surround sound + advanced graphics.

RE: TV Tuners?
By crystal clear on 5/31/2006 7:27:59 AM , Rating: 2
And TV tuner is an option not a prerequisite.

By Heatlesssun on 5/30/2006 12:56:07 PM , Rating: 2
Looking at the cost of the desktop Live! system, were talking easily $2k or more with these specs.

I don't know, big box retail PC's haven't sold in the $2k range for a while, maybe I'm off about the pricing, but anything more than $1500 seems like a real stretch in PC retail.

Those are nice specs though, that's enough PC for the average person for at least three to four years (not counting gaming) even with Vista.

By glennpratt on 5/30/2006 1:55:30 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see where your price is coming from... OEM's can definately produce sub-$1000 machines at those specs.

By armagedon on 5/30/2006 2:31:47 PM , Rating: 2
i don't know in the US but in Canada, a retail X2-4800 AM2 is listed at $775. That's only the cpu, eventhough it's cheaper for Oem, it certainly won't be a cheap system.

Btw, can i just buy a "Live" sticker for my comp somewhere ?

By JackPack on 5/30/2006 6:39:33 AM , Rating: 2
Athlon 64 FX-62 processors are also Live! compliant.

So on one hand, they prescribe 35 and 65W processors. On the other, 125W is also okay?

RE: FX-62?
By vingamm on 5/30/2006 7:05:05 AM , Rating: 2
That has got to be a mis-quote. One of the major strong points of Live! is low power consumption. Either that or we are being misled as to what Live! really is.

By customcoms on 5/30/2006 6:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
They currently have HP systems at my local BJ's that are running something like X2 4400+'s, and spec'd higher than my pc (for the most part, obviously not grpahics wise). They sell for $1000 with monitor. By the time Live takes off, I'm sure HP/Compaq etc. can have them in the hands of consumers for around $1000.

By crystal clear on 5/31/2006 7:11:37 AM , Rating: 2
You fail to mention the follows:

1) Who are the hardware partners to AMD-live.
2) who provides the software & who are the content
3) Approx shipping date.

I think you should further research your article to make complete.

In response..
By crystal clear on 5/31/2006 7:46:24 AM , Rating: 2
"Strangely, no minimum hard drive capacity requirements are stated. Since Live! media systems are expected to do some PVR duties, large hard drives capacities will likely be required."

Live offers-
Live compress,to compress recordings/progammes.

Live media vault,online back up upto 25GB free & upto 250 GB at a charge.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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