My blog is slowing down lately and the problem seems to be coming from hosting server side. This site will be down for a day at least. Migration to a new server will take 24 to 72 hours to complete.


AMD Kaveri A-Series APU

AMD Kaveri A-Series APU 4

AMD is launching their new lineup of APUs codename “Kaveri” and this isn’t typical APU fashion has promised to deliver some good CPU performance and some very impressive graphics performance to go along with it. These APUs aren’t designed to go head to head against Intel‘s high end Haswell parts but the reality of it is, they aren’t designed to do necessarily the same things. These are different processors so they come in right around the 200 dollar mark and the aim is to provide decent frame rates (FPS) in games without the need for dedicated graphics card as well as being able to provide truly next-generation compute performance using that onboard graphics.

There are two main code words for the series APUs are Steamroller and GCN . Steamroller is AMD’s NextGen CPU architecture for the 4 CPU cores and GCN are Graphics Core Next is the codename for their Hawaii architecture.

So the same GPU technology on their R9-290 series. So got things like DirectX 11.2 support, true-audio support and support for AMD’s mantle API. Actually something that’s interesting to note is; in this processor actually uses almost half up the entire die area for the GPU, which is going to be focused on gaming performance and compute performance. That amount of space means that there’s not a whole lot of room for the CPU cores in so Kaveri is actually a pretty mundane affair on the CPU side. It got 4 cores with a high end hitting 3.7 gigahertz or turbo-up to 4.0 gigahertz and the low end part clocking at 3.3 and turbo-up to 3.8.

AMD Kaveri A-Series APU 1

But the interesting about this, is the way that AMD is now calculating that core count. They don’t go around say ‘Quad-core processor with GPU’, now what they say ‘4 CPU Cores and 8 GPU Cores for a max number of compute cores totalling 12’ (A10-7850K). And the way the AMD is dividing this up is how many separate threads the processor can work on at a time given a sufficiently optimized workload.

Because the CPU is not that exceptional but the GPUs are awesome, the actual performance boost is coming from HSA and OpenCL and other kinds of GPU compute.

The reason the idea works so well is that on a normal processor even a previous APU, the CPU part and the GPU part would need to work on things kinda separately and then send data back and forth to each other would normally be done over the PCI Express bus.

AMD Kaveri A-Series APU 3

Kaveri features HSA which instead allows the CPU and GPU to share memory and work on the same single task without communication overheads.

It’s kinda like a group essay to write and everyone would kinda right partnered it and then send it to each other for revisions by email and they would make revisions and send it to everyone else, there’s a lot of overhead and a lot of time wasted. HSA on the other hand is more like using Google Docs with everyone making changes at the same time and getting the task done all the same time. The only issue is that the software needs to re-written to take advantage of this so users won’t see wide application support until developers patch it in but there is good news – anything coded with OpenCL 2.0 in mind will support HSA  and coding for OpenCL 2.0 according to AMD is actually going to be easier than implementing OpenCL was in the past.

AMD Kaveri A-Series APU 1

There’s actually one more interesting feature of the low end A8-7600 is a configurable TDP so AMD hasn’t just going to target performance, they’re also doing some interesting things with power consumption. So the A8-7600 has an unlocked, a 65 watt or of 45 Watt TDP. Early testing shows the unlocked one acts similar to 65 Watt. Not sure how overclocking will affect that and GPU overclocking looks like it might be pretty impressive on these APUs. That’s a very interesting feature because the ability to limit power consumption and silence the system at the Cost of CPU clock speed is great for certain applications like a Home Theater PC (HTPC) for an instance.

It should be noted that GPU clocks remain untouched so gaming, multimedia and GPU compute asks should run as they normally would regardless of what TDP you have it set to.

The Kaveri platform will use the FM2+ socket unlike the old APUs which used FM2 socket motherboard. Note this: the old FM2 processors will work just fine in the new FM2+ boards but the new FM2+ chips are going to require FM2+ motherboards to go with them, no backwards motherboard compatibility if user want Kaveri.

The GPU cores or GCN will get Mantle support. But it still remains to be seen exactly how much of a boost this will provide and how it affect the gaming landscape. Based on some demos seen, it could be incredibly impressive but for now user can really do is test it with OpenGL or DirectX and the good news is that Kaveri is also powerful even without Mantle.

AMD Kaveri A-Series APU 2

On Battlefield 4 at 1080P Low/Medium details – the A8-7600 for the low end part achieved 29FPS while the A10-7850K achieved 39FPS.

Basically, if users are looking for a rig that can provide a very comfortable gaming experience at Low and Medium settings in modern games, Kaveri offer is pretty tough to beat, with 200 dollar processor and some hundred dollar motherboard user can have a very solid mid-range system for not a whole lot of money and user can upgrade in the future.

Here’s video of Oxide’s 3D Engine – Nitrous. A tech-demo using Star Swarm benchmark game by Oxide Games harnessing Mantle API technology.

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Speeding Up WordPress

Here’s a few suggestions on how to speed up WordPress blog.

Choose A Good Hosting

While starting out, a shared hosting might seem like a bargain and good idea at the time but it comes at another price,  incredibly slow site speed and frequent down time during high traffic periods. If you plan on doing something that creates high traffic, you should choose the VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting provider and reputable good quality.

Start With Solid Theme

You might be surprised, but the TwentyTen, TwentyEleven, TwentyTwelve, TwentyThirteen or TwentyFourteen (default WP themes) are quite speedy frameworks to use. That’s because they keep it simple and light. It is definitely a solid framework for quick page loads.

Use Caching Plugin

WordPress plugins are obviously quite useful, but some of the best fall under the caching category, as they drastically improve page loads time, and best of all, all of them on WordPress.org are free and easy to use. Crowd favorites is W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache, it has all of the features you need and is easy to install and use. Simply install and activate it, and your page loads faster as elements are cached.

Use CDN – Content Delivery Network

Essentially, a CDN or content delivery network, takes all your static files (css, javascript, images, etc) you’ve got on your site and lets visitors download them as fast as possible by serving the files on servers that closer to them as possible. You can use the free service offered by CloudFlare. If you need more features then you need to pay extra. There is also a plugin called Free-CDN that promises to do the same.

Optimize Images

There is an amazing, free plugin called WP-Smush.It  which will do this process to all of your images automatically, as you are uploading them. Others with similar features like EWWW Image Optimizer and Prizm Image plugins.

Optimize Homepage To Load Quickly

Easy things that you can do to ensure that your homepage or frontpage loads quickly, which probably is the most important part of your site because people will be landing there the most often. Things that you can do:

  • Show excerpts instead of full posts.
  • Reduce the number of posts on the page.
  • Remove unnecessary sharing widgets from the homepage.
  • Remove inactive plugins and widgets.
  • Keep in minimal. Less widgets on the homepage.

Overall, a clean and focused homepage will load quicker.

Optimize WordPress Database

Simply use the WP-Optimize plugin. This plugin lets you do just one simple task that is optimize the your database (transient options, orphaned postmeta, spam, post revisions, drafts, tables, etc.) to reduce overhead. Also recommended the WP-DB Manager plugin, which can create a schedule for database optimization.

Disable Hotlinking and Leeching

Hotlinking is a form of bandwidth theft. It occurs when other sites direct linking to the images on your site from their articles making your server to load increasingly high and reached quota limit really fast. This can add up as more and more people scraping your site content and especially image files, become more frequent because it’s dead easy to do by just copying a direct link to your site. Add this codes in your root .htaccess file to block hotlinking:

#Disable hotlinking with forbidden or custom image option 
RewriteEngine on 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$ 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?yoursite.com [NC] 
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www.)?google.com [NC] 
RewriteRule .(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ – [NC,F,L] 

Add Expires Header To Static Resources

An Expires header is a way to specify a time far enough in the future so that the client browsers don’t have to re-fetch any static content such as stylesheets, javascript, images etc. This way can cut your load time significantly for your regular visitors. Add this codes in your root .htaccess file:

ExpiresActive On 
ExpiresByType image/gif A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/png A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/jpg A2592000 
ExpiresByType image/jpeg A2592000

The above numbers are set for a month (in seconds). You can adjust them as you like.

Add LazyLoad to your images

LazyLoad is the process of having only only the images above the fold load (i.e. only the images visible in the visitor’s browser window), then, when reader scrolls down, the other images begin to load, just before they come into view. This will not only speed you page loads, it can also save bandwidth by loading less data for users who don’t scroll all the way down on your pages. Install the jQuery Image Lazy Load plugin to do it automatically.

Control Post Revisions

WordPress would store every single one of these drafts indefinitely. Once post is published there is need to store drafts anymore and you have to clear it manually. You can use the Revision Control plugin to keep post revisions to a minimum, just set it to 2 or 3 revisions so you have at least something to fall back on in case you make a mistake, but don’t set it too high that you clutter the backend with unnecessary large amounts of drafted posts.

Turn Off Pingbacks and Trackbacks

By default, WordPress interacts with other blogs that are equipped with pingbacks and trackbacks option. Every time another blog mentions you, it notifies your site, which in turn updates data on the post. Turning this option off will not break the backlinks to your site, just the setting that generates a lot of workload for your blog. For more detail, read this explanation about WordPress Pingbacks and Trackbacks.

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Timestamp Your Posts Similar to Facebook

WordPress has a built-in function to display relative time in a human-readable format just like Facebook.

Timestamp Your Posts Similar to Facebook  2

For example, instead of your posts displaying, “Posted on January 01 at 00.00am,” you could display, “Posted 3 hours ago.”

I’ll show you how to update your theme to take advantage of the human time diff() function and change the timestamp on your posts.

Using your FTP software (I’m using FileZilla FTP), go into your /themes folder, choose the theme you’re using. Look for single.php file. Open the file using file editor software.

Look for the line that has <?php the_time(); ?> or <?php get_the_time(); ?> function.

Just replace that with this:

<?php echo ‘Posted ‘ . human_time_diff( get_the_time(‘U’), current_time(‘timestamp’) ) . ‘ ago ‘; ?>

After that, save your file and refresh your single post to preview changes.

If it successful and no error encountered, the timestamp will look like this:

Timestamp Your Posts Similar to Facebook  1

You can change the word ‘Posted‘ inside the function to any word you desire or using Ascii characters instead. It’s up to you how you want to style it.

That’s the easiest way to change your timestamp on your single post template. The other method without touching any codes in your php file is by using relative date or time plugin. You can find that by searching at WordPress.org plugins directory.

The other one is by editing and adding codes in your functions.php file. This kind of method is not recommended to anyone with less experience when it comes to complex editing. You might ended with a blank page or other unknown errors.

Comment below if you’re having trouble with this tutorial. I can’t promise you anything, but I will try to help as far as I can.