Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 09:45 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: amd, financials, Results, Q1 2018, ryzen, Zen+, Vega, Polaris, 12nm, 7nm, TSMC, GLOBALFOUNDRIES
Today AMD announced their latest financial results for Q1 2018. We expected it to be a good quarter with their guidance earlier this year, but I doubt many thought it would be as strong as it turned out to be. AMD posted revenue of $1.65 billion with a net income of $81 million. This is up from the expected $1.57 billion that analysts expected from what is typically a slow quarter. This is up 40% from Q1 2017 and its $1.18 billion and up 23% from Q4 2017.
There are multiple reasons behind this revenue growth. The compute and graphics segment lead the way with $1.12B of revenue. The entire year of 2017 AMD had released parts seemingly nonstop since March and the introduction of Ryzen. Q1 continued this trend with the release of the first Ryzen APUs with Vega Graphics introducing the 2000 series. AMD also ramped up production of the newly released Zen+ Ryzen chips and started shipping those out to retailers and partners alike. Initial mobile Ryzen parts were also introduced and shipped with SKUs being also shipped to partners who have yet to announce and release products based on these chips. Finally the strength of the Radeon graphics chips in both gaming and blockchain applications allowed them a tremendous amount of sellthrough throughout 2017 and into 2018. AMD estimates that 10% of the quarter was due to blockchain demand.
Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom had a revenue of $532 million, which is lower than most analysts expected. Semi-Custom in particular has seen a decline over the past few quarters with the release and saturation of the market of the latest console platforms utilizing AMD designed chips. It appears as though much of the contract is front loaded in terms of revenue with royalties tapering off over time as sales decrease. AMD did have some significant wins, namely providing Intel with Vega based GPUs to be integrated with Intel’s Kaby Lake-G based units. These declines were offset by the shipment of EPYC based processors that are slowly ramping and being shipped to partners to be integrated into server platforms later this year. We have seen a handful of wins from companies like Dell EMC, but AMD is still slowly re-entering the market that they were forced to abandon with their previous, outdated Opteron products. AMD expects to reach mid-single digit marketshare during 2019, but for now they are just getting off the ground with this platform.
The company is not standing still or resting on their laurels after the successful and heralded launch of the latest Ryzen 2000 series chips based on the Zen+ architecture. It is aggressively ramping their mobile chips featuring the Zen/Vega combination and have some 25 product wins being released throughout late spring and summer. Overall partners have some 60 products either shipping or will ship later this year featuring Ryzen based CPUs.
There is some fear that AMD will see its GPU sales throughput be impacted by the recent drop of cryptocurrency value. Several years back with the Bitcoin crash we saw a tremendous amount of secondhand product being sold and GPU revenues for the company tanked. AMD is a bit more optimistic about the upcoming quarter as they expect the current cryptocurrency/blockchain market is much more robust and people will be holding onto these cards to mine other products/workloads rather than drop them on eBay. My thought here is that we will see a rise in cards available on the secondary/used market, but quite a bit might be offset by latent gaming demand that has been held back due the outrageous prices of GPUs over the past year. People that have been waiting for prices to get back to MSRP or below will then buy. This could be further enhanced if memory prices start to drop, providing more affordable DDR4 and flash for SSDs.
The company is also forging ahead with advanced process technology. They have recently received silicon back from TSMC’s 7nm process and it looks to be a Vega based product. The rumor surrounding this is that it will be more of a compute platform initially rather than gaming oriented. Later this year AMD expects to receive new EPYC silicon, but it looks as though this will be from GLOBALFOUNDRIES 7nm process. AMD wants to be flexible in terms of manufacturing, but they have a long history with GLOBALFOUNDRIES when it comes to CPU production. The two companies work closely together to make sure the process and CPU design match up as cleanly as possible to allow products such as Zen to reach market successfully. The GPU arm is obviously more flexible here as they have a history with multiple foundry partners throughout the past two decades.
AMD has set an aggressive, but achievable, timetable of product releases that is initially focusing on the CPU side but would logically be transitioning to the GPU side. Zen+ is out on time and has met with acclaim from consumers and reviewers alike. The latest GPU products are comparable in performance to what NVIDIA has to offer, though they are less power efficient for that level of performance. The “pipecleaner” Vega on 7nm will pave the way towards Navi based products that look to be introduced next year. AMD could possibly refresh Vega on 12nm, but so far there has been no concrete information that such a product exists. They may very well continue to rely on current Polaris and Vega products throughout the rest of this year while focusing on Navi efforts to have a more competitive part come 2019.
Q2 2018 looks to be another successful quarter for AMD. The company’s outlook calls for revenue in the $1.725 billion range, plus or minus $50 million. AMD expects continued growth in all Ryzen product lines and greater throughput of EPYC based products as companies test and release products based on that platform. The GPU market could remain flat, but will most likely decline. That decline will be more than covered by the sell-through of the Ryzen line from top to bottom.
AMD improved their margin by an impressive 4%. Going from 32% to 36% showed the strength and higher ASPs of both CPU and GPU products. AMD expects another 1% increase over the next quarter. While these are good numbers for AMD, they do not match the 58%+ for NVIDIA and Intel when it comes to their margins. AMD certainly has a lot of room for improvement, and a richer product stack will allow them to achieve greater ASPs and see a rise in their overall margins. If EPYC becomes more successful, then we could see another significant improvement in margins for the company.
AMD is getting back to where they belong in terms of product placement, competitiveness, and financial performance. The company has seen a huge improvement year on year and hopes to continue that with a rich product stack that addresses multiple areas of computing. AI and machine learning is ramping up in the company in terms of software support as they feel their CPUs and GPUs are already good enough to handle the workloads. As more money comes in, they can afford to diversify and create a wider product base to compete in more markets. So far Lisa Su has been very, very successful in helping pull AMD from the ashes to the competitive situation that they currently find themselves in.
Subject: Processors | April 25, 2018 - 02:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ryzen 7, ryzen 5, ryzen, Pinnacle Ridge, amd
For those of you that missed it, there was a bit of controversy this week, when a Reddit user found a support page on AMD's website which stated that use of any other "heatsink/fan" than the included one with AMD "Processor-in-Box" products would invalidate their warranty.
As you might imagine, this caused some confusion and concern from owners and potential purchasers of Ryzen CPUs. How would AMD be able to tell if you were using a third-party cooler? What about the Ryzen 1000 series SKUs that didn't come with coolers?
As it turns out, this was an older support page that does not accurately reflect the warranty of modern AMD processors. AMD has since updated the warranty page to provide clarification.
Now, the page reads that the warranty shall be null and void if the processor "is used with any heatsink/fan (HSF) that does not support operation of the AMD processor in conformance with AMD’s publicly available specifications."
Kudos to the community who put the spotlight on this potentially misleading support page, and AMD for providing quick and decisive clarification on their actual warranty policies.
Subject: Motherboards | April 23, 2018 - 07:58 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: x470, amd, ryzen 2, msi, x470 Gaming M7 AC, Pinnacle Ridge
The reviews for AMD's new chipset are starting to appear, for instance the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC over at Guru of 3D. The new chipset brings support for DDR4-2933 and 3200 which is worth the investment for Ryzen chips. The board supports two full speed M.2 4x PCIe slots, with SATA trimmed down to a half dozen. Of the eight USB ports only one is Type-C but all support 3.1 transfer speeds according to Guru of 3D. The single LAN connection is backed up by dual WiFi antenna and there is even optical audio out for those special people who make use of it.
"We review the MSI X470 Gaming M7 AC. With the release of Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X AMD decided to add a new chipset as well, X470 offers a more fine-tuned experience for your Ryzen processor. And this MSI board, well it is just loaded with features."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Wifi @ Guru of 3D
- Review: ASUS ROG Crosshair VII HERO @ Guru of 3D
- Gigabyte Z370N WIFI @ Modders-Inc
- Best Value Intel B360 Motherboards @ TechSpot
- Colorful C.B360M-HD Deluxe V20 @ TechPowerUp
- ASUS ROG STRIX B360-F Gaming @ Guru of 3D
- ASUS ROG Strix H370-F Gaming @ Kitguru
Subject: Systems | April 20, 2018 - 01:05 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: RX 550, radeon, NUC8i3CYSM3, NUC8i3CYSM2, nuc, Intel, i3-8121u, Dawson Canyon, crimson canyon, cnl-u, cannon lake u, baby canyon, amd
Rumors surfacing from the WinFuture site seem to indicate that the Hades Canyon NUC and Kaby Lake-G processors aren't the end of Intel and AMD's relationship for compact PCs.
WinFuture was able to get their hands on some photos of both the hardware and software of the yet to be announced Crimson Canyon NUC. While there have been rumors, and even retail listings floating around recently about this Cannon Lake U-based NUC, WinFuture has uncovered a secret within this device—a discrete AMD Radeon GPU.
On the CPU side, the Crimson Canyon NUC seems to be based on the i3-8121U. Based on previous leaks, this processor will be part of the Cannon Lake-U family and one of the first parts produced on Intel's 10nm manufacturing process.
WinFuture has also sourced an image from what appears to be the AMD's Radeon Software package showing this NUC features "Radeon 500-series" graphics. While this could mean a few things, we take it along with reference to "2GB of GDDR5" on the leaked NUC box to mean that Intel is integrating a Polaris-based GPU and GDDR5 memory into a NUC system.
Unlike the Hades Canyon NUC, we do not expect this to be a CPU and GPU on the same package. Rather, it appears that Intel will be integrating the Polaris GPU, GDDR5, and associated power circuitry on the NUC motherboard.
Based on the 90W power adapter for the entire system, 2GB of GDDR5, and the leaked core clock frequency from the Radeon Software, it seems likely this GPU will be most closely related to AMD's current RX 550 GPU.
Update: It appears our speculation of the mystery GPU being an RX 550 is correct according to a 3DMark score listing we've been pointed to. For reference, this would place 3DMark 11 performance levels around the MX150 found in a lot of ultrabooks, as we measured here.
Interestingly enough, we found the RX550 to be in the same class of graphics performance as AMD's Ryzen 5 2400G APU when we reviewed that processor a few months ago.
A leaked Geekbench score from earlier in the year outs the i3-8121U as a dual-core, hyperthreaded part. Performance of this i3 part seems to be roughly in line with the Baby Canyon-based NUC7i5BNH containing an i5-7260U processor.
Interestingly enough, from the retail listings it appears this NUC will be sold as pre-configured systems, with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB 2.5" HDD, and Windows 10 as opposed to the traditional barebones NUC options.
Overall, it seems odd for Intel to be launching their first traditional form factor NUC with discrete graphics on top of an i3-based CPU. We'd love to see the potential for discrete AMD graphics with a quad-core based U-series part like i7-8650U found in the Dawson Canyon NUC we took a look at recently.
We're eager to hear more about this Crimson Canyon NUC, it's Radeon graphics, and the 10nm Cannon Lake-U processor hiding inside. Stay tuned for more news about this platform as they become available!
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2018 - 07:37 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: xen+, amd, ryzen 2, Ryzen 7 2700X, Ryzen 5 2600X, AMD Wraith, Pinnacle Ridge
Ryzen 2 is no longer on the horizon, it has crossed both the pinnacle and the ridge and now descends upon us. Zen has matured and while it may not be conducting a waltz it is surely doing more than a simple two step as demonstrated by its deft ability to weave multiple threads. Along with the increase in frequencies comes a welcome drop in prices as the flagship APU, with included prismatic spray cooler is barely over $300 or $400 depending on which side of the border you have chosen. The Tech Report concurs with Ryan, AMD's construction phase wasn't so bad, but now that they have come to peace with their inner selves the Editors are Choosing them left, right and center.
"After a busy year of desktop CPU launches from the entry level to the high-end, AMD is back with a second generation of mainstream Ryzen CPUs boasting a range of refinements. Join us as we see just what the Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 7 2700X are capable of."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen 2 2700X @ [H]ard|OCP
- Ryzen 7 2700X @ Guru of 3D
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X 3.7 GHz @ TechPowerUp
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X @ TechARP
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X & Ryzen 5 2600X @ TechSpot
- A Performance Review: AMD’s Ryzen 5 2600X & Ryzen 7 2700X Processors @ Techgage
- Linux Gaming Performance With AMD Ryzen 5 2600X / Ryzen 7 2700X @ Phoronix
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X + Ryzen 7 2700X Linux Benchmarks @ Phoronix
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X @ TechARP
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X & Ryzen 5 2600X Review @ Neoseeker
- AMD Ryzen R7 2700x & Ryzen R5 2600x CPU @ Modders-Inc
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 3.6 GHz @ TechPowerUp
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2018 - 06:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
AMD had a little fun yesterday as the head of Radeon Gaming, Scott Herkelman posted a comment about AMD's Radeon GPUs offering freedom of choice to gamers; unless they disapprove of the colour red of course. FreeSync is certainly a good example of this commitment, offering non-proprietary adaptive sync technology to display manufacturers; on the other hand those who favour penguin flavoured operating systems might take exception to their statement. Those shopping for GPUs in the near future should keep an eye out for new branding as the market seems to be poised for a bit of a change; either as a refresh of existing product lines or hopefully new products. The Inquirer has opined about the comment in this post; though we have not yet heard from their articulate and unflappable CEO.
"While AMD doesn't mention Nvidia by name, it noted that proprietary tech from other hardware brands can stymie freedom of choice when it comes to selecting PC components and systems."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- OK, this time it's for real: The last available IPv4 address block has gone @ The Register
- Intel abandons smart glasses project as it shutters New Devices Group @ The Inquirer
- How's your Wednesday? Things going well? OK, your iPhone, iPad can be pwned via Wi-Fi sync @ The Register
- MIT Discovers Way To Mass-Produce Graphene In Large Sheets @ Slashdot
- Hey, govt hacker bod. Made some really nasty malware? Don't be upset if it returns to bite you @ The Register
- Facebook To Design Its Own Processors For Hardware Devices, AI Software, and Servers @ Slashdot
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2018 - 10:08 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x470, wd black nvme, Samsung, s9 plus, ryzen, podcast, Pinnacle Ridge, Intel, coffee lake, amd, 2700x, 2600x
PC Perspective Podcast #496 - 04/19/18
Join us this week for discussion of the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, WD's new NVMe SSDs, performance benchmarks of the Galaxy S9 Plus and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:59:30
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
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News items of interest:
Picks of the Week:
NVMe RAID and StoreMI
With Ken testing all of the new AMD X470 goodness that we had floating around the office here at PCPer, I snuck in some quick storage testing to get a look at just how the new platform handled a typical power user NVMe RAID configuration. We will be testing a few different platform configurations:
- ASUS Z270 w/ 7700K
- 1x SSD behind chipset (PCH)
- 2x SSD (RAID-0) behind chipset (PCH)
- 1x SSD directly connected to CPU
- AMD X470 w/ 2600X
- 1x SSD via RAIDXpert bottom driver
- 2x SSD (RAID-0) via RAIDXpert
- 1x SSD via MS InBox NVMe driver
For the AMD system we tested, all M.2 ports were direct connected to the CPU. This should be the case for most systems since the AMD chipset has only a PCIe 2.0 x4 link which would cut most NVMe SSD bandwidth in half if passed through it. The difference on AMD is that installing the RAIDXpert software also installs a 'bottom driver' which replaces the Windows NVMe driver, while Intel's RST platform handles this process more in the chipset hardware (but is limited to PCIe 3.0 x4 DMI bandwidth). Now onto the results:
Random Read IOPS
For random IO, we see expected scaling from AMD, but do note that IOPS comes in ~40% lower than the same configuration on Intel's platform. This is critical as much of the IO seen in general use is random reads at lower queue depths. We'd like to see AMD doing better here, especially in the case where a single SSD was operating without the interference of the RAIDXpert driver, which was better, but still not able to match Intel.
Random Read Latency
This latency chart should better explain the IOPS performance seen above. Note that the across the board latency increases by ~10us on the X470 platform, followed by another ~20us when switching to the RAIDXpert driver. That combined ~30us is 50% of the 60us QD1 latency seen the Z270 platform (regardless of configuration).
Ok, now we see the AMD platform stretch its legs a bit. Since Intel NVMe RAID is bottlenecked by its DMI link while AMD has all NVMe SSDs directly connected to the CPU, AMD is able to trounce Intel on sequentials, but there is a catch. Note the solid red line, which means no RAIDXpert software. That line tracks as it should, leveling off horizontally at a maximum for that SSD. Now look at the two dashed red lines and note how they fall off at ~QD8/16. It appears the RAIDXpert driver is interfering and limiting the ultimate throughput possible. This was even the case for a single SSD passing through the RAIDXpert bottom driver (configured as a JBOD volume).
AMD has also launched their answer to Intel RST caching. StoreMI is actually a more flexible solution that offers some unique advantages over Intel. Instead of copying a section of HDD data to the SSD cache, StoreMI combines the total available storage space of both the HDD and SSD, and is able to seamlessly shuffle the more active data blocks to the SSD. StoreMI also offers more cache capacity than Intel - up to 512GB SSD caches are possible (60GB limit on Intel). Lastly, the user can opt to donate 2GB of RAM as an additional caching layer.
AMD claims the typical speedups that one would expect with an SSD caching a much slower HDD. We have done some testing with StoreMI and can confirm the above slide's claims. Actively used applications and games end up running at close to SSD speeds (after the first execution, which comes from the HDD). StoreMI is not yet in a final state, but that is expected within the next week or two. We will revisit that topic with hard data once we have the final shipping product on-hand.
Subject: General Tech | April 17, 2018 - 02:27 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen 2, overclocking, LN2, amd
It took liquid nitrogen to do, but an experienced overclocker took the 4.3GHz Ryzen 7 2700X all the way to 5.884GHz and and the 4.2GHz Ryzen 5 2600X to 5.882GHz. If that doesn't impress you, then how about the fact that all cores were running
at that speed, and not just one core active? You will not see such high frequencies when using less esoteric cooling solutions however this indicates some serious overclocking potential for the new Ryzens in general. Check out the proof by following The Inquirer's links here.
"AMD'S RYZEN 2 processors are set to be proper powerhouses as the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X chips have been overclocked beyond a preposterously nippy 5.8GHz."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Built Its Own Custom Linux Kernel For Its New IoT Service @ Slashdot
- The law of run Nintendo consequences: Sega brings out mini Mega Drive / Genesis @ The Register
- One Laptop Per Child's $100 Laptop Was Going To Change the World -- Then it All Went Wrong @ Slashdot
- Intel and Microsoft will use GPU power to detect cyber threats in memory @ The Inquirer
- Google accidentally reveals new swipe-happy Android UI @ The Register
- Microsoft Delays Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Because of 'Higher Percentage of BSODs' @ Slashdot
- Rechargeable zinc-ion batteries stretch, bend, and weave like yarn @ Nanotechweb
Subject: Motherboards | April 16, 2018 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, x470, AM4, amd, aorus gaming 7 wifi, aorus ultra gaming
Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors with three new Aorus motherboards based on the X470 chipset. The new boards include the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming, X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI. These motherboards represent a refreshed and improved design over their X370 predecessors particularly when it comes to VRM cooling as the heatsinks have been vastly improved. Gigabyte has also refreshed the audio with an updated Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec and ESS SABRE DAC. Other features Gigabyte notes are upgraded 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, dual PCI-E x4 M.2 slots with heat spreaders, USB Type-C support, four RGB LED headers including support for digital LEDs, and Smart Fan 5 technology for managing system cooling and fans attached to the board. The new motherboards feature a up to a 10+2 power phase design using digital VRMs from IR and a 8+4-pin power connector. The power phases are cooled by two heatsinks that use a “stacked fins array” and direct touch heatpipes.
The new X470 motherboards all have four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x4 M.2 slots, and Realtek-based audio with high end capacitors and op amps. Around back the boards offer USB 2.0, 3.1 Gen 1, and 3.1 Gen 2 ports including a USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, six audio jacks, and two WI-Fi antenna connectors on the Wi-Fi boards.
In most respects the three motherboards are the same, but as you move up Gigabyte adds a bit more power delivery hardware, more built-in RGB, a bit more slot armor, and a bit more shielded audio. The Ultra Gaming board is the lowest end offering with RGB only on the chipset and audio path, and there is no second M.2 shield or PCI-E and RAM slot armor. This board also has the least amount of shielding and extra caps on the integrated audio and the smallest VRM heatsinks. Moving up the Gaming 5 Wi-Fi gets you RAM slot armor, a shielded audio path, and RGB around the PCI-E slots and above the rear I/O. Of course, it also give you built-in Wi-Fi. Further, moving to the X470 Gaming 7 Wi-Fi cranks up the RGB to include the third PCI-E slot, the customizable RGB plate on the right edge, RGB around the RAM slots, and more RGB over the VRM heatsinks. The motherboard also adds an integrated baseplate behind the motherboard, additional Nichicon capacitors for the audio, and the rear I/O panel includes additional USB ports as well as built-in power and reset buttons. The rear I/O backplate is also built-into the motherboard.
As for power delivery, the Ultra Gaming and Gaming 5 WIFI have a single 8 pin CPU power connector feeding an 8+3 "Hybrid Digital PWM" design with Intersil Digital PWM and Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs which Gigabyte claims run cooler than standard MOSFETs. The Gaming 7 WIFI board steps things up to 8-pin plus 4-pin CPU power connectors and a 10+2 all digital power phase from IR including digital PWM and Power Stage controllers. The phases are broken up into ten for the vCore and two for the SoC.
As far as pricing goes, all three of the AMD motherboards are currently available to pre-order and will ship on April 18th (according to Newegg). The X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming is listed at $139.99, the X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI is listed at $179.99, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI is listed for $239.99. I am interested to see how these motherboards perform especially when it comes to overclocking!