Subject: Editorial | May 18, 2017 - 11:46 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: youtube tv, western digital, video, Vega, Threadripper, spir-v, ryzen, podcast, opencl, Google VR, EPYC, Core i9, battletech, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #450 - 05/18/17
Join us for AMD Announcments, Core i9 leaks, OpenCL updates, and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Ryan: Gigabit LTE please hurry
Allyn: TriboTEX (nanotech engine oil additive)
Subject: Processors | May 18, 2017 - 01:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, Vega, ryzen mobile, ryzen, raven ridge, APU, amd
AMD teased its upcoming Zen-based APUs aimed at mobile devices during its Financial Analyst Day where the company revealed the "Raven Ridge" parts will be aptly known as Ryzen Mobile. The Tech Report managed to acquire a couple slides which confirm some of the broader specifications and reveal how they stack up to AMD's latest Bristol Ridge A-Series APUs – at least as far as AMD's internal testing is concerned (which is to say not independently verified yet so take with a grain of salt).
Ryzen Mobile appears to be the new consumer-facing brand name for what has so far been code named "Raven Ridge". These parts will use a Zen-based CPU, Vega GPU, and integrated chipset. Thanks to the slides, it is now confirmed that the Vega-based graphics processor will be on-die. What has not been confirmed is whether the chipset will be on die or on package and exact specifications on CPU cores counts, GPU Compute Units, cache, memory support, and I/O like PCI-E lanes (you know, all the good stuff! heh). Note that rumors so far point towards Raven Ridge / Ryzen Mobile utilizing a single 4-core (8-thread) CCX, per core L2, 8MB shared L3 cache, and a Vega-based GPU with 1024 cores. HBM2 has also been rumored for awhile but we will have to wait for more leaks and/or an official announcement to know for sure if these Ryzen Mobile parts aimed for the second half of 2017 will have that (hopefully!).
With that said, according to AMD, Ryzen Mobile will offer up to 50% better CPU performance, 40% better GPU performance, and will use up to 50% less power than the previous 7th generation (Excavator-based) A-Series APUs (e.g. FX 9830P and A12-9730P). Those are some pretty bold claims, but still within the realm of possibility. Zen and Vega are both much more efficient architectures and AMD is also benefiting from a smaller process node (TSMC 28nm vs Samsung / GlobalFoundries 14nm FinFET). I do wonder how high the APUs will be able to clock on the CPU side of things with 4 GHz seeming to be the wall for most Zen-based Summit Ridge chips, so most of the CPU performance improvement claims will have to come from architecture changes rather than increases in clockspeeds (the highest clocked A-Series Bristol Ridge ran at up to 3.7 GHz and I would expect Raven Ridge to be around that, maybe the flagship part turbo-ing a bit more). Raven Ridge will benefit from the shared L3 cache and, more importantly, twice as many threads (4 vs 8) and this may be where AMD is primarily getting that 50% more CPU performance number from. On the graphics side of things, it looks like Bristol Ridge with its R7 graphics (GCN 3 (Tonga/Fiji on the Desktop)) had up to 512 cores. Again, taking the rumors into account which say that Raven Ridge will have a 1024 core Vega GPU, this may be where AMD is getting the large performance increase from (the core increase as well as newer architecture). On the other hand, the 40% number could suggest Ryzen Mobile will not have twice the GPU cores. I would guess that 1024 might be possible, but running at lower clocks and that is where the discrepancy is. I will admit I am a bit skeptical about the 1024 (16 CU) number though because that is a huge jump... I guess we will see though!
Further, I am curious if Ryzen Mobile will use HBC (high bandwidth cache) and if HBM2 does turn out to be utilized how that will play into the HBC and whether or not we will finally see the fruits of AMD's HSA labors! I think we will see most systems use DDR4, but certainly some SKUs could use HBM2 and that would definitely open up a lot of performance possibilities on mobile!
There is still a lot that we do not know, but Ryzen Mobile is coming and AMD is making big promises that I hope it delivers on. The company is aiming the new chips at a wide swath of the mobile market from budget laptops and tablets to convertibles and even has their sights set on premium thin and lights. The mobile space is one where AMD has struggled with in getting design wins even when they had good parts for that type of system. They will really need to push and hit Ryzen Mobile out of the park to make inroads into the laptop, tablet, and ultrabook markets!
AMD plans to launch the consumer version of Ryzen Mobile in the second half of this year (presumably with systems featuring the new APUs out in time for the holidays if not for the back to school end of summer rush). The commercial SKUs (which I think refers to the Ryzen equivalent of AMD Pro series APUs.Update: Mobile Ryzen Pro) will follow in the first half of 2018.
What are your thoughts on Ryzen Mobile and the alleged performance and power characteristics? Do you think the rumors are looking more or less correct?
- Zen and the Art of CPU Design
- AMD Launching Ryzen 5 Six Core Processors Soon (Q2 2017)
- AMD Vega GPU Architecture Preview: Redesigned Memory Architecture
- The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X Review: Now and Zen
- More Ryzen coverage!
Subject: General Tech | May 17, 2017 - 12:30 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, amd, rumour, release dates, ryzen, skylake-x, kaby lake x, Threadripper, X399, coffee lake
DigiTimes has posted an article covering the probable launch dates of AMD's new CPUs and GPUs as well as Intel's reaction to the release. Not all of these dates are confirmed but it is worth noting as these rumours are often close to those eventually announced. Naples will be the first, with the server chips launching at the end of June but that is just the start. July is the big month for AMD, with the lower end Ryzen 3 chips hitting the market as well as the newly announced 16 core Threadrippers and the X399 chipset. That will also be the month we see Vega's
Founders Frontier Edition graphics cards arrive.
Intel's Basin Falls platform; Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X along with the associated X299 chipset are still scheduled for Computex reveal and a late June or early August release. Coffee Lake is getting pushed ahead however, it's launch has been moved up to late August instead of the beginning of next year.
Even with Intel's counters, AMD's balance sheet is likely to be looking better and better as the year goes on which is great news for everyone ... except perhaps Intel and NVIDIA.
"Demand for AMD's Ryzen 7- and Ryzen 5-series CPU products has continued rising, which may allow the chipmaker to narrow its losses to below US$50 million for the second quarter of 2017. With Intel also rumored to pay licensing fees to AMD for its GPUs, some market watchers believe AMD may turn profitable in the second quarter or in the third."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Spitballing the performance of AMD's Vega Frontier Edition graphics card @ The Tech Report
- AMD Financial Analyst Day Lisa Su Presentation @ [H]ard|OCP
- AMD Financial Analyst Day Raja Koduri Presentation @ [H]ard|OCP
- Microsoft goes all Sean Spicer when we ask about WannaCry XP patching @ The Inquirer
- Qualcomm Sues Apple Contract Manufacturers @ Slashdot
- HPE shows off ARM-powered 'The Machine' prototype with 160TB memory @ The Inquirer
- Monoprice Releases Their Mini Delta Printer (On Indiegogo) @ Hack a Day
- Chrome on Windows has credential theft bug @ The Register
- Bell Canada hacked: 2m account details swiped by mystery miscreants @ The Register
- Why Microsoft's Windows game plan makes us WannaCry @ The Register
Is it time to buy that new GPU?
Testing commissioned by AMD. This means that AMD paid us for our time, but had no say in the results or presentation of them.
Earlier this week Bethesda and Arkane Studios released Prey, a first-person shooter that is a re-imaging of the 2006 game of the same name. Fans of System Shock will find a lot to love about this new title and I have found myself enamored with the game…in the name of science of course.
While doing my due diligence and performing some preliminary testing to see if we would utilize Prey for graphics testing going forward, AMD approached me to discuss this exact title. With the release of the Radeon RX 580 in April, one of the key storylines is that the card offers a reasonably priced upgrade path for users of 2+ year old hardware. With that upgrade you should see some substantial performance improvements and as I will show you here, the new Prey is a perfect example of that.
Targeting the Radeon R9 380, a graphics card that was originally released back in May of 2015, the RX 580 offers substantially better performance at a very similar launch price. The same is true for the GeForce GTX 960: launched in January of 2015, it is slightly longer in the tooth. AMD’s data shows that 80% of the users on Steam are running on R9 380X or slower graphics cards and that only 10% of them upgraded in 2016. Considering the great GPUs that were available then (including the RX 480 and the GTX 10-series), it seems more and more likely that we going to hit an upgrade inflection point in the market.
A simple experiment was setup: does the new Radeon RX 580 offer a worthwhile upgrade path for those many users of R9 380 or GTX 960 classifications of graphics cards (or older)?
|Radeon RX 580||Radeon R9 380||GeForce GTX 960|
|GPU||Polaris 20||Tonga Pro||GM206|
|Rated Clock||1340 MHz||918 MHz||1127 MHz|
|TDP||185 watts||190 watts||120 watts|
|MSRP (at launch)||$199 (4GB)
Subject: Processors | May 17, 2017 - 04:05 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: amd, EPYC, 32 core, 64 thread, Intel, Broadwell-E, xeon
AMD has formally announced their EPYC CPUs. While Sebastian covered the product specifications, AMD has also released performance claims against a pair of Intel’s Broadwell-E Xeons. While Intel’s E5-2650 v4 processors have an MSRP of around $1170 USD, each, we don’t know how that price will compare to AMD’s offering. At first glance, pitting thirty two cores against two twelve-core chips seems a bit unfair, although it could end up being a very fair comparison if the prices align.
Image Credit: Patrick Moorhead
Patrick Moorhead, who was at the event, tweeted out photos of a benchmark where Ubuntu was compiled over GCC. It looks like EPYC completed in just 33.7s while the Broadwell-E chip took 37.2s (making AMD’s part ~9.5% faster). While this, again, stems from having a third more cores, this depends on how much AMD is going to charge you for them, versus Intel’s current pricing structure.
Image Credit: Patrick Moorhead
This one chip also has 128 PCIe lanes, rather than Intel’s 80 total lanes spread across two chips.
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 16, 2017 - 07:39 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega, reference, radeon, graphics card, gpu, Frontier Edition, amd
AMD has revealed their concept of a premium reference GPU for the upcoming Radeon Vega launch, with the "Frontier Edition" of the new graphics cards.
"Today, AMD announced its brand-new Radeon Vega Frontier Edition, the world’s most powerful solution for machine learning and advanced visualization aimed to empower the next generation of data scientists and visualization professionals -- the digital pioneers forging new paths in their fields. Designed to handle the most demanding design, rendering, and machine intelligence workloads, this powerful new graphics card excels in:
- Machine learning. Together with AMD’s ROCm open software platform, Radeon Vega Frontier Edition enables developers to tap into the power of Vega for machine learning algorithm development. Frontier Edition delivers more than 50 percent more performance than today’s most powerful machine learning GPUs.
- Advanced visualization. Radon Vega Frontier Edition provides the performance required to drive increasingly large and complex models for real-time visualization, physically-based rendering and virtual reality through the design phase as well as rendering phase of product development.
- VR workloads. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition is ideal for VR content creation supporting AMD’s LiquidVR technology to deliver the gripping content, advanced visual comfort and compatibility needed for next-generation VR experiences.
- Revolutionized game design workflows. Radeon Vega Frontier Edition simplifies and accelerates game creation by providing a single GPU optimized for every stage of a game developer’s workflow, from asset production to playtesting and performance optimization."
From the image provided on the official product page it appears that there will be both liquid-cooled (the gold card in the background) and air-cooled variants of these "Frontier Edition" cards, which AMD states will arrive with 16GB of HBM2 and offer 1.5x the FP32 performance and 3x the FP16 performance of the Fury X.
Radeon Vega Frontier Edition
- Compute units: 64
- Single precision compute performance (FP32): ~13 TFLOPS
- Half precision compute performance (FP16): ~25 TFLOPS
- Pixel Fillrate: ~90 Gpixels/sec
- Memory capacity: 16 GBs of High Bandwidth Cache
- Memory bandwidth: ~480 GBs/sec
The availability of the Radeon Vega Frontier Edition was announced as "late June", so we should not have too long to wait for further details, including pricing.
Subject: Processors | May 16, 2017 - 07:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen, Threadripper, ryzen, processor, HEDT, cpu, amd
AMD revealed their entry into high-end desktop (HEDT) with the upcoming Ryzen "Threadripper" CPUs, which will feature up to 16 cores and 32 threads.
Little information was revealed along with the announcement, other than to announce availablility as "summer 2017", though rumors and leaks surrounding Threadripper have been seen on the internet (naturally) leading up to today's announcement, including this one from Wccftech. Not only will Threadripper (allegedly) offer quad-channel memory support and 44 PCI Express lanes, but they are also rumored to be released in a massive 4094-pin package (same as "Naples" aka EPYC) that most assuredly will not fit into the AM4 socket.
Image credit: Wccftech
These Threadripper CPUs follow the lead of Intel's HEDT parts on X99, which are essentially re-appropriated Xeons with higher clock speeds and some feature differences such as a lack of ECC memory support. It remains to be seen what exactly will separate the enthusiast AMD platform from the EPYC datacenter platform, though the rumored base clock speeds are much higher with Threadripper.
Subject: Processors | May 16, 2017 - 06:49 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Zen, server, ryzen, processor, EPYC, datacenter, cpu, amd, 64 thread, 32 core
AMD has announced their new datacenter CPU built on the Zen architecture, which the company is calling EPYC. And epic they are, as these server processors will be offered with up to 32 cores and 64 threads, 8 memory channels, and 128 PCI Express lanes per CPU.
Some of the details about the upcoming "Naples" server processors (now EPYC) were revealed by AMD back in March, when the upcoming server chips were previewed:
- A highly scalable, 32-core System on Chip (SoC) design, with support for two high-performance threads per core
- Industry-leading memory bandwidth, with 8-channels of memory per "Naples" device. In a 2-socket server, support for up to 32 DIMMS of DDR4 on 16 memory channels, delivering up to 4 terabytes of total memory capacity.
- The processor is a complete SoC with fully integrated, high-speed I/O supporting 128 lanes of PCIe, negating the need for a separate chip-set
- A highly-optimized cache structure for high-performance, energy efficient compute
- AMD Infinity Fabric coherent interconnect for two "Naples" CPUs in a 2-socket system
- Dedicated security hardware
Compared to Ryzen (or should it be RYZEN?), EPYC offers a huge jump in core count and available performance - though AMD's other CPU announcement (Threadripper) bridges the gap between the desktop and datacenter offerings with an HEDT product. This also serves to bring AMD's CPU offerings to parity with the Intel product stack with desktop/high performance desktop/server CPUs.
EPYC is a large processor. (Image credit: The Tech Report)
While specifications were not offered, there have been leaks (of course) to help fill in the blanks. Wccftech offers these specs for EPYC (on the left):
(Image credit: Wccftech)
We await further information from AMD about the EPYC launch.
Application Profiling Tells the Story
It should come as no surprise to anyone that has been paying attention the last two months that the latest AMD Ryzen processors and architecture are getting a lot of attention. Ryzen 7 launched with a $499 part that bested the Intel $1000 CPU at heavily threaded applications and Ryzen 5 launched with great value as well, positioning a 6-core/12-thread CPU against quad-core parts from the competition. But part of the story that permeated through both the Ryzen 7 and the Ryzen 5 processor launches was the situation surrounding gaming performance, in particular 1080p gaming, and the surprising delta that we see in some games.
Our team has done quite a bit of research and testing on this topic. This included a detailed look at the first asserted reason for the performance gap, the Windows 10 scheduler. Our summary there was that the scheduler was working as expected and that minimal difference was seen when moving between different power modes. We also talked directly with AMD to find out its then current stance on the results, backing up our claims on the scheduler and presented a better outlook for gaming going forward. When AMD wanted to test a new custom Windows 10 power profile to help improve performance in some cases, we took part in that too. In late March we saw the first gaming performance update occur courtesy of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation where an engine update to utilize more threads resulted in as much as 31% average frame increase.
As a part of that dissection of the Windows 10 scheduler story, we also discovered interesting data about the CCX construction and how the two modules on the 1800X communicated. The result was significantly longer thread to thread latencies than we had seen in any platform before and it was because of the fabric implementation that AMD integrated with the Zen architecture.
This has led me down another hole recently, wondering if we could further compartmentalize the gaming performance of the Ryzen processors using memory latency. As I showed in my Ryzen 5 review, memory frequency and throughput directly correlates to gaming performance improvements, in the order of 14% in some cases. But what about looking solely at memory latency alone?
Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2017 - 05:07 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Starship, Naples, Zeppelin, Great Horned Owl, Banded Kestrel, Grey Hawk, River Hawk, Snowy Owl, rumour
We have another leak today from wccftech, via VideoCardz, of AMD's upcoming enterprise level processors. Starship will use the successor to the current Zen architecture; Zen 2 is in some ways measurable as being fabricated with a 7nm FinFet process. The chips are a testament to AMD's dedication to multi-core designs, Starship will feature up to 48 cores with 96 threads. That does create a bit of heat, but not more than the chip it is replacing, the TDPs range from 35W up to 180W. These chips will be sold under the Opteron name and will likely not have a model with the number 1701.
Starship will replace Naples, which we already know quite a lot about, they will use the upcoming Zeppelin architecture. The thermals match Starship but the core count is lower and tops out at 32 cores, 64 threads. That count tells us there will be four interconnected Zeppelin dies, each having 8 cores in two CCX units.
Next up is the Snowy Owl family of BGA chips which also uses Zeppelin cores. They will have models with core counts of 8, 12 and 16. Snowy Owl will support DDR4 in quad channel, 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes, and up to 16 SATA or NVMe storage devices and should take flight before the end of the year,.
Lastly we have their new embedded R-Series APUs, Great Horned Owl, Banded Kestrel, Grey Hawk and River Hawk. These low power chips will be based off of the current Zen architecture with support for single and dual DIMM DDR4 channels. The CPU portion will have 2 or 4 cores and TDPs between 15-65W, Owl models will be paired with an graphics core possessing 11 CUs, Kestral with 3 CUs. According to the slides posted at wccftech the APUs will support 4K60 and up to four 4K monitors which is impressive for such a small chip. There will also rumoured to be models without an APU, for usage in device which do not need graphical capabilities.
The slides also hint at a mysterious a new MCM package product which will arrive this year. It is reputed to have 4 GB VRAM, 10 CUs and five dual-mode Display Port support arriving in 2017. There are a lot more slides you can see by clicking here.