Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

What is old is new again

Trust me on this one – AMD is aware that launching the RX 500-series of graphics cards, including the RX 580 we are reviewing today, is an uphill battle. Besides battling the sounds on the hills that whisper “reeebbrraannndd” AMD needs to work with its own board partners to offer up total solutions that compete well with NVIDIA’s stronghold on the majority of the market. Just putting out the Radeon RX 580 and RX 570 cards with same coolers and specs as the RX 400-series would be a recipe for ridicule. AMD is aware and is being surprisingly proactive in its story telling the consumer and the media.

  • If you already own a Radeon RX 400-series card, the RX 500-series is not expected to be an upgrade path for you.
     
  • The Radeon RX 500-series is NOT based on Vega. Polaris here everyone.
     
  • Target users are those with Radeon R9 380 class cards and older – Polaris is still meant as an upgrade for that very large user base.

The story that is being told is compelling; more than you might expect. With more than 500 million gamers using graphics cards two years or older, based on Steam survey data, there is a HUGE audience that would benefit from an RX 580 graphics card upgrade. Older cards may lack support for FreeSync, HDR, higher refresh rate HDMI output and hardware encode/decode support for 4K resolution content. And while the GeForce GTX 1060 family would also meet that criteria, AMD wants to make the case that the Radeon family is the way to go.

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The Radeon RX 500-series is based on the same Polaris architecture as the RX 400-series, though AMD would tell us that the technology has been refined since initial launch. More time with the 14nm FinFET process technology has given the fab facility, and AMD, some opportunities to refine. This gives the new GPUs the ability to scale to higher clocks than they could before (though not without the cost of additional power draw). AMD has tweaked multi-monitor efficiency modes, allowing idle power consumption to drop a handful of watts thanks to a tweaked pixel clock.

Maybe the most substantial change with this RX 580 release is the unleashing of any kind of power consumption constraints for the board partners. The Radeon RX 480 launch was marred with issues surrounding the amount of power AMD claimed the boards would use compared to how much they DID use. This time around, all RX 580 graphics cards will ship with AT LEAST an 8-pin power connector, opening overclocked models to use as much as 225 watts. Some cards will have an 8+6-pin configuration to go even higher. Considering the RX 480 launched with a supposed 150 watt TDP (that it never lived up to), that’s quite an increase.

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AMD is hoping to convince gamers that Radeon Chill is a good solution to help some specific instances of excessive power draw. Recent drivers have added support for games like League of Legends and DOTA 2, adding to The Witcher 3, Dues Ex: Mankind Divided and more. I will freely admit that while the technology behind Chill sounds impressive, I don’t have the experience with it yet to claim or counterclaim its supposed advantages…without sacrificing user experience.

Continue reading our review of the Radeon RX 580 graphics card!

Take 5 to read through the Ryzen roundup

Subject: Processors | April 11, 2017 - 02:46 PM |
Tagged: z270, ryzen 5, ryzen, amd, 1600X, 1400

As you have already read through Ryan's review of the Ryzen 1600X and 1500X running on MSI's B350 Tomahawk you know about how the chips measure up to Intel's offerings at the same price point.  Life being what it is, there is always a trade between testing everything and publishing results in a timely manner so it is possible that we missed your favourite game, benchmark or test setting which is why roundups such as this exist.  For instance over at [H]ard|OCP the tests were performed on an MSI Krait Z270 Gaming motherboard and they also had a chance to review the $169 Ryzen 5 1400. 

Drop by to take a look and don't forget there are a whole lot more just below.

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"AMD has been on a tear with its new Ryzen 7 CPUs over the past few weeks and now it is time for the Ryzen 5 processor family performance to be explored. We are giving away the AMD Reviewer's Kit with a 1600X and 1500X, instead we bought 1600 and 1400 processors to review here today. All data is retail CPUs, and all overclocked to 4GHz."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

The real battle begins

When AMD launched the Ryzen 7 processors last month to a substantial amount of fanfare and pent up excitement, we already knew that the Ryzen 5 launch would be following close behind. While the Ryzen 7 lineup was meant to compete with the Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake and Broadwell-E products, with varying levels of success, the Ryzen 5 parts are priced to go head to head with Intel's Core i5 product line. 

AMD already told us the details of the new product line including clock speeds, core counts and pricing, so there is little more to talk about other than the performance and capabilities we found from our testing of the new Ryzen 5 parts. Starting with the Ryzen 5 1600X, with 6 cores, 12 threads and a $249 price point, and going down to the Ryzen 5 1400 with 4 cores, 8 threads and a $169 price point, this is easily AMD's most aggressive move to date. The Ryzen 7 1800X at $499 was meant to choke off purchases of Intel's $1000+ parts; Ryzen 5 is attempting to offer significant value and advantage for users on a budget.

Today we have the Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1500X in our hands. The 1600X is a 6C/12T processor that will have a 50% core count advantage over the Core i5-7600K it is priced against but a 3x advantage in thread count because of Intel's disabling of HyperThreading on Core i5 desktop processors. The Ryzen 5 1500X has the same number of cores as the Core i5-7500 it will be pitted against, but 2x the thread count. 

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How does this fare for AMD? Will budget consumers finally find a solution from the company that has no caveats?

Continue reading our review of the AMD Ryzen 5 1600X and 1500X processors!!

Ryzen 5 surfaces on eBay

Subject: Processors | April 10, 2017 - 05:50 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen 5, ryzen 5 1600, ryzen 5 1400

Perhaps it is best not to ask how this came about, but you can order the Ryzen 5 1600 and 1400 from eBay.  The seller has an impressive reputation and as Kyle over at [H]ard|OCP has already ordered and received some, this should be a fairly safe opportunity to take advantage of.   The full review has not yet been published but that did not stop them from putting together a quick overclocking video.  If you have 20 minutes to spare and an interest in AMD's new processors you should take a look.

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"Much to our surprise, AMD Ryzen 5 CPUs started showing up online for sale last week in North America, so we did what any PC hardware review site would do. We went out and bought four of those and started working on seeing just how much overclocking headroom each of these new CPUs have."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Releases Ryzen Balanced Power Plan - Test Results Inside

Subject: Processors | April 6, 2017 - 06:03 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, Power Plan, Power Management, Balanced, amd

AMD Releases Ryzen Balanced Power Plan - Test Results Inside

AMD has published Community Update #3 to their blog. This update details a new Power Plan that should yield improved gaming performance for those who were previously using the Windows default Balanced Power Profile. There has been lots of speculation on reasons for performance differences when gaming in various power modes and even on different Operating Systems. With this new Ryzen Balanced profile also came some info that should help us clear up some of the other misconceptions out there.

After we determined that the Windows 10 Scheduler was not at fault for the Ryzen performance issues we were seeing in some applications, we received some testing feedback from those who had noted performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 10. While many believed that to be confirmation of scheduler differences between both Operating Systems, the actual cause was down to how Windows 7 and Windows 10 park their cores, as demonstrated by the points AMD sent us earlier today:

  • Windows 7 only parks SMT cores, keeping all physical cores awake.
  • Windows 10 keeps the first core awake (logical core 0 + 1 on a HT system) and parks the remainder when possible.
  • Windows 10 disables core parking by default on Intel CPUs (Speed Shift support).

Since Windows power management (not the scheduler) is not yet Ryzen aware, its default settings result in overly aggressive core parking when driving a Ryzen CPU. Until a lower level change can take place, AMD has released a custom Ryzen Balanced Power Plan that tweaks some of the P-state transition values and a few other settings to help realize the performance gains previously seen by folks shifting to the High Performance mode while keeping idle power consumption much closer to that of the Balanced plan. Here are AMD’s claimed performance gains (vs. Balanced) with their new Ryzen Balanced Power Plan:

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AMD provided claimed gains for Ryzen Balanced profile vs. default Windows Balanced profile.

Realize these gains are all going to be nearly identical to any prior comparison showing Balanced vs. High Performance profile deltas, but this profile retains most of the idle power savings accomplished by the Balanced plan. We’ve been doing some testing with the tool and can partially confirm the above results, while adding in some more of our own that were not included in AMD’s data:

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The blue highlighted bars denote the overlapping titles tested. A few other titles we tested showed lesser (or no) gains, but that’s not necessarily the fault of this new profile as those same titles saw similar results with a switch to High Performance mode when tested previously.

I did a bit of digging into exactly which power profile parameters are being tweaked and how. Laymen poking around in Windows Power Management will only find this single difference:

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However, deconstructing the actual profile data reveals more changes that do not appear in the Windows GUI. Here are the low-level changes we discovered, including the ‘Minimum processor state’ previously noted above:

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Note: Units differ varying by parameter in this chart - compare within each set of 3 bars.

As you can see, changes were made to help minimize the parking of Ryzen cores, and to also speed up their waking when required. It may not be a perfect solution as it is another step that the user must perform to get good ‘out of the box’ Ryzen performance, but it does help alleviate the dilemma of running your desktop machine at full tilt 24/7 or having to switch power modes on either end of your gaming sessions. This is a solid stop-gap until native Ryzen support makes its way into Windows, so all of you Ryzen users out there, run over to the AMD Blog and grab/install the Ryzen Balanced Power Plan!

Source: AMD

Podcast #444 - ASUS Motherboard, NVIDIA Quadro, AMD ReLive, DDR5

Subject: Editorial | April 6, 2017 - 12:57 AM |
Tagged: Z270E, windows 10, relive, podcast, pascal, NVIDA, Mad Catz, Imagination Technologies, ddr5, asus, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #444 - 04/6/17

Join us for an ASUS Z270 Motherboard, NVIDIA Quadro, AMD ReLive, DDR5 and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:05:50
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Jeremy: ASUS GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX, CAN or US
  4. Closing/outro

Source:

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 4, 2017 - 09:21 PM |
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd

The first AMD Radeon driver of April isn’t aligned with a major game launch. Instead, this release seems to focus on gaming technologies in general. For VR, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1 adds Oculus’ Asynchronous Spacewarp (ASW) to R9 Fury, R9 390, and R9 290 graphics cards. It also adds, for Windows 10, SteamVR Asynchronous Reprojection to RX 480 and RX 470 graphics cards.

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The driver also adds a couple of extra display options based on the (also just added) DP1.4 HBR3 cable standard. For now, it seems like it’s just (read: “just”) 8K 60 Hz dual-cable and 8K 30Hz single-cable. The increased bandwidth also allows for several other formats, but those have nothing to do with today’s driver.

Update: AMD released a video on the same day to advertise 8K / HDR / FreeSync 2. Embed below.

A few bugs were also fixed, most of which were general bug-fixes not associated with games. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands is the one exception, which should now scale better with multiple GPUs.

AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.4.1 is now available from AMD’s website.

Source: AMD

ASRock's X370 Taichi, meet AMD's new chipset

Subject: Motherboards | April 4, 2017 - 01:47 PM |
Tagged: x370, asrock, X370 Taichi, amd, AM4

Morry just wrapped up a review of the ASUS Strix Z270E Gaming while Hardware Canucks have looked at a different motherboard, the ASRock X370 Taichi.  To some, the names might seem similar but they are very different motherboards, the Z270 is for Intel LGA1151 while the X370 is a brand new AMD AM4 board.  If you are just getting into building computers, make very sure you know what you are picking up!

ASRock have chosen a unique pattern to decorate the X370 Taichi and that is before you light up the RGB LEDs on the board.  This is the first AM4 board Hardware Canucks have seen and it introduces a new look to the UEFI as well as some physical changes to the layout compared to the previous generation of AMD motherboards.  Take look for yourself at one of the first reviews of an AM4 board from ASRock.

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"AMD's Ryzen processors may have found the ultimate motherboard with ASRock's X370 Taichi. From overclocking to stock performance and features, this board seems to have it all!"

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Ryzen from the Ashes in a new optimized state

Subject: General Tech | March 31, 2017 - 01:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ashes of the singularity

[H]ard|OCP takes a look at the new optimizations in the Oxide Game Engine and come up with similar positive results as Ryan.  They tested the CPU by dropping the resolution and quality in AotS and utilizing the CPU focused benchmark, as opposed to the GPU focused benchmark utilized by many sites, including ourselves.  Their tests showed a 16.46% improvement which shows these optimizations do not simply have an effect on graphical performance but also improve CPU calculation performance as well.  Pop by for the full review.

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"There has been a lot of talk about how AMD's new Ryzen processors have pulled up somewhat short at low resolution gaming. AMD explained that code optimizations from game developers are needed to address this issue, and today is the day that we are supposed to start seeing some of that code in action."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Tweaks for days

It seems like it’s been months since AMD launched Ryzen, its first new processor architecture in about a decade, when in fact we are only four weeks removed. One of the few concerns about the Ryzen processors centered on its performance in some gaming performance results, particularly in common resolutions like 1080p. While I was far from the only person to notice these concerns, our gaming tests clearly showed a gap between the Ryzen 7 1800X and the Intel Core i7-7700K and 6900K processors in Civilization 6, Hitman and Rise of the Tomb Raider.

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A graph from our Ryzen launch coverage...

We had been working with AMD for a couple of weeks on the Ryzen launch and fed back our results with questions in the week before launch. On March 2nd, AMD’s CVP of Marketing John Taylor gave us a prepared statement that acknowledged the issue but promised changes come in form for game engine updates. These software updates would need to be implemented by the game developers themselves in order to take advantage of the unique and more complex core designs of the Zen architecture. We had quotes from the developers of Ashes of the Singularity as well as the Total War series to back it up.

And while statements promising change are nice, it really takes some proof to get the often skeptical tech media and tech enthusiasts to believe that change can actually happen. Today AMD is showing its first result.

The result of 400 developer hours of work, the Nitrous Engine powering Ashes of the Singularity received an update today to version 26118 that integrates updates to threading to better balance the performance across Ryzen 7’s 8 cores and 16 threads. I was able to do some early testing on the new revision, as well as with the previous retail shipping version (25624) to see what kind of improvements the patch brings with it.

Stardock / Oxide CEO Brad Wardell had this to say in a press release:

“I’ve always been vocal about taking advantage of every ounce of performance the PC has to offer. That’s why I’m a strong proponent of DirectX 12 and Vulkan® because of the way these APIs allow us to access multiple CPU cores, and that’s why the AMD Ryzen processor has so much potential,” said Stardock and Oxide CEO Brad Wardell. “As good as AMD Ryzen is right now – and it’s remarkably fast – we’ve already seen that we can tweak games like Ashes of the Singularity to take even more advantage of its impressive core count and processing power. AMD Ryzen brings resources to the table that will change what people will come to expect from a PC gaming experience.”

Our testing setup is in line with our previous CPU performance stories.

Test System Setup
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 1800X
Intel Core i7-6900K
Motherboard ASUS Crosshair VI Hero (Ryzen)
ASUS X99-Deluxe II (Broadwell-E)
Memory 16GB DDR4-2400
Storage Corsair Force GS 240 SSD
Sound Card On-board
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB
Graphics Drivers NVIDIA 378.49
Power Supply Corsair HX1000
Operating System Windows 10 Pro x64

I was using the latest BIOS for our ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard (1002) and upgraded to some Geil RGB (!!) memory capable of running at 3200 MHz on this board with a single BIOS setting adjustment. All of my tests were done at 1080p in order to return to the pain point that AMD was dealing with on launch day.

Let’s see the results.

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These are substantial performance improvements with the new engine code! At both 2400 MHz and 3200 MHz memory speeds, and at both High and Extreme presets in the game (all running in DX12 for what that’s worth), the gaming performance on the GPU-centric is improved. At the High preset (which is the setting that AMD used in its performance data for the press release), we see a 31% jump in performance when running at the higher memory speed and a 22% improvement with the lower speed memory. Even when running at the more GPU-bottlenecked state of the Extreme preset, that performance improvement for the Ryzen processors with the latest Ashes patch is 17-20%!

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It’s also important to note that Intel performance is unaffected – either for the better or worse. Whatever work Oxide did to improve the engine for AMD’s Ryzen processors had NO impact on the Core processors, which is interesting to say the least. The cynic in me would believe there is little chance that any agnostic changes to code would raise Intel’s multi-core performance at least a little bit.

So what exactly is happening to the engine with v26118? I haven’t had a chance to have an in-depth conversation with anyone at AMD or Oxide yet on the subject, but at a high level, I was told that this is what happens when instructions and sequences are analyzed for an architecture specifically. “For basically 5 years”, I was told, Oxide and other developers have dedicated their time to “instruction traces and analysis to maximize Intel performance” which helps to eliminate poor instruction setup. After spending some time with Ryzen and the necessary debug tools (and some AMD engineers), they were able to improve performance on Ryzen without adversely affecting Intel parts.

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Core to core latency testing on Ryzen 7 1800X

I am hoping to get more specific detail in the coming days, but it would seem very likely that Oxide was able to properly handle the more complex core to core communication systems on Ryzen and its CCX implementation. We demonstrated early this month how thread to thread communication across core complexes causes substantially latency penalties, and that a developer that intelligently manages threads that have dependencies on the core complex can improve overall performance. I would expect this is at least part of the solution Oxide was able to integrate (and would also explain why Intel parts are unaffected).

What is important now is that AMD takes this momentum with Ashes of the Singularity and actually does something with it. Many of you will recognize Ashes as the flagship title for Mantle when AMD made that move to change the programming habits and models for developers, and though Mantle would eventually become Vulkan and drive DX12 development, it did not foretell an overall shift as it hoped to. Can AMD and its developer relations team continue to make the case that spending time and money (which is what 400 developer hours equates to) to make specific performance enhancements for Ryzen processors is in the best interest of everyone? We’ll soon find out.