Subject: Processors | February 8, 2017 - 09:38 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Zen, Skylake, Samsung, ryzen, kaby lake, ISSCC, Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, AM4, 14 nm FinFET
Yesterday EE Times posted some interesting information that they had gleaned at ISSCC. AMD released a paper describing the design process and advances they were able to achieve with the Zen architecture manufactured on Samsung’s/GF’s 14nm FinFETT process. AMD went over some of the basic measurements at the transistor scale and how it compares to what Intel currently has on their latest 14nm process.
The first thing that jumps out is that AMD claimes that their 4 core/8 thread x86 core is about 10% smaller than what Intel has with one of their latest CPUs. We assume it is either Kaby Lake or Skylake. AMD did not exactly go over exactly what they were counting when looking at the cores because there are some significant differences between the two architectures. We are not sure if that 44mm sq. figure includes the L3 cache or the L2 caches. My guess is that it probably includes L2 cache but not L3. I could be easily wrong here.
Going down the table we see that AMD and Samsung/GF are able to get their SRAM sizes down smaller than what Intel is able to do. AMD has double the amount of L2 cache per core, but it is only about 60% larger than Intel’s 256 KB L2. AMD also has a much smaller L3 cache as well than Intel. Both are 8 MB units but AMD comes in at 16 mm sq. while Intel is at 19.1 mm sq. There will be differences in how AMD and Intel set up these caches, and until we see L3 performance comparisons we cannot assume too much.
(Image courtesy of ISSCC)
In some of the basic measurements of the different processes we see that Intel has advantages throughout. This is not surprising as Intel has been well known to push process technology beyond what others are able to do. In theory their products will have denser logic throughout, including the SRAM cells. When looking at this information we wonder how AMD has been able to make their cores and caches smaller. Part of that is due to the likely setup of cache control and access.
One of the most likely culprits of this smaller size is that the less advanced FPU/SSE/AVX units that AMD has in Zen. They support AVX-256, but it has to be done in double the cycles. They can do single cycle AVX-128, but Intel’s throughput is much higher than what AMD can achieve. AVX is not the end-all, be-all but it is gaining in importance in high performance computing and editing applications. David Kanter in his article covering the architecture explicitly said that AMD made this decision to lower the die size and power constraints for this product.
Ryzen will undoubtedly be a pretty large chip overall once both modules and 16 MB of L3 cache are put together. My guess would be in the 220 mm sq. range, but again that is only a guess once all is said and done (northbridge, southbridge, PCI-E controllers, etc.). What is perhaps most interesting of it all is that AMD has a part that on the surface is very close to the Broadwell-E based Intel i7 chips. The i7-6900K runs at 3.2 to 3.7 GHz, features 8 cores and 16 threads, and around 20 MB of L2/L3 cache. AMD’s top end looks to run at 3.6 GHz, features the same number of cores and threads, and has 20 MB of L2/L3 cache. The Intel part is rated at 140 watts TDP while the AMD part will have a max of 95 watts TDP.
If Ryzen is truly competitive in this top end space (with a price to undercut Intel, yet not destroy their own margins) then AMD is going to be in a good position for the rest of this year. We will find out exactly what is coming our way next month, but all indications point to Ryzen being competitive in overall performance while being able to undercut Intel in TDPs for comparable cores/threads. We are counting down the days...
Subject: General Tech | February 8, 2017 - 12:44 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, FreeSync2, David Glen, Syed Hussain
TechARP published a video of their interview with AMD's David Glen and Syed Hussain in which they discussed what to expect from FreeSync 2. They also listed some key points for those who do not wish to watch the full video; either can be found right here. The question on most people's minds is answered immediately, this will not be a Vega only product and if your GPU supports the current version it will support the sequel. We will not see support for it until a new driver is released, then again we also await new monitors to hit the market as well so it is hard to be upset at AMD for the delay.
"While waiting for AMD to finalise Radeon FreeSync 2 and its certification program for their partners, let’s share with you our Q&A session with the two key AMD engineers in charge of the Radeon FreeSync 2 project – David Glen and Syed Athar Hussain."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- 72% of 'Anonymous' Browsing History Can Be Attached To the Real User @ Slashdot
- Google AI's zoom and enhance photo tech gives you nowhere to hide @ The Inquirer
- AMD's daring new money-making strategy: Sue everyone! Mwahaha @ The Register
Subject: Processors | February 3, 2017 - 08:22 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: titan x, ryzen, report, processor, nvidia, leak, cpu, benchmark, ashes of the singularity, amd
AMD's upcoming 8-core Ryzen CPU has appeared online in an apparent leak showing performance from an Ashes of the Singularity benchmark run. The benchmark results, available here on imgur and reported by TechPowerUp (among others today) shows the result of a run featuring the unreleased CPU paired with an NVIDIA Titan X graphics card.
It is interesting to consider that this rather unusual system configuration was also used by AMD during their New Horizon fan event in December, with an NVIDIA Titan X and Ryzen 8-core processor powering the 4K game demos of Battlefield 1 that were pitted against an Intel Core i7-6900K/Titan X combo.
It is also interesting to note that the processor listed in the screenshot above is (apparently) not an engineering sample, as TechPowerUp points out in their post:
"Unlike some previous benchmark leaks of Ryzen processors, which carried the prefix ES (Engineering Sample), this one carried the ZD Prefix, and the last characters on its string name are the most interesting to us: F4 stands for the silicon revision, while the 40_36 stands for the processor's Turbo and stock speeds respectively (4.0 GHz and 3.6 GHz)."
March is fast approaching, and we won't have to wait long to see just how powerful this new processor will be for 4K gaming (and other, less important stuff). For now, I want to find results from an AotS benchmark with a Titan X and i7-6900K to see how these numbers compare!
Subject: General Tech | February 3, 2017 - 01:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Vega, Jeffrey Cheng
Tech ARP had a chance talk with AMD's Jeffrey Cheng about the new Vega GPU memory architecture. He provided some interesting details such as the fact that the new architecture can handle up to 512 TB of addressable memory. With such a large pool it would be possible to store data sets in HBM2 memory to be passed to the GPU as opposed to sitting in general system memory. Utilizing the memory present on the GPU could also reduce costs and energy consumption, not to mention the fact it will perform far more quickly. Pop by to watch the video to see how he feels this could change the way games and software could be programmed.
"Want to learn more about the AMD Vega memory architecture? Join our Q&A session with AMD Senior Fellow Jeffrey Cheng at the AMD Tech Summit!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Mozilla kills Firefox OS as it backs away from IoT ambition @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft tells OEMs that the secret to Windows 10 success is to be more 'cool' @ The Register
- Microsoft Introduces GVFS (Git Virtual File System) @ Slashdot
- 'Webroot made my PCs s*** the bed' – AV update borks biz machines hard @ The Register
- Ubiquiti Amplifi HD Mesh Wi-Fi Router System @ Custom PC Review
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 2, 2017 - 02:34 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Socket AM4, ryzen, noctua, NH-U12S SE-AM4, NH-L9x65 SE-AM4, NH-D15 SE-AM4, amd
If you are already planning your new AMD Ryzen build and are wondering what gigantic brown and tan coolers might work then Noctua has a page that will make you smile. They have listed all of their current coolers which can be made compatible with AM4 using a free adapter which you can order from that page. They also list some which could be made compatible but are not eligible for the free adapter and those which will not work at all.
Along with the compatibility list comes three brand new coolers, which you can see larger than life by clicking on their names. The NH-D15 SE-AM4 is a contender for Morry's next favourite cooler for mATX boards, 980g of metal and that is before you add the two 140mm fans. The NH-U12S SE-AM4 is slimmer 580g but is still 158mm tall and will use a 120mm fan. For those who prefer their coolers in petite sizes the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is a svelte 340g and stands a mere 65mm while wearing its custom fit 92mm fan.
You can pick them up soon, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 at $99.90, NH-U12S SE-AM4 for $64.90
and the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 at $52.90. PR below the fold.
Podcast #435 - Qualcomm aptX, FSP Twin 500w PSU, Micro 5100 Enteprise SSDs, AMD Fiscal Results, ASUS Tinker Board, ZeniMax
Subject: Editorial | February 2, 2017 - 10:34 AM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: podcast, zenimax, UHD Blu-Ray, toshiba, tinker board, Reundant PSU, qualcomm, micron, Laser Networking, fsp, enterprise ssd, DirectX, delidding, asus, aptX, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #435 - 02/02/17
Join us this week as we discuss Qualcomm aptX, FSP Reundant PSUs, Micron Enterprise SSDs, 5G LTE, AMD Fiscal Year, ZeniMax lawsuit, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
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Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Ken Addison, Josh Walrath, Jermey Hellstrom, Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:46:22
Subject: Graphics Cards | February 2, 2017 - 07:02 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd
A few days ago, AMD released their second graphics drivers of January 2017: Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.1.2. The main goal of these drivers are to support the early access of Conan Exiles as well as tomorrow’s closed beta for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands. Optimization that AMD has been working on prior to release, for either game, are targeted at this version.
Beyond game-specific optimizations, a handful of bugs are also fixed, ranging from crashes to rendering artifacts. There was also an issue with configuring WattMan on a system that has multiple monitors, where the memory clock would drop or bounce around. There is driver also has a bunch of known issues, including a couple of hangs and crashes under certain situations.
Subject: Editorial | January 31, 2017 - 11:14 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Vega, ryzen, quarterly results, Q4 2016, Q4, FY 2016, amd, AM4
Today AMD announced their latest quarterly earnings. There was much speculation as to how well or how poorly the company did, especially in light of Intel’s outstanding quarter and their record year. Intel has shown that the market continues to be strong, even with the popular opinion that we are in a post-PC world. Would AMD see a strong quarter, or would Intel take further bites out of the company?
The results for AMD are somewhere in between. It was not an overly strong quarter, but it was not weak either. AMD saw strength in the GPU market with their latest RX series of GPUs for both desktop and mobile applications. Their CPU sales seemingly were flat with limited new products in their CPU/APU stack. AMD is still primarily shipping 32nm and 28nm products and will not introduce 14nm products until Ryzen in late Q1 of this year. While AMD has improved their APU offerings at both mobile and desktop TDPs, they still rely on Carrizo and the Bristol Ridge derivative to provide new growth. The company’s aging Piledriver based Vishera CPUs still comprise a significant portion of sales for the budget and midrange enthusiast markets.
The company had revenues of $1.11B US for Q4 with a $51M net loss. Q3 featured revenues of $1.31B, but had a much larger loss of $293M. The primary factor for that loss was the $340M charge for the adjusted wafer start agreement that AMD has with GLOBALFOUNDRIES. AMD did make less this past quarter, but they were able to winnow their loss down to the $51M figure.
While AMD stayed steady with the CPU/APU and GPU markets, their biggest decline came in the semi-custom products. This is understandable due to the longer lead times on these products as compared to AMD’s CPUs/APUs and GPUs. The console manufacturers purchase these designs and then pay out royalties as the chips are produced. Sony and Microsoft each had new console revisions for this holiday season that feature new SoC designs from AMD for each. To hit the holiday rush these companies made significant orders in Q2 and Q3 of this year to allow delivery in Q4. Once those deliveries are made then Sony and Microsoft dramatically cut orders to allow good sell-through in Q4 and not have massive unsold quantities in Q1 2017. With royalties down with fewer chips being delivered, AMD obviously suffers at the hand of seasonality typically one quarter sooner than Intel or NVIDIA does.
For the year AMD had nearly $300M more in revenue as compared to 2015. 2016 ended at $4.27B as compared to 2015’s $3.99B. This is generally where AMD has been for the past decade, but is lower than they have seen in years past with successful parts like Athlon and their Athlon 64 parts. In 2005 AMD had $5.8B in revenue. We see that AMD still has a way to go before matching some of their best years as a company.
One of the more interesting aspects is that even through these quarterly losses AMD has been able to increase their cash on hand. AMD was approaching some $700M a few years back and with the losses they were taking it would not be all many years before liquidity was non-existent. AMD has been able to build that up to $1.26B at the end of this quarter, giving them more of a cushion to rely upon in tight times.
AMD’s year on year improvement is tangible, but made more impressive when considering how big of an impact the $340M charge that the WSA incurred. This shows that AMD has been very serious about cutting expenses and monetizing their products to the best of their ability.
This coming year should show further improvement for AMD due to a more competitive product stack in CPUs, APUs, and GPUs. AMD announced that Ryzen will be launching sometimes this March, hitting the Q1 expectations that the company had in the second half of 2016. Previous to that AMD thought they could push out limited amounts of Ryzen chips in late Q4 2016, but that did not turn out to be the case. AMD has shown off multiple Ryzen samples running anywhere from 3.2 GHz base with a potential engineering sample with a boosted speed up to 4 GHz. Ryzen looks far more competitive against Intel’s current and upcoming products than AMD has in years.
The GPU side will also be getting a boost in the first half of 2017. It looks like the high end GPU Vega will be launching in Q2 2017. AMD has addressed the midrange and budget markets with the Polaris based chips but has been absent at the high end with 14nm chips. AMD still produces and sells Fury and Nano based offerings that somewhat address the area above the midrange, but they do not adequately compete with the NVIDIA GTX 1070 and 1080 products. Vega looks to be competitive with what NVIDIA has at the high end, and there is certainly a pent up demand for an AMD card in that market.
AMD had a solid 2016 that showed that the current management team could successfully lead the company through some very challenging times. The company continues to move forward and we shall see new products with CPUs, GPUs, and motherboards that should all materially contribute to and expand AMD’s bottom line.
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 31, 2017 - 11:18 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: rx 460, radeon, giveaway, contest, buildapc, amd
As part of our partnership with AMD to take a look at the Radeon RX 460 as a budget gaming graphics solution, we are giving away the computer we built for our testing. If you missed our previous stories, shame on you. Check them out here:
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 1
- Building a Budget PC with the Radeon RX 460: Part 2
Check out the embeded block below to see how you can win our system. It is a global giveaway, so feel free to enter no matter where you live! Thanks again to AMD for providing the hardware for this build!
Subject: Graphics Cards | January 18, 2017 - 08:43 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: video, unlock, shaders, shader cores, sapphire, radeon, Polaris, graphics, gpu, gaming, card, bios, amd, 1024
As reported by WCCFtech, AMD partner Sapphire has a new 1024 stream processor version of the RX460 listed on their site (Chinese language), and this product reveal of course comes after it became known that RX460 graphics cards had the potential to have their stream processor count unlocked from 896 to 1024 via BIOS update.
Sapphire RX460 1024SP 4G D5 Ultra Platinum OC (image credit: Sapphire)
The Sapphire RX460 1024SP edition offers a full Polaris 11 core operating at 1250 MHz, and it otherwise matches the specifications of a stock RX460 graphics card. Whether this product will be available outside of China is unknown, as is the potential pricing model should it be available in the USA. A 4GB Radeon RX460 retails for $99, while the current step-up option is the RX470, which doubles up on this 1024SP RX460's shader count with 2048, with a price increase of about 70% ($169).
AMD Polaris GCN 4.0 GPU lineup (Credit WCCFtech)
As you may note from the chart above, there is also an RX470D option between these cards that features 1792 shaders, though this option is also China-only.