Subject: Processors | May 30, 2017 - 10:49 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Threadripper, ryzen, PCI Express, amd
During AMD’s Computex keynote, the company confirmed that the every one of the upcoming Threadripper HEDT platform first announced earlier in May, will include 64 lanes of PCI Express 3.0. There will not be a differentiation in the product line with PCIe lanes or in memory channels (all quad-channel DDR4). This potentially gives AMD the advantage for system connectivity, as the Intel Skylake-X processor just announced yesterday will only sport of 44 lanes of PCIe 3.0 on chip.
Having 64 lanes of PCI Express on Threadripper could be an important differentiation point for the platform, offering the ability to run quad GPUs at full x16 speeds, without the need of any PLX-style bridge chips. You could also combine a pair of x16 graphics cards, and still have 32 lanes left for NVMe storage, 10 GigE networking devices, multi-channel SAS controllers, etc. And that doesn’t include any additional lanes that the X399 chipset may end up providing. We still can’t wait to see what motherboard vendors like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte create with all that flexibility.
On-stage, we saw a couple of demonstrations of what this connectivity capability can provide. First, a Threadripper system was shown powering Radeon RX Vega graphics cards running the new Prey PC title at 4K.
On-stage, we saw a couple of demonstrations of what this connectivity capability can provide. First, a Threadripper system was shown running the same Blender rendering demo used in the build up to the initial Ryzen CPU launch.
Next, CEO Lisa Su came back on stage to demo AMD Threadripper running with a set of four Radeon Vega Frontier Edition cards running together for ray tracing.
And finally, a gaming demo! AMD Ryzen Threadripper was demoed with dual Radeon RX Vega (the gaming versions) graphics cards running at 4K/Ultra settings on the new Prey PC title. No frame rates were mentioned, no FRAPS in the corner, etc.
(Side note: Radeon Vega FE was confirmed for June 27th launch. Radeon RX Vega will launch at SIGGRAPH at the end of July!)
We still have a ways to go before we can make any definitive comments on Threadripper, and with Intel announcing processors with core counts as high as 18 just yesterday, it’s fair to say that some of the excitement has been dwindling. However, with aggressive pricing and the right messaging from AMD, they still have an amazing opportunity to break away a large segment of the growing, and profitable, HEDT market from Intel.
Subject: Processors, Mobile | May 30, 2017 - 10:43 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: amd, ryzen, mobile, Vega
As part of the company’s press conference from Computex 2017, AMD displayed for the first time to the public a working notebook utilizing the upcoming Ryzen SoC with on-die Vega graphics. The CPU is a 4-core / 8-thread design and the system was shown playing back some basic video.
We don’t really have any more detail than that on the platform, other availability in second half of this year. The system being shown was impressively built, with a sub-15mm ultra-portable form factor, putting to rest concerns over AMD’s ability to scale Zen and Vega to the lower required power numbers. AMD claims that Ryzen mobile will offer 50% better CPU performance and 40% better GPU performance than the 7th Generation AMD APU. I can't wait to test this myself, but with a jump like that AMD should be competitive in the processor space again and continue its dominance in integrated graphics.
The Vega on-die integration was first mentioned at the company’s financial analyst day, though if you were like me, it went unnoticed in the wave of Threadripper and EPYC news. This iteration is obviously not using a non-HBM2 memory implementation, but I don’t yet know if there is any kind of non-system-memory cache on the processor to help improve integrated graphics performance.
For a product not slated to be released until the end of this year, seeing a low profile, high performance demo of the platform is a good sign for AMD and a welcome indicator that the company could finally fight back in the mobile notebook space.
We are up to two...
UPDATE (5/31/2017): Crystal Dynamics was able to get back to us with a couple of points on the changes that were made with this patch to affect the performance of AMD Ryzen processors.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider splits rendering tasks to run on different threads. By tuning the size of those tasks – breaking some up, allowing multicore CPUs to contribute in more cases, and combining some others, to reduce overheads in the scheduler – the game can more efficiently exploit extra threads on the host CPU.
- An optimization was identified in texture management that improves the combination of AMD CPU and NVIDIA GPU. Overhead was reduced by packing texture descriptor uploads into larger chunks.
There you have it, a bit more detail on the software changes made to help adapt the game engine to AMD's Ryzen architecture. Not only that, but it does confirm our information that there was slightly MORE to address in the Ryzen+GeForce combinations.
Despite a couple of growing pains out of the gate, the Ryzen processor launch appears to have been a success for AMD. Both the Ryzen 7 and the Ryzen 5 releases proved to be very competitive with Intel’s dominant CPUs in the market and took significant leads in areas of massive multi-threading and performance per dollar. An area that AMD has struggled in though has been 1080p gaming – performance in those instances on both Ryzen 7 and 5 processors fell behind comparable Intel parts by (sometimes) significant margins.
Our team continues to watch the story to see how AMD and game developers work through the issue. Most recently I posted a look at the memory latency differences between Ryzen and Intel Core processors. As it turns out, the memory latency differences are a significant part of the initial problem for AMD:
Because of this, I think it is fair to claim that some, if not most, of the 1080p gaming performance deficits we have seen with AMD Ryzen processors are a result of this particular memory system intricacy. You can combine memory latency with the thread-to-thread communication issue we discussed previously into one overall system level complication: the Zen memory system behaves differently than anything we have seen prior and it currently suffers in a couple of specific areas because of it.
In that story I detailed our coverage of the Ryzen processor and its gaming performance succinctly:
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.
Quick on the heels of the Ryzen 7 release, AMD worked with the developer Oxide on the Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation engine. Through tweaks and optimizations, the game was able to showcase as much as a 30% increase in average frame rate on the integrated benchmark. While this was only a single use case, it does prove that through work with the developers, AMD has the ability to improve the 1080p gaming positioning of Ryzen against Intel.
Fast forward to today and I was surprised to find a new patch for Rise of the Tomb Raider, a game that was actually one of the worst case scenarios for AMD with Ryzen. (Patch #12, v1.0.770.1) The patch notes mention the following:
The following changes are included in this patch
- Fix certain DX12 crashes reported by users on the forums.
- Improve DX12 performance across a variety of hardware, in CPU bound situations. Especially performance on AMD Ryzen CPUs can be significantly improved.
While we expect this patch to be an improvement for everyone, if you do have trouble with this patch and prefer to stay on the old version we made a Beta available on Steam, build 767.2, which can be used to switch back to the previous version.
We will keep monitoring for feedback and will release further patches as it seems required. We always welcome your feedback!
Obviously the data point that stood out for me was the improved DX12 performance “in CPU bound situations. Especially on AMD Ryzen CPUs…”
Remember how the situation appeared in April?
The Ryzen 7 1800X was 24% slower than the Intel Core i7-7700K – a dramatic difference for a processor that should only have been ~8-10% slower in single threaded workloads.
How does this new patch to RoTR affect performance? We tested it on the same Ryzen 7 1800X benchmarks platform from previous testing including the ASUS Crosshair VI Hero motherboard, 16GB DDR4-2400 memory and GeForce GTX 1080 Founders Edition using the 378.78 driver. All testing was done under the DX12 code path.
The Ryzen 7 1800X score jumps from 107 FPS to 126.44 FPS, an increase of 17%! That is a significant boost in performance at 1080p while still running at the Very High image quality preset, indicating that the developer (and likely AMD) were able to find substantial inefficiencies in the engine. For comparison, the 8-core / 16-thread Intel Core i7-6900K only sees a 2.4% increase from this new game revision. This tells us that the changes to the game were specific to Ryzen processors and their design, but that no performance was redacted from the Intel platforms.
AMD AGESA Update 188.8.131.52 Will Support Configurable Memory Sub Timings And Clockspeeds Up To 4,000 MHz
Subject: General Tech | May 30, 2017 - 04:05 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x370, ryzen, overclocking, ddr4, bios, b350, amd, agesa
AMD recently announced a new AGESA update that will improve memory compatibility and add new memory and virtualization features that have been sorely missing from AMD’s new Ryzen platforms. The new AGESA 184.108.40.206 update has been distributed to its motherboard partners and will be part of updated BIOSes that should be out by the middle of June.
The AGESA (AMD Generic Encapsulated Software Architecture) code is used as part of the BIOS responsible for initializing the Ryzen CPU cores, memory controller, and Infinity Fabric. With the 220.127.116.11 update, AMD is adding 26 configurable memory options (including subtimings!) that were previously locked out or limited in the range of values users could set. The biggest change is in clockspeeds where AMD will now allow memory clocks up to 4,000 MHz without needing to adjust the CPU base clock (only the very high-end motherboards had external clock generators that allowed hitting higher than 3200 MHz easily before this update). Additionally, when overclocking and setting clockspeeds above 2667 MHz, users can adjust the clockspeeds in increments of 133 MT/s rather than the currently supported 266 MT/s increments. Also important is that AMD will allow 2T command rates with the new update (previously it was locked at 1T) which improves memory kit compatibility when pushing clockspeeds and/or when running in a four DIMM configuration rather than 2 stick configurations (2T is less aggressive). These changes are especially important for overclocking and, in addition to all the other knobs that will become available, dialing in the highest possible stable clockspeeds. Reportedly, the updated AGESA code does improve on memory kit compatibility and support for more XMP profiles, but the Ryzen platform still heavily favors Samsung B-die based single rank kits. In all, it sounds like there is still more to be done but the 18.104.22.168 update is going to be a huge step in the right direction.
Beyond the memory improvements AMD is also adding support for PCI Express Access Control Services which will improve virtualization support and allow users with multiple graphics cards to dedicate a card to the host and another card to the virtual machine.
ASUS and Gigabyte have already rolled out beta BIOSes for their high-end boards, and other manufacturers and motherboards should be getting beta update’s shortly with the stable releases based on the new AMD code being available next month. I am very interested to see Ryzen paired with 4GHz memory and how that will help gaming and everyday performance and improve things in the Infinity Fabric and CCX to CCX latency department!
Subject: Systems | May 29, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: RX 570, kaby lake, Intel, dell, AIO, amd
Dell has refreshed their XPS 27 All-in-one with two new models. Both of these have their GPU upgraded to the AMD RX 570 and their CPU refreshed to the Core i7-7700, which Dell highlights for its VR readiness. The difference between the two is that the lower-end model, $1999.99 USD, has a non-touch screen and a 2TB hard drive backed by 32GB of M.2 SATA SSD cache; the higher-end model, $2649.99 USD, has a touch screen and a 512GB, PCIe SSD, which makes it a quarter of the storage, but much faster. Both are loaded with 16GB of RAM, but they can be configured up to 64GB.
About two weeks ago, Kyle Wiggers of Digital Trends had some hands-on time with the refreshed all-in-one. He liked the vibrant, 4K panel that was apparently calibrated to AdobeRGB (although I can’t find any listing for how much it covers). The purpose of that color space is to overlap with both non-HDR video and with the gamut of commercial printers, which is useful for multiple types of publishers.
The Dell XPS 27 All-in-one is available now.
Subject: Processors | May 26, 2017 - 11:57 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ryzen, giveaway, amd
Between now and July 7th, 2017, which could also be written as 7/7/17, AMD is hosting a sweepstakes (not a contest) to promote Ryzen 7. The premise is that fans will create a video of themselves doing seven different activities in seven seconds. Prizes will be awarded for randomly selected, eligible entries. Alternatively, you can enter by doing some things on Twitter… the details are available on AMD’s website.
This is the reason why I said “not a contest”. According to the rules, these videos will not actually be judged; it's pure luck. The drawing will occur on (roughly) June 2nd, June 9th, June 16th, June 23rd, June 30th, and two drawings on July 7th. Each drawing is for an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X, with one winner per drawing.
Subject: General Tech | May 24, 2017 - 01:24 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Vega, ryzen 3, rumour
On a recent investors call AMD's head, Lisa Su, let it slip that the Radeon RX Vega family will be arriving on the market this July, shortly after we see the Frontier Edition launch. The Inquirer also mentions that this is likely to indicate a similar launch time for the Ryzen 3 family, which seems a sound presumption. During the call she set some dates for AMD's next generation of processors, they will be taping out their 7nm products later this year with Zen 2 scheduled for 2018 and Zen 3 in 2020. It is also likely we will not be seeing mobile Zen parts at Computex; next year is far more likely to be their target. Still, this has been an exciting year for enthusiasts with a wide variety of parts launched already and more on the way.
"Su revealed that the company was planning a late-June release date for the Frontier Edition of the company's next-generation graphics card, with the more mainstream Radeon RX Vega coming out the following month."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Kodi, Popcorn time and VLC vulnerable to 'widespread' subtitle hack @ The Inquirer
- The A-EON Amiga X5000: An alternate universe where the Amiga platform never died @ Ars Technica
- Best Practices for 2-Factor Authentication and Password Creation on Linux @ Linux.com
- How good are selfies these days? Good enough to fool Samsung Galaxy S8 biometrics @ The Register
- PAPAGO! GoSafe 30G 1080p Dash Camera Review @ NikKTech
Subject: Graphics Cards | May 20, 2017 - 07:01 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: graphics drivers, amd
The second graphics driver of the month from AMD, Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.5.2, adds optimizations for Bethesda’s new shooter, Prey. AMD claims that it will yield up to a 4.5% performance improvement, as measured on an RX 580 (versus the same card with 17.5.1). This is over and above the up to 4.7% increase that 17.5.1 had over 17.4.4.
Outside of that game, 17.5.2 also addresses four issues. The first is a crash in NieR: Automata. The second is long load times in Forza Horizon 3. The third is a system hang with the RX 550 when going sleep. The fourth fixed issue is a bit more complicated; apparently, in a multi-GPU system, where monitors are attached to multiple graphics cards, the primary graphics card can appear disabled in Radeon Settings. All four are now fixed, so, if they affect you, then pick up the driver.
As always, they are available from AMD’s website.
Subject: Processors | May 19, 2017 - 04:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ryzen 5 1400, ryzen 5 1600
Neoseeker tested out the 4 core Ryzen 5 1400 and 6 core 1600 model to see how they stack up against other lower cost processors. They ran the tests at the highest stable overclock they could reach, interestingly both were able to hit a 3.8 GHz base clock, paired with DDR4-2400. The processors were cooled with AMD's Wraith Max cooler so it is possible to push these CPUs further if you are willing to overvolt. Drop by to see how these two processor match up to the competition.
"The two AMD processors for review today are the newest budget offerings of the Ryzen 5 series with the Ryzen 1400 and 1600 models. The Ryzen 1400 is a four core/eight thread and the Ryzen 1600 is a six core/twelve thread processor, with both having a base operating speed of 3.2 GHz. The boost clock for the Ryzen 1400 is 3.4 GHz while the Ryzen 1600 is able to boost to 3.6 GHz."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- Benchmarking AMD's New AOCC Compiler For Ryzen @ Phoronix
- AMD Ryzen R5 1600 Hex-Core @ eTeknix
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600 3.2 GHz @ techPowerUp
- AMD Ryzen R5 1400 Quad-Core @ eTeknix
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!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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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)