Subject: General Tech | February 6, 2019 - 02:01 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, ryzen, mini-stx, barebones, asrock, APU, amd, AM4
ASRock is launching a new small form factor barebones system later this month that incorporates what the company claims Is the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD’s Zen-based processors (primarily APUs) using the AM4 socket, a tiny case, and optional accessories. The DeskMini A300 and A300W are barebones PCs where you are responsible for adding your own CPU, RAM, and storage. Measuring 155 x 155 x 80mm (approximately 6.1” x 6.1” x 3.15”), the 1.92-liter PCs sit somewhere between an Intel NUC and a Mini ITX build. The DeskMini A300 case is all black with subtle rounded corners, a stylized front panel, and ample square mesh ventilation grills along the top, left side, and back. Up front sits two audio jacks (mic/headphone), one USB 3.1 Type-C, and one USB 3.1 Type-A (both USB 3.1 Gen 1 / 5Gbps) and two USB 2.0 ports can be added via an optional front panel add-on using a header on the motherboard. Around back ASRock’s A300M-STX motherboard offers up one USB 3.1 (5Gbps), one USB 2.0, one Gigabit Ethernet, and three display outputs (one each of HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort). There is also a DC-in jack for power with the kit using a 19V 120W power brick.
Inside the case the DeskMini A300 uses the ASRock A300M-STM motherboard with measures 5” x 5”. While not the first Mini STX motherboard for AMD processors (Mini STX is generally an Intel form factor), it is reportedly the first for newer AMD chips using the AM4 socket. The board supports up to 65W CPUs and will generally only be used with APUs that have their own integrated graphics as this motherboard lacks a PCI-E x16 slot for installing a dedicated GPU. Granted, an enthusiast might well be able to use a CPU only Ryzen processor and sacrifice a M.2 slot to add in a GPU but then you would need a bigger case and at that point it might be easier to just go Mini ITX (Note that some Mini STX motherboards do support external graphics via MXM slots but those mainly mobile focused GPUs can come at a hefty premium). In any event, the AM4 socket is paired with two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots (up to 2933 MHz), two Ultra M.2 2280 slots for NVMe storage, one M.2 Key E for wireless modules, and two SATA 3 6Gpbs ports (RAID 0 and 1 are supported). ASRock sells an optional 65W CPU cooler, but if you plan to add your own height is limited to 46mm.
Audio is handled by the Realtek ALC233 codec/chipset while networking is handled by the Realtek RTL8111H NIC for wired and the Intel AC-3168 Wi-Fi for wireless (on the A300W SKU).
The DeskMini A300 barebones PC is slated for release later this month starting at $119 which gets you a tiny SFF motherboard, case, and power supply. Tom’s Hardware was able to get a hands-on look at the case and motherboard at CES and took several photos of the kit. It is an interesting product utilizing Mini STX and is nice to see an AMD option in this middle ground form factor.
Looking at the photos, the second M.2 slot as well as the CMOS battery being on the underside of the motherboard may prove to be rather inconvenient (it’s not clear if that case has a motherboard cutout for those areas or not). Using vertical SO-DIMM slots shouldn’t be a problem airflow wise in this case though and should be a bit sturdier than the angled approaches long term. Storage and other I/O seems decent especially considering this system uses the lower-end A300 chipset.
Hopefully reviewers (and modders!) will be able to get their hands on the small form factor hardware soon. What are your thoughts?
- Sapphire Shows Off New 5x5 Ryzen V1000 Platform for Embedded Systems
- Mini-STX Build: ECS H110S-2P and SilverStone VT01 Review
- AMD Details AM4 Chipsets and Upcoming Motherboards
- The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G Review: Return of the APU
Subject: General Tech | January 21, 2019 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Playstation, Navi 10 Lite, navi, leak, Gonzalo, APU, amd, PS5, rumor, xbox, Zen 2, Zen+
What's in a name? Depending on how much you read into it, quite a bit, depending on what you infer from product code 2G16002CE8JA2_32/10/10_13E9. There are some very interesting rumours floating around the net today which suggest AMD might have another big win on their hands. They provided much of the hardware for the release of the two major consoles way back in 2013 and there have been recent statements they will be inside the next generation of XBox. Now that NVIDIA is working on supporting Active Sync that benefit is a little less clear in the long term but at least for now they are a little late to the game.
Image credit: Twitter user @TUM_APISAK
The image, from from a source that has a rather impressive track record, demonstrates the decoding process - and pay close attention to the letter "G", the second character in the string, which presumably indicates that this intended for a game console. The source also suggests that this new chip will be a Zen 2 and Navi based APU called Gonzolo, with eight cores clocking between 1GHz to 3.2GHz with 4MB of L2 cache and 16 MB of L3 cache. There is less information on the "Navi 10 Lite" GPU, apart from a belief that it's core will be running at a frequency of at least 1GHz.
Image via Twitter user @KOMACHI_ENSAKA
This is great news for AMD, who have been enjoying the royalties from the sales of consoles and could use the fresh injection of cash as gamers upgrade once the consoles launch.
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Possible Patent For Post Navi GPU Architecture Spotted @ [H]ard}OCP
- Withings Pulse HR review: A longer-lasting competitor to Fitbit’s Alta HR @ Ars Technica
- Negative capacitance appears in ferroelectric materials @ Physicsworld
- Microsoft partner portal 'exposes 'every' support request filed worldwide' today @ The Register
Subject: Processors | December 22, 2018 - 12:02 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen, ryzen, rx vega, athlon, APU, amd, 240GE, 220GE
Today AMD announced the availability of its budget Zen-based Athlon Processor with Vega Graphics APUs and released details about the Athlon 220GE and Athlon 240GE APUs that complement the Athlon 200GE it talked about back in September.
These Athlon 200-series processors are aimed at the budget and mainstream markets to fill the need for a basic processor for everyday tasks such as browsing the internet, checking email, and doing homework. The APUs utilize a 14nm manufacturing process and pair Zen CPU cores with a Vega-based GPU in a 35 watt power envelope, and are aimed at desktops utilizing the AM4 socket.
The Athlon 200GE, 220GE, and 240GE are all dual core, 4-thread processors with 4MB L3 cache and GPUs with 3 compute units (192 cores) clocked at 1 GHz. They all support dual channel DDR4 2667 MHz memory and have 35W TDPs. Where the Athlon APUs differ is in CPU clockspeeds with the higher numbered models having slightly higher base clock speeds.
|APU Model||Athlon 200GE||Athlon 220GE||Athlon 240GE|
|Cores/Threads||2 / 4||2 / 4||2 / 4|
|Base Freq||3.2 GHz||3.4 GHz||3.5 GHz|
|Graphics Freq||1 GHz||1 GHz||1 GHz|
The Athlon 200GE starts at 3.2 GHz for $54.98 with an additional $10 buying you the 3.4 GHz 220GE and another $10 premium buying the $74.98 Athlon 240GE's 3.5 GHz CPU clocks. The Athlon 220GE seems to be the best value in that respect, because the extra $10 buys you an extra 200 MHz and the jump to the 240GE only gets an extra 100 MHz for the same extra cost. (Keep in mind that these chips are not unlocked.) Then again, if you are on a tight budget where every dollar counts, the 200GE may be what you end up going with so that you can buy better RAM or more storage.
The new chips are available now but it seems retailers aren't quite ready with their listings as while the 200GE is up for sale at Amazon, the 220GE and 240GE are not yet listed online at the time of writing.
The Athlon 200GE-series APUs introduce a new lower-end option that sits below Ryzen 3 at a lower price point for basic desktops doing typical office or home entertainment duties. With a 35W TDP they might also be useful in fanless home theater PCs and game streaming endpoints for gaming on the big screen.
I am also curious whether these chips will be used for by the DIY and enthusiast community as the base for budget (gaming) builds and if they might see the same popularity as the Athlon X4 860K (note: no built-in graphics). I would be interested in the comparison between the 4c/4t 860K ($57) and the 2c/4t 200GE ($55) to see how they stack up with the newer process node and core design. On the other hand, enthusiasts may well be better served with the overclockable Ryzen 3 2200G ($97) if they want a budget Zen-based part that also has its own GPU.
What are your thoughts on the new Athlon APUs?
Subject: Mobile | November 19, 2018 - 05:12 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega8, Vega, Smach Zero, SMACH Z, handheld, gaming, embedded, crowdfunding, APU, AMD Ryzen
A crowdfunding campaign of lengthy duration (originally known as the SteamBoy in 2014 before the name first changed to the Smach Zero the following year) the handheld gaming device now known as the SMACH Z is finally slated for production early next year as reported by ComputerBase (German language), according to an update for crowdfunding backers posted by the company.
What makes this handheld relevant to PC gamers? The SMACH Z will now be powered by an embedded AMD Ryzen processor with Vega graphics, rather than the previously announced AMD Jaguar solution, with the description on the Indigogo page offering this:
"We have chosen latest generation of AMD Ryzen Embedded processors, the Ryzen Embedded V1605B SoC with AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. Thanks to their latest technological advances, the dream of playing your PC games on the go is becoming a reality."
What is the V1605B? It combines a 4 core/8 thread CPU clocked at 2.0 - 3.6 GHz with a Vega8 GPU offering 512 shaders and up to a 1.1 GHz core clock. The specifications on the Kickstarter page still list the AMD Merlin Falcon RX-421BD SoC with integrated Radeon R7 GPU, though the Indigogo campaign page has the updated SMACH Z announcement video (from March 2018) which refers to the V1605B instead.
The unfortunately-named SMACH Z is targeting "AAA" game support, but lower resolutions and detail settings will be required for smooth gameplay on this portable, of course (the company's video showcases Witcher 3 apparently averaging 40 FPS at 720p resolution, for example).
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | August 3, 2018 - 04:41 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Zen, Vega, SoC, ryzen, China, APU, amd
Continuing down the path with its semi-custom design division, AMD today announced a partnership with Chinese company Zhongshan Subor to design and build a new chip to be utilized for both a Chinese gaming PC and Chinese gaming console.
The chip itself will include a quad-core integration of the Zen processor supporting 8 threads at a clock speed of 3.0 GHz, no Turbo or XFR is included. The graphics portion is built around a Vega GPU with 24 Compute Units running at 1.3 GHz. Each CU has 64 stream processors giving the “Fenghuang” chip a total of 1536 SPs. That is the same size GPU used in the Kaby Lake-G Vega M GH part, but with a higher clock speed.
The memory system is also interesting as Zhongshan Subor has integrated 8GB of GDDR5 on a single package. (Update: AMD has clarified that this is a GDDR5 memory controller on package, and the memory itself is on the mainboard. Much more sensible.) This is different than how Intel integrated basically the same product from AMD as it utilized HBM2 memory. As far as I can see, this is the first time that an AMD-built SoC has utilized GDDR memory for both the GPU and CPU outside of the designs used for Microsoft and Sony.
This custom built product will still support AMD and Radeon-specific features like FreeSync, the Radeon Software suite, and next-gen architecture features like Rapid Packed Math. It is being built at GlobalFoundries.
Though there are differences in the apparent specs from the leaks that showed up online earlier in the year, they are pretty close. This story thought the custom SoC would include a 28 CU GPU and HBM2. Perhaps there is another chip design for a different customer pending or more likely there were competing integrations and the announced version won out due to cost efficiency.
Zhongshan Subor is a Chinese holding company that owns everything from retail stores to an education technology business. You might have heard its name in association with a gluttony of Super Famicom clones years back. I don’t expect this new console to have near the reach of an Xbox or PlayStation but with the size of the Chinese market, anything is possible if the content portfolio is there.
It is interesting that despite the aggressiveness of both Microsoft and Sony in the console space in regards to hardware upgrades this generation, this Chinese design will be the first to ship with a Zen-based APU, though it will lag behind the graphics performance of the Xbox One X (and probably PS4 Pro). Don’t be surprised if both major console players integrate a similar style of APU design with their next-generation products, pairing Zen with Vega.
Revenue for AMD from this arrangement is hard to predict but it does get an upfront fee from any semi-custom chip customer for the design and validation of the product. There is no commitment for a minimum chip purchase so AMD will see extended income only if the console and PC built around the APU succeeds.
Enthusiasts and PC builders have already started questioning whether this is the type of product that might make its way to the consumer. The truth is that the market for a high-performance, fully-integrated SoC like this is quite small, with DIY and SI (system integrator) markets preferring discrete components most of the time. If we remove the GDDR5 integration, which is one of the key specs that makes the “Fenghuang” chip so interesting and expensive, I’d bet the 24 CU GPU would be choked by standard DDR4/5 DRAM. For now, don’t hold out hope that AMD takes the engineering work of this Chinese gaming product and applies it to the general consumer market.
Subject: General Tech | July 3, 2018 - 05:55 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SoC, SFF, sapphire, ryzen v1000, ryzen embedded, ryzen, APU, amd
Sapphire Technologies is now partnering with AMD to offer up a new small(ish) 5"x5" form factor system for embedded applications featuring AMD's Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC APUs. The Sapphire FS-FP5V is a 5.8"x5.5" motherboard that pairs the V1000 SoC with Zen CPU cores and Vega GPU with dual channel DDR4 3200 MHz SODIMM memory slots, two M.2 slots, a single SATA 3 port, dual Ethernet, and four DisplayPort outputs supporting up to four 4K displays.
The 5x5 motherboard uses a V1000 APU that is soldered to the board though the website does not specify which model Sapphire is using. The V1000 series includes APUs ranging from 12W to 54W with up to four (Zen) cores / 8 threads, a Vega-based GPU with up to 11 CUs, 2MB L2 cache, and 4MB shared L3 cache. The SoC further has AMD's PSP security processor and support for dual 10GbE though Sapphire's board only uses two Gigabit NICs (Realtek RTL8111G). Realtek chips are also used for the four channel audio solution (ALC262). The M.2 2280 can operate in PCI-E 3.0 x4 or SATA modes while the smaller M.2 2242 slot uses PCI-E x1 and can accommodate Wi-Fi cards or smaller SSDs. The FS-FP5V board also features serial RS232 and GPIO support and the motherboard is powered by a single 19V DC input.
Rear I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports (there's also one on the front), one USB 3.1 Type-C, four DisplayPort outputs, two RJ-45 GbE jacks, and a single audio output.
Sapphire plans to sell its new 5x5 board to system integrators as well as directly through their website. A video from AMD shows off the board as well as examples from Sapphire partners of SFF cases and 2x2 display walls. The new platform is aimed at video gaming systems (think casinos, arcades, and video gambling machines in bars), digital signage, large display walls, point of sale systems, and medical imaging (high resolution display outputs for medical scanning and diagnostics devices). There is no word on pricing or availability, but if you are interested there is a form you can fill out to get more information. It is nice to see AMD getting some design wins in the SFF space even if its not in consumer products yet (it's time for an AMD NUC competitor).
Update: Tom's Hardware managed to get their hands on some pricing details which show Sapphire will offer four models that vary by Ryzen Embedded processor used including:
- Ryzen Embedded V1202B (2 core / 4 thread + Vega 3) for $325
- Ryzen Embedded V1605B (4 core / 8 thread + Vega 8) for $340
- Ryzen Embedded V1756B (4 core / 8 thread + Vega 8) for $390
- Ryzen Embedded V1807B (4 core / 8 thread + Vega 11) for $450
The first two options are 12W to 25W TDP SoCs while the latter two are 35W to 54W processors. The V1202B is clocked at 2 GHz base and up to 3.6 GHz. Moving up to the V1605B gets two more cores at an every so slightly higher 2.06 GHz base and moves from Vega 3 to Vega 8 graphics (though still at the same 1,100 MHz clockspeeds). Stepping up to the V1756B gets a processor with a much higher 3.25 GHz base but hte same maximum boost and graphics as the V1605B. Finally, moving to the flagship V1807B SoC gets an APU clocked at 3.35 GHz base and 3.8 GHz boost with Vega 11 graphics clocked at 1,300 MHz. The boards will reportedly be available later this year (relatively soon) while the UDOO Bolt will be available next year at similar price points. In all the Sapphire board seems like a decent deal for setting up a homelab or media box (though I wish the storage situation was better) while the UDOO Bolt board is aimed more at developers and makers with the inclusion of Aruino pinouts and eMMC storage (The UDOO appears to top out at the V1605B chip as well.)
(End of Update.)
Subject: Motherboards | June 8, 2018 - 09:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: ryzen 2000, ryzen, msi, computex 2018, computex, b450, APU, amd, AM4
One of the motherboards on display at the MSI booth was an updated AM4 socket Tomahawk series board that uses the new AMD B450 chipset. The MSI B450 Tomahawk is a refreshed motherboard for AMD Ryzen processors. The motherboard pairs the AM4 socket with four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, two PCI-E x16 slots, three PCI-E x1 slots, and a single M.2 slot.
The B450 Tomahawk is powered by an 8-pin and 24-pin power connector and appears to have a 4+2 power phase design which matches that of the current B350 Tomahawk. One thing that MSI has changed in that department is the heatsink over the VRMs which has been beefed with an "extended heatsink design" that up an extends to partially cover the rear I/O ports now. Other updates versus the B350 Tomahawk include the removal of two legacy PCI slots in favor of adding a third PCI-E x1 slot and the addition of two additional SATA ports in the lower left corner.
It is not clear what the board specifically has as far as rear I/O, but from the photos and press release it appears as though the VGA port may have been removed versus the previous generation board and it does have USB 3.1 Gen 2 along with Gigabit Ethernet and analog audio outputs (looking at the photos the audio hardware has slightly changed as well though it's hard to say to what extent).
MSI is not yet talking pricing or availability, but more information should be available soon. TechPowerUp has a hands on photo of the board here as well as a cheaper and cut down B450-A Pro motherboard.
Subject: General Tech, Processors | May 15, 2018 - 01:49 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen pro, amd, APU, ryzen 7 pro 2700u, Ryzen 5 Pro 2500U, Ryzen 3 Pro 2300U, Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G, Ryzen 5 Pro 2400GE, Ryzen 3 Pro 2200G
AMD have extended both their processor lineup as well as their names, by sticking Pro into the already verbose Ryzen 2 series, and added another letter to pay attention to as well. The 2xxxU series are mobile APUs which you won't see running around in the wild, the 2xxxG desktop series you certainly will, however there is also an E you need to pay attention to.
The Ryzen 5 Pro 2400G is a 65W part which will offer four multi-threaded cores topping out at 3.9GHz, with 11 Vega CUs and ships with the Wraith Stealth cooler. The Ryzen 5 Pro 2400GE is almost as similar as the name but tops out at 3.8GHz, also has 11 Vega CUs and sports an impressive TDP of 35W, which may be part of the reason why it doesn't ship with a cooler.
The series looks to offer a great choice for someone building a machine without a GPU installed, whether they intend to add one at a later time or not. The naming conventions being used by Intel and AMD are getting far too easy to confuse already, without adding possible confusion within single product lines. Let's hope this does not continue for too long. The Inquirer lists all the models, mobile and desktop, on this page.
"Alongside the usual specs, the chips all have the built-in security and onboard encryption features of the Ryzen Pro CPUs, designed to make them appeal for commercial and enterprise use."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Intel's First 10nm Cannon Lake CPU Sees the Light of Day @ Slashdot
- Surface Hub 2 coming in 2019, looks amazing @ Ars Technica
- How many ways can a PDF mess up your PC? 47 in this Adobe update alone @ The Register
- Analyzing Graphics Card Pricing: May 2018 @ TechSpot
- Apple MacBook butterfly keyboards 'defective', 'prone to fail' – lawsuit @ The Register
- DRAM Revenue in 1Q18 Rose by 5.4% QoQ to Another Record High as the Upswing of ASPs Continued, Says TrendForce @ DRAMeXchange
- Microsoft's Windows 10 April Update doesn't play nice with Toshiba SSDs either @ The Inquirer
- Arozzi Vernazza Gaming Chair @ TechPowerUp
Memory speed is not a factor that the average gamer thinks about when building their PC. For the most part, memory performance hasn't had much of an effect on modern processors running high-speed memory such as DDR3 and DDR4.
With the launch of AMD's Ryzen processors, last year emerged a platform that was more sensitive to memory speeds. By running Ryzen processors with higher frequency and lower latency memory, users should see significant performance improvements, especially in 1080p gaming scenarios.
However, the Ryzen processors are not the only ones to exhibit this behavior.
Gaming on integrated GPUs is a perfect example of a memory starved situation. Take for instance the new AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and it's Vega-based GPU cores. In a full Vega 56 or 64 situation, these Vega cores utilize blazingly fast HBM 2.0 memory. However, due to constraints such as die space and cost, this processor does not integrate HBM.
Instead, both the CPU portion and the graphics portion of the APU must both depend on the same pool of DDR4 system memory. DDR4 is significantly slower than memory traditionally found on graphics cards such as GDDR5 or HBM. As a result, APU performance is usually memory limited to some extent.
In the past, we've done memory speed testing with AMD's older APUs, however with the launch of the new Ryzen and Vega based R3 2200G and R5 2400G, we decided to take another look at this topic.
For our testing, we are running the Ryzen 5 2400G at three different memory speeds, 2400 MHz, 2933 MHz, and 3200 MHz. While the maximum supported JEDEC memory standard for the R5 2400G is 2933, the memory provided by AMD for our processor review will support overclocking to 3200MHz just fine.
Subject: Processors | February 16, 2018 - 08:52 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: tim, thermal paste, Ryzen 5 2400G, ryzen, overclocking, der8aur, delidding, APU, amd
Overclocker der8auer has posted a video demonstrating the delidding process of the AMD Ryzen 5 2400G, and his findings on its effect on temperatures and overclocking headroom.
The delidded Ryzen 5 2400G (image credit der8auer via YouTube)
The full video is embedded below:
The results are interesting, but disappointing from an overclocking standpoint, as he was only able to increase his highest frequency by 25 MHz. Thermals were far more impressive, as the liquid metal used in place of the factory TIM did lower temps considerably.
Here are his temperature results for both the stock and overclocked R5 2400G:
The process was actually quite straightforward, and used an existing Intel delidding tool (the Delid Die Mate 2) along with a small piece of acrylic to spread the force against the PCB.
Delidding the Ryzen 5 2400G (image credit der8auer via YouTube)
The Ryzen 5 2400G is using thermal paste and is not soldered, which enables this process to be reasonably safe - or as safe as delidding a CPU and voiding your warranty ever is. Is it worth it for lower temps and slight overclocking gains? That's up to the user, but integration of an APU like this invites small form-factors that could benefit from the lower temps, especially with low-profile air coolers.