Podcast #468 - AMD Raven Ridge rumors, Intel and Global Foundries new fabrication technology!

Subject: General Tech | September 21, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: z270, windows 10, WD, video, toshiba, ShadowPlay, ryzen, podcast, nvidia, nuc, msi, max-q, Intel, gs63vr, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, gigabyte, EPYC, ansel, 2500U, 12TB

PC Perspective Podcast #468 - 09/21/17

Join us for discussion on AMD Raven Ridge rumors,  Intel and Global Foundries new fabrication technology!

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: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Sebastion Peak, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:39:59

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

EPYC headed for the top of the charts!

Subject: Systems | September 19, 2017 - 06:57 PM |
Tagged: 7351P, amd, EPYC

Patrick Kennedy of Serve The Home has just published his server-centric test EPYC test results and in his own words, "while AMD is very competitive at the high-end, its mainstream offerings are competing with de-featured Xeon Silver CPUs and absolutely obliterate what Intel is offering."

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The EPYC 7351P, which should sell for roughly $750 was tested against Intel's Xeon Silver 4108 which runs about $440 in various server applications such as GROMACS, OpenSSL and even a chess benchmark.  The tests were done with single socket EPYCs, the "P" series, which are offered at a significant discount when compared to AMD's dual socket family; benchmarked against Intel's Xeon Silver in both single and dual socket configurations.  The only time that the Xeon's performance came close to the single socket 7351P were when they were configured in dual socket systems, even then AMD's EPYC chip came out on top, often by a significant margin.

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Raw performance is not the only advantage AMD offers on EPYC, the feature sest also far outstrips the somewhat watered down Xeon Silver family.  The single socket 7351P offers 128 PCIe lanes while a dual socket Xeon Silver can only offer 96 and EPYC can handle up to 2TB of DDR4-2666 in its eight channel memory controller whereas Intel is limited to 1.5TB DDR4-2400 in a dual socket server nor can it support dual AVX-512 nor Omni-Path fabric.

Intel does have some advantages that come with the maturity of their platform, including superb NVMe hotswap support as well as QuickAssist and they do have higher end Xeon Gold chips which include the aforementioned features that the Xeon Silver line lacks, however they are also significantly more expensive than EPYC. 

You can expect more tests to appear in the future as STH invested a lot of money in new hardware to test and as the tests can take days to complete there will be some delay before they have good data to share.  It is looking very positive for AMD's EPYC family, they offer an impressive amount of value for the money and it will be interesting to see how Intel reacts.

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EPYC Linux performance from AMD

Subject: Processors | September 18, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, EPYC 7601, EPYC

Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD's new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores.  The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz.  Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications.   Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138's in the dust.  They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD's last server offerings.  The evolution is something to behold.

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"By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven't, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Phoronix

I Think They're Big Fans of AMD Threadripper and EPYC... Noctua Announces Three New Coolers.

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 3, 2017 - 08:41 PM |
Tagged: noctua, amd, Threadripper, EPYC

Noctua has announced three new heatsinks for AMD’s new high-end CPU platforms, Threadripper and EPYC. If you’ve been following the company, or Morry’s motherboard reviews, then you know that these coolers are huge (and effective).

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Apparently the main difference is the contact surface, 70mm x 56mm, to accommodate for the processor’s large package. AMD connects multiple dies together with their Infinity Fabric, which means a huge total surface area. The cooler comes in three sizes, corresponding to the fan that’s intended to be used with it: 140mm (NH-U14S TR4-SP3), 120mm (NH-U12S TR4-SP3), and 92mm (NH-U9S TR4-SP3).

The two “smallest” sizes, NH-U12S and NH-U9S, are both expected to retail for $69.90 USD, so I guess choose whichever makes the most sense for your system. The largest one, the NH-U14S, is $10 more expensive at $79.90 USD. They should be available by the end of the month.

Source: Noctua

AMD Reports Q2 2017 Results

Subject: Editorial | July 25, 2017 - 10:48 PM |
Tagged: Vega, Threadripper, ryzen, RX, Results, quarterly earnings, Q2 2017, EPYC, amd

The big question that has been going through the minds of many is how much marketshare did AMD take back and how would that affect the bottom line?  We know the second half of that question, but it is still up in the air how much AMD has taken from Intel.  We know that they have, primarily due to the amount of money that AMD has made.  Now we just need to find out how much.

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Q2 revenue surpassed the expectations of both the Street and what AMD had predicted.  It was not a mind-blowing quarter, but it was a solid one for what has been a slowly sinking AMD.  The Q2 quarter is of course very important for AMD as it is the first full quarter of revenue from Ryzen parts as well as the introduction of the refreshed RX 500 series of GPUs.

The Ryzen R7 and R5 parts have been well received by press and consumers alike.  While it is not a completely overwhelming product in every aspect as compared to Intel’s product stack, it does introduce an incredibly strong dollar/thread value proposition.  Consumers can purchase an 8 core/16 thread part with competitive clock speeds and performance for around $300 US.  That same price point from Intel will give a user better single threaded and gaming performance, but comes short at 4 cores/8 threads.

The latest RX series of GPUs are slightly faster refreshes of the previous RX 400 series of cards and exist in the same price range of those previous cards.  These have been popular with AMD enthusiasts as they deliver solid performance for the price.  They are also quite popular with the coin miners due to the outstanding hash rate that they offer at their respective price points as compared to NVIDIA GPUs.

AMD ended up reporting GAAP revenue of $1.22B with a net income of -$16M.  Non-GAAP net income came in at a positive $19M.  This is a significant boost from Q1 figures which included a revenue of $984M and a net income of -$73M.  The tail end of Q1 did include some Ryzen sales, but not nearly enough to offset the losses that they accumulated.  These beat out the Street numbers by quite a bit, hence the uptick in AMD’s share price after hours.

The server/semi-custom group did well, but is still down some 5% as compared to last year.  This is primarily due to seasonal weaknesses with the consoles.  Microsoft will be ramping up production of their Xbox One X and AMD will start to receive royalties from that production later this year.  AMD has seen its marketshare in the data and server market tumble from years past to where it is at 1% and below.  AMD expects to change this trend with EPYC and has recorded the initial revenue from EPYC datacenter processor shipments.

We cannot emphasize enough how much the CPU/GPU group has grown over the past year.  Revenue from that group has increased by 51% since last year.  We do need to temper that with the reality that at that time AMD had not released the new RX series of GPUs nor did they have Ryzen.  Instead, it was all R5/R7 3x0 and Fury products as well as the FX CPUs based on Piledriver and Excavator cores.  It would honestly be hard for things to get worse than that point of time  Still, a 51% improvement with Ryzen and the RX 5x0 series of chips is greater than anyone really expected.  We must also consider that Q2 is still one of the slowest quarters in a year.

AMD expects next quarter to grow well beyond expectations.  The company is estimating that revenue will grow by 23%, plus or minus 3%.  If this holds true, AMD will be looking at a $1.5B quarter.  Something that has not been seen for some time (especially post foundry split).  The product stack that they will continue to introduce is quite impressive.  AMD will continue with the Ryzen R7 and R5 parts, but will also introduce the first R3 parts for the budget market.  RX Vega will be introduced next week at Siggraph.  Threadripper will be released to the wild as well as the x399 chipset.  EPYC is already shipping and they expect that product to grow steadily.  Ryzen Pro and then the mobile APUs will follow up later in the 2nd half of the year.  Semi-custom will get a boost when Microsoft starts shipping Xbox One X consoles.

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What a change a year makes.  Lisa Su and the gang have seemingly turned the boat around with a lot of smart moves, a lot of smart people, and a lot of effort.  They are not exactly at Easy Street yet, but they are moving in the right direction.  Ryzen has been a success with press and consumers and sets them on a level plane with Intel in overall performance and power.  The RX series continues to be popular and selling well (especially with miners).  AMD still has not caught up with demand for those parts, but I get the impression that they are being fairly conservative there by not flooding the market with RX chips in case coin mining bottoms out again.  The demand there is at least making miners and retailers happy, though could be causing some hard feelings among AMD enthusiasts who just want a gaming card at a reasonable price.

AMD continues to move forward and has recorded an impressive quarter.  Next quarter, if it falls in line with expectations, should help return AMD to profitability with some real momentum moving forward in selling product to multiple markets where it has not been a power for quite some time.  The company has been able to tread water for the past few years, but has planned far enough ahead to actually release competitive products at good prices to regain marketshare and achieve profitability again.  2017 has been a good year for AMD, and it looks to continue to Q3 and Q4.

Source: AMD
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Performance not two-die four.

When designing an integrated circuit, you are attempting to fit as much complexity as possible within your budget of space, power, and so forth. One harsh limitation for GPUs is that, while your workloads could theoretically benefit from more and more processing units, the number of usable chips from a batch shrinks as designs grow, and the reticle limit of a fab’s manufacturing node is basically a brick wall.

What’s one way around it? Split your design across multiple dies!

nvidia-2017-multidie.png

NVIDIA published a research paper discussing just that. In their diagram, they show two examples. In the first diagram, the GPU is a single, typical die that’s surrounded by four stacks of HBM, like GP100; the second configuration breaks the GPU into five dies, four GPU modules and an I/O controller, with each GPU module attached to a pair of HBM stacks.

NVIDIA ran simulations to determine how this chip would perform, and, in various workloads, they found that it out-performed the largest possible single-chip GPU by about 45.5%. They scaled up the single-chip design until it had the same amount of compute units as the multi-die design, even though this wouldn’t work in the real world because no fab could actual lithograph it. Regardless, that hypothetical, impossible design was only ~10% faster than the actually-possible multi-chip one, showing that the overhead of splitting the design is only around that much, according to their simulation. It was also faster than the multi-card equivalent by 26.8%.

While NVIDIA’s simulations, run on 48 different benchmarks, have accounted for this, I still can’t visualize how this would work in an automated way. I don’t know how the design would automatically account for fetching data that’s associated with other GPU modules, as this would probably be a huge stall. That said, they spent quite a bit of time discussing how much bandwidth is required within the package, and figures of 768 GB/s to 3TB/s were mentioned, so it’s possible that it’s just the same tricks as fetching from global memory. The paper touches on the topic several times, but I didn’t really see anything explicit about what they were doing.

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If you’ve been following the site over the last couple of months, you’ll note that this is basically the same as AMD is doing with Threadripper and EPYC. The main difference is that CPU cores are isolated, so sharing data between them is explicit. In fact, when that product was announced, I thought, “Huh, that would be cool for GPUs. I wonder if it’s possible, or if it would just end up being Crossfire / SLI.”

Apparently not? It should be possible?

I should note that I doubt this will be relevant for consumers. The GPU is the most expensive part of a graphics card. While the thought of four GP102-level chips working together sounds great for 4K (which is 4x1080p in resolution) gaming, quadrupling the expensive part sounds like a giant price-tag. That said, the market of GP100 (and the upcoming GV100) would pay five-plus digits for the absolute fastest compute device for deep-learning, scientific research, and so forth.

The only way I could see this working for gamers is if NVIDIA finds the sweet-spot for performance-to-yield (for a given node and time) and they scale their product stack with multiples of that. In that case, it might be cost-advantageous to hit some level of performance, versus trying to do it with a single, giant chip.

This is just my speculation, however. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes, whenever it does.

How exactly do we type these new Ryzen Pro parts? R7P, Ryzen 7P, R7 Pro?

Subject: General Tech | June 29, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen pro, EPYC

Official news about Ryzen Pro has finally arrived and The Tech Report was right on top of it.  This is the first we have seen of the "3" parts, a Ryzen 3 Pro 1300 and Ryzen 3 Pro 1200, their four non-SMT cores clocked at a decent 3.5/3.7GHz and 3.1/3.4GHz respectively.  That makes the Ryzen 3 Pro 1300 essentially the same chip as the Ryzen 5 Pro 1500 but with half the total cache and without multi-threading, theoretically reducing the price.  Five of the six new parts have a TDP of 65W with only the top tier Ryzen 7 Pro 1700X hitting 95W, with its 8 cores, 16 threads operating at 3.5/3.7GHz.

The speeds and core counts are not the most important features of these chips however, it is the features they share with AMD's soon to arrive EPYC chips.  AMD Secure Processor features, TPM 2.0 and DASH which offers features similar to Intel's vPro architecture.  This one area in which AMD offers a broader choice of products than Intel whose Core i3 parts do not support enterprise features; at least not yet.  Click the link above to check out more.

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"AMD's Ryzen Pro platform blends business-class security and management features with the performance of the Zen architecture. We take an early look at how AMD plans to grapple with Intel in the battle for the standard corporate desktop."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Podcast #455 - Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, and more!

Subject: General Tech | June 22, 2017 - 12:57 PM |
Tagged: video, Surface Pro, skylake-x, podcast, Intel, IBM, EPYC, amd, 802.11ad, 5nm

PC Perspective Podcast #455 - 06/22/17

Join us for talk about Intel Skylake-X, AMD EPYC 7000 series, IBM 5nm, 802.11ad, 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: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg, Ken Addison

Program length: 1:36:49
 
Podcast topics of discussion:
 
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
  4. Closing/outro

Subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube Channel for more videos, reviews and podcasts!!

Source:

An EPYC slide deck

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2017 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: EPYC, amd, instinct

[H]ard|OCP were at AMD's launch of the new EPYC family of server CPUs and captured the presentation and slide deck in a series of photos you can take a look at right here.  They cover the work being done with HP and Dell, as well as with internet service providers such as Microsoft's Azure platform and China's Baidu.  They even give you a look at some of the products which will be launched running on Supermicro platforms.  AMD is looking very attractive to server builders at the moment, a feeling you may already have garnered from reading Ryan's take on EPYC.

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"AMD held it official EPYC enterprise CPU launch today in Austin, TX. If you are not aware of EPYC, it is quite simply AMD's effort to get back into the datacenters that are now firmly held by Intel Xeon processors. What do you get when you take 4 Ryzen 7 CPUs and put those down on a single package with Infinity Fabric? You would be correct, its EPYC."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

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

EPYC makes its move into the data center

Because we traditionally focus and feed on the excitement and build up surrounding consumer products, the AMD Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 launches were huge for us and our community. Finally seeing competition to Intel’s hold on the consumer market was welcome and necessary to move the industry forward, and we are already seeing the results of some of that with this week’s Core i9 release and pricing. AMD is, and deserves to be, proud of these accomplishments. But from a business standpoint, the impact of Ryzen on the bottom line will likely pale in comparison to how EPYC could fundamentally change the financial stability of AMD.

AMD EPYC is the server processor that takes aim at the Intel Xeon and its dominant status on the data center market. The enterprise field is a high margin, high profit area and while AMD once had significant share in this space with Opteron, that has essentially dropped to zero over the last 6+ years. AMD hopes to use the same tactic in the data center as they did on the consumer side to shock and awe the industry into taking notice; AMD is providing impressive new performance levels while undercutting the competition on pricing.

Introducing the AMD EPYC 7000 Series

Targeting the single and 2-socket systems that make up ~95% of the market for data centers and enterprise, AMD EPYC is smartly not trying to swing over its weight class. This offers an enormous opportunity for AMD to take market share from Intel with minimal risk.

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Many of the specifications here have been slowly shared by AMD over time, including at the recent financial analyst day, but seeing it placed on a single slide like this puts everything in perspective. In a single socket design, servers will be able to integrate 32 cores with 64 threads, 8x DDR4 memory channels with up to 2TB of memory capacity per CPU, 128 PCI Express 3.0 lanes for connectivity, and more.

Worth noting on this slide, and was originally announced at the financial analyst day as well, is AMD’s intent to maintain socket compatibility going forward for the next two generations. Both Rome and Milan, based on 7nm technology, will be drop-in upgrades for customers buying into EPYC platforms today. That kind of commitment from AMD is crucial to regain the trust of a market that needs those reassurances.

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Here is the lineup as AMD is providing it for us today. The model numbers in the 7000 series use the second and third characters as a performance indicator (755x will be faster than 750x, for example) and the fourth character to indicate the generation of EPYC (here, the 1 indicates first gen). AMD has created four different core count divisions along with a few TDP options to help provide options for all types of potential customers. It is worth noting that though this table might seem a bit intimidating, it is drastically more efficient when compared to the Intel Xeon product line that exists today, or that will exist in the future.  AMD is offering immediate availability of the top five CPUs in this stack, with the bottom four due before the end of July.

Continue reading about the AMD EPYC data center processor!