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: Editorial | January 30, 2019 - 09:19 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Vega, ryzen, RX, quarterly earnings, Q4, Intel, EPYC, amd, 7 nm, 2018, 10 nm
Today AMD announced their earnings for Q4 as well as the annual results of 2018. The company had revenue of $6.48 B and a net income of $337 M. This is a pretty significant improvement from 2017 with revenues of $5.25 B and a net loss of $33 M. While Intel’s quarter and annual earnings dwarf what AMD has done, the company has improved its position financially. AMD’s guidance from Q3 earnings indicated that revenue would be down for Q4 as compared to the previous quarter, and results matched those expectations. Q4 revenue came in at $1.42 B with a net income of $38 M. This fell within the range of $1.4 to $1.5 that AMD was expecting. This is compared to the relatively strong Q3 which had revenues of $1.65 B and a net of $102 M.
Annually this is probably the best overall year since 2011 for AMD. The company looks to be running quite lean and has shown that it can achieve profits even in down quarters. It also helps that AMD has been able to get much better terms from GLOBALFOUNDRIES and has successfully amended their wafer agreement so that AMD can pursue manufacturing products at other foundries at 7nm without penalty or royalty payments to GLOBALFOUNDRIES. While GF’s sub 10nm development is now shuttered, the company will still be producing 12/14nm products which will include the upcoming I/O chiplets for use with the next generation Ryzen series as well as EPYC 2. The amended agreement sets purchase targets through 2021, but the agreement itself lasts through 2024.
The primary revenue driver for the company is of course the CPU and GPU markets. Ryzen has continued to provide strong numbers for AMD and has lead to greater numbers shipped as well as higher ASPs. Years of Bulldozer based parts eroded ASPs to nearly unsustainable numbers, but the introduction of Ryzen nearly two years ago has strengthened the foundation of the company and their revenue stream. AMD has reported no inventory issues with either leftover stock of the first generation Ryzen parts or the latest Ryzen 2000 series. There is some fluidity here as EPYC processors utilize the same dies (though more heavily binned) as well as the HEDT Threadripper CPUs that have become popular in workstation applications. Multiple products at a pretty extreme price range utilizing the same basic die is a pretty good way to avoid excess inventory issues, but it is a little scary if demand picks up in one of those areas and there are not enough chips to supply these multiple product lines.
GPUs are not in as good of shape as CPUs. The crypto boom was good for the GPU market, but as soon as that dropped then AMD was left with quite a bit of inventory and a much lower demand. This is partially offset by increases in sales of datacenter GPUs, but AMD looks to be trying to get of as much of this inventory before large scale production of Navi based parts goes into full swing. Current Polaris based parts are competitive for their price points and users can expect a very solid product for the market ranges they represent.
Subject: Systems | January 9, 2019 - 02:51 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ryzen, RX 560X, radeon, notebook, mobile, laptop, gaming, asus, amd
ASUS had a pair of AMD-powered gaming laptops to announce at CES 2019, with the TUF Gaming FX505 and FX705DY, both of which feature the latest Ryzen 3000-series mobile CPUs as well as discrete Radeon RX 560X graphics.
“Experience smoother, more immersive gameplay with the new ASUS TUF Gaming FX505 AMD Edition. Featuring a cutting-edge IPS-level NanoEdge display with AMD® FreeSync™ technology and a refresh rate up to 120Hz, and armed with the latest AMD Ryzen™ processor and discrete Radeon™ graphics, it delivers high-performance gaming at an affordable price. It’s also tested and certified to military-grade MIL-STD-810G standards, so you’re guaranteed toughness and durability that’s second to none.”
The CPU powering these systems is the AMD Ryzen 5 3550H, a 4-core/8-thread CPU with clock speeds ranging from 2.1 GHz up to 3.7 GHz and a 35W TDP.
"AMD’s Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn’t compromise battery life.
Vega-based integrated graphics allow the APU to power the laptop all on its own, which helps conserve power and extend battery life to over seven hours of 1080p video playback on FX705DY and nearly six hours on FX505DY. Discrete GPUs are where it’s at for proper gaming so when it’s time to play, AMD Switchable Graphics tech automatically activates the laptop’s discrete Radeon RX 560X. The GPU pumps out smooth frame rates in mainstays like Fortnite and Overwatch, as well as esports classics like League of Legends and Dota 2."
Both models have NanoEdge displays with thin bezels and wide viewing angles and variable refresh rates, and while the larger FX705DY provides a FreeSync range of 40-60Hz, the FX505DY offers 48-120Hz capability.
Specifications from ASUS for the TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY include:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3550H
- 15.6" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display up to 120Hz
- 17.3" FHD NanoEdge wide-view display
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 560X
- Memory: Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
- Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe SSD
- Up to 1TB FireCuda SSHD
- Wireless: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen1
- 1x USB 2.0
- 1x HDMI 2.0
- 1x RJ-45 jack
- 1x 3.5mm headphone and mic combo jack
- 1x Kensington lock
- Keyboard and touchpad : 1.8mm key travel
- Customizable RGB or red backlighting
- Audio: DTS Headphone: X
- Battery: 48Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX505DY), 64Wh Lithium-polymer battery (FX705DY)
- OS: Windows 10
- Weight: 4.85 lbs (FX505DY), 5.73 lbs (FX705DY)
Official pricing was not revealed in the press release, but we should be able to expect some fairly agressive sub-$1000 pricing with these at the base configuration level.
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: Processors | December 19, 2018 - 08:47 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen+, ryzen mobile, ryzen, rumor, picasso, geekbench, amd
Twitter user APISAK is at it again with more hardware leaks, and this time the rumors surround AMD's next generation mobile 3000U-series "Picasso" APUs which will replace Raven Ridge in 2019. The new APUs were reportedly spotted by APISAK (@TUM_APISAK on Twitter) as reported by Hexus in two HP laptops in 14" and 17" form factors and offer power efficiency and performance improvements over Raven Ridge's CPU cores along with Vega-based graphics. Searching around online and parsing the various conflicting rumors and speculation on Picasso, I think it is most likely that Picasso is 12nm and utilizes Zen+ CPU cores though it remains to be seen how true that is.
Based on previous roadmaps, AMD's APUs have trailed the desktop CPUs in process technology and architecture instead opting to refine the previous generation for mobile rather than operating at its bleeding edge so while 2019 will see Zen 2 architecture-based CPUs and GPUs built on 7nm, APUs in 2019 are likely to stick with 12nm and Zen+ tuned for a mobile power envelope with tweaks to SenseMI and technology like mobile XFR and dynamic power delivery.
In any event, Picasso APUs are rumored to include the Ryzen 3 3200U, Ryzen 3 3300U, and Ryzen 5 3500U based on Geekbench results pages as well as the low-end [Athlon?] 3000U and the high-end Ryzen 5 3700U - according to the source. The 3000U and 3700U are known in name only, but the middle-tier APUs have a bit more information available thanks to Geekbench. The Ryzen 3 3200U is a dual core (four thread) part while the Ryzen 3 3300U and Ryzen 5 3500U are quad core (eight thread) CPUs. All Picasso APUs are rumored to use Vega-based graphics. The dual core APU has the highest base clock at 2.6 Ghz while the 3300U and 3500U start at 2.1 GHz. The Ryzen 5 3700U allegedly clocks from 2.2 GHz to 3.8 GHz and likely has the highest boost clock of the bunch. The parts use the FP5 mobile socket.
|Athlon(?) 3000U||Ryzen 3 3200U||Ryzen 3 3300U||Ryzen 5 3500U||Ryzen 5 3700U||A10-8700P (Carrizo)||Intel Core i5-8359U|
|Cores / Threads||?||2 / 4||4 / 4||4 / 8||4 / 8||2 / 4||4 / 8|
|Base / Boost Clocks||?||2.6 / ? GHz||2.1 / ? GHz||2.1 / ? GHz||2.2 / 3.8 GHz||1.8 / 3.19 GHz||1.9 / 3.59 GHz|
|Cache||?||4 MB||4 MB||4 MB||4 MB||2 MB||6 MB|
|Graphics||Vega||Vega 3 6 CU (920 MHz)||Vega 6 6 CU (1.2 GHz)||Vega 8 8 CU (1.2 GHz)||Vega||R6 6 CUs (GCN 1.2)||UHD 620 24 CUs (1.1 GHz)|
|Geekbench Single Core||?||3467||3654||3870||?||2113||4215|
|Geekbench Multi Core||?||6735||9686||11284||?||4328||12768|
Looking at the Geekbench results (which you should take with a grain of salt and as just an approximation because final scores would depend on the platform, cooling, and how it ends up clocking within its power envelope) it seems that AMD may have a decent chip on its hands that improves the performance over Raven Ridge a bit and significantly over its older Excavator-based pre-Zen designs. A cursory comparison with Kaby Lake shows that AMD is not quite to par in CPU performance (particularly per core but it comes close in multi-core) but offers notably better compute / GPU performance thanks to the Vega graphics. It seems that AMD is closing the gap at least with Zen+.
I am remaining skeptical but optimistic about AMD's Picasso APUs. I am looking forward to more information on the new chips and the devices that will use them. I am hoping that my educated guess is correct with regard to Picasso being 12nm Zen+ or better as rumor is mainly that Picasso is a Raven Ridge successor that offers power and performance tweaks without going into further detail. I expect more information on Picasso (APU) and Matisse (CPU) to come out as soon as next month at CES 2019.
What are your thoughts on Picasso?
A quick refresher and Dynamic Local Mode
In general, the rollout of AMD's second-generation Ryzen Threadripper processors has been a bit unconventional. While the full lineup was announced back in August, there has been a staggered release period.
Later in August, we first got our hands on the Threadripper 2950X and 2990WX, the 16 and 32-core variants. Even though both of these parts were reviewed at the same time, the 2990WX was available first, with the 2950X coming a few weeks later.
Now more than two months later, we are taking a look at the 12-core Threadripper 2920X and the 24-core Threadripper 2970WX which were announced alongside the Threadipper parts that have already been shipping for quite a while now.
Will these new Threadripper processors be worth the wait?
|Threadripper 2990WX||Threadripper 2970WX||Threadripper 2950X||Threadripper 2920X||Core i9-7980XE||Core i9-9900K|
|Architecture||Zen+||Zen+||Zen+||Zen+||Skylake-X||Coffee Lake Refresh|
|Base Clock||3.0 GHz||3.0 GHz||3.5 GHz||3.5 GHz||2.6 GHz||3.6 GHz|
|Boost Clock||4.2 GHz||4.2 GHz||4.4 GHz||4.3 GHz||4.2 GHz||5.0 GHz|
|L3 Cache||64MB||64MB||32MB||32 MB||24.75MB||16MB|
|Memory Support||DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel)||DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel)||DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel)||DDR4-2933 (Quad-Channel)||DDR4-2666 (Quad-Channel)||DDR4-2666 (Dual-Channel)|
|TDP||250 Watts||250 Watts||180 Watts||180 Watts||165 Watts||95 Watts|
|Price (MSRP)||$1799||$1299||$899||$649||$1999||$499 MSRP ($580 street)|
Subject: Processors | October 26, 2018 - 05:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, and, ryzen, Threadripper, HEDT, coffee lake
The Tech Report took a look at the current market and are now offering their opinion on which ones you should consider. The question is more complicated than simply buying the most expensive AMD or Intel processor you can afford; not many of your games are CPU limited and even those that are will see more benefit if you switch the API being used. Read on for a variety of suggestions at various price points as well as why picking up a top end processor might actually give you less performance.
"Choosing a CPU for a gaming PC can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We walk you through the types of gaming experiences where CPUs matter and where they don't, and we pick chips for every budget that make the most of today's powerful graphics cards."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Intel Core i7-9700K @ TechPowerUp
- The Performance & Power Efficiency Of The Core i7 990X vs. Core i9 9900K @ Phoronix
- Checking in on Intel's Core i7-5775C for gaming in 2018 @ The Tech Report
- Ryzen 5 2600X @ OCC
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600 – Does AMD Have an Underrated Gaming Beast? @ Bjorn3d
Subject: Editorial | October 24, 2018 - 09:13 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: amd, quarterly results, Q3 2018, ryzen, EPYC, Polaris, Vega, 7nm, 12nm, Intel, nvidia
This evening AMD announced their Q3 2018 results. Things were at the lower end of the guidance scale from last quarter, but the company still had some solid results. Q3 revenue was $1.65B as compared to Q3 2017’s $1.58B. It is down from the previous quarter’s high of $1.76B. At first glance this seems troubling, but the results are not as negative as one would assume. GAAP net income was a healthy $102M. Q3 2017 was at $61M while Q2 2018 was up at $116M. Profits did not fall nearly as much as one would expect with a decrease of $110M revenue quarter over quarter.
Probably the largest factor of the decrease was the negligible sales of GPUs to the crypto market. AMD had expected such a dropoff and warned about it in their Q2 guidance. That particular drop off was sudden and dramatic. AMD looks to continue to lose marketshare in add-in graphics due to their less competitive offerings across the spectrum. GeForce RTX sales of course did not impact AMD this previous quarter, but with no new AMD offerings on the horizon users look to have been waiting to see exactly what NVIDIA would release.
Ryzen sales have been steady and strong, making up some of the shortfall from the graphics market. Desktop chips are moving briskly for the company and continues to be a strong seller historically for the company. AMD is also starting to move more mobile processors, but it seems that the majority of parts are still desktop based. AMD looks to continue moving older inventory with aggressive pricing on those and manufacturing of the new 2000 series parts has been relatively smooth sailing for the company.
Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom had a strong quarter, but with less growth as some analysts had been hoping for. Semi-Custom was weaker this quarter, but IP revenue is up. Console chips are weaker at the moment due to the platforms being relatively mature and not exhibiting the sales of the previous two holiday seasons. To further offset the decrease in Semi-Custom, AMD is reporting that the enterprise products (GPU and EPYC) have seen good growth. Overall this division was down 5% from Q3 2017, but up 7% from the previous quarter.
Perhaps the most interesting figure of this is Gross Margins. AMD was able to improve margins from 36% to 40%. This 4% increase quarter on quarter is a significant jump for the company. This means that AMD continues to keep costs under control for the company and is able to deliver product more efficiently than in the year before. It is still a far cry from Intel and NVIDIA, which typically have magins between 55% to 65%. AMD has a long ways to go before reaching that kind of level. Part of the margin offset was again due to IP licensing. If IP licensing was removed then we would see 38% margins rather than 40%.
So what are the overall lessons of the past quarter? EPYC sales are not as brisk as analysts had hoped for, but they are also not non-existent. It has shown solid growth for the company and has offset shortfalls in other areas of the company. Their IP and Semi-Custom areas are still very solid, even though AMD does suffer from console lifecycles and downturns. GPUs continue to sell, but not nearly at the rate they were due to the crypto market. Their Polaris based options are well suited to compete in the sub-$300 US market. The Vega based products were finally down to MSRP, but they had a harder time going against the mature and well liked GeForce GTX 1070 and 1080 products. This will be further compounded with the introduction of the RTX products in those price ranges.
Ryzen continues to be a very good seller across the board. I had hoped that AMD would break down numbers between Ryzen CPUs and APUs, but I have not seen numbers that hint at what ratio they sell at. In retail the Ryzen 2000 series CPUs look to be some of the most popular products based on price/performance. However, retail is only a small portion of processor sales and Intel still holds the vast majority of marketshare here. AMD is competing, but they have not taken significant chunks from their competition over the past year. They have done enough to achieve several positive quarters in a row, but this is not the slam dunk that the original Athlon 64 was back in 2003/2004.
AMD expects further weakness in their results next quarter. Guidance is for revenue around $1.45B, plus or minus $50M. This is still higher than Q4 2017 results, but it is a significant drop from Q3 results. AMD expects strong Ryzen, EPYC, and datacenter GPU growth during this time. It is expected that consumer GPU and Semi-Custom will continue to drop. There does look to be a 7nm GPU introduction this next quarter, but it is probably the long rumored Vega refresh that will be aimed directly at datacenter rather than consumer.
2018 has so far been a year of solid growth and execution for AMD on the CPU side. Their GPU side has suffered a bit of a slide, but this is to be expected by how much belt-tightening AMD has done in the past several years to get their CPU architecture back on track. The lion’s share of development resources was shunted off to the CPU side while the GPU side had to fight for scraps. I believe this is no longer the case, but when development takes years for new GPUs the injection of new resources will not become apparent for a while.
2019 continues to look better for AMD as they are expecting an early release of 7nm EPYC parts which should compete very well with Intel’s 14nm based Xeon products. AMD is expecting a significant uptick in sales due to the thermals, pricing, and performance of these new Zen 2 based parts. The company also continues to point to the end of 1H for introduction of 7nm Ryzen parts based on Zen 2. These will be showing up quite a few months before Intel’s 10nm offerings will be available. Rumors have it that the new Zen 2 based parts exhibit a significant IPC increase that should make them far more competitive to the best that Intel has on the desktop and mobile markets. Combine these IPC improvements with the 7nm boost in power and clocks for the parts, and AMD could have a very good product on their hands. AMD also is expecting a 1H release of 7nm Navi GPUs which should prove to be more competitive with current NVIDIA products that rely on 16nm and 12nm process nodes from TSMC.
While Q3 was a drop in revenue for the company, their current cost structure has still allowed them to make a tidy profit. The company continues to move forward with new products and new developments.
Subject: Processors | October 8, 2018 - 11:14 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Z390, STIM, ryzen, Intel, i9-9900K, i7-9700K, i5-9600K, 9th generation, 2700x
At their event in New York City today, Intel took the wraps off of their much-rumored 9th generation series of desktop processors.
Built upon the same "14 nm++" process technology as Coffee Lake, this new 9th generation is launching with 3 new processor models.
At the lower end, we have the i5-9600K, replacing the current i5-8600K. Staying with the same 6C/6T configuration, the 9600K improves the base frequency by 100 MHz, while adding 300 MHz to the rated single-core Turbo Boost 2.0 clock speed.
Moving onto the 8-core processors, we have the i7-9700K and the i9-9900K. Coming with Intel's first consumer i9 processor also comes the first i7 desktop processor not to feature Hyper-threading. While both processors have eight physical cores, only the i9-9900K will feature Hyper-threading allowing for a 16-thread configuration. Both processors maintain the same 95W TDP as the i7-8700K.
The lack of Hyper-Threading on the i7-9700K will provide quite the interesting performance comparison with the current flagship 6C/12T i7-8700K.
The flagship Intel Core i9-9900K has a base clock 100 MHz lower than the i7-8700K but features the same 5.0 GHz single-core Turbo Boost clock as the i7-8086K. Intel has also said that the all-core frequency for the i9-9900K is 400 MHz faster than the i7-8700K. Additionally, the i9-9900K features 16MB of cache, compared to the 12MB found on the i7-8700K.
Price-wise, both the i5-9600K and i7-9700K are similar to the 8th generation processors they are replacing, while the i9-9900K will come in at $500.
Addressing one of the most common complaints from enthusiasts about recent Intel processors, the 9th generation series of processors will come with what Intel is referring to as "Solder Thermal Interface Material" (STIM).
Switching back to solder as the TIM for these CPUs should provide significantly improved thermal conductivity, resulting in additional overclocking headroom as well as cooler and quieter operation at stock frequencies without the need of delidding.
Alongside these new processors comes the launch of a new chipset from Intel, Z390. In addition to native USB 3.1 Gen 1 (10 Gbit/s) support, Intel claims the Z390 chipset will sport improved power management for the 8-core processor variants, as well as integrated 802.11 AC connectivity.
The Z390 platform will continue to feature the same "up to 40" PCI Express lanes that we've seen for several generations, with 16 lanes being directly connected to the CPU, and the rest coming from the chipset which is still connected via a DMI 3.0 link.
Despite the launch of a new chipset in the form of Z390, these new 9th generation chipsets will maintain compatibility with all previous 300-series Intel chipsets, such as Z370 through updates that will be made available by motherboard manufacturers.
These new 9th generation processors will also feature a combination of hardware and software fixes for the following side-channel attack security vulnerabilities like Spectre and Meltdown:
- Speculative side channel variant SpectreV2 (Branch Target Injection) = Microcode + Software
- Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3 (Rogue Data Cache Load) = Hardware
- Speculative side channel variant Meltdown V3a (Rogue System Register Read) = Microcode
- Speculative side channel variant V4 (Speculative Store Bypass) = Microcode + Software
- Speculative side channel variant L1 Terminal Fault = Hardware
While the almost $500 price tag is substantially higher than AMD's $330 8-core Ryzen 7 2700X, Intel's advantage in single-threaded performance combined with matched core counts should provide for quite the interesting comparison.
The i9-9900K is available for pre-order today, and will launch on October 19th. No word on the rest of the 9th generation lineup, but we expect them to launch at the same time as the i9 processor.
Subject: Processors | October 5, 2018 - 04:42 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ryzen, Threadripper, 2990wx, 2970wx, 2950x, 2920x, dynamical local mode, NUMA, UMA
AMD has provided an update to their continued rollout of 2nd generation Threadripper CPUs, including the 12 and 24-core variants.
Both of these new Threadripper SKUs will be available starting on October 29th, for a price of $649 for the 12-core 2920X and $1299 for the 24-core 2970WX.
The more surprising announcement comes in the form of a new software feature for the Threadripper WX-series processors called "Dynamic Local Mode" which aims to address some of the performance issues caused by the non-traditional memory structure of these processors, where not all CPU cores have direct access to a memory controller.
A diagram of the memory structure utilized in the Threadripper WX-series processors
According to the blog post on AMD's website, Dynamic Local Mode will run as a Windows 10 service and measure how much CPU time each thread is utilizing.
This service will then begin to reallocate these demanding threads to the CPU cores which have direct memory access until it runs out of available cores. In that case, the service will start to assign threads to the remaining cores.
This dynamic operation ensures for applications that aren't consuming all 48/64 threads on the WX-series processors, that direct memory access will be available when needed. In particular, this should provide an advantage to gaming, which typically takes up less than eight cores, but is dependant on fast memory access.
Users will be able to enable and disable this feature on the fly through the Ryzen Master, and it will not require a reboot unlike the existing Dynamic/Local mode toggle for the Threadripper X-seres processors.
AMD is claiming that they've measured up to a 47% increase in performance with Dynamic Local Mode enabled while gaming in certain titles.
Dynamic Local Mode is set to be enabled with a new version of AMD's Ryzen Master software, available alongside these new Threadripper SKUs on October 29th. We hope to have hands-on this software beforehand to test how this fixes some of the issues we saw in our initial review of the Threadripper 2990WX. Stay tuned for more info!