Subject: Graphics Cards | December 1, 2017 - 02:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xfx, vega 10, Vega, RX VEGA 64, RX Vega 56, double edition, amd
Not content to let Asus have all the fun with X shaped products, graphics card manufacturer XFX is prepping two new Vega graphics cards that feature a cut-out backplate and cooler shroud that resembles a stretched-out X. XFX has, so far, only released a few pictures of the card but they do show off most of the card including the top edge, cooler, and backplate.
XFX has opted for a short PCB that extends slightly past the first cooling fan. The card is a dual slot design with a large heatsink and two large red fans and a bit less than half of the cooler extends past the PCB as a result. Cooling is not an issue thanks to liberal use of heat pipes (I think there are five main copper heat pipes), but the cooler hanging so far past the PCB has resulted in the two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors ending up in the middle of the cooler (the middle of the X shape) which is not ideal for cable management (still waiting for someone to put the PCI-E power connectors on the back edge closest to the motherboard!) but with a bit of modding maybe it would be possible to hid the wires under the shroud and route them around the card as one of the photos it looks like there is a bit of a gap between the heatsink and the shroud/backplate heh).
The design is sure to be divisive with some people loving it and other hating it, but XFX has put quite a bit of work into it. The red fans are surrounded by a stylized black shroud with a carbon fiber texture while the top edge holds the red XFX logo. The backplate specifically looks great with a black and grey design with red accent that features numerous cutouts for extra ventilation.
Display outputs are standard with three DisplayPort and one HDMI out.
TechPowerUp along with Videocardz are reporting that the card will come in both RX Vega 56 and RX Vega 64 variants. Unfortunately, while XFX has gone all out in the custom cooling and backplate, they are not pushing any of the clockspeeds past factory settings with the RX Vega 56 Double Edition clocking in at 1156 MHz base and 1471 MHz boost on the GPU and 1600 MHz on the 8GB of HBM2 memory. The XFX RX Vega 64 Double Edition is also stock clocked at 1247 MHz base, 1546 MHz boost, and 1890 MHz memory. It is not all bad news though, because with such a beefy cooler, enthusiasts should be able to overclock the chips themselves at least a bit (depending on how lucky they are in the silicon lottery) but it does mean that XFX isn’t guaranteeing anything. Also, overclocking might be more top-end overclock limited on the Vega 64 version versus other custom cards due to it only including two 8-pin power connectors (which does make me wonder what they have done as far as the VRMs versus reference if anything).
XFX has not yet revealed pricing or availability for their custom RX Vega cards.
What are your thoughts on the X design?
Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, AM4, ryzen, Vega, ryzen mobile, APU, raven ridge
ASUS recently made new BIOS updates available for several of its motherboards that suggest desktop Raven Ridge APUs are coming soon. The BIOS updates contain AGESA! V9 RavenPi-FPS-AM4 188.8.131.52 along with Raven Generic VBIOS to add support for the Zen-based Raven Ridge CPU cores and Vega-based graphics.
Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now, but details are still scarce. These desktop parts have the same four CPU cores as Ryzen Mobile Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U, but will run with higher TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores). As of this writing the rumors of a HBM-equipped APU is still just that, a rumor. The first desktop Raven Ridge parts are sure to use standard DDR4, however.
Speculation over at [H] suggests that ASUS may have jumped the gun a bit on making the BIOS updates available by a few days which suggests that AMD is planning a December launch for the desktop parts (likely a soft launch though hopefully not as terribly long as Bristol Ridge!) and BIOS updates coming from other manufacturers at that time.
Guru3D has a list of links to the BIOS updates currently available from ASUS covering 13 of their motherboards including X370, B350, and A320 PRIME series motherboards and X370 and B350 ROG STRIX motherboards. Missing from the AMD AM4 lineup are the EX-A320M-GAMING, PRIME A320M-C and -C R2.0, and ROG CROSSHAIR VI Hero and Extreme boards.
Interestingly, desktop Raven Ridge is the second APU generation to work with the AM4 socket, and is is allegedly not the last. AMD has stated previously that it intends to support the AM4 socket for quite a while and their own roadmaps list support for at least two more Ryzen CPU generations and one more generation of APUs. Specifically, AMD plans to support Bristol Ridge, Raven Ridge, and Picasso (which is essentially the Zen+ APU generation) APUs along with Summit Ridge (Zen), Pinnacle Ridge (“12nm” Zen+), and Matisse (“7nm” Zen 2) CPUs on the same AM4 socket which is refreshing to see. Of course, AMD is introducing new chipsets (e.g. X400 series with Pinnacle Ridge) with each new generation, but it is nice to know that at least there is an upgrade path if you want it and don’t need whatever new I/O the new motherboards offer.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 17, 2017 - 10:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Vega, RX VEGA 64, red devil, powercolor, factory overclocked
Slated for a holiday release, images have appeared online of PowerColor’s upcoming Radeon RX Vega 64 Red Devil. The new custom graphics card is a triple slot design with a massive triple 85mm fan cooler. The shrouded Vega-based graphics card features red LED lighting that can be turned off with a hardware switch on the card itself. The shroud hides a 2.5-slot tall aluminum fin stack with contact to the GPU and VRM areas.
PowerColor is using an almost-reference design with a PCB that is slightly taller than AMD’s reference board and with two DisplayPort and two HDMI video outputs. It is not clear what the power input situation is with the Red Devil card with TechPowerUp reporting a two 8-pin configuration, but the images don’t reveal that and other sites aren’t corroborating that. One thing suggesting PowerColor may be sticking with two 8-pin PCI-E power connectors like the reference design is that they have not done anything crazy with the other power delivery components. While PowerColor is using different chokes, they are sticking with the reference 12-phase design with IR6894 and IR6211 DirectFETs and IR3598 phase doublers. The card does have a triple BIOS switch, so there is likely at least one factory overclocked option to push past the reference Vega 64 speeds of 4096 cores at 1247 MHz base and 1546 MHz boost.
According to Videocardz, the PowerColor RX Vega 64 Red Devil is slated for release later this month with availability at various retailers in early December. Further, PowerColor is also working on a custom RX Vega 56 card though it sounds like that one may not make it in time for the holidays. With the launch imminent, at least we will not have to wait too long to see the full specifications of this card.
The Expected Unexpected
Last night we first received word that Raja had resigned from AMD (during a sabbatical) after they had launched Vega. The initial statement was that Raja would come back to resume his position at AMD in a December/January timeframe. During this time there was some doubt as to if Raja would in fact come back to AMD, as “sabbaticals” in the tech world would often lead the individual to take stock of their situation and move on to what they would consider to be greener pastures.
Raja has dropped by the PCPer offices in the past.
Initially it was thought that Raja would take the time off and then eventually jump to another company and tackle the issues there. This behavior is quite common in Silicon Valley and Raja is no stranger to this. Raja cut his teeth on 3D graphics at S3, but in 2001 he moved to ATI. While there he worked on a variety of programs including the original Radeon, the industry changing Radeon 9700 series, and finishing up with the strong HD 4000 series of parts. During this time ATI was acquired by AMD and he became one of the top graphics guru at that company. In 2009 he quit AMD and moved on to Apple. He was Director of Graphics Architecture at Apple, but little is known about what he actually did. During that time Apple utilized AMD GPUs and licensed Imagination Technologies graphics technology. Apple could have been working on developing their own architecture at this point, which has recently showed up in the latest iPhone products.
In 2013 Raja rejoined AMD and became a corporate VP of Visual Computing, but in 2015 he was promoted to leading the Radeon Technology Group after Lisu Su became CEO of the company. While there Raja worked to get AMD back on an even footing under pretty strained conditions. AMD had not had the greatest of years and had seen their primary moneymakers start taking on water. AMD had competitive graphics for the most part, and the Radeon technology integrated into AMD’s APUs truly was class leading. On the discrete side AMD was able to compare favorably to NVIDIA with the HD 7000 and later R9 200 series of cards. After NVIDIA released their Maxwell based chips, AMD had a hard time keeping up. The general consensus here is that the RTG group saw its headcount decreased by the company-wide cuts as well as a decrease in R&D funds.
A potential game changer?
I thought we were going to be able to make it through the rest of 2017 without seeing AMD launch another family of products. But I was wrong. And that’s a good thing. Today AMD is launching the not-so-cleverly-named Ryzen Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics product line that will bring the new Zen processor architecture and Vega graphics architecture onto a single die for the ultrathin mobile notebook platforms. This is no minor move for them – just as we discussed with the AMD EPYC processor launch, this is a segment that has been utterly dominated by Intel. After all, Intel created the term Ultrabook to target these designs, and though that brand is gone, the thin and light mindset continues to this day.
The claims AMD makes about its Ryzen mobile APU (combination CPU+GPU accelerated processing unit, to use an older AMD term) are not to be made lightly. Right up front in our discussion I was told this is going to be the “world’s fastest for ultrathin” machines. Considering that AMD had previously been unable to even enter those markets with previous products, both due to some technological and business roadblocks, AMD is taking a risk by painting this launch in such a light. Thanks to its ability combine CPU and GPU technology on a single die though, AMD has some flexibility today that simply did not have access to previously.
From the days that AMD first announced the acquisition of ATI graphics, the company has touted the long-term benefits of owning both a high-performance processor and graphics division. By combining the architectures on a single die, they could become greater than the sum of the parts, leveraging new software directions and the oft-discussed HSA (heterogenous systems architecture) that AMD helped create a foundation for. Though the first rounds of APUs were able to hit modest sales, the truth was that AMD’s advantage over Intel’s on the graphics technology front was often overshadowed by the performance and power efficiency advantages that Intel held on the CPU front.
But with the introduction of the first products based on Zen earlier this year, AMD has finally made good on the promises of catching up to Intel in many of the areas where it matters the most. The new from-the-ground-up design resulted in greater than 50% IPC gains, improved area efficiency compared to Intel’s latest Kaby Lake core design, and enormous gains in power efficiency compared to the previous CPU designs. When looking at the new Ryzen-based APU products with Vega built-in, AMD claims that they tower over the 7th generation APUs with up to 200% more CPU performance, 128% more GPU performance, and 58% lower power consumption. Again, these are bold claims, but it gives AMD confidence that it can now target premium designs and form factors with a solution that will meet consumer demands.
AMD is hoping that the release of the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U can finally help turn the tides in the ultrathin notebook market.
|Core i7-8650U||Core i7-8550U||Core i5-8350U||Core i5-8250U||Ryzen 7 2700U||Ryzen 5 2500U|
|Architecture||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Kaby Lake Refresh||Zen+Vega||Zen+Vega|
|Base Clock||1.9 GHz||1.8 GHz||1.7 GHz||1.6 GHz||2.2 GHz||2.0 GHz|
|Max Turbo Clock||4.2 GHz||4.0 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.6 GHz||3.8 GHz||3.6 GHz|
|System Bus||DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s||DMI3 - 8.0 GT/s||DMI2 - 6.4 GT/s||DMI2 - 5.0 GT/s||N/A||N/A|
|Graphics||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||UHD Graphics 620||Vega (10 CUs)||Vega (8 CUs)|
|Max Graphics Clock||1.15 GHz||1.15 GHz||1.1 GHz||1.1 GHz||1.3 GHz||1.1 GHz|
The Ryzen 7 2700U will run 200 MHz higher on the base and boost clocks for the CPU and 200 MHz higher on the peak GPU core clock. Though both systems have 4-cores and 8-threads, the GPU on the 2700U will have two additional CUs / compute units.
Subject: Editorial | October 25, 2017 - 12:43 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Vega, Threadripper, sony, ryzen, Q3, microsoft, EPYC, earnings, amd, 2017
Expectations for AMD’s Q3 earnings were not exactly sky high, but they were trending towards the positive. It seems that AMD exceeded those expectations. The company announced revenue of $1.64 billion, up significantly from the expected $1.52 billion that was the consensus on The Street.
The company also showed a $71 million (GAAP), $110 million (non-GAAP) net for the quarter, which is a 300% increase from a year ago. The reasons for this strong quarter are pretty obvious. Ryzen has been performing well on the desktop since its introduction last Spring and sales have been steady with a marked increase in ASPs. The latest Vega GPUs are competitive in the marketplace, but it does not seem as though AMD has been able to provide as many of these products as they would like. Add into that the coin mining effect on prices and stocks of these latest AMD graphics units. Perhaps a bigger boost to the bottom line is the introduction of the Epyc and Threadripper CPUs to the mix.
Part of this good news is the bittersweet royalties from the console manufacturers. Both Sony and Microsoft have refreshed their consoles in the past year, and Microsoft is about to release the new Xbox One X to consumers shortly. This has provided a strong boost to AMD’s semi-custom business, but these boosts are also strongly seasonal. The downside to this boost is of course when orders trail off and royalty checks take a severe beating. Consoles have a longer ramp up due to system costs and integration as compared to standalone CPUs or video cards. Microsoft and Sony ordered production of these new parts several quarters ago, so revenue from those royalties typically show up a quarter sooner than when actual product starts shipping. So the lion’s share of royalties are paid up in Q3 so that there is adequate supply of consoles in the strong Q4/Holiday season. Since Q1 of the next year is typically the softest quarter, the amount of parts ordered by Sony/Microsoft is slashed significantly to make sure that as much of the Holiday orders are sold and not left in inventory.
Ryzen continues to be strong due to multiple factors. It has competitive single and multi-core performance in a large variety of applications as compared to Intel’s latest. It has a much smaller die size than previous AMD parts such as Bulldozer/Piledriver/Phenom II, so they can fit more chips on a wafer and thereby lower overall costs while maximizing margins. Their product mix is very good from the Ryzen 3 to the Ryzen 7 parts, but is of course still missing the integrated graphics Ryzen parts that are expected either late this year or early next. Overall Ryzen has made AMD far more competitive and the marketplace has rewarded the company.
Vega is in an interesting spot. There have been many rumors about how the manufacturing costs of the chip (GPU and HBM) along with board implementations are actually being sold for a small loss. I find that hard to believe, but my gut here does not feel like AMD is making good margins on the product either. This could account for what is generally seen as lower than expected units in the market as well as correspondingly higher prices than expected. The Vega products are competitive with NVIDIA’s 1070 and 1080 products, but in those products we are finally seeing them start to settle down closer to MSRP with adequate supplies available for purchase. HBM is an interesting technology with some very acute advantages over standard GDDR-5/X. However, it seems that both the cost and implementation of HBM at this point in time is still not competitive with having gone the more traditional route with memory.
There is no doubt that AMD has done very well this quarter due to its wide variety of parts that are available to consumers. The news is not all great though and AMD expects to see Q4 revenues down around 15%. This is not exactly unexpected due to the seasonal nature of console sales and the resulting loss of royalties in what should be a strong quarter. We can still expect AMD to ship plenty of Ryzen parts as well as Vega GPUs. We can also surmise that we will see a limited impact of the integrated Ryzen/Vega APUs and any potential mobile parts based on those products as well.
Q3 was a surprise for many, and a pleasant one at that. While the drop in Q4 is not unexpected, it does sour a bit of the news that AMD has done so well. The share price of AMD has taken a hit due to this news, but we will start to see a clearer picture of how AMD is competing in their core spaces as well as what kind of uptick we can expect from richer Epyc sales throughout the quarter. Vega is still a big question for many, but Holiday season demand will likely keep those products limited and higher in price.
AMD’s outlook overall is quite positive and we can expect a refresh of Zen desktop parts sometime in 1H 2018 due to the introduction of GLOBALFOUNDRIES 12nm process which should give a clock and power uplift to the Zen design. There should be a little bit of cleanup in the Zen design much as Piledriver was optimized from Bulldozer. Add in the advantages of the new process and we should see AMD more adequately compete with Coffee Lake products from Intel which should be very common by then.
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2017 - 12:06 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: Z370, video, Vega, skylake-x, shield, podcast, mGPU, mCable, marseille, Intel, gigabyte, Core i9-7980XE, Core i9-7960X, Core i9, coffee lake
PC Perspective Podcast #469 - 09/28/17
Join us for discussion on AMD Raven Ridge rumors, Intel and Global Foundries new fabrication technology!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jermey Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:27:57
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
0:54:00 AMD enables RX Vega mGPU support
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Graphics Cards | September 22, 2017 - 04:36 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Radeon Software 17.9.2, crossfire, Vega
The newest Radeon Software ReLive 17.9.2 is especially worth grabbing if you have or plan to have more than one Vega based card in your system as it marks the return of Crossfire support. You can pair up Vega64 or Vega56 cards but do make sure they are a matched set. We haven't had time to test the performance results yet but you can be sure we will be working on that in the near future. Below are the results which AMD suggests you can expect in several different games, as well as a look at the other notes associated with this new driver.
Radeon™ Software Crimson ReLive Edition is AMD's advanced graphics software for enabling high-performance gaming and engaging VR experiences. Create, capture, and share your remarkable moments. Effortlessly boost performance and efficiency. Experience Radeon Software with industry-leading user satisfaction, rigorously-tested stability, comprehensive certification, and more.
Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.9.2 Highlights
- Radeon RX Vega Series Up to 2x Multi GPU support
- Project CARS 2™ Multi GPU profile support added
Hearts of Iron IV™ may experience a system hang when the campaign scenario is launched.
Radeon Software may display an erroneous "1603 Error" after installing Radeon Software. This error will not affect your Radeon Software installation.
Subject: General Tech | September 20, 2017 - 09:44 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, FinFET, FD-SOI, 12nm, 14nm, 14nm+, 22FDX, 28FDX, 12FDX, amd, Vega, ryzen
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2017 - 04:17 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, raven ridge, Bristol Ridge, Ryzen 5 2500U, Zen, Vega, 14nm
If the rumours are true, the new 14nm Raven Ridge based AMD Ryzen 5 2500U will offer an impressive jump in performance compared to AMD's current generation of APUs. The Inquirer's source suggests the new APU will offer a 50% jump in single threaded performance and an impressive 90% advantage on multi-threaded performance. The multithreaded performance improvement may be the headline but seeing a huge increase in single threaded applications, AMD's recent Achilles Heel, shows some interesting improvements to Zen. This will also mark the arrival of their first APU with Vega onboard, so you can expect better graphics performance as well. The benchmark numbers and links are here.
"LEAKED BENCHMARKS for AMD's forthcoming Raven Ridge APUs suggest that upcoming devices, expected to be launched in time for Christmas, will outperform current Bristol Ridge APUs by up to 90 per cent on multicore applications."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Unloved Microsoft Edge is much improved – but will anyone use it? @ The Register
- CCleaner hack: 'Supply-chain attack' saw app install malware on users' machines @ The Inquirer
- Superconference Speakers Revealed @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft Confirms Outlook Issues @ Slashdot
- These Twenty Assistive Technologies Projects Won $1000 In The Hackaday Prize @ Hack a Day
- Linux 4.14 'getting very core new functionality' says Linus Torvalds @ The Register
- Top 5 Worst GPUs @ TechSpot
- Reolink Argus Wireless Battery-Powered Security Camera Review @ OCC