Existing AM4 Motherboards Will Support Upcoming Raven Ridge Desktop APUs With BIOS Update

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | November 30, 2017 - 06:48 PM |
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 1.0.7.1 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.

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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.

Source: Guru3d

November 30, 2017 | 08:00 PM - Posted by willmore

Don't they need to at least ship boards with a BIOS that supports these chips months before launch so that the channel drains of old boards that will not work with them?

Posting the update on the web site may not be a bright thing to do until launch, though. That would be for people upgrading processors, not for new boards. That can wait.

November 30, 2017 | 08:02 PM - Posted by ipkh

So existing motherboards will use the igpu for compute only. Do any existing boards have video out on them?

November 30, 2017 | 09:02 PM - Posted by mosfet (not verified)

Almost all existing AM4 boards have display outputs.

November 30, 2017 | 09:10 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Most of the x370 / b350 / a320 AM4 boards do have display outputs because they supported Brostol Ridge which was supposed to come out before Ryzen / Summit Ridge but ended up coming out way after.

December 1, 2017 | 01:31 AM - Posted by CNote

Mine has a HDMI out

November 30, 2017 | 11:38 PM - Posted by MakeItSoAsusAndOtherslappyOEMs (not verified)

"Desktop Raven Ridge APUs have been promised in AMD roadmaps for awhile now"

And I want a laptop with a desktop Raven Ridge inside just like ASUS has done with a desktop Ryzen 7 1700 in gaming laptop. Let's forget about that battery life nonsense on thin and light laptops with crappy Watthour batteries and move on to some laptops as a desktop replacment laptop SKUs with some desktop Raven Ridge APUs inside at 35+ watts.

"TDPs (up to 65W) and higher clockspeeds along with a much larger GPU with up to 11 CUs (704 Vega cores)." And for an APU with 704 Vega cores a 15 inch regular form factor laptop can run 45-65 watts easily.

December 1, 2017 | 05:44 AM - Posted by odizzido2 (not verified)

I am the exact opposite heh. I want a good 9 inch laptop with a <10W APU. A proper SSD, 4+gigs of ram, nice screen. It would need to be less than a kilo, preferably in the 600g range but also have 5+hrs of battery life.

Currently I have a nine inch one but it's really quite old and slow, has 1gig of ram, slow storage, 950g. Came out in 2009 I think. Eight years and I haven't seen anything better come out :\

December 1, 2017 | 10:38 AM - Posted by PowerForTheRoadWarriorsAbove35Watts (not verified)

Sounds like you want a tablet and not a notebook and there are plenty of tablet/mini-laptop combos out there but not too many running AMD APUs currently. Maybe AND could get an underclocked Zen SKU out there or even a dual core Zen SKU for the 10-Watts or less market. The Zen cores are actually more power effecient so maybe a dual core binned varient of the 5 Ryzen 5 2500u with only dual cores or a 4 core variant that is undervolted/lower clocked to get in that 10 Watt- range. The Ryzen 5 2500U's cTDP can vary from 12-25 watts. AMD could maybe be binning some Ryzen 5 variants down to a Ryzen 3 APU variant with maybe less cores enabled or even lower numbers of Vega nCUs for a lower shader count and more power saved.

Maybe on that GF 12nm process node some Zen+ very low wattage Ryzen 3 Branded APU variant, or even the Ryzen 5 2500U can get down to 10 watts cTDP and even lower with some underclocking/undervolting profile for less power when on battery.

But there are not enough more powerful core/higher Wattage laptop options for those that have access to the power plug and power plug access usually comes with business class on planes, and even commuter trains/busses have power plugs for the business users the business users can get some work done while commuting/traveling.

I'd even look more at a gaming laptop if the Laptop makers would make a gaming laptop that looks more like a regular laptop and not some garish gaming abomination for some monobrow. But maybe ASUS can get a Raven Ridge Desktop APU SKU in a laptop form factor with a tasteful understated design and plenty of power for those that need the power.

December 2, 2017 | 01:49 AM - Posted by James

Having carried a giant laptop around with me, I definitely would want thin and light now. For super small devices, if there was any interest in using AMD64 instead of ARM, AMD has their low power cores like those used in the Xbox One derivatives and PS4 derivatives.

December 2, 2017 | 12:33 PM - Posted by PimpMyOldProBook (not verified)

Yes and there are plenty of thin and lights for you to choose from but I have a ProBook 4540s and I would gladly Pay HP to refit that exact same laptop case/SKU with a Raven Ridge APU and The 4540s laptop's MB also has a Radeon Discrete mobile GPU soldered on. So if HP took that exact case design and put an AMD motherboard in there with only the Raven Ridge APU, Ryzen 7 2700U at 25 watts, that Integrated Vega Graphics would outperform my current Probook's 7650M(Terascale Rebrand) discrete GPU.

Blender 3D needs a bit more performant CPU/APU and graphics for editing mesh models than Intel's graphics can manage. So Blender 3D needs AMD's or Nvidia's graphics as the shader counts are much higher on AMD's and Nvidia's Graphics offerings.

Intel's GPUs can not handle mesh models with 1.5 million+ polygons the way that AMD's and Nvidia's GPUs can in Blender 3D's editing mode where I spend most of my time making and editing mesh models. So the 15 inch Probook 4540s is light enough that I can hold the laptop with one hand and take it everywhere I go.

Some Folks need more power for content creation and not the less power that the content consumers are happy with. I need an APU with Vega Graphics and that APU given a cooling solution of at least 45+ total Watts TDP to handle Peak performance and the old Probook 4540s SKUs cooling solution can cool both the CPU(35 watts) and the GPU(20 watts) and it uses one fan and a heat pipe that covers both the CPU and the GPU. So HP Inc still has the plans for the 4540s in digital in their possession and the 4540s SKU's heat pipe can be swapped out and the very same fan design used to cool the AMD APU with different heat pipe that only covers the APU.

What Laptop makers like HP/Dell need to do is build a professional's laptop case design and stick with that design over multiple generations, like the old Nikon F body Camera. Where pro laptop users can get an updatable design that never changes with the parts made modular and updatable and the laptop case engineered for an overkill cooling solution. So users can Purchase from the OEM hardware Upgrades, or even send the laptop in to the OEM for a rework/upgrade every 3 or 4 years.

So 15 watts appears to be the New laptop TDP standard and desktop APU/CPU SKUs are starting at 35 Watts! There appears to be rumors that Vega 11 is is actually a desktop APU graphics design with 11 Vega nCUs and that will be in the 35 to 65+ watts range. So maybe ASUS can put that in a 15 inch laptop form factor and offer windows pro and I'd run down and get that in a New York nanosecond! The only reason I like HP's Probooks is that the laptops usually get scoketed CPUs and the OS is always the Pro version of Windows and HP, at the time, always had the repair manuals for their laptops available especially the Business laptops.

December 1, 2017 | 04:35 PM - Posted by quest4glory

Be careful with that thing, you might poke an eye out.

December 1, 2017 | 01:51 PM - Posted by Greg Williams (not verified)

Even though current motherboards have HDMI, it is only HDMI 1.4 and not 2.0. Hopefully we start to see HDMI 2.0 boards soon.

December 2, 2017 | 01:47 AM - Posted by James

I didn’t really expect an HBM APU for the consumer market. It makes some sense for the HPC market. Intel is making the mobile packaging with Radeon graphics with HBM though. It is possible that EMIB is significantly cheaper than a full silicon interposer, but I still expect it to be very expensive and therefore uncommon. Maybe in MacBook Pros or something. Also, the main advantage of it is size. For a larger device, you could get more powerful hardware by just placing a mobile HBM GPU on a normal PCB with a normal mobile processor. If AMD has a good mobile GPU with HBM at some point, then they can be placed on a board with either an Intel or an AMD cpu. It just might not be quite as thin with a full silicon interposer instead of EMIB. Hopefully we will get mobile HBM GPUs soon; Vega power consumption shouldn’t be that bad at significantly lower clocks. If AMD is making an HBM version of a Polaris type device for Intel, then we may get Polaris mobile graphics with HBM rather than Vega. It would make some sense for the development of these devices to be staggered such that a team was working on an HBM Polaris for mobile while another team is working on Vega. I don’t know how many design teams AMD has though.

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