Need a CPU and only have $180USD?

Subject: Processors | April 17, 2019 - 03:52 PM |
Tagged: amd, Ryzen 5 2600X, i5-9400f, ryzen 2, coffee lake, Intel

To compete against the Ryzen 5 2600X which is currently selling for $180, Intel released the slightly refreshed i5-9400F which also retails at $180.  As far as the specifications on paper go, the Ryzen offers 6 cores and 12 threads at a top of 4.2GHz while Intel's offering has 6 cores and 6 threads with a top frequency of 4.1GHz; the AMD chip also comes with the Wraith Spire cooler while Intel's supports Optane. 

The real question is how they perform when you use them and to discover the answer you should check out TechSpot's latest CPU review.

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"Intel's been having some trouble competing with the wave of Ryzen processors, forcing the chip maker to be a little more creative. Today we have the Intel Core i5-9400F on hand, which is basically a refreshed i5-8400 with a 100 MHz clock speed boost, no integrated graphics and a lower price point."

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Source: TechSpot

Qualcomm Announces the Cloud AI 100: Dedicated Power-Efficient AI Processing for the Cloud

Subject: Processors | April 9, 2019 - 12:30 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, datacenter, cloud, artificial intelligence, ai inference, ai

Last year, several models of Qualcomm’s mobile chipsets gained AI acceleration capabilities. Now, Qualcomm is leveraging its custom hardware and networking expertise to introduce a new solution for dedicated cloud-based AI processing. The Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 is a custom hardware solution for cloud AI inference workloads.

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Built on a 7nm process node, Qualcomm designed the Cloud AI 100 from the ground up for AI processing, stating that it has “greater than 50x” the peak AI processing performance of its Snapdragon 820 chipset, which would make it one of the most powerful solutions in its class. It’s also designed for power efficiency, with Qualcomm claiming that it offers “10x performance per watt over the industry’s most advanced AI inference solutions deployed today" and is therefore easily scalable to meet performance or power requirements.

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Combined with a full software stack for developers and partners, Qualcomm is aiming the Cloud AI 100 at the full gamut of cloud-to-edge workloads, where it will compete with GPU, CPU, and FPGA-based solutions from companies like Intel and NVIDIA. Support for existing software stacks will be available, with Qualcomm specifically listing PyTorch, Glow, TensorFlow, Keras, and ONNX.

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Qualcomm is also touting direct benefits for end-users of supported devices, with significant performance improvements for features like natural language processing and translations via personal assistants, image recognition and search, and personalized content recommendations.

Keith Kressin, Qualcomm’s SVP of Product Management, issued the following statement alongside the product’s announcement:

Today, Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile platforms bring leading AI acceleration to over a billion client devices. Our all new Qualcomm Cloud AI 100 accelerator will significantly raise the bar for the AI inference processing relative to any combination of CPUs, GPUs, and/or FPGAs used in today’s data centers. Furthermore, Qualcomm Technologies is now well positioned to support complete cloud-to-edge AI solutions all connected with high-speed and low-latency 5G connectivity.

Qualcomm plans to begin sampling the Cloud AI 100 to enterprise customers in the second half of 2019.

Source: Qualcomm

AMD Announces 2nd Gen Ryzen PRO and Athlon PRO Mobile Processors

Subject: Processors | April 8, 2019 - 10:28 AM |
Tagged: Vega, ryzen, processors, mobile, laptop, integrated graphics, iGPU, cpu, amd

AMD has announced new 2nd-gen Ryzen PRO 3000-series mobile processors and a new Athlon PRO model, all of which feature RX Vega graphics and range up to a 4 core/8-thread offering with the Ryzen 7 PRO 3700U. These new mobile parts are based on the existing 12nm Zen+ architecture, not the upcoming 7nm Zen 2, and each part carries a 15W TDP.

AMD Ryzen PRO Mobile Chip Shot.jpg

Product Model Cores/Threads TDP Base/Boost Frequency Radeon Graphics GPU Cores Max GPU Frequency L2+L3 Cache
AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 3700U 4C/8T 15W 2.3/4.0 GHz Vega 10 1400 MHz 6MB
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 3500U 4C/8T 15W 2.1/3.7 GHz Vega 8 1200 MHz 6MB
AMD Ryzen 3 PRO 3300U 4C/4T 15W 2.1/3.5 GHz Vega 6 1200 MHz 6MB
AMD Athlon PRO 300U 2C/4T 15W 2.4/3.3 GHz Vega 3 1000 MHz 5MB

"Built on 12nm manufacturing technology, the new AMD Ryzen PRO 3000 Series mobile processors deliver best-in-class performance and increase productivity by offering up to 16% more multi-threading processor performance than competition.

Specifically, the new AMD Ryzen PRO mobile processors deliver:

  • up to 12 hours of general office use or up to 10 hours of video playback,
  • up to 14% faster content creation and accelerated everyday office applications with integrated Radeon Vega graphics, from 3D modeling to video editing,
  • powerful security features on all Ryzen PRO processors with AMD’s security co-processor built into the silicon,
  • and 18-month of image stability, 24-month of processor availability, commercial grade quality, enterprise-class manageability, and 36-month limited warranty to system manufacturers.

AMD is also offering “Zen”-based Athlon PRO mobile processors, bringing a greater choice of mobile computing experiences across the full budget spectrum."

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Performance - particularly when GPU acceleration from the integrated Vega graphics is factored in - can be very impressive compared to Intel mobile offerings, with AMD providing these slides to show also the gains over their previous mobile parts:

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AMD also lets us know that "premium designs" are coming soon from HP and Lenovo featuring these new CPUs, and considering the dominance of Intel in the high-end notebook market that will be welcome news to AMD fans. No specifics on the upcoming premium laptop models beyond the tease of "coming soon" were provided.

Source: AMD

Intel today made a number of product and strategy announcements that are all coordinated to continue the company’s ongoing “data-centric transformation.” Building off of recent events such as last August’s Data-Centric Innovation Summit but with roots spanning back years, today’s announcements further solidify Intel’s new strategy: a shift from the “PC-centric” model that for decades drove hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue but is now on the decline, to the rapidly growing and ever changing “data-centric” world of cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, automated vehicles, Internet-connected devices, and the seemingly unending growth of data that all of these areas generate.

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Rather than abandon its PC roots in this transition, Intel’s plan is to leverage its existing technologies and market share advantages in order to attack the data-centric needs of its customers from all angles. Intel sees a huge market opportunity when considering the range of requirements “from edge to cloud and back:” that is, addressing the needs of everything from IoT devices, to wireless and cellular networking, to networked storage, to powerful data center and cloud servers, and all of the processing, analysis, and security that goes with it.

Intel’s goal, at least as I interpret it, is to be a ‘one stop shop’ for businesses and organizations of all sizes who are transitioning alongside Intel to data-centric business models and workloads. Sure, Intel will be happy to continue selling you Xeon-based servers and workstations, but they can also address your networking needs with new 100Gbps Ethernet solutions, speed up your storage-speed-limited workloads with Optane SSDs, increase performance and reduce costs for memory-dependent workloads by supplementing DRAM with Optane, and address specialized workloads with highly optimized Xeon SKUs and FPGAs. In short, Intel isn’t the company that makes your processor or server, it’s now (or rather wants to be) the platform that can handle your needs from end-to-end. Or, as the company’s recent slogan states: “move faster, store more, process everything.”

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Continue on to read our full coverage of Intel's announcements.

AMD Ryzen 2000-Series Processors See Big Price Drops

Subject: Processors | March 25, 2019 - 09:46 AM |
Tagged: shopping, sale, ryzen 7, ryzen 5, ryzen, processor, price drop, cpu, APU, amd, amazon, 2700x, 2700, 2600x, 2400G

If you haven't looked at AMD Ryzen processor listings over the weekend you might be surprised to see prices reduces across the board on Amazon specifically, with some pretty significant discounts including a Ryzen 7 2700 for only $219.99 (list price is $299). While we could debate whether these price changes signal the coming of 3000-series Ryzen CPUs sooner rather than later, the price drops are great for consumers regardless.

Here's a current list of the best deals on Ryzen 2000-series processors from Amazon, which seems to have the best prices (with Newegg's discounts far less dramatic).

Ryzen7_box.jpg

AMD Ryzen 7 2700X Processor with Wraith Prism LED Cooler

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 Processor with Wraith Spire LED Cooler

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X Processor with Wraith Spire Cooler

AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor with Wraith Stealth Cooler

AMD Ryzen 5 2400G Processor with Radeon RX Vega 11 Graphics

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It's always tough to consider a build or upgrade when a new CPU launch is imminent, but the flipside is that previous-gen parts get cheaper (well, at least with these Ryzen parts they do). Here's to more price drops throughout the year.

Source: Amazon.com

Ripping threads with Coreprio and DLM

Subject: Processors | March 20, 2019 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: amd, coreprio, threadripper 2, 2990wx, dynamic local mode

Owning a Threadripper is not boring, the new architecture offers a variety of interesting challenges to keep your attention.  One of these features is the lack of direct memory access for two of the dies, which can cause some performance issues and was at least partially addressed by introducing Dynamic Local Mode into Ryzen Master.  On Windows boxes, enabling that feature ensures your hardest working cores have direct memory access, on Linux systems the problem simply doesn't exist.  Another choice is Coreprio, developed by Bitsum, which accomplishes the same task but without the extras included in Ryzen Master. 

Techgage ran a series of benchmarks comparing the differences in performance between the default setting, DLM and Coreprio.

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"Performance regression issues in Windows on AMD’s top-end Ryzen Threadripper CPUs haven’t gone unnoticed by those who own them, and six months after launch, the issues remain. Fortunately, there’s a new tool making the rounds that can help smooth out those regressions. We’re taking an initial look."

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Source: Techgage

AMD States Its CPUs Are Not Susceptible to SPOILER

Subject: Processors | March 18, 2019 - 08:38 AM |
Tagged: spoiler, speculation, spectre, rowhammer, meltdown, amd

AMD has issued a support article stating that its CPUs are not susceptible to the recently disclosed SPOILER vulnerability. Support Article PA-240 confirms initial beliefs that AMD processors were immune from this specific issue due to the different ways that AMD and Intel processors store and access data:

We are aware of the report of a new security exploit called SPOILER which can gain access to partial address information during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because of our unique processor architecture. The SPOILER exploit can gain access to partial address information above address bit 11 during load operations. We believe that our products are not susceptible to this issue because AMD processors do not use partial address matches above address bit 11 when resolving load conflicts.

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SPOILER, one of the latest in the line of speculative execution vulnerabilities that have called into question years of processor architecture design, describes a process that can expose the mappings between virtual and physical memory. That's not a complete issue in and of itself, but it allows other attacks such as Rowhammer to be executed much more quickly and easily.

The research paper that initially disclosed SPOILER earlier this month states that Intel CPUs dating as far back as the first generation Core-series processors are affected. Intel, however, has stated that the vulnerabilities described in the paper can be avoided. The company provided a statement to PC Perspective following our initial SPOILER reporting:

Intel received notice of this research, and we expect that software can be protected against such issues by employing side channel safe software development practices. This includes avoiding control flows that are dependent on the data of interest. We likewise expect that DRAM modules mitigated against Rowhammer style attacks remain protected. Protecting our customers and their data continues to be a critical priority for us and we appreciate the efforts of the security community for their ongoing research.

Source: AMD

AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 mobilizes

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | February 25, 2019 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: Adrenalin Edition, adrenaline 19.2.3, amd, ryzen, Vega

AMD's regular driver updates have a new trick up their sleeves, they now include drivers for AMD Ryzen APUs with a Vega GPU inside.  Today's 19.2.3 launch is the first to be able to do so, and you can expect future releases to as well.  This is a handy integration for AMD users, even if you have a GPU installed you can be sure that your APU drivers are also up to date in case you need them.  For many users this may mean your Hybrid APU + GPU combination will offer better performance than you have seen recently, with no extra effort required from you.

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Along with the support for Ryzen APUs you will also see these changes.

Support For:

  • AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics Up to 10% average performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.
  • Up to 17% average performance gains in eSports titles with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.
  • Dirt Rally 2 - Up to 3% performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3, on a Radeon RX Vega 64 in Dirt Rally 2.

Fixed Issues:

  • Battlefield V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived.
  • Fan speeds may remain elevated for longer periods than expected when using Tuning Control Auto Overclock or manual fan curve in Radeon WattMan on AMD Radeon VII.
  • ReLive wireless VR may experience an application crash or hang during extended periods of play.
  • Zero RPM will correctly disable in Radeon WattMan on available system configurations when manual fan curve is enabled.
  • A loss of video may be intermittently experienced when launching a fullscreen player application with Radeon FreeSync enabled.

Known Issues:

  • Mouse lag or system slowdown is observed for extended periods of time with two or more displays connected and one display switched off.
  • Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.
  • Some Mobile or Hybrid Graphics system configurations may intermittently experience green flicker when moving the mouse over YouTube videos in Chrome web browser.
    • A work around if this occurs is to disable hardware acceleration.
  • Radeon WattMan settings changes may intermittently not apply on AMD Radeon VII.
  • Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

 

Source: AMD

Report: Intel Pentium Gold G5620 on the Way: First 4 Ghz Pentium

Subject: Processors | February 20, 2019 - 09:59 AM |
Tagged: rumor, report, processor, pentium, Intel, G5620, G5600T, G5420T, G5420, G4950, G4930T, G4930, cpu, celeron

The Pentium processor has been around since the end of the 486 era, introduced in 1993 at a startling cost of $878 for the 60 MHz version, and $964 for 66 MHz (when purchased in quantities of 1000, that is). Now Intel is taking Pentium into uncharted waters for 2019, with the Pentium Gold G5620 reaching 4.0 GHz for the first time for a processor bearing the iconic brand.

Pentium_Gold.jpg

Image via Tom's Hardware

According to reports from Tom's Hardware and AnandTech the Pentium G5620, listed early by retailers in Europe, is a 2-core / 4-thread part that will apparently be at the top of the new budget desktop CPU lineup. Alongside the Pentium G5620 there will refreshed Pentium and Celeron CPUs, as listed by Tom's Hardware:

"...the other processors listed include the G5420 (3.8 GHz, 2/4), G5600T (3.3 GHz, 2/4), G5420T (3.2 GHz, 2/4), the Celeron G4950 (3.3 GHz, 2/2), the Celeron G4930 (3.2 GHz, 2/2), and the Celeron G4930T (3.0 GHz, 2/2)."

We do not have an Intel announcement yet of course, so no details about architecture, process tech, or official pricing. March or April is the expected timeframe based on the listings, and with no official release dates we can only speculate on actual availability here in the U.S.

Rumor: AMD Launching 7nm Ryzen 3000, X500 Motherboards, and Navi GPUs on July 7th

Subject: Processors | February 19, 2019 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, x570, X500, Ryzen 3000, navi, matisse, amd, 7nm

Spotted by HardOCP, Paul from Red Gaming Tech recently shared leaked information from a source with a reputation of being reliable (from past leaks about 7nm GPUs) who claims that AMD will be announcing a plethora of products at Computex in June to setup for the launch of Zen 2-based 7nm "Matisse" Ryzen 3000 desktop processors, X500 series chipset-based motherboards, and 7nm Navi-based consumer gaming graphics cards on July 7th (The 7th for 7nm I guess).

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Image via AnandTech

As a refresher, Zen 2 is the next major architectural jump for AMD while also pushing a new smaller process node. AMD has not yet revealed all the details about Zen 2 especially about consumer chips, but the new microarchitecture is said to feature tweaks to the front end that along with clockspeed bumps from the TSMC 7nm process will allow them to realize notable IPC and single threaded performance gains. When talking about EPYC 2 "Rome" server processors (Zen 2 based) AMD hinted at changes to branch prediction and pre-fetching as well as increased cache sizes and larger FPUs (256-bit), for example. The move to 7nm allegedly allows AMD to hit similar power envelopes to Zen+ (12nm) Ryzen 2000 series processors while hitting much higher clockspeeds at up to 5.1 GHz boost on their top-end chip. While mobile chips may strike a finer balance between power usage and performance with the move to 7nm, on the desktop AMD is spending nearly all the power savings on performance (which makes sense). Note that it is still not officially official that AMD is using a scaled down EPYC setup with more than one 7nm (TSMC) CPU die and a separate IO die (14nm Global Foundries), [they only teased a chip at CES with an IO die and a single CPU die] but I am of the opinion that that particular rumor makes more sense than otherwise so am inclined to believe this is the case.

AMD Ryzen 3000 7nm CPU and 14nm IO die.png

Ryzen 3000 series processors feature an IO chiplet along with what is rumored to be up to two CPU chiplets (image credit: Tom's Hardware).

From previous leaks, Ryzen 3000 is said to cover all the bases from six core Ryzen 3 3300 series chips to midrange eight core Ryzen 5 and on up to 12 and 16 core Ryzen 9 CPUs that move beyond a single CPU die to two 7nm CPU dies that feature eight cores each. In fact, the top end Ryzen 9 3850X is supposedly a 16 core (32 thread) monster of a desktop chip that has a base frequency of 4.3 GHz and can boost up to 5.1 GHz with a 135W TDP (which when overclocked will likely draw dramatically more like we've seen with both AMD and Intel's top end consumer chips) and price tag of around $520 (400 pounds). The Ryzen 7 3700 and 3700X are 12 core (24 thread) models with TDPs of 95W and 105W respectively with the non-x SKU clocked at 3.8 to 4.6 GHz and the 3700X clocked at 4.2 GHz base and 5 GHz boost. The Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X are the top end single CPU die models (though a 2x single CCX per die chips might be a reality depending on yields) at eight cores and 16 threads. The Ryzen 3 3300 series parts represent the low end which is now interestingly six cores (oh how times have changed!). Perhaps most interesting of the leaked chips are the Ryzen 5 3600G (~$207) and the Ryzen 3 3300G (~$130) though which feature Navi 12 integrated graphics (presumably these processors combine one 7nm CPU die, one 7nm GPU die, and one 14nm IO die) with 15 and 20 CUs respectively.

As for motherboards, in general the new chips will use the AM4 socket and will be compatible with older 300 and 400 series motherboards with a BIOS update though the top end chips may well necessitate a new X570 or other X500 series motherboard with better power delivery especially for enthusiasts planning to attempt stable overclocks.

Unfortunately, on Navi details are still a bit scarce but the new architecture should bring performance enhancements even beyond Radeon VII (Vega on 7nm). Allegedly due to issues with TSMC, Red Gaming Tech's source believes that Navi might be delayed or pushed back beyond the planned mid-summer release date, but we will have to wait and see. As TSMC ramps up its partial EUV enhanced 7nm node it may free up needed production line space of the current 7nm node for AMD (to fight with others over heh) to meet its intended deadline but we will just have to wait and see!

Take these rumors with a grain of salt as usual but it certainly sounds like it is hoing to be an exciting summer for PC hardware! Hopefully more details about Ryzen 3000 and Navi emerge before then though as that's quite a while yet to wait. Of course, Zen 2 APUs are not coming until at least next year and AMD is still not talking Zen 2 Threadripper which may not see release until the fall at the very earliest. I am very interested to see how AMDs chiplet based design fares and how well they are able to scale it across their product stack(s) as well as what Intel's response will be as it presses on with a fine tuned 14nm++ and a less ambitious 10nm node.

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