Author:
Manufacturer: ARM

ARM Refreshes All the Things

This past April ARM invited us to visit Cambridge, England so they could discuss with us their plans for the next year.  Quite a bit has changed for the company since our last ARM Tech Day in 2016.  They were acquired by SoftBank, but continue to essentially operate as their own company.  They now have access to more funds, are less risk averse, and have a greater ability to expand in the ever growing mobile and IOT marketplaces.

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The ARM of today certainly is quite different than what we had known 10 years ago when we saw their technology used in the first iPhone.  The company back then had good technology, but a relatively small head count.  They kept pace with the industry, but were not nearly as aggressive as other chip companies in some areas.  Through the past 10 years they have grown not only in numbers, but in technologies that they have constantly expanded on.  The company became more PR savvy and communicated more effectively with the press and in the end their primary users.  Where once ARM would announce new products and not expect to see shipping products upwards of 3 years away, we are now seeing the company be much more aggressive with their designs and getting them out to their partners so that production ends up happening in months as compared to years.

Several days of meetings and presentations left us a bit overwhelmed by what ARM is bringing to market towards the end of 2017 and most likely beginning of 2018.  On the surface it appears that ARM has only done a refresh of the CPU and GPU products, but once we start looking at these products in the greater scheme and how they interact with DynamIQ we see that ARM has changed the mobile computing landscape dramatically.  This new computing concept allows greater performance, flexibility, and efficiency in designs.  Partners will have far more control over these licensed products to create more value and differentiation as compared to years past.

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We have previously covered DynamIQ at PCPer this past March.  ARM wanted to seed that concept before they jumped into more discussions on their latest CPUs and GPUs.  Previous Cortex products cannot be used with DynamIQ.  To leverage that technology we must have new CPU designs.  In this article we are covering the Cortex-A55 and Cortex-A75.  These two new CPUs on the surface look more like a refresh, but when we dig in we see that some massive changes have been wrought throughout.  ARM has taken the concepts of the previous A53 and A73 and expanded upon them fairly dramatically, not only to work with DynamIQ but also by removing significant bottlenecks that have impeded theoretical performance.

Continue reading our overview of the new family of ARM CPUs and GPU!

AMD Announces #Ryzen7Seconds Sweepstakes

Subject: Processors | May 26, 2017 - 11:57 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, giveaway, amd

Between now and July 7th, 2017, which could also be written as 7/7/17, AMD is hosting a sweepstakes (not a contest) to promote Ryzen 7. The premise is that fans will create a video of themselves doing seven different activities in seven seconds. Prizes will be awarded for randomly selected, eligible entries. Alternatively, you can enter by doing some things on Twitter… the details are available on AMD’s website.

This is the reason why I said “not a contest”. According to the rules, these videos will not actually be judged; it's pure luck. The drawing will occur on (roughly) June 2nd, June 9th, June 16th, June 23rd, June 30th, and two drawings on July 7th. Each drawing is for an AMD Ryzen 7 1700X, with one winner per drawing.

Source: AMD

Ryzen and the art of benchmark maintenance

Subject: Processors | May 19, 2017 - 04:15 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, ryzen 5 1400, ryzen 5 1600

Neoseeker tested out the 4 core Ryzen 5 1400 and 6 core 1600 model to see how they stack up against other lower cost processors.  They ran the tests at the highest stable overclock they could reach, interestingly both were able to hit a 3.8 GHz base clock, paired with DDR4-2400.  The processors were cooled with AMD's Wraith Max cooler so it is possible to push these CPUs further if you are willing to overvolt.  Drop by to see how these two processor match up to the competition.

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"The two AMD processors for review today are the newest budget offerings of the Ryzen 5 series with the Ryzen 1400 and 1600 models. The Ryzen 1400 is a four core/eight thread and the Ryzen 1600 is a six core/twelve thread processor, with both having a base operating speed of 3.2 GHz. The boost clock for the Ryzen 1400 is 3.4 GHz while the Ryzen 1600 is able to boost to 3.6 GHz."

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Source: Neoseeker

AMD Teases Ryzen Mobile APUs with Zen CPU Cores and On-Die Vega Graphics

Subject: Processors | May 18, 2017 - 01:01 AM |
Tagged: Zen, Vega, ryzen mobile, ryzen, raven ridge, APU, amd

AMD teased its upcoming Zen-based APUs aimed at mobile devices during its Financial Analyst Day where the company revealed the "Raven Ridge" parts will be aptly known as Ryzen Mobile. The Tech Report managed to acquire a couple slides which confirm some of the broader specifications and reveal how they stack up to AMD's latest Bristol Ridge A-Series APUs – at least as far as AMD's internal testing is concerned (which is to say not independently verified yet so take with a grain of salt).

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Ryzen Mobile appears to be the new consumer-facing brand name for what has so far been code named "Raven Ridge". These parts will use a Zen-based CPU, Vega GPU, and integrated chipset. Thanks to the slides, it is now confirmed that the Vega-based graphics processor will be on-die. What has not been confirmed is whether the chipset will be on die or on package and exact specifications on CPU cores counts, GPU Compute Units, cache, memory support, and I/O like PCI-E lanes (you know, all the good stuff! heh). Note that rumors so far point towards Raven Ridge / Ryzen Mobile utilizing a single 4-core (8-thread) CCX, per core L2, 8MB shared L3 cache, and a Vega-based GPU with 1024 cores. HBM2 has also been rumored for awhile but we will have to wait for more leaks and/or an official announcement to know for sure if these Ryzen Mobile parts aimed for the second half of 2017 will have that (hopefully!).

With that said, according to AMD, Ryzen Mobile will offer up to 50% better CPU performance, 40% better GPU performance, and will use up to 50% less power than the previous 7th generation (Excavator-based) A-Series APUs (e.g. FX 9830P and A12-9730P). Those are some pretty bold claims, but still within the realm of possibility. Zen and Vega are both much more efficient architectures and AMD is also benefiting from a smaller process node (TSMC 28nm vs Samsung / GlobalFoundries 14nm FinFET). I do wonder how high the APUs will be able to clock on the CPU side of things with 4 GHz seeming to be the wall for most Zen-based Summit Ridge chips, so most of the CPU performance improvement claims will have to come from architecture changes rather than increases in clockspeeds (the highest clocked A-Series Bristol Ridge ran at up to 3.7 GHz and I would expect Raven Ridge to be around that, maybe the flagship part turbo-ing a bit more). Raven Ridge will benefit from the shared L3 cache and, more importantly, twice as many threads (4 vs 8) and this may be where AMD is primarily getting that 50% more CPU performance number from. On the graphics side of things, it looks like Bristol Ridge with its R7 graphics (GCN 3 (Tonga/Fiji on the Desktop)) had up to 512 cores. Again, taking the rumors into account which say that Raven Ridge will have a 1024 core Vega GPU, this may be where AMD is getting the large performance increase from (the core increase as well as newer architecture). On the other hand, the 40% number could suggest Ryzen Mobile will not have twice the GPU cores. I would guess that 1024 might be possible, but running at lower clocks and that is where the discrepancy is. I will admit I am a bit skeptical about the 1024 (16 CU) number though because that is a huge jump... I guess we will see though!

Further, I am curious if Ryzen Mobile will use HBC (high bandwidth cache) and if HBM2 does turn out to be utilized how that will play into the HBC and whether or not we will finally see the fruits of AMD's HSA labors! I think we will see most systems use DDR4, but certainly some SKUs could use HBM2 and that would definitely open up a lot of performance possibilities on mobile!

There is still a lot that we do not know, but Ryzen Mobile is coming and AMD is making big promises that I hope it delivers on. The company is aiming the new chips at a wide swath of the mobile market from budget laptops and tablets to convertibles and even has their sights set on premium thin and lights. The mobile space is one where AMD has struggled with in getting design wins even when they had good parts for that type of system. They will really need to push and hit Ryzen Mobile out of the park to make inroads into the laptop, tablet, and ultrabook markets!

AMD plans to launch the consumer version of Ryzen Mobile in the second half of this year (presumably with systems featuring the new APUs out in time for the holidays if not for the back to school end of summer rush). The commercial SKUs (which I think refers to the Ryzen equivalent of AMD Pro series APUs.Update: Mobile Ryzen Pro) will follow in the first half of 2018.

What are your thoughts on Ryzen Mobile and the alleged performance and power characteristics? Do you think the rumors are looking more or less correct?

Also read:

Source: Tech Report

AMD Compares 1x 32-Core EPYC to 2x 12-Core Xeon E5s

Subject: Processors | May 17, 2017 - 04:05 AM |
Tagged: amd, EPYC, 32 core, 64 thread, Intel, Broadwell-E, xeon

AMD has formally announced their EPYC CPUs. While Sebastian covered the product specifications, AMD has also released performance claims against a pair of Intel’s Broadwell-E Xeons. While Intel’s E5-2650 v4 processors have an MSRP of around $1170 USD, each, we don’t know how that price will compare to AMD’s offering. At first glance, pitting thirty two cores against two twelve-core chips seems a bit unfair, although it could end up being a very fair comparison if the prices align.

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Image Credit: Patrick Moorhead

Patrick Moorhead, who was at the event, tweeted out photos of a benchmark where Ubuntu was compiled over GCC. It looks like EPYC completed in just 33.7s while the Broadwell-E chip took 37.2s (making AMD’s part ~9.5% faster). While this, again, stems from having a third more cores, this depends on how much AMD is going to charge you for them, versus Intel’s current pricing structure.

amd-2017-epyc-threads.jpg

Image Credit: Patrick Moorhead

This one chip also has 128 PCIe lanes, rather than Intel’s 80 total lanes spread across two chips.

AMD's 16-Core Ryzen Threadripper CPUs Coming This Summer

Subject: Processors | May 16, 2017 - 07:22 PM |
Tagged: Zen, Threadripper, ryzen, processor, HEDT, cpu, amd

AMD revealed their entry into high-end desktop (HEDT) with the upcoming Ryzen "Threadripper" CPUs, which will feature up to 16 cores and 32 threads.

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Little information was revealed along with the announcement, other than to announce availablility as "summer 2017", though rumors and leaks surrounding Threadripper have been seen on the internet (naturally) leading up to today's announcement, including this one from Wccftech. Not only will Threadripper (allegedly) offer quad-channel memory support and 44 PCI Express lanes, but they are also rumored to be released in a massive 4094-pin package (same as "Naples" aka EPYC) that most assuredly will not fit into the AM4 socket.

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Image credit: Wccftech

These Threadripper CPUs follow the lead of Intel's HEDT parts on X99, which are essentially re-appropriated Xeons with higher clock speeds and some feature differences such as a lack of ECC memory support. It remains to be seen what exactly will separate the enthusiast AMD platform from the EPYC datacenter platform, though the rumored base clock speeds are much higher with Threadripper.

Source: AMD

AMD Announces EPYC: A Massive 32-Core Datacenter SoC

Subject: Processors | May 16, 2017 - 06:49 PM |
Tagged: Zen, server, ryzen, processor, EPYC, datacenter, cpu, amd, 64 thread, 32 core

AMD has announced their new datacenter CPU built on the Zen architecture, which the company is calling EPYC. And epic they are, as these server processors will be offered with up to 32 cores and 64 threads, 8 memory channels, and 128 PCI Express lanes per CPU.

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Some of the details about the upcoming "Naples" server processors (now EPYC) were revealed by AMD back in March, when the upcoming server chips were previewed:

"Naples" features:

  • A highly scalable, 32-core System on Chip (SoC) design, with support for two high-performance threads per core
  • Industry-leading memory bandwidth, with 8-channels of memory per "Naples" device. In a 2-socket server, support for up to 32 DIMMS of DDR4 on 16 memory channels, delivering up to 4 terabytes of total memory capacity.
  • The processor is a complete SoC with fully integrated, high-speed I/O supporting 128 lanes of PCIe, negating the need for a separate chip-set
  • A highly-optimized cache structure for high-performance, energy efficient compute
  • AMD Infinity Fabric coherent interconnect for two "Naples" CPUs in a 2-socket system
  • Dedicated security hardware 

EPYC Screen.png

Compared to Ryzen (or should it be RYZEN?), EPYC offers a huge jump in core count and available performance - though AMD's other CPU announcement (Threadripper) bridges the gap between the desktop and datacenter offerings with an HEDT product. This also serves to bring AMD's CPU offerings to parity with the Intel product stack with desktop/high performance desktop/server CPUs.

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EPYC is a large processor. (Image credit: The Tech Report)

While specifications were not offered, there have been leaks (of course) to help fill in the blanks. Wccftech offers these specs for EPYC (on the left):

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(Image credit: Wccftech)

We await further information from AMD about the EPYC launch.

Source: AMD
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Various

Application Profiling Tells the Story

It should come as no surprise to anyone that has been paying attention the last two months that the latest AMD Ryzen processors and architecture are getting a lot of attention. Ryzen 7 launched with a $499 part that bested the Intel $1000 CPU at heavily threaded applications and Ryzen 5 launched with great value as well, positioning a 6-core/12-thread CPU against quad-core parts from the competition. But part of the story that permeated through both the Ryzen 7 and the Ryzen 5 processor launches was the situation surrounding gaming performance, in particular 1080p gaming, and the surprising delta  that we see in some games.

Our team has done quite a bit of research and testing on this topic. This included a detailed look at the first asserted reason for the performance gap, the Windows 10 scheduler. Our summary there was that the scheduler was working as expected and that minimal difference was seen when moving between different power modes. We also talked directly with AMD to find out its then current stance on the results, backing up our claims on the scheduler and presented a better outlook for gaming going forward. When AMD wanted to test a new custom Windows 10 power profile to help improve performance in some cases, we took part in that too. In late March we saw the first gaming performance update occur courtesy of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation where an engine update to utilize more threads resulted in as much as 31% average frame increase.

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As a part of that dissection of the Windows 10 scheduler story, we also discovered interesting data about the CCX construction and how the two modules on the 1800X communicated. The result was significantly longer thread to thread latencies than we had seen in any platform before and it was because of the fabric implementation that AMD integrated with the Zen architecture.

This has led me down another hole recently, wondering if we could further compartmentalize the gaming performance of the Ryzen processors using memory latency. As I showed in my Ryzen 5 review, memory frequency and throughput directly correlates to gaming performance improvements, in the order of 14% in some cases. But what about looking solely at memory latency alone?

Continue reading our analysis of memory latency, 1080p gaming, and how it impacts Ryzen!!

5 by 5, AMD versus Intel in the $200 price range

Subject: Processors | May 9, 2017 - 03:26 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, amd, 1500X, 1600X, ryzen 5

The pricing of AMD's Ryzen 5 line spans from $170 to $250, similar to Intel's Core i5 line and may wwll tempt those a generation or two out of date to consider an upgrade.  In order to demonstrate differences in CPU performance Ars Technica tested both Intel and AMD processors paired with a GTX 1080 Ti.  By doing so at lower resolutions which the card can more than handle they expose differences in the performance of the two architectures, which seem to follow AMD's offerings into higher resolutions albeit with a smaller performance delta.  Check out the wide gamut of tests that were performed to see which architecture makes more sense for your usage, especially if you do more than just gaming and surfing.

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"The Ryzen 5 range is made up of four chips. At the top is the £240/$250 Ryzen 5 1600X, a 95W six-core chip that boasts simultaneous multithreading (SMT, the equivalent of hyper-threading), 16MB of L3 cache, and a 3.6GHz base clock."

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Source: Ars Technica

AMD Ryzen 7 1700X Selling for $333

Subject: Processors | May 9, 2017 - 03:13 PM |
Tagged: ryzen, amd, 1700X

A little birdie sent me a note this afternoon that the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X processor was selling on Amazon.com for just $333! Considering the launch price of that CPU was $399 just two months ago, a $60-70 discount makes this platform all the more compelling for consumers looking to build a new PC. Coupling that with the overclocking performance we saw from our Ryzen 1700 sample, you should be able to meet or exceed expectations with the 1700X model.

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This link led me down a bit of a rabbit hole as I wanted to see where a solid build would stand using that processor and a focus on budget. Now, keep in mind that this was put together rather hastily this afternoon, but here's what I came up with.

  Ryzen 7 1700X Build
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 1700X - $333
Cooler Thermaltake Contac Silent - $24
Motherboard ASUS Prime B350-Plus - $99
Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4-3000 - $118
Graphics Card EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB - $149
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 250GB - $107
Case Corsair 200R ATX Mid Tower Case - $56
Power Supply Corsair CX 500 watt - $59
Total Price $945 - Amazon.com Full Cart

For the base of the system, you can pick up the Ryzen 7 1700X processor for $333, a great B350-based motherboard from ASUS for $99 and 16GB of DDR4 memory running at 3000 MHz for just $118. Getting that memory at higher clock speeds is important for optimal Ryzen performance - hunt around to find the best deal! That's just $550 for the heart of a system that could power anything from the GTX 1050 Ti I included above to the GTX 1080 Ti if you are pushing the limits of graphics performance. 

If you try to stay within a reasonable budget, as I did above, you can build a from-scratch machine for under $1000 with some impressive specifications and capabilities. The GTX 1050 Ti will get you peak 1080p gaming capability while the 8-cores and 16-threads of the Ryzen 7 1700X will improve any workstation-class or multimedia workloads. 

Separately, but interestingly, the gang at 3DCenter.org posted the results of a survey taken about the Ryzen 5 processor launch, measuring the readers reactions to the release. In it, 83.9% of the audience looked upon the Ryzen 5 favorably, 9.4% as average and 6.7% negatively. If you compare that to the Ryzen 7 launch (74.6% favorable, 17.5% average, 7.9% negative) it seems that Ryzen 5 was better received than its big brother. But if you look back to October 2011 when the same survey was run about AMD Bulldozer, only 6.8% saw the CPU launch as favorable (!!). The last CPU launch that received nearly as positive a reaction as Ryzen 5/7 was the Sandy Bridge CPU back in January of 2011.

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Obviously this survey isn't a predictor of success or failure exactly, but it does point to an audience that is incredibly receptive to the new AMD processors. My own experience tells me that these numbers are fairly accurate to the mood about Ryzen, even after the 1080p gaming fiasco that circulates to this day. Interest and reaction are great for a company that needs to make in-roads in the market, but converting that consumer interest into purchases is the key for AMD going forward.