Friday, August 3rd 2018

AMD Unveils its Most Powerful Semi-custom SoC for a Chinese OEM

Chinese PC maker Zhongshan Subor believes that there is space for a class of devices between game consoles and gaming desktops, targeted at Chinese gamers that game a lot online, and won't mind a little productivity on the side. The same class of people are repulsed by the idea of gaming desktops from traditional OEMs, which tend to be overpriced; and don't want to burn their hands building their own PC. For them, there's a new console-desktop; which runs common PC OS, plays PC versions of games, and runs PC apps, while exhibiting some characteristics of a console (perhaps a dashboard, and a highly customized user-interface stack), called simply SUBOR.

A part of what makes SUBOR affordable compared to OEM gaming desktops is because every component is purpose-built, including the SoC at the heart of it. This semi-custom SoC is codenamed "Fenghuang." The chip is a cut above the one that powers the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. It combines a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on AMD's latest "Zen" architecture, compared to the low-power "Jaguar" derivatives that power the fastest consoles. The CPU runs at up to 3.00 GHz of clocks, and has 4 MB of L3 cache. The GPU is equally impressive: based on "Vega," it packs 24 NGCUs, translating to 1,536 stream processors, and the latest feature-set, including DirectX 12 and Vulkan. The GPU engine ticks at up to 1.30 GHz. 8 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide interface, is hardwired to the SoC (no memory expansion). The SUBOR will be unveiled at China Joy 2018.
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52 Comments on AMD Unveils its Most Powerful Semi-custom SoC for a Chinese OEM

#1
StrayKAT
I can see this being a hit in China.

One thing I don't see mentioned much.. and it's not to be offensive.. but the Chinese are kind of wasteful. Many don't seem to have the same love/attention to detail/care for their property or tools, in many cases. I have to wonder if they even have a strong PC building culture there.

It goes for their buildings, or their bikes, or their cars. And I can see them being just as disposable with their computers. If a bike breaks, you might just find it left to rot and they buy a new one.
Posted on Reply
#2
wiak
a steam machine like they should have made form the start?
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#3
ShurikN
I gotta say, that's a nice looking case. And the hardware ain't too shabby as well.
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#4
yjjddpizza
"StrayKAT said:
I can see this being a hit in China.

One thing I don't see mentioned much.. and it's not to be offensive.. but the Chinese are kind of wasteful. Many don't seem to have the same love/attention to detail/care for their property or tools, in many cases. I have to wonder if they even have a strong PC building culture there.

It goes for their buildings, or their bikes, or their cars. And I can see them being just as disposable with their computers. If a bike breaks, you might just find it left to rot and they buy a new one.
As a Chinese, I have to say, yes, we are wasteful in so many things, except for consumer electronics for whatever reason.
PCs are considered luxury items in China, so most people in China keep on using PCs running Windows XP/7 from 10+ years ago.

Speaking of PC building culture, we have two large factions here: one is the Chiphell/Graphics Card forum faction while the other one is called the Tulatin faction.
Chiphell faction guys buy everything latest and greatest. Cost is no object. For example, one of their forum members is the son of a Chinese real estate mogul.
On the Tulatin side, they mainly source parts from Taobao, which in turn sources their parts from international recycling companies. The mainstay of the Tulatin faction are LGA775/771/1366 chipsets, while LGA2011 is gaining traction.

Stupid but true, we value consumer electronics more than anything else.

By the way, the company building this 'gaming PC' is famous in China for building cheap NES knockoffs. Few people in China know NES, but all of them know 'Xiaobawang'(Subor).
They advertise this thing for being 'piracy-proof', yeah a pirate against piracy.:roll:
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#6
DeathtoGnomes
"StrayKAT said:
I can see this being a hit in China.

One thing I don't see mentioned much.. and it's not to be offensive.. but the Chinese are kind of wasteful. Many don't seem to have the same love/attention to detail/care for their property or tools, in many cases. I have to wonder if they even have a strong PC building culture there.

It goes for their buildings, or their bikes, or their cars. And I can see them being just as disposable with their computers. If a bike breaks, you might just find it left to rot and they buy a new one.
In the more populated areas, living space is major premium. Where are they gonna put a PC in a 8x10 apartment? The rest, you are not wrong.
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#7
silentbogo
Wow, this looks like a nice platform. It's basically like an i7-8809G, only cheaper because it will run GDDR5 instead of HBM.
In case of NUC w/ Vega 24 the gaming performance was on par with GTX1060 Max-Q, so I'm sure that even with GDDR5 it will be enough for any currently popular MoBa/MMO/FPS and not just in china. Something like Dota2 or LoL will probably run just fine even in 4K.

And, if AMD will use a full-featured desktop Ryzen core instead of a mobile counterpart (like intel did), then it might become a "Hades Canyon killer". In this case I can easily see it pushing 1080p @ 120-144Hz in most popular online shooters.

I'd love to get me one of those once it comes out (need to find a GF in China ASAP, since it's for "internal market only")...

"wiak said:
a steam machine like they should have made form the start?
Lol. I just wanted to say that, and then scrolled down to comments.
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#8
GreiverBlade
"eidairaman1 said:
Console
not really a console, my Alienware Alpha R1 (the same as their STEAM Machine but without restriction and a tad cheaper .... for laugh ...) had also a customized Dashboard, based on KODI and capable of launching UPLAY/STEAM/Origine, and it wasn't a console ...
calling it a console-desktop is also wrong (it's diminishing what the machine is really ...) ... since it can run any PC OS the only difference with my Alpha R1 is the CPU and GPU are in a SOC (and probably quite more powerful)

oh well can't beat a "single word post" :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#9
silentbogo
"GreiverBlade said:
not really a console, my Alienware Alpha R1 (the same as their STEAM Machine but without restriction and a tad cheaper .... for laugh ...) had also a customized Dashboard, based on KODI and capable of launching UPLAY/STEAM/Origine, and it wasn't a console ...
calling it a console-desktop is also wrong (it's diminishing what the machine is really ...) ... since it can run any PC OS the only difference with my Alpha R1 is the CPU and GPU are in a SOC (and probably quite more powerful)
Well, it's not really wrong either. From what we know so far it'll have a unified pool of GDDR5, just like a console (like iGPU shared memory, but backwards). This means that most likely it will run some customized linux distro with proprietary AMD drivers, but it could probably run Steam or most likely a custom Tencent(WeGame) client with an equally extensive library of games, like Lineage series, Pubg, LoL, a shitton of chinese online FPS shooters(some of which are pretty good from the looks of it), and even bigger shitton of casual games.

Intel's NUC, in contrast, is a full-fledged PC with DDR4 system memory and dedicated HBM2 graphics memory, fully windows-compatible and can run whatever all PCs run. Though, the price tag still scares me.

In regards to AMD counterpart, I'm not sure about pricing and it's hard to make predictions, but it should be in a ballpark of ~$500-600(maybe a bit cheaper).
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#10
yjjddpizza
"silentbogo said:
This means that most likely it will run some customized linux distro with proprietary AMD drivers.
Nope. It dualboots Windows 10 and a custom Windows 10 IoT 'gaming OS'.
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#11
silentbogo
"yjjddpizza said:
Nope. It dualboots Windows 10 and a custom Windows 10 IoT 'gaming OS'.
Found a screen of it running Windows 10, which is cool.
Not so sure about this "Windows 10 IoT Gaming OS", cause first of all it does not make sense to make a gaming OS out of stripped down windows kernel meant for remotely managed low-power devices, and second : W10 IoT only supports UI apps written for UWP (Win32 console apps do work, cause they don't need legacy GUI libraries).

Posted on Reply
#12
yjjddpizza
"silentbogo said:
Not so sure about this "Windows 10 IoT Gaming OS", cause first of all it does not make sense to make a gaming OS out of stripped down windows kernel meant for remotely managed low-power devices, and second : W10 IoT only supports UI apps written for UWP (Win32 console apps do work, cause they don't need legacy GUI libraries).
My bad, they said IoT Enterprise
Posted on Reply
#13
iO
"silentbogo said:
Well, it's not really wrong either. From what we know so far it'll have a unified pool of GDDR5, just like a console (like iGPU shared memory, but backwards).
No its GDDR5 for the GPU and regular DDR4 for the CPU. Nothing unified.
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#14
Caring1
Looks cool anyway, makes me want one :laugh:
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#15
efikkan
Unfortunately, custom SoCs like consoles and whatever this is, will be the focus for AMD in the coming years.
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#16
silentbogo
Located few other important details about it on russian 3dnews:
* it's an R5 1350 (downclocked version of R5 1400)
* TDP is limited to 100W, which means it's definitely a desktop
* Preliminary pricing is set at 4998 Yuan (~$730)
* They will release 2 versions of this thing (same hardware): one is a PC, and another one is a console running "customized OS".

https://3dnews.ru/973484
https://community.amd.com/community/gaming/blog/2018/08/03/new-amd-semi-custom-soc-combines-the-power-of-amd-ryzen-cpu-and-amd-vega-gpu-for-gamers-in-china
https://www.overclock3d.net/news/systems/amd_partners_with_zhongshan_subor_to_create_a_custom_high-performance_ryzen_vega_soc_console/1

"iO said:
No its GDDR5 for the GPU and regular DDR4 for the CPU. Nothing unified.
read the OP:
"btarunr said:
The GPU engine ticks at up to 1.30 GHz. 8 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide interface, is hardwired to the SoC (no memory expansion).
What it means (and what I understand from AMD's press-release), is that GDDR5 is embedded onto the module. If it had any traditional RAM, I'm sure someone would've mentioned it, or at least asked AMD to clarify.
Another reason why I'm 100% sure it's definitely a unified memory pool, is that AMD had plans for it on PCs since 2012-2013 with their older APUs, but the only platforms using it are PS4/Pro and XBOne X consoles. This is not just a side-hassle to sell some custom chips... AMD has put their name on it because this console will be a showcase for AMD's new tech (both MCM and unified memory).
Posted on Reply
#17
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
"GreiverBlade said:
not really a console, my Alienware Alpha R1 (the same as their STEAM Machine but without restriction and a tad cheaper .... for laugh ...) had also a customized Dashboard, based on KODI and capable of launching UPLAY/STEAM/Origine, and it wasn't a console ...
calling it a console-desktop is also wrong (it's diminishing what the machine is really ...) ... since it can run any PC OS the only difference with my Alpha R1 is the CPU and GPU are in a SOC (and probably quite more powerful)

oh well can't beat a "single word post" :laugh:
Yeah and a Switch can Run Linux and a Sega Dreamcast can run Windows CE.

The thing in the picture looks like a hybrid of last gen consoles by the design...
Posted on Reply
#18
phill
"eidairaman1 said:
Console
If only it was a true console then it would just work, none of these bloody updates most times you turn it on to watch a film or something.. Such a righteous pain in the backside... Bring back the consoles from the Sega Mega Drive and such era, they worked and worked and worked.. Even the latest versions Dreamcast for example, worked (no updates that I know of...??) even thought it was starting to turn into a PC kinda of machine...
Why do they try and make the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro into everything but just a games console is beyond me...
Posted on Reply
#19
GreiverBlade
"eidairaman1 said:
Yeah and a Switch can Run Linux and a Sega Dreamcast can run Windows CE.
a Dreamcast ran windows CE from start ... :p and i considered that one like a PC :laugh: (well ... at last the Dreamcast was an enjoyable console for me )

tho ... did a switch and a Dreamcast had access to the whole PC library? aside that this "console" will not have access to the exclusive title library if the other console (just like a PC also )

"silentbogo said:
Well, it's not really wrong either. From what we know so far it'll have a unified pool of GDDR5, just like a console (like iGPU shared memory, but backwards). This means that most likely it will run some customized linux distro with proprietary AMD drivers, but it could probably run Steam or most likely a custom Tencent(WeGame) client with an equally extensive library of games, like Lineage series, Pubg, LoL, a shitton of chinese online FPS shooters(some of which are pretty good from the looks of it), and even bigger shitton of casual games.

Intel's NUC, in contrast, is a full-fledged PC with DDR4 system memory and dedicated HBM2 graphics memory, fully windows-compatible and can run whatever all PCs run. Though, the price tag still scares me.

In regards to AMD counterpart, I'm not sure about pricing and it's hard to make predictions, but it should be in a ballpark of ~$500-600(maybe a bit cheaper).
well in that respect it's a thin client :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#20
msroadkill612
"StrayKAT said:
I can see this being a hit in China.

One thing I don't see mentioned much.. and it's not to be offensive.. but the Chinese are kind of wasteful. Many don't seem to have the same love/attention to detail/care for their property or tools, in many cases. I have to wonder if they even have a strong PC building culture there.

It goes for their buildings, or their bikes, or their cars. And I can see them being just as disposable with their computers. If a bike breaks, you might just find it left to rot and they buy a new one.
Hmm. Anachronistic imo. There is no point setting up a modern factory on the cheap. Volumes are so high and automation is economic irrespective of wage rates. Only near perfection makes sense. The alternative is far too expensive.
Posted on Reply
#21
jabbadap
"silentbogo said:
Located few other important details about it on russian 3dnews:
* it's an R5 1350 (downclocked version of R5 1400)
* TDP is limited to 100W, which means it's definitely a desktop
* Preliminary pricing is set at 4998 Yuan (~$730)
* They will release 2 versions of this thing (same hardware): one is a PC, and another one is a console running "customized OS".
https://3dnews.ru/973484
https://community.amd.com/community/gaming/blog/2018/08/03/new-amd-semi-custom-soc-combines-the-power-of-amd-ryzen-cpu-and-amd-vega-gpu-for-gamers-in-china
https://www.overclock3d.net/news/systems/amd_partners_with_zhongshan_subor_to_create_a_custom_high-performance_ryzen_vega_soc_console/1

read the OP:

What it means (and what I understand from AMD's press-release), is that GDDR5 is embedded onto the module. If it had any traditional RAM, I'm sure someone would've mentioned it, or at least asked AMD to clarify.
Another reason why I'm 100% sure it's definitely a unified memory pool, is that AMD had plans for it on PCs since 2012-2013 with their older APUs, but the only platforms using it are PS4/Pro and XBOne X consoles. This is not just a side-hassle to sell some custom chips... AMD has put their name on it because this console will be a showcase for AMD's new tech (both MCM and unified memory).
Chiphell has pic of it, I can't see any MCM on it though:
Posted on Reply
#22
Bucknuts77
"efikkan said:
Unfortunately, custom SoCs like consoles and whatever this is, will be the focus for AMD in the coming years.
I wouldn't call that a bad thing as long as AMD is spreading the money around in CPU/GPU development. Ryzen is a major hit but the GPU's are still lacking so another revenue source is good.
Posted on Reply
#23
silentbogo
"jabbadap said:
Chiphell has pic of it, I can't see any MCM on it though:
Interesting... Looks like a real deal.
So, both CPU and GPU are on the same die(which is probably better)...
Though, this pic only confirms the initial RAM info: it's 8xGDDR5 chips (can't see the markings, but it might be Samsung K4G80325FB-HC03, same as on PS4), each in 256x32 config totaling 8GB GDDR5 with combined 256-bit bus width. No DDR3/4 RAM, no slots either.

What's interesting, is that SSD is not soldered (I was afraid it would be), so not only can you upgrade that 1TB SATA HDD, but also throw-in a larger/faster M.2 SSD.

"yjjddpizza said:
My bad, they said IoT Enterprise
That's more like it.
For those unfamiliar: Win10 IoT Enterprise is pretty much a re-marketed Windows 10 Enterprise LTSB, only with trendy abbreviation IoT slapped on it and distributed mostly through hardware OEMs (IoT gateways, industrial mini-PCs etc).
Basically the best and the most lightweight version of Windows 10, 'cause it has no windows store, no crapware, no unnecessary services.
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#24
GoldenX
...
I kinda want that SoC on my PC.
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#25
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
"phill said:
If only it was a true console then it would just work, none of these bloody updates most times you turn it on to watch a film or something.. Such a righteous pain in the backside... Bring back the consoles from the Sega Mega Drive and such era, they worked and worked and worked.. Even the latest versions Dreamcast for example, worked (no updates that I know of...??) even thought it was starting to turn into a PC kinda of machine...
Why do they try and make the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro into everything but just a games console is beyond me...
Because they want you to replace every set-top box you have inside your home the games themselves did have some glitches at times but people were able to figure out bug fixes for those if they had the right equipment to implement those bug fixes into the cartridges and selves and also some games were released without anyone telling us that they were updated with the bug fixes for the Genesis Mega Drive era the most well-known bug in Sonic the Hedgehog 1 was bouncing on spikes twice there was no invincibility for a few seconds.
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