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Some Ryzen platform musings

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I suspect a X390 chip in the works in the next 2-3 years akin to the 990fx part
The chipset is till limited in the same way Intel's chipsets are, it connects to the CPU over 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Admittedly in this case, AMD doesn't allow the chipset to provide further 3.0 lanes, only 2.0, so that could be an improved as what Intel has done with the 10 and 20 series chipsets. However, it's not going to change things dramatically from what we have now.
 

Ebo

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@TheLostSwede

Because I believe NVMe is the future of storage. I don't care about more lanes for graphics cards, but AMD has gimped this platform by only allowing for a single, full-speed NVMe drive. It's a brand new platform and it's not up to snuff for the next 2-3+ years people will be using it, assuming there are no major jumps in CPU performance from now until then.

I'm fine with dual x8 for the graphics, but AMD should've added at least another 4 lanes for a second NVMe drive or a third PCIe 3.0 slot, even if it's only x4. There are plenty people that want to add things like 10Gbps (and soon 2.5 and 5Gbps) network cards to their builds. 2.5 and 5Gbps should work on a x4 PCIe 2.0 slot, but 10Gbps won't.
NVMe is still only a few % of the sale of SSDs worldwide, if thats going the be like you say: the future of storage actually you dont know. Prices on normal SSDs are going down allmost every month, and for avarage Joe that more than enough speed on a daily basis. You dont know if theres going to be a SATA IV standard with speeds just like NVMe and 3D NAND ram, then NVMe is dead in the water, execpt on workstations which is a whole different price than for avarage Joe.

I have a port on my MB for NVMe SSD also and can use 1, but the price has a lot to say, in my country Denmark NVMe SSDs are still expensive, as I can get 1 TB SSD fore less than one 512GB NVMe SSD, so you do the math, since I will allways choose room of storage over therodical speed
 
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@TheLostSwede



NVMe is still only a few % of the sale of SSDs worldwide, if thats going the be like you say: the future of storage actually you dont know. Prices on normal SSDs are going down allmost every month, and for avarage Joe that more than enough speed on a daily basis. You dont know if theres going to be a SATA IV standard with speeds just like NVMe and 3D NAND ram, then NVMe is dead in the water, execpt on workstations which is a whole different price than for avarage Joe.

I have a port on my MB for NVMe SSD also and can use 1, but the price has a lot to say, in my country Denmark NVMe SSDs are still expensive, as I can get 1 TB SSD fore less than one 512GB NVMe SSD, so you do the math, since I will allways choose room of storage over therodical speed
So you're saying that prices of SATA based SSD's are coming down, but not NVMe? If so, I think that's limited to Denmark. In the rest of the world, NVMe drives are following the same trend. SATA is a dying interface, but it'll be around for at least another 5-10 years for bulk storage applications.

However, my point in this case is that AMD could've done well by including an extra 4 PCIe lanes to future proof the platform. They could've been general purpose lanes for whatever the board makers want to add, be it 10Gbps Ethernet, thunderbolt, or whatever. It wouldn't have been limited to NVMe.
 
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However, my point in this case is that AMD could've done well by including an extra 4 PCIe lanes to future proof the platform. They could've been general purpose lanes for whatever the board makers want to add, be it 10Gbps Ethernet, thunderbolt, or whatever. It wouldn't have been limited to NVMe.
I think that is up to the Motherboard partners, to include extra lanes through add on chips etc.
People will always pay more for extra lanes if they use them.
 

Ebo

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So you're saying that prices of SATA based SSD's are coming down, but not NVMe? If so, I think that's limited to Denmark. In the rest of the world, NVMe drives are following the same trend. SATA is a dying interface, but it'll be around for at least another 5-10 years for bulk storage applications.

However, my point in this case is that AMD could've done well by including an extra 4 PCIe lanes to future proof the platform. They could've been general purpose lanes for whatever the board makers want to add, be it 10Gbps Ethernet, thunderbolt, or whatever. It wouldn't have been limited to NVMe.
Just tell me why should they do that ?.
There has to come out another ver. 2.0 of the boards which might include exactly what you're looking fore otherwise the manufactures dosent sell as much as they will in the end, thats the way of free interprise.

Just like the system you have in your specs, thats what Intel calls mainstream, no more no less, end of story. If you're willing to pay, you can get it, otherwise you have to stick with what you get. Motherboard makers and partners can put a PLX chip in their design and you will have exactly what you're asking fore, but thats going to be at a premium pricetag, its just the way the world works, my friend.
 
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@TheLostSwede thank you for pointing all that out. Had not even thought to look that far yet (will probably be building a PC for my dad in the next few months; time allowing, was thinking Ryzen for him [he is very anti-Intel]).

I do have to agree with what was said regarding the number of slots. The explanation "gamers" hardly cuts it.. the fanboys might be gamers, the market however is comprised of other, heterogenous segments on top of them.
I game too btw, not bashing anyone's preferences. But I also do other things in my life, work included.
So for work? I need two slots for sound-related cards (output+analysis) on my PC, another for the nvme because I don't like frying it on the pcb thank you very much, another for Thunderbolt expansion, plus a gpu by necessity as no APUs and that's the minimum; you add these up. And only one of all these needs a slow PCIe lane btw :)

This lane business is becoming ridiculous. And it's doubly ridiculous having people excusing it all. Not accepting, that's a different story.. am talking excusing it. Won't even go further, seeing reviews cutting points because no RGB lights, customizable colors or whatever; they too signify something, consumer mentality-related, but that's a different story. Albeit interconnected..
Anyway, just my own thoughts. Before my current build, I never had to worry about these things.
 
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The Ryzen boards that are coming out beat the snot out of any of the 970/990 boards out there.
 
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When I first heard that the new ZEN CPU/Chipsets only offer 24 lanes I was sceptical of that rumor and now I'm disappointed.

AMD missed a chance here not offering at least 28 or 32 lanes - offer a FX chipset . Sure "a gamer" doesn't need more - 2x 8 PCIe 3.0 lanes is more than good enough for SLI/CF. But the moment you try to build a "multipurpose workstation" X99 suddenly looks promising again. Furthermore we see 4x 3.0 NVMe drives running already into their limits like SATAIII SSDs years ago or people playing with the idea of more than one of these drives.
And PLX chips arn't the answer to that problem imo - only bandwith can fix that.
 
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It's pretty clear that many of the people that have commented here don't fully understand how computers work. Adding a PCIe switch/bridge/splitter/whatever you want to call it, be it PLX or a different brand doesn't magically add more PCIe lanes. It simply takes the existing lanes and double them, which means in reality, each device connected gets half the bandwidth. Now it doesn't quite work that way, as most of the time any given device doesn't use 100% of the PCIe bandwidth available to it, but once you start messing with this type of setup and NVMe, you're likely to run into problems.

I'm not saying Ryzen is shit or that it's a huge problem today, but it's not something that can be fixed unless AMD releases a new CPU that will most likely need a new socket to provide the extra lanes. AMD has at least in the past been pretty good at re-using the same sockets for a few generations, but maybe that'll no longer be the case. There's of course cost concerns involved as well, but I can't see the extra four PCIe lanes breaking the bank in this case.

Intel has been given shit for this exact same issue on its mainstream platform for years, but apparently bringing this up as a negative for AMD makes me an asshole...

I was simply trying to point out some of the limitations of the platform so people are aware what they're spending their money on, as it might not suite everyone's needs. I also believe quite a few people will be upgrading and maybe they have some hardware they just expect will work, but it turns out it won't due to the limitations that are there.
 

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I'm sorry, but do you have a reading comprehension problem?

AMD X370 chipset
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode) *1

The * means that if you use it in x4 mode, it disables the x1 slots.
It also means that the third slot is not connected to the CPU and never will be.

Yes, the 100 pins or so that I can't account for what they're being used for, could potentially have enough space to add another further 8 lanes, but that would result in a 16/8 configuration and not a dual x16 which you proposed should be possible.

However, those extra 8 lanes could not be used for an 8/8/8 configuration as you propose, as no board is designed to work that way.

MSI has designed some of its boards to be able to do 16/0/4 or 8/8/4, as pointed out in my original post, but then you lose the NVMe slot. However, these boards are not designed for more than 4 lanes for the last slot.
I would be curious why basically every single board floating on the egg has the finial slot wired for 8x then. It wouldn't be hard to conceive that amd originally set the chipset up to allow more lanes. That could be the original design plan to allow additional lanes for pcie based storage in a future revision, but the current chips couldn't take advantage.
 
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I would be curious why basically every single board floating on the egg has the finial slot wired for 8x then. It wouldn't be hard to conceive that amd originally set the chipset up to allow more lanes. That could be the original design plan to allow additional lanes for pcie based storage in a future revision, but the current chips couldn't take advantage.
Ok, let's try to explain this a different way.

https://www.asus.com/Motherboards/ROG-MAXIMUS-IX-CODE/

Intel board, Z270 chipset.

Expansion Slots
2 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 or dual x8, gray)
1 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x4 mode, black) *1 *1 The PCIe x4_3 slot shares bandwidth with PCIex1_3. The PCIe x4_3 is default set at x2 mode.
3 x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1

So why aren't all those slots wired up to provide 8 or 16 lanes? Because Intel has similar limitations, although not quite as bad, as the chipset support more lanes. In this case we just have a really feature packed board.

The first and second slots are as we know, sharing 16 lanes, so 16/0 or 8/8, all good?
The third slow on the other hand is as you can see by the description above, a x4 slot, that only offers two lanes of PCIe bandwidth by default, although if you (just as with the X370 boards) are willing to sacrifice another slot, it can be a x4 slot, but the physical connector is x16 and it has pins to the x8 position in the slot.

Note that the third slot also connects to the Z270 chipset, not the CPU. It is PCIe 3.0 though, whereas AMD only went with PCIe 2.0 for their chipsets. As I said, this could be a limitation from ASMedia's side (they designed the chipsets for AMD) or a reason for a chipset refresh next year, which could put AMD slightly ahead of Intel's Z270 chipset in terms of overall features, as the CPU to chipset interface for both AMD and Intel is PCIe 3.0 x4. Then again, we don't know what Intel's next gen chipset will bring so...

To be fair, the Z270 chipset supports up to 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes according to Intel, but they'd be bottlenecked by the DMI 3.0 (PCIe x4) interface, so you're unlikely to see any board maker adding a x16 slot connected to the chipset. The X370 chipset only supports 8 PCIe 2.0 lanes.



Why is the slot x16 with x8 electrically? I don't have an exact answer, but an educated guess in this case would be that it's because a x16 slot gives better card stability, it doesn't cost any more than a x8 or a x4 slot, especially as it's not fully populated with contacts and it means any card will fit. The open ended slots are all nice, but sometimes you end up with components in the way. And I guess it also makes people think they're getting something they don't actually get and this is why we're having this discussion.
 
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cdawall

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Why is the slot x16 with x8 electrically? I don't have an exact answer, but an educated guess in this case would be that it's because a x16 slot gives better card stability, it doesn't cost any more than a x8 or a x4 slot, especially as it's not fully populated with contacts and it means any card will fit. The open ended slots are all nice, but sometimes you end up with components in the way. And I guess it also makes people think they're getting something they don't actually get and this is why we're having this discussion.
Thing is multiple Intel boards have the final slots that are closed 16x and electrically 4x.
 
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I don't see NVMe being the future standard of storage, for now.
So, let's do a tally up then.
How many SATA Express drives are there in the consumer market today?
How many U.2 drives are there in the consumer market today?
How many M.2 drives are there in the consumer market today?

SATA Express = 0
U.2 = 1 (Intel 750)
M.2 = 30-40, more?

SATA is not the future and there's no "new" SATA standard being developed. The SATA-IO bet on SATA Express and it failed miserably.

U.2 is too expensive for consumer grade applications.

That only leaves M.2 as a cost effective solutions. As a bonus, it also allows for thinner and lighter notebooks, while still offering desktop grade storage performance.

Admittedly this might change in the future, but for now, M.2 looks like the only viable option moving forward.
Is it perfect? By no means, but it's the best compromise until something better comes along.

Sure, there's always PCIe add-in cards, but these are most expensive, use more power in general and don't fit in notebooks.
 
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Only reason why SATA Express failed is because it's very bulky. Same with that U.2 nonsense.

The problem is, whole thing is heading in totally wrong direction. They were developing new SATA interfaces across entire history of HDD evolution where it didn't matter at all and now that we have drives fast enough, they are dropping it. WHAAAAT!?

M.2 is not the future either because the format is limiting in size and it's retarded to cool. I've had M.2 and it was scorching hot as soon as you put any kind of load on it. It was of course impossible to cool...

What would work though is SATA type cable that has power and signal combined so you don't need 50 cables and sticking with 2.5" laptop size drives design. This way you have enough space for NAND's, you can cool them using metal enclosure with thermal pads while still keeping it reasonably small and compatible with existing racks and cases. 5GB/s should be the starting minimum.
 
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SATA express was a ghetto solution. It was bound to fail.

I see M.2/NVMe as a nice luxury OS drive, nothing more and nothing less.

As the moment, SATA3 is adequate for majority of desktop users. I think even SATA1 is adequate for HDDs. It's only due to SSD that's pushing SATA limit. I don't see any urgent need for an improved SATA or a new format. NVMe is there to satisfy those who like big numbers. That's that.

I suppose a new standard will come along but I don't see it being M.2 or NVMe.

Edited
 
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NVMe is just a protocol, it works over multiple interfaces, like M.2, U.2, PCIe etc. and it looks like it will be the replacement for SATA when it comes to flash based storage, like it or not. SATA was simply not designed for flash based storage.

The tricky part with cables is signal integrity and when you start pushing really high speeds, you end up with multiple problems. USB 3.0 is a great example, poor quality cables wreck havoc with 2.4GHz wireless devices, be it Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or what not. The USB 3.0 part is working just fine though...

Technically we could move to something like Thunderbolt 3.0 as the interface is fairly simple and the cables are proven to be solid. It delivers up to 40Gbps of data, as well as power. However, You need to have the PCIe bandwidth on the motherboard to do this as well... Which brings me back to the issue of not enough PCIe lanes.Then there's the cable cost, currently at about $20 for 50cm, whereas a SATA cable can cost as little as $1.

I guess we'll have to wait and see what the clever people that design these things come up with, but I fully agree, most of the solutions today aren't very good compared to SATA. Personally I still prefer M.2 though and I haven't had any heat issues with my Plextor drive.
 
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Looking at the available motherboard options for Ryzen
This is what I've wondered about all along. Could make or break Ryzen. How much of an early investment are the big ones going to make on this new "thing" from AMD???
 
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Looking at the available motherboard options for Ryzen, I have to say that I'm thoroughly disappointed with what's available at launch. It's as if the motherboard makers decided to put out the worst possible boards, as to not compete with their Intel offerings. Admittedly there are a lot of platform limitations as well, but even so...

Some examples.

Every single board, apart from the ROG Crosshair VI Hero has display outputs. Ryzen doesn't have integrated graphics, so unless you're planning on using a $150-300 board with an APU, this is an utter waste of components on the board. It's almost as the board maker ran out of ideas of what kind of ports to put on the rear of the boards after having been used to put display connectors on all boards for a long time now.

A couple of things that no-one seems to have picked up on the super limited connectivity options. This one is kind of on AMD though, as the chipsets from ASMedia are so limited.
Start reading some board specs and you'll see that X370 boards with three x16 slots offer the typical Intel config of 1 x16 or 2 x8 for the first two slots, which I guess is acceptable. However, the third slot is connected to the chipset and only offers a single PCIe lane in many cases, or four lanes in some cases, but then all the other x1 slots on the boards are disabled, due to insufficient lanes. MSI seems to be sharing the M.2 slot with the third x16 slot, which I'm not sure is a better approach. The B350 boards obviously has a different configuration, with x16, x4 and x1, with the last two slots being PCIe 2.0 from the chipset.

The boards with a second M.2 slot are even worse, as you then have to chose between a slow PCIe 2.0 M.2 slot, PCIe x1 slots or that x16 slot that's actually x4.

On a side note, AMD's other CPU options for the AM4 socket only support 8 PCIe lanes from the CPU and only SATA for the M.2 slot.

On the upside it seems like all primary M.2 slots are PCIe 3.0 x4 and connected directly to the CPU, so this was a wise move on AMD's side, as we should hopefully see slightly improved NVMe performance here compared to Intel's way of doing it, with the exception of Intel's HEDP platform.

It does seem like the early rumours about USB 3.1 issues were true as well, as you'll see re-drivers near the rear USB 3.1 ports on all boards. This shouldn't be a problem in the real world, but it shows the chipset was poorly designed. AMD only put USB 3.0 inside the CPUs, but they should clearly have done better validation on the chipsets from ASMedia.

I'm also curious how many people are excited about eight SATA ports today. 5-6 years ago, sure, today, I doubt most people will use that many. It might've been vaguely interesting with RAID 5/6 support, but AMD doesn't offer that on any of the new chipsets, most likely courtesy of ASMedia not support it in any of its SATA controllers. The older chipsets from AMD used to support RAID 5 at least.

RAM support seems rather peculiar as well. Ryzen officially supports DDR4 1866, 2133, 2400 and 2667, with OC modes seemingly so far only being 2933 and 3200. It looks like Asus only offers memory overclocking on its ROG board, whereas Gigabyte for example offers it on its B350 boards as well. Biostar has apparently tested with 3400 and 3600 memory as well. However, if you already have DDR4 2800 and 3000 memory today, you're looking at having to run that at 2667 or 2933 instead, as those speeds aren't supported.

All of this also makes me wonder why there aren't more mATX or even mini-ITX boards, as the chipset is clearly quite crippled as it is and would make more sense on a board with limited ports.

Hopefully we'll see a better chipset in the future, as the current options are disappointing.

One last thing, why are these boards so damn expensive, considering that the chipset can't be very expensive. The half decent boards are all priced at $200+++ which is a bit of a gut punch. In fact, they're poorly priced against comparable Intel boards.

OMG, someone understands me! I been saying that to my friends. The ports, slots and lanes combos are just horrible.
 
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There will be better boards. They just want to sell you what they want to sell you and then they'll sell you something better later.
 

eidairaman1

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o_O
The chipset is till limited in the same way Intel's chipsets are, it connects to the CPU over 4 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Admittedly in this case, AMD doesn't allow the chipset to provide further 3.0 lanes, only 2.0, so that could be an improved as what Intel has done with the 10 and 20 series chipsets. However, it's not going to change things dramatically from what we have now.


My board allows full pcie 16 on both slots. https://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/SABERTOOTH_990FX_R20/specifications/

This one has 2 full speed slots aswell.

http://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-990FXA-UD7-rev-1x#sp

http://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/GA-990FXA-UD7-rev-30#sp.

Im sure if AMD had launched a board that had 16x PCI E 3.0 x2 or x4 it would cost the same as a $600 X99 board.
 
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The Ryzen boards that are coming out beat the snot out of any of the 970/990 boards out there.
Sorry but the new boards don't even beat my X58 board, Asus P6T6 WS Revolution.
 

eidairaman1

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cdawall

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Sorry but the new boards don't even beat my X58 board, Asus P6T6 WS Revolution.
I imagine my current gen Asus ws board blows it out of the water...
 
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