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Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation Update Brings Improved Performance to Ryzen

Some outlets are reporting that Stardock's Ashes of the Singularity is about to receive the much-referred-to patch that allows for improved performance on AMD's Ryzen line of processors. If you remember, rivers of ink flowed regarding AMD's Ryzen performance in gaming, with its monstrous, high-performance 8-core, 16-threaded design sometimes delivering performance below expectations. At the time, AMD clarified how Ryzen is a distinctive CPU architecture, similar yet fundamentally different from Intel's x86 implementation, promising upcoming patches from game developers that would allow Ryzen's architecture to truly deliver.

After Creative Assembly and Oxide Games vouched to improve Ryzen support, Oxide seems to be the first developer with a patch available (from version 25624 to 26118) that improves performance by up to 30%. Reportedly, it took the developers around 400 work-hours to improve the game code in respect to its execution on AMD hardware.

Arctic Announces the Freezer 12 and Freezer 12 CO CPU Coolers for AMD Ryzen

With the Freezer 12 and Freezer 12 CO, ARCTIC now offers two compact CPU coolers, which are multi-compatible and also suitable for the AMD Ryzen AM4 socket. The successors of the Freezer 11 series convince all along the line with regards to noise level, cooling capacity, mounting versatility and transport-proofness. As semi passive coolers, the Freezer 12 and Freezer 12 CO also work extremely efficiently as the fan only starts up at a PWM signal with 40 % pulse width.

The fan runs only when it is actually needed, i.e. with increased CPU utilization. In combination with the vibration absorption rubber mounts of the fan, this leads to almost silent operation even at its maximum cooling performance of 150 watts. The 92 mm fan provides an improved air flow, three double sided direct touch heat pipes and 45 aluminum fins ensure an optimal heat dissipation and an excellent cooling power. Unlike the predecessor Freezer 11 series, the Freezer 12 and Freezer 12 CO are multi-compatible and fit Intel sockets as well as AMD AM4.

BIOSTAR Intros the X370GTN Mini-ITX Socket AM4 Motherboard

BIOSTAR today introduced the first AMD X370 chipset based socket AM4 motherboard to the market, with the X370GTN. The board comes with out of the box support for AMD Ryzen processors, with TDP of up to 95W. It draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 4-pin ATX power connectors, and conditions it for the AM4 SoC using a 7-phase VRM. The socket is wired to two full-length DDR4 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory; and the lone PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, besides some of the I/O ports.

Storage connectivity includes four SATA 6 Gb/s ports from which two are directly wired to the AM4 SoC, and one 32 Gb/s M.2-2280 slot with NVMe booting support (reverse side). USB connectivity includes two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports (including a type-C port), and six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two via headers). The board features BIOSTAR's Hi-Fi onboard audio solution, and a gigabit Ethernet connection driven by Realtek DragonLAN controller. Display outputs include DVI and HDMI.

AMD 16-core Ryzen a Multi-Chip Module of two "Summit Ridge" Dies

With core performance back to competitiveness, AMD is preparing to take on Intel in the HEDT "high-end desktop" segment with a new line of processors that are larger than its current socket AM4 "Summit Ridge," desktop processors, but smaller in core-count than its 32-core "Naples" enterprise processors. These could include 12-core and 16-core parts, and the picture is getting clearer with an exclusive report by Turkish tech publication DonanimHaber. The biggest revelation here that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be multi-chip modules (MCMs) of two "Summit Ridge" dies. The 12-core variant will be carved out by disabling 1 core per CCX (3+3+3+3).

Another revelation is that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be built in a new LGA package with pin-counts in excess of 4,000 pins. Since it's an MCM of two "Summit Ridge" dies, the memory bus width and PCIe lanes will be doubled. The chip will feature a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, and will have a total of 58 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes (only one of the two dies will put out the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 A-Link chipset bus). The increase in core count isn't coming with a decrease in clock speeds. The 12-core variant will hence likely have its TDP rated at 140W, and the 16-core variant at 180W. AMD is expected to unveil these chips at the 2017 Computex expo in Taipei, this June, with product launches following shortly after.

Source: DonanimHaber (YouTube)

ID-Cooling Intros the SE-903-R CPU Cooler with AMD Ryzen Support

ID-Cooling introduced the SE-903-R tower-type CPU cooler with support for AMD socket AM4 processors, such as Ryzen and 7th gen. A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The cooler is a variant of the SE-903, and comes with factory-fitted AM4 mounting clips and a red LED fan, compared to the blue LED the original SE-903 ships with. Its mounting clips easily hook on to the retention frames that come pre-installed on socket AM4 motherboards.

These aside, the SE-903-R is identical to the original. It is designed for thermal loads of up to 130W. It is a conventional tower-type heatsink featuring an aluminium fin stack, to which heat drawn directly from the base is fed by three 6 mm thick copper heat pipes, and ventilated by a 92 mm fan that spins up to 2,000 RPM, pushing 37.44 CFM of air, with a noise output of up to 23.1 dBA. The company didn't reveal pricing, although it shouldn't be too far off from the $20 price tag of the original.

AMD Ryzen 12-Core, 24-Thread CPU Surges on SiSoftware Sandra

In an interesting report that would give some credence to reports of AMD's take on the HEDT market, it would seem that some Ryzen chips with 12 Cores and 24 Threads are making the rounds. Having an entire platform built for a single processor would have always been ludicrous; now, AMD seems to be readying a true competitor to Intel's X99 and its supposed successor, X299 (though AMD does have an advantage in naming, if its upcoming X399 platform really does ship with that naming scheme.)

AMD Ryzen Quad-Core 2+2 vs. 4+0 Core Distributions Compared

With AMD readying quad-core variants of its Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, the question on everyone's minds is whether the chip features two quad-core compute complexes (CCX) with two cores enabled, each, or just one CCX, given that the L3 cache amount being advertised by the company is 8 MB (that of one CCX), in comparison to 6-core Ryzen parts receiving the full 16 MB (8 MB per CCX) available on the silicon. While we will be able to definitively answer that question on the 11th of April, a new UEFI firmware by ASUS for its Crosshair VI Hero motherboard lets users not just disable cores, but also the distribution of the disabled cores.

CPU cores on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor are distributed in two groups of four cores, each, called the quad-core compute complex (CCX). Each CCX has an 8 MB L3 cache, and so the ideal way of distributing cores on lower core-count models would be to disable an equal number of cores per CCX. For 6-core chips, one core is disabled per CCX, resulting in a 3+3 configuration. For quad-core chips, however, you can either disable all four cores in a CCX (4+0 configuration), or do a purportedly more optimal 2+2 configuration, with two cores disabled per CCX. Hardware Unboxed took advantage of ASUS' new UEFI firmware to compare the 4+0 configuration to the 2+2 configuration. The results are somewhat surprising.

AMD's Rumoured Upcoming 16-core Part to Reportedly Run at 3.1/3.6 GHz

Some rumors and whispers have been making the rounds lately, regarding a HEDT platform incoming from AMD. This platform (built upon a new X399 chipset planned exclusively for it) would use a cut-down version of the Naples-based server SP3 socket called SP3r2. SP3r2 and the new chip will reportedly offer quad channel memory support, pitting them directly in competition with Intel's HEDT lineup in terms of memory bandwidth.

Reportedly, engineering samples of the 180W 16-core Ryzen currently run at 3.1 GHz Base, 3.6 GHz Boost clocks, which leads towards performance in the level of two Ryzen 7 1700 chips. If the rumors are true and such a platform is in development, then we will surely hear of some more chips designed for it. Going through the trouble of creating a new chipset and platform for a single CPU model doesn't seem likely. Perhaps some 12-core and 20-core chips are lurking just below the surface?

AMD's Ryzen 5 Processors Already Out in the Wild

AMD's Ryzen 5 line-up is arguably the most interesting segment on AMD's product stack, purely from a price/performance point of view. And it would seem that some retailers have jumped the gun on the sales embargo for AMD's (apparently only partially upcoming) Ryzen 5 series of processors. Users around the globe (from Philippines to Brazil that we can confirm right now) have been posting pictures of their newly-arrived Ryzen 5 1600 processors. As such, it is only a matter of time until some non-NDA-constrained benchmarks arise. So hang onto your hats for some 6-core, 12-threads at $219 goodness!

GIGABYTE Intros A320-DS3 and A320M-HD2 Socket AM4 Motherboards

GIGABYTE introduced one of the first ATX form-factor motherboard based on AMD's new entry-level chipset for socket AM4 processors, the A320-DS3. The company also launched the micro-ATX A320M-HD2. Besides a slim feature-set, the A320 chipset lacks support CPU overclocking, making these boards better suited for the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs than the unlocked Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors, although they do come with Ryzen support out of the box.

Besides one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, the A320-DS3 features a PCI-Express 2.0 x4 (x16) slot, and two each of gen 2.0 x1 and legacy PCI slots. You also get two DDR4 DIMM slots, two 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 type-A ports, 6-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and display outputs that include DVI and D-Sub. The A320M-HD2, on the other hand, features two PCIe gen 2.0 x1 slots, besides a legacy PCI slot, and the gen 3.0 x16 slot. Most of its feature-set is similar to its ATX sibling, except it also offers an HDMI display output. Expect sub-$80 pricing for the two.

AMD Readies Ryzen 7 1800X and 1700X Packages with Wraith Max Coolers

AMD launched the retail versions of its flagship Ryzen 7 1800X and second-best Ryzen 7 1700X processors in WOF (without fan-heatsink) boxed packages, similar to how Intel sells unlocked "K" and "X" series processors, such as the Core i5-7600K and Core i7-7700K. The company is giving final touches to newer packages of the two chips that include a stock cooling solution, probably addressing markets in which socket AM4-compatible aftermarket cooling solutions aren't easily available. These packages will include AMD's largest Wraith-series cooler, the Wraith Max.

Wraith Max is the company's largest stock cooling solution, and is a slight upscale of the original Wraith cooler AMD introduced with the FX-8370. It is rated for CPUs with TDP of up to 140W, and so it could make short work of the 95W Ryzen 7 1800X and 1700X chips. It consists of a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink to which heat drawn from a copper base is conveyed by heat pipes, and ventilated by a large fan. PIB (processor in a box) retail packages of the two chips with Wraith Max will have clear markings on the box, including stylized artwork of the cooler, besides being noticeably heavier. According to ComputerBase.de, the Ryzen 7 1800X Wraith Max is priced at 579€, compared to the WOF (without fan-heatsink) package's 537€ price; while the Ryzen 7 1700X Wraith Max is priced at 460€, compared to the WOF package's 396€ price (all prices include taxes).

Source: ComputerBase.de

Simulated AMD Ryzen 5 Series Chips as Fast as Ryzen 7 at Gaming

It's not rocket science to simulate smaller upcoming Ryzen series chips when you have a Ryzen 7 1800X. By disabling two out of its eight cores and adjusting its clock speeds, TechSpot simulated a Ryzen 5 1600X processor. While the Ryzen 5 1600X was a near-perfect simulation by TechSpot, the 1500X isn't entirely accurate. AMD is carving out the 1500X by disabling an entire CCX (quad-core complex), leaving the chip with just 8 MB of L3 cache, disabling four cores on the 1800X still leaves the full 16 MB L3 cache untouched. The Ryzen Master software lets you disable 2, 4, or 6 cores, but not specific cores, so it's entirely possible that disabling 4 cores using Ryzen Master turns off two cores per CCX. Nevertheless, the gaming performance results are highly encouraging.

According to the gaming performance figures for the simulated 1600X six-core and 1500X quad-core Ryzen chips put out by TechSpot, the 1600X barely loses any performance to the 1800X. Today's AAA PC games have little utility with 8 cores and 16 threads, and you'll hardly miss the two disabled cores when gaming on a 1600X powered machine. The simulated 1500X loses a bit more performance, but nothing of the kind between the quad-core Intel Core i7-7700K and the dual-core i3-7350K. When paired with a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti in "Mafia III," for example, you lose 12.8% performance as you move from the $499 1800X to the $189 1500X (simulated); but you lose 35% performance as you move from the $329 i7-7700K to the $189 i3-7350K. Find more interesting results in the source link below.

Source: TechSpot

AMD Preparing BIOS Update to Fix FMA3 Freezes on Ryzen CPU Family

AMD has acknowledged an issue in which applications utilizing FMA3 code (basically compute and floating point heavy applications) can freeze Ryzen-based desktops. According to AMD, a fix is already on the way in the form of a basic bios update that will be issued to motherboard vendors, who will then most assuredly update their boards with the fix. If you want to be sure your Ryzen based system is not affected by this or numerous other teething issues, making sure you are running the latest BIOS will go a long way towards easing your experience with your new platform.

MSI Announces A-XMP for AM4 Motherboards

In news that would have been very well received some 5 years ago (but is still relevant today), MSI has announced an approximation (of sorts) of Intel's XMP Profiles. Named A-XMP (how clever), MSI has essentially adapted Intel's XMP (eXtreme Memory Profile) for the AM4 platform. A-XMP enables support for higher rated DDR4 memory kits, enabling them to work without any hassle. You are probably reminded of AM4 and Ryzen's peculiarities when it comes to memory support. A-XMP aims to at least mitigate those issues, whilst allowing for increased performance in a platform which is particularly sensitive to memory performance.

MSI is calling A-XMP "the world's first 1-second DDR4 performance and stability feature", and has announced the feature will be rolled out in soon to be available BIOS updates for all MSI AM4 motherboards.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.3 Drivers

AMD today released Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.3.3 Beta drivers. These drivers come with optimization for "Mass Effect: Andromeda," including support for AMD CrossFire in DirectX 11 mode. To enable CrossFire, however, you need to input "-RenderDevice.AmdCrossfireEnable 1" as a command-line argument (set launch options in Origin). The drivers also fix a texture flickering issue noticed with the game. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Crimson ReLive 17.3.3

AMD Sends Required Patches for Vega Support in Linux

AMD has recently sent out around a hundred patches, which amount to over 40 thousand lines of code, so as to allow developers to integrate support for its upcoming Vega GPU architecture under Linux. The new code is essential towards baking support for Vega under Linux, considering the many changes this architecture entails over AMD's current-generation Polaris 10 (soon to be rebranded, if sources are correct, to the new RX 500 series.) Also of note is the existence of seven different device IDs for Vega-based products, though this really can't be extrapolated to the amount of SKUs under the Vega banner. For now, that really is just a number.

Corsair Announces Vengeance RGB DDR4 Memory

CORSAIR, a world leader in enthusiast memory, high-performance gaming hardware and PC components, today announced the immediate availability of CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB DDR4 memory. VENGEANCE RGB brings vibrant RGB lighting to the DIMM slot, with high luminosity RGB LEDs integrated into every module, all controlled by CORSAIR LINK. CORSAIR VENGEANCE RGB's wire-free integration enables software RGB lighting control without additional wires (patent pending) for a sharp, clean look and providing an instant visual upgrade to any system build.

Equipped with a precision-engineered light bar and an all-new perforated CORSAIR logo, each LED generates vibrant and rich RGB lighting. With four customizable lighting modes; static, rainbow, breathing and color shift, it's simple to color match your system's build or put on a dazzling light show, and with specifically designed lighting circuitry, there's zero impact on DDR4 performance. With CORSAIR LINK, users can set up a temperature alert that automatically changes each memory module's LED color based on system temperatures, as well as monitor and control a wide variety of CORSAIR components, from case fans, lighting, DRAM and compatible CORSAIR power supplies to Hydro Series liquid CPU coolers, providing a complete PC monitoring experience.

MSI Announces the X370 Krait Gaming Motherboard

MSI today announced the X370 Krait Gaming socket AM4 motherboard. Based on AMD's highest-grade X370 chipset, and ready for its Ryzen processor family, this ATX form-factor motherboard appears to be based on the same exact PCB as the X370 SLI Plus, with a few added features, such as higher grade capacitors, VR Boost specialized USB ports, a higher SNR audio CODEC with Nahmic 2 and EM shielding, white LED lighting, and of course the signature white+black color scheme of the Krait series.

Like the X370 SLI Plus, the X370 Krait Gaming draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it for the processor with an 8+2 phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 with both populated), besides two each of the board's USB 3.0 and SATA 6 Gb/s ports. In all, storage connectivity includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot with NVMe booting support, while the USB connectivity includes two USB 3.1 ports (one each type-A and type-C), and six USB 3.0 ports (four on the rear panel, two by headers). 8-channel HD audio and gigabit Ethernet make for the rest of it. We expect this board to be priced at a $20-30 premium over the X370 SLI Plus.

AMD's Elusive Polaris 12 Makes an Appearance on CompuBench

Reports are going around that AMD's smallest-ever Polaris chip has been seen on the OpenCL pages of CompuBench. Based on a new Polaris 12 GPU (or should it be Polaris 22?), this is a chip which is likely to power an even lower-end of the spectrum than what AMD's RX 460 (and upcoming RX 560 rebrands) already does.

Polaris 12 apparently features 10 Compute Units, which amounts to 640 Stream Processors. Remember that AMD's Polaris 11 chip which powers the RX 460 actually has 1024 stream processors, though only 896 are available for access on retail versions of the card (though some magickery can unlock those latent stream processors.) This means that Polaris 12 essentially packs half as many shaders as Polaris 11 does. The 640 Stream Processors are expected to be clocked at 1302 MHz, and the cards will reportedly ship with up to 4 GB of GDDR5 memory. Expect cards based on this GPU to sell below the RX 460's $99.

Source: Videocardz

AMD's Upcoming RX 500 Rebrands to use LPP Process - Higher Clocks, Lower Power

AMD's upcoming RX 500 series of graphics cards is not going to set the world on fire with its feature-set. Essentially rebrands of AMD's mainstream Polaris GPUs used in current-generation RX 400 series, these have recently seen a slight delay on its time to market - now set at April 18th.

While architecture-level adjustments to this new series of cards so as to improve performance seem to be off the table, AMD is apparently looking to take advantage of manufacturing maturing and process improvements. The original Polaris 11 and Polaris 10 chips were manufactured using the Low Power Early (LPE) process, which looks to balance availability, yields, and time-to-market with performance and power. New reports peg the new dies to carry the Polaris 21 and Polaris 20 monikers, and will feature higher clocks on account of the new Low Power Performance (LPP) process.

AMD's Upcoming RX Vega Card Pictures Surface

It would seem that AMD has been making internal, top-secret demonstrations of its upcoming RX Vega GPUs. The company was in Beijing, China yesterday, sowing some thoughts and knowledge on its upcoming Ryzen 5 line of processors. Yet AMD apparently also found the time to tease its upcoming high-performance GPU (which apparently, and unlike it's competitors GPUs, also carries a soul.)

From what can be gleaned from the pictures, this physical manifestation of Vega does away with AMD's Fury X small size (achieved through water cooling). Instead, the coolers seems to be a monolithic piece which totally encloses the card, in an attractive, white and red color scheme with AMD's Vega branding etched on for good measure. We can also glean from the pics that AMD's RX Vega doesn't drop the tachometer feature that allows you to look at the operating LED's to glean the amount of workload on the GPU, with switches that are likely to allow for "OFF/ON" positions for the LED's and for "RED/BLUE" coloring.

Source: ChipHell

AMD's Radeon Memory Business at a Standstill

AMD's Radeon branded memory business appears to be at a standstill, with no new product launches since 2015, and Radeon memory products out of stock (or nearly out of stock) at key retailers across North America.

When AMD was asked if it was planning to exit the memory business altogether, a company spokesperson replied that the memory is still being sold but is "mostly distributed in Eastern Europe, only small quantities are diverted to North America."

AMD Ryzen Infinity Fabric Ticks at Memory Speed

Memory clock speeds will go a long way in improving the performance of an AMD Ryzen processor, according to new information by the company, which reveals that Infinity Fabric, the high-bandwidth interconnect used to connect the two quad-core complexes (CCXs) on 6-core and 8-core Ryzen processors with other uncore components, such as the PCIe root-complex, and the integrated southbridge; is synced with the memory clock. AMD made this revelation in a response to a question posed by Reddit user CataclysmZA.

Infinity Fabric, a successor to HyperTransport, is AMD's latest interconnect technology that connects the various components on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, and on the upcoming "Vega" GPU family. According to AMD, it is a 256-bit wide bi-directional crossbar. Think of it as town-square for the chip, where tagged data and instructions change hands between the various components. Within the CCX, the L3 cache performs some inter-core connectivity. The speed of the Infinity Fabric crossbar on a "Summit Ridge" Ryzen processor is determined by the memory clock. When paired with DDR4-2133 memory, for example, the crossbar ticks at 1066 MHz (SDR, actual clock). Using faster memory, according to AMD, hence has a direct impact on the bandwidth of this interconnect.

Source: CataclysmZA on Reddit

Microsoft Locks System Updates for Windows 7, 8.1 on Ryzen, Kaby Lake Systems

It would seem Microsoft is ever looking for more creative ways of pushing its Windows 10 operating system towards the masses. Some Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users have apparently encountered one of these: a lock on system updates. The error message, which reads "Your PC uses a processor that isn't supported on this version of Windows", points towards a hardware lock-in in exchange for added security and updates.

A Microsoft Support page sheds some light on this issue: that Windows 10 is the only Microsoft operating system to support particular hardware configurations. Namely, systems based on Intel's "seventh (7th)-generation processors or a later generation" (Kaby Lake); "AMD seventh (7th)-generation ("Bristol Ridge") processor or a later generation"; and "Qualcomm "8996" processor or a later generation". This move on Windows 7 might make some sense; however, Windows 8.1 is still in its lease of life (and Microsoft support) until at least 2018.

Source: Microsoft Support
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