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AMD Zen 2 "Rome" MCM Pictured Up Close

Here is the clearest picture of AMD "Rome," codename for the company's next-generation EPYC socket SP3r2 processor, which is a multi-chip module of 9 chiplets (up from four). While first-generation EPYC MCMs (and Ryzen Threadripper) were essentially "4P-on-a-stick," the new "Rome" MCM takes the concept further, by introducing a new centralized uncore component called the I/O die. Up to eight 7 nm "Zen 2" CPU dies surround this large 14 nm die, and connect to it via substrate, using InfinityFabric, without needing a silicon interposer. Each CPU chiplet features 8 cores, and hence we have 64 cores in total.

The CPU dies themselves are significantly smaller than current-generation "Zeppelin" dies, although looking at their size, we're not sure if they're packing disabled integrated memory controllers or PCIe roots anymore. While the transition to 7 nm can be expected to significantly reduce die size, groups of two dies appear to be making up the die-area of a single "Zeppelin." It's possible that the CPU chiplets in "Rome" physically lack an integrated northbridge and southbridge, and only feature a broad InfinityFabric interface. The I/O die handles memory, PCIe, and southbridge functions, featuring an 8-channel DDR4 memory interface that's as monolithic as Intel's implementations, a PCI-Express gen 4.0 root-complex, and other I/O.

AMD Unveils World's First 7 nm GPUs - Radeon Instinct MI60, Instinct MI50

AMD today announced the AMD Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50 accelerators, the world's first 7nm datacenter GPUs, designed to deliver the compute performance required for next-generation deep learning, HPC, cloud computing and rendering applications. Researchers, scientists and developers will use AMD Radeon Instinct accelerators to solve tough and interesting challenges, including large-scale simulations, climate change, computational biology, disease prevention and more.

"Legacy GPU architectures limit IT managers from effectively addressing the constantly evolving demands of processing and analyzing huge datasets for modern cloud datacenter workloads," said David Wang, senior vice president of engineering, Radeon Technologies Group at AMD. "Combining world-class performance and a flexible architecture with a robust software platform and the industry's leading-edge ROCm open software ecosystem, the new AMD Radeon Instinct accelerators provide the critical components needed to solve the most difficult cloud computing challenges today and into the future."

AMD Unveils "Zen 2" CPU Architecture and 7 nm Vega Radeon Instinct MI60 at New Horizon

AMD today held its "New Horizon" event for investors, offering guidance and "color" on what the company's near-future could look like. At the event, the company formally launched its Radeon Instinct MI60 GPU-based compute accelerator; and disclosed a few interesting tidbits on its next-generation "Zen 2" mircroarchitecture. The Instinct MI60 is the world's first GPU built on the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process, and among the first commercially available products built on 7 nm. "Rome" is on track to becoming the first 7 nm processor, and is based on the Zen 2 architecture.

The Radeon Instinct MI60 is based on a 7 nm rendition of the "Vega" architecture. It is not an optical shrink of "Vega 10," and could have more number-crunching machinery, and an HBM2 memory interface that's twice as wide that can hold double the memory. It also features on-die logic that gives it hardware virtualization, which could be a boon for cloud-computing providers.

The Subor Z+ Console/PC Hybrid with AMD Fenghuang SoC Benchmarked

Last August Chinese pC maker Zhongshan Subor announced a mysterious new console/PC hybrid called Subor Z+ with an interesting spec sheet. The most intriguing part of that machine was none other than a new AMD SoC custom with the code name 'Fenghuang/FireFlight'. Based on the Zen architecture instead of the Jaguar used in consoles such as the Xbox One X or PS4 Pro, this SoC has a CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads at 3.0 GHz a Vega-based GPU with 24 CUs at 1300 MHz, 8 GB GDDR5, 128 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD.

The preliminary tests that we could see thanks to DigitalFoundry have now been completed with a new series of benchmarks from a Chinese YouTube user in which we can see the Subor Z+ running different Windows games at more than 60 fps in some of them. The graphics power sits between a RX 570 and a GTX 1060 according to the content producer, and among the results we have different scores showing how far this can go. For example, Fire Strike Extreme (486 points), Time Spy (3288), Tomb Raider (74.81 fps without clarifying graphic config), Cinebench (110/581) or PUBG, which was running at around 50-55 fps at 1080p and with low level of detail.

Intel Announces Cascade Lake Advanced Performance and Xeon E-2100

Intel today announced two new members of its Intel Xeon processor portfolio: Cascade Lake advanced performance (expected to be released the first half of 2019) and the Intel Xeon E-2100 processor for entry-level servers (general availability today). These two new product families build upon Intel's foundation of 20 years of Intel Xeon platform leadership and give customers even more flexibility to pick the right solution for their needs.

"We remain highly focused on delivering a wide range of workload-optimized solutions that best meet our customers' system requirements. The addition of Cascade Lake advanced performance CPUs and Xeon E-2100 processors to our Intel Xeon processor lineup once again demonstrates our commitment to delivering performance-optimized solutions to a wide range of customers," said Lisa Spelman, Intel vice president and general manager of Intel Xeon products and data center marketing.

AMD's Zen 2 Could be Revealed on November 6th, "Next Horizon" Event Scheduled

AMD Investor Relations will host a "Next Horizon" event on November 6th, and although there is no confirmation on what products will be announced there, the title alone makes us think about AMD's Zen 2 architecture. The company has just explained that on that day their executives will "discuss the innovation of AMD products and technology, specifically designed with the datacenter on industry-leading 7 nm process technology". AMD announced Ryzen and quite a lot of details about the Zen's processors on their last "Horizon" event, so it seems plausible that the incoming event will be perfect to talk about its next-gen architecture. That focus on the 7 nm process technology will probably make AMD talk about their new Vega graphics, but it seems end users will have to wait, as datacenters come first.

Battlefield V System Requirements Outed: Ryzen 7 2700 or i7 8700 as Recommended CPUs

The official system requirements for the upcoming Battlefield V game have been outed, and there are three categories of such requirements now: Minimum, Recommended, and DXR. The minimum requirements are pretty steep as they are: DICE say at least an AMD FX-8350 or an i5 6600K CPU are required, alongside 8 GB of system RAM (on the graphics front, a GTX 1050 / RX 560 are mentioned).

The recommended system requirements do bring some interesting tables to the mix, though, with AMD's Ryzen 3 1300X and Intel's i7 4790 being hailed as good CPUs for the configuration. This is in stark contrast with the minimum requirements, but here's the gist: it appears that Battlefield V will be a well-paralellized game, though it will also require strong per-core performance (hence why the FX-8350 doesn't make the cut, and why a previous-gen i7 is higher on the list than the 6000 series i5 from Intel). Minimum RAM for the Recommended spec stands at a whopping 12 GB, though - I believe this is the highest I've ever seen for a game release. An RX 580 or a GTX 1060 round out the specs.

AMD Could Solve Memory Bottlenecks of its MCM CPUs by Disintegrating the Northbridge

AMD sprung back to competitiveness in the datacenter market with its EPYC enterprise processors, which are multi-chip modules of up to four 8-core dies. Each die has its own integrated northbridge, which controls 2-channel DDR4 memory, and a 32-lane PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex. In applications that can not only utilize more cores, but also that are memory bandwidth intensive, this approach to non-localized memory presents design bottlenecks. The Ryzen Threadripper WX family highlights many of these bottlenecks, where video encoding benchmarks that are memory-intensive see performance drops as dies without direct access to I/O are starved of memory bandwidth. AMD's solution to this problem is by designing CPU dies with a disabled northbridge (the part of the die with memory controllers and PCIe root complex). This solution could be implemented in its upcoming 2nd generation EPYC processors, codenamed "Rome."

With its "Zen 2" generation, AMD could develop CPU dies in which the integrated northrbidge can be completely disabled (just like the "compute dies" on Threadripper WX processors, which don't have direct memory/PCIe access relying entirely on InfinityFabric). These dies talk to an external die called "System Controller" over a broader InfinityFabric interface. AMD's next-generation MCMs could see a centralized System Controller die that's surrounded by CPU dies, which could all be sitting on a silicon interposer, the same kind found on "Vega 10" and "Fiji" GPUs. An interposer is a silicon die that facilitates high-density microscopic wiring between dies in an MCM. These explosive speculative details and more were put out by Singapore-based @chiakokhua, aka The Retired Engineer, a retired VLSI engineer, who drew block diagrams himself.

AMD Zen 2 GNU Compiler Patch Published, Exposes New Instruction Sets

With a November deadline for feature freeze fast approaching, GNU toolchain developers are now adding the last feature additions to GCC 9.0 (GNU Compiler Collection). Ahead of that deadline, AMD has released their first basic patch adding the "znver2" target and therefore Zen 2 support to GCC. While the patch uses the same cost tables and scheduler data as Znver1, it does feature three new instructions that will be available to AMD's next-gen CPUs which include; Cache Line Write Back (CLWB), Read Processor ID (RDPID), and Write Back and Do Not Invalidate Cache (WBNOINVD).

These three instructions are the only ones that have been found thus far by digging through the current code. Taking into account this is the first patch it can be considered a jumping off point, making sure that the GCC 9.1 stable update, which comes out in 2019, has support for Zen 2. Further optimizations and instructions may be implemented in the future. This is likely since AMD has yet to update the scheduler cost tables and by extension means they may not want to reveal everything about Zen 2 just yet. You could say AMD is for now playing it safe, at least until their 7nm EPYC 2 processors launch in 2019.

Blackmagic Design Announces Blackmagic eGPU Pro

Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, an external graphics processor featuring the blazingly fast AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor. Designed to accelerate pro creative software such as DaVinci Resolve, 3D games and VR, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro delivers nearly twice the performance of the original Blackmagic eGPU model and up to 22x faster performance than the built-in graphics on a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro features a built-in AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a new DisplayPort for connecting 5K displays, HDMI 2.0, 85W of charging power and four USB 3.1 connections. Designed in collaboration with Apple, the integrated design brings cutting-edge workstation-class graphics processing and computational acceleration to customers working in professional video, playing 3D games or using the latest virtual reality software.

AMD Radeon RX 590 Built on 12nm FinFET Process, Benchmarked in Final Fantasy XV

Thanks to some photographs by Andreas Schilling, of HardwareLuxx, it is now confirmed that AMD's Radeon RX 590 will make use of the 12 nm FinFET process. The change from 14 nm to 12 nm FinFET for the RX 590 brings with it the possibility of both higher clock speeds and better power efficiency. That said, considering it is based on the same Polaris architecture used in the Radeon RX 580 and 570, it remains to be seen how it will impact AMDs pricing in regards to the product stack. Will there be a price drop to compensate, or will the RX 590 be more expensive? Since AMD has already made things confusing enough with its cut down 2048SP version of RX 580 in China, anything goes at this point.

Darren McPhee, Former Radeon Marketing Executive, Joins Intel's Discrete Graphics Division

Darren McPhee worked 12 years for ATI and AMD. When he left AMD in 2015, he was one of the company's top marketing managers. For the last three years he has worked for various companies, but the surprise has come with Intel recruiting him to occupy the position of Product Marketing Manager in its 'Discrete Graphics' group, one of the most interesting initiatives in the recent times.

This division is working hard to develop a new family of discrete graphics cards that will theoretically compete with AMD and NVIDIA solutions. Intel has been steadily growing, and in fact Intel already signed Raja Koduri, AMD GPU architect, in November 2017. This firm has been attracting more and more talent from an AMD: Koduri was followed by Jim Keller, Ryzen Architect, and Chris Hook, who led AMD's Radeon Technologies Group Marketing Departmen prior to his move to Intel. These hires certainly make it clear that Intel is taking an increasingly promising project very seriously. We will have to be patient, however, because the firm already indicated in SIGGRAPH 18 that it will have its first models ready in 2020.

AMD Expands 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper Desktop Processor Line-up, Powering Ultimate Computing Experiences, Available Today From $649

[Editor's Note: Our review of the Ryzen Threadripper 2920X is out already, and that of the Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX will follow soon after.]

Today, AMD announced availability of two additional 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor models, 2970WX with 24 cores and 48 threads and the Ryzen Threadripper 2920X with 12 cores and 24 threads. The Ryzen Threadripper WX series commands class-leading core counts, purpose-built for prosumers focused on raw computational power for the heaviest workloads. In turn, Ryzen Threadripper X series provides enthusiasts, gamers, and streamers high performance with a beautiful and smooth gaming experience based on higher base and boost processor clock speeds than the previous generation.

"The dramatic transformation in the HEDT and overall PC market is driven by AMD leadership and innovation, and the AMD Ryzen Threadripper family is central to this global excitement," said Saeid Moshkelani, senior vice president and general manager, Client Compute, AMD. "We are expanding this excitement while also ensuring the HEDT market remains accessible to a broader range of creators and gamers with two new Threadripper processors that start at $649."

AMD "Vega 20" GPU Not Before Late Q1-2019

AMD "Vega 20" is a new GPU based on existing "Vega" graphics architecture, which will be fabbed on the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process, and bolstered with up to 32 GB of HBM2 memory across a 4096-bit memory interface that's double the bus-width of "Vega 10". AMD CEO Lisa Su already exhibited a mock-up of this chip at Computex 2018, with an word that alongside its "Zen 2" based EPYC enterprise processors, "Vega 20" will be the first 7 nm GPU. AMD could still make good on that word, only don't expect to find one under your tree this Holiday.

According to GamersNexus, the first "Vega 20" products won't launch before the turn of the year, and even in 2019, one can expect product launches till the end of Q1 (before April). GamersNexus cites reliable sources hinting at the later-than-expected arrival of "Vega 20" as part of refuting alleged "Final Fantasy XV" benchmarks of purported "Vega 20" engineering samples doing rounds on the web. Lisa Su stressed the importance of data-center GPUs in AMD's Q3-2018 earnings call, which could hint at the possibility of AMD allocating its first "Vega 20" yields to high-margin enterprise brands such as Radeon Pro and Radeon Instinct.

AMD Quietly Releases New A8-7680 Carrizo APU For Socket FM2+

In what will likely seem baffling to many, AMD is releasing a new APU for their ancient FM2+ socket. While the release of the newly minted A8-7680 was alluded to previously via an ASRock BIOS update for their A68H motherboards, many considered it a fake at the time. However, with AMD's own literature listing the processor for the mass market, along with it popping up at various etailers with the product number AD7680ACABBOX, its release is now all but certain.

The processor is still being manufactured on the old 28 nm node and is very similar to the older A8-7600, with this speculated to also being a quad-core design based on the AMD Excavator architecture. It would appear the main difference between the two, noting that the A8-7680 specs are not formally released yet, is a 400 MHz increase on the base clock bringing it up from 3.1 GHz on the A8-7600 to 3.5 GHz on the A8-7680. Sadly, the boost clock remains the same at 3.8 GHz as noted at various etailers. Currently, only the A68 chipset works with the new CPU with the following boards having all received BIOS updates adding support for the A8-7680: Asus A68HM-K, A68HM-Plus, Gigabyte F2A68HM-DS2 rev1.1, F2A68HM-H rev1.1, F2A68HM-S1 rev1.1, MSI A68HM-E33-v2, ASRock FM2A68M-HD+, and FM2A68M-DG3+.
The rumored specifications follow.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.2 Beta

AMD has released today the Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.2 beta drivers. These drivers focus on a few key fixes with the first one solving the issue of Vulkan API titles that experience crashing when launching the game. Next is a specific fix for Assassin's Creed Odyssey which keeps the game from randomly exiting when it is restarted after applying Adaptive Anti-Aliasing on multi-GPU systems.

That said, a few issues have been specifically noted. Strange Brigade can still experience application hang when using the DirectX 12 API. Radeon Overlay does not play nice with the latest Windows 10 October 2018 Update. It can cause intermittent instability or game crashes for the time being. Finally, RX Vega series graphics cards may experience elevated memory clocks when the system is idle. Other than that nothing else is mentioned by AMD in regards to possible driver performance improvements etc. Instead, this latest beta focuses on a few key fixes and nothing more. It should also be noted that it is available in 64-bit only, as AMD confirmed earlier today they will not be supporting 32-bit operating systems going forward.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 18.10.2 Beta
The change-log follows.

AMD Vega 20 Possible Performance Spotted in Final Fantasy XV Benchmark

It would appear AMD's 7nm Vega 20 has been benchmarked in Final Fantasy XV. While the details are scarce, what we do know is the hardware device ID 66AF:C1 can be linked to Vega 20 via the Linux patches back in April. Now considering AMD has not confirmed any 7nm Vega graphics cards for consumers, It is more likely this version is an engineering sample for the new Radeon Instinct or Pro series cards.

AMD Confirms Drop of 32-bit Executable Driver Support

AMD, via a statement provided to the 4Gamer publication, has confirmed they're dropping support for 32-bit executables in their driver releases. This move from AMD comes after mainstream adoption of 64-bit Operating Systems, which has rendered the market for 32-bit executables as apparently not worth the additional coding and certification effort.

For users till on a 32-bit operating system that have modern graphics hardware that's still being supported via AMD's drivers, though, this means that the last 32-bit version of an AMD driver will likely be the 18.9.3 version, which was re-released as WHQL on October 9th. As it stands, AMD won't be distributing new driver releases on the 32-bit format, so support for Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Forza Horizon 4 better be all you care about. The Vega page listing for driver releases already only lists the 64-bit version of the executables as is. Strangely, AMD has also pulled 32-bit driver references and links from its Vega 64 driver page - we'd expect some links to be up for legacy support, at least.

AMD Share Price Falls ~28% via Weak GPU Sales; Revenue Share from GPUs Only 30%

Following the release of the Q3 financial results by AMD, the stock market was quick to respond to less-than-expected operating income and market share numbers with a ~9.2% drop in share price before the markets closed. This was then followed by fervent after-hours trading resulting an even bigger drop to a share price of $17.88 at the time of this post, compared to the starting value of $25.04 earlier today. The small hike and drop after-hours also indicates some enterprising parties made use of the lower share values to their profit.

AMD held a teleconference for their investors to go along with the report, and attempted to better explain what was going on. In particular, they attribute the decreased client GPU sales to a big decrease in the blockchain GPU sales market (read GPU mining) relative to the first half of 2018. The lack of competing products to take on NVIDIA Pascal-, and then Turing-based, GPU solutions also does not help. As it stands, AMD shared news that GPUs now contribute to only ~30% of their revenue with the other 70% coming from the Ryzen-based processor division instead. They hinted strongly at new products coming from both segments, including an on-track path for a 7 nm datacenter GPU later this year and new Ryzen+Vega-powered notebooks, but it appears that more needs to be done to appease their investors at this point.

AMD and Oracle Collaborate to Provide AMD EPYC Processor-Based Offering in the Cloud

Today at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced the availability of the first AMD EPYCTM processor-based instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. With this announcement, Oracle becomes the largest public cloud provider to have a Bare Metal version on AMD EPYCTM processors1. The AMD EPYC processor-based "E" series will lead with the bare metal, Standard "E2", available immediately as the first instance type within the Series. At $0.03/Core hour, the AMD EPYC instance is up to 66 percent less on average per core than general purpose instances offered by the competition2 and is the most cost-effective instance available on any public cloud.

"With the launch of the AMD instance, Oracle has once again demonstrated that we are focused on getting the best value and performance to our customers," said Clay Magouyrk, senior vice president, software development, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. "At greater than 269 GB/Sec, the AMD EPYC platform3, offers the highest memory bandwidth of any public cloud instance. Combined with increased performance, these cost advantages help customers maximize their IT dollars as they make the move to the cloud."

ADATA Launches XPG SX8200 Pro SSD, GAMMIX S5 SSD, and GAMMIX D30 DDR4 Memory

ADATA Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash products, today announces a new line up of gaming hardware including the XPG SX8200 ProM.2 2280 SSD, GAMMIX S5 PCIe Gen3x4 M.2 2280 SSD, and GAMMIX D30 DDR4 memory module.

The SX8200 Pro M.2 2280 SSD is XPG's fastest SSD to date and is designed for avid PC enthusiasts, gamers, and overclockers. It features an ultra-fast PCIe Gen3x4 interface that offers sustained peak read/write speeds of 3500/3000MB/s, outpacing SATA 6Gb/s by a wide margin. Supporting NVMe 1.3, the SX8200 Pro delivers excellent random read/write performance of 390K/380K IOPS. With SLC caching, DRAM cache buffer, E2E Data Protection, and LDPC ECC, it maintains high speeds and data integrity, even during highly intensive applications such as gaming, rendering, and overclocking.

TSMC to Tape Out 100 7 nm Chip Designs by 2019

TSMC has become the de facto leader when it comes to manufacturing technology. The company is on the forefront of new process technologies, and provides solutions for some of the biggest players in the industry, like Apple, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and AMD, just to name a few. This process leadership means that TSMC is being courted by numerous fabless silicon designers so as to produce their silicon chips with the latest process technologies - part of the reason why TSMC has seen increasing revenues and profits forecasts.

By the end of 2018, TSMC will have taped out 50 7 nm designs, and plans to double that number in 2019. And these design wins don't stand solely on the shoulders of TSMC's first 7 nm technology (which should account for 20% of the company's revenue by 2019); the company will also tape-out chips built upon their 7 nm + EUV process, which will begin production in 2019.

NVIDIA Rushes in GTX 1060 with GDDR5X to Counter AMD Radeon RX 590 Threat

AMD is giving final touches to its Radeon RX 590 graphics card, which is rumored to be based on an efficient new rendition of the "Polaris" silicon, which could disturb NVIDIA's product lineup between the GTX 1060 series and the GTX 1070, as its new RTX 2060 series is nowhere in sight. In a bid to thwart this threat, NVIDIA is preparing a variant of the GeForce GTX 1060 with faster GDDR5X memory.

The current GTX 1060 6 GB is endowed with 8 Gbps GDDR5 memory, which at its 192-bit bus width works out to a memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s. NVIDIA had attempted to improve its competitive position once, by creating a shortlived sub-variant of this SKU with 9 Gbps GDDR5 memory (211 GB/s). Switching to 10 Gbps GDDR5X memory would give the chip 240 GB/s memory bandwidth, and 11 Gbps (unlikely because expensive), would yield 264 GB/s. With the GP106 silicon maxed out, it's also possible the new GTX 1060 could be based on a heavily cut down GP104, possibly even with 192-bit memory, which explains GDDR5X memory.

AMD Expresses its Displeasure Over Intel's PT Benchmarks for 9th Gen Core

AMD gave its first major reaction to the Principled Technologies (PT) controversy, in which it came out strongly against the questionable methods PT employed, in its performance comparison between the Core i9-9900K and AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, in addition to certain other Ryzen Threadripper series products. In its response, AMD made its official position on controversy clear - it is not happy with PT.

AMD prepared a long list of flaws with PT's original testing, and the areas where it did not correct the mistakes in its second testing. The company also put out a list of its own "best practices" for comparative benchmarking, which prescribes "sanitizing the operating system," "sanitizing the platform" for stock vs. overclocked testing, "sanitizing the data," and to not create a vast disconnect between the test environment and the real-world.
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