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TechPowerUp Processor Survey Results: The Ryzen Effect is Real

Late May 2018, TechPowerUp started a front-page poll asking people which processor they use. 37 days and 16,140 responses later, we have a general idea of where the desktop processor market stands among our readers (predominantly PC gamers and enthusiasts). The top-two responses to our survey were 4th generation Core "Haswell," followed by the preceding two generations ("Ivy Bridge" and "Sandy Bridge"). This speaks volumes as to the hole Intel dug itself into, due to lack of competition from AMD. Processors that are 4-7 years old still run today's gaming PCs, and don't bottleneck today's games, as long as graphics cards keep getting faster (where there has been relatively more competition than the CPU market).

Despite being newer, fewer respondents use 6th generation "Skylake" and 7th generation "Kaby Lake" processors than older generations, because those on something like 4th generation "Haswell" or even "Ivy Bridge," don't see the value in upgrading. But then something changed in 2017 - AMD became competitive again, and forced an increase in CPU core counts across the segment. AMD's Ryzen processor family, including both its 1st and 2nd generations, are better received in the market than Intel's competing 8th generation "Coffee Lake" and 7th generation "Kaby Lake." The data stands to validate the "Ryzen effect," the idea that the introduction of Ryzen disrupted Intel's near-monopoly, increased core-counts, and brought innovation back to the segment.

ASRock Intros its Radeon RX Vega Series Graphics Cards

ASRock rolled out its first Radeon RX Vega series graphics cards under its Phantom Gaming series. These cards stick to AMD reference board design, and aren't much to talk about. The ASRock RX Vega 56 Phantom Gaming X sticks to reference clock speeds of 1156-1471 MHz core and 800 MHz memory; while the RX Vega 64 ticks at 1247-1546 MHz core, and 945 MHz memory. Both cards draw power from a pair of 8-pin PCIe power connectors; display outputs include three DisplayPorts and an HDMI. The cards could be launched at close-to-stock prices owing to a slump in demand from crypto-currency miners.

Many Thanks to ne6togadno for the tip.

It's Called Marketing: AMD to Hold Threadripper Event in Partnership With Scuderia Ferrari

It seems that the marketing money is flowing once again at AMD - certainly buoyed by the company's mainstream, enthusiast and professional success with its Ryzen, Threadripper and Epyc series of processors. The event, being organized between AMD and Ferrari, has been confirmed by multiple sources, according to Videocardz, and should be focused on AMD's upcoming Threadripper 2000 series. Being one of Ferrari's sponsors for its Formula 1 team, the company is likely taking advantage of that fact to ease into such a high profile partnership - as well it should. The event is expected to take place in the last week of July - maybe time for a Threadripper 2000 an announcement with a spin on AMD's solutions being employed for simulations, providing the crunching power that is behind every F1?

Prices of First-gen AMD Threadrippers Drop Like a Rock

Intel's strategy against AMD's unexpected doubling in core-counts of its Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors has been that of a headless chicken in a room painted Vantablack. It announced a 28-core processor that would require you to buy a new motherboard; and is frantically working on a 22-core processor for the existing LGA2066 platform. It's looking like AMD isn't in a mood to walk into Intel's core-count trap, and could hit Intel where it hurts the most - pricing. The top-dog 32-core part has already reared its head on German web-stores, seeking a little over 1,500€, just 500€ more than the price its previous-generation 16-core flagship, the Threadripper 1950X launched at. At 1,500€-ish, AMD could end up disrupting Intel's entire >10-core lineup that's priced between $1199 to $1999, currently occupied by 12-core, 14-core, 16-core, and 18-core SKUs.

AMD may not spare Intel's sub-$1000 Core X lineup, either. Prices of first-generation Ryzen Threadripper processors are seeing a dramatic drop, with the flagship Threadripper 1950X being priced under 650€. Prices of the 12-core Threadripper 1920X have slipped to just under 550€. The Core i9-7900X, meanwhile, continues to command a touch over 880€. The drop in prices of first-gen Threadrippers is likely retailers trying to clear out inventories to make room for 2nd generation Threadrippers. It could also be a prelude to AMD announcing more affordable 12-core and 16-core Threadrippers based on the 2nd generation "Zen+" architecture.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990X Makes an Appearance on 3DMark

It's becoming clear that AMD is naming its 32-core flagship HEDT processor Ryzen Threadripper 2990X. The chip was even listed on a German online retailer for a little over 1,500€, which if it turns out to be true, could spell doom and gloom for Intel's Core X HEDT processor lineup, as it could demolish the price-performance equations of every Intel SKU priced 1,000€ and above.

Thai PC enthusiast Tum Apisak scored a screenshot of this chip lurking around on 3DMark database. The screenshot hints at the possible clock speeds of the 2990X, with a rather healthy nominal clocks of 3.00 GHz, with boost frequencies of 3.80 GHz. XFR 2.0 could automatically overclock the chip even beyond the boost frequency, if your cooling is up to the task. The screenshot also reveals that this database submission was made by someone testing the processor, as a prototype motherboard codenamed "Whitehaven OPS rev B CF4" is listed. AMD is expected to launch its 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processors, based on the 12 nm "Zen+" architecture, some time in Q3-2018.

GIGABYTE Expands AMD EPYC Family with New Density Optimized Server

GIGABYTE continues our active development of new AMD EPYC platforms with the release of the 2U 4 Node H261-Z60, the first AMD EPYC variant of our Density Optimized Server Series. The H261-Z60 combines 4 individual hot pluggable sliding node trays into a 2U server box. The node trays slide in and out easily from the rear of the unit.

EPYC Performance
Each node supports dual AMD EPYC 7000 series processors, with up to 32 cores, 64 threads and 8 channels of memory per CPU. Therefore, each node can feature up to 64 cores and 128 threads of compute power. Memory wise, each socket utilizes EPYC's 8 channels of memory with 1 x DIMM per channel / 8 x DIMMS per socket, for a total capacity of 16 x DIMMS per node (over 2TB of memory supported per each node ).

AMD Comments on FreeSync 2 HDR Controversy

AMD earlier this month announced that it is simply renaming its new FreeSync 2 standard as FreeSync 2 HDR, since it already incorporates hardware HDR, even though HDR is but one among many new features introduced with FreeSync 2. This caused some controversy as some FreeSync 2-certified monitors, which could now be plastered with FreeSync 2 HDR stickers, barely meet VESA's DisplayHDR 400 standards. AMD released a detailed statement to TechPowerUp, in which it clarified that FreeSync 2 HDR in no way lowers the bar for HDR, and that its certification program is both separate from and predates VESA DisplayHDR standards.

Essentially, AMD claims that all FreeSync 2 HDR-certified displays exceed DisplayHDR 400 requirements, but not all meet the DisplayHDR 600 minimums. In such cases, monitor manufacturers may stick both DisplayHDR 400 and AMD FreeSync 2 HDR logos in their specs-sheets or the product itself, but that doesn't mean that their monitors can only put out 400 nits brightness. The statement follows.

On The Coming Chiplet Revolution and AMD's MCM Promise

With Moore's Law being pronounced as within its death throes, historic monolithic die designs are becoming increasingly expensive to manufacture. It's no secret that both AMD and NVIDIA have been exploring an MCM (Multi-Chip-Module) approach towards diverting from monolithic die designs over to a much more manageable, "chiplet" design. Essentially, AMD has achieved this in different ways with its Zen line of CPUs (two CPU modules of four cores each linked via the company's Infinity Fabric interconnect), and their own R9 and Vega graphics cards, which take another approach in packaging memory and the graphics processing die in the same silicon base - an interposer.

ASUS Giving Away Four Games with Radeon Graphics Cards

In what looks like a move to get rid of ASUS-branded AMD Radeon graphics cards, the company announced a massive game-bundle promotion in the UK. The company is giving away Steam keys to four fairly old games with its Radeon RX Vega, RX 580, and RX 570 based graphics cards, that include not just ROG Strix models, but also Dual Fan, and Expedition sub-branded ones. Among the games are "The Surge" (2017), "Blood Bowl" Legendary Edition (2010), "Sprintires: MudRunner" (2017), and "Farming Simulator 17" (2017). Participating retailers include Aria, OCUK, Scan, Box, CCL, E-Buyer, and Novatech.

ASRock Offering Its Phantom Series Graphcis Cards in EMEA Region Starting July 1st

ASRock, which is the latest company to extend its product portfolio to graphics cards, has announced that they will be offering their AMD Phantom series of graphics cards in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) starting July 1st. The roll-out should see the Polaris-based graphics cards being introduced first, since product codes for the Vega variants haven't been made known yet. With demand from miners relatively cooled with lower (and lowering still) cryptocurrency values, perhaps ASRock has decided that stock of their Phantom series is enough now to fulfill orders from these additional regions.

AMD Marries Cooler Master for Wraith Ripper: Threadripper 2-Designed Mega Cooler

AMD has partnered with Cooler Master to deliver a Threadripper 2-specific cooler. Dubbed the Wraith Ripper (as per AMD's Wraith stock coolers and their Threadripper 2, up to 32-core, 64-thread HCC CPUs), this is a behemoth of a mega cooler that can dissipate Threadripper 2's (perhaps the Threadripper 2990X's) 250 W TDP.

The cooler features addressable RGB lighting that can be app-controlled, and Cooler Master says this cooler has been designed to offer full memory compatibility. The height between the baseplate and the heatsink's fins does seem tall and tidy for the tallest RAM sticks you can find, for sure - even with the eight pairs of heatpipes that drive the heat away from your most precious silicon component. Check our COMPUTEX 2018 pics of this behemoth below.

AMD to Rename "FreeSync 2" To "FreeSync 2 HDR", Increase Minimum HDR Requirement

The guys over at PC Perspective conducted an interesting interview with AMD, during which a company representative talked about impending changes to AMD's FreeSync program. Essentially, the company found that there is some consumer confusion regarding what features exactly FreeSync 2 delivers over its first-gen counterpart. As such, they feel renaming the technology to FreeSync 2 HDR conveys the focus on the new feature-set: LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) and the FreeSync 2 HDR fast-lane for tone-mapping improvements.

The AMD representative further clarified what specs are required for a monitor to receive FreeSync 2 HDR certification: support for at least HDR600, coverage of 99 percent of BT.709 and 90 percent of the DCI P3 color spectrum. Also mentioned was a minimum response time, though the exact value remains unknown. An interesting point that can be gleaned from AMD's change, though, is that this one is more than just cosmetic: AMD's first FreeSync 2 certification program required displays to only be able to adhere to HDR400. There are some examples of announced, FreeSync 2 monitors that only support that standard (and others that don't support even that but were certified all the same), instead of the aforementioned HDR600 the company will apparently start enforcing alongside the renewed "FreeSync 2 HDR" program. Here's hoping for a stricter certification program from AMD in this regard, since HDR400 was a push in itself towards being true HDR (it isn't...) - and FreeSync 2 already has all the market support and recognition it needs to now start increasing its requirements for quality support instead of mainly quantity.

First Benchmarks, CPU-Z Screenshots of AMD Ryzen Threadripper 32-core CPU Surface

First benchmarks and CPU-Z screenshots of AMD's upcoming Ryzen Threadripper 32-core monster have surfaced, courtesy of HKEPC. The on-time-for-launch (as AMD puts it) 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" processor has apparently been christened "Threadripper 2990X", which does make sense - should AMD be thinking of keeping the 2920X moniker for 12 cores and 1950X for 16-cores, then it follows a 20-core 2960X, a 24-core 2970X, a 28-core 2980X, and the aforementioned 32-core 2990X. whether AMD would want to offer such a tiered lineup of HEDT processors, however, is another matter entirely, and certainly open for discussion - too much of a good thing can actually happen, at least where ASP of the Threadripper portfolio is concerned.

On the CPU-Z screenshot, the 2990X is running at 3.4 GHz base with up to 4.0 GHz XFR, and carries a 250 W TDP - a believable and very impressive achievement, testament to the 12 nm process and the low leakage it apparently produces. The chip was then overclocked up to 4.2 GHz on all cores, which caused for some thermal throttling, since performance was lower than when the chip was clocked at just 4 GHz on all cores. Gains on this particular piece of silicon were reserved up to 4.12 GHz - the jump to 4.2 GHz must have required another bump in voltage that led to the aforementioned throttling. At 4.12 GHz, the chip scored 6,399 points in Cinebench - a remarkable achievement.

AMD Radeon Vega 12 and Vega 20 Listed in Ashes Of The Singularity Database

Back at Computex, AMD showed a demo of their Vega 20 graphics processor, which is produced using a refined 7 nanometer process. We also reported that the chip has a twice-as-wide memory interface, effectively doubling memory bandwidth, and alsomaximum memory capacity. The smaller process promises improvements to power efficiency, which could let AMD run the chip at higher frequencies for more performance compared to the 14 nanometer process of existing Vega.

As indicated by AMD during Computex, the 7 nanometer Vega is a product targeted at High Performance Compute (HPC) applications, with no plans to release it for gaming. As they clarified later, the promise of "7 nanometer for gamers" is for Navi, which follows the Vega architecture. It's even more surprising to see AOTS results for a non-gaming card - my guess is that someone was curious how well it would do in gaming.

Intel: "If [AMD] Wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K CPU, [They] Could Have Just Asked Us"

Oh well, this almost makes us think of this industry as going hand in hand merrily, tongue-in-cheeking each other towards fulfilling, eternal happiness. It's a shame that this not usually the shape of our industry, but really, life isn't either, so let's keep our expectations in check. All in all, Intel's Twitter response to the viral, beautifully-crafted AMD initiative of exchanging one of Intel's commemorative 8086K CPUs for one of its Threadripper 1950X processors is equally satisfying - there's an unavoidable smile to be found while considering these two exchanges.

Kudos, Intel. Kudos for both companies for keeping it in a good spirit. If only we didn't have strange things such as Optane memory shenanigans going on concurrently...

AMD Raven Ridge APUs Not Getting Beta Drivers, 3-Month WHQL Only

AMD's latest Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.6.1 Beta, which is available now, lacks Raven Ridge APU support. Driver support for the APUs are limited to WHQL releases only, as noted by an AMD representative on the Overclockers UK forum. Currently AMD is set to use a three month release cycle for APU drivers. Understandably, this has caused some concern with the latest driver to offer support for the Raven Ridge APUs being the Adrenalin Edition 18.5.1 driver released in May. The only good news here is the limited driver releases allow AMD to further optimize their costs in regards to testing and qualification.

Limited or outdated drivers, with such a long period between releases, means games could perform sub-optimally on AMD's latest and greatest APUs. Worse yet, consumers could be stuck waiting three months for an updated driver. Even then, if a problem arises and is a fringe issue, fixes could take even longer. Essentially Raven Ridge owners are being left out in the cold to some extent in regards to hot-fixes and performance improvements. This makes AMD's Raven Ridge APUs with built in VEGA graphics for both desktops and mobile systems a bit less appealing. This issue is further exacerbated by the fact Intel's Kaby Lake G series which also features AMD's VEGA graphics has seen a new driver released that is based on the 18.6.1 driver.

AMD Motherboard Vendors Are Removing Support for Older CPU Models

Current AMD AM4 motherboards basically support four platforms at the moment: the new Ryzen 2000 processors, Ryzen 2000 G APUs with integrated graphics, 1st generation Ryzen and Bristol Ridge. Bristol Ridge was AMD's last processor generation before Ryzen was released. Bristol Ridge introduced Socket AM4, which according to AMD has a lifespan beyond 2020. According to Anandtech, several motherboard manufacturers are now reporting that they might drop support for Bristol Ridge in their future motherboard releases. The underlying reason is that in addition to the setup interface, and UEFI with its driver and network stack, the BIOS has to support all processors by including microcode for them.

Supporting so many CPU models bloats the size of the BIOS beyond 128 megabits (16 MB), which would exceed the capacity of the BIOS flash chips used by most vendors and force them to use higher capacity models, ie 256 megabits. As always in this industry, the issue here comes down to pricing.

AMD Ryzen 3 2300X and Ryzen 5 2500X Spotted in Geekbench

It looks like AMD has some more Ryzen 2000 models coming out soon. Two benchmark runs were posted to Geekbench showing off the capabilities of these two new processors.

The Ryzen 3 2300X runs at 3.5 GHz base, with turbo reaching up to 4.0 GHz. It comes with four cores and four threads, ie it lacks SMT. This is slightly surprising as all Ryzen 2000 non-APU processors so far came with SMT enabled to double their thread count. The Ryzen 5 2500X on the other hand does feature SMT and a higher base clock of 3.6 GHz. Highest turbo is set to 4.0 GHz too. Both processors feature the X suffix, which means Precision Boost and XFR is available, to boost the processor's operating frequency to the highest clock possible depending on load and cooling capabilities.

QNAP Launches New AMD Quad-Core 4/8/12-Bay TS-x63XU Rackmount NAS

QNAP Systems, Inc. today launched the new 10GbE-ready TS-x63XU rack-mountable NAS (available in 4, 8, and 12-bay models with single and redundant power supply options) that features an AMD G-Series GX-420MC quad-core 2.0 GHz processor, 4GB DDR3L memory (upgradable to 16GB), and easy scalability, providing ideal storage solutions for bandwidth-demanding data center and virtualization applications.

Pre-installed with a single-port 10GbE 10GBASE-T network card (which also supports 10G/5G/2.5G/1G/100M data transfer) the TS-x63XU series delivers up to 1,038 MB/s read speed and 985 MB/s read with AES-NI encryption acceleration. Supporting SSD caching, tiered storage allocation, and excellent expandability with a QNAP 12-bay expansion enclosure, the TS-x63XU series is ideal for business organizations looking for a secure private cloud and efficient IT infrastructure for 10GbE networks.

AMD Announces The Division 2, Resident Evil 2 Remake, Strange Brigade Partnerships

AMD at E3 2018 announced its commitment to powering the ultimate gaming experiences via partnerships with game publishers and developers, to bring fantastic 3D realms to life. In line with AMD's cooperation with Ubisoft in Far Cry 5, which saw the usage of AMD Vega-centric technologies (such as FP16 Compute on some water and lighting scenarios, Rapid Packed Math, and Shader Intrinsics) across the title, the company has announced it will help Ubisoft deliver a DX12-driven experience with The Division 2. It remains to be seen if more technologies than were used in Far Cry 5 will be in play here.

Alongside its Ubisoft/The Division 2 announcement, AMD also established partnerships with Capcom, for the upcoming Resident Evil 2 remake, and with Rebellion for their Strange Brigade title. The partnership with Capcom is a novel one, but AMD had already worked with Rebellion on Sniper Elite 4, for some stellar CrossFire performance. These partnerships join AMD's long-standing, long-reaching partnership with Bethesda Softworks, in order to fight NVIDIA's entrenchment with the videogame industry via its GameWorks program.

Sony Closely Associated with AMD "Navi" Development

AMD monetizes its GPU IP not just with discrete graphics cards and integrated graphics in its PC processors, but also by selling semi-custom SoCs for most modern game consoles, such as the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with some of the newer 4K UHD-capable models such as the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X even leveraging newer graphics architectures by the company, such as "Polaris." 2020 could see the roll out of next-generation gaming consoles, which are more purpose-built for 4K UHD gaming, with visual fidelity matching gaming PCs, and so console manufacturers are looking for a lean and powerful new GPU IP. Sony seems to have made up its mind of sticking with AMD.

AMD will supply a semi-custom SoC to Sony for its next major console, "PlayStation 5." This chip will feature a graphics processor based on the "Navi" architecture, which succeeds "Vega." 2020 could also be the year when the 7 nm silicon fabrication process achieves some maturity and makes up most of the bulk ASIC production nodes. According to Tweaktown, Sony is closely working with AMD for the development of the "Navi" architecture itself, so versions of it are efficient enough to be deployed in console SoCs that are built to a cost. The design goal will be to enable 4K @ 60 Hz gaming, as 4K televisions will have proliferated a lot by 2020.

Intel's 28-core HEDT Processor a Panic Reaction to 32-core Threadripper

At Computex 2018, we witnessed two major HEDT (high-end desktop) processor announcements. Intel unveiled a client-segment implementation of its "Skylake XCC" (extreme core count) silicon, which requires a new motherboard, while AMD announced a doubling in core-counts of its Ryzen Threadripper family, with the introduction of new 24-core and 32-core models, which are multi-chip modules of its new 12 nm "Zen+" die, and compatible with existing X399 chipset motherboards. With frantic increases in core counts, the practicality of these chips to even the most hardcore enthusiast or productivity professional diminishes. The Computex 2018 demos reek of a pissing-contest between the x86 processor giants, with AMD having an upper hand.

The HEDT segment is intended to occupy the space between client desktops and serious scalar workstations. Intel is frantically putting together a new HEDT platform positioned above its current LGA2066 (X299) platform, built around its Purley enterprise platform, and a variant of the LGA3647 socket (this chip + your X299 motherboard is no bueno). This socket is needed to wire out the 28-core Skylake XCC (extreme core count) silicon, which has a six-channel DDR4 memory interface. The company put up a live demo at the teaser of this unnamed processor, where it was running at 5.00 GHz, which led many to believe that the processor runs at that speed out of the box, at least at its maximum Turbo Boost state, if not nominal clock. Intel admitted to "Tom's Hardware," that it "forgot" to mention to the crowds that the chip was overclocked.

AMD "Vega" Outsells "Previous Generation" by Over 10 Times

At its Computex presser, leading up to its 7 nm Radeon Vega series unveil, AMD touched upon the massive proliferation of the Vega graphics architecture, which is found not only in discrete GPUs, but also APUs, and semi-custom SoCs of the latest generation 4K-capable game consoles. One such slide that created quite some flutter reads that "Vega" shipments are over 10 times greater than those of the "previous generation."

Normally you'd assume the previous-generation of "Vega" to be "Polaris," since we're talking about the architecture, and not an implementation of it (eg: "Vega 10" or "Raven Ridge," etc.). AMD later, at its post event round-table, clarified that it was referring to "Fiji," or the chip that went into building the Radeon R9 Fury X, R9 Nano, etc., and comparing its sales with that of products based on the "Vega 10" silicon. Growth in shipments of "Vega" based graphics cards is triggered by the crypto-mining industry, and for all intents and purposes, AMD considers the "Vega 10" silicon to be a commercial success.

PowerColor Radeon RX Vega 56 Nano Hands-on

After the AMD event, we got a chance to go hands on with the PowerColor Radeon RX Vega 56 Nano, the most compact desktop graphics card based on the "Vega10" silicon. This product is so special that it got an exclusive unveiling by AMD as a "one more thing." The card's PCB itself it slightly under 5 mm longer than that of the original R9 Nano, but the cooler adds another centimeter to its length. We can only imagine what SFF enthusiasts can do with this card under a specially-design full-coverage water-block.

It's also revealed that the card draws power from a combination of a 6-pin + 8-pin PCIe power connectors. The cooling solution consists of a dense aluminium fin-stack heatsink. A single 80 mm spinner ventilates this heatsink, and a plastic shroud covers it all up. Given that this card has specific "RX Vega 56" SKU marking and not an off-beat "RX Vega Nano" branding, we think this card will be as fast as a stock RX Vega 56, out of the box. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4 and a HDMI 2.0. The MSRP for this card is set at USD $449.

AMD to Polevault Zen+, Head Straight to 7nm Zen2 for EPYC

AMD in its Computex 2018 address earlier today, mention that its second-generation EPYC enterprise processors will be based on its 7 nanometer "Zen 2" architecture, and not 12 nm "Zen+." The company has the 7 nm silicon ready in its labs, and will begin sampling within the second half of 2018. The first products could launch in 2019, after validations. Besides improved energy-efficiency, the 12 nm "Zen+" architecture features a minor 3-5 percent IPC uplift thanks to improved multi-core clock-speed boosting, and faster caches. "Zen 2," on the other hand, presents AMD with the opportunity to make major design changes to its silicon to achieve higher IPC uplifts. The 7 nm process introduces significant transistor density uplifts over the current process. AMD is in the process of building 4-die multi-chip modules using the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon for its 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper HEDT client processor family.
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