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AMD ZEN Quad-Core Subunit Named CPU-Complex (CCX)

We've been chasing AMD Zen for a long time now. Our older report from April 2015 uncovered an important detail about component organization on Zen processors - the clumping of four CPU cores into a highly-specialized, possibly indivisible subunit referred to then, as the "Zen Quad-core Unit." Some of the latest presentations about the architecture, following AMD's "performance reveal" event from earlier this month, shed more light on this quad-core unit.

AMD is referring to the Zen quad-core unit as the CPU-Complex (CCX). Each CCX is a combination of four independent CPU cores. Unlike on "Bulldozer," a "Zen" core does not share any of its number-crunching machinery with neighboring cores. Each "Zen" core has a dedicated L2 cache of 512 KB, and four Zen cores share an 8 MB L3 cache. AMD will control core-counts by controlling CCX units. A "Summit Ridge" socket AM4 processor features two CCX units (making up eight cores in all), sharing a dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, and the platform core-logic (chipset), complete with an integrated PCI-Express root complex. Socket AM4 APUs will feature one CCX unit, and an integrated GPU in place of the second CCX. With this, AMD is able to bring the two diverse desktop platforms under one socket.


Source: Heise.de

AMD "Zen" Processor Integrated Chipset Has USB 3.1 Issues, Could Escalate Costs

With its next-generation processors and APUs based on the "Zen" micro-architecture, AMD is integrating the chipset into the processor/APU die, making motherboards entirely chipset-free. This on-die chipset, however, is rumored to be facing issues with its integrated USB 3.1 controllers, according to industry sources. AMD sourced the design for the integrated USB 3.1 controllers from ASMedia. The company has a tendency of sourcing integrated controller IP from third-party manufacturers (eg: its SATA controllers and port-multipliers in the past have been sourced from Silicon Image).

Motherboard manufacturers are noticing significant drops in USB 3.1 bandwidths with increase in circuit distances (think wiring running from the AM4 socket to USB 3.1 front-panel headers on the bottom-right corner of a motherboard). Board designers are reportedly having to use additional retimer and redriver chips to get acceptable bandwidths over such ports, and in some cases even entire USB 3.1 controllers, eating into the platform's PCIe budget and escalating costs.

AMD Confirms Key "Summit Ridge" Specs

AMD CEO Lisa Su, speaking at the company's Computex reveal held up the most important CPU product for the company, the new eight-core "Summit Ridge" processor. A posterboy of the company's new "Zen" micro-architecture, "Summit Ridge" is an eight-core processor with SMT enabling 16 threads for the OS to deal with, a massive 40% IPC increase over the current "Excavator" architecture, and a new platform based around the AM4 socket.

The AM4 socket sees AMD completely relocate the core-logic (chipset) to the processor's die. Socket AM4 motherboards won't have any chipset on them. This also means that the processor has an integrated PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, besides the DDR4 integrated memory controller. With the chipset being completely integrated, connectivity such as USB and SATA will be routed out of the processor. The AM4 socket is shared with another kind of products, the "Bristol Ridge" APU, which features "Excavator" CPU cores and a 512-SP GCN 1.2 iGPU.

AMD Announces the 7th Generation A-Series APUs

AMD today announced its full 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processor lineup, designed to help provide powerful productivity and entertainment performance with maximum mobility for consumers. Previously codenamed "Bristol Ridge" and "Stoney Ridge," the 7th Generation AMD FX, A-Series, and E-Series Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) show major improvements in performance compared to the previous generation, including double-digit gains in gaming, video rendering, and file compression performance.

Consumers can take their gaming experience to the next level using a PC equipped with support for DirectX 12 and features like AMD FreeSync and AMD Dual Graphics technologies. AMD Advanced Power Management (APM) technology boosts performance to accomplish computing tasks with superior power efficiency for on-the-go capabilities. The new APUs allow users to enjoy the latest multimedia experiences in up-to Ultra HD 4K video resolution, with AMD FreeSync Technology support for fluid, artifact-free eSports-style gaming performance. 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors enable a premium Microsoft Windows 10 experience and are primed to support the Microsoft Windows 10 Anniversary Update, expected later this year.

Next-Gen Radeon "Polaris" Nomenclature Changed?

It looks like AMD is deviating from its top-level performance-grading, with its next-generation Radeon graphics cards. The company has maintained the Radeon R3 series for embedded low-power APUs, Radeon R5 for integrated graphics solutions of larger APUs; Radeon R7 for entry-thru-mainstream discrete GPUs (eg: R7 360, R7 370); and Radeon R9 for performance-thru-enthusiast segment (eg: R9 285, R9 290X). The new nomenclature could see it rely on the second set of model numbers (eg: 4#0) to denote market-positioning, if a popular rumor on tech bulletin boards such as Reddit holds true.

A Redditor posted an image of a next-gen AMD Radeon demo machine powered by a "Radeon RX 480." Either "X" could be a variable, or it could be series-wide, prefixing all SKUs in the 400 series. It could also be AMD marketing's way of somehow playing with the number 10 (X), to establish some kind of generational parity with NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 10 series. The placard also depicts a new "Radeon" logo with a different, sharper typeface. The "RX 480" was apparently able to run "Doom" (2016) at 2560x1440 @ 144 Hz, with the OpenGL API.


Source: Reddit

AMD "Summit Ridge" Silicon Reserved for 8-core CPUs Initially

Sources tell Bits'n'Chips that AMD could use a common 8-core CPU die based on its upcoming "Zen" architecture over multiple CPU SKUs, at least initially. AMD will have two distinct kinds of processors, those with integrated graphics (APUs) based on the "Bristol Ridge" silicon, and those without integrated graphics (CPUs), based on the "Summit Ridge" silicon. Since products based on both the dies will use a common socket on the desktop (socket AM4), consumers looking for 2-4 CPU cores will be presented with APU options, while those looking for more powerful CPU solutions will be made to choose 8-core CPUs based on the "Summit Ridge" silicon.

Source: BitsnChips.it

AMD Outs "Bristol Ridge" APU Performance Numbers

Although AMD's upcoming socket AM4 heralds new lines of processors and APUs based on the company's next-generation "Zen" CPU micro-architecture, some of the first APUs will continue to be based the current "Excavator" architecture. The "Bristol Ridge" is one such chip. It made its mobile debut as the 7th generation A-Series and FX-Series mobile APUs, and is en route to the desktop platform, in the AM4 package. What sets the AM4 package apart from the FM2+ package, and in turn "Bristol Ridge" from "Carrizo" is that the platform integrates even the southbridge (FCH) into the APU die. This could explain the 1,331-pin count of the AM4 socket.

The "Bristol Ridge" silicon is likely built on the existing 28 nm process. That's not the only thing "current-gen" about this chip. Its CPU component consists of two "Excavator" modules that make up four CPU cores, with 4 MB total cache; and its integrated GPU will likely be based on the Graphics CoreNext 1.2 "Volcanic Islands" architecture, the same one which drives the "Tonga" and "Fiji" discrete GPUs. The integrated memory controller supports dual-channel DDR4 memory. In its performance benchmarks, an AM4 APU based on the "Bristol Ridge" silicon was pitted against older 6th generation APUs, in which it was found to be as much as 23 percent faster.

Source: HardwareCanucks

AMD Accelerates Availability of Mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors

AMD today announced early availability of its new mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors, timed to support an exciting new notebook design by HP Inc. Equipped with advanced video, graphics, performance, and security features designed to boost productivity and enhance the entertainment experience, 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors (codenamed "Bristol Ridge") also provide outstanding energy efficiency.

New OEM PC designs powered by mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors -- from ultrathin notebooks and convertibles to sleek All-in-Ones -- will come to market first with HP in the new HP ENVY x360, and with other OEM announcements expected later in the year. AMD will officially introduce 7th Gen A-Series APUs and showcase a wide range of OEM designs at Computex 2016, May 31-June 4, 2016, in Taipei, Taiwan.

AMD Announces the A10-7890K and Athlon X4 880K Processors

AMD today announced new additions to its 2016 Desktop processor family, offering increasingly powerful processor options available for anyone seeking outstanding gameplay and power efficiency for their desktop PC. Setting a new APU Standard, the new AMD A10-7890K is the fastest AMD desktop APU released to date, with 1.0 TFLOPS of theoretical compute performance. This new processor has been paired with the top-of-the-line AMD Wraith Cooler to deliver a high-performance combination, enabling best-in-class online gaming, while offering near silent operation for a premium experience.

Gamers will be able to enjoy playing the most popular online and eSports games right out of the box on high settings with the new AMD A10-7890K APU, which is capable of providing smooth frame rates in some of the most popular online games like League of Legends, DOTA2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive. AMD APUs combine the power of AMD processors with the performance of discrete Radeon R7 class graphics in one convenient SoC, and support DirectX 12, OpenGL, Vulkan, and FreeSync in addition to Microsoft Xbox One game streaming on Windows 10.

AMD Announces Radeon Software Beta for Vulkan

AMD announced its first public beta driver featuring support for the Vulkan API. The company is a major contributor to the development of the API, since most of it is based on its Mantle code. Version 16.15.1009 supports Windows 7 (SP1), Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. All of AMD's Graphics CoreNext based GPUs and APUs support Vulkan. This includes the company's Radeon HD 7700 series thru HD 7900 series; R9/R7 200 series, R9/R7 300 series, the R9 Fury series, and AMD APUs based on the "Godavari" and "Carrizo" silicons. This driver comes just in time for the Vulkan release of The Talos Principle.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Beta for Vulkan

ASRock Intros the A88M-ITXac Motherboard

ASRock introduced the A88M-ITXac socket FM2+ motherboard. As its name suggests, the board is built in the mini-ITX form-factor, and is based on AMD A88X chipset, supporting the latest socket FM2+ APUs and CPUs. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, conditioning it with a 5-phase CPU VRM. The socket is wired to two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 32 GB of dual-channel DDR3-2400 memory; and the board's lone expansion slot - a PCI-Express 3.0 x16.

Storage connectivity on the A88M-ITXac includes six SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and an M.2 PCIe port (on the reverse side of the PCB). Network connectivity includes 802.11ac WLAN (up to 433 Mbps), Bluetooth 4.0, and gigabit Ethernet. Display outputs include one each of HDMI 1.4a, dual-link DVI, and D-Sub. The board supports AMD Dual-Graphics, which lets you run the APU's onboard graphics in tandem with a select Radeon discrete graphics card, for added performance. Four USB 3.0 ports, and 6-channel HD audio make up the board's modern connectivity. The company didn't announce pricing.

AMD Offers New Thermal Solutions and Processors for Near-Silent Performance

AMD today launched new thermal solutions, including the flagship AMD Wraith Cooler, as well as the new AMD A10-7860K and new AMD Athlon X4 845 desktop processors. Designed for the consumer who cares about how their desktop PC runs, sounds, and looks, AMD now offers new thermal solutions that generate less than one-tenth the noise of their predecessors -- running at a near-silent 39 decibels, about as quiet as a library.

The new AMD Wraith Cooler combines near-silent operation with unique styling via a sleek fan shroud and LED illumination. Providing superb cooling, the new design delivers 34 percent more airflow and 24 percent more surface area for heat dissipation than its predecessor.

AMD Unveils A10-7890K Desktop APU

AMD made an update to its desktop APU lineup, with the addition of the A10-7890K. This socket FM2+ chip, based on the "Kaveri" Refresh silicon, replaces the A10-7870K as the fastest APU you can buy. The chip's maximum (Turbo Core) frequency is upped to 4.30 GHz, compared to the 4.20 GHz on the A10-7870K. The nominal clock speed remains unchanged, it's rumored to be 4.00 GHz, but it wouldn't surprise us if AMD kept it at 3.90 GHz. AMD could bundle its recently demoed Wraith air-cooler with this chip, which promises significantly lower noise levels than the older reference cooler. In addition to the A10-7890K, AMD announced that it is working with its motherboard partners to launch a fresh wave of socket FM2+ and AM3+ boards that feature modern connectivity, such as USB 3.1 type-C and type-A, and M.2 PCIe slots.

Source: AnandTech

AMD Demoes Quiet and Groovy New Reference CPU Cooler

AMD demonstrated a new reference air-based CPU cooling solution. Called the AMD Wraith, the cooler addresses the noise problem affecting AMD's stock CPU cooler, particularly on 95W-125W CPUs and APUs; and is more easy to deal with, than the company's liquid cooling solution. AMD Wraith could either be sold standalone, or as part of premium bundles with certain current or upcoming CPUs/APUs.

In its demo, the AMD Wraith is shown to be significantly quieter than AMD's stock cooling solution at maximum speed. Much like the stock cooler, the AMD Wraith is a top-flow aluminium fin-stack cooler, but with a larger heatsink, and a bigger fan. A groovy LED backlit AMD logo decks the black cooler shroud.
The video presentation by AMD follows.

AMD Socket AM4 to Transition "Excavator" and "Zen" Architecture

A lot is riding on AMD's upcoming desktop CPU socket, codenamed AM4. Some of the first motherboards based on this socket are expected to launch in March 2016. What makes the socket particularly interesting (and important) is that it's a transition point for AMD's two major CPU architecture generations - "Excavator" and "Zen." Excavator is an incremental upgrade of AMD's less than successful "Bulldozer" architecture, while "Zen" is its next major one. AM4 is also going to be a common socket for AMD's desktop APU and many-core CPUs.

Some of the first socket AM4 APUs could be "Bristol Ridge." Succeeding the company's "Carrizo" APUs, it will be available in both socket AM4, supporting DDR4 memory, and FP4, supporting both DDR3 and DDR4. This chip will implement "Excavator" CPU cores. In its AM4 avatar, "Bristol Ridge" will offer up to four CPU cores, with TDP ranging between 45W-65W, and with support for DDR4-2400 memory. Later in 2016, AMD could debut its first "Zen" multi-core CPUs, which feature the company's next-gen, performance-focused CPU cores.
Sources: Benchlife.info, Planet 3DNow

AMD Achieves Leading Market Share for Thin Clients

AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced that the company achieved a number one market share position for thin clients based on its thin-client shipments. According to its unit sales to thin client customers last year, AMD has more than half of that market, with 53 percent market share.

Thin clients, with little or no local storage, often serve as intelligent front-ends for server or cloud-based applications. Thin clients using AMD Embedded G-Series have a strong value proposition for immersive graphics in single- or multi-display configurations in the enterprise. Recent design wins with HP, Fujitsu, and Samsung validate that AMD APUs provide compelling value with horsepower for data movement, encryption/decryption of central server data, and even video encode/decode for video conferencing or multimedia streaming.

"The AMD Embedded G-Series SoC couples high performance compute and graphics capability in a highly integrated low power design," said Scott Aylor, corporate vice president and general manager, AMD Enterprise Solutions. "These processors provide compelling performance per dollar per watt, strong security, sophisticated power management, and superior graphics performance. The product lineup includes an unparalleled range of pin- and software-compatible offerings, helping to address multiple needs of our customers."

AMD "Zen" CPU Prototypes Tested, "Meet all Expectations"

AMD reportedly finished testing some of its first "Zen" micro-architecture CPU prototypes, and concluded that they "meet all expectations," with "no significant bottlenecks found" in its design. This should mean that AMD's "Zen" chips should be as competitive with Intel chips as it set them out to be. The company is planning to launch its first client CPUs based on the "Zen" micro-architecture in 2016, based on its swanky new AM4 socket, with DDR4 memory and integrated PCIe (a la APUs). Zen sees AMD revert to the large, monolithic core design, from its "Bulldozer" multi-core module design with a near doubling of number-crunching machinery per-core, compared to its preceding architecture.

Source: OC3D.net

AMD Pro A12 "Carrizo" Chip Offers TDP as Low as 12W

AMD's "Excavator" module could fetch big power dividends for the company, with the top of the line Pro A12 "Carrizo" APU for mobile platforms offering TDP as low as 12W (normal usage), going up to 35W (maximum stress). AMD allows users to set the TDP for their processors. Built on the existing 28 nm process, these chips offer TDPs as low as the ones offered by Intel, built on 22 nm and even 14 nm nodes.

This is made possible because "Excavator" features heavily compacted registers and decode engines, and AMD spent a lot of R&D kicking out redundant or useless components from the silicon. The recently launched A-Series Pro "Carrizo" APUs feature two "Excavator" modules (four CPU cores), a GPU with eight GCN 1.2 compute units (512 stream processors), 2 MB of total cache, dual-channel DDR3-2133 integrated memory controllers.

AMD Zen Features Double the Per-core Number Crunching Machinery to Predecessor

AMD "Zen" CPU micro-architecture has a design focus on significantly increasing per-core performance, particularly per-core number-crunching performance, according to a 3DCenter.org report. It sees a near doubling of the number of decoder, ALU, and floating-point units per-core, compared to its predecessor. In essence, the a Zen core is AMD's idea of "what if a Steamroller module of two cores was just one big core, and supported SMT instead."

In the micro-architectures following "Bulldozer," which debuted with the company's first FX-series socket AM3+ processors, and running up to "Excavator," which will debut with the company's "Carrizo" APUs, AMD's approach to CPU cores involved modules, which packed two physical cores, with a combination of dedicated and shared resources between them. It was intended to take Intel's Core 2 idea of combining two cores into an indivisible unit further.

Study Shows 6th Gen. AMD A-Series APU Cuts Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50%

Results of an AMD carbon footprint analysis of its 6th Generation A-Series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), codenamed "Carrizo," show that using the new processor can result in a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to the previous generation APU. The study results are based on the widely accepted Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHGP) established by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and were announced today during an AMD sponsored media panel on energy efficient information technology. Research shows that 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies have established public targets for reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

"Creating low-power, energy efficient products is a key element of our business strategy, and in turn, we are working alongside our customers to reduce the environmental footprint of technology while relentlessly improving performance," said Mark Papermaster, senior vice president and chief technology officer, AMD. "The results from the carbon footprint study for the latest AMD APU demonstrate our commitment to continued energy efficiency gains, sustainability, and lower operating costs for consumers and enterprises."

NVIDIA Ships Over 75% of Discrete GPUs in Q2-2015

Mercury Research published its market analysis for PC Graphics, for the second quarter of 2015 (April-June), this is an important quarter as this is when people tend to buy or upgrade their PCs for the summer break. According to the numbers posted by Mercury Research, NVIDIA hit a new record in discrete GPU market share. In the assessment period, 76.4 percent of desktop discrete GPUs were NVIDIA, up from 63.8 percent in Q2-2014. AMD, the only other desktop discrete GPU maker, saw its share drop to 23.6 percent.

The mobile discrete GPU figures were slightly better for AMD, with the company making up 34.6 percent, slightly up from 33.2 percent in Q2-2014. NVIDIA slipped proportionately down to 65.4 percent, from 66.8 percent in Q2-2014. When being a "discrete" GPU is no longer a criteria, and Intel is added to the mix, i.e. every CPU with graphics Intel sold, and every APU AMD sold (including the ones it sold to Microsoft and Sony), NVIDIA makes up 15.7 percent, AMD 14 percent, and Intel a whopping 70.1 percent. The big-picture isn't looking good. PC graphics shipments declined by 8 percent over the quarter, and down 21 percent from the same time last year. This is the worst on-year decline since the 2008 Financial Crisis.

Source: Mercury Research

AMD Details Exascale Heterogenous Processor (EHP) for Supercomputers

AMD published a paper with the IEEE for a new high-density computing device concept, which it calls the Exascale Heterogenous Processor or (EHP). It may be a similar acronym to APU (accelerated processing unit), but is both similar and different to it in many ways, which make it suitable for high-density supercomputing nodes. The EHP is a chip that has quite a bit in common with the recently launched "Fiji" GPU, that drives the company's flagship Radeon R9 Fury X graphics card.

The EHP is a combination of a main die, housing a large number of CPU cores, a large GPGPU unit, and an interposer, which connects the main die to 32 GB of HBM2 memory that's on-package, and is used as both main-memory and memory for the integrated GPGPU unit, without memory partitioning, using hUMA (heterogeneous unified memory access). The CPU component consists of 32 cores likely based on the "Zen" micro-architecture, using eight "Zen" quad-core subunits. There's no word on the CU (compute unit) count of the GPGPU core. The EHP in itself will be highly scalable. AMD hopes to get a working sample of this chip out by 2016-17.


Source: Bitsandchips.it

AMD Announces the A8-7670K Desktop APU

AMD announced availability of its newest budget socket FM2+ APU, the A8-7670K. This part, like the recently-launched A10-7870K, is based on the company's new 28 nm "Godavari" silicon. It combines a quad-core x86-64 CPU based on the "Excavator" micro-architecture, with an integrated Radeon R7 series graphics core, featuring six Graphics CoreNext 1.2 compute units amounting to 384 stream processors; a dual-channel DDR3 integrated memory controller, with native support for DDR3-2133 MHz memory; and a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex.

The CPU cores on the AMD A8-7670K are clocked at 3.60 GHz, with maximum TurboCore frequency of 3.90 GHz. The CPU features unlocked base-clock multipliers, enabling CPU overclocking. The four CPU cores are spread across two "Excavator" modules, with a total of 4 MB of cache between them. The GPU is clocked at 757 MHz, and offers native support for DirectX 12 (feature level 12_0). It offers Dual-Graphics support, letting you pair it with select discrete GPUs from AMD's lineup. With the advent of DirectX 12, it should also support asynchronous multi-GPU. The A8-7670K is available now, and is priced at US $117.99 in its retail package.

AMD Updates Second Quarter Outlook

AMD today announced that revenue for the second quarter ended June 27, 2015 is expected to be lower than previously guided. The company now expects second quarter revenue to decrease approximately 8 percent sequentially, compared to the previous guidance of down 3 percent, plus or minus 3 percent. The sequential decrease is primarily due to weaker than expected consumer PC demand impacting the company's Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) APU sales. The company expects second quarter channel sales and channel inventory reduction efforts to be in-line with the company's plans.

The company anticipates non-GAAP gross margin to be approximately 28 percent, compared to the previous non-GAAP guidance of approximately 32 percent primarily due to a higher mix of Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment sales and lower than anticipated Computing and Graphics segment APU unit volumes due to weaker than expected OEM PC product demand. Additionally the company anticipates GAAP gross margin to be further impacted by a one-time charge of approximately $33 million associated with a technology node transition from 20 nanometer (nm) to FinFET. The company started several product designs in 20 nm that will instead transition to the leading-edge FinFET node.
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