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AMD Readies the Low-Power "Dali" APU for Thin-and-Light Notebooks

AMD is expected to bring back its low-power APU family in 2020 with the new "Dali" silicon. Updated company roadmap slides see the inclusion of "Dali" as a "value mobile APU," positioned under "Renoir," a performance APU targeting both the mainstream notebook and desktop (socket AM4) platforms. AMD looks keen to branch out its APU business in two directions.

"Renoir" is expected to be a "Zen 2" based APU with CPU performance matching at least the Ryzen 5 3600 or 3700X, and a faster "Vega" based iGPU. It wouldn't surprise us if "Dali" is a monolithic 7 nm die with two "Zen 2" CPU cores and a tiny iGPU with 3-4 compute units. "Renoir," on the other hand, could be an MCM with an 8-core "Zen 2" chiplet and an enlarged I/O controller die that has the iGPU. "Dali" could see the light of the day only in 2020, by which time TSMC could substantially increase its 7 nm volumes and clear the decks for its new 7 nm EUV mass-production.

AMD "Renoir" APU to Support LPDDR4X Memory and New Display Engine

AMD's next-generation "Renoir" APU, which succeeds the company's 12 nm "Picasso," will be the company's truly next-generation chip to feature an integrated graphics solution. It's unclear as of now, if the chip will be based on a monolithic die, or if it will be a multi-chip module of a 7 nm "Zen 2" chiplet paired with an enlarged I/O controller die that has the iGPU. We're getting confirmation on two key specs - one, that the iGPU will be based on the older "Vega" graphics architecture, albeit with an updated display engine to support the latest display standards; and two, that the processor's memory controller will support the latest LPDDR4X memory standard, at speeds of up to 4266 MHz DDR. In comparison, Intel's "Ice Lake-U" chip supports LPDDX4X up to 3733 MHz.

Code-lines pointing toward "Vega" graphics with an updated display controller mention the new DCN 2.1, found in AMD's new "Navi 10" GPU. This controller supports resolutions of up to 8K, DSC 1.2a, and new resolutions of 4K up to 240 Hz and 8K 60 Hz over a single cable, along with 30 bits per pixel color. The multimedia engine is also suitably updated to VCN 2.1 standard, and provides hardware-accelerated decoding for some of the newer video formats, such as VP9 and H.265 at up to 90 fps at 4K, and 8K up to 24 fps, and H.264 up to 150 fps at 4K. There's no word on when "Renoir" comes out, but a 2020 International CES unveil is likely.

AMD to Cough Up $12.1 Million to Settle "Bulldozer" Core Count Class-Action Lawsuit

AMD reached a settlement in the Class Action Lawsuit filed against it, over alleged false-marketing of the core-counts of its eight-core FX-series processors based on the "Bulldozer" microarchitecture. Each member of the Class receives a one-time payout of USD $35 per chip, while the company takes a hit of $12.1 million. The lawsuit dates back to 2015, when Tony Dickey, representing himself in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, accused AMD of false-marketing of its FX-series "Bulldozer" processor of having 8 CPU cores. Over the following four years, the case gained traction as a Class Action was built against AMD this January.

In the months that followed the January set-up of a 12-member Jury to examine the case, lawyers representing the Class and AMD argued over the underlying technology that makes "Bulldozer" a multi-core processor, and eventually discussed what a fair settlement would be for the Class. They eventually agreed on a number - $12.1 million, or roughly $35 per chip AMD sold, which they agreed was "fair," and yet significantly less than the "$60 million in premiums" consumers contended they paid for these processors. Sifting through these numbers, it's important to understand what the Class consists of. It consists of U.S. consumers who became interested to be part of the Class Action, and who bought an 8-core processor based on the "Bulldozer" microarchitecture. It excludes consumers of every other "Bulldozer" derivative (4-core, 6-core parts, APUs; and follow-ups to "Bulldozer" such as "Piledriver," "Excavator," etc.).
Image Credit: Taylor Alger

AMD X570 Puts Out Up To Twelve SATA 6G Ports and Sixteen PCIe Gen 4 Lanes

AMD X570 is the company's first in-house design desktop motherboard chipset for the AM4 platform. The company sourced earlier generations of chipset from ASMedia. A chipset in context of the AM4 platform only serves to expand I/O connectivity, since an AM4 processor is a full-fledged SoC, with an integrated southbridge that puts out SATA and USB ports directly from the CPU socket, in addition to LPCIO (ISA), HD audio bus, and SPI to interface with the firmware ROM chip. The X470 "Promontory Low Power" chipset runs really cool, with a maximum TDP of 5 Watts, and the ability to lower power to get its TDP down to 3W. The X570, on the other hand, has a TDP of "at least 15 Watts." A majority of the X570 motherboards we've seen at Computex 2019 had active fan-heatsinks over the chipset. We may now have a possible explanation for this - there are just too many things on the chipset.

According to AMD, the X570 chipset by itself can be made to put out a staggering twelve SATA 6 Gbps ports (not counting the two ports put out by the AM4 SoC). A possible rationale behind this may have been to enable motherboard designers to equip every M.2 slot on the motherboard with SATA wiring in addition to PCIe, without needing switches that reroute SATA connection from one of the physical ports. It's also possible that AMD encouraged motherboard designers to not wire out SATA ports from the AM4 SoC as physical ports to save costs on switches, and dedicate one of them to the M.2 slot wired to the SoC. With the two SATA ports from the SoC out of the equation, and every other M.2 slot getting a direct SATA connection from the chipset, motherboard designers can wire out the remaining SATA ports as physical ports, without spending money on switches, or worrying about customer complaints on one of their drives not working due to automatic switching. This is an extreme solution to a rather simple problem.

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G and Ryzen 5 3400G Detailed: New Slide Leak

At the bottom end of AMD's rather tall new Ryzen 3000 desktop processor product-stack are the Ryzen 3 3200G and Ryzen 5 3400G APUs. Unlike the rest of the Ryzen 3000 series, these two are based on the monolithic 12 nm "Picasso" silicon, which is essentially "Raven Ridge" redesigned for 12 nm with the "Zen+" microarchitecture. For the quad-core CPU, this means an improved Precision Boost algorithm that scales better across multiple cores, and faster on-die caches. For the iGPU based on the "Vega" architecture, this is a minor speed-bump.

The 3200G is configured with a 4-core/4-thread CPU and 8 out of 11 NGCUs of the iGPU enabled, yielding 512 stream processors. The maximum CPU clock speeds have been dialed up by 300 MHz over that of the 2200G, to now attain 4.00 GHz boost frequency, while the iGPU engine frequency is increased by 150 MHz, to 1250 MHz. The 3400G maxes out the silicon with a 4-core/8-thread CPU, and all 11 NGCUs enabled on the iGPU (704 stream processors). The CPU spools up to 4.20 GHz, and the iGPU up to 1400 MHz. AMD is including a bigger Wraith Spire cooling solution with the 3400G. Prices remain unchanged over the previous generation, with the 3200G being priced at USD $99, and the 3400G at $149, when the processors likely go on sale this July.

ECS Introduces the Liva SFF 110-A320 Book-sized Mini PC Powered by AMD Ryzen APUs

ECS has introduced a new model into their Liva series of Mini PCs - this time, powered by AMD Ryzen APUs. The ECS LIVA A320 is a 1-liter Mini Pc (book-sized, according to the company, but I guess that depends on the books you prefer to read), and makes use of either an AMD Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 APU with up to 35 W TDP.

There's a lot to like about this little Mini PC that could, which ECS is marketing at light gaming workloads and all other content consumption and office-related shenanigans. There is a tooless design for easy upgradeability, 2x DDR4 support in the SO-DIMM form factor, internal support for an M.2 drive (which helps save space in such a small enclosure, even though a 2.5" HDD or SSD is still supported). A VESA mount means this can be installed in the back of a monitor or television for your content consumption needs.

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z v2.21.0

TechPowerUp GPU-Z is a handy graphics subsystem information, diagnostic, and monitoring utility no enthusiast can leave home without, and today we bring you its latest version. The new TechPowerUp GPU-Z v2.21.0 adds support for NVIDIA Quadro P500. More importantly, it fixes sensor data readouts being broken for the Radeon VII with Radeon Software 19.5.1 (or later) installed. A broken GPU load sensor for AMD "Raven Ridge" APUs has also been fixed. Lastly, OpenCL support detection has been added for Radeon VII and other graphics cards based on the "Vega 20" MCM. Grab it from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z

The change-log follows.

AMD Ryzen "Picasso" APU Clock Speeds Revealed

AMD is giving finishing touches to its Ryzen 3000 "Picasso" family of APUs, and Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK has details on their CPU clock speeds. The Ryzen 3 3200G comes with 3.60 GHz nominal clock-speed and 4.00 GHz maximum Precision Boost frequency; while the Ryzen 5(?) 3400G ships with 3.70 GHz clock speeds along with 4.20 GHz max Precision Boost. The "Picasso" silicon is an optical shrink of the 14 nm "Raven Ridge" silicon to the 12 nm FinFET process at GlobalFoundries, the same one on which AMD builds "Pinnacle Ridge" and "Polaris 30."

Besides the shrink to 12 nm, "Picasso" features upgraded "Zen+" CPU cores that have improved Precision Boost algorithm and faster on-die caches, which contribute to a roughly 3% increase in IPC on "Pinnacle Ridge," but significantly improved multi-threaded performance compared to 1st generation Ryzen. Clock speeds of both the CPU cores and the integrated "Vega" iGPU are expected to increase. Both the 3200G and 3400G see a 100 MHz increase in nominal clock-speed, and 300 MHz increase in boost clocks, over the chips they succeed, the 2200G and 2400G, respectively. The iGPU is rumored to receive a similar 100-200 MHz increase in engine clock.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1 Drivers

Just in time for the release of Bethesda's open-world first-person shooter Rage 2 (find our performance analysis here), AMD has released their latest installment of the Radeon Adrenalin 2019 edition drivers for their graphics cards to make the most of the game. Indeed, AMD claims an improvement in game performance of up to 16% on the Radeon VII relative to last month's 19.4.3 drivers, and this is in addition to added support for the big Windows 10 May 2019 update and instruction tracing for AMD's GPU Profiler version 1.5.X. There is a plethora of fixed issues listed as well, and the usual list of known bugs, all of which can be seen past the break. We have also hosted the drivers installer for your convenience, which can be found at the link below.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.5.1

AMD Readies Radeon RX 640, an RX 550X Re-brand

One of our readers discovered an interesting entry in the INF file of AMD's Adrenalin 19.4.3 graphics drivers. It includes two instances of "Radeon RX 640," and has the same device ID as the Radeon RX 550X from the current generation. The branding flies in the face of reports suggesting that with its next-generation "Navi" GPUs, AMD could refresh its client-segment nomenclature to follow the "Radeon RX 3000" series, but it's possible that the RX 600 series was carved out to re-brand the existing "Polaris" based low-end chips one step-down (i.e. RX 550X re-branding as RX 640, RX 560 possibly as RX 650, etc.).

The move to create the RX 600 series could also be driven by AMD's need to contain all "Navi" based SKUs in the RX 3000 series, and re-branded "Polaris" based ones in the RX 600, so that, at least initially, consumers aren't led to believe they're buying a re-branded "Polaris" SKU opting for an RX 3000-series graphics card. It's also possible that AMD may not create low-end chips based on "Navi" initially, and focus on the performance-segment with the highest sale volumes among serious gamers, the $200-400 price-range. Based on the 14 nm "Lexa" silicon, the RX 550X is equipped with 640 stream processors, 32 TMUs, 16 ROPs, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 128-bit wide memory bus. Given the performance gains expected from Intel's Gen11 "Ice Lake" iGPU and AMD's own refreshed "Picasso" APU, the RX 640 could at best be a cheap iGPU replacement for systems that lack it.
Image Credit: Just Some Noise (TechPowerUp Forums)

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G Pictured and De-lidded

AMD Ryzen 3 3200G is an upcoming processor featuring integrated graphics, forming the tail-end of the company's 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family. A Chinese PC enthusiast with access to an early sample pictured and de-lidded the processor. We know from older posts that while the "Matisse" MCM will form the bulk of AMD's 3rd gen Ryzen lineup, with core counts ranging all the way from 6 to 12, and possibly 16 later, the APU lineup is rumored to be based on older "Zen+" architecture.

The Ryzen 3 3200G and possibly the Ryzen 5 3400G, will be based on a derivative of the "Raven Ridge" silicon built on the 12 nm process at GlobalFoundries, and comes with a handful innovations AMD introduced with "Pinnacle Ridge," such as an improved Precision Boost algorithm and faster on-die caches. The 12 nm shrink also allows AMD to dial up CPU and iGPU engine clock speeds, and improve DDR4 memory support to work with higher DRAM clock speeds. AMD has used thermal paste as the sub-IHS interface material instead of solder for its "Raven Ridge" chips, and the story repeats with the 3200G.

AMD "Cato" SoCs Figure in Futuremark SystemInfo

AMD could be giving finishing touches to its new generation of embedded SoCs codenamed "Cato." The chips surfaced on screenshots of UL Benchmarks (Futuremark) SystemInfo, across three models: the RX-8125, the RX-8120, and the A9-9820. For the uninitiated, the RX series embedded processors are part of the company's Ryzen Embedded family. The RX-series are differentiated from the A-series either by microarchitecture, or lack of unlocked multipliers, or other features, such as integrated graphics.

"Cato" is shrouded in mystery. One possible explanation could be AMD manufacturing the existing "Raven Ridge" IP on its refined 12 nm process, and "Zen+" enhancements to its CPUs. SystemInfo reading 8 logical processors could be a case of a 4-core/8-thread CPU configuration with SMT enabled. Another theory pegs this to be a new silicon, based on new IP, and 8 CPU cores. This is less probable since AMD is less stingy with SMT across its product-stack, and is hence less likely to deprive an 8-core silicon of SMT. If the latter theory is true, then this could simply be a case of the SystemInfo module not correctly detecting the prototype chips.

AMD Speeds up Ryzen APU Support with Radeon 19.2.3 Drivers

AMD today released their latest Radeon Software Adrenaline 2019 Edition drivers. This latest beta, version 19.2.3, brings with it support for AMD Ryzen mobile processors with Vega graphics which see up to a 10% performance boost on average versus the 17.40 launch drivers. Titles included in the performance testing were; Destiny 2, Shadow of War, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Civilization 6, and the Witcher 3. Furthermore, various eSports title have seen performance gains of up to 17%, again when compared to the older 17.40 launch drivers. The games AMD used for testing were; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, Player Unknown's Battleground, and World of Warcraft. The only other performance gains specifically mentioned in this driver release is a 3% boost in Dirt Rally 2 on the Radeon RX Vega 64.

AMD has fixed a few issues with this release as well including player character outlines being stuck on screen after being revived in Battlefield V being the most significant fix. Otherwise, all other fixes or changes are related to AMD software or features such as ReLive wireless VR, FreeSync, and fan tuning. That said, a few prominent issues remain some of which have been around for some time like mouse lag on multi-monitor systems when one display is turned off. Other problems include Radeon WattMan not applying settings changes on the AMD Radeon VII. Meanwhile, the performance metrics overlay may fluctuate giving inaccurate readings on the previously mentioned Radeon VII. For full details, you can check the changelog after the break.
DOWNLOAD: AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 19.2.3

BIOSTAR Launches Gaming-Ready A10N-8800E SoC Motherboard with AMD Carrizo and AMD Radeon R7 Graphics

BIOSTAR, a leading manufacturer of motherboards, graphics cards, and storage devices, launches the gaming-ready A10N-8800E SoC motherboard. The BIOSTAR A10N-8800E sports a compact mini-ITX form-factor, perfect for small-form-factor gaming PCs and HTPCs. The A10N-8800E packs a powerful Carrizo architecture-based AMD FX-8800P quad-core processor with an integrated AMD Radeon R7 Graphics for superb processing performance, power efficiency and game-ready graphics. The A10N-8800E supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, up to a speed of DDR4-2133 and a maximum capacity of 32GB (2x16GB). The motherboard also packs 1 x M.2 Key M 16Gbps slot for high-performance PCIe NVMe M.2 solid-state drives.

ASRock Launches World's First Mini-STX Platform Based on AMD A300: DeskMini A300

The leading global motherboard and graphics card manufacturer, ASRock, pleasure to announce the world's first AMD based Mini STX Platform - DeskMini A300 at CES 2019. It adopts with AMD A300 chipset, not only supports AMD AM4 65W APU, but also provides up to 32GB DDR4-2933MHz high-speed memory, which leads to outstanding computing power and 3D performance. DeskMini A300 offers up to 4 storage interfaces, supports three display outputs simultaneously, M.2 Wi-Fi module and various accessories within 1.9 Liter compact size. DeskMini A300 is an ideal choice to build a home entertainment PC and mini data center.

DeskMini A300 features the brand new A300M-STX motherboard. Continuing the design of the ASRock DeskMini series, the AMD AM4 socket is able to support the Bristol Ridge and Raven Ridge's 65W APU, as well as two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots, which can support up to 32GB of capacity. With overclocking memory module, it will power up 20% of 3D gaming performance even more . Moreover, the DeskMini A300 supports three display outputs simultaneously, greatly improves the user experience.

AMD Showcases Ryzen and Radeon Powered Laptops at CES 2019

While AMD has enjoyed tremendous success in regards to their Ryzen, Threadripper, and EPYC processors penetration into the mobile market has been a bit slow. However, judging by the number of systems on display at CES 2019 that is about to change. Models from Honor, Acer, Samsung, Lenovo, Dell, ASUS, and HP. The one that immediately caught our eye was the Acer Nitro 5 which packs an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU and an AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU. It also comes configured with 8 GB of memory, 256 GB SSD, IPS display and a backlit keyboard. Overall it looks to be a reliable entry level gaming system.

Next up was Dell's two offerings which were the Inspiron 5000 15 and 5000 14 2-in-1. The Inspiron 5000 15 was equipped with a 4c/8t Ryzen 5 3500U with Radeon Vega 8 graphics (512 shaders). It was also fully kitted out with 32 GB of DDR4 memory, 512 GB SSD, and a 1TB HDD making it an excellent option for productivity and heavy multitasking. Meanwhile, the 2-in-1 was equipped with a Ryzen 7 3700U which is a 4c/8t processor with Vega 10 graphics (640 shaders). It also came loaded with 16 GB of DDR4, 2 TB HDD and a 256 GB SSD giving it plenty of memory and storage space considering its more compact size.

ASUS Announces Ryzen-powered TUF Gaming FX505DY and FX705DY Gaming Notebooks

ASUS today announced TUF Gaming FX505DY and TUF Gaming FX705DY, a pair of gaming laptops powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 5 3550H processor, with up to 32GB of RAM, and a range of storage options. This new platform is paired with discrete Radeon graphics tightly coupled to vivid FreeSync displays. Slim bezels frame the NanoEdge displays to further enhance immersion and shrink the overall footprint, while the reinforced chassis help the machines survive everyday life. Intelligently designed and carefully built, FX505DY and FX705DY balance performance, battery life, and affordability to provide a better gaming experience.

AMD's Ryzen processors have taken desktops by storm, and TUF Gaming laptops lead the deployment of the newest version. Otherwise known as Picasso, this 2nd Gen Ryzen Mobile APU is built with industry-leading 12 nm technology. The Ryzen 5 3550H chip powering FX505DY and FX705DY boasts four cores and eight threads that deliver capable performance for popular games and everyday work. Multithreaded performance is particularly strong, yet the processor fits into a 35W power envelope that doesn't compromise battery life.

AMD Responds to Lack of Ryzen Mobile Driver Updates, Claims OEMs are the Issue

AMD's Ryzen Notebook lineup seems to be very important to company, at least when going by how often it gets mentioned in the AMD financial analyst calls. That's why it's even more surprising that the driver situation for these products has been nothing but terrible. Some Ryzen Raven Ridge based notebooks haven't seen a single driver update since their release over a year ago, which is much worse than on any other notebook platform.

Users complained about this on Reddit, and AMD responded through an official account that the issue is that "drivers are typically tailored for specific OEM platforms", and that "releasing generic APU graphics drivers across all AMD Ryzen mobile processor-based mobile systems could result in less-than-ideal user experiences". AMD also made it clear that they will be working with OEMs to increase the release frequency of Ryzen Mobile graphics drivers, targeting two releases per-year in 2019.
To me this explanation sounds like bs.

AMD 8-core Ryzen APU to Power Sony Playstation 5, Says the Rumor Mill

Sony's announcement of the Playstation team skipping E3 2019 took everyone by surprise aside from a few on Reddit who had paid attention to a thread created the day before. Reddit user RuthenicCookie seemed to know a lot more about Sony's plans for their popular game console for the next few years, as well as game titles supporting this current console generation and the next. Amidst a lot of the tasty rumor bits that should interest console gamers, something more relevant to us directly is the mention of the Playstation 5 to continue using AMD for processing power.

This is a logical move to just about everyone familiar with the industry, and Sony needed to up the CPU horsepower in particular to compete with the XBOX One X and offer a true 4K/60 FPS solution for gaming without framerate drops galore. As such, said redditor shared information saying that the current plans involve an 8-core Ryzen-based processor and an estimated console price point of $500. Sony may well share a teaser about the console next year, with retail availability expected in the holiday season 2020 (two years from now, thus). As such, developer kits are likely already ready meaning the specs are finalized as well. This may mean we will see either the first or second gen Ryzen APUs, and not Ryzen 2 as many may have hoped. No word yet on what Microsoft is cooking in their side of the kitchen, but incremental console updates means we may see a Ryzen 2-powered console sooner than later as well.

AMD Ryzen 7 3700U Shows Up With Lots of Maybes, Could Feature Zen 2

AMD's low-power Ryzen 3700U APU has been leaked. Codenamed ZM370SC4T4MFG_38/22_Y, this latest AMD processor features 4 cores and 8 threads with a base clock of 2.2 GHz and a boost clock of 3.8 GHz, making it very similar to the current generation 2700U. The GPU, which is recognized as Picasso by UserBenchmark, is like just another codename for now, as other applications are listing it as a Radeon RX Vega 10 GPU. Considering the 3000U Series is supposed to be similar to the 2000U offerings it could very well feature the same Vega 10 GPU and still be based on the Zen+ or the Zen 2 architectures. That said, nothing is confirmed, but some slides leaked from Informatica Cero suggest that the Ryzen 7 3700U could indeed feature the Zen 2 architecture. That would be fairly interesting given that the Ryzen family for laptops/convertibles have been a step behind the desktop solutions for a quite some time.

Picasso which we've been hearing about since the codename first appeared in September of 2017, looks to be nothing more than Raven Ridge manufactured on the 12nm node. This is of course based on the information that is available. Some people suggest this new APU could be on the 7 nm node, but this is difficult to believe as AMD is likely to devote 7 nm manufacturing to their EPYC server solutions and Ryzen desktop products first. Therefore Zen 2 APUs for notebooks are likely still far off.

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 Ryzen 2000H Series APUs for Mainstream Notebooks Spark TDP Debate Again

AMD introduced the Ryzen 2000H series APUs for mainstream notebooks. These chips are physically identical to the Ryzen 2000U series designed for ultraportable notebooks and convertibles; but come with higher CPU and iGPU clock speeds, and hence a higher TDP. The lineup includes two models for now, the Ryzen 7 2800H, and the Ryzen 5 2600H, both of which are based on the same 14 nm "Raven Ridge" silicon as the Ryzen 2000U series.

The 2800H features a 4-core/8-thread "Zen" CPU, with 512 KB L2 cache per core, and 4 MB of shared L3 cache; with clock speeds of 3.30 GHz, with 3.80 GHz maximum boost. The iGPU is a Radeon Vega 11, with 704 stream processors, and engine clocks of up to 1.30 GHz. If you'll recall, the Ryzen 7 2700U has very similar specifications, but only differs with a lower CPU nominal clock speed of 2.20 GHz (but same boost clocks), and one of the 11 Vega NGCUs being disabled. The difference in TDP between the two chips is enormous - 45W default TDP with configurable TDP as low as 35W for the 2800H; while the 2700U is just 15W default TDP, with configurable TDP as low as 12W.

AMD Athlon Pro 200GE Detailed: An Extremely Cut-down "Raven Ridge" at $55

AMD is giving finishing touches to its Athlon Pro 200GE socket AM4 SoC, which it could position against Intel's $50-ish Celeron LGA1151 SKUs. Leaked slides by PCEva reveals that it's a heavily cut-down 14 nm "Raven Ridge" die. For starters, unlike previous-generation Athlon-branded products on platforms such as FM2, the Athlon 200GE won't lack integrated graphics. Only 3 out of 11 Vega NGCUs will be enabled, translating to 192 stream processors, which should be enough for desktop, 2D, and video acceleration, but not serious gaming, even at low resolutions.

The CPU config is 2-core/4-thread, with 512 KB L2 cache per core, and 4 MB shared L3 cache. The CPU is clocked at 3.20 GHz, with no Precision Boost features. You still get GuardMI commercial-grade hardware security features. There is a big catch with one of its uncore components. The PCIe root-complex only supports PCI-Express 3.0 x4 out of your motherboard's topmost x16 slot, not even x8. Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs already offer a crippled x8 connectivity through this slot. AMD claims that the Athlon 200GE will be "up to 19 percent faster" than Intel Pentium G4560 at productivity work. When it launches on 6th September with market availability from 18th September, the Athlon Pro 200GE will be priced at USD $55.

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 "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.
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