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AMD Announces Ryzen 9 3950X, Details 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper, unlocked Athlon 3000G

AMD today announced four new desktop processors across three very diverse markets. To begin with, the company crowned its socket AM4 mainstream desktop platform with the mighty new Ryzen 9 3950X processor. Next up, it released its new baseline entry-level APU, the Athlon 3000G. Lastly, it detailed the 3rd generation Ryzen Threadripper HEDT processor family with two initial models, the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X and the flagship Ryzen Threadripper 3970X. The company also formally released its AGESA Combo PI 1.0.0.4B microcode, and with it, introduced a killer new feature for all "Zen 2" based Ryzen processors, called ECO Mode.

The Ryzen 9 3950X is a 16-core/32-thread processor in the AM4 package, compatible with all socket AM4 motherboards, provided they have the latest BIOS update with AGESA Combo PI 1.0.0.4B microcode. The processor comes with clock-speeds of 3.50 GHz base, with 4.70 GHz maximum boost frequency, and the same 105 W TDP as the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X. With 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 64 MB of shared L3 cache, the chip has a mammoth 72 MB of "total cache."

AMD "Renoir" APU 3DMark 11 Performance Figures Allegedly Surface

AMD "Renoir" is the company's next-generation APU that improves iGPU and CPU performance over the current 12 nm "Picasso" APU. An AMD "Renoir" APU engineering sample running on a "Celadon-RN" platform prototyping board, was allegedly put through 3DMark 11, and its performance numbers surfaced on Reddit, in three data-sets corresponding with three hardware configurations. In the first one, dubbed "config 1," the CPU is clocked at 1.70 GHz, the iGPU at 1.50 GHz, and the system memory at DDR4-2667. In "config 2," the CPU runs at 1.80 GHz, and the iGPU and memory frequencies are unknown. In "config 3," the CPU runs at 2.00 GHz, the iGPU at 1.10 GHz, and the memory at DDR4-2667. Raw benchmark output from 3DMark 11 Performance preset are pasted for each of the configs below (in that order). The three mention 3DMark database result IDs, but all three are private when we tried to look them up.

The "config 1" machine scores 3,547 points in the performance preset of 3DMark 11. It's interesting to note here that the iGPU clock is significantly higher than that of "Picasso." In "config 2," a 3DMark performance score of 3,143 points is yielded. The CPU clock is increased compared to "config 1," but the score is reduced slightly, which indicates a possible reduction in iGPU clocks or memory speed, or perhaps even the iGPU's core-configuration. In "config 3," we see the highest CPU clock speed at 2.00 GHz, but a reduced iGPU clock speed at 1.10 GHz. This setup scores 2,374 points in the 3DMark performance preset, a 33% drop from "config 1," indicating not just reduced iGPU clocks, but possibly also reduced CU count. "Renoir" is expected to combine "Zen 2" CPU cores with an iGPU that has the number-crunching machinery of "Vega," but with the display- and multimedia-engines of "Navi."

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.

MSI Scampers to Launch New AMD 400-series Motherboards with 256Mb BIOS Chips

Our Monday story chronicled how MSI inadvertently erred in giving many of its AMD 400-series chipset motherboards 128 Mbit (16-megabyte) SPI flash ROM chips instead of larger 256 Mbit (32-megabyte) ones, which nearly jeopardized the company's "Zen 2" support deployment, forcing it to greatly thin its motherboard firmware feature-set, and break SATA RAID support on many of its boards. To be fair to MSI, the company may not have anticipated the AGESA microcode growing tremendously in size with its latest ComboAM4 1.0.0.3-series. We are now hearing from Polish tech publication PurePC that MSI has scrambled to remedy this by re-releasing many of its AMD 400-series chipset motherboards with larger 256 Mbit SPI flash ROM chips.

The PurePC report states that MSI will brand the revised motherboards "MAX" in the product name (eg: B450 Gaming Pro Carbon AC MAX, B450M Bazooka MAX, etc.), although we don't know if the new model names will have the company's latest MEG/MPG/MAG prefixes. The 256 Mbit SPI flash ROM chip allows MSI to cram in AGESA 1.0.0.3a, which lets you use 3rd generation Ryzen processors to their full capabilities (barring PCIe gen 4.0 on these motherboards of course). More importantly, the larger ROM chip allows MSI to have AGESA 1.0.0.3a without sacrificing on its feature-rich Click BIOS 5 UEFI setup program, SATA RAID module, or losing support for any of the socket AM4 processors.

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 Shows Off LIVA and SFF Desktops Powered by Ice Lake, and Possibly Picasso

ECS at its Computex 2019 booth showed off its next generation of LIVA branded mini PCs and a new AMD platform SFF desktop. We begin with the retro-looking SF110-A320, an SFF desktop measuring 205 mm x 176 mm x 33 mm (WxDxH), with an AM4 socket, and the ability to power 35W TDP APUs. Its mainboard is driven by an AMD A320 chipset. We know that the A320 supports 12 nm Ryzen 3000-series "Picasso" APUs. It's quite possible that these desktops could ship with them, particularly their low-TDP variants. The iGPU of these chips are wired out to two DisplayPorts, an HDMI, and a D-sub (VGA) output. You drop in your own DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, an M.2-2280 SSD, or 2.5-inch SATA drive. Networking options include 802.11ac WLAN, Bluetooth 4.2, and 1 GbE wired networking. ECS includes a 90W power-brick.

The company also showed off its latest LIVA Z3 Plus series mini PCs that appear to be ready for 10th generation Core "Ice Lake-U" SoCs, although the company won't mention it. There are two physical variants of the Z3 Plus, a shorter one that lacks a 2.5-inch drive bay, making you rely entirely on an M.2-2280 slot for internal storage (PCIe + SATA); and a taller variant with an additional 2.5-inch drive bay with SATA 6 Gbps. The shorter variant measures 117 mm x 128 mm x 37 mm (WxDxH), and the taller one about 47 mm in height. Both variants ship with 120W power bricks, take in two DDR4 SO-DIMM modules, one M.2-2280 SSD, and put out connectivity that includes HDMI and mDP display outputs, dual 1 GbE wired + 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2 networking, and four USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, from which one is a type-C.

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 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)

TechPowerUp Releases GPU-Z v2.19.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest version of GPU-Z, the definitive graphics subsystem information and diagnostic utility. Version 2.19.0 adds support for several new GPUs, improves user experience, and fixes bugs. To begin with, support is added for AMD Ryzen 3000-series "Picasso" iGPUs, besides NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, GTX 1650 Mobile, GTX 1660 Mobile, GTX 1660 Ti Mobile, GeForce MX250, and the TU117-B revision. Transistor counts were added for GeForce MX230 and GP108 chips. AMD Radeon Pro series graphics cards get a proper logo display.

TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.19.0 also improves support for EVGA iCX technology with better detection of support, and improved accuracy. We've added the ability to detect support for DirectX Raytracing (DXR), Variable-rate shading, WDDM 2.6 (requires Windows 10 1903), and Shader Model 6.5, and Tiled Resources Tier 4 in the Advanced panel. The tab now also lists out new DirectX 12 capabilities incrementally rolled out through Windows 10 1803 and 1809. The ASIC Quality readout will now only display on GPUs that support the read-out. Among the fixes include faster startup on devices with AMD PowerXpress, a crash when no known cards are detected and driver info is sought by a mouse-hover, a startup crash on Windows XP machines, and the correct silicon display of GK210 for Tesla K80.
DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp GPU-Z 2.19.0

The change-log follows.

AMD Ryzen 3000U Series APUs Detailed, Geekbenched

AMD is putting final touches on its Ryzen 3000U series APUs for ultra-portable notebooks and 2-in-1 devices. Thai PC enthusiast Tum Apisak shared links to Geekbench scores of at least three SKUs, the Ryzen 3 3200U, the Ryzen 3300U, and the Ryzen 5 3500U. The Ryzen 3 3200U combines a 2-core/4-thread CPU component, while the Ryzen 3 3300U packs a 4-core/4-thread CPU, and the Ryzen 5 3500U a better equipped 4-core/8-thread CPU. While the 3200U's CPU is clocked high at 2.60 GHz, the 3300U and 3500U are both clocked at 2.10 GHz. The iGPU specs are still under the wraps as Geekbench only tested the single- and multi-threaded CPU performance. The 3200U scores 3428 points single-threaded owing to its higher nominal clocks, and around 6500 points multi-threaded. The 3300U scores 9686 points in multi-threaded owing to its additional cores (sans SMT). The 3500U increases the multi-threaded score to over 11280 points multi-threaded, on account of being quad-core with SMT.

There's no clarity on the underlying micro-architecture. While the source mentions the codename of these chips as Picasso, the silicon still appears to be 14 nm "Raven Ridge." Over generation, AMD only appears to have pushed its current parts lower down the product stack. For example, the Ryzen 3 3300U appears to share the same CPU configuration (albeit with 5% higher clock-speeds) as the Ryzen 5 2500U from the current-generation. The Ryzen 5 3500U, on the other hand, appears to have essentially the same (again, marginally speed-bumped) CPU as the Ryzen 7 2700U. HP is ready with notebook and 2-in-1 products based on all three chips, although they're unlikely to launch before year-end. Perhaps CES could be a nice launchpad.

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 "Picasso" APU Graphics Surfaces on UserBenchmark Database

AMD appears to have begun testing of its third APU for the socket AM4 platform, codenamed "Picasso." The code-name saw first light some 10 months ago, when it was described as AMD's APU product for 2019. The integrated graphics core of "Picasso" made its way to UserBenchmark database under the device ID "15D8." There are no benchmark results associated with this chip, yet. OIder slides described "Picasso" as being a slightly improved variant of "Raven Ridge," with improvements to out of the box performance and performance/Watt. It's likely that the chip is essentially "Raven Ridge" fabricated on the 12 nm node, with tweaks to the chip's on-die software. 2019 will also see AMD introduce its first chips based on the "Zen 2" architecture.

AMD Readies Ryzen Threadripper SKUs based on "Pinnacle Ridge" Dies

Hot on the heels of this morning's big AMD Ryzen 2000-series slide dump, comes a new roadmap slide that gives a larger overview of how AMD is addressing various client processor market segments. It begins with the mention of a 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper series launch within 2018. These chips presumably, are multi-chip modules of the company's new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, and will be compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards through BIOS updates. The "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon supports higher clock-speeds, has several microarchitecture refinements, and a few new overclocker-centric features.

The better news is that company seems to be updating its HEDT processor lineup every year; and that the current Threadripper series isn't a one-off halo product like its Athlon64 FX "QuadFX" 2P platform. With "Pinnacle Ridge" based Threadripper 2000-series MCMs slated for 2018; 2019 will see the launch of the new "Castle Peak" HEDT processor. It's not known if this is an MCM. The spiritual successor to "Pinnacle Ridge" is "Matisse." This is Zen 2 based, and will have significant changes to the core design, presenting AMD with an opportunity to review the way it arranges cores. "Picasso" succeeds "Raven Ridge" as the company's Zen 2-based APUs. "Picasso," along with "Matisse" and "Castle Peak" could see AMD implement GlobalFoundries' new 7 nm silicon fabrication process, given its 2019 timeline. 2020 will see their refined avatars - an unnamed "Next-Gen HEDT" chip, "Vermeer," and "Renoir," respectively.

AMD Confirms 2nd Generation Ryzen Processors to Debut in Q1-2018

At a press event, AMD confirmed that its 2nd generation Ryzen desktop processors will debut in Q1-2018 (before April). It also clarified that "2nd Generation" does not equal "Zen2" (a micro-architecture that succeeds "Zen"). 2nd Generation Ryzen processors are based on two silicons, the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge," which is a GPU-devoid silicon with up to eight CPU cores; and "Raven Ridge," which is an APU combining up to 4 CPU cores with an iGPU based on the "Vega" graphics architecture. The core CPU micro-architecture is still "Zen." The "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon takes advantage of the optical shrink to 12 nm to increase clock speeds, with minimal impact on power-draw.

AMD is also launching a new generation of chipset, under the AMD 400-series. There's not much known about these chipsets. Hopefully they feature PCIe gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. The second-generation Ryzen processors and APUs will carry the 2000-series model numbering, with clear differentiation between chips with iGPU and those without. Both product lines will work on socket AM4 motherboards, including existing ones based on AMD 300-series chipset (requiring a BIOS update). AMD is reserving "Zen2," the IPC-increasing successor of "Zen" for 2019. The "Mattise" silicon will drive the multi-core CPU product-line, while the "Picasso" silicon will drive the APU line. Both these chips will run on existing AM4 motherboards, as AMD plans to keep AM4 as its mainstream-desktop socket till 2020.

AMD Zen 2 Architecture: Socket AM4, 2019, Code-named "Matisse"

AMD's Zen-based Ryzen and Threadripper have been said by the company as representing the "worst case scenario" of performance for their architecture. This is based on the fact that there are clear areas for improvement that AMD's engineers were keenly aware of even at the moment of Zen's tapping-out; inadvertently, some features or improvements were left on the chopping block due to time and budget constraints. As unfortunate as this is - who wouldn't love to have even more performance on their AMD processors - this also means AMD has a clear starting point in terms of improving performance of their Zen micro-architecture.

Spanish website Informatica Cero have gotten their hands on what they say is an exclusive, real piece of information from inside AMD, which shows the company's CPU roadmap until 2019, bringing some new details with it. On the desktop side, there's mention of AMD's "Pinacle Ridge" as succeeding the current Zen-based "Summit Ridge" Ryzen CPUs in 2018. These leverage the same Summit Ridge architecture, but with a performance uplift; this plays well into those reports of 12 nm being used to manufacture the second-generation Ryzen: it's an AMD tick, so to say. As such, the performance uplift likely comes from increased frequencies at the same power envelope, due to 12 nm's denser manufacturing design.
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