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AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs Get Soldered IHS

AMD's second-generation Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, which succeed the company's first Ryzen "Summit Ridge," reportedly feature soldered integrated heatspreaders (IHS), according AMD spokesperson "AMD_Robert" on Reddit. This would make the chips different from the Ryzen 2000G-series "Raven Ridge" APUs launched earlier this week, which come with a thermal paste between the IHS and the die. Soldered heatspreaders are generally known to have better heat transfer between the IHS and die, when compared to packages with thermal pastes between the two; and are more expensive to manufacture. They remove the need to "de-lid" the processor (remove the IHS). Ryzen 2000-series processors are expected to debut in April 2018.

MSI Outs Socket AM4 Motherboard BIOS Updates for "Raven Ridge" APU Support

MSI is among the first motherboard manufacturers to release BIOS updates for its entire socket AM4 motherboard lineup, to enable support for Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G APUs, based on the "Raven Ridge" silicon. With the two chips installed, you will finally be able to use the DVI, D-Sub, HDMI or DisplayPort connectors on the rear-panel of your socket AM4 motherboards. Motherboards based on AMD's upcoming 400-series chipset, will come with support for "Raven Ridge" APUs out of the box, among other chips, such as the company's upcoming 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" processors.

Among MSI's 300-series chipset socket AM4 motherboards to receive "Raven Ridge" support, are the X370 XPower Gaming Titanium, the X370 Gaming M7 ACK, the X370 Gaming Pro Carbon, the X370 Gaming Pro, X370 Gaming Plus, X370 SLI Plus, X370 Krait Gaming; the B350 Tomahawk Plus, the B350 Tomahawk, the B350 Tomahawk Arctic, B350 PC Mate, B350M Gaming Pro, B350M Mortar, B350M Bazooka, B350M Pro-VDH, and A320M Gaming Pro. You'll find the BIOS ROM files in the downloads section of your motherboard's product page on MSI website.

HWiNFO Adds Support For Upcoming AMD CPUs, GPUs, Others

PC diagnostics tool HW Info has added support for future, as-of-yet unreleased AMD CPUs and GPUs, which seemingly confirm some earlier news on AMD's plans for their next-generation offerings. HWiNFO's v5.72 update adds support for upcoming AMD Navi GPUs, Pinnacle Ridge, 400-series motherboards (which should make their market debut alongside AMD's Zen+ CPUs), and enhanced support for AMD's Starship, Matisse and Radeon RX Vega M. We already touched upon AMD's Matisse codename in the past: it's expected to refer to the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, which will bring architecture overhauls of the base Zen design - alongside a 7 nm process - in order to bring enhanced performance and better power consumption.

Starship, on the other hand, is a previously leaked evolution of AMD's current Naples offering that powers their EPYC server CPUs. Starship has been rumored to have been canceled, and then put back on the product schedule again; if anything, its inclusion in HWiNFO's latest version does point towards it having made the final cut, after all. Starship will bring to businesses an increased number of cores and threads (48/96) compared to Naples' current top-tier offering (32/64), alongside a 7 nm manufacturing process.

More Pictures of GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7, Because Moar

We headed to the GIGABYTE Aorus booth at the 2018 International CES to check out the only motherboard based on AMD's upcoming 400-series chipset visible in the entire show, the Aorus X470 Gaming 7. We snapped a lot of pictures. The first thing that caught our attention is the board's updated styling, which resembles the one GIGABYTE introduced with its Intel Z370-series motherboards. The second thing of course, was two 32 Gb/s M.2 slots, confirming that AMD has indeed addressed 300-series chipset's greatest shortcoming - lack of PCIe gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. Since the AM4 SoC puts out 4 gen 3.0 general purpose lanes of its own, which wired to one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot on 300-series motherboards, the new 400-series boards will have at least two of these slots, one wired to the AM4 SoC, and another to the chipset.

The Aorus X470 Gaming 7 could become the company's flagship socket AM4 product based on AMD X470 chipset. It's been designed as such. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX, 8-pin EPS, and 4-pin ATX power connectors. A 12-phase VRM supplies power to the AM4 SoC. It's interesting to note that GIGABYTE chose some very high-current chokes for the chip's main voltage domains. The VRM heatsinks, too, are elaborate aluminium fin-stack types, with the two heatsinks spreading heat over a heat pipe. Is this a telltale sign that certain Ryzen 2 parts could have >95W TDP? The CPU socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, two PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slots (x8/x8 when both are populated), and one of the two M.2 slots (we're guessing the top M.2-22110 slot). Both it, and the bottom M.2-2280 slots have included heatsinks. Other expansion slots include an x16 (electrical x4) slot wired to the chipset, and two x1 slots, which are all gen 3.0.

GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7 Motherboard Pictured

Here are some of the first pictures of GIGABYTE Aorus X470 Gaming 7 WiFi, one of the first socket AM4 motherboards based on the upcoming AMD X470 chipset, which will launch with out of the box support for 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" and Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, in addition to current-gen Ryzen chips, when it launches early-Q2 (April). The presence of more than one 32 Gbps M.2 slot bodes well, as it confirms that the chipset features PCI-Express gen 3.0 general purpose lanes (current AMD 300-series chipset have gen 2.0). One can also spy three x16 slots, from which two will be wired to the CPU, with SLI support; and the board's overall design scheme matching that of the company's Intel 300-series chipset motherboards.

AMD Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Processors Launch in March

There is more clarity on when AMD plans to launch its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, along with companion 400-series chipsets. Retailers in Japan, citing upstream suppliers, expect AMD to launch Ryzen # 2000-series (or "Ryzen 2") processors in March 2018, along with two motherboard chipset models, the top-tier AMD X470, and the mid-range AMD B450. An older report pegged this launch at February. The two chipsets are differentiated from their current-generation 300-series counterparts in featuring PCI-Express gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. The "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, on the other hand, are expected to be optical-shrinks of current Ryzen "Summit Ridge" silicon to the new 12 nm silicon fabrication process, which will allow AMD to increase clock speeds with minimal impact on power-draw.

AMD Ryzen 2 "Pinnacle Ridge" processors will be built in the existing socket AM4 package, and are expected to be compatible with existing socket AM4 motherboards, subject to BIOS updates by motherboard manufacturers. AMD plans to nurture the socket AM4 ecosystem till 2020. Future motherboards based on AMD 400-series chipsets could also feature compatibility with existing "Summit Ridge" Ryzen processors. These motherboards will come with out of the box support for Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, something that requires BIOS updates on current 300-series chipset motherboards.

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 Second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Confirmed to Support AM4

AMD, in an interview with Overclockers UK (OCUK), confirmed that its second-generation Ryzen desktop processors will support the existing AM4 socket, so current Ryzen platform users can seamlessly upgrade to the new processors, with a BIOS update. Most current AM4 socket motherboards will require BIOS updates to support Ryzen "Raven Ridge" desktop APUs, and Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs, as the two require an update to the latest AGESA 1.0.0.7 version. In the interview, AMD representative James Prior confirmed that the company plans to keep AM4 its mainstream-desktop processor socket all the way up to 2020, which means at least another two to three generations of processors for it.

The next generation is "Pinnacle Ridge," which is rumored to be an optical-shrink of the "Summit Ridge" silicon to the 12 nm process, enabling higher clock speeds. The decision to keep AM4 doesn't mean the company's 300-series chipset will be made to stretch over 3 years. The company could release newer chipsets, particularly to address 300-series chipset's main shortcoming, just 6-8 older PCI-Express gen 2.0 general purpose lanes (while Intel chipsets put out up to 24 gen 3.0 lanes).

ASUS BIOS Change-log Reveals New Ryzen Processors Incoming

ASUS recently released BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, which implement AGESA 1.0.0.7, which as you'll recall, paves the way for implementing support for upcoming processors, based on AMD's Vega-infused "Raven Ridge" APU silicon, and the 12 nm refreshed Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon due for February 2018. ASUS published, and later withdrew the BIOS updates as the media got whiff of them.

The next parts for AMD's mainstream-desktop socket AM4 platform will be Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, which let you finally use the HDMI and DisplayPorts on your motherboards. "Raven Ridge" combines a quad-core "Zen" CPU with a 640-stream processor integrated graphics based on the "Vega" graphics architecture. The "late-2017 or early-2018" time-line for these chips still appears to stand. RedGamingTech suggests that AMD's answer to Intel "Coffee Lake" processors, the 12 nm Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, could be out by as early (or late) as February 2018. These chips could be previewed or teased at the company's events held on the sidelines of the 2018 International CES.

AMD Readies AGESA 1.0.0.7 Update Enabling "Raven Ridge" APUs

AMD is readying an update to its AGESA micro-code. AGESA is an essential component of AMD platform motherboard BIOSes responsible for starting the processor at system start-up. Updates to it improve the motherboards' memory and CPU compatibility. Following its all-important AGESA 1.0.0.6 update that vastly improves memory compatibility of AMD Ryzen processors, the company is readying an even newer version. The new AGESA 1.0.0.7 update prompts significant changes to the structure of motherboard BIOSes, making it easy to implement support for upcoming socket AM4 chips, such as the "Raven Ridge" APUs, and the 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs.

Professional overclocker elmor, who is currently associated with ASUS ROG, responding to an Overclockers.net forums question about the Crosshair VI series motherboard, mentioned that AGESA 1.0.0.7 significantly changes the BIOS structure of AMD motherboards, which will make it easier implement support for future processors. "AGESA 1007 comes with support for Raven Ridge APUs. AMD has also changed the entire BIOS base structure so we have to do a lot of work to port everything to the new version, which may result in further bugs. The advantage is that it makes it easier to support future CPUs (Raven Ridge, Pinnacle Ridge)," he said. Updates to AGESA are distributed by motherboard manufacturers as BIOS updates.

Intel Core "Coffee Lake" Availability Scarce Until 2018: Report

Intel's 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" 6-core processors aim to restore the company's competitiveness in the mainstream-desktop (MSDT) platform, which eroded to AMD's unexpectedly successful Ryzen. The chips will hit the stores a little later this month, at price-points very close to the outgoing 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors; although a report by SweClockers predicts that the chips will be scarcely available until early-2018.

Intel is launching "Coffee Lake" desktop processor family with a rather trimmed down lineup of six SKUs, two each under the Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 brands, with the former two being 6-core, and the Core i3 being quad-core, marking an increase in core-counts across the board. While these chips will very much be available on launch-date in the retail channel, there could be an inventory shortage running all the way till Q1-2018.

AMD's Pinnacle Ridge Zen+ 12 nm CPUs to Launch on February 2018

A recent AMD roadmap leak showed the company's "tick", process-improved plans for 2018's Zen+, as well as its painter-imbued aspirations with Zen 2 in 2019. Now, there's some new info posted by DigiTimes that's being sourced straight from motherboard makers that points to the company's Pinnacle Ridge launch being set sometime in February 2018.

This information seems to have been delivered to the motherboard makers straight from AMD itself, as a heads-up for when they should be expecting to ramp up production of next-generation chipsets. Sources report that AMD will follow their Summit Ridge, Ryzen launch, with the initial release of Pinnacle 7 in February, followed by the mid-range Pinnacle 5 and entry-level Pinnacle 3 processors in March 2018. DigiTimes also reports that AMD is expecting to see its share of the desktop CPU market return to at least 30% in the first half of 2018 which, coeteris paribus, is more of a simple mathematical progression than clarvoyance.
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