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Finer Details of Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K Emerge

Taiwanese tech site BenchLife.info scored finer details of Intel's upcoming premium LGA1151 processors through screenshots of leaked documents; revealing more about the Core i7-9700K 8-core/8-thread processor, and the top-dog 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. The i7-9700K has the QDF number QQPK, and the i9-9900K "QQPP." The tables below also reveal their extended product code, CPUID, and iGPU device ID. There's also a confirmation that the TDP of both parts is rated at just 95 W. The next table provides a great insight to the clock speeds of the two chips.

Both chips idle at 800 MHz, and have an identical nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. The two differ with their Turbo Boost states. The i7-9700K has a maximum Turbo Boost state of 4.90 GHz, which it awards to 1-core. As a reminder, this chip is the first Core i7 SKU ever to lack HyperThreading support. 2-core boost frequency for this chip is 4.80 GHz. 4-core boost is up to 4.70 GHz. 4.60 GHz is the all-core boost (cores 5 thru 8). The i9-9900K gives both 1-core and 2-core the highest boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (that's up to 4 threads). The 4-core boost state is 4.80 GHz, and all-core (cores 5 thru 8) get 4.70 GHz. Intel is keeping its boost states rather high for this round of processors, as it tries to compete with the Ryzen 7 "Pinnacle Ridge" series.

AMD Announces 2nd Generation Ryzen Threadripper 2000, up to 32 Cores/64 Threads!

AMD announced its second-generation Ryzen Threadripper high-end desktop (HEDT) processor series, succeeding its lean and successful first-generation that disrupted much of Intel's Core X HEDT series, forcing Intel to open up new high-core-count (HCC) market segments beyond its traditional $1000 price-point. AMD's 16-core $999 1950X proved competitive with even Intel's 12-core and 14-core SKUs priced well above the $1200-mark; and now AMD looks to beat Intel at its game, with the introduction of new 24-core and 32-core SKUs at prices that are sure to spell trouble for Intel's Core X HCC lineup. The lineup is partially open to pre-orders, with two SKUs launching within August (including the 32-core one), and two others in October.

At the heart of AMD's second-generation Ryzen Threadripper is the new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" die, which made its debut with the 2nd Generation Ryzen AM4 family. This die proved to introduce 3-5 percent IPC improvements in single-threaded tasks, and multi-threaded improvements with an improved Precision Boost II algorithm, which boosted frequencies of each of 8 cores on-die. The Threadripper is still a multi-chip module, with 2 to 4 of these dies, depending on the SKU. There are four of these - the 12-core/24-thread Threadripper 2920X, the 16-core/32-thread Threadripper 2950X; the 24-core/48-thread Threadripper 2970WX, and the flagship 32-core/64-thread Threadripper 2990WX.

Intel to Paper-launch 9th Gen Core on August 14, Availability in Q4-2018

Intel's client desktop processor lineup is under tremendous pressure owing to competition from AMD, with the company having to roll out entire processor generations over mere 2-3 quarters. You'll recount that Intel was merrily trotting around with its barely-innovative 7th Gen "Kaby Lake" family in early 2017, when AMD stunned the industry with an outperforming product lineup. The 7th generation barely lasted its planned product cycle, before Intel rushed in a pathetic sub-$500 Core X lineup, and the 8th generation "Coffee Lake" with 50-100% core-count increases. Even that is proving insufficient in the wake of 2nd generation AMD Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge," and Intel is cutting short its product cycle with the 9th generation Core "Whiskey Lake" (or "Coffee Lake" Refresh) series, that further increase core-counts.

"Whiskey Lake" was originally planned for Q1-2019 alongside the 14 nm original Z390 chipset. Intel wasn't expecting AMD to rebound with Ryzen 2000 series (particularly the tangible IPC increases and improved multi-core boosting). And so, it decided to rush through with a new product generation yet again. The Z370 is being re-branded to Z390 (with an improved CPU VRM reference design), and what was originally meant to come out in Q1-2019, could come out by Q4-2018, at the very earliest by October. Intel reportedly planned availability sooner, but realized that distributors have heaps of unsold 8th generation Core inventory, and motherboard vendors aren't fully ready for the chip. Since getting a 9th gen Core chip doesn't warrant a new motherboard, customers would be inclined to pick up 9th generation chip with their existing boards, or any new 300-series board. This would kill the prospects of selling 8th generation Core CPUs.

AMD Announces the B450 Chipset

AMD today announced the B450 motherboard chipset for socket AM4 processors and APUs. Positioned as the mid-range option from AMD's 400-series chipset family, the B450 will power motherboards priced anywhere between $70 to $160, and packs certain high-end features that could let you save money over choosing pricier X470-powered boards. To begin with, the B450, like the X470, has a lower TDP and power-draw, so it runs cooler, and can make do with lighter heatsinks. It comes with slightly improved reference CPU VRM and memory wiring specifications that AMD introduced with the X470. The B450, like the X470, also supports XFR 2 "Enhanced" and Precision Boost Overdrive (that lets you tinker with boost frequencies without arbitrarily setting a high clock speed).

The B450 is recommended by AMD for both Ryzen 5 series and Ryzen 7 series, provided you don't need multi-GPU, as motherboards based on B450 aren't allowed to have PEG lane bifurcation. You still get multiplier-unlocked CPU overclocking support (something the competing Intel B360 platform lacks), as well as memory overclocking. The B450 packs out of the box support for AMD StoreMI, a storage virtualization feature that stripes a portion of your memory, your fast SSD, and slower HDD, into a single volume, and juggles hot data in and out of the faster media in the background. You can have any brand of drives to use StoreMI. B350 motherboards support StoreMI through BIOS updates.

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

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

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

AMD B450 Mid-range Chipset Detailed

AMD is giving finishing touches to its second 400-series motherboard chipset, the B450. Slated for a 2H-2018 launch alongside the Ryzen 5 2500X and a few other entry-level 2nd generation "Zen" processors, the B450 succeeds the mid-range B350 chipset, comes with out of the box support for Ryzen 2000 "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, and has a couple of features up its sleeve. To begin with, it puts out the same numbers of USB, SATA, and PCIe links as the B350. You get two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 2 ports, just two 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, just two SATA 6 Gbps ports, and just six downstream PCI-Express gen 2.0 lanes. The AM4 SoC augments this paltry connectivity with two more 5 Gbps USB 3.1 gen 1 ports, two more SATA 6 Gbps ports, and a 32 Gbps M.2 PCIe slot. Unlike mid-range chipsets from Intel, the AMD B450 and B350 retain CPU overclocking support.

Like the X470, the new B450 comes with a reduced idle power-draw of less than 2W, and hence can be cooled by extremely tiny heatsinks. The chipset has the same "enhanced" CPU VRM and memory routing specifications (additional PCB layers), introduced by the X470. To be more business/enterprise-friendly, the B450 lets system administrators disable specific USB ports of the motherboard from the UEFI setup program. Also, both X470 and B450 support NVMe RAID, which was exclusive to the X399 in the previous generation. You also get out of the box support for AMD StoreMI technology. Interestingly, the table detailing the B450 lists a feature exclusive to the X470 and B450, called "XFR 2.0 Enhanced." No AMD technical document we read tells us what XFR 2.0 Enhanced is, and how it's different from XFR 2.0 (separately listed in that table).

AMD Leaks Model Numbers of Upcoming Ryzen SKUs

AMD inadvertently put out model numbers of several Ryzen processor model numbers, before redacting the page with them. They reveal pretty much AMD's entire second wave of Ryzen 2000 series processors. To begin with, AMD will finally introduce Ryzen 3 series desktop processor SKUs based on the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, with the new Ryzen 3 2100 (YD210BC6M2OFB) and the Ryzen 3 2300X (YD230XBBM4KAF). The Ryzen 3 2000 series includes quad-core parts without SMT. Since the Ryzen 3 2100 lacks integrated graphics, it end-user model numbering below the Ryzen 3 2200G. The Ryzen 3 2300X succeeds the Ryzen 3 1300X covering AMD's entry-level lineup.

The Ryzen 5 2000 series is augmented by the Ryzen 5 2500X (YD250XBBM4KAF). This likely 4-core/8-thread chip could feature higher clock speeds and L3 cache amount than the Ryzen 5 2400G, justifying its model number, despite the lack of integrated graphics. AMD's Ryzen Threadripper 2000 series are multi-chip modules of the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" die, and AMD has three models in store, the Ryzen Threadripper 2900X (YD290XA8U8QAF), Ryzen Threadripper 2920X (YD292XA8UC9AF), and the top-dog Ryzen Threadripper 2950X (YD295XA8UGAAF), succeeding the TR-1900X, TR-1920X, and TR-1950X. Like the rest of the Ryzen 2000-series, the three new Threadripper chips could feature increased clocks and new features from "Zen+" to hold onto the existing price-points, and turn up the heat on Intel SKUs priced above $999, such as the 12-core i9-7920X, or even the 16-core i9-7960X.

Pro Overclocker der8auer Delids the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor

In his latest Youtube video, famous overclocker der8auer has delidded his AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor for the sole purpose of evaluating whether the benefits justify the risk. Since the IHS in the new Pinnacle Ridge processors is soldered directly to the die with Indium, delidding the processors is a tricky but not impossible task. Everything melts when it gets warm enough, and indium starts melting around 156.60 °C. Therefore, der8auer had to use a modified version of his popular Delid Die Mate 2 tool by replacing the acrylic pieces with aluminum while also removing the rubber washer. After baking his Ryzen 5 2600 chip in the oven between 170 °C to 180 °C, Der8auer removed the IHS easily with his delidding tool. For his testing, he replaced the indium solder with Thermal Grizzly liquid metal thermal compound. As expected, the results weren't very impressive. With the Ryzen 5 2600 overclocked to 4.1 GHz with 1.35V, the difference was a mere 4 °C under load. So, there you have it. Don't delid your Pinnacle Ridge processor. It's not worth the effort.

Six First-Generation AMD Ryzen Processor Models Reach EOL

With the April 19 introduction of four new second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" desktop processor SKUs, namely the 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600; AMD is retiring six first-generation "Summit Ridge" SKUs from its lineup, according to a Guru3D report. Six SKUs have been marked EOL (end of life), meaning retailers can no longer order them from AMD. They can sell their remaining inventory, and AMD will honor full product warranties and aftersales support, to end users.

Among the retired SKUs are the previous-generation flagship Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 (non-X); Ryzen 5 1600X, 1400, and the Ryzen 3 1200. As revealed in its product stack slide, the 2700X currently replaces both the 1800X and 1700X as the "8-core high performance" SKU, followed by the 2700 as the "8-core high efficiency" SKU, which replaces the 1700. The 2600X and 2600 succeed the 1600X and 1600, respectively. The Ryzen 5 1400 finds itself replaced by the GPU-equipped Ryzen 5 2400G "Raven Ridge" APU, and the entry-level Ryzen 3 1200 by the sub-$100 Ryzen 3 2200G. The table below reveals the updates prices of first-generation SKUs still in the product stack.

BIOSTAR Announces Racing X470GT8 Motherboard

BIOSTAR unveils RACING X470GT8, a full ATX motherboard with the AMD X470 chipset for the second generation AMD Ryzen processors, Pinnacle Ridge and Raven Ridge. The BIOSTAR RACING X470GT8 offers performance and aesthetics for today's overclockers and gamers. It has a premium black RACING themed PCB design, Digital Power+, Hi-Fi zone design, integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type A + C), Iron Slot Protection, and Advanced VIVID LED DJ for more RGB lighting control.

The BIOSTAR RACING X470GT8 motherboard is the flagship model for the 2nd generation Ryzen processors featuring the new AMD X470 enthusiast chipset. It features an ATX form factor with three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots and supports two dual-channel memory up to DDR4-3200MHz (OC). The RACING X470GT8 has a 12-digital power phase design to harness the power of the new Ryzen 7 2700X 8-core, 16-thread processor. The motherboard also packs 6x SATA III ports, 1x M.2 32Gb/s port with the BIOSTAR M.2 Cooling heatsink and integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Type A and C).

AMD Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs and X470 Motherboards Open to Pre-orders

Ahead of its 19th April formal launch, AMD opened up pre-orders to its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, and compatible motherboards based on AMD X470 chipset. AMD is launching this series with four SKUs, the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 7 2700 eight-core chips, and Ryzen 5 2600X and Ryzen 5 2600 six-core chips. The pricing of the four is surprisingly lower than expected. The top-dog 2700X has an SEP price of just USD $329, while the 2700 (non-X) goes for $299. The six-core parts aren't too far behind. The Ryzen 5 2600X has an SEP price of $229, and the Ryzen 5 2600 is $199. Pricing of the chips in the EU is along expected lines. The Ryzen 7 2700X is priced at 319€, followed by the Ryzen 7 2700 at 289€, Ryzen 5 2600X at 225€, and the Ryzen 5 2600 at 195€.

Based on the new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, the Ryzen 7 2700X comes with higher clock speeds than the previous-generation flagship 1800X, with 3.70 GHz core, 4.30 GHz boost, and XFR boosting frequency beyond the max boost frequency. You get 8 CPU cores, and SMT enabling 16 logical CPUs, 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache. The 2700 is clocked at 3.20 GHz, with 4.10 GHz boost. The 2600X and the 2600 are 6-core/12-thread parts, with the full 16 MB L3 cache available on-die. The 2600X is clocked at 3.60 GHz with 4.20 GHz boost and XFR; while the 2600 is clocked at 3.40 GHz, with 3.90 GHz boost. All four models include stock cooling solutions, including the 2700X and the 2600X. Availability in brick and mortar stores will commence on the 19th, it's also the day the first pre-ordered chips will start getting delivered.

Here's the Clearest Picture of GIGABYTE X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WiFi

GIGABYTE X470 Aorus Gaming 7 was the first X470 motherboard to be shown off to the world. With its chipset name redacted, the board was even shown off at the 2018 International CES, early January. Now closer to its mid-April launch alongside AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, we have the first clear picture of the board.

The board features the same design scheme GIGABYTE introduced with its Aorus-branded motherboards based on Intel 300-series chipset. There are subtle changes in the retail board, compared to the prototype shown off at CES, such as more decals over the VRM heatsinks and the rear I/O shroud. As detailed in our CES coverage of this board, it has all the bells and whistles to be the company's next flagship socket AM4 product, and could be priced north of $200 or even $250. There could be a sub-variant that lacks the WLAN module.

G.Skill Readies a Sniper X Memory Variant Targeted at AMD "Pinnacle Ridge"

G.Skill is giving final touches to a Sniper X memory kit that could be the company's go-to product for AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, in the same way as the company's Flare X DDR4-3200 memory kits gained popularity among AMD Ryzen-based gaming PC builders. Flare X will still very much be compatible with "Pinnacle Ridge," but the Sniper X kit G.Skill has in store for the new processor, pushes up the memory speeds, taking advantage of increased memory clock limits of the new chips.

The new "Pinnacle Ridge" friendly G.Skill Sniper X kit will bear the model number F4-3400C16D-16GSXW. As you might tell from its model number, it is a DDR4-3400 MHz memory kit, which comes in 16 GB (2x 8 GB) capacity, and has a CAS latency of 16T. It ticks at 3400 MHz with 16-16-16-36 timings, and a DRAM voltage of 1.35V. The rest of the Sniper X series, announced in January, will come in speeds of up to 3600 MHz. AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors are expected to feature higher maximum memory clock speeds.

FinalWire Announces AIDA64 v5.97 Update

FinalWire Ltd. today announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 Extreme 5.97 software, a streamlined diagnostic and benchmarking tool for home users; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Engineer 5.97 software, a professional diagnostic and benchmarking solution for corporate IT technicians and engineers; the immediate availability of AIDA64 Business 5.97 software, an essential network management solution for small and medium scale enterprises; and the immediate availability of AIDA64 Network Audit 5.97 software, a dedicated network audit toolset to collect and manage corporate network inventories.

The latest AIDA64 update implements 64-bit AVX-512 accelerated benchmarks, adds monitoring of sensor values on Asus ROG RGB LED motherboards and video cards, and supports the latest AMD and Intel CPU platforms as well as the new graphics and GPGPU computing technologies by both AMD and nVIDIA.
DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v5.97

AMD Ryzen 7 "2800X" Not Part of First Wave

AMD is preparing to launch its first wave of 12 nm Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors in April, with possible availability on the 19th. From all of the materials leaked to the web, it's becoming clear that the Ryzen 7 2700X will be the company's next flagship socket AM4 processor, with a "2800X" not being part of the first wave of "Pinnacle Ridge" chips. Adding further to the theory of the first wave of "Pinnacle Ridge" chips being led by the 2700X, is the leaked cover of the next issue of print magazine CanardPC, which screams "2700X," and includes a roundup of second-generation Ryzen parts from 2200G all the way through the 2700X. The 2700X, besides process and minor architectural refinements, also features higher clocks than the current company flagship in the segment, the Ryzen 7 1800X. It's clocked at 3.70 GHz base, with 4.35 GHz boost, and XFR 2.0 driving the clocks up even further, compared to the 3.60/4.00/4.20 GHz (base/boost/max-XFR) of the 1800X. For this reason alone, the 2700X will be a faster part.

AMD has the advantage of having sized up Intel's Core i7-8700K before deciding to lead with the 2700X. The possible 2800X will depend on Intel's short-term response to the 2700X. There were rumors late last year of a possible speed-bumped "Core i7-8720K." AMD's first wave of Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" will be as brisk as Intel's first "Coffee Lake" desktop processors, with just four SKUs - the Ryzen 7 2700X, the Ryzen 7 2700, the Ryzen 5 2600X, and the Ryzen 5 2600. Besides higher clocks, the chips could feature a minor IPC uplift (vs. first-generation "Summit Ridge") thanks to rumored faster (lower-latency) caches, support for higher memory clocks, updated Precision Boost algorithms, and XFR 2.0.

AMD Trims Prices of Current-gen Ryzen Processors

AMD on Monday, announced price-cuts across a bulk of its Ryzen 3-series, Ryzen 5-series, Ryzen 7-series, and Ryzen Threadripper processor models, based on first-generation "Zen" architecture, probably in preparation of its possible-April 19 launch of its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors. The decision to trim prices of Threadripper SKUs indicates that AMD is either stepping up the heat on Intel's Core X family, or that one can expect a brisk roll-out of 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon-based 2nd Generation Threadripper SKUs, even if not on April 19. The latest roadmaps put 2nd Gen Threadripper launch to the second half of 2018.

AMD Ryzen 2000 Series "Pinnacle Ridge" Roadmap Leaked

Ahead of its launch product roadmap of AMD's next-generation performance-thru-enthusiast segment socket AM4 processors, was leaked to the web. It indicates that AMD could launch its next-generation Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors with no more than four SKUs initially. These include the top-dog Ryzen 7 2700X, followed by the Ryzen 7 2700; the Ryzen 5 2600X, and the Ryzen 5 2600. Both Ryzen 7-series SKUs are 8-core/16-thread chips, while both Ryzen 5-series SKUs are 6-core/12-thread. There's also pricing for each of the four. The clock-speeds are also revealed below.

The Ryzen 7 2700X is being launched at a SEP of USD $369, and positioned against Intel Core i7-8700K. This is followed by the Ryzen 7 2700 being priced at $299, and fielded against Intel's multiplier-locked Core i7-8700. The Ryzen 5 2600X is, obviously, positioned against the Core i5-8600K, and priced at $249; while the Ryzen 5 2600 is priced at an attractive $199, and looks to disrupt several of Intel's Core i5 6-core SKUs around its price-point. Unlike many of Intel's SKUs, all AMD Ryzen chips feature unlocked multiplier, SMT, and a cooling solution. That's right, even the top-dog 2700X and 2600X include coolers, as opposed to their predecessors. The 2700X includes AMD's new Wraith Prism, while the 2600X and the other two SKUs include a Wraith Spire.

Colorful Working on AMD 400-series Chipset AM4 Motherboards

Colorful is designing its first socket AM4 motherboards, according to industry sources. The company will release its first socket AM4 motherboards after the 2018 Computex Expo (June). These boards will be based on AMD 400-series chipsets, and will come with out of the box support for Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, and existing Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors. Taking advantage of PCI-Express gen 3.0 general-purpose connectivity of the 400-series chipset, the boards will feature multiple 32 Gbps NVMe interfaces (M.2 or U.2). It's possible that the company could attach its coveted iGame Vulcan brand to some of these models. The company currently only sells motherboards for Intel platforms. Its lineup includes motherboards based on Intel Z370 and X299 chipsets, including crypto-currency miner-centric boards based on lesser Intel chipsets, such as the B250. AMD is expected to debut its 400-series chipset alongside its 2nd generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, in Q2-2018.

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.
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