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AMD EPYC "Milan" Processors Pricing and Specifications Leak

AMD is readying its upcoming EPYC processors based on the refined Zen 3 core. Codenamed "Milan", the processor generation is supposed to bring the same number of PCIe lanes and quite possibly similar memory support. The pricing, along with the specifications, has been leaked and now we have information on every model ranging from eight cores to the whopping 64 cores. Thanks to @momomo_us on Twitter, we got ahold of Canadian pricing leaked on the Dell Canada website. Starting from the cheapest design listed here (many are missing here), you would be looking at the EPYC 7543 processor with 32 cores running at 2.8 GHz speed, 256 MB of L3 cache, and a TDP of 225 Watts. Such a processor will set you back as much as 2579.69 CAD, which is cheaper compared to the previous generation EPYC 7542 that costs 3214.70 CAD.

Whatever this represents more aggressive pricing to position itself better against the competition, we do not know. The same strategy is applied with the 64 core AMD EPYC 7763 processor (2.45 GHz speed, 256 MB cache, 280 W TDP) as the new Zen 3 based design is priced at 8069.69 CAD, which is cheaper than the 8180.10 CAD price tag of AMD EPYC 7762 CPU.

AMD Announces Ryzen 5000 Series Mobile Processors, Additional Ryzen Desktop Models, and Ryzen Threadripper PRO Availability for Consumers

Today, AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced the full portfolio of AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Mobile Processors, bringing the highly-efficient and extremely powerful "Zen 3" core architecture to the laptop market. New AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Mobile Processors provide unprecedented levels of performance and incredible battery life for gamers, creators, and professionals. New laptops powered by Ryzen 5000 Series Mobile processors will be available from major PC manufacturers including ASUS, HP and Lenovo, starting in Q1 2021. Expanding its leadership client computing product portfolio featuring the "Zen 3" core, AMD also announced the AMD Ryzen PRO 5000 Series Mobile Processors, delivering enterprise-grade security and seamless manageability to commercial users. Throughout the course of 2021, AMD expects a broad portfolio of more than 150 consumer and commercial notebooks based on the Ryzen 5000 Series Mobile Processors.

"As the PC becomes an even more essential part of how we work, play and connect, users demand more performance, security and connectivity," said Saeid Moshkelani, senior vice president and general manager, Client business unit, AMD. "The new AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Desktop and Mobile Processors bring the best innovation AMD has to offer to consumers and professionals as we continue our commitment to delivering best-in-class experiences with instant responsiveness, incredible battery life and fantastic designs. With our PC partners, we are delivering top-quality performance and no-compromise solutions alongside our record-breaking growth in the notebook and desktop space in the previous year."

AMD 32-Core EPYC "Milan" Zen 3 CPU Fights Dual Xeon 28-Core Processors

AMD is expected to announce its upcoming EPYC lineup of processors for server applications based on the new Zen 3 architecture. Codenamed "Milan", AMD is continuing the use of Italian cities as codenames for its processors. Being based on the new Zen 3 core, Milan is expected to bring big improvements over the existing EPYC "Rome" design. Bringing a refined 7 nm+ process, the new EPYC Milan CPUs are going to feature better frequencies, which are getting paired with high core counts. If you are wondering how Zen 3 would look like in server configuration, look no further because we have the upcoming AMD EPYC 7543 32-core processor benchmarked in Geekbench 4 benchmark.

The new EPYC 7543 CPU is a 32 core, 64 thread design with a base clock of 2.8 GHz, and a boost frequency of 3.7 GHz. The caches on this CPU are big, and there is a total of 2048 KB (32 times 32 KB for instruction cache and 32 times 32 KB for data cache) of L1 cache, 16 MB of L2 cache, and as much as 256 MB of L3. In the GB4 test, a single-core test produced 6065 points, while the multi-core run resulted in 111379 points. If you are wondering how that fairs against something like top-end Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 Cascade Lake 28-core CPU, the new EPYC Milan 7543 CPU is capable of fighting two of them at the same time. In a single-core test, the Intel Xeon configuration scores 5048 points, showing that the new Milan CPU has 20% higher single-core performance, while the multi-core score of the dual Xeon setup is 117171 points, which is 5% faster than AMD CPU. The reason for the higher multi-core score is the sheer number of cores that a dual-CPU configuration offers (32 cores vs 56 cores).

Microsoft is Engineering Custom Processors for Servers and Surface PCs

Designing a custom processor can be a rewarding thing. You can control your ecosystem surrounding it and get massive rewards in terms of application-specific performance uplift, or lower total cost of ownership. It seems like cloud providers have figured out that at their scale, designing a custom processor can get all of the above with the right amount of effort put into it. If you remember, in 2018, Amazon has announced its Graviton processor based on Arm instruction set architecture. Today, the company has almost 10% of its AWS instances based on the Graviton 1 or 2 processors, which is a massive win for a custom design.

Following Amazon's example, the next company to join the custom server processor race is going to be Microsoft. The Redmond based giant is looking to build a custom lineup of processors that are meant to satisfy Microsoft's most demanding sector - server space. The company's Azure arm is an important part where it has big and increasing revenue. By building a custom processor, it could satisfy the market needs better while delivering higher value. The sources of Bloomberg say that Microsoft is planning to use Arm ISA, and start building independence from the x86 vendors like Intel and AMD. Just like we saw with AWS, the industry cloud giants are starting to get silicon-independent and with their scale, they can drive the ecosystem surrounding the new processors forward rapidly. The sources are also speculating that the company is building custom processors for Surface PCs, and with Windows-on-Arm (WoA) project, Microsoft has laid the groundwork in that field as well.

AMD Readies Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800 Processors for OEMs

With the launch of the Ryzen 5000 series of processors, AMD has set a goal to put its Zen 3 cores everywhere. Starting from desktop, mobile, and soon server space, AMD is delivering its best products. However, AMD is also preparing to satisfy another segment. The OEMs are in need of processors that are specifically designed for their purposes and their clients, that don't require as many features as the desktop segment does. Usually, that means some overclocking capability is cut off. Today, thanks to the two hardware leakers Patrick Schur and Momomo_US we get to see the first sightings of AMD's upcoming Zen 3 offerings for OEMs.

The first in the lineup is the Ryzen 9 5900 processor. It features 12 cores with 24 threads, running at unknown frequencies for now. All we know is that the CPU is a bit lower-clocked than its 105 W "X" Ryzen 9 5900X variant. Unlike the "X" variant, this CPU is supposed to bring TDP down to 65 Watts. Another differentiator is the cache configuration. The Ryzen 9 5900 features 64 MB of L3 cache and 2 MB of L2 cache. The "X" version for desktops features 64 MB of L3, however, there is 6 MB of L2 cache present there. Next up comes the smaller eight-core variant - Ryzen 7 5800. Featuring 8 cores and 16 threads running at an also unknown frequency. The chip features a TDP of 65 Watts and cache configuration with 32 MB of L3 cache and 4 MB of L2, with the only difference from the Ryzen 7 5800X being the lower frequency.

AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Graphics Card OpenCL Score Leaks

AMD has launched its RDNA 2 based graphics cards, codenamed Navi 21. These GPUs are set to compete with NVIDIA's Ampere offerings, with the lineup covering the Radeon RX 6800, RX 6800 XT, and RX 6900 XT graphics cards. Until now, we have had reviews of the former two, but not the Radeon RX 6900 XT. That is because the card is coming at a later date, specifically on December 8th, in just a few days. As a reminder, the Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU is a Navi 21 XTX model with 80 Compute Units that give a total of 5120 Stream Processors. The graphics card uses a 256-bit bus that connects the GPU with 128 MB of its Infinity Cache to 16 GB of GDDR6 memory. When it comes to frequencies, it has a base clock of 1825 MHz, with a boost speed of 2250 MHz.

Today, in a GeekBench 5 submission, we get to see the first benchmarks of AMD's top-end Radeon RX 6900 XT graphics card. Running an OpenCL test suite, the card was paired with AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X 16C/32T CPU. The card managed to pass the OpenCL test benchmarks with a score of 169779 points. That makes the card 12% faster than RX 6800 XT GPU, but still slower than the competing NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPU, which scores 177724 points. However, we need to wait for a few more benchmarks to appear to jump to any conclusions, including the TechPowerUp review, which is expected to arrive once NDA lifts. Below, you can compare the score to other GPUs in the GeekBench 5 OpenCL database.

AWS Leverages Habana Gaudi AI Processors

Today at AWS re:Invent 2020, AWS CEO Andy Jassy announced EC2 instances that will leverage up to eight Habana Gaudi accelerators and deliver up to 40% better price performance than current graphics processing unit-based EC2 instances for machine learning workloads. Gaudi accelerators are specifically designed for training deep learning models for workloads that include natural language processing, object detection and machine learning training, classification, recommendation and personalization.

"We are proud that AWS has chosen Habana Gaudi processors for its forthcoming EC2 training instances. The Habana team looks forward to our continued collaboration with AWS to deliver on a roadmap that will provide customers with continuity and advances over time." -David Dahan, chief executive officer at Habana Labs, an Intel Company.

AMD Unveils Ryzen Embedded V2000 Processors with Enhanced Performance and Efficiency

AMD today launched a new product in its high-performance Embedded processor family, the AMD Ryzen Embedded V2000 Series processor. Built on the innovative 7 nm process technology, "Zen 2" cores and high-performance AMD Radeon graphics, the AMD Ryzen Embedded V2000 Series provides a new class of performance with 7 nm technology, incredible power efficiency and continues to deliver enterprise-class security features for embedded customers.

The AMD Embedded Ryzen V2000 family is designed for embedded applications such as Thin Client, MiniPC and Edge systems. Equipped with up to eight CPU cores and seven GPU compute units, a single AMD Ryzen Embedded V2000 Series processor provides 2x the multi-threaded performance-per-watt, up to 30 percent better single-thread CPU performance and up to 40 percent better graphics performance over the previous generation. For customers and applications that need high-performance display capabilities, the Ryzen Embedded V2000 series can power up to four independent displays in 4K resolution.

Intel 10 nm Ice Lake-SP Server Processors Reportedly Delayed

Intel 10 nm products have seen massive delays over the years, and Intel has built many IPs on the new node, however, not many of them have seen the light of the day due to problems the company has experienced with the manufacturing of the new node. That has caused delays in product shipments in the past, meaning that the time for 10 nm is just ahead. According to the latest DigiTimes Taiwan report, we have information that Intel is going to delay its Ice Lake-SP server processors manufactured on a 10 nm node. And it is going to be a whole quarter late according to the report. Instead of launching in Q4 this year, we can expect to see new processors in Q1 of 2021. It is yet unknown whatever the launch will happen at the beginning of Q1 or its end, however, we will report on it as we hear more information.

Update: DigiTimes has also released another report regarding server shipments. It is reported that server vendors are decelerating the shipments as they are making fewer orders in Q4 to wait for the new Intel CPUs. Judging by this move, the demand for these new processors is going to be rather high and the supply chain is preparing slowly for it.

Intel Officially Announces Marvel Avengers Collectors Edition KA Series Processors

We previously reported on the leaked listings for the upcoming Intel KA series processors from a Vietnamese retailer. Intel has now officially unveiled the chips and provided some extra details on the collaboration. The Intel KA series of processors are identical to their K series siblings apart from the Marvel Avengers box branding. Intel is reportedly launching five models from their i5, i7, and i9 lineups the Intel Core i5-10600KA, i7-10700KA, i9-10850KA, and i9-10900KA. The box artwork was designed by painter/muralist Tristan Eaton, Intel didn't announce pricing or availability for the lineup.

Intel Ice Lake-SP Processors Get Benchmarked Against AMD EPYC Rome

Intel is preparing to launch its next-generation for server processors and the next in line is the Ice Lake-SP 10 nm CPU. Featuring a Golden Cove CPU and up to 28 cores, the CPU is set to bring big improvements over the past generation of server products called Cascade Lake. Today, thanks to the sharp eye of TUM_APISAK, we have a new benchmark of the Ice Lake-SP platform, which is compared to AMD's EPYC Rome offerings. In the latest GeekBench 4 score, appeared an engineering sample of unknown Ice Lake-SP model with 28 cores, 56 threads, a base frequency of 1.5 GHz, and a boost of 3.19 GHz.

This model was put in a dual-socket configuration that ends up at a total of 56 core and 112 threads, against a single 64 core AMD EPYC 7442 Rome CPU. The dual-socket Intel configuration scored 3424 points in the single-threaded test, where AMD configuration scored notably higher 4398 points. The lower score on Intel's part is possibly due to lower clocks, which should improve in the final product, as this is only an engineering sample. When it comes to the multi-threaded test, Intel configuration scored 38079 points, where the AMD EPYC system did worse and scored 35492 points. The reason for this higher result is unknown, however, it shows that Ice Lake-SP has some potential.

Ampere Altra Family of Cloud Native Arm Processors expands to 128 cores with Altra Max

Ampere today announced further roadmap details of its Ampere Altra server processor family. In March the company announced Ampere Altra, the world's first cloud native processor, featuring 80 cores. Today, Ampere unveiled preliminary details of the expansion of the cloud-native processor family by adding Ampere Altra Max, which has 128 cores, providing customers with another cloud-optimized processor to maximize overall performance and cores-per-rack density.

Ampere Altra Max is ideal for applications that take advantage of scale-out and elastic cloud architectures. Compatible with the 80-core Ampere Altra and also supporting 2-socket platforms, Ampere Altra Max offers the industry's highest socket-level performance and I/O scalability. It will be sampling in the fourth quarter and additional details will be provided later this year.
Ampere Altra Processor

NVIDIA DGX-A100 Systems Feature AMD EPYC "Rome" Processors

NVIDIA is leveraging the 128-lane PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex of AMD 2nd generation EPYC "Rome" enterprise processors in building its DGX-A100 super scalar compute systems that leverage the new A100 "Ampere" compute processors. Each DGX-A100 block is endowed with two AMD EPYC 7742 64-core/128-thread processors in a 2P setup totaling 128-cores/256-threads, clocked up to 3.40 GHz boost.

This 2P EPYC "Rome" processor setup is configured to feed PCIe gen 4.0 connectivity to eight NVIDIA A100 GPUs, and 8-port Mellanox ConnectX 200 Gbps InfiniBand NIC. Six NVSwitches provide NVLink connectivity complementing PCI-Express gen 4.0 from the AMD sIODs. The storage and memory subsystem is equally jaw-dropping: 1 TB of hexadeca-channel (16-channel) DDR4 memory, two 1.92 TB NVMe gen 4.0 SSDs, and 15 TB of U.2 NVMe drives (4x 3.84 TB units). The GPU memory of the eight A100 units add up to 320 GB (that's 8x 40 GB, 6144-bit HBM2E). When you power it up, you're greeted with the Ubuntu Linux splash screen. All this can be yours for USD $199,000.

Intel's Alder Lake Processors Could use Foveros 3D Stacking and Feature 16 Cores

Intel is preparing lots of interesting designs for the future and it is slowly shaping their vision for the next generation of computing devices. Following the big.LITTLE design principle of Arm, Intel decided to try and build its version using x86-64 cores instead of Arm ones, called Lakefield. And we already have some information about the new Alder Lake CPUs based on Lakefield design that are set to be released in the future. Thanks to a report from Chrome Unboxed, who found the patches submitted to Chromium open-source browser, used as a base for many browsers like Google Chrome and new Microsoft Edge, there is a piece of potential information that suggests Alder Lake CPUs could arrive very soon.

Rumored to feature up to 16 cores, Alder Lake CPUs could present an x86 iteration of the big.LITTLE design, where one pairs eight "big" and eight "small" cores that are activated according to increased or decreased performance requirements, thus bringing the best of both worlds - power efficiency and performance. This design would be present on Intel's 3D packaging technology called Foveros. The Alder Lake CPU support patch was added on April 27th to the Chrome OS repository, which would indicate that Intel will be pushing these CPUs out relatively quickly. The commit message titled "add support for ADL gpiochip" contained the following: "On Alderlake platform, the pinctrl (gpiochip) driver label is "INTC105x:00", hence declare it properly." The Chrome Unboxed speculates that Alder Lake could come out in mid or late 2021, depending on how fast Intel could supply OEMs with enough volume.
Intel Lakefield

Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake Desktop Processors and 400-Series Chipsets Announced, Here's what's New

Intel today launched its 10th generation Core desktop processor family and its companion Intel 400-series chipsets. Based on the 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process and built in the new LGA1200 package, the processors are based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture. The core design of "Comet Lake" and its IPC are identical to those of "Skylake," however Intel brought significant enhancements to the processor's clock-speed boosting algorithm, increased core- or thread counts across the board, and introduced new features that could interest enthusiasts and overclockers. The uncore component remains largely unchanged from the previous-generation, with support for DDR4 memory and PCI-Express gen 3.0. Use of these processors requires a new socket LGA1200 motherboard, they won't work on older LGA1151 motherboards. You can install any LGA115x-compatible cooler on LGA1200, provided it meets the thermal requirements of the processor you're using.

At the heart of the 10th generation Core processor family is a new 10-core monolithic processor die, which retains the same basic structure as the previous-generation 8-core "Coffee Lake Refresh" die, and 4-core "Skylake." The cores are arranged in two rows, sandwiched by the processor's uncore and iGPU blocks. A ring-bus interconnect binds the various components. The cache hierarchy is unchanged from previous generations as well, with 32 KB each of L1I and L1D caches; 256 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 20 MB of shared L3 cache. The iGPU is the same Gen 9.5 based UHD 630 graphics. As we mentioned earlier, much of Intel's innovation for the 10th generation is with the processor's microcode (boosting algorithms).
Intel Core i9-10900K 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup

Marvell Announces OCTEON TX2 Family of Multi-Core Infrastructure Processors

Marvell today announced OCTEON TX2, the latest family of infrastructure processors targeting a wide variety of wired and wireless networking equipment including switches, routers, secure gateways, firewall, network monitoring, 5G base stations, and smart network interface controllers (NICs). Massive increases in data traffic coupled with escalating requirements for end-to-end security are intensifying the need for highly scalable compute platforms with integrated workload-optimized hardware accelerators to meet performance, power and total cost of ownership requirements. Building on five generations of the industry's most scalable and widely adopted infrastructure processor platform, the OCTEON TX2 family is enabled by a broad software ecosystem including a feature-rich software development kit (SDK) and virtualization support, delivering a unique combination of performance and programmability. The OCTEON TX2 portfolio extends Marvell's industry-leading performance and scalability, delivering a 2.5x improvement over the previous generation and scaling up to 200 Gbps of packet processing throughput.

CacheOut is the Latest Speculative Execution Attack for Intel Processors

Another day, another speculative execution vulnerability found inside Intel processors. This time we are getting a new vulnerability called "CacheOut", named after the exploitation's ability to leak data stored inside CPU's cache memory. Dubbed CVE-2020-0549: "L1D Eviction Sampling (L1Des) Leakage" in the CVE identifier system, it is rated with a CVSS score of 6.5. Despite Intel patching a lot of similar exploits present on their CPUs, the CacheOut attack still managed to happen.

The CacheOut steals the data from the CPU's L1 cache, and it is doing it selectively. Instead of waiting for the data to become available, the exploit can choose which data it wants to leak. The "benefit" of this exploit is that it can violate almost every hardware-based security domain meaning that the kernel, co-resident VMs, and SGX (Software Guard Extensions) enclaves are in trouble. To mitigate this issue, Intel provided a microcode update to address the shortcomings of the architecture and they recommended possible mitigations to all OS providers, so you will be protected once your OS maker releases a new update. For a full list of processors affected, you can see this list. Additionally, it is worth pointing out that AMD CPUs are not affected by this exploit.

Intel Ghost Canyon NUC, Comet Lake-H, and Tiger Lake Processors Teased

During this year's CES, Intel had an event called the Performance Workshop, where many things were presented. Among those are Intel's upcoming Comet Lake-H CPUs, Ghost Canyon NUC 9, and last but not the least there was a mention of the future Tiger Lake processor and its AI performance. Starting with the Comet Lake-H announcement, Intel promised to deliver 8 core, 16 thread processors that are capable of reaching as high as 5 GHz clock speeds, in a 45 W TDP. These processors are the answer to AMD's upcoming "Renoir" Ryzen 4000 series of mobile processors, which are rumored to feature up to 8 cores and 16 threads as well. The advertised 5 GHz boost on these Comet Lake-H CPUs is for the Core i7 model, while Core i9 SKUs are supposed to reach even higher speeds. All the system improvements tied to Comet Lake like support for WiFi 6, Thunderbolt 3 and Optane memory support are also present on these CPUs.

Intel Discontinues Omni-Path Enabled Xeon Processors

Intel's Omni-Path technology has been used primarily in high performance computing market, in order to provide high speed interconnect between Intel Xeon CPUs, with speeds reaching around 100 Gbps. Accompanied by different design and system integration that Omni-Path uses, it was a bit difficult to integrate into server system, while not adding much value that other technologies couldn't match or beat.

Because of these reasons, Intel is now discontinuing its last product capable of utilizing Omni-Path - the first generation Xeon Scalable CPUs. Carrying the suffix "F", these CPUs had an extra connector sticking out of CPU's PCB to enable the Omni-Path functionality (see images bellow). There were eight CPUs manufactured in total that had this extra feature, consisting out of two Xeon Platinum and six Xeon Gold CPUs, which have now reached end of life. Intel states that focus from these CPUs has shifted to other technologies like silicon photonics, which provides much greater speed reaching 100s of gigabits per second. Intel already demonstrated transceivers capable of reaching 400 Gb/s speeds with the magic of light, which will become available in 1H 2020.

Intel Announces 10th Gen Core X Series and Revised Pricing on Xeon-W Processors

Intel today unveiled its latest lineup of Intel Xeon W and X-series processors, which puts new classes of computing performance and AI acceleration into the hands of professional creators and PC enthusiasts. Custom-designed to address the diverse needs of these growing audiences, the new Xeon W-2200 and X-series processors are targeted to be available starting November, along with a new pricing structure that represents an easier step up for creators and enthusiasts from Intel Core S-series mainstream products.

Intel is the only company that delivers a full portfolio of products precision-tuned to handle the sustained compute-intensive workloads used by professional creators and enthusiasts every day. The new Xeon W-2200 and X-series processors take this to the next level, as the first high-end desktop PC and mainstream workstations to feature AI acceleration with the integration of Intel Deep Learning Boost. This offers an AI inference boost of 2.2 times more compared with the prior generation. Additionally, this new lineup features Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, which has been further enhanced to help software, such as for simulation and modeling, run as fast as possible by identifying and prioritizing the fastest available cores.

GIGABYTE Smashes 11 World Records with New AMD EPYC 7002 Processors

GIGABYTE, a leading server systems builder which recently released a total of 17 new AMD EPYC 7002 Series "Rome" server platforms simultaneously with AMD's own official launch of their next generation CPU, is proud to announce that our new systems have already broken 11 different SPEC benchmark world records. These new world records have not only been achieved against results from all alternative processor based systems but even against competing vendor solutions using the same 2nd Generation AMD EPYC 7002 Series "Rome" processor platform, illustrating that GIGABYTE's system design and engineering is perfectly optimized to deliver the maximum performance possible from the 2nd Generation AMD EPYC.

Intel Launches First 10th Gen Core Processors: Redefining the Next Era of Laptop Experiences

Today, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel Core processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel Iris Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season.

"These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop."
-Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group

AMD Announces 3rd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su at her 2019 Computex keynote address announced the 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, which leverages the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, and are built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process at TSMC. Designed for the AM4 CPU socket, with backwards compatibility for older AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, these processors are multi-chip modules of up to two 8-core "Zen 2" CPU chiplets, and a 14 nm I/O controller die that packs the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller and PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex, along with some SoC connectivity. AMD claims an IPC increase of 15 percent over Zen 1, and higher clock speeds leveraging 7 nm, which add up to significantly higher performance over the current generation. AMD bolstered the core's FPU (floating-point unit), and doubled the cache sizes.

AMD unveiled three high-end SKUs for now, the $329 Ryzen 7 3700X, the $399 Ryzen 7 3800X, and the $499 Ryzen 9 3900X. The 3700X and 3800X are 8-core/16-thread parts with a single CPU chiplet. The 3700X is clocked at 3.60 GHz with 4.40 GHz maximum boost frequency, just 65 Watts TDP and will be beat Intel's Core i7-9700K both at gaming and productivity. The 3800X tops that with 3.90 GHz nominal, 4.50 GHz boost, 105W TDP, and beat the Core i9-9900K at gaming and productivity. AMD went a step further at launched the new Ryzen 9 brand with the 3900X, which is a 12-core/24-thread processor clocked at 3.80 GHz, which 4.60 boost, 72 MB of total cache, 105W TDP, and performance that not only beats the i9-9900K, but also the i9-9920X 12-core/24-thread HEDT processor despite two fewer memory channels. AMD focused on gaming performance with Zen 2, with wider FPU, improved branch prediction, and several micro-architectural improvements contributing to a per-core performance that's higher than Intel's. The processors go on sale on 7/7/2019.

Some AMD Processors Have a Hardware RNG Bug, Losing Randomness After Suspend Resume

Red Hat Systemd (system and service manager) lead developer Lennart Poettering discovered that AMD A6-6310 "Beema" SoC that's popular among low-cost notebooks, has a faulty implementation of the RdRand random-number generation instruction. The processor's hardware random number generator (RNG) loses "randomness" after the machine resumes from a suspended state (i.e. waking up the notebook from sleep by opening its lid while it's powered on). Modern computers rely on RNGs for "entropy," critical to generation of unpredictable keys on the fly for SSL. However, the entropy source needn't be hardware, and isn't so by default. Software RNGs exist, and by default the Linux kernel does not use RdRand to generate entropy. Windows is not known to use RdRand for basic ACPI functions such as suspend/resume; however a faulty hardware RNG is not without implications for the platform, and applications that run on it.

Users on GitHub and Bugzilla report that with this bug, you cannot make a machine suspend a second time after waking it up from a suspended state, if your kernel uses RdRand. Commit cc83d51 to Systemd introduced optional randomness generation based on RdRand instruction. So, if RdRand instruction is present, it is used to generate UUIDs for invocation IDs. Michael Larabel of Phoronix comments that the RdRand bug is only found on older generations of AMD processors, "Excavator" and older; and does not affect the latest "Zen" processors. This bug report chronicles what's wrong with RdRand on the affected processors, as does this Linux kernel bugzilla thread. By avoiding RdRand usage on the system as part of generating a UUID, the reported systemd issue no longer happens. Red Hat is working on a solution to this bug.

Intel, AMD, and HTC Partner to Resolve Vive Wireless Adapter Compatibility Issue with Ryzen Processors

The headline of this post makes it seem a touch more innocuous than the story may lead to, at least if you believe the rumor mills abound. There has been an ongoing issue with AMD systems using Ryzen CPUs and the HTC Vive wireless adapter (powered by Intel WiGig) to where the systems have frozen or even had a BSOD. HTC acknowledged this as early as Nov, 2018, noting that they have seen this with a subset of Ryzen-based motherboards when the PCIe wireless adapter is installed and running. It took until last week to get a solution of sorts, and unfortunately reports from users indicate this is not a true fix for everyone.

The hotfix update 1.20190410.0 was made available April 25 to attempt to combat this issue, which was garnering a lot of attention in the VR-community on whether there was more Intel could be doing to help AMD customers. This hotfix update is available automatically once an end user with the Vive wireless adapter checks for an update, and HTC acknowledge that they continue to test this, as well as partner with Intel and AMD to help resolve this once and for all. In the meantime, users report mixed success to date, including some we know personally as well, and it remains a thorn in the side of wireless VR to get to the PC successfully.
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