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AMD's Ryzen Processors Box Art Leaked

The leaks and details regarding AMD's Ryzen processors just don't seem to - and really won't - stop these days. Now, it's the enclosing piece of cardboard in which these processors will ship that's made the rounds, and AMD seems to have continued with an understated look to its overall box design.

The box art was posted through a listing of AMD's upcoming Ryzen processors on a Thailand-based retail outlet, alongside pre-order pricing (which seems to carry a slight premium (for example: a Ryzen 7 1800X is listed at 18,790 Baht, which would roughly amount to $537, a little higher than the reported $499). But a picture is worth a thousand words, and as such, I'll just leave you with those.

AMD to Hold Capsaicin Event at GDC 2017

AMD has announced that they will be holding a Capsaicin Event at GDC 2017 on February 28th. Named "Capsaicin & Cream", this event could serve as a playground for its highly-awaited Ryzen launch, whilst allowing AMD to pair a showcase of its new CPUs (and thus borrowing some of the hype) with some tentative tasting of its upcoming graphics products.

The will be split up in two sections: first up is a Livestream (much like AMD's previous New Horizon celebration), taking place between 10.30am and 11.30pm PST, a " feature-packed show highlighting the hottest new graphics and VR technologies"; secondly, AMD will be hosting a private developers session, running between 2.30pm and 5pm PST, "with a special talk featuring Unity and Epic", followed by a private, GDC-attendees-only afterparty.

AMD Ryzen Benchmarks Leaked - Amazing Multi-core and Single-core Performance

Benchmarks have leaked on AMD's upcoming Ryzen CPUs, and if accurate, these are the ones that will change the name of the game from "Hype Train" to "Reality Check". Part of a verified Passmark entry, the test system consisted of an AMD Ryzen 8-core, 16-thread ES clocked at 3.4 GHz (which puts it closely on the Ryzen 7 1700X territory, though it isn't known whether Turbo to its rated 3.8 GHz was active or not), seated on an entry-level MSI A320 AM4 motherboard (absent of overclocking functionality) and 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory.

The tests include integer math, floating point performance, prime numbers, encryption, compression, sorting, SSE performance and physics. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700X outperformed every other CPU in 5 out of the 8 tests, including Intel's fastest 8-core chip, the $1099 Broadwell-E i7 6900K. When put side by side against Intel's slightly less expensive $999 8 core extreme edition Haswell-E i7 5960X, Ryzen was faster in 6 out of the 8 tests. The 1700X showed particularly good performance in integer math and encryption, workloads typically associated with server workloads (and where the bulk of the profit is).

EVGA Introduces its iCX Technology Suite - 9 Sensors on the Card

Featuring a total of 11 global patents (pending and granted), iCX from EVGA is efficiency perfected. With 9 additional sensors embedded on the PCB, a newly designed diecast baseplate and backplate, purposefully directed airflow chambers, and full control using EVGA Precision XOC, EVGA's iCX is the very definition of Interactive Cooling.

Why was iCX Technology Created?
With PC gaming growing, it is important to provide "Peace of Mind Gaming" to the user. With EVGA's new iCX technology, users can have a better understanding of their cards operation. This includes temperature monitoring on key components (not just GPU), interaction with other devices and better cooling with asynchronous fan control providing better overclocking capabilities.

With EVGA iCX technology, a new era of PC gaming is coming.

AMD's "X" Nomenclature on Upcoming Ryzen Chips Related To XFR Feature

A Reddit user has used some good, old-fashioned thinking and inference (along with a good memory for details and investigative spirit) to try and shed some light on AMD's upcoming Ryzen chips - particularly, on the "X" part of their nomenclature.

As we've previously reported, upcoming AMD Ryzen chips will slot in two versions for each model: for example, there will be a R7 1700X, 8-core, 16-thread processor (with 95 W TDP), and expected to retail for $381.72, and a R7 1700 (sans "X"), also 8-core, 16-thread, with a rated TDP at 65 W, expected to retail at $316.59, almost $70 cheaper than the 1700X. Now, with AMD's promise of all Ryzen processors being multiplier unlocked (and thus user - or even through an automatic BIOS - overclockable), this would mean that acquiring the 1700X chip would somehow feel like bad business - after all, if the only difference between the two models were to be base and boost clocks (thus higher pricing and TDP), that would fall irrelevant to most power users, since the ability to overclock their Ryzen processors to those levels would be there anyway.

US Prices of AMD Ryzen Processors Surface

AMD Ryzen processors, which are scheduled to hit the shelves later this month, could be priced competitively, and one can read into their performance looking at their prices (compared to Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 "Kaby Lake" series). US pricing of at least three top-tier 8-core Ryzen models surfaced on ShopBLT. The flagship AMD Ryzen R7-1800X, bearing PIB part number "YD180XBCAEWOF," is priced at USD $490.29. The Ryzen R7-1700X (YD170XBCAEWOF), on the other hand, goes for $381.72. It's interesting to note here that the part numbers end in "WOF," designating "without fan-heatsink."

Lastly, there's the Ryzen R7-1700 (YD1700BBAEBOX), with 65W TDP, which is priced at $316.59. Given that all three parts are priced above the Core i5-7600K, and two of these are significantly pricier than the Core i7-7700K, which goes for $330, one could read into the chips' possible performance numbers. Remember, AMD has been selling 8-core FX "Piledriver" chips consistently cheaper than Intel's quad-core LGA115x Core i7 parts, and that has been significantly changed with Ryzen.

AMD's Ryzen R7 8-core, 16-thread Processor Prices Outed for Europe

A Spanish-based hardware site has just outed what they claim to be AMD's upcoming R7 Ryzen chips' pricing, and if true, these seem to spell a spectacular amount of value (if performance is at the rumored and expected range, naturally).

As it is, the prices cover only three models of AMD's overall Ryzen line-up, namely, the R7 1800X, the R7 1700X and the non-X, R7 1700 (all 8-core, 16-thread parts). According to the source, these chips will feature base clocks in the order of 4 GHz for the 1800X; 3.8 GHz for the 1700X; and 3.7 GHz for the 1700. Overall european pricing (including taxes) is set at €599.99 for the 1800X; €469.99 for the 1700X; and a "measly" €389.95 for the 1700. As always, you can expect US pricing to be even more competitive; perhaps a $349 pricing for the 1700 chip (which also carries a 65W TDP to boot).

From this, and considering all AMD Ryzen processors will be multiplier-unlocked, we can surmise that the 1700 should be quite a steal at this pricing. And this also bodes well for AMD's upcoming 6-core, 12-thread R5 processors - status-quo upsetting at an affordable price-point, anyone?

AMD's Ryzen CPUs Shipping Date Surfaces; Mark Your Calendars for February 28th

A Reddit user brought to the playing field the news that AMD's upcoming ZEN CPU's have surfaced in a "pre-order" form through AMD Shangai's official Taobao channel (though you should nevertheless take these with a measure of salt). Details on which CPU we are actually looking at here are still scarce, unfortunately, but the chip is listed at ¥1999.00 (roughly $295). While the chip's process is listed at the expected 14 nm, the base CPU frequency reads 4.2 GHz.

Looking at the supposed AMD Ryzen launch line-up, though, no model is listed at these clockspeeds. However, we should recall that AMD's Ryzen chip used on CES 2017 (an engineering sample) carried clockspeeds of 3.6 GHz base and 3.9 GHz boost, so it is certainly conceivable that newer, release steppings have bumped the frequencies to 3.9 GHz/4.2 GHz respectively (4.2 GHz base clock seems a little too much from what we've seen from the chip, but then again, we don't have any indication as to whether this is an 8-core, 16-thread or a 4-core, 8-thread part, so that should also be taken into account on our "theorycrafting"). We should now have a more firm launch window for Ryzen chips though: previous rumors have pegged the launch at March 2nd, but a February 28th launch window should now be considered to be correct. Can we just have these on our hands already?

AMD's Ryzen Chips 10% Smaller Than Comparable Intel Skylake Dies

At the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), AMD presented a whitepaper in which they demonstrated how its upcoming Zen x86 core fits into a 10 percent smaller die area than Intel's currently shipping second-generation 14nm processor. According to reports, analysts and Intel engineers in the session said the Zen core is clearly competitive, though many as-of-yet unknown variables will determine whether the die advantage translates into lower costs for AMD. That said, one thing is clear: the chip will have to perform in addition to being smaller, if AMD wants to ever capitalize on the potentially higher margins a smaller die could grant them.

One of the ways AMD improved upon its ZEN core in comparison to its previous products has been on switching capacitance for their new chips, with a reported overall 15% improvement. In addition, AMD has apparently moved on to a metal-insulator-metal capacitor design, thus achieving lower operating voltages as well as as more fine-grained per-core voltage and frequency control (on to become part of their SenseMI technology suite). Looking at the image, which pits an AMD ZEN chip to a comparable Intel solution, we see that AMD saves additional die space by making do with only 12 metal layers as well as overall lower L2 and L3 cache footprints.

AMD's Upcoming Ryzen Launch to Prompt Reshuffle of Intel's CPU Line-up

AMD's upcoming Ryzen chips probably represent the hardware world's most awaited shake-up in recent times (and I do know I've been mentioning this non-stop, but please, do bear with me here). The thought that the underdog could finally present an actual alternative - at least performance-wise - to its Goliath of a rival - and thus introducing renewed competition in a bogged-down hardware segment and the democratization of high-quality processing cores - is simply too good to not gobble down like water given to a desert nomad. I, for one, hope that AMD can deliver, prompting a better competitive - and pricing - environment for all of us.

And it would seem that Intel is looking to staunch an eventual bleeding that AMD's Ryzen chips might instill to their CPU line-up, with its expected 4-core, 8-thread, 6-core 12-thread, and 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen processors, by shaking up its - now ancient - line-up of Core processors. Intel has already introduced some changes to its line with the release of Kaby Lake - with some Celeron processors carrying Hyper Threading, previously locked to their i3 processors, and the first unlocked-multiplier Core i3-7350K processor, but apparently the company feels that isn't enough for Ryzen's expected performance - enter the Core i7-7740K and the Core i5-7640K.

Intel Readies the Xeon Gold Series Processors for Media Workstations

Hot on the heels of AMD Ryzen, Intel is planning to launch the pro-consumer targeted Xeon Gold line of processors. The company is reportedly "freaked out" at the cost/performance of AMD Ryzen R7-1800X in creative productivity applications, and is preparing a new line of processors targeting that niche of the market, which uses MacPro desktops and media production workstations using HEDT processors, but needs a bit of "reliability." The Xeon Gold series will be based on the 14 nm "Skylake-EP" silicon, and will feature up to 18 CPU cores. The first model in the series is the Xeon Gold 6150.

The Xeon Gold 6150 features 18 CPU cores, with HyperThreading enabling 36 logical CPUs. Intel increased the L2 cache amount per core to 1 MB, from 256 KB found on other implementations of the "Skylake" architecture. The chip features 25,344 KB (24.75 MB) of shared L3 cache. The core clock speed is 2.70 GHz, with a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 3.70 GHz. The chip features a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface. Going by its specs, the Xeon Gold 6150 will clearly occupy a higher market segment than the Ryzen R7-1800X, but could lure orders from the likes of Apple, for its next-generation MacPro workstations.

ASRock Top-end X370 Socket AM4 Motherboards Production Versions Pictured

Ahead of their launch, production versions of ASRock's high-end socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD X370 chipset were shown off, at the company-sponsored DOTA Pit gaming event in Split, Croatia. Our friends at Tehix.org shared with us some exclusive pictures. These boards were first spied and detailed at this year's CES expo. Besides looking more polished and ready for retail, not much has changed between these boards from the ones we saw at CES, except the distinctive Ryzen logo on the I/O shield cover, replacing the Intel Ethernet logos. On some models, the Ryzen logo even glows red or white.

AMD Ryzen Processor Models Revealed

Unlike Intel, which has had a predictable processor model number scheme over the past decade, those of AMD's new Ryzen processor family have been shrouded in mystery. Come March 2nd, and the company will launch some of 17, that's right, seventeen processor models. These include 5 eight-core SKUs, 4 six-core SKUs, and a whopping 8 quad-core SKUs. The lineup is led by the AMD Ryzen R7 1800X, followed by the R7 1800 Pro, the R7 1700X, the R7 1700 Pro, and the R7 1700. At this point we don't know the clock speeds of these SKUs, or what "Pro" designates. We know from AMD's application of the "Pro" moniker to some of its A-series APUs that it could designate certain business-desktop centric features.

The six-core lineup is led by the Ryzen R5 1600X, followed by the R5 1600 Pro, the R5 1500, and the R5 1500 Pro. The clock speeds of these SKUs range between 3.20-3.60 GHz, all SKUs feature SMT, enabling 12 logical CPUs for the OS to deal with. Lastly, AMD has an exhaustive range of quad-core chips, the ones with SMT are slotted in the Ryzen R5 extension, and the ones without SMT are Ryzen R3. The SMT-enabled quad-core lineup includes the R5 1400X, R5 1400 Pro, R5 1300, and R5 1300 Pro. The entry-level R3 lineup includes the R3 1200X, R3 1200 Pro, R3 1100, and R3 1100 Pro. A number of these SKUs will launch on the 2nd of March, 2017.

AMD Ryzen Ashes of The Singularity Benchmarks Surface: Impressive 4K Scores

Ashes of the Singularity seems to be the benchmark tool of choice for upcoming AMD products, for some reason; and it was once again used to benchmark an upcoming AMD Ryzen processor. The benchmark results were quickly deleted after they were posted, but the hardware enthusiast should never be underestimated, and timely screenshot skills always help keep alive these little slips of the trade.

Unlike some previous benchmark leaks of Ryzen processors, which carried the prefix ES (Engineering Sample), this one carried the ZD Prefix, and the last characters on its string name are the most interesting to us: F4 stands for the silicon revision, while the 40_36 stands for the processor's Turbo and stock speeds respectively (4.0 GHz and 3.6 GHz). This is the 8-core, 16-thread SMT-enabled monster of a processor that AMD will be bringing to the table in its uphill battle against Intel, with the Ryzen chip having achieved CPU Framerate scores of 81.4 (normal batch, 73.4 (medium batch) and 60.2 (heavy batch), paired with a Pascal-based NVIDIA Titan X (which would likely point towards the test having been done by an independent, off-AMD labs part).

AMD Readies Ryzen Platform Drivers for Windows 7

AMD is reportedly providing platform (chipset) drivers for its upcoming socket AM4 platform, for the ageing Windows 7 operating system. This is noteworthy as rival Intel isn't providing Windows 7 drivers for its 200-series chipset, which drives the Core "Kaby Lake" processors, and the onboard graphics of Core "Kaby Lake" processors. Graphics drivers by AMD could power integrated graphics cores of the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, and the three socket AM4 chipsets - A320, B350, and X370.

Noctua Presents Three Special-Edition AM4 CPU Coolers for AMD Ryzen

Noctua today presented three special-edition models of its award-winning quiet CPU coolers. The new SE-AM4 versions of the NH-D15, NH-U12S and NH-L9x65 are dedicated premium-quality solutions for the new AM4 socket of AMD's upcoming Ryzen architecture. Whereas the NH-L9x65 SE-AM4 is tailored for compact systems and the NH-U12S SE-AM4 offers an excellent balance of performance and compatibility, the NH-D15 SE-AM4 provides maximum cooling performance for overclockers and silent enthusiasts.

"AMD's Ryzen architecture promises exciting possibilities for various applications and the NH-D15, NH-U12S and NH-L9x65 are some of our most popular models, so it was a natural choice to create dedicated special editions for the new platform," says Roland Mossig (Noctua CEO). "Each of these coolers has received more than 100 awards and recommendations from international websites and magazines, so we're confident that the SE-AM4 special editions will be a great choice for anything from compact ITX builds to overclocked gaming rigs."

AMD's Stock Soars on FY 2016 Results

AMD recently shared their FY 2016 results - which beat expectations and showed a company poised for either a big return to form (or a monumental backflip) solely on the success or failure of its two upcoming products for the CPU and graphics space, Ryzen and Vega.

Share value is based on both tangible and intangible characteristics of the company it's based upon, and in this case, AMD seems to have garnered even more attention after its solid FY 2016 execution, building confidence and expectation on its upcoming product launches. As we speak, AMD's shares have increased by 16.3% up to $12.06 a share, increasing its market cap up to $10.93B.

AMD's Upcoming Ryzen Line-up Could Feature 6-Core Chips After All

It's always a dance between rumours, expectations and "theorycrafting" when it comes to the launch of any particularly exciting product. And with AMD's Ryzen chips currently being the most hotly anticipated development (and product launch) in the hardware world, well, let's just say that anticipation is really building up to enormous levels, with any possible details surrounding AMD's line-up being the cause, in some cases, of heated debate.

Case in point: with AMD's CCX (CPU Complex) being indivisible, this would mean a blow not only to budget-conscious consumers, but also to AMD's ability to engender its product line. Flexibility has always been the name of the game with AMD (discounting their CMT-based Bulldozer and derived architectures), with the company offering triple-core processors in the past (and weren't those the good old days of processor unlocking). However, now reports have come in that Ryzen's CCX are actually divisible, which could open up possibilities for some theoretically value-breaking hexa-core Ryzen chips.

CRYORIG to Provide Free AM4 Upgrade Kits

In response to AMD's soon to be released Ryzen CPU and AM4 platform, PC thermal solution brand CRYORIG will be providing free AM4 upgrade kits soon after the official release of AMD Ryzen CPUs. All users of existing AMD-supported products will be able to apply for the free upgrade kits, and native AM4 mounting kits will start hitting the markets after the official CPU release.

CRYORIG will provide all existing users and new owners of AMD supported products the new AM4 kit totally free of charge. Existing eligible products include: R1 Universal/Ultimate, C1, H5 Universal/Ultimate, H7, H7 Quad Lumi, M9a, C7, A40, A40 Ultimate and A80. Users will only need to provide the following information: proof of purchase of the CRYORIG product (or product registration number), and a proof of purchase of an AMD Ryzen or AM4 CPU or Motherboard. The necessary info just needs to be sent to CRYORIG support email-box "support@cryorig.com" and the kit will be sent directly to the provided address. Local distributors and select channels will also have these kits available.

PC Gaming Hardware Market Mints Billions, Exceeds $30 Billion - JPR

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), one of the most regarded research and consulting firms for graphics and multimedia, today announced that the global PC Gaming Hardware market has breached the $30 billion mark for the first time (let that sink in for a moment).

Comprised of pre and DIY built gaming computers, upgrades, and accessories such as input devices and audio/communication systems, the market exceeded $30 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow at a 6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) through 2019. Due of an entrenched PC gaming culture, large population, and a lack of significant console traction, the Asia Pacific Region is noted as leading the world in both growth and market size with a forecasted 7% CAGR to 2019 from a TAM (total addressable market) of almost $11.3 billion in 2016. However, North America and Western Europe both individually lead Asia Pacific for High-End hardware, albeit at lower growth rates of 5.78% and 6.63% vs. 9.61% respectively. The western appetite for PC gaming systems costing thousands of dollars is indeed strong (though we didn't need a JPR report to tell us that, now did we?).

AMD Begins Sampling Entry-Level Ryzen Chips - 4 Cores With SMT Disabled

With AMD's Ryzen chips launch being ever closer to us, details about its product line - which still remain mysterious enough - eventually begin to slip. Reportedly, AMD's entry-level Ryzen chips - the SR3 line of processors, if previous leaks ring true, will be made up of 4-core processors with AMD's SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading), the equivalent to Intel's HT (Hyper-Threading) disabled. These will be, apparently, true 4-core processors, without any additional logical processors exposed by SMT.

AMD's Ryzen Chips to Launch Before March 2017's GDC

It would appear as if AMD has seemingly (and not purposely) given us some lights as to when their hotly anticipated Ryzen chips will hit the wild - and some of our wallets. While they haven't specifically given an exact date, the talk to be given by AMD at the annual Game Developer Conference (GDC) reads: "Join AMD Game Engineering team members for an introduction to the recently-launched AMD Ryzen CPU followed by advanced optimization topics". The "recently-launched tidbit is the most important, since it places Ryzen's launch necessarily before the end of GDC - which will happen between February 27th and March 3rd. AMD has, in the meantime, altered the original headline by cutting the "recently launched" tidbit altogether.

ASRock Socket AM4 Motherboard Lineup Detailed

At the 2017 International CES, ASRock showed off some of its first socket AM4 motherboards for AMD Ryzen processors and 7th generation A-Series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. Leading the pack is the X370 Taichi. Built in the ATX form-factor, the board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors. It uses a 16-phase CPU VRM with high-capacity Super Alloy chokes. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and two PCI-Expres 3.0 x16 slot (x8/x8 when both are populated). The third x16 slot is electrical x4 and wired to the chipset. Two other x1 slots make for the rest of its expansion area.

Connectivity on the X370 Taichi include two USB 3.1 ports (one type-A and one type-C), ten USB 3.0 ports, 8-channel PureSound 4 onboard audio solution (of the same grade the company is deploying on its high-end Intel Z270 motherboards), gigabit Ethernet with an Intel-made controller, and 802.11ac WLAN. Storage options include one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot, one 16 Gb/s M.2 slot, and eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Next up, is the X370 Professional Gaming. This board is practically identical to the X370 Taichi. The two boards share a common PCB, and differ only with the red+black color scheme on the X370 Professional Gaming, as opposed to white+black on the X370 Taichi.

AMD Says "ZEN" CPU Architecture is Expected to Last 4 Years

After spending almost 4 years developing and perfecting (as much as can be perfected in such an amount of time) it's ZEN CPU architecture, AMD is looking to extract some mileage out of it. Mark Papermaster, AMD's chief technology officer, confirmed the four-year lifespan in a conversation with PC World at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, though he declined to discuss specifics. When asked how long ZEN would last (especially comparing to Intel's now-failing two-year tick-tock cadence, Papermaster confirmed the four-year lifespan: "We're not going tick-tock," he said. "ZEN is going to be tock, tock, tock."

AMD Confirms "Full Spectrum" of Unlocked, Overclockable Ryzen CPUs

AMD has seemingly confirmed that there will be more than just the fabled 8-core, 16-thread Ryzen CPUs we've only as of yet seen presented by the company. Come the expected Ryzen launch before the end of Q1 (which means, before the end of March), we should see more Ryzen CPUs than only 8-core solutions, though AMD still hasn't revealed exactly the core-count/configurations of the other CPUs on their product stack. Theoretically, AMD could follow the Intel path of simply disabling SMT (Simultaneous Multi-Threading, AMD's equivalent to Intel's Hyper Threading) and thus crafting another product, though this is pure speculation on my part. Whether or not AMD will include 4-core or 6-core CPUs on their product stack as well is as of now an unconfirmed, educated guess.
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