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User Patch Unlocks Windows 7 and 8.1 Updates for Core "Kaby Lake" and Ryzen

Microsoft, in a bid to ensure users of 7th generation Intel Core "Kaby Lake," AMD A-series "Bristol Ridge," and AMD Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processors stick to Windows 10, ensured that the three platforms don't receive software updates when running older Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 operating systems. A new user-made patch removes this draconian restriction, letting you install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 on your new-generation CPU powered machine, and receive regular software updates through Windows Update.

The patch is open-source, so you can inspect its code, and available on GitHub. The author of the patch, Zeffy, discovered two new functions to system file wuaueng.dll after the March 2017 update for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, labeled "IsCPUSupported(void)" and "IsDeviceServiceable(void)." This library is patched to toggle those two functions "1," telling Windows Update that the CPU is "supported" and that the platform is "serviceable," making it eligible to receive updates.

DOWNLOAD: New-gen CPU Windows Update Unlocking Patch for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 by Zeffy

AMD Starts Selling the Ryzen 5 Processor Family

AMD Ryzen 5 series desktop processors are officially available from today. The lineup is designed to compete with Intel's Core i5 quad-core "Kaby Lake" processor family, and consists of 6-core and 4-core parts carved out of the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon. The lineup begins with the $169 Ryzen 5 1400 and $189 Ryzen 5 1500X quad-core parts, featuring SMT that enable 8 logical CPUs, 8 MB of L3 cache, unlocked multipliers, and XFR on the 1500X. The 1400 is clocked at 3.20 GHz with 3.40 GHz boost, while the 1500X ticks at 3.50 GHz with 3.70 GHz boost, and XFR enabling higher automatic overclocks.

While the Ryzen 5 1400 and 1500X compete with Core i3 and Core i5 "Kaby Lake" models under $200; the $219 Ryzen 5 1600 and $249 1600X six-core parts target the Core i5-7600K, with their 6 cores, 12 threads, 16 MB of L3 caches, and unlocked multipliers. The 1600 is clocked at 3.20 GHz with 3.60 GHz boost, while the 1600X ticks at 3.60 GHz core and 4.00 GHz boost. All four chips are available immediately.

AMD Ryzen 3 1200 Specifications Surface

Following its launch of the Ryzen 5 series performance-segment six-core and quad-core processors later this month, AMD could launch entry-level quad-core chips based on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon in the second half of 2017. This lineup will be called the Ryzen 3 series, and will occupy several sub-$150 price points.

The Ryzen 3 series parts will compete with Intel's Core i3 dual-core "Kaby Lake" processors, and will offer four cores, even if lacking SMT (that's 4 cores, 4 threads), and up to 8 MB of L3 cache, making for a compelling deal against Core i3 "Kaby Lake" dual-core parts that have 2 cores and 4 threads enabled through HyperThreading, and just 3-4 MB of L3 cache. What's more, the Ryzen 3 series chips will come with unlocked base-clock multipliers. One of the prominent Ryzen 3 series SKUs revealed by leaky taps among the motherboard industry is the Ryzen 3 1200.

AMD 16-core Ryzen a Multi-Chip Module of two "Summit Ridge" Dies

With core performance back to competitiveness, AMD is preparing to take on Intel in the HEDT "high-end desktop" segment with a new line of processors that are larger than its current socket AM4 "Summit Ridge," desktop processors, but smaller in core-count than its 32-core "Naples" enterprise processors. These could include 12-core and 16-core parts, and the picture is getting clearer with an exclusive report by Turkish tech publication DonanimHaber. The biggest revelation here that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be multi-chip modules (MCMs) of two "Summit Ridge" dies. The 12-core variant will be carved out by disabling 1 core per CCX (3+3+3+3).

Another revelation is that the 12-core and 16-core Ryzen processors will be built in a new LGA package with pin-counts in excess of 4,000 pins. Since it's an MCM of two "Summit Ridge" dies, the memory bus width and PCIe lanes will be doubled. The chip will feature a quad-channel DDR4 memory interface, and will have a total of 58 PCI-Express gen 3.0 lanes (only one of the two dies will put out the PCI-Express 3.0 x4 A-Link chipset bus). The increase in core count isn't coming with a decrease in clock speeds. The 12-core variant will hence likely have its TDP rated at 140W, and the 16-core variant at 180W. AMD is expected to unveil these chips at the 2017 Computex expo in Taipei, this June, with product launches following shortly after.

AMD Ryzen Quad-Core 2+2 vs. 4+0 Core Distributions Compared

With AMD readying quad-core variants of its Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor, the question on everyone's minds is whether the chip features two quad-core compute complexes (CCX) with two cores enabled, each, or just one CCX, given that the L3 cache amount being advertised by the company is 8 MB (that of one CCX), in comparison to 6-core Ryzen parts receiving the full 16 MB (8 MB per CCX) available on the silicon. While we will be able to definitively answer that question on the 11th of April, a new UEFI firmware by ASUS for its Crosshair VI Hero motherboard lets users not just disable cores, but also the distribution of the disabled cores.

CPU cores on the Ryzen "Summit Ridge" processor are distributed in two groups of four cores, each, called the quad-core compute complex (CCX). Each CCX has an 8 MB L3 cache, and so the ideal way of distributing cores on lower core-count models would be to disable an equal number of cores per CCX. For 6-core chips, one core is disabled per CCX, resulting in a 3+3 configuration. For quad-core chips, however, you can either disable all four cores in a CCX (4+0 configuration), or do a purportedly more optimal 2+2 configuration, with two cores disabled per CCX. Hardware Unboxed took advantage of ASUS' new UEFI firmware to compare the 4+0 configuration to the 2+2 configuration. The results are somewhat surprising.

AMD Ryzen 5 Series Lineup Leaked

Over 12 hours ahead of its unveiling, Guru3D accidentally (timezone confusion) posted some juicy details about AMD's exciting Ryzen 5 desktop processor lineup. What makes these chips particularly exciting is that they occupy several sub-$250 price points, and offer the kind of gaming performance you'd expect from the larger 8-core Ryzen 7 series chips, since not a lot of games need 8 cores and 16 threads. The Ryzen 5 series will launch with two 6-core, and two 4-core SKUs, all four of which feature SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), and unlocked base-clock multipliers.

The Ryzen 5 series is topped by the Ryzen 5-1600X, priced at USD $249. This 6-core/12-thread chip features the full 16 MB of L3 cache available on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon, and backs it with clock speeds of 3.60 GHz core and 4.00 GHz TurboCore, with the XFR (extended frequency range) feature enabling higher clocks depending on the effectiveness of your CPU cooling. This chip could be AMD's power move against the Intel Core i5-7600K. Next up, is the Ryzen 5-1600 (non-X), priced at $219. This chip lacks the XFR feature, and comes with slightly lower clocks out of the box, with 3.20 GHz core, and 3.60 GHz TurboCore. You still get an unlocked base-clock multiplier, which Intel's $220-ish competitor to this chip, the Core i5-7500, sorely lacks.

AMD Talks Zen 3, "Raven Ridge," and More at Reddit AMA

AMD, at its post-Ryzen 7 launch Reddit AMA, disclosed some juicy details about its other upcoming socket AM4 chips, beginning with the rest of the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 "Summit Ridge" processor roll-out, and a little bit about its 8th generation socket AM4 APU, codenamed "Raven Ridge." To begin with, AMD CEO Lisa Su stated that "Raven Ridge" will also be sold under the Ryzen brand. This would mark a departure from the less-than-stellar A-series branding for its performance APUs. "Raven Ridge" likely combines a "Zen" quad-core CPU complex (CCX) with an integrated GPU based on one of AMD's newer GPU architectures (either "Polaris" or "Vega").

The range-topping Ryzen 7 series will lead the company's lineup throughout Q1, with six-core and quad-core Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 series launches being scheduled for later this year. Our older reports pinned Ryzen 5 series rollout for Q2, and Ryzen 3 series for the second half of 2017. This is likely also when the company rolls out "Raven Ridge" initially as mobile Ryzen products (BGA packages, which will likely also be used in AIOs), and later as desktop socket AM4 parts.

AMD "Zen" Based APUs Later This Year

An AMD representative, responding to a Reddit question on AMD Ryzen branding, confirmed that the company will launch Mobile SoCs (APUs) based on the "Zen" micro-architecture later this year. The logical next-step for AMD with "Zen" beyond "Summit Ridge" has been to combine one or more quad-core "Zen" CCX (CPU complexes) with an integrated graphics core based on one of its newer GPU architectures ("Polaris" or "Vega").

The AMD representative confirmed that the company will launch mobile SoCs that combine "Zen" CPU cores with an integrated GPU, in the second half of 2017. This could hint at the availability of "Zen" powered notebooks, of all shapes and sizes by Holiday 2017. Over the year, AMD will begin launching "Zen" based products, starting off with 8-core high-end Ryzen 7 processors on March 2nd, six-core and some of the higher-end quad-core Ryzen 5 series processors in Q2-2017, and some of the lower-end quad-core Ryzen 3 parts in the second-half of 2017, now joined by mobile SoCs around the same time.

Pricing of Entire AMD Ryzen Lineup Revealed

AMD Wednesday launched its much awaited Ryzen performance desktop processor lineup with three top 8-core models, the Ryzen 7-1800X priced at USD $499, followed by the Ryzen 7-1700X at $399, and the Ryzen 7-1700 at $329. You're probably curious as to the rest of the lineup, especially the cheaper six-core SMT-enabled parts. Here they are. The Ryzen 5-1600X is designed to lure buyers away from the Core i5-7600K, and probably even the i7-7700K. This six-core chip with SMT, which enables 12 logical CPUs for your software to deal with, is endowed with the full 16 MB of L3 cache, and is not only unlocked, but also features the XFR (extended frequency range) technology. It's clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz TurboCore. The Ryzen 5-1600X is priced at $259, and is sure to draw some attention.

Next up, is the Ryzen 5-1500. This 6-core/12-thread chip lacks XFR, but is still unlocked, ticks at 3.20 GHz with 3.50 GHz TurboCore, and features the full 16 MB of L3 cache. At $229, and with a TDP of 65W, this chip is sure to disrupt Intel's "Kaby Lake" Core i5 lineup. The quad-core Ryzen lineup is built by disabling one of the two 4-core CCX complexes on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon, and feature 8 MB of L3 cache. The lineup is led by the $199 Ryzen 5-1400X. This quad-core chip ticks at 3.50 GHz, with 3.90 GHz TurboCore, and features XFR and SMT, which enables 8 threads. Next up, is the quad-core Ryzen 5-1300, priced at $175, with the Core i3-7350K in its crosshairs, clocked at 3.20 GHz and 3.50 GHz Turbo. At the bottom of the pile is the Ryzen 3 quad-core lineup, which lack SMT. The Ryzen 3-1200X is priced at just $149, but you get 3.40 GHz clocks with 3.80 GHz Turbo, and XFR, and 8 MB of L3 cache. The cheapest Ryzen chip is just $129. The Ryzen 3-1200 lacks XFR, but gives you 3.20 GHz clocks with 3.50 GHz Turbo.

No Windows 7 Drivers for AMD Ryzen

AMD confirmed that it will not release Windows 7 drivers for its upcoming Ryzen series processors. It was earlier reported that the company is working on these drivers. The company, however, did state that it tested and validated Ryzen processors on a variety of operating systems, including Windows 7. "To achieve the highest confidence in the performance of our AMD Ryzen desktop processors (formerly code-named "Summit Ridge"), AMD validated them across two different OS generations, Windows 7 and 10," AMD said in a statement. "However, only support and drivers for Windows 10 will be provided in AMD Ryzen desktop processor production parts," the company added.

This doesn't necessarily mean that there won't be Windows 7 drivers for other socket AM4 chips, such as the 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. AMD-supplied drivers are essential for these chips, as they drive the AMD Radeon integrated graphics, and Windows 7 continues to be a gaming platform. What happens now? Well, you can run Windows 7 on AMD Ryzen-powered desktops just fine, it's just that the OS won't support all of the processor's capabilities, such as some of the newer instruction sets it comes with.

AMD ZEN CPU Complexes Indivisible, Don't Expect 6-core Ryzen: Report

In what could be a blow to budget-conscious PC builders, reports are emerging that the quad-core CCX (CPU complex) units that make up Ryzen processors (and upcoming APUs that use them), are indivisible. This means that the "Summit Ridge" silicon can either be configured as full-fledged eight-core parts, or quad-core parts (one CCX) disabled. The likelihood of cost-effective 6-core parts seems slim.

AMD will continue to sell the Ryzen-branded "Summit Ridge" silicon in three grades - SR7 (top), SR5 (mid), and SR3 (entry-level), but the SR5 may not designate the previously rumored 6-core configuration. Instead, SR7 could indicate eight cores and SMT (multi-threading), which works out to 16 logical CPUs; SR5 could indicate eight cores minus SMT (eight cores, eight threads), and SR3 could designate quad-core with SMT (four cores, eight threads). SR7 and SR5 feature the full 16 MB of L3 cache, while SR3 features 8 MB. All three grades are "unlocked," in that they feature unlocked base-clock multipliers, making overclocking easy.

GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming K3 Socket AM4 Motherboard PCB Pictured

The picture of a bare PCB of an upcoming GIGABYTE AX370-Gaming series socket AM4 motherboard is doing rounds on the web. The picture reveals the bare PCB of the motherboard with all its traces and printed markings, but at a stage before surface-mount components can be soldered onto it. One can still make out quite a bit about the board. AMD X370 is the company's upcoming high-end desktop chipset, which will be launched alongside the company's Ryzen 8-core processor, some time in February, 2017.

To begin with, the AX370-Gaming K3 is built in the ATX form-factor. Its AM4 socket supports both Ryzen "Summit Ridge" CPUs and 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs. The board draws power from 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, and conditions it for the CPU with a 7-phase VRM. The AM4 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots. Expansion slots include one PCI-Express 3.0 x16, a second gen 3.0 x16 slot that's electrical x4, and three other gen 3.0 x1 slots. Storage connectivity appears to include at least eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports, and one 32 Gb/s M.2 slot. 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.1 (including type-C) ports, appear to make for the rest of the connectivity. GIGABYTE's signature Dual-UEFI is featured.
Many Thanks to TheLostSwede and Tomas H. for the tips!

AMD's ZEN-Supporting X370 Motherboards to be Shown at "New Horizon" Event

AMD's December 13th "New Horizon" event is supposedly (and expectedly) a pivotal moment for the company - a celebration of sorts for the impending launch of their ZEN-based microprocessors. The event, which will be presented mainly by Gametrailers TV-based journalist Geoff Keighley, is now turning up to be a Summit Ridge celebration of sorts as well.

According to recent reports, a small number of motherboard manufacturers should also be in attendance at the event, showing-off their AM4-compatible motherboards based on the top-of-the-line X370 chipset. The X370 is the most advanced version of the Zen-compatible chipsets and is expected to provide extensive overclocking features and up to two third-generation PCIe x16 lanes for multi-GPU systems. Below the X370, the B350 and A320 take over the role of the mid-range and entry-level chipsets respectively. The new chipsets are expected to bring native M.2 NVMe & SATA Express connectivity, PCIe gen 3, DDR4 memory compatibility and USB 3.1 Gen2 to the company's high-end desktop platform for the very first time.

AMD ZEN Processors to Supposedly Carry SR3, SR5 and SR7 Branding

Recent reports peg AMD's upcoming line of microprocessors based on Zen micro-architecture as being labelled SR3, SR5 and SR7 for different hardware tiers (with the SR3 being the lowest-performing, and SR7 being, naturally, the highest-performing). A recent post on Chip Hell claims that a leaked slide from an AMD presentation give us these insights, with further information on pricing: it's shown in the roadmap that all Zen SR (Summit Ridge) processors will sell for higher than RMB 1500 ($220).

AMD is expected to offer either four-core or eight-core designs on their lineup (with eventual Simultaneous Multi Threading differentiation, like Intel does between their i5 and i7 lines) still being up in the air. And in what would mark a divergence from their recent movement in the GPU space, where AMD introduced their latest Polaris architecture at the highest-volume market of about $200, AMD's Zen efforts are expected to begin from the top, with the dubbed "SR7" enthusiast-grade products first, and trickling down the market scale eventually.

AMD 8-core ZEN Packs a Whallop with Multithreaded Performance

AMD's upcoming 8-core "ZEN" processors pack serious multithreaded performance muscle. The company's design focus on empowering the cores, and getting rid of the shared-resource approach to multi-core chips; appears to have paid of big dividends in multithreaded performance, as tested on the Blender benchmark. An 8-core "ZEN" engineering sample was found to be belting out performance rivaling 10-core Intel Xeon E5-2600 V2 series chips, indicating that AMD appears to have made huge gains in per-core performance over its previous generation chips.

The Blender benchmark scores of an alleged AMD ZEN "Summit Ridge" engineering sample were posted by Blender benchmark scores aggregator Blenchmark; and unearthed by this redditor. According to these scores, the "ZEN" sample cruches the Blender benchmark render in 69 seconds, the same time it takes for a 10-core Xeon E5-2650 V2 processor. The ZEN chip is also closely trailing Xeon E5-2600 V4 series chips. AMD is expected to launch its first ZEN "Summit Ridge" 8-core processors in early 2017.

FinalWire Announces AIDA64 v5.80

Today FinalWire released a new stable update to the desktop editions of its popular system information software. AIDA64 v5.80 supports the latest Windows 10 builds and the most recent hardware components, including the AMD RX 400 series and NVIDIA's GTX 1050 GPUs.

As a new feature, it now allows users to define global hotkeys with which they can enable or disable the AIDA64 hardware monitoring panels or switch between multiple hardware information pages on external displays, even when AIDA64 is running in the background. Using these customized key combinations, PC enthusiasts can also start and stop saving temperature, voltage and power measurements as well as fan RPM readouts to a CSV or HTML log file. The developers have made AIDA64 v5.80 DPI aware so that all elements of its graphical user interface scale properly when the DPI zoom is active in Windows. In practice, this means that users will see no more blurry or incorrectly sized graphics or text on high-resolution screens as AIDA64 now looks crisp even on 4K and 8K LCD and OLED displays.

DOWNLOAD: FinalWire AIDA64 v5.80 Installer | FinalWire AIDA64 v5.80 ZIP Package

AMD Readies X370 High-end Chipset for "Summit Ridge" Processors

AMD is readying three motherboard chipsets for its next-generation socket AM4 desktop platform. With its 7th generation A-series "Bristol Ridge" APUs, the company launched the A320 mainstream and B350 premium motherboard chipsets, while keeping a better-endowed high-end chipset under the wraps, which makes its debut with the ZEN "Summit Ridge" processors. It turns out that this chipset is the AMD X370. The X370 chipset will debut with the first ZEN "Summit Ridge" processors along the sidelines of the 2017 International CES, next January.

AMD "Summit Ridge" desktop processors, much like the 7th generation A-series APUs they share the platform with, are SoCs, in that the chips combine the entire platform core-logic along with the CPU and its relevant uncore components. AMD is still giving this platform a sort of chipset, which adds to the number of SATA, USB, and general-purpose PCI-Express connectivity that the processor gives out. The AMD X370 should feature more 10 Gb/s USB 3.1 ports, SATA 6 Gb/s ports, 32 Gb/s M.2 or U.2 ports, and general-purpose PCIe lanes than what the B350 offers. This chipset should drive motherboards that are ready for multi-GPU setups.

SMT and Power Management Behind "Kaby Lake" and "ZEN" Windows 10 Restrictions

Microsoft recently sparked a stir when it was reported that the company will support upcoming CPU architectures by Intel and AMD only on Windows 10, with the keyword being "support" and not "compatibility." This means that Microsoft will offer customer-support and likely serve updates to Intel "Kaby Lake" and AMD "ZEN" machines only running Windows 10 (and its enterprise variant Windows Server 2016, based on the NT 10 kernel), and not older versions of Windows. The processors themselves are compatible with any x86 operating system, Windows or *nix, 32-bit or 64-bit. HotHardware dug out the likely causes of this decision.

Apparently, new power-management and SMT features are behind the decision. With its "Kaby Lake" microarchitecture, Intel is introducing a new power-management feature called Speed Shift Technology. This lets the processor adjust its clock-speed to match processing loads at response time of 15 ms. This likely requires OS-level hooks, so the on-die power-management components can poll for processing loads and accordingly raise or lower clock-speeds 66.66 times each second, at no CPU cost. In its ZEN microarchitecture reveal, AMD too spoke about fine-grained, multi-domain clock-gating (≠ power-gating) on its "ZEN" based processors, such as "Summit Ridge."

AMD "Zen" and Intel "Kaby Lake" will Only Support Windows 10 and *nix

If you're holding out on Windows 7 as your PC gaming platform, you may also want to hold out on your current hardware for a long while. Microsoft is making good on a warning it made earlier this year, that it would not provide support to users of upcoming processors on older Windows operating systems. At their launch, Intel's 7th generation Core "Kaby Lake" processors and AMD "Summit Ridge" and "Bristol Ridge" will receive support from Microsoft only on the Windows 10 operating system. Older Windows versions will not receive drivers from Microsoft that support the new platforms. This is similar to Microsoft cutting off support for Windows XP from Intel's 3rd generation Core "Ivy Bridge" processors.

Without platform support, your Windows installation won't utilize many of the CPU features introduced with "Kaby Lake" and "Zen" and will likely run on a bare-minimum compatibility mode. This effectively cuts off PC enthusiasts from using older Windows versions on new hardware, such as the still-popular Windows 7. Non-Microsoft operating systems such as the latest *nix distributions such as ChromeOS, SteamOS, and OS X are still fully compatible with the upcoming chips.

Vega Not Before 2017: AMD to Investors

In a leaked presentation meant for its investors, AMD states that it expects to launch the "Vega" GPU architecture no sooner than 2017. The company plans to get it out within the first half of 2017. What makes this decision significant is that the company isn't planning on making bigger GPUs on its existing "Polaris" architecture, and its biggest product is the $249 Radeon RX 480. This leaves the company's discrete GPU lineup virtually untended at key price-points above, against NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1070, GTX 1080, and TITAN X Pascal, at least for the next five months.

In the mean time, AMD could launch additional mobile SKUs based on the Polaris 10 and Polaris 11 chips. The reasons behind this slow-crawl could be many - AMD could be turning its chip-design resources to the various semi-custom SoCs it's working on, for Microsoft and Sony, with their next-generation game consoles; AMD Vega development could also be running in-sync with market availability of HBM2 memory. 2017 promises to be a hectic year for AMD, with launch of not just Vega, but also its "ZEN" CPU architecture, the "Summit Ridge" processor, and APUs based on the CPU micro-architecture.

AMD ZEN Quad-Core Subunit Named CPU-Complex (CCX)

We've been chasing AMD Zen for a long time now. Our older report from April 2015 uncovered an important detail about component organization on Zen processors - the clumping of four CPU cores into a highly-specialized, possibly indivisible subunit referred to then, as the "Zen Quad-core Unit." Some of the latest presentations about the architecture, following AMD's "performance reveal" event from earlier this month, shed more light on this quad-core unit.

AMD is referring to the Zen quad-core unit as the CPU-Complex (CCX). Each CCX is a combination of four independent CPU cores. Unlike on "Bulldozer," a "Zen" core does not share any of its number-crunching machinery with neighboring cores. Each "Zen" core has a dedicated L2 cache of 512 KB, and four Zen cores share an 8 MB L3 cache. AMD will control core-counts by controlling CCX units. A "Summit Ridge" socket AM4 processor features two CCX units (making up eight cores in all), sharing a dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, and the platform core-logic (chipset), complete with an integrated PCI-Express root complex. Socket AM4 APUs will feature one CCX unit, and an integrated GPU in place of the second CCX. With this, AMD is able to bring the two diverse desktop platforms under one socket.

AMD "Summit Ridge" ZEN CPU at 2.80 GHz Beats 3.40 GHz Core i5-4670K

According to performance numbers of an AMD "Summit Ridge" ZEN CPU engineering-sample put out by WCCFTech, AMD's claims of IPC gains are gaining credibility, and showing signs of the gaming PC processor market warming up again. An engineering sample featuring 8 cores and 16 threads (via SMT), beat Intel's Core i5-4670K processor. This sample featured clock speeds of 2.80 GHz, with 3.20 GHz boost.

The "Summit Ridge" sample provided 10 percent higher frame-rates than a Core i5-4670K, in the "Ashes of the Singularity" 1080p benchmark. The chip is still convincingly beaten by 12 percent, by a Core i7-4790 (non-K), running at 3.60 GHz, with 4.00 GHz boost. This shows that AMD could leverage the new 14 nm FinFET process to crank up clock-speeds, and produce SKUs competitive with current Intel "Skylake-D" Core i5 and Core i7 processors.

AMD Socket AM4 Platform Demo Motherboard Pictured

AMD at its pre-Computex media event, showed off the first next-generation socket AM4 processor based on the 14 nm "Summit Ridge" silicon. That processor wasn't alone, it also came with a platform demonstrator for the company's industry partners, behind closed doors. This includes a platform demonstrator motherboard by AMD. Earlier this year, a Chinese tech-site caught a glimpse of this board. There's never anything glamorous about platform demo boards (from either AMD or Intel), they tend to be a haphazard bunch of slots and ports that max out the platform's feature-set. The same applies to this AM4 board.

The picture reveals a few big things about the AM4 socket, and the platform in general. To begin with, the 1331-pin PGA socket is somewhat the same size as AM3+, but likely features finer pins. It features CPU cooler retention holes in a "square" layout, rather than the rectangular layout that AMD has been using way back since socket 754. It will be interesting to see if these mount holes are compatible with any of Intel's sockets. The second and perhaps the biggest change of this platform, of course, is that the chipset is completely integrated with the processor, and so there's no chipset on the board. The processor socket wires out all the connections a southbridge, FCH, or PCH normally would, plus all the I/O of a northbridge (PCIe, memory, etc). The platform supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, and PCI-Express gen 3.0 across its PCIe budget.

AMD Confirms Key "Summit Ridge" Specs

AMD CEO Lisa Su, speaking at the company's Computex reveal held up the most important CPU product for the company, the new eight-core "Summit Ridge" processor. A posterboy of the company's new "Zen" micro-architecture, "Summit Ridge" is an eight-core processor with SMT enabling 16 threads for the OS to deal with, a massive 40% IPC increase over the current "Excavator" architecture, and a new platform based around the AM4 socket.

The AM4 socket sees AMD completely relocate the core-logic (chipset) to the processor's die. Socket AM4 motherboards won't have any chipset on them. This also means that the processor has an integrated PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, besides the DDR4 integrated memory controller. With the chipset being completely integrated, connectivity such as USB and SATA will be routed out of the processor. The AM4 socket is shared with another kind of products, the "Bristol Ridge" APU, which features "Excavator" CPU cores and a 512-SP GCN 1.2 iGPU.

AMD "Summit Ridge" Die Pictured?

At its 2016 Annual Shareholders Meeting website, AMD reportedly posted a wafer shot of its upcoming 14 nm "Summit Ridge" CPU die. The "Summit Ridge" silicon is rumored to drive a number of performance-thru-enthusiast processor SKUs for AMD. The die pictured features eight CPU cores based on the "Zen" micro-architecture, a dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of shared L3 cache split between two blocks of four CPU cores, each.

"Summit Ridge," much like the "Bristol Ridge" APU silicon, will be a true SoC, in that it integrates the southbridge on the processor die. With "Summit Ridge," AMD is also introducing a new inter-socket interconnect replacing its ageing HyperTransport technology. The new Global Memory Interconnect (GMI) bus provides a 100 GB/s path between two sockets. The "Summit Ridge" die features two such interconnect ports.
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