When AMD introduced its Ryzen 4000 mobile CPUs at CES, the company made bold claims of game-changing performance. Coming off of years of underwhelming laptop chips, AMD promised it had optimized Ryzen 4000 for mobile computing. Now we’ve tested those claims in AMD’s Ryzen 9 4900HS chip, an 8-core, 7nm chip with Radeon Vega cores. We’re stunned at the CPU’s impressive tour de force that defeats just about every Intel 8th- and 9th-gen laptop CPU we’ve ever seen. Just open up your YouTube feed and you’ll see pretty much every PC hardware channel staring at disbelief in just how good AMD’s Ryzen 4000 mobile processors really are. This isn’t just a “kind of good enough” processor – the top of the line model is faster than or equal than Intel’s top of the line processor at both single core and multicore workloads, while using slightly more than half the power. It’s all well and good for AMD to roundly run circles around Intel in the server and desktop/workstation space, but the laptop space is where the real money and mindshare can be found. This new line of AMD mobile processors is simply stunning.
AMD has filed at least two DMCA notices against Github repos that carried “stolen” source code relating to AMD’s Navi and Arden GPUs, the latter being the processor for the upcoming Xbox Series X. The person claiming responsibility for the leak informs TorrentFreak that if they doesn’t get a buyer for the remainder of the code, they will dump the whole lot online. I’d love to hear the backstory behind this hack. For a company like AMD, such a hack must’ve been an inside job, right? While I know I shouldn’t be surprised anymore by just how lacking security can be at even the most prominent technology companies, I just can’t imagine it being very easy to get your hands on this documentation and code without some form of inside help.
AMD’s laptop offerings haven’t been amazing these past few years, but with the unveiling of their 4000 processors, that’s finally going to change. All that seems set to change. Fast forward to 2020, and notebook users are eagerly awaiting the arrival of products based on AMD’s latest Ryzen Mobile 4000 series processors, which combine up to eight Zen 2 cores and upgraded Vega graphics into a small CPU for the notebook market. AMD has already made waves with its Zen 2 cores in the desktop and enterprise space, and the company has already announced it plans to put eight of those cores, along with a significantly upgraded graphics design, into a processor that has a thermal design point of 15 W. These 15 W parts are designed for ultraportable notebooks, and AMD has a number of design wins lined up to show just how good an AMD system can be. The same silicon will also go into 45 W-class style notebooks, with a higher base frequency. These parts are geared more towards discrete graphics options, for gaming notebooks or more powerful business designs. The gaming market (at 45 W), the commercial market (15W to 45W) and the ultraportable market (15 W) are where AMD is hoping to strike hardest with the new hardware. I can’t wait for serious competition to Intel in the laptop space. It’s sorely needed.
While it doesn’t get the same attention as their high-profile mobile, desktop, or server CPU offerings, AMD’s embedded division is an important fourth platform for the chipmaker. To that end, this week the company is revealing its lowest-power Ryzen processors ever, with a new series of embedded chips that are designed for use in ultra-compact commercial and industrial systems. The chips in question are the AMD Ryzen Embedded R1102G and the AMD Ryzen Embedded R1305G SoCs. These parts feature a 6 W or a configurable 8 W – 10 W TDP, respectively. Both SoCs feature two Zen cores with or without simultaneous multithreading, AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics, 1 MB L2 cache, 4 MB L3 cache, a single channel or a dual-channel memory controller, and two 10 GbE ports. Two quite capable chips. I’ve always liked these low-power chips and have, on numerous occasions, pondered buying the devices these kinds of chips tend to end up in – small industrial machines, thin clients, that sort of stuff – since they’re cheap and abundant on eBay. Sadly, I can never quite find a use for them.
In our tests here (more in our benchmark database), AMD’s 3990X would get the crown over Intel’s dual socket offerings. The only thing really keeping me back from giving it is the same reason there was hesitation on the previous page: it doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself from AMD’s own 32-core CPU. Where AMD does win is in that ‘money is less of an issue scenario’, where using a single socket 64 core CPU can help consolidate systems, save power, and save money. Intel’s CPUs have a TDP of 205W each (more if you decide to use the turbo, which we did here), which totals 410W, while AMD maxed out at 280W in our tests. Technically Intel’s 2P has access to more PCIe lanes, but AMD’s PCIe lanes are PCIe 4.0, not PCIe 3.0, and with the right switch can power many more than Intel (if you’re saving 16k, then a switch is peanuts). We acknowledge that our tests here aren’t in any way a comprehensive test of server level workloads, but for the user base that AMD is aiming for, we’d take the 64 core (or even the 32 core) in most circumstances over two Intel 28 core CPUs, and spend the extra money on memory, storage, or a couple of big fat GPUs. Aside from the artificial maximum memory limitation – which AMD put in place to protect its own Epyc processors – the 3990X is simply a masterpiece. To be able to get 64 cores and 128 threads for a relatively mere $3990 is nothing short of stunning, and while few of us actually need a processor like that, the 3990X shines like the halo product that it is.
At last year’s CES, AMD showcased its then Ryzen 3000 mobile processors as part of the announcements. In what is becoming a trend, at this year’s CES, the company is doing the same in announcing its next generation Ryzen 4000 mobile processors. This year is a little different, with AMD showing off its manufacturing strategy at TSMC 7nm for the first time in the mobile space. There’s a ton of options on the table, both at 15W and 45W, offering some really impressive core counts, frequencies, and most importantly, design wins. Here are all the details. Let’s hope we’re getting choice and competition back in the laptop space.
AnandTech reviews AMD’s latest and greatest. AMD has scored wins across almost all of our benchmark suite. In anything embarrassingly parallel it rules the roost by a large margin (except for our one AVX-512 benchmark). Single threaded performance trails the high-frequency mainstream parts, but it is still very close. Even in memory sensitive workloads, an issue for the previous generation Threadripper parts, the new chiplet design has pushed performance to the next level. These new Threadripper processors win on core count, on high IPC, on high frequency, and on fast memory. If you had told me three years ago that AMD were going to be ruling the roost in the HEDT market with high-performance 32-core processors on a leading-edge manufacturing node, I would have told you to lay off the heavy stuff. But here we are, and AMD isn’t done yet, teasing a 64-core version for next year. This is a crazy time we live in, and I’m glad to be a part of it. I need one of these for translating, posting to OSNews, and playing a few non-demanding games, right?
Deciding between building a mainstream PC and a high-end desktop has historically been very clear cut: if budget is a concern, and you’re interested in gaming, then typically a user looks to the mainstream. Otherwise, if a user is looking to do more professional high-compute work, then they look at the high-end desktop. Over the course of AMD’s recent run of high-core count Ryzen processors that line has blurred. This year, that line has disappeared. Even in 2016, mainstream CPUs used to top out at four cores: today they now top out at sixteen. Does anyone need sixteen cores? Yes. Does everyone need sixteen cores? No. Do I want sixteen cores? Yes.
AMD is set to close out the year on a high note. As promised, the company will be delivering its latest 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X processor, built with two 7nm TSMC chiplets, to the consumer platform for $749. Not only this, but AMD today has lifted the covers on its next generation Threadripper platform, which includes Zen 2-based chiplets, a new socket, and an astounding 4x increase in CPU-to-chipset bandwidth. At this point it’s starting to feel like kicking Intel when they’re down.
So has AMD done the unthinkable? Beaten Intel by such a large margin that there is no contest? For now, based on our preliminary testing, that is the case. The launch of AMD’s second generation EPYC processors is nothing short of historic, beating the competition by a large margin in almost every metric: performance, performance per watt and performance per dollar. Analysts in the industry have stated that AMD expects to double their share in the server market by Q2 2020, and there is every reason to believe that AMD will succeed. The AMD EPYC is an extremely attractive server platform with an unbeatable performance per dollar ratio. This is one stunning processor family.
So how does AMD’s first example of RDNA stack up? For AMD and for consumers it’s much needed progress. To be sure, the Radeon RX 5700 series cards are not going to be Turing killers. But they are competitive in price, performance, and power consumption – the all-important trifecta that AMD has trailed NVIDIA at for too many years now. AMD’s new graphics cards have already managed to do what has been sorely needed for a long time now: they’ve forced NVIDIA to lower prices and release new cards sooner than they otherwise would’ve. This is why competition is so important.
In the majority of controlled tests, AMD has done something they haven’t been able to achieve in almost 15 years, since the tail-end of the Athlon 64’s reign in 2005: that is to have a CPU microarchitecture with higher performance per clock than Intel’s leading architecture. Zen 2 finally achieves this symbolic mark by a hair’s margin, with the new core improving IPC by 10-13% when compared to Zen+. Having said that, Intel still very much holds the single-threaded performance crown by a few percent. Intel’s higher achieved frequencies as well as continued larger lead in memory sensitive workloads are still goals that AMD has to work towards, and future Zen iterations will have to further improve in order to have a shot at the ST performance crown. Beyond this, it’s remarkable that AMD has been able to achieve all of this while consuming significantly less power than Intel’s best desktop chip, all thanks to the new process node. AMD’s brand new Zen 2 processors are nothing short of a slam dunk, and the desktop processor market hasn’t been this exciting and competitive in 15 years. I’m contemplating building a small light-load workstation for my new office, and there’s no way it won’t be team red, since AMD offers the amazing value across the board – low end, mid range, and high end.
We have been teased with AMD’s next generation processor products for over a year. The new chiplet design has been heralded as a significant breakthrough in driving performance and scalability, especially as it becomes increasingly difficult to create large silicon with high frequencies on smaller and smaller process nodes. AMD is expected to deploy its chiplet paradigm across its processor line, through Ryzen and EPYC, with those chiplets each having eight next-generation Zen 2 cores. Today AMD went into more detail about the Zen 2 core, providing justification for the +15% clock-for-clock performance increase over the previous generation that the company presented at Computex last week. The 16c/32t Ryzen 9 3950X looks quite attainable at $750 – a price that is surely to come down after launch.
More AMD news – this time on the graphics front, where the company is still catching up to NVIDIA. While the bulk of this morning’s AMD Computex keynote has been on AMD’s 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs and their underlying Zen 2 architecture, the company also took a moment to briefly touch upon its highly anticipated Navi GPU architecture and associated family of products. AMD didn’t go too deep here, but they have given us just enough to be tantalized ahead of a full reveal in the not too distant future. The first Navi cards will be the Radeon RX 5700 series, which are launching in July and on an architectural level will offer 25% better performance per clock per core and 50% better power efficiency than AMD’s current-generation Vega architecture. The products will also be AMD’s first video cards using faster GDDR6 memory. Meanwhile AMD isn’t offering much in the way of concrete details on performance, but they are showing it off versus NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2070 in the AMD-favorable game Strange Brigade. Not that many details just yet, so it’s safe to assume AMD is not yet ready to truly take on NVIDIA. That being said – like with Zen and Ryzen, give AMD a few generations, and NVIDIA might finally be facing real competition.
Today at Computex, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su is announcing the raft of processors it will be launching on its new Zen 2 chiplet-based microarchitecture. Among other things, AMD is unveiling its new Ryzen 9 product tier, which it is using for its 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X processor, and which runs at 4.6 GHz boost. All of the five processors will be PCIe 4.0 enabled, and while they are being accompanied by the new X570 chipset launch, they still use the same AM4 socket, meaning some AMD 300 and 400-series motherboards can still be used. We have all the details inside. If the first few waves of Zen-based processors put AMD back on the map, this is the wave that will propel the company beyond Intel on all fronts – single-core performance, multicore performance, price, and on all fronts, from workstations to gaming. Intel will probably be trailing AMD on all these fronts until at least 2022. AMD’s turnaround over the past few years is nothing short of stunning, and I’m quite sure my next machine will be rocking team red once again.
Speaking of AMD, the company is on a roll as it also announced a new high-end consumer graphics card, which it says can take on Nvidia’s RTX 2080 graphics card. As it turns out, the video card wars are going to charge into 2019 quite a bit hotter than any of us were expecting. Moments ago, as part of AMD’s CES 2019 keynote, CEO Dr. Lisa Su announced that AMD will be releasing a new high-end, high-performance Radeon graphics card. Dubbed the Radeon VII (Seven), AMD has their eyes set on countering NVIDIA’s previously untouchable GeForce RTX 2080. And, if the card lives up to AMD’s expectations, then come February 7th it may just as well do that. At a high level then, the Radeon VII employs a slightly cut down version of AMD’s Vega 20 GPU. With 60 of 64 CUs enabled, it actually has a few less CUs than AMD’s previous flagship, the Radeon RX Vega 64, but it makes up for the loss with much higher clockspeeds and a much more powerful memory and pixel throughput backend. As a result, AMD says that the Radeon VII should beat their former flagship by anywhere between 20% and 42% depending on the game (with an overall average of 29%), which on paper would be just enough to put the card in spitting distance of NVIDIA’s RTX 2080, and making it a viable and competitive 4K gaming card. AMD has managed to shake up the processor market with their Zen architectures, and it’s high time the same happens to the video card market. Nvidia has basically had this market all to itself for several years now, so hopefully this new Radeon card can shake things up a bit and hold us over until 2020, when Intel will be entering the dedicated graphics card market as well.
During AMD’s CES keynote, the company unveiled some of the details of its upcoming 3rd generation Ryzen processors, which are built on top of the Zen 2 architecture. We don’t have any independent benchmarks quite yet, of course, but the power figures comparing a Ryzen 3 processor to an Intel 9900K are nothing to sneeze at (note that these figures are coming from AMD, so get out your salt). Also, in that same test, it showed the system level power. This includes the motherboard, DRAM, SSD, and so on. As the systems were supposedly identical, this makes the comparison CPU only. The Intel system, during Cinebench, ran at 180W. This result is in line with what we’ve seen on our systems, and sounds correct. The AMD system on the other hand was running at 130-132W. If we take a look at our average system idle power in our own reviews which is around 55W, this would make the Intel CPU around 125W, whereas the AMD CPU would be around 75W. Even assuming these figures are idealised, that’s still a pretty startling difference.
This year at CES, we have a series of announcements from AMD before the company’s keynote presentation. Addressing the company’s mobile offerings, AMD is launching the first parts of the Ryzen 3000-series of processors, focused around the Ryzen Mobile 2nd Gen family for both the general 15W market as well as the high-performance 35W market. On top of this, AMD is also making an announcement regarding how it will address graphics drivers for these platforms, and then some icing on the cake comes from AMD’s venture into Chromebooks. AMD continues its hot streak, and now we even have several new inexpensive Chromebooks running on AMD hardware, a market segment the company wasn’t active in. The future is looking bright for AMD.
On the CPU side of things, AMD talked extensively about the forthcoming Zen 2 architecture. The goal of the original Zen architecture was to get AMD, at the very least, competitive with what Intel had to offer. AMD knew that Zen would not take the performance lead from Intel, but the pricing and features of its chips made them nonetheless attractive, especially in workloads that highlighted certain shortcomings of Intel's parts (fewer memory channels, less I/O bandwidth). Zen 2 promises to be not merely competitive with Intel, but superior to it.
Key to this is TSMC's 7nm process, which offers twice the transistor density of the 14nm process the original Zen parts used. For the same performance level, power is reduced by about 50 percent, or, conversely, at the same power consumption, performance is increased by about 25 percent. TSMC's 14nm and 12nm processes both trail behind Intel's 14nm process in terms of performance per watt, but with 7nm, TSMC will take the lead.
These Zen 2 processors using the 7nm process will hit the market in 2019, so it seems like next year is the perfect moment to make any transitions from Intel to AMD. Intel has been milking its 14nm process for all its worth, because it just can't seem to get its 10nm process to work properly. With AMD moving to 7nm, it definitely seems the company will actually leapfrog Intel next year.
If you live by the workstation, you die by the performance. When it comes to processing data, throughput is key: the more a user can do, the more projects are accomplished, and the more contracts can be completed. This means that workstation users are often compute bound, and like to throw resources at the problem, be it cores, memory, storage, or graphics acceleration. AMD’s latest foray into the mix is its second generation Threadripper product, also known as Threadripper 2, which breaks the old limit on cores and pricing: the 2990WX gives 32 cores and 64 threads for only $1799. There is also the 2950X, with 16 cores and 32 threads, for a new low of $899. We tested them both.
Do I need a Threadripper machine for my job? Nope. Do I want a Threadripper machine for my job? Hell yes. The AnandTech review of the Threadripper 2 line is in, so sit back and enjoy the pretty numbers.