Ryzen coming in 2017
AMD reveals the brand for Zen, a clock speed of 3.4 GHz and some new technical features.
As much as we might want it to be, today is not the day that AMD launches its new Zen processors to the world. We’ve been teased with it for years now, with trickles of information at event after event…but we are going to have to wait a little bit longer with one more tease at least. Today’s AMD is announcing the official branding of the consumer processors based on Zen, previously code named Summit Ridge, along with a clock speed data point and a preview of five technology that will help it be competitive with the Intel Core lineup.
The future consumer desktop processor from AMD will now officially be known as Ryzen. That’s pronounced “RISE-IN” not “RIS-IN”, just so we are all on the same page. CEO Lisa Su was on stage during the reveal at a media event last week and claimed that while media, fans and AMD fell in love with the Zen name, it needed a differentiation from the architecture itself. The name is solid – not earth shattering though I foresee a long life of mispronunciation ahead of it.
Now that we have the official branding behind us, let’s get to the rest of the disclosed information we can reveal today.
We already knew that Summit Ridge would ship with an 8 core, 16 thread version (with lower core counts at lower prices very likely) but now we know a frequency and a cache size. AMD tells us that there will be a processor (the flagship) that will have a base clock of 3.4 GHz with boost clocks above that. How much above that is still a mystery – AMD is likely still tweaking its implementation of boost to get as much performance as possible for launch. This should help put those clock speed rumors to rest for now.
The 20MB of cache matches the Core i7-6900K, though obviously with some dramatic architecture differences between Broadwell and Zen, the effect and utilization of that cache will be interesting measure next year.
We already knew that Ryzen will be utilizing the AM4 platform, but it’s nice to see it reiterated a modern feature set and expandability. DDR4 memory, PCI Express Gen3, native USB 3.1 and NVMe support – there are all necessary building blocks for a modern consumer and enthusiast PC. We still should see how many of these ports the chipset offers and how aggressive motherboard companies like ASUS, MSI and Gigabyte are in their designs. I am hoping there are as many options as would see for an X99/Z170 platform, including budget boards in the $100 space as well as “anything and everything” options for those types of buyers that want to adopt AMD’s new CPU.
What about this SenseMI Technology? This is the brand that AMD has assigned to a collection of five different features that improve the performance and efficiency of the Zen architecture as it exists in the Ryzen consumer product. I’ll be upfront – I don’t know if these items needed an encompassing brand umbrella though the features themselves are worth noting.
First up is Pure Power, an integration of a temperature and voltage monitoring system that helps optimize the clock speeds and voltages the CPU will run at in real world conditions. By keeping track of die temperatures and voltages running through it, Zen will utilize adaptive control schemes to lower power usages while maintaining performance and clock speeds at expected levels. There is a lot of jargon and terms on this slide above including “infinity control fabric” and “distributed embedded sensors” but this is technology we have seen before in Intel’s processor systems, both major vendors GPUs and in mobile devices. It helps keep performance levels at a static state but improves efficiency to keep power and thermals at lower levels.
Precision Boost is the other side of the same coin, using the same sensors and the same logic but for a different purpose. This is AMD’s answer to Intel Turbo Boost technology, dynamically adjusting the clock speed of the processor cores to improve performance for as long as the die can remain within the preset thermal constraints AMD (or a user) puts on it. We don’t have much detail on this feature yet but I would assume it would behave very similarly to Intel’s version – running at higher clocks during lower threaded workloads but lower clocks at highly threaded workloads. One interesting improvement with AMD Precision Boost is that it can operate in 25 MHz increments. Intel Turbo Boost only moves in steps of 100 MHz. While this will add more complexity to the system, in theory it should allow AMD to stretch that last little bit higher to get additional perf.
Extended Frequency Range has the potential to be very interesting. If you have better cooling, your processor will be able to run at higher clock speeds. AMD says this will scale with air cooling, water cooling and even liquid nitrogen! NVIDIA and Intel have both claimed that this capability exists for their products (NVIDIA GPU Boost), but in practice, we usually find that process technology creates a different limit than thermals for processor performance. For example, on NVIDIA GPUs, artificial voltage limits keep the GPU clock down well before thermals when running extreme cooling solutions.
The amount that XFR impacts consumers will be measured once we have samples in hand. If the difference between a basic air cooler and water cooling is ~100 MHz of usable, repeatable clock speed, then the value will be…debatable. If we can get an extra 300-400 MHz by just utilizing high end enthusiast coolers, that’s a great feature to add.
Now things getting a little more interesting. What AMD is calling Neural Net Prediction, and what they dub as a “artificial network”, offers improved prediction instructions and paths through the processor pipeline. If that sounds familiar to you, and it should, you’ll recognize this as a branch predictor.
The goals put forward on this slide exactly describe the goals of prediction units on a processor, and have for as long as I have been reading architecture documents. “Building a model of decisions driven by software code execution” is an interesting way of describe using the history of previous code results to attempt to predict the next code result early. A prefetch can grab the next instruction ahead of time and, if it predicted correctly, is ready to execute immediately without time decoding.
The description of this as a “neural net” is just one of semantics. A quick look over at Wikipedia shows a variation of the predictor called a Neural Branch Predictor. The differentiator between this and a standard unit is that a neural unit can exploit long histories of previous data with only a linear growth in required resources. That comes at the cost of added latency though. When I have more time with AMD’s engineers we can get a better explanation of what is going on, but for now, just understand that Zen has an improved branch and path prediction unit to improve performance and power efficiency.
Smart Prefetch has a similar setup. A prefetch unit attempts to guess which data the application will need from cache before the request is made, improving performance by reducing wait times for memory access. The same argument can be made as to if this constitutes a neural net, or smart network or whatever – the important aspect is that AMD claims the improvements in this area of the architecture result in performance gains for IPC, helping to add up to that impressive 40% improvement over the last generation.
More Performance Previews
Back in August, AMD held a quick press conference in San Francisco to show off the first official performance metric for Zen. It compared an 8-core Zen processor against an 8-core Broadwell-E, both running at 3.0 GHz. The Zen CPU finished a run through Blender first, indicating that the IPC of Zen was higher or on-par with that of Broadwell-E.
For today’s Zen information blast AMD had another pair of data points that worth discussion. First, AMD pitted a Ryzen processor running at a fixed clock speed of 3.4 GHz, with no boost features enabled yet, against a stock Core i7-6900K, with boost enabled. For your reference, a 6900K is an 8C/16T part that runs at a base clock of 3.2 GHz and can clock as high as 3.7 GHz with Turbo Boost. When operating at full thread capacity, the 6900K is in the 3.4 GHz to 3.5 GHz range. The benchmark was Handbrake, a very common piece of software that most review sites use for testing and that many consumers use for media transcoding.
While not the most riveting video coverage, this will show the transcode running on both systems, fully utilizing 16 threads. The AMD processor finished a few seconds ahead of the Intel part, again indicating that it is leading or competitive against Intel’s current enthusiast class processors.
A power demonstration was run, though this time with Blender, showing total system power draw during a render.
While we don’t know the rest of the components on the system, and that this is total system, not CPU only power draw, so we must be careful about making definitive conclusions. The AMD Zen PC was running at ~188 watts, the Intel Core i7-6900K machine at ~191 watts. Even if you give the platforms +/- 15 watts for variances in motherboards and the like, that means AMD is within range of Broadwell-E.
More to come
Now we know the brand, Ryzen. Now we know the clock speed, a minimum of 3.4 GHz on a flagship part. We know something new about the architectural improvements for power, speed and efficiency. We do not know the release date (1H 2017) or pricing. And we don’t know the full story in terms of performance and where Ryzen will compete against an Intel lineup that will be shifting in the next 2-6 months substantially.
I’m more excited for AMD new processor than I was in August when they first show a performance demo that was very quickly followed by doubt and scrutiny on the workload. One more benchmark does not a CPU story make, but it’s clear that AMD remains committed to its stance on processor IPC and competitiveness in the market. Those of us that have been waiting for true competition to Intel’s Core i5/i7 processors from AMD, without the overarching caveats, will not have to hold out much longer. If you were ever doubting that 2017 was going to be a pivotal year for computing and PC gaming, this is yet another slap in the head with a large trout.
Hello 2017 test bench. No
Hello 2017 test bench. No cold bug I assume?
Intel called and wants their
Intel called and wants their bug back.
512 kB l2 cache per core ? Vs
512 kB l2 cache per core ? Vs my 256 per core ! 8 core vs my 4 core? Pleas god of technology optimise the core for gaming and twitch streaming . Not to compete vs watson
That a pretty self entitled
That a pretty self entitled gaming focused opinion as Intel designs its CPU SKUs for the server/HPC markets and Intel’s CPU micro-architectures are not optimized for gaming only. Maybe you should ask the GPU makers that have more to do with gaming than any general purpose CPU maker to include dedicated streaming functionality above and beyond what the GPUs already provide to allow for streaming of gaming sessions. If you do not think that there are some HPC/server workloads that parallel in need what any gaming workloads need then maybe you do not really understand computers to begin with. I do not think gamers know what markets really pay the R&D bills for the CPU makers. A little hint it’s not the gaming market!
Gaming and consumer markets are very fickle to begin with so there is that much higher Workstation/Server/HPC market to provide the majority of the revenues to make all that R&D possible to benefit the consumer/gaming market!
P.S. both AMD and Nvidia(large market share) are in and going after more of that Workstation/Server/HPC/other than gaming market uses for their respective GPU products as well as their APU/SOC products!
@ amd please hire the league
@ amd please hire the league of legends lady that has a very cartoony voice to do ads for ryzen
Yes it’s needed to stand out and be even noticed
AMD please hire more
AMD please hire more Engineers and scientists and less MBAs and marketing monkeys. In fact the entire computing industry can pool their resources and get the Marketing Monkeys/MBAs a free trip into space on one of Musk’s grand Mars rockets! And issue the order to rocket’s guidance systems to SET THE CONTROLS TO THE HEART OF THE SUN!
So hardocp confirmed, 3.4ghz
So hardocp confirmed, 3.4ghz ryzen is faster then a 3.5ghz i7-6950x
running the STOCK binary of blender 2.78a. No compiler tricks.
This is looking being good for AMD (for this type of workload), its actually stunning.
Not only because AMD rate the TDP at 95w VS 140w, but also AMD was able to match (well, slightly beat) broadwell-E IPC.
Only question remain, how high a clock can ryzen reach.
Because the watt/thermal headroom is huge for a 95w rated chip.
I’m really glad AMD didn’t go bankrupt, because Zen / Vega (and their next HBM based APU) are all very positive for the consumers/industry.
“I’m really glad AMD didn’t
“I’m really glad AMD didn’t go bankrupt, because Zen / Vega (and their next HBM based APU) are all very positive for the consumers/industry.”
AMD was really never going to go bankrupt as the server industry is/was always willing to buy a small percentage of AMD’s x86 server product just to keep Intel on the straight and narrow. After Lisa Su took over at AMD and with Raja Koduri back form Apple, AMD’s fortunes changed radically with the forming of Radeon Technologies Group under Koduri. AMD still had its semi-custom and embedded division and that console market to provide enough revenues to keep the banks lending and willing to refinance AMD’s Debts! That x86 license and SeaMicro/other AMD owned IP probably helped with keeping AMD and RTG together, along with AMD’s ATI IP that helped keep AMD out of any bankruptcy.
AMD is a very lean operation now compared to the AMD of even 5 years ago, and AMD’s ability to continue to engineer many new innovations for CPUs, APUs, and GPUs on AMD’s relatively small R&D budget should be a lesson to any of the stockholders of the other technology companies that have too much of their companies’ budgets going to pay for some very unproductive MBA/Marketing lard. Intel wasted on contra revenue alone many times over what AMD had to run its company and fund that AMD innovation that has brought to market Polaris and soon Zen/Vega related CPU, Server/HPC/Workstation and Consumer products, and Zen CPU paired with probably Vega based APU products for the same Server/HPC/Workstation and consumer markets. AMD is also entering the machine learning/AI markets with its Radeon Instinct line of GPU accelerators that are designed for that new market also.
That APU technology that AMD started some years back has always been attractive even with AMD’s not so stellar Bulldozer based micro-architecture. AMD’s jaguar cores where not that bad for some low powered embedded devices or console systems in the time frame of their release. AMD now has Zen and that Jim Keller lead design and I hope that Keller’s/K12 Team’s work on K12 does not go to waste looking at the Zen design’s performance it would be a damn shame if the Keller/K12 design team’s work were abandoned. It would be bad for those in the custom ARM tablet market that would very much like a tablet with K12 cores and Polaris, or Vega, derived graphics.
Do not forget that AMD is also a founding member of OpenCAPI so AMD’s GPU accelerators will interface with Power/Power9 products from IBM and any OpenPower licensees that make use of the OpenCAPI(Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface)
From wikipedia entry on Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface:
OpenCAPI, formerly New CAPI or CAPI 3.0, is not layered on top of PCIe and will therefor not use PCIe slots. In IBM’s CPU POWER9 it will use the Bluelink 25G I/O facility that it shares with NVLink 2.0, peaking at 50 GB/s. OpenCAPI doesn’t need the PSL unit (required for CAPI 1 and 2) in the accelerator, as it’s not layered on top of PCIe but uses its own transaction protocol.
The technology behind OpenCAPI is governed by the OpenCAPI Consortium, founded in October 2016 by AMD, Google, IBM, Mellanox and Micron together with partners Nvidia, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell EMC and Xilinx.” (1)
“Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface”
It seem the Zen core IPC will
It seem the Zen core IPC will be equal to 25% slower then Intel Kaby lake.
So to beat/match a 4ghz i7-7700k , the 4 core Ryzen will need to be clocked at 5ghz… Not going to happen.
It seem impossible for AMD to price the 4 core at $350
And Intel can drop the i7-7700k to $299 with ease under pressure (if any)
4 core Ryzen 3.8ghz base will most likely be a ~$280 chip and will compete with the i5 serie. Intel will keep the $300 desktop CPU market to itself.
8 core 16 threads for $399
8 core 16 threads for $399 would be nice.
If the 8C/16T comes in at
If the 8C/16T comes in at <$500 nobody will care what the name is. They'll just buy them by the truck load. Just because Intel charge a frankly comical $1100 for a 250mm^2 chip, it does *NOT* mean that AMD have to. Intel will find themselves suddenly priced out of the market, far too expensive to be seriously contemplated by anybody. So unless they drop their prices (massively) to compensate, the i7-E series will be toast. Either way, their days of 'take the piss pricing' will be over. And PC enthusiasts will be able to get back to doing awesome things with PCs, rather than wondering how the hell they're going to afford one powerful enough to be awesome. I can't wait 🙂
Screw the name, just give it
Screw the name, just give it a serial number or alphanumeric designation.
AMD is now the People’s PC, because they don’t shove the green dick all the way up your arse like Intel.
They are ALL made in China for 1000th of the price they charge YOU for it.