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AMD Unveils First Zen Desktop Processor Details, Picks 'Ryzen' To Brand Zen CPU ( 113

MojoKid writes from a report via HotHardware: AMD has just officially unveiled that desktop variants of its Zen processor family will now be branded RYZEN. Zen-based processors will eventually target desktops, servers, and mobiles device, but the first wave of products will be targeted at the performance desktop market, where gamers and VR continue to spur growth. AMD is positioning RYZEN as a high-performance option and though there will be other core configurations as well, AMD has disclosed that one of the high-end options in the initial RYZEN line-up will feature 8 cores (16 threads with SMT) and at minimum a 3.4 GHz base clock, with higher turbo frequencies. That processor will also be outfitted with 20MB of cache -- 4MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 -- and it will be infused with what AMD is calling SenseMI technology. SenseMI is essentially fancy branding for the updated branch predictor, prefetcher, and power and control logic in Zen. AMD's upcoming AM4 platform for RYZEN will be outfitted with all of the features expected of a modern PC enthusiast platform. AM4 motherboards will use DDR4 memory and feature PCIe Gen 3 connectivity, and support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe, and SATA Express. Performance demos of RYZEN shown to members of the press pit a stock Intel Core i7-6900K (3.2GHz base, 3.7GHz turbo) with Turbo Boost that was enabled on the 6900K, versus RYZEN with boost disabled running at 3.4GHz flat. In the demo, the RYZEN system outpaced the Core i7-6900K by a few seconds.
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AMD Unveils First Zen Desktop Processor Details, Picks 'Ryzen' To Brand Zen CPU

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  • APU units? (Score:5, Informative)

    by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @08:56PM (#53480349)
    In light of their recent APU units with massive DP performance on the iGPU (apparently a 1:2 DP:SP ratio), if they pair those iGPUs with four Zen cores, I'm definitely in! Numericians would approve.
    • than a cheap discrete graphics + cpu? The trouble I had with APUs is that for another $20 bucks you could get a regular CPU + a cheap graphics card and get between 30-50% better performance. If you were willing to gamble on a used GPU you could often do a hell of a lot better (but you might get something that had the oven trick done to it). The only folks I saw using APUs were guys in Latin America where strict import rules made it hard to get discrete graphics.

      Now, give me 60 fps at 1080p medium for cu
      • I'm not hoping it would be good for graphics (iGPUs mostly suck because of the bandwidth) but for numerics, you're hard-pressed to find a "cheap" ~0.6 TFLOPS card. The new Titan X has 0.3 TFLOPS, for example - for over $1000. And there's no reason why you couldn't use a discrete graphics card for...well, graphics.
        • If you need number crunching, track down an original Titan from before they nerfed them to consumer level cards. They are 1.3 TFLOPS double precision. I see refurbs on eBay for $350.

  • Sing it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @08:58PM (#53480357) Journal

    Mojo Ryzen...

  • Didn't see anything about it in TFA...anyone know what these CPUs will cost?
    • Did not announce price. CEO said available next quarter.

    • Re:Price? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @09:17PM (#53480457)
      The top SR7 is rumored to be around $500. Make of that what you will. Some think that this is very optimistic if the performance levels are what they seem to be. It would be very good for the consumer, though, obviously.
      • by aliquis ( 678370 )

        I thought the $500 just came from a redditer who had made up his own spread-sheet with prices and scores (which was guesstimated?), but maybe there was more to it because wccftech didn't abandoned it afterwards. Or maybe there wasn't.

        One one hand even at $500 AMD would get lots more money / CPU than with current FX processors.
        On the other hand why charge that when Intel charges like $1100?
        On the third hand I guess they want to become popular again and hence out-price Intel.

  • I'm interested.... but...

    Hate the name "Ryzin" reminds of of "ricin".

    Can't wait for the benchmarks.

  • Maybe I'm remembering this incorrectly but hasn't AMD made basically nothing for the PC since Vishera, or those 220W monster versions of the Vishera CPUs. It's been like 2-3 years or something. How did they go that long without releasing anything?!
    • AMD designed the processors used on the PS4 and the Xbox One as well. And yes it does take 2-3 years to design a whole new architecture like Zen even if they had deep pockets like Intel. Which they don't.

    • Pretty much (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @09:25PM (#53480507) Homepage

      Back around 2006 or 2007 AMD made a huge announcement that they bought ATI graphics. Around the same time Intel released the Core series of CPUs and blew AMD out of the water. Instead of investing in r&d they spent all their capital on a graphics card company. AMD has been playing catch up ever since.

      • Re:Pretty much (Score:5, Informative)

        by Ramze ( 640788 ) on Tuesday December 13, 2016 @10:39PM (#53480845)

        AMD began as a supplier for Intel. Every time they improve the x86 architecture, they end up cross-licensing the improvements with Intel for their improvements as well. AMD has pulled ahead twice in its history -- both times, Intel crushed them so bad, they almost didn't recover. Once due to illegal market pressure and the second time by revamping the cpu to blow AMD out of the water in specs. Intel has AMD's 64 bit tech now.

        AMD was looking for a market they could actually compete and even maybe succeed in by buying ATI. NVIDIA is solid competition, but nowhere near Intel on the CPU side. AMD's APUs are the synthesis of ATI and AMD's 64 bit tech. Intel's got a few moves to make with this. Intel can improve their own integrated graphics or buy NVIDIA to use inside their cpus. Both are unlikely. The most likely outcome is Intel will license the tech from AMD at their next cross-licensing deal.

        AMD makes money on the low end and gaming console market. They have no hope of ever taking on Intel, so they'll settle for a percentage of every chip Intel makes in a licensing deal instead. Wash, rinse, repeat. Intel won't let them die as AMD is their only evidence that they aren't a monopoly. (ARM is great, but it's got a long way to go before it's really a competitor -- especially in the laptop/desktop market). AMD will likely do quite well in the gpu market moving forward -- especially with VR being the next big thing.

        • by bongey ( 974911 )

          Intel moved there investors meeting from Nov to Feb most likely because they have to redo sales forecasts. Intel has no answer for Zen on the road map in 2017. Only overclocked Broadwell-e arch.
          No they aren't going beat Intel sales, but they won't have the best processor for at least a year.

          • by bongey ( 974911 )

            No AMD isn't going beat Intel sales, but Intel won't have the best processor for at least a year.

        • Re:Pretty much (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @03:52AM (#53481809) Homepage

          They saw that the future was laptops and more powerful CPU+IGP solutions than Intel could offer. But I don't think they truly understood how much marrying themselves to ATI would allow Intel to make a move on nVidia and the graphics market. Intel took the opportunity to kill off third party chipsets giving them in practice full control over the motherboard and integrate their IGP into the CPU so every sale was a bundle. By having AMD open the door Intel could do it without any real anti-trust issues, I think they had to pay off nVidia a little but they got what they wanted.

          If they'd not bought ATI then Intel could have had both ATI and nVidia turn against them as Intel tried to move in, with AMD having the pick of the crop. Or even if Intel had bought ATI as there was rumors then nVidia would become their natural ally for free. Look for example at the gaming market, we're buying quad-core chips with huge IGPs we don't need because we'll be using dGPU(s) anyway, but Intel has still made it better value than hex-cores with X99 motherboards. They can do that because there's no choice, Zen is targeting the gamer simply by using all the die space for the CPU. AMD has to start thinking about how the competition will act in response.

        • Re:Pretty much (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @05:48AM (#53482029) Journal

          AMD began as a supplier for Intel

          Not quite, they began as a supplier for IBM. IBM insisted on a second source for all of the components of the IBM PC and wouldn't buy from Intel if Intel didn't license the 8088 designs to AMD and allow them to produce compatible chips. If they'd had the same foresight with respect to the operating system, the next few decades might have been very different.

          both times, Intel crushed them so bad, they almost didn't recover. Once due to illegal market pressure and the second time by revamping the cpu to blow AMD out of the water in specs. Intel has AMD's 64 bit tech now.

          In the second case, it was more that AMD didn't realise that power consumption had become important. The market shifted and AMD didn't have competing products. Laptops went from a niche to the largest market segment and server purchasers started to care about their air conditioning costs more than raw compute.

          • by Junta ( 36770 )

            On the second case, basically it was the opposite of the whole Itanium/Netburst debacle. When Intel did netburst and Itanium, doing exactly the wrong moves, AMD went ahead with AMD64 and good microarchitecture and AMD enjoyed superiority across the board until Intel Core, and retained some semblance of superiority on some front until Nehalem got everything togetehr.

            Just as Intel got everything going with their system, AMD BullDozer was basically AMD's netburst. Betting on a concept that didn't pan out to

            • The difference between Intel and AMD is the number of concurrent designs that they have underway. Intel starts a processor design with around 30 teams working independently and then gradually culls them. This meant that, once it was clear that Netburst as a disaster, they could go back to some of the other teams and prioritise them.
          • AMD started in 1969 as a second source for Fairchild and National Semiconductor digital TTL, and soon made its own designs of other MSI circuits. AMD wasn't second-sourcing Intel's MOS devices until 1973. (wikipedia)
        • I'm sorry to say that if Zen is somewhere in the ballpark of Intel's chips then no one is going to be buying Intel for quite some time, or Intel will have to drastically lower its prices, especially on the server-side. The margins they have had since Core came out are going to evaporate one way or another.
    • It takes several years to design a processor. Once they finished Bulldozer and found that it didn't perform they still had to go through the iterations up to Excavator while they designed a completely new CPU. After the bad rep they got in desktop circles they must have decided that the volume in 8-core CPUs wasn't worth it after Vishera so they focused on APUs where the GPU shined and the weak CPU part wasn't so obvious.

  • Ryzen? That's a funny name for an AMD cpu. I would've called it one of:

    Oxdrawn ploweon *
    Slowandsteady winstheraceium *
    Structurally soundiun *
    External talentftwium *
    Cyriximean amdinsteadiun *
    Clappedoutbut reliableoldnageon *

    Honestly, their marketing people are as talented as their engineers.

    * Inserted spaced b/c "lameness filter" didn't like the long words.

  • more pci-e lanes then inlet's 16+4(DMI) out there cpus other then older gen server / workstations cpus that start at $350-$400.

  • What were they thinking? Just hop off of a the Zen roller-coaster that people on wall street have been hearing about--and switch to a name that has to be clarified on every corporate release.

    Trying everything they can to shake success from the back of their release.

    Change the name back. It's not too late.

    • Oh, well there was the Agilent to Keysight Technologies name change. Hmm, forgot about that.

    • Ryzen does not rename Zen. It is the name of the top end desktop processor line so in some sort replacement of the FX series. Zen as the name of a processor core and processor architecture still stays.
  • I don't suppose anybody remembers Peter Tuddenham, as the computer of the Liberator

  • Popcorn !
    Can't wait to see the new episode !

  • by LostMyBeaver ( 1226054 ) on Wednesday December 14, 2016 @03:36AM (#53481777)
    Honestly, there's no real benefit of Intel vs. AMD in the core performance games. They're both fast enough and if you need real performance, that's where Xeons come in with 22 cores per chip and 4 chips per motherboard... if you can afford it.

    There is a lot more to CPUs than just CPUs.

    AMD hasn't had a decent chipset on the market for years. Even though all modern CPUs tend to put the majority of the functions within the CPU itself, there are still things like the actual chipset to think about. Add to that that in my experience, the reference platform designs from AMD for their power circuitry are generally horrible and there's a real problem.

    What good is an awesome CPU if the motherboards are generally just crap. Motherboard manufacturers tend to make one or two AMD motherboards per generation as a token gesture. They don't expect to sell the volumes, so they slap together whatever crap they can get running and put some pretty colors into the slots and heatsinks and call it "Blaster" or something else that's horrible and peddle it off without a BIOS update ever to be seen.

    Development tools:
    AMD's developer website is all graphics and no CPU. To write proper software for modern hardware, it's necessary to optimize code properly. While CPUs are fast enough, good information on CPU tuning can make a huge difference. Intel for example has released extensive information on their architecture that describes the CPU front end instruction set translator well enough that it's possible to write compilers and JITs that will allow inter-core/process communication without the need for spinlocks or mutexes. Intel also documents all the information necessary to fine tune memory access by placing code on the right cores in order and taking advantage of the CPU ring bus to optimize performance and minimize cache coherency issues. AMD does not.

    Where is the AMD optimizations to CLANG or Mono, etc? Where's the optimization settings within Visual Studio or GCC for AMD? These are things that they should be working on to ensure the best performance on their platform.

    AMD probably made a great CPU... if we can get into a "FlaskMPEG" style performance war like we once had, it would be amazing.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I expect that the rest of your comment is just as bad as this line:

      > Where is the AMD optimizations to CLANG or Mono, etc? Where's the optimization settings within Visual Studio or GCC for AMD?

      Read the gcc manual and scan down to the section that begins "These -m options are defined for the x86 family of computers.". There are optimization settings for what appear to be every AMD processor from the k6 all the way through to Excavator.

      And also:

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      The choice is often down to specific features. For a while Intel were the only ones offering AES acceleration, while AMD had far and away better integrated GPUs.

      For me the most interesting thing they are doing at the moment is encrypted RAM. Each VM running on a system can have its RAM encrypted with a dedicated key that even the hypervisor can't access. Great for protecting against cold boot attacks and securing VMs on untrusted/shared systems.

    • You may have a point in there, but AMD has to start somewhere, yes?

      Intel can afford to spend all that money *because* they sell high-quality CPUs and rake in the cash.
      We have already seen AMD ape after Intel (with Mantle par example) in a limited fashion, and we can expect that behaviour to intensify *iff they can get an architecture to start paying off in the relevant market segment*. Hence, the first step in fixing all of your concerns would be to create and sell an architecture that can compete with Inte

    • by G00F ( 241765 )

      It's all the chipsets fault. There are lots of motherboards for AMD, what is lacking are good chipsets.

      While AMD updated their APU chipsets,they did little for the chipsets that was built for their then flagship CPU's since 2008. Not updating them for bulldozer or later for piledriver, and not since.
      No PCIe 3 or USB 3, shrinking of die, improvements to hype-rtransport.

      So their should be some serious talk about the chipsets to support the Zens, hearing nothing means nothing new, minor update to existing...

  • Yes. Yes I am.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten