Clinton Raethel / Mon 13th Mar 2017
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AMD has finally released their long-awaited Ryzen series of CPUs. This latest chip is set to cause Intel some concern as they've been coasting along, releasing uninspired updates to their CPU range for a number of years now.
Sporting 8 cores and supporting all the latest technologies including M.2 and USB3.1, AMD has designed Ryzen to handle the high loads expected from today's modern PCs whilst keeping cool. By all accounts, they have finally delivered a worthy competitor to the CPU market that Intel has dominated for so long.
Ryzen is based on the all new x86 Core 'Zen' architecture, AMD states it is capable of delivering a ">52% improvement in instructions-per-clock cycle over the previous generation AMD core, without increasing power". Releasing as the Ryzen 7 in three specs, all processors will have:
8 Cores/16 Threads
16MB L3 Cache
High-efficiency FinFET Transistors (14nm)
Here are the highlights for the currently released chips:
AMD Ryzen 7 1800x - 3.6GHz base, 4.0GHz boost; XFR; 95W TDP; $699AUD
AMD Ryzen 7 1700x - 3.4GHz base, 3.8GHz boost; XFR; 95W TDP; $569AUD
AMD Ryzen 7 1700 - 3.0GHz base, 3.7GHz boost; 65W TDP; $469AUD
*NB All prices current at the time of writing this article
You may note that the higher end processors have 'XFR', also denoted by the 'X' extension in their name. This is AMDs proprietary extended frequency range feature that supports a second level of CPU clock boosting, automatically changing clock speeds to reward good CPU cooling.
AMD is also planning on releasing more affordable chips with the Ryzen 5 slated for the second quarter of 2017, followed by the Ryzen 3 in the latter half of the year. As the Ryzen runs on a new AM4 chipset, if you are thinking of upgrading keep in mind you will need a new motherboard as well.
During CES 2017, AMD officially revealed details of its latest upcoming GPU architecture. The Radeon RX Vega GPUs should be releasing in the second quarter of 2017, and are squaring up against the GTX 1080 Ti that is also expected to launch shortly.
Details are scarce at the moment, however, AMD has confirmed it will have High Bandwidth Cache and a High Bandwidth Controller meaning the GPU no longer relies on the card's frame buffer or VRAM. This means that Vega is capable of scaling up to a staggering 512TB of memory that can be made available to the GPU by the computer. We are also expecting to see the second generation of high bandwidth memory (HBM2) shipping on these cards which offers an insane 512GB/s memory bandwidth.
At a recent New Horizon event, AMD was demo-ing both pieces of tech - a Ryzen powered gaming rig paired with an 8GB HBM2 Vega card showing off the new Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One DLC. The system was running the game at 4K and consistently over 60fps. They have demoed Doom running at 4K using the game's 'Ultra' settings with a frame rate of ~70fps.
What a time to be a PC gamer!