AMD’s Ryzen & Vega

AMD’s Ryzen & Vega


Behold, AMD’s new flagship processor in it’s true form: Ryzen!

AMD held their New Horizon conference this afternoon featuring everyone’s second favourite Geoff (behind our own Jeff of course) Mr. Keighley himself, and I have to say I’m excited.

A lot of information was given about the new Zen chips awhile back, but this time we got to see some more action. But first, the most important geeky bit  – the specs:

The flagship processor is an 8-core, 16 thread monster that is capable of hitting 3.4GHz. AMD threw a “+” on that as they still have a lot of optimization work to do, but that’s what they got their demo running to. It also features a 20MB L2+L3 cache and what they are calling “AMD SenseMI” technology.

Sense MI includes the following:
-NeuralNet Prediction -> preloads instructions
-Smart Prefetch -> anticipates data needed based on prediction
-PurePower boost (millisecond reaction control over power needed/used)
-Extended Frequency Range (senses level of cooling and increases clock speeds automatically)

They also mentioned a 95W TDP, which is significantly lower than their competitor chip of choice – the Intel Core i7-6900K – at 140W.

But now on to the tests!

First up, our friends at AMD showed us the Ryzen chip vs the 6900K in a rendering test. While the two processors were basically dead even, I imagine rendering the image of choice (a Ryzen image) was traumatic for the 6900K to say the very least.

Next we got a test using the open source transcoder application HandBrake. In this test, Ryzen actually defeated the 6900K by about 5 seconds, or 10%.

And finally, the moment all of us have been waiting for – the gaming tests. We got to see a head to head comparison of Ryzen vs the 6900K, both running a shiny new NVIDIA Titan X with Battlefield 1 at Ultra level on 4K monitors. Both maintained around 70FPS, with Ryzen even pulling ever so slightly ahead at times (or so said the presenter – I sure didn’t notice). We also got to see a DOTA 2 game and stream test, which both Ryzen and the 6900K were able to perform flawlessly to my eyes. Unfortunately, they also tested it against my own personal processor the 6700K (@4.5GHz) which was not able to keep up with the load and stuttered significantly. Shameful display!

We also got a brief peek at the new AM4 motherboard platform via a VR presentation of someone building a Ryzen system. There was also a mention of a size ranging between small form factor all the way up to extreme, which is good to hear.

Now I’m sure AMD hand picked these tests, but it’s still some very promising stuff. They are comparing it favourably against a $1500 CAD ($1100 USD) processor. Now, as far as I heard they didn’t mention an official price, but rumour had the 8-core Ryzen at around $500 USD.

It definitely gives this Intel user hope for an increased level of competition in the near future. Release is still on track for Q1 2017.

But wait, there’s more! AMD had just finished challening my Team Blue beliefs when, surprise surprise, we get a sneak preview of them challenging my Team Green beliefs with a little thing called Vega.

Now we’ve chatted about some impressive rumours surrounding AMD’s newest GPU architecture on the podcast, but we got no confirmation on said rumours here today. What we did get was a demo system running Ryzen and Vega and playing Star Wars Battlfront: Rogue One DLC at 4K and greater than 60 FPS. That’s some pretty impressive stuff.

Obviously we’ll be waiting in eager anticipation for releases and pricing, but I can say one thing with relative confidence:

AMD is back, baby!

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