AMD Announces 2nd Gen Ryzen And Threadripper Processors, 7nm Vega Mobile GPUs At CES 2018
AMD is getting out in front of the impending influx of CES-related announcements and unveiling a number of upcoming chip products for the new year. After ramping 10 new product lines in 2017 -- if you consider its entire breadth of CPUs, GPUs, and semi-custom APUs -- AMD is readying more new and/or updated products for 2018, including next-generation Ryzen and Threadripper desktop processors covering every market segment from mobile to HEDT, and an array of Vega-based graphics products that target new markets and form factors.
Ryzen Mobile Goes Pro
The Ryzen 3 2300U and 2200U continue fleshing-out the Ryzen mobile line-up with lower-cost options. The quad-core / quad-thread Ryzen 3 2300U has base and boost clocks of 2.0GHz and 3.4GHz, respectively, while the dual-core / quad-thread Ryzen 3 2200U clocks-in at 2.5GHz and 3.4GHz, base and boost. The lower power requirements of the dual-core Ryzen 3 2200U allows AMD to up that base clock and still remain within the power and thermal constraints of mobile platforms. AMD seems bullish on Ryzen Mobile’s prospects in 2018 and is claiming OEM support for current and upcoming Ryzen Mobile parts will be the best in the company’s history. These latest Ryzen 3 mobile APUs are launching tomorrow, on January 9, 2018.
Ryzen Pro Mobile APUs, which are coming a little later in Q2, offer the same performance characteristics and features of the consumer variants, but with the added security, platform consistency, and manageability features required for large-scale enterprise and commercial customers. Ryzen Pro Mobile processors will be found in enterprise, ultraportable, and mobile workstations, in Ryzen 3, 5, and 7 flavors, and with this platform, AMD is again claiming the widest range of commercial systems and industry support that it has seen in the company’s history.
The top end quad-core / eight-thread Ryzen 7 2700U PRO can boost up to 3.8GHz and features an integrated 10 CU (640 stream processors) Vega-based graphics core – the specs of the PRO line-up essentially mirror the consumer line-up, with the addition of Guard MI and other security and manageability features associated with the PRO branding.
2nd Generation Ryzen Processors Are Coming Soon
While APUs are not new to AMD, the level of performance offered in this 65W envelope breaks new ground. To get the kind of combined CPU and GPU performance from an Intel platform, discrete graphics have to be used, which adds cost and power. AMD showed off a small form factor, mini-ITX system playing Battlefield 1 on a Ryzen 3 APU that was about the same size (and design) as one of these ASrock HTPCs we showed you a few years ago. With the introduction of these APUs, AMD is also taking the opportunity to shake up its desktop processors line-up. The Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G slot into their respective price points, and there are price cuts coming to essentially the entire line-up. The Ryzen 7 1800X’s price has been slashed to $349, for example, but everything from Threadripper to entry-level Ryzen 3s are getting even cheaper soon. Though we saw discounts through the holiday season, the new, lower-prices should permeate on-line retailers in the coming week.
Enthusiasts will also be happy to hear 2nd-generation Ryzen desktop processors are on the way as well. 2nd-generation Ryzen desktop processors will be manufactured using a 12nm+ lithography process and will leverage the Zen+ architecture, which is fundamentally unchanged from current Zen-based processors, save for a few tweaks and fixes that improve cache and memory speeds and latency. These 2nd-Generation Ryzen processors are NOT based on Zen 2, but rather are a refinement to the existing architecture, and manufactured using a more advanced process. AMD also mentioned that these new processors will be used in a new line-up of 2nd-Generation Threadripper processors, but other than to say they were coming in the second half of this year, additional details weren’t disclosed.
2nd-Generation Ryzen processors, which will comprise the Ryzen 3/5/7 2000 series, are due to arrive in April, and feature higher clocks and a more refined Precision Boost 2 algorithm that improves performance, responsiveness, and power characteristics. Second-generation Ryzen desktop processors will drop into the existing AM4 infrastructure and are compatible with the same socket, chipset, and motherboards as the first generation (with a BIOS/ UEFI update). By the time these new processors are released, the AM4 platform will support four separate product lines – Ryzen, Ryzen Pro, Ryzen APUs, and 2nd-generation Ryzen processors.
With that said, AMD will still be launching a new chipset alongside 2nd-generation Ryzen desktops processors, the X470. We didn’t get many details regarding the X470, but AMD mentioned that the chipset is optimized for second-generation Ryzen processors and that it will offer lower power characteristics and somewhat better performance, and have some feature additions as well. A new Wraith Prism cooler is on the way too, with switchable fan profiles, additional lighting, and direct contact heat-pipes. And AMD will also be offering a utility called Enmotus FuzeDrive for AM4 platform users, which is essentially a tiered caching utility to enhance storage performance and simplify storage volume management.
AMD Graphics Updates For 2018
AMD talked about two new Vega-based GPUs, a Vega Mobile part with a svelte 1.7mm Z-Height and second Vega-based chip, which will be manufactured at 7nm that specifically targets machine learning applications. The low-profile Vega Mobile GPU will find its ways into ultra-thin notebooks and mobile workstations, but speeds and feeds weren’t given so we don’t have many other details to share at this point. While we talking graphics, we should also mention that AMD announced that it will be supporting variable refresh rate over HDMI 2.1 in the future as well.
Looking To The Future
AMD also mentioned that the Zen 2 design is complete and they are on-track with its development. Few hard details were given regarding Zen 2, but AMD did say that Zen 2 will feature improved branch prediction and address generation, enhanced floating point, and improved performance per watt, not only through process enhancements, but architectural updates as well. Looking out even further ahead, Zen 3 is still on track for 2020, and it too will obviously feature further architectural enhancements, but nothing specific was detailed.