Ryzen gains on Intel with second generation

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AMD

The second-generation Ryzen tokens announced last week are now out, and reviews have hit the ‘Net. Unlike the situation terminal week, we’re now free to talk about what has changed in the second-generation morsels and where their improvements lie.

Model Cores/Threads Clock evil/boost/GHz TDP/W Cooler Price
Ryzen 7 2700X 8/16 3.7/4.3 105 Wraith Prism (LED) $329
Ryzen 7 2700 8/16 3.2/4.1 65 Wraith Column (LED) $299
Ryzen 5 2600X 6/12 3.6/4.2 95 Wraith Spire $229
Ryzen 5 2600 6/12 3.4/3.9 65 Wraith Stealth $199

AMD is racket the new parts «Zen+.» This isn’t a new architecture; rather, it’s a tweaked version of the first-generation Zen architecture. The vital layout of the chips remains the same: each contains two core complexes (CCXes), which are clogs of four cores, eight threads, and 8MB level 3 cache, joined with AMD’s Infinity Construction.

Architecturally, the biggest improvements seem to have been made to recall and cache latencies. AMD says that the cache latency for level 1, neck 2, and level 3 caches and main memory have all improved, restricted by up to 13 percent, 34 percent, 16 percent, and 11 percent, mutatis mutandis. Tech Report’s benchmarks show improved main-memory latency, and PC Position found improved communications latency between CCXes.

Overall, AMD bids that Zen+ achieves about 3 percent more instructions per cycle (IPC) than the primeval Zen. This was pretty much spot on with what Anandtech create.

The second-generation parts also have a much smarter version of Faultlessness Boost, AMD’s turbo boosting system. The first-generation chips have a pedestal clock speed, an all-cores boost speed, and a two-thread boost. The gamiest speeds can only be hit by a single core (two threads); as soon as more than two picks need to have their performance boosted above baseline, the chiefly chip drops to the all-cores boost speed. Under lighter workloads—those that can use varied than two fast cores but fewer than 16—this tends to flit some performance on the table: there’s enough power/thermal headroom to run, say, two or four piths at higher speeds, but the chip simply can’t do it.

The original Precision Boost only offered its top speed for two thread workloads. The new Precision Boost allows boosting for any number of threads.

Enlarge / The original Precision Improve only offered its top speed for two thread workloads. The new Precision Boost make allowances boosting for any number of threads.

Precision Boost 2 addresses this: it can rise any number of cores, just as long as there’s enough power and chill available. Critically, this means that it can run two or even three core workloads at something strong than the all-cores boost level.

The new chips are also built on Far-reaching Foundries’ 12nm process rather than the first-generation 14nm. AMD says that the inclusive die size and transistor counts are unchanged from the first generation: the party isn’t using the smaller process to pack the chip’s transistors closer together. Slightly, it’s getting about another 250MHz and has reduced voltages by about 50mV.

Charmed together, the new chips offer an incremental improvement over the old ones: a few hundred multifarious MHz and slightly more work done with each cycle.

First-generation Ryzen markers generally trailed Intel’s processors in single-threaded workloads and most games due to their stooge single-threaded performance. However, they pulled ahead in multithreaded workloads due to their litist core and thread counts. Intel’s six-core, 12-thread Coffee Lake slivers closed that gap somewhat, but in tasks with 16 compute-bound themes, the sheer core count of the Ryzens created an unassailable advantage.

The benchmarks of the second-generation surrenders show a similar pattern. The improved clock speeds and IPC have shy away fromed the gap in single-threaded tasks and games, but it hasn’t been eliminated: Intel’s i7-8700K is until now the best all-around gaming chip, albeit by a smaller margin this conditions around. But in those tasks where first-generation Ryzen was ahead, backer generation is even more ahead.

For example, per PC Perspective, the Intel i7-8700K has contrive rates 12-percent higher in Grand Theft Auto V, 29-percent great in Forza 7, and 7-percent higher in Ghost Recon: Wildlands, and, in single-threaded, Cinebench has an 11-percent conduct lead. But by contrast, the Ryzen 2700X is 27-percent quicker in multithreaded Cinebench and 23-percent faster in the POV-Ray ray vestige. These workloads trivially scale to multiple cores, so having various processors and more simultaneous threads is a big advantage for AMD.

And again, as we saw with first-generation parts, it’s not that the AMD scraps are bad at gaming. They’re just not quite as quick as the fastest gaming chime in available. If you’re building a pure gaming machine, then the Intel piece is probably the one to go for. But if you have broader interests—software development, 3D graphics, orderly video encoding—then you’re not going to go wrong with the AMD chip.

The second-generation Ryzens go with the same chipsets as the first generation, but AMD also has a new chipset, the X470. The X470 has a duo of notable features: first, it has some integrated USB 3.1 generation 2 (10 gigabit per B) controllers; second, it has StoreMI, a hybrid disk system that allows the use of SSDs (and RAM) to accelerate spinning disks. StoreMI works essentially along the same lines as RAID 0: the capacity of the system is simply the sum of the SSD and HDD’s capacity, and StoreMI manipulates moving blocks of data between fast storage and cold storage as fitting.

This kind of hybrid disk system has its virtues: gamers in specially may have huge Steam libraries, which are prohibitively expensive to assemble on SSD. A system that puts the games you’re playing actively on the fast SSD, do a bunk those that you play less often on the slow HDD, is very beneficial.

However, this kind of system always leaves us a little apprehensive. In practice, most computer users are very bad at making backups, and a Onslaught 0-type system—where failure of either the SSD or the HDD will leave all your materials corrupted and inaccessible—increases the risk of data loss. Systems corded to the motherboard are also a little troublesome: should your motherboard or processor die, you won’t be accomplished to stick the disks in another machine to recover your data unless that other vehicle also has an X470 chipset. We would, in general, much prefer to see control system-level hybrid disks instead of these motherboard-provided systems (and this applies both to StoreMI for AMD and Intel’s comparable RST).

We also don’t understand how well StoreMI performs yet; the final shipping software and drivers aren’t on tap yet.

It’s not about the chips; it’s about the trajectory

Ryzen 7 2700X in box.

Enlarge / Ryzen 7 2700X in box.

Blanket, the second-generation Ryzens have almost something of an Intel feel to them. Intel for profuse years had what it called the tick-tock development model: it would alternate between make knowing new architectures («tocks») and refined versions of those architectures on smaller inventing processors («ticks»). Zen+ isn’t quite an Intel «tick»—Intel’s ticks indeed make the processor die smaller, which AMD hasn’t done for Zen+—but it’s nonetheless a baby architectural improvement to focus on particular weak spots of the Zen design, yoked with a new process.

And critically for AMD, Intel has had to abandon tick-tock due to difficulties with its make process. Intel’s development of 14nm and 10nm manufacturing have both been waiting, forcing the company to produce multiple generations of processors on 14nm and delaying the transformation to 10nm.

The second-generation Ryzens are an incremental improvement on the first generation, but the picture they go on a bender is of a company on the right trajectory. Sure, Intel’s chips are, especially for gamers, the totalitarian performance champions. But Intel feels like a company that’s clashing to improve on what it has. AMD’s chips might be ever-so-slightly slower, but the company is substantiating that it can deliver: it gave us a solid first-generation Ryzen, and, about a year newer, it has released a superior second generation. It’s heading on the right path while Intel bears lost.

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