Today at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, President and CEO of AMD, Dr. Lisa Su made some announcements that we in the enthusiast market have been waiting impatiently for. Aside from mobile Ryzen with Vega graphics and EPYC server solutions which have already been covered, AMD revealed pricing and relative performance numbers for their new, first in the industry, 7nm gaming GPU the Radeon VII.
We also heard from some leaders in the gaming industry such as Microsoft Executive Vice President of Gaming Phil Spencer, Massive Entertainment Managing Director David Polfeldt, and Fnatic Co-Founder and Chairman Sam Mathews. Reinforcing AMD’s commitment to working with developers to leverage all the features of their hardware.
Radeon VII 7nm Vega Architecture
With a die shrink to 7nm of the Radeon Vega architecture, AMD has managed to squeeze 25% more performance with the Radeon VII using the same power. The Radeon VII GPU features 60 compute units for a total of 3840 stream processors running at up to 1.8 GHz and 16GB of ultra-fast HBM2 memory (second-generation High-Bandwidth Memory), offering 1 TB/s memory bandwidth and a 4,096-bit memory interface.
Compared to the original Vega 64, AMD is boasting some impressive performance increases in gaming and compute/creation applications. Providing up to 27% higher performance in the popular open source 3D creation application Blender, up to 27% higher performance in the professional video editing, color correction and visual effects application DaVinci Resolve 15, and up to 62% higher performance in the OpenCL LuxMark compute benchmark. On the gaming side, we have up to 35% higher performance in Battlefield V, up to 42% higher performance in Strange Brigade, and up to 25% higher performance in Fortnite.
The AMD Radeon VII graphics card is expected to be available beginning February 7, 2019, for $699 and will come bundled with Devil May Cry 5, The Division 2 and Resident Evil 2 for a limited time.
ZEN 2 Architecture
Details were scant on the 7 nm Zen 2/Ryzen 3 series desktop CPUs. What we do know is Zen 2 is the first mainstream CPU built on the 7 nm process and another first to market with PCIe Gen 4.0 with supporting (x570) motherboards. Dr. Su also revealed the PCB layout of their new desktop CPU with a de-lidded Ryzen 3 sample. Apologies for the blurry picture but it serves its purpose in showing the two separate dies on the PCB. The larger die to the left is produced using Global Foundries 14nm process and handles all of the I/O and data for the 7nm TSMC process chiplet to the right. The placement has me wondering though, why put it up in one corner? Making room for a second one, maybe? Guess it never hurts to leave your options open.
AMD also put on a live demonstration pitting the Intel I9 9900k against an eight-core 16 thread Ryzen 3 using nearly identical systems except for the CPU which was an Engineering sample Ryzen 3 CPU and the AMD reference motherboard. The benchmark of choice was Cinebench R15 which is a fairly demanding benchmark and both CPUs were running in a stock configuration with 2 x 8 GB of 2666 RAM. We know that the I9 9900k has an all core boost of 4.7 GHz the core speed for the Ryzen 3 wasn’t revealed at the demo but Dr. Lisa Su stressed more than once this is an early preview on an early engineering sample so final boost speeds and performance will likely change by the time Ryzen 3 is released, presumably for the better.
The 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Desktop engineering sample processor achieved a score of 2057, better than the Intel Core i9-9900K score of 2040. During testing, power draw at the wall power was measured at 134W for the AMD system and 191W for the Intel system; for a difference of 30% lower power consumption. This looks like a big win for AMD and we’re still about six months away from the Ryzen release which is supposed to be mid-2019.
It appears that Ryzen has given AMD some momentum and now the move to 7 nm is just increasing it. New high-performance GPUs and on-par performance with Intel’s flagship CPU, looks like 2019 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for enthusiasts.
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-Shawn Jennings (Johan45)