Hot Chips: Microsoft Xbox One X Scorpio Engine Live Blog (9:30am PT, 4:30pm UTC)

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This week it’s the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino. We’re sat nice and early, with the first talk today from Microsoft. John Sell, a Microsoft hardware veteran, is set to talk about the Scorpio Engine, found in the Xbox One X. It’s practically the only talk this week where the slides were not given out early, so I wonder what will be discussed, especially given the large amount of interest in what the Scorpio Engine is. So never mind the eclipse, let’s talk consoles.

Intel Launches 8th Generation CPUs, Starting with Kaby Lake Refresh for 15W Mobile

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This year has been enjoyably eventful for processor releases. Intel launched their 7th Generation processors, Kaby Lake, in January. Then we had AMD release their new high-performance microarchitecture in Ryzen, EPYC and Threadripper. Intel then launched their Skylake-SP Xeon Scalable Platform, based on an upgraded 6th Generation core design, and we’re expecting new AMD APUs for mobile later this year.

And adding to that list this morning is once again is Intel. Today the company is launching its new 8th Generation family of processors, starting with four CPUs for the 15W mobile family. The launch of these processors was perhaps spoiled by Intel jumping the gun a few days ago and listing the processors on its own public price list, but also we have started to see laptop and mobile designs being listed at various retailers before the official announcement.

There are two elements that make the launch of these 8th Gen processors different. First is that the 8th Gen is at a high enough level, running basically the same microarchitecture as the 7th Gen – more on this below. But the key element is that, at the same price and power where a user would get a dual core i5-U or i7-U in their laptop, Intel will now be bumping those product lines up to quad-cores with hyperthreading. This gives a 100% gain in cores and 100% gain in threads.

Obviously nothing is for free, so despite Intel stating that they’ve made minor tweaks to the microarchitecture and manufacturing to get better performing silicon, the base frequencies are down slightly. Turbo modes are still high, ensuring a similar user experience in most computing tasks. Memory support is similar – DDR4 and LPDDR3 are supported, but not LPDDR4 – although DDR4 moves up to DDR4-2400 from DDR4-2133.

Specifications of Intel Core i5/i7 U-series CPUs
7th Generation 8th Generation
  Cores Freq +
Turbo
L3 Price   Cores Freq +
Turbo
L3 Price
i7-7660U 2/4 2.5/4.0 GHz 4 MB $415 i7-8650U 4/8 1.9/4.2 GHz 8 MB $409
i7-7560U 2.4/3.8 GHz $415 i7-8550U 1.8/4.0 GHz $409
i5-7360U 2/4 2.3/3.6 GHz 3 MB $304 i5-8350U 4/8 1.7/3.6 GHz 6 MB $297
i5-7260U 2.2/3.4 GHz $304 i5-8250U 1.6/3.4 GHz $297

Another change from 7th Gen to 8th Gen will be in the graphics. Intel is upgrading the nomenclature of the integrated graphics from HD 620 to UHD 620, indicating that the silicon is suited for 4K playback and processing. During our pre-briefing it was categorically stated several times that there was no change between the two, however we have since confirmed that the new chips will come with HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 support as standard, removing the need for an external LSPCON for this feature. Other than this display controller change however, it appears that these new UHD iGPUs are architecturally the same as their HD predecessors.

Fundamentally these are what Intel calls a ‘4+2’ silicon design, featuring four cores and GT2 integrated graphics, whereas the last generation used 2+2 designs. The 4+2 design was also used in the mainstream desktop processors, suggesting that Intel is using those dies now for their 15W products rather than their 45W+ products. That being said, Intel is likely to have created new masks and revisions for this silicon to account for the lower power window as well as implementing HDCP 2.2 support and other minor fixes.

Now by having quad-core parts in the 15W form factor, performance on the new chips is expected to excel beyond what has been available from the previous generation of Core i5-U and Core i7-U processors. However Intel and its OEMs have a tight balancing act to walk here, as 15W is not a lot of thermal headroom for a two core CPU, let alone a four core one. At the same time we have started to see the 15W U-series parts find their way into smaller and even fanless notebook designs, which are more prone to throttling under sustained workloads, and quad core CPUs in this segment could exacerbate the issue. However, for the larger 13-15-inch designs with active cooling, moving down from a 35W

Retesting AMD Ryzen ThreadripperÂ’s Game Mode: Halving Cores for More Performance

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For the launch of AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper processors, one of the features being advertised was Game Mode. This was a special profile under the updated Ryzen Master software that was designed to give the Threadripper CPU more performance in gaming, at the expense of peak performance in hard CPU tasks. AMD’s goal, as described to us, was to enable the user to have a choice: a CPU that can be fit for both CPU tasks and for gaming at the flick of a switch (and a reboot) by disabling half of the chip. Initially we interpreted this via one of AMD’s slides as half of the threads (simultaneous multi-threading off), as per the exact wording. However, in other places AMD had stated that it actually disables half the cores: AMD returned to us and said it was actually disabling one of the two active dies in the Threadripper processor. We swallowed our pride and set about retesting the effect of Game Mode.

The Corsair Neutron NX500 (400GB) PCIe SSD Review: Big Card, Big Pricetag

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Today we’re taking a look at Corsair’s Neutron NX500 SSD . This is the company’s second PCIe SSD, again based on the Phison E7 controller, but this time distinguishing itself with a custom heatsink, larger overprovisioning than almost any consumer SSD, and twice the DRAM cache of a typical consumer SSD. The price tag matches the premium specifications, but the real-world performance does not justify the premium.

Samsung Portable SSD T5 Review: 64-Layer V-NAND Debuts in Retail

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?Samsung has been an active participant in the high-performance external SSD market with their Portable SSD series. The T1 was introduced in early 2015, while the T3 came out in early 2016. The T3 was the first retail product to utilize Samsung’s 48-layer TLC V-NAND. Today, Samsung is launching the Portable SSD T5. It is a retail pilot vehicle for their 64-layer TLC V-NAND as they ramp up its production. The Portable SSD T5 also moves up to a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C interface, while retaining the same compact form factor and hardware encryption capabilities of the Portable SSD T3. Read on for our analysis of the product’s performance and value proposition.

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 & RX Vega 56 Review: Vega Burning Bright

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We’ve seen the architecture. We’ve seen the teasers. We’ve seen the Frontier. And we’ve seen the specifications. Now the end game for AMD’s Radeon RX Vega release is finally upon us: the actual launch of the hardware. Today is AMD’s moment to shine, as for the first time in over a year, they are back in the high-end video card market. And whether their drip feeding marketing strategy has ultimately succeeded in building up consumer hype or burnt everyone out prematurely, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is eager to see what AMD can do with their best foot forward on the GPU front.

Launching today is the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, or just Vega 64 for short. Based on a fully enabled Vega 10 GPU, the Vega 64 will come in two physical variants: air cooled and liquid cooled. The air cooled card is your traditional blower-based design, and depending on the specific SKU, is either available in AMD’s traditional RX-style shroud, or a brushed-aluminum shroud for the aptly named Limited Edition.

Samsung Galaxy S8 Showdown: Exynos 8895 vs. Snapdragon 835, Performance & Battery Life Tested

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The Samsung Galaxy S8’s headline features are its edge-to-edge Infinity Display and striking new design. Of course it still comes packed with the latest hardware and technology like previous Galaxy phones, including iris recognition, wireless charging, and a flagship SoC. Actually, there are two different SoCs for the S8 and S8+. Most regions around the world will get Samsung’s Exynos 8895, while regions that require a CDMA modem, such as the US and China, will get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835. Both SoCs are built on Samsung’s 10nm LPE process and are paired with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of UFS NAND.

While no market receives both types of phones through official channels, with the wonders of modern shipping, anyone with a bit of time and patience would have little trouble tracking down the out-of-region version of the phone. Consequently, for the nerdy among us, we simply have to ask: how do these dueling SoCs compare? Which SoC – and consequently which phone – is better?

Today we’ll delve into the performance differences between the Snapdragon 835 and Exynos 8895 to help answer those questions. We’ll also see how well they work with the Galaxy S8’s other hardware and software when we evaluate its system performance, gaming performance, and battery life.

The AMD Ryzen 3 1300X and Ryzen 3 1200 CPU Review: Zen on a Budget

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AMD has always promised that Zen is a core suitable form entry level x86 computers all the way up to high-performance server parts. Within that scale so far, AMD has launched EPYC for servers, Ryzen 7 for high-end desktop and Ryzen 5 for mainstream consumers. All that is left is Threadripper for super-high-end desktops, coming in August, Zen paired with graphics, coming in Q3/Q4, and Ryzen 3 for entry level desktops, being launched today. The two entry level parts are quad core Zen CPUs, targeting the $109 to $129 boundary and offering four full x86 cores for the same price Intel offers two cores with hyperthreading.

AMD Releases Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2: ReLive Edition Refined for Gamers and Developers

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It’s been roughly 7 months since AMD released the Crimson ReLive Edition update for Radeon Software, the latest entry in their annual cadence for major driver revisions and feature additions. Today’s launch sees AMD/RTG bring the sequentially and demurely named “Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition 17.7.2,” but for all intents and purposes 17.7.2 serves as a major feature revamp to the original Crimson ReLive Edition, as well as refinement of Radeon ReLive and Radeon Chill. In addition to performance optimizations and feature changes, 17.7.2 also introduces AMD’s new Enhanced Sync (comparable to NVIDIA’s Fast Sync and Adaptive V-Sync) and Radeon GPU Profiler, a low-level GCN hardware tracing developer tool.

 

The Asus Prime Z270-A & GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming Motherboard Review

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In this review we are having a look at two mainstream, Intel Z270 based gaming motherboards: the Asus Prime Z270-A and the GIGABYTE Z270X-Ultra Gaming. They look very similar on paper, with both retailing for the almost the same retail price and even using the same audio, LAN and USB chipsets, but each motherboard has its own strengths and weaknesses, which will examine in this review.

AMD Threadripper 1920X and 1950X CPU Details: 12/16 Cores, 4 GHz Turbo, $799 and $999

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Last night out of the blue, we received an email from AMD, sharing some of the specifications for the forthcoming Ryzen Threadripper CPUs to be announced today. Up until this point, we knew a few things – Threadripper would consist of two Zeppelin dies featuring AMD’s latest Zen core and microarchitecture, and would essentially double up on the HEDT Ryzen launch. Double dies means double pretty much everything: Threadripper would support up to 16 cores, up to 32 MB of L3 cache, quad-channel memory support, and would require a new socket/motherboard platform called X399, sporting a massive socket with 4094-pins (and also marking an LGA socket for AMD). By virtue of being sixteen cores, AMD is seemingly carving a new consumer category above HEDT/High-End Desktop, which we’ve coined the ‘Super High-End Desktop’, or SHED for short.

Today’s announcements, accompanied by a video from the CEO of AMD Dr. Lisa Su, shed some light on the new SHED processors: namely clock speeds and pricing, and a reaffirmed commitment to launching the new CPUs in August.

AMD Ryzen CPUs
  Threadripper
1950X
Threadripper
1920X
  Ryzen 7
1800X
Socket TR4 (LGA)
4094-pin
  AM4 (PGA)
1331-pin
Cores/Threads 16 / 32 12 / 24   8 / 16
Base Frequency 3.4 GHz 3.5 GHz   3.6 GHz
Turbo Frequency 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz   4.0 GHz
XFR ? (+100?) ? (+100?)   +100 MHz
L3 Cache 32 MB 32 MB ?   16 MB
TDP ? ?   95 W
PCIe 3.0 Lanes 60 + 4 60 + 4   16 + 4 + 4
DRAM Frequency 1DPC ? ?   DDR4-2666
2DPC ? ? DDR4-2400
Chipset Support X399 X399   X370
B350
A320
Price (List) $999 $799   $499
Price (Retail) TBD TBD   $419

As you can see from the table, there are lots of question marks. We fired off a series of questions to AMD to fill in the blanks, so we can understand this product a bit better, but we were told to wait until closer to launch day. The only answer we could get was the styling on the naming. These are ‘Threadripper’ processors (rather than ThreadRipper), and are part of the Ryzen family, and the official SKU names are ‘Ryzen Threadripper 1950X’ and ‘Ryzen Threadripper 1920X’. We are likely to shorten these to ‘TR 1950X’ and ‘TR 1920X’ for expediency.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X

From what we do know, 16 Zen cores at $999 is about the ballpark price we were expecting. With the clock speeds of 3.4 GHz base and 4 GHz Turbo, this is essentially two Ryzen 7 1800X dies at $499 each stuck together, creating the $999 price (obviously it’s more complicated than this).  Given the frequencies and the performance of these dies, the TDP is likely in the 180W range; seeing as how the Ryzen 7 1800X was a 95W CPU with slightly higher frequencies. The 1950X runs at 4.0 GHz turbo and also has access to AMD’s XFR – which will boost the processor when temperature and power allows – in jumps of +25 MHz: AMD would not comment on the maximum frequency boost of XFR, though given our experiences of the Ryzen silicon and previous Ryzen processor specifications, this is likely to be +100 MHz. We were not told if the CPUs would come with a bundled CPU cooler, although if our 180W prediction is in the right area, then substantial cooling would be needed. We expect AMD to use the same Indium-Tin solder as the Ryzen CPUs, although we were unable to get confirmation at this at this time.

Comparison: Threadripper 1950X vs Core i9-7980XE / Gold 6150
AMD
Threadripper 1950X
Features Intel
Core i9-7980XE
Intel
Xeon Gold 6150
16 / 32 Cores/Threads 18 / 36 18 / 36
3.4 / 4.0 GHz Base/Turbo ? 2.7 / 3.7 GHz
60 PCIe 3.0 Lanes 44 44
512 KB/core L2 Cache 1 MB/core 1 MB/core
32 MB L3 Cache 24.75 MB 24.75 MB
? (180W?) TDP ? (165W?) 165W
$999 Price (List) $1999 $3358

Intel has already announced that they will be launching the 18-core Intel Core i9-7980XE processor later this year for $1999, although final specifications have yet to be announced. Given the launch this week of Intel’s Skylake-SP Xeon processors, there is one CPU in that line-up that would fit the bill for an i9-7980XE candidate: the Xeon Gold 6150, running at a 2.7 GHz Base and 3.7 GHz Turbo at 165W, but this part has a list price of $3358. If the Gold 6150 becomes with Core i9-7980XE, then the new SHED category of CPUs will be an exciting one to watch.

Comparing the two, and what we know, AMD is going to battle on many fronts. Coming in at $999 is going to be aggressive, along with an all-core turbo at 3.4 GHz or above: Intel’s chip at $1999 will likely turbo below this. Both chips will have quad-channel DRAM, supporting DDR4-2666 in 1 DIMM per channel mode (and DDR4-2400 in 2 DPC), but there are some tradeoffs. Intel Core parts do not support ECC, and AMD Threadripper parts are expected to (awaiting confirmation). Intel has the better microarchitecture in terms of pure IPC, though it will be interesting to see the real-world difference if AMD is clocked higher. AMD Threadripper processors will have access to 60 lanes of PCIe for accelerators, such as GPUs, RAID cards and other functions, with another 4 reserved by the chipset: Intel will likely be limited to 44 for accelerators but have a much better chipset in the X299 fo

Sizing Up Servers: Intel’s Skylake-SP Xeon versus AMD’s EPYC 7000 – The Server CPU Battle of the Decade?

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This morning kicks off a very interesting time in the world of server-grade CPUs. Officially launching today is Intel’s latest generation of Xeon processors, based on the "Skylake-SP" architecture. Part of Intel’s new Xeon Scalable Processor family, the "Purley" 100-series processors incorporate all of Intel’s latest CPU and network fabric technology, not to mention a very large number of cores.

Meanwhile, a couple of weeks back AMD soft-launched their new EPYC 7000 series processors. Based on the company’s Zen architecture and scaled up to server-grade I/O and core counts, EPYC represents an epic achievement for AMD, once again putting them into the running for competitive, high-performance server CPUs after nearly half a decade gone. EPYC processors have begun shipping, and just in time for today’s Xeon launch, we also have EPYC hardware in the lab to test.

Today’s launch is a situation that neither company has been in for quite a while. Intel hasn’t had serious competition in years, and AMD hasn’t been able to compete. As a result, both companies are taking the other’s actions very seriously.

In fact we could go on for much longer than our quip above in describing the rising tension at the headquarters of AMD and Intel. For the first time in 6 years (!), a credible alternative is available for the newly launched Xeon. Indeed, the new Xeon "Skylake-SP" is launching today, and the yardstick for it is not the previous Xeon (E5 version 4), but rather AMD’s spanking new EPYC server CPU. Both CPUs are without a doubt very different: micro-architecture, ISA extentions, memory subsystem, node topology… you name it. The end result is that once again we have the thrilling task of finding out how the processors compare and which applications their various trade-offs make sense.

CPU Buyer’s Guide: Q2 2017

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In our series of Buyer Guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing (7/6). Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP.

CPU Buyer’s Guide: Q2 2017

So far the first half of this year has been mildly insane. Back in 2016, we had the best part of 1.5-2 platform launches and it was a quiet year on the CPU side. So far this year we have had three or four launches, with another few in the pipeline to come. With Kaby Lake, Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5 out of the way, in comes Kaby Lake-X and Skylake-X to the party, with Skylake-SP, ThreadRipper, EPYC and potentially more still on the invite list later this year. As much as I love writing about CPUs and testing the newest hardware, sometimes a doorman needs a rest (ed: 2018… maybe).

For consumers, it can be a fun time. With new platforms comes an opportunity to upgrade, either through the increase in performance or just because you want the latest and greatest. The idea is that the newest processors are more performant, or lower power, or fit into a particular niche better (and hopefully are the same or lower cost overall). For users who wanted to invest in AMD this year, Ryzen has been a good offering and ThreadRipper is around the corner. For users looking to upgrade that i7-2600K or i5-2500K, Intel is trying hard to tempt them with Kaby Lake processors and even Kaby Lake-X, with the best part of 25-35% IPC and some extra MHz as well. For anyone that wanted a 10-core CPU and thought $1721 was too much for the i7-6950X, Intel has you covered with the Core i9-7900X at $999-$1049 now as well.

CPU Reviews

Our big CPU reviews for 2017 have covered all the launches so far, and well worth a read:

In the pipe coming in the next few weeks include our Kaby Lake-X reviews (unfortunately one of our CPUs died, hence the delay), as well as retesting Ryzen with the latest updates, Skylake-X on gaming, and a few more projects underway.

One of the overriding issues so far this year worth mentioning is platform maturity. With new platforms come new challenges, and as far as we understand, extreme deadlines. Motherboard manufacturers, for both AMD and Intel, have had to rush through some of the production of their initial motherboards at launch. When we reviewed Ryzen 7 and Kaby Lake-X, both of those reviews did not have gaming results due to erroneous results on young hardware. At this point we expect both platforms to be running smoothly, but as an indication that this year is about time to market, it’s a big one to note for early adopters (and reviewers that end up wanting to throw products out a window).

Our CPU Buyer’s Guide for Q2

In our CPU Guides, we consider certain environments and budgets and give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our Benchmark Database where possible.

As a result, our recommendations are as follows:

CPU Recommendations: Q2 2017
AMD Segment Intel
Ryzen 7 1700 $297 Peak Gaming / VR $350 Core i7-7740X
Ryzen 5 1600 $210 Smart Gaming / VR $204 Core i5-7500
FX-6300 $85 Smarter Gaming $117 Core i3-7100
Athlon X4 860K $55 Cheap Gaming $78 Pentium G4560
A10-7890K
A10-7860K
$143
$99
Integrated / eSports
Ryzen 7 1800X
Ryzen 7 1700
$420
$297
CPU Workstation $679
$1049
Core i7-7820X
Core i9-7900X
(ThreadRipper)
(Epyc)
Memory Workstation $418
$399
Core i7-6800K
Core i7-7800X
ThreadRipper ? One to Watch $1999 Core i9-7980XE

The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well. Here’s a breakdown of those recommendations:

Peak Gaming / VR

In the midst of the launches this year, the talk of CPUs that are suitable for Virtual Reality has died down to some extent. Now that AMD has parts on the shelf that are unquestionably suitable, it just comes down to what price a user can enter into VR, or at what level a user can be future proof as VR gamin

TerraMaster D2-310 Storage Enclosure (2x 2.5″/3.5″ SATA to USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C) Mini-Review

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Storage bridges come in many varieties within the internal and external market segments. On the external side, they usually have one or more downstream SATA ports. The most popular uplink port is some sort of USB connection. Within the USB storage bridge market, device vendors have multiple opportunities to tune their product design for specific use-cases. The TerraMaster D2-310 is a 2-bay direct-attached storage device, supporting both 2.5" and 3.5" drives. It connects to the computer using a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. Today’s review looks at the unit’s performance with SSDs and HDDs. It also covers power consumption and RAID rebuild aspects.

The Enermax Revolution SFX 650W PSU Review: Compact & Capable

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High performance SFX PSUs are gaining ground on the market and Enermax joins the train with the Revolution SFX series. The Revolution SFX units are modular, 80Plus Gold certified and boasting impressive performance specifications that rival these of current ATX designs. The Revolution SFX units are available in just two variations, the ERV550SWT and the ERV650SWT, and we are having a close look at the more powerful 650W version in this review.

AMD Launches Ryzen PRO CPUs: Enhanced Security, Longer Warranty, Better Quality

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This morning AMD is introducing their Ryzen PRO processors for business and commercial desktop PCs. The new lineup of CPUs includes the Ryzen 3 PRO, Ryzen 5 PRO and Ryzen 7 PRO families with four, six, or eight cores running at various frequencies. A superset to the standard Ryzen chips, the PRO chips have the same feature set as other Ryzen devices, but also offer enhanced security, 24 months availability, a longer warranty and promise to feature better chip quality.

AMD Ryzen Pro: The Family Portrait

The AMD Ryzen PRO lineup of processors consists of six SKUs that belong to the Ryzen 7, Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 families targeting different market segments and offering different levels of performance. As one would expect, the Ryzen 7 PRO models are aimed at workstation applications and thus have all eight cores with simultaneous multithreading enabled, the Ryzen 5 PROmodels  are designed for advanced mainstream desktops and therefore have four or six cores with SMT, whereas the Ryzen 3 PRO models are aimed at office workloads that work well on quad-core CPUs without SMT. The specifications of the Ryzen 7 PRO and the Ryzen 5 PRO resemble those of regular Ryzen processors. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 3 PRO are the first chips from the Ryzen 3 lineup and thus give us a general idea what to expect from such products: four cores without SMT operating at 3.1 – 3.5 GHz base frequency along with 2+8 MB of cache.

AMD Ryzen PRO Specifications
  Cores/Threads Frequency Cache TDP
Base Boost L2 L3
Ryzen 7 PRO 1700X 8/16 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz 4 MB 16 MB 95 W
Ryzen 7 PRO 1700 3 GHz 3.7 GHz 65 W
Ryzen 5 PRO 1600 6/12 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3 MB
Ryzen 5 PRO 1500 4/8 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz 2 MB
Ryzen 3 PRO 1300 4/4 3.5 GHz 3.7 GHz 8 MB
Ryzen 3 PRO 1200 4/4 3.1 GHz 3.4 GHz

Just like other Ryzen CPUs, all the Ryzen PRO chips fully support ECC technology, but with certain limitations when it comes to data transfer rates and memory modules — these are peculiarities of the controller and the PRO moniker cannot change them. One of the things to note is that AMD used only DDR4-2400 memory for their internal testing of the Ryzen PRO CPUs, thus, expect PC makers to use the same speed DRAM for their desktops as well.

In fact, when it comes to their general feature set, all of the AMD Ryzen PRO CPUs support the same capabilities as their non-PRO brethren do, including AMD’s SenseMi, Precision Boost, Extended Frequency Range, Neural Net Prediction and so on. There is even the AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 1700X CPU in the lineup, completely with its extended performance and 95 W TDP (the first for any AMD PRO platform). Meanwhile, there are four things that the Ryzen PRO bring to the table that give it its PRO designation: enhanced security features, enterprise-class manageability, processor and platform longevity, and enhanced quality (which we are going to touch upon later).

With the launch of the Ryzen PRO, AMD is offering pure CPUs for business desktops for the first time ever. Previously the company only offered its A PRO-series of APUs with integrated graphics and TDPs ranging from 35 to 65 W. By contrast, the new CPUs are offered with 65 – 95 thermal envelops, which means that we are not going to see ultra-small form-factor workstations running AMD Ryzen PRO, but may finally see full-sized desktops.

It makes sense to note that all Ryzen PRO CPUs, including the highest performing and the most affordable SKUs, will support all of the advertised enterprise/business-grade capabilities. AMD is especially proud about that because their rival Intel does not support enterprise features (such as vPro) on lower-end Core i3 models. At this point AMD is not disclosing the prices of its Ryzen PRO CPUs, and the only metrics that AMD uses in comparing the PRO chips against competing SKUs is performance, not MSRPs or TDPs.

AMD Ryzen PRO Competitive Positioning Based on Performance Tier
AMD Intel
Model Key Features Price Model Key Features Price
Ryzen 7 PRO 1700X 8C/16T, 3.5/3.7 GHz, 16 MB L3 cache, 95 W

Western Digital My Passport SSD Mini-Review

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Flash-based external direct-attached storage (DAS) devices have evolved rapidly over the last few years. Starting with simple thumb drives that could barely saturate USB 2.0 bandwidth, we now see high-performance external SSDs. The full performance from these new crop of external storage devices can only be realized using the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface. Western Digital’s My Passport SSD is an external SSD with a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C interface. It caters to the mainstream market and comes in three capacities – 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.In this review, we take a look at the 1TB version.

The Intel SSD 545s (512GB) Review: 64-Layer 3D TLC NAND Hits Retail

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64-layer 3D NAND has arrived with Intel as the first to market. The new Intel SSD 545s is a mainstream consumer SATA SSD that greatly improves on last year’s disappointing Intel SSD 540s. Intel hasn’t quite beaten Samsung’s entrenched 850 EVO, but the SSD market is definitely getting more competitive with this new generation of 3D NAND flash memory.
 

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