Huawei Launching Two New Clamshell Laptops: The MateBook X and the MateBook D

See the original posting on Anandtech

On the back of the launch of the MateBook last year, Huawei is launching a new generation using the latest hardware and diversifying the brand.  As an upgrade from a single model last year, Huawei is expanding the MateBook like into three products. The MateBook X is a 13-inch ultraportable clamshell with a focus on style, thin bezels, and packing enough hardware underneath to go deep into the market. The MateBook E is the second generation 2-in-1, following on from the MateBook launched in 2016, with improvements all round, such as an adjustable hinge, a spill-proof keyboard, and bundled accessories. The third element is the MateBook D, a 15.6-inch clamshell aimed squarely at the student and business markets, featuring dual storage options and a discrete NVIDIA GPU but also going with the narrow bezel design similar to the MateBook X.

Primarily seen as a smartphone company for most of us, last year we saw the launch of the MateBook: a 12-inch 2-in-1 device with Huawei’s design ID in a thin and light form factor, but crucially a mark into the PC space. At the time, it was exciting to see a new entrant, especially one with the potential clout of Huawei: if you sell 106m+ smartphones a year, then putting some resources into a mobile PC should be something really interesting to watch. The 2016 MateBook was a good start – the visual aspect of the unit fit in neatly with the market, although there were a few hiccups for a first-generation product, such as the limited stand options, the tendency for the magnetic cover to put the device to sleep when in tablet mode, and the fact that the peak configurations were over $2000. Feedback was sought, about how Huawei should improve the products and how it should tackle this market better, and here are the results. This news covers the two laptops: the MateBook X and the MateBook D.

MateBook X: The Premium Clamshell

A common feature for technology journalists in this space, especially when discussing products with Chinese companies, is how the discussion usually comes to Apple’s success in the laptop market. They are in awe of the design, the utility, and the avid fanboyism that follows their products. As a result, some of the Chinese companies aim to compete in the same space – having a small slice of a large pie is still a large amount, even if it is a carrot cake. So when a user spots the MateBook X, thoughts instantly turn to if it is a Macbook Air/Macbook clone. Not quite, but it arguably looks like a premium competitor for users who want the Macbook form factor but in a Windows/PC environment.

The start of it is the aluminium clamshell, tapering to an almost point, with both the screen and the keyboard designed to try and take as much space as possible. One of the things Huawei wanted to emulate here is the thin bezel strategy, similar to the Dell XPS range, and coming in at 88% screen-to-body ratio is rather nice. There’s still a camera at the top, negating one of the issues with the XPS where the camera is pointing at your chin. The display is a 2160×1440 IPS panel (manufacturer not specified), with a 3:2 aspect ratio, wide viewing angles, and rated up to 1000:1 and 350 nits. Huawei also adds in 100% sRGB for good measure.

Huawei Matebook X
Size 13-inch
Display 2160 x 1440 IPS
178-degree viewing angles
100% sRGB
1000:1 Contrast Ratio
350 nits
CPUs Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel Core i7-7500U
(likely in cTDP Down mode)
GPU Intel HD Graphics 620
DRAM 4 GB LPDDR3 8 GB LPDDR3
Storage 256 GB PCIe 512 GB PCIe
Dimensions 286 x 211 x 12.5 mm
1.05 kg (2.31 lbs)
Connectivity 802.11ac with 2×2 MIMO (Intel AC 8165?)
with BT4.1
Battery 41.4 Wh (5449 mAh at 7.6 V)
Additional Features Two USB 3.0 Type-C Ports
3.5mm audio jack
Dolby Atmos Sound System
MateDock 2 Included
1MP Front Camera
Colors Space Gray
Prestige Gold
Rose Gold
Pricing Core i5 + 8 GB LPDDR3 + 256GB SSD: 1399 Euro
Core i5 + 8 GB LPDDR3 + 512GB SSD: 1599 Euro
Core i7 + 8 GB LPDDR3 + 512GB SSD: 1699 Euro

The heart of the MateBook X is Intel’s latest Kaby-Lake based 7th Generation CPUs, and Huawei likes to point out that while their competitors fit in the Kaby Lake-Y based processors (running at 4.5W), here Huawei is using the U based processors: the i7-7500U and i5-7200U. Technically these CPUs come out of the factory as 15W parts, but OEMs can configure the base clock in cTDP down mode for 7.5W/9.5W, which is what we suspect Huawei is doing here (awaiting confirmation). Using a U processors means getting HD 620 graphics, rather than HD 615, which should make the unit better for light graphical work. Nonetheless, users might be able to feel a base performance uplift compared to the 4.5W parts.

Storage comes via an integrated PCIe SSD, and depending on the configuration will either be 256GB or 512GB. We were unable to prize the details on who the supplier is for these drives, but we might get some hands-on time later to go through the system specifications on a demo unit. Memory is, unfortunately, a downside on the X: Huawei has decided to use LPDDR3 rather than DDR4, which means that the top spec unit hits 8GB (4GB also offered, we assume 2x2GB for dual channel) rather than 16GB which would make this device high up on a prosumer list. The debate about LPDDR3 and DDR4 at this level of device gets interesting – if one is in better supply than the other, power consumption (arguably DDR4 is much better, even though LPDDR3 has ‘low power’ in the name), power profiling, etc. It’s a discussion that I need to have with Huawei’s design teams, really – at 16GB it becomes an easy replacement for my Zenbook.

Going around the device, Huawei has supplied two USB Type-C ports, one of which can be used as a charging port&n

GIGABYTE GB-BKi7HA-7500 Kaby Lake BRIX Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

The emergence of power-efficient high-performance processors has created a bright spot in the desktop PC market. The ultra-compact form factor (UCFF) heralded by the Intel NUCs has experienced rapid growth over the past few years. GIGABYTE, with their BRIX lineup, was one of the first vendors to introduce NUC clones. They went beyond the traditional Intel models and provided plenty of choices to the end users. GIGABYTE has also kept up with Intel’s release cadence and updated the BRIX lineup after the launch of new U-series CPUs. Today, we are taking a look at the GB-BKi7HA-7500 – a BRIX based on the Kaby Lake Core i7-7500U, with support for a 2.5" drive, and sporting an ASMedia bridge chip for USB 3.1 Gen 2 support.

AMD Announces Ryzen 5 Lineup: Hex-Core from $219, Available April 11th

See the original posting on Anandtech

As part of our initial Ryzen 7 review, AMD also teased the presence of two more elements to the Ryzen lineup, specifically Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3, both aiming at a lower cost market and allowing AMD to sell some of the silicon that didn’t quite make it to the Ryzen 7 lineup. Today is the official announcement for Ryzen 5, featuring four processors in hex-core and quad-core formats, all with Simultaneous Multi-Threading (SMT) and all using the same AM4 platform as Ryzen 5.

Ryzen 5

Whereas Ryzen 7 was AMD’s main attack on high-performance x86 and a shot across the bow against Intel’s high-end desktop platform, Ryzen 5 is targeted more at mainstream users. The goal here is that where Intel has four cores with no hyperthreading, AMD can provide six cores with SMT, effectively offering three times as many threads for the same price and potentially smashing any multithreaded workload.

Without further ado, here is where the Ryzen families stand:

AMD Ryzen 7 SKUs
  Cores/
Threads
Base/
Turbo
XFR L3 TDP Cost Cooler
Ryzen 7 1800X 8/16 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 95 W $499
Ryzen 7 1700X 8/16 3.4/3.8 +100 16 MB 95 W $399
Ryzen 7 1700 8/16 3.0/3.7 +50 16 MB 65 W $329 Spire
RGB
AMD Ryzen 5 SKUs
  Cores/
Threads
Base/
Turbo
XFR L3 TDP Cost Cooler
Ryzen 5 1600X 6/12 3.6/4.0 +100 16 MB 95 W $249
Ryzen 5 1600 6/12 3.2/3.6 +100 16 MB 65 W $219 Spire
Ryzen 5 1500X 4/8 3.5/3.7 +200 16 MB 65 W $189 Spire
Ryzen 5 1400 4/8 3.2/3.4 +50 8 MB 65 W $169 Stealth

Traditionally we are used to a part with fewer cores having a higher clock frequency, however perhaps due to the voltage scaling of the design, we see a matched Ryzen 5 1600X in frequency to the Ryzen 7 1800X, but the rest of the Ryzen 5 family are offered at a lower TDP instead.

All the Ryzen 5 parts are unlocked, similar to the Ryzen 7 parts, and all four exhibit some movement in XFR mode, with the 1500X offering +200 MHz depending on the cooler used. AMD is going to offer some of these SKUs with their redesigned Wraith coolers:

It is worth noting that the Wraith Spire for Ryzen 5 will not have RGB lighting, whereas the Wraith Spire for Ryzen 7 does use an RGB ring. OEMs will be able to use the higher-end Wraith Max stock cooler for their pre-built systems. AMD stated that at present, there are no plans to bring the Wraith coolers to retail as individual units, however they will keep track of how many users want them as individual items and regularly approach the issue internally.

To clarify some initial confusion, AMD has given me official TDP support numbers for the coolers. The entry level Wraith Stealth is 65W, the Wraith Spire is 65W for high-ambient conditions (AMD states this might be considered an ’80W’ design in low-ambient), and the Wraith Max is 95W for OEM builds using Ryzen 7 95W parts.

All the Ryzen 5 parts will support DDR4 ECC and non-ECC memory, and the memory support is the same as Ryzen 7, and will depend on how many modules and the types of modules being used. Recently companies like ADATA announced official support for AM4, as some users have found that there were memory growing pains when Ryzen 7 was launched.

Platform support for Ryzen 5, relating to PCIe lanes and chipset configurations, is identical to Ryzen 7. Each CPU offers sixteen PCIe 3.0 lanes for graphics, along with four lanes for a chipset and four lanes for storage. Chipsets can then offer up to eight PCIe 2.0 lanes which can be bifurcated up to x4 (AMD GPUs can use chipset lanes for graphics as well, however at reduced bandwidth and additional latency).

Competition

The high-end Ryzen 5 1600X, at $249, is a shoe-in to compete against Intel’s i5-7600K at $242. Intel’s CPU is based on the Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and we’ve already shown in the Ryzen 7 review that by comparison Ryzen is more circa Broadwell, which is two generations behind. AMD won’t win much when it comes to single-threaded tests here, but the multi-threaded situation is where AMD shines.

Comparison: Ryzen 5 1600X vs Core i5-7600K
AMD
Ryzen 5 1600X
Features Intel
Core i5-7600K
6 / 12 Cores/Threads 4 / 4
3.6 / 4.0 GHz Base/Turbo 3.8 / 4.2 GHz
16 PCIe 3.0 Lanes 16
16 MB L3 Cache 6 MB
95 W TDP 91 W
$249 Price (MSRP) $242

Here we have twelve threads against four, at a 95W TDP compared to a 91W TDP (the 1600 is 65W, which looks better on paper). It is expected that for situations where a compute workload can scale across cores and threads that the AMD chip will wipe the floor with the competition. For more generic office workloads, it will interesting to see where the marks fall.

On the quad-core parts, there are several competitive points to choose from. The AMD Ryzen 5 1500X, at $189, sits near Intel’s Core i5-7500 at $192. This would be a shootout of a base quad-core versus a quad-core with hyperthreading.

Comparison: Ryzen 5 1500X vs Core i5-7500
AMD
Ryzen 5 1500X
Features Intel
Core i5-7500
4 / 8 Cores/Threads 4 / 4
3

HiSilicon Kirin 960: A Closer Look at Performance and Power

See the original posting on Anandtech

HiSilicon looks to build on the Kirin 950’s success by adopting ARM’s latest A73 CPU cores and Mali-G71 GPU for the Kirin 960. Still manufactured on a 16nm FinFET process, the Kirin 960 also packs twice as many GPU cores as its previous SoC. Let’s take a closer look at how these changes affect performance and power consumption.

The Chuwi LapBook 14.1 Review: Redefining Affordable

See the original posting on Anandtech

In this industry, it is all too easy to focus only on the high end of the PC market. Manufacturers want to show off their best side, and often provide samples of high-end, high-expense devices more than their other offerings. While these devices are certainly exciting, and can set the bar for how products should perform, there is definitely a gap compared to being able to review the other end of the market. When Chinese manufacturer Chuwi reached out with an opportunity to take a look at the Chuwi LapBook 14.1, it was a great chance to see how this market has evolved over the last several years, and to see how another manufacturer tackles the inescapable compromise of this end of the market. The Chuwi LapBook 14.1 offers a lot of computer for the money. 

The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Review: Bigger Pascal for Better Performance

See the original posting on Anandtech

Unveiled last week at GDC and launching tomorrow is the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. Based on NVIDIA’s GP102 GPU – aka Bigger Pascal – the job of GTX 1080 Ti is to serve as a mid-cycle refresh of the GeForce 10 series. Like the GTX 980 Ti and GTX 780 Ti before it, that means taking advantage of improved manufacturing yields and reduced costs to push out a bigger, more powerful GPU to drive this year’s flagship video card. And, for NVIDIA and their well-executed dominance of the high-end video card market, it’s a chance to run up the score even more.

The Western Digital Black PCIe SSD (512GB) Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

After acquiring SanDisk and introducing WD Green and WD Blue SSDs, it is no surprise to see Western Digital introduce a WD Black SSD that is a M.2 PCIe drive. Western Digital and SanDisk are relatively late to market with their first consumer PCIe SSD, but they’ve taken the time to refine the product. The WD Black PCIe SSD is an entry-level NVMe drive using TLC NAND and priced below the top SATA SSDs. It offers substantially better performance than the Intel SSD 600p for a modest price increase.

The 2016 Razer Blade Pro Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

When I first heard about Razer, they were a company that strictly made gaming peripherals. I mostly associate them with their DeathAdder mouse, with the version from 2010 still being one of the best mice I’ve ever used. Razer has also made audio equipment like gaming headsets for quite some time, as well as a line of gaming keyboards. As time went on, some of these products gained features that were unique to Razer, such as the use of Razer-designed mechanical switches in their gaming keyboards, and RGB backlighting in various products with the Chroma branding.

Razer has made a number of attempts to move beyond the world of gaming peripherals. Some have been more successful than others. For example, some gamers may remember the Razer Edge Pro, the gaming tablet that never seemed to catch on with consumers. Razer also made a fitness band called the Nabu, but it also appears to have missed the mark and has seen some pretty heavy discounts in recent times. With Razer’s recent purchase of NextBit, many have begun to speculate on whether Razer plans to move into the mobile industry.

While it would be fun to speculate on Razer’s plans for the future, they do have one area beyond peripherals that has been an undisputed success. Their line of laptops, which started with the unveiling of the original Razer Blade in 2011, have shown that it’s possible to build gaming laptops without the bulky plastic bodies and poor quality displays that traditionally characterized high-performance laptops from other vendors. As time has gone on, Razer has iterated on the original Razer Blade, and introduced both a smaller model in the form of the Razer Blade Stealth, and a larger model known as the Razer Blade Pro. That latter model is the laptop I’ll be looking at today. Read on for the full AnandTech review of the Razer Blade Pro.

The AMD Zen and Ryzen 7 Review: A Deep Dive on 1800X, 1700X and 1700

See the original posting on Anandtech

For over two years the collective AMD vs Intel personal computer battle has been sitting on the edge of its seat. Back in 2014, when AMD first announced it was pursuing an all-new microarchitecture, old hands recalled the days when the battle between AMD and Intel was fun to be a part of, and users were happy that the competition led to innovation: not soon after, the Core microarchitecture became the dominant force in modern personal computing today. Through the various press release cycles from AMD stemming from that original Zen announcement, the industry is in a whipped frenzy waiting to see if AMD, through rehiring guru Jim Killer and laying the foundations of a wide and deep processor team for the next decade, can hold the incumbent to account. With AMD’s first use of a 14nm FinFET node on CPUs, today is the day Zen hits the shelves and benchmark results can be published: Game On!

Making AMD Tick: A Very Zen Interview with Dr. Lisa Su, CEO

See the original posting on Anandtech

An Interview with Dr. Lisa Su

AMD held a Tech Day a week before the launch of Zen to go over the details of of the new Ryzen product with the technology press. As part of these talks, we were able to secure Dr. Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, for 30 minutes to discuss Zen, Ryzen, and AMD.

Profile:

Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD. Born in Taiwan and educated at MIT, Dr. Su comes fully equipped with a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering. Before AMD, Dr. Su had appointments as CTO of Freescale Semiconductor, Director of Emerging Products at IBM, and a stint at Texas Instruments. It was at IBM that Dr. Su worked alongside Mark Papermaster, who is currently AMD’s CTO. Dr. Su was initially hired as SVP and GM at AMD, overseeing the global business units, and became CEO/COO in 2012. A rare occurrence, but Dr. Su is one of a small handful of female C-Level Executives in the semiconductor industry. Dr. Su has consistently been highly ranked in many ‘top people to watch’ lists of technology industry visionaries.


The pin-layout of Ryzen

Ian Cutress: Congratulations on formally releasing Zen!

Q1: Both yourself and AMD officially have explicitly stated that AMD has needed to return back to the high-performance CPU market. We can all assume that there are still many hurdles ahead, but is getting Zen into retail silicon the spark that sets off the rest of the roadmap?

Lisa Su: I think launching Zen in desktop was a big big hurdle. That being said we have many others to go, and as you can imagine how happy I am. I know I’m only as good as my last product, so there’s a lot of focus on: Vega, Naples, Notebook, and 2018.

Q2: When we speak to some companies, they’ll describe that internally they have engineers working on the next generation of product, and fewer engineers working for the product after that, and continuing on for three, five or up to seven years of products. Internally, how far ahead in the roadmap do you have engineers working on product and product design?

LS: It’s at least 3 to 4 years. If you look at what we have on CPU and GPU, we have our roadmap out to 2020. It’s not set in stone, but we know the major markets and we adjust timings a quarter here or there as necessary.

Q3: A lot of analysts widely regard that rehiring Jim Keller was the right move for AMD, although at the time AMD was going through a series of ups and downs with products and financial issues. Was the ‘new’ CPU team shielded from those issues from day one, or at what point could the Zen team go full throttle?

LS: If I put credit where credit is due, Mark Papermaster had incredible vision of what he wanted to do with CPU/GPU roadmap. He hired Jim Keller and Raja Koduri, and he was very clear when he said he needed this much money to do things. We did cut a bunch of projects, but we invested in our future. Sure we cut things, but it was very clear. A note to what you said about Jim Keller though – he was definitely a brilliant CPU guy, but he was a part of that vision of what we wanted to do.

Q4: With Bulldozer, AMD had to work with Microsoft due to the way threads were dispatched to cores to ensure proper performance. Even though Zen doesn’t have that issue, was there any significant back-and-forth with Microsoft to enable performance in Windows (e.g. XFR?)

LS: Zen is a pretty traditional x86 architecture as an overall machine, but there is optimization work to do. What makes this a bit different is that most of our optimization work is more on the developer side – we work with them to really understanding the bottlenecks in their code on our microarchitecture. I see many apps being tuned and getting better going on as we work forward on this.

Q5: How vital was it to support Simultaneous Multi Threading?

LS: I think it was very important. I think it was very complicated! Our goal was to have a very balanced architecture. We wanted high single threaded performance, and SMT was important given where the competition is. We didn’t want to apologize for anything with Zen – we wanted high single thread, we wanted many cores, but sorry we don’t have SMT? We didn’t want to say that, we wanted to be ambitious and give ourselves the time to get it done.

IC: Can you have your cake and eat it too?

LS: Yes! The key is to help the team to believe it can be done.

Q6: It has been noted that AMD has been working with ASMedia on the chipset side of the platform, using a 55nm PCIe 3.0×4 based chipset. Currently your competition implements a large HSIO model that can support up to 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes, albeit with limited bandwidth, but enables extensive networking, PCIe storage, and other features. What does AMD need to do to reach semi-parity for I/O ?

LS: I think we will continue to want a rich ecosystem. On the chipset side we may not develop the chipsets ourselves but we certainly want to be in partnership with others to develop a wide set of IO. I think if you look at the set of motherboard partners that we have, and the extensive testing we’ve done with them, I would expect that as we gain some market share in the high-end, you will see that system build up.

Q7: A couple of years ago, AMD’s market value was lower than its assets. Today, it is trading over $10. A cynic would say that the increase has been a good Polaris launch combined with recent marketing cycles slowly giving out small bits of information. What’s your response to AMD’s recent share price rise over the past 12 months? 

LS: My view is that I can never predict the market, so I never try! The market has a mind of its own. But what I can say is that we had some very key fundamentals. We are in key markets like the PC market, the cloud market, the infrastructure market, gaming – these are big big markets. They are growing too – I think that the markets we are in are good. We had to convince people fundamentally that we could execute a competitive roadmap and 18 months ago I’d say people didn’t really believe. They thought ‘ah well, maybe’, but ‘we don’t know’ is a power point. Over the past 6-9 months we’ve proven that we can gain graphics share, with the launch of Polaris, and with the launch of Ryzen I think you’ll see that we can convince that we can execute on high performance CPUs. Importantly our customers have become convinced too. The key thing with our customers is that when it was a power point, they weren’t sure: it was interesting, but it could have been six months late or have 20% less performance. When we actually gave them samples, they were actually like ‘Wow, this is actually real!’ and they started pulling in their schedules. So when you ask me about investors it’s something like that. I think people want some proof points to believe they can trust us and that if we execute that we’ll do ok.

Q8: Do you find that OEMs that haven’t worked with AMD are suddenly coming on board?

LS: I will say that we have engagements with every OEM now on the high-performance space. Twelve months ago, a number of them would have s

The AnandTech Podcast, Episode 41: Let’s Talk Server, with Patrick Kennedy

See the original posting on Anandtech

While in San Francisco for AMD’s Ryzen Tech Day, I had a chance to catch up with a good friend by the name of Patrick Kennedy, who runs the tech news website ServeTheHome. We frequently battle STH here at AnandTech to be the first to break news on new server platforms, but it is a friendly rivalry where often we end up picking each other’s brains for information or to bounce ideas off of each other. To that end, I managed to convince Patrick to be a guest on our podcast, to talk about the recent issue with Avoton and Rangeley C2000 CPUs as well as the launch of C3000 and discuss what the upcoming Naples platform can do for AMD.

Apologies in advance for parts of the recording. We did this in a high-rise hotel during a freak San Francisco storm, causing wind to whistle through the vents in the room and no way to close the vents. I tried to clean up the audio as best as I could, alas I am no expert. Experts, please apply to be our podcast editors, and tell us what equipment we should be using.


Patrick Kennedy (ServeTheHome), Ian Cutress (AnandTech) and David Kanter (Microprocessor Report)
Photo Taken by Raja Koduri (AMD). David was declared the winner of the ‘Bring Your Suit A-Game’ contest.

The AnandTech Podcast #41: Let’s Talk Server

Featuring

iTunes
RSS – mp3m4a
Direct Links – mp3m4a

Total Time:  28 minutes 39 seconds

Outline mm:ss

00:00 – Introduction
00:15 – Patrick’s 2000 cores
01:41 – Atom C2000 Avoton/Rangeley Hardware Bug
09:22 – Denverton and C3000
15:17 – Xeon D-1500 Networking CPUs
18:02 – Opportunities for AMD Naples
28:39 – FIN

Related Reading

The Intel Atom C2000 Series Bug (via ServeTheHome)
Intel launches Denverton C3000 Series
AMD Naples Motherboard Analysis

The OpenPOWER Saga Continues: Can You Get POWER Inside 1U?

See the original posting on Anandtech

When we saw that Tyan made a 1U server based upon this Habanero platform, that caught our eye. The power-hungry POWER8 inside a density optimized form factor? And they feed it with a PSU of "only" 750 W? Is that really a viable option?

Today we’ll be taking a loot at Tyan’s GT75 system to find out the answer to that, and to see if a 1U configuration makes sense for a POWER8 system.

Performance & Battery Life Report: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 with MediaTek Helio X20

See the original posting on Anandtech

As a member of Xiaomi’s more affordable Redmi series, the Note 4 does not have a curved screen, a ceramic body, or the latest flagship hardware like Xiaomi’s more expensive models, but it does pack a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a 13MP camera with PDAF into a solid-feeling aluminum chassis. This report is more concerned with its internal hardware, however, focusing on the Redmi Note 4’s system performance, gaming performance, and battery life.

AMD Launches Ryzen: 52% More IPC, Eight Cores for Under $330, Pre-order Today, On Sale March 2nd

See the original posting on Anandtech

The biggest x86 launch for AMD in five years is today: Ryzen is here. As always before a major launch, AMD gives a ‘Tech Day’ for relevant press and analysts, and through this event AMD’s CEO, Dr. Lisa Su lifted the lid on one of the most anticipated products in the semiconductor industry. AMD knows how to control the level of enthusiasm for its fans, and today is the end result, with processors going on pre-order from major retailers today at 1pm EST, ready for a general hard launch on March 2nd.

In a similar vein to launches of recent smartphones, AMD is doing a staggered announcement/launch with the products on their new microarchitecture. Where Samsung/Apple might give all the details for a product a few weeks before it’s available to buy, today on February 22nd marks the day where AMD is giving consumers information about Ryzen, and specifically the Ryzen 7 family of eight-core products. All the information today is from AMD, and AMD’s internal testing, and pre-orders also start from today for users ready to put down their money for a launch day part. Reviews of the CPUs, as well as when the CPUs will ship to customers, is on March 2nd. This also happens to be right in the middle of two annual shows, Game Developer Conference (GDC) and Mobile World Congress (MWC), making the time between receiving pre-launch samples and being able to provide independent verification of AMD’s performance claims relatively frantic. We’ll do our best!

The Ryzen Family

With a new processor launch, naming the parts and positioning them within the market is critical. So with Ryzen, the processor stack will be split into three based on performance and price: Ryzen 7 at the high end, Ryzen 5 in the middle, and Ryzen 3 for more price-conscious consumers. Both Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 are set to be launched later, and Ryzen 7 is the first portion of the family to be released.

Ryzen 7 will have three CPUs to start, all having eight cores and supporting simultaneous multi-threading:

  • Ryzen 7 1800X: 8C/16T, 3.6 GHz base, 4.0 GHz turbo, 95W, $499
  • Ryzen 7 1700X: 8C/16T, 3.4 GHz base, 3.8 GHz turbo, 95W, $399
  • Ryzen 7 1700: 8C/16T, 3.0 GHz base, 3.7 GHz turbo, $329

Ryzen 7 1800X will be the high-end part, featuring a base clock of 3.6 GHz and a turbo of 4.0 GHz, within a TDP of 95W, and for $499. Next to this is Ryzen 7 1700X, launching at $399, with a base/turbo of 3.4/3.8 GHz. The final part for the launch is the Ryzen 7 1700, providing eight cores and sixteen threads for $329 at 3.0/3.7 GHz frequencies.

Processors will initially be available for pre-order from 185 retailers and OEMs worldwide, either as individual parts or pre-built systems.

What, not 40% IPC? 52% IPC??

Enthusiasts and analysts use the term IPC, or ‘Instructions Per Clock’, as a measure of how much the underlying microarchitecture improves from generation to generation. Two decades ago, a good design on a smaller node could net a healthy double-digit gain, whereas in recent years 5-10% gain has become the norm. When AMD initially announced that the new Zen microarchitecture they were developing was aiming for a 40% IPC gain, despite the low IPC they were starting from, users remained skeptical. AMD rehired Jim Keller to work alongside long-term AMD architect Mike Clark and produce a team with several goals in mind: high-performance x86, simultaneous multithreading, and a product to be relevant in the computing, PC, server and mobile space again. So despite this, 40% IPC always seemed a somewhat lofty goal, because Bulldozer was so underwhelming, and despite this low starting point. For the Ryzen launch today, AMD is stating that the final result of that goal is a 52% gain in IPC.

This is something we will need to test in due course!

The Ryzen Silicon, and the Future

AMD pointed out that the new 8-core silicon design runs 4.8 billion transistors and features 200m of wiring. Through previous announcements we’ve examined parts of the microarchitecture including cache sizes, threading, front-end/back-end design, and so on.

AMD Zen Microarchiture Part 2: Extracting Instruction-Level Parallelism
AMD Gives More Zen Details: Ryzen, 3.4 GHz+, NVMe, Neural Net Prediction, & 25 MHz Boost Steps

AMD’s CEO was keen to point out that this is a from-scratch design for AMD, using the knowledge gained from features developed for previous products but ultimately under the hood it looks like ‘a typical x86 high-performance core’, with AMD-specific features and tweaks. We were told that AMD’s roadmap extends into the multi-year range, so while the focus for 2017 will be on this family of products, back at HQ the next two generations are in various stages of development.

BENCHMARKS PLEASE

So despite the 82+ motherboards going to be available, 19 initial PC system builders moving into 200+ through the first half of 2017, the big question on everyone’s lips is how exactly does it perform?

Well, AMD gave us the following numbers:

AMD’s benchmarks showed that the top Ryzen 7 1800X, compared to the 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K, both at out-of-the-box frequencies, gives an identical score on the single threaded test and a +9% in the multi-threaded test. AMD put this down to the way their multi-threading works over the Intel design. Also, the fact that the 1800X is half of the price of the i7-6900K.

In a similar vein, again with the Cinebench 15 multi-threaded test, the Ryzen 7 1700X scores over and above the Core i7-6800K (its price competition) and higher than the Core i7-6900K which costs 2.5 times as much.

We’ll tell you what our benchmarks say, with official retail processors. But you will have to wait until March 2nd. Sorry.

 

 

ASRock Beebox-S 7200U Kaby Lake UCFF PC Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

The Kaby Lake-U (KBL-U) series with 15W TDP CPUs was introduced along with the 4.5W Kaby Lake-Y ones in Q3 2016. The first set of products with Kaby Lake-U were ultrabooks. However, ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) PCs were not long behind. There are already three vendors in the market with Kaby Lake UCFF PCs – ASRock (Beebox-S), GIGABYTE (BRIX), and MSI (Cubi 2). We have already reviewed the MSI Cubi 2 – a no-frills Kaby Lake ‘NUC’ The ASRock Beebox-S differentiates itself by including a USB 3.1 Gen 2 bridge, as well as a LSPCon (for HDMI 2.0 / HDCP 2.2 support) on the motherboard. This review takes a look at how the ASRock Beebox-S 7200U fares in typical UCFF PC workloads.

1 2 3 4 20