A new architecture from a processor vendor is always going to snag the attention of hardware lovers and their magnifying glasses. AMD's Zen, found in its freshly stamped Ryzen line is the current target and amongst all the numbers, testers have discovered something interesting; a discrepancy in the Ryzen's performance and Windows 10. But which party is to blame — if any?
AMD always falls under more scrutiny than Intel, which is unfortunate, but expected. When you've played second fiddle for so long, there's a massive expectation for each new product to be "the one", the silicon jewel that restores the company to its former glory.
Yes, the Athlon days are well and truly behind us, but AMD is packed with smart cookies; there's every chance one day it'll knock one out of the park.
That's not to say Intel is by any means perfect. It's the king of the CPU hill, but that unchallenged position appears to have translated into relaxing its QA processes. Bugs with the company's chips have started to pop up with increasing frequency and although they've had little bearing on consumers, they are worrying nonetheless.
Today, however, it's AMD under the spotlight. Allyn Malventano over a PCper, after hearing about some odd numbers from Ryzen, decided to do some digging. Here's an explanation of the issue:
Initial reviews of AMD's Ryzen CPU revealed a few inefficiencies in some situations particularly in gaming workloads running at the more common resolutions like 1080p, where the CPU comprises more of a bottleneck when coupled with modern GPUs. Lots of folks have theorized about what could possibly be causing these issues, and most recent attention appears to have been directed at the Windows 10 scheduler and its supposed inability to properly place threads on the Ryzen cores for the most efficient processing.
PCper even went so far as to cook up a custom app to see just how Windows was managing its threading workloads. Malventano's investigation is peppered with more graphs than a marketing PowerPoint by Microsoft's Excel team, but taken together tell an interesting story:
Information from this custom application, along with the storage performance tool example above, clearly show that Windows 10 is attempting to balance work on Ryzen between cores in the same manner that we have experienced with Intel and its HyperThreaded processors for many years ... it validates that Windows 10 is correctly enumerating the core structure of Ryzen and thus the scheduling comparisons we made above are 100% accurate. Windows 10 does not have a scheduling conflict on Ryzen processors.
The conclusion suggests that there is a problem, one AMD itself is looking into, but it doesn't involve Windows 10. Well, the scheduler anyway. Maybe not the definitive answer some might be looking for, but it does mean testers can start looking into other areas.