Having transitioned over to the 7nm manufacturing process for workstation-grade GPUs earlier in 2018, there was plenty of attendance around AMD's announcements at CES this year. There was also a ton of hype and supposed leaks, so here's everything the company actually announced.
Ryzen continues making its way into laptops
It's been a while since AMD was a competitive force in the laptop market. The successful launch of the first-gen Ryzen CPUs offered a chance to upend that, but in Australia most of the success has largely been limited to the desktop and workstation CPUs like Threadripper.
A limited range of Ryzen mobile laptops were released locally, but that number should increase over 2019 with the launch of 2nd-gen Ryzen products. Based off the 12nm Ryzen process - 7nm Ryzen mobile offerings are further down the track - the range offers mostly 4 core, 8 thread CPUs with inbuilt Vega graphics and a quoted maximum battery life of around 10 hours while playing back video.
Here's the specs:
|Product Model||Cores/Threads||TDP||Frequency||GPU Cores||Max GPU Frequency||L2/L3 Cache|
|Ryzen 7 3750H||4C/8T||35W||4.0/2.3 GHz||10||1400 MHz||6MB|
|Ryzen 7 3700U||4C/8T||15W||4.0/2.3 GHz||10||1400 MHz||6MB|
|Ryzen 5 3550H||4C/8T||35W||3.7/2.1GHz||8||1200 MHz||6MB|
|Ryzen 5 3500U||4C/8T||15W||3.7/2.1GHz||8||1200 MHz||6MB|
|Ryzen 5 3300U||4C/8T||15W||3.5/2.1GHz||6||1200 MHz||6MB|
|Ryzen 3 3200U||2C/4T||15W||3.5/2.6GHz||3||1200 MHz||5MB|
AMD also have two 7th-gen A series APUs for entry-level devices. They're two-core CPUs designed for devices like Chromebooks, including the updated HP Chromebook 14 which was on display at CES this week. More Chromebooks are scheduled for release later this year, but at the time of writing only HP and Acer had devices utilising AMD's A6-9220C or the A4-9120C. Both chips have a TDP of 6 watts.
Ryzen desktop stays on eight cores, but not for long
While the Ryzen mobile SKUs are launching in the first quarter internationally, those wanting a new desktop CPU will have to wait until closer to the middle of the year. The third generation of Ryzen desktop CPUs, manufactured on the 7nm process and codenamed Matisse, will launch mid-2019 overseas.
AMD confirmed publicly that it'll be the first CPU to support PCIe 4.0 x16, so expect a new range of motherboards later this year to add support for that. The previous approach of making Ryzen chips backwards compatible still applies here, so you'll be able to use a third gen Ryzen CPU with currently compatible Ryzen motherboards.
Clock speeds haven't been finalised yet. We'll keep you posted throughout the year as more info comes to light, however.
And don't forget that 7nm GPU
It might not have impressed the Nvidia CEO, but come February 7 there will be a 7nm GPU on the market. The current plan seems to be pitching the Radeon 7 against the RTX 2080, with the former priced at $US699. Based off current conversion rates, that would make the new Radeon around the $1000 mark in Australia.
The RTX 2080 sells for $1100 or more locally, depending on the retailer, so that'll be an interesting battle. On the one hand you've got a card with 16GB of HBM2 memory, while the RTX offering is the current incumbent and has a suite of forward-facing features that - in the few games that currently use them - can pack a punch.
The second generation of AMD's Vega and the first gaming graphics card on the 7nm fabrication process was finally unveiled at CES early this morning, sporting 16GB of high-bandwidth memory and a quoted 25% jump in performance from the previous generation.
No real-world figures are available for the Radeon 7 yet, but AMD is setting expectations at roughly a 25-40% bump over Vega 64. Rather than give you that snippet, however, here's the fine print - which is available in the release sent to press, but not on AMD's website - that has a bit more useful information:
10 Testing done by AMD performance labs 1/3/19 on Intel i7 7700K,16GB DDR4 3000MHz, Radeon VII, Radeon RX Vega 64, AMD Driver 18.50, and Windows 10. Using Battlefield V, DX11, Ultra settings 4K: Radeon VII scored 68.1 fps. Radeon RX Vega 64 scored 50.5 fps. PC manufacturers may vary configurations yielding different results. All scores are an average of 3 runs with the same settings. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers.
11 Testing done by AMD performance labs 1/3/19 on Intel i7 7700K,16GB DDR4 3000MHz, Radeon VII, Radeon RX Vega 64, AMD Driver 18.50, RTX 2080, Nvidia driver 417.22 and Windows 10. Using Strange Brigade, Vulkan, Ultra settings 4K: Radeon VII scored 87 fps. RTX 2080 scored 73 fps. Radeon RX Vega 64 scored 61 fps. PC manufacturers may vary configurations yielding different results. All scores are an average of 3 runs with the same settings. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers.
12 Testing done by AMD performance labs 1/3/19 on Intel i7 7700K,16GB DDR4 3000MHz, Radeon VII, Radeon RX Vega 64, AMD Driver 18.50, and Windows 10. Using Fortnite, Epic settings 4K: Radeon VII scored 46.9 fps. Radeon RX Vega 64 scored 37.4 fps. PC manufacturers may vary configurations yielding different results. All scores are an average of 3 runs with the same settings. Performance may vary based on use of latest drivers. RX-285
What's interesting here is the testing for the RTX cards. It's the only comparison made by AMD at any point; they didn't make direct allusions or draw any graphs showing the 7nm GPU against the RTX competition, but they've obviously run some rudimentary tests in their labs.
Why figures were included for Strange Brigade but not the other games is curious. It's a bit of a moot point anyway, given the testing is pretty simple (three runs averaged out, rather than something more extensive).
Either way, a 7nm GPU is coming soon. In a few weeks, we'll all have our answers.