AMD launches Ryzen APUs with Vega GPUs and talks Zen+

AMD discusses its new Ryzen APUs with Vega GPUs and also talks Zen+. Join us as we provide the details you need to know.

@StevenBassiriTT
Published Sun, Jan 7 2018 11:00 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Nov 3 2020 6:58 PM CST

Introduction to AMD's Desktop Ryzen APUs

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AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su recently introduced us to Ryzen based desktop APUs with integrated Vega graphics, new mobile APUs, Zen+, new AM4 motherboards, and much more right before CES 2018 in Las Vegas. Over the past few days, media and analysts from around the world gathered before CES to get the low down on AMD's vision for 2018 and see new products that are launching at CES. The major product that has everyone on their heels are the new 2000-series Ryzen APUs with Vega graphics integrated.

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During Q1 of 2018, we expect AMD's desktop APUs to hit the market, during Q2 AMD's 2nd generation Zen+ product will hit the market, and during the second half of the year, we will see 2nd generations of Thread Ripper and Ryzen PRO series CPUs. AMD is also launching two lower-end APUs for notebooks as well as Ryzen PRO mobile APUs. On February 12th we will see Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G hit the market. Both will have four cores, but the Ryzen 5 will have eight threads. Both will have Vega-based CUs, but the Ryzen 5 model will have a few more. Both CPUs chime in at very reasonable price points; $169 and $99 respectively.

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AMD is also totally restructuring their suggested pricing models, and you might notice that the Ryzen 5 2400G has replaced the Ryzen 5 1400. You might notice that the Ryzen 3 and ThreadRipper 1950X prices aren't changing. The new prices should put AMD on the fast track towards market dominance.

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Let's talk new features of the Ryzen desktop 2000 series CPUs. AMD's SenseMI technology has two enhancements; Precision Boost 2 and XFR 2, both are aimed at improving performance when there is thermal headroom. We also find that the new 2000 series products have process improvements and improved silicon for cache and memory. The new 400-series chipsets are also briefly mentioned.

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Here we can see what the new CPU boxes will look like; they will carry Radeon Vega branding.

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AMD shows off the performance of the Ryzen 5 2400G, which features Vegas-based graphics and a Ryzen core in productivity benchmarks against other Ryzen products. Multi-threaded performance of both the new 2000-series SKUs against the competition and 1000-series Ryzen CPUs is shown on the right. It is quite formidable.

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Overall compute power is also quite good in the new APUs, and even against their Intel counterparts, they produce great numbers. The Ryzen 5 2400G is also a very good contender for 1080P gaming, those FPS are playable.

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Now we see how the Ryzen 3 2200G does against the i3-8100, and the results in gaming look great. AMD is also touting best in class integrated graphics, and it does do extremely well against Intel's integrated GPU. You can always add a discrete GPU to enhance the gaming experience.

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While the new 2000-series CPUs use the same AM4 socket, off the shelf X370 motherboards will need the new sticker to guarantee compatibility. Otherwise, if you buy an X370 motherboard and don't have a 1000-series CPU to update the BIOS for 2000-series support (or use BIOS recovery if your motherboard has it), you can always take it into a computer store and have them update to a newer BIOS with 2000-series support.

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AMD overclockers played a great deal with the new APUs, and they let us know they had a great time tuning the memory and integrated graphics. We can see big gains from tuning small parameters. They did show us liquid nitrogen results as well, and the CPU does go over 5GHz under liquid nitrogen. There does seem to be an improvement on memory and core overclocking margins due to silicon improvements.

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We can see here that the Ryzen 5 2400G basically ties an i5-8400 with an NVIDIA GT 1030 at a much lower price point.

Introduction to AMD's Mobile Ryzen APUs

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We have already covered the Ryzen 2700U and 2500U Ryzen/Vega-based mobile APUs here, and now we will discuss the two new lower-end SKUs. The Ryzen 3 2300U and 2200U are positioned for super slim notebooks and mobile devices. The 2300U is four cores and four threads while the 2200U is two cores and four threads. The 2300U has 6 Vega CUs while the 2200U has 3 Vega CUs.

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The Zen architecture allows for a much smaller footprint when it comes to comparisons against its competitor. The new architectures (Zen and Vega) are well positioned for low z-height, and it should produce decent results.

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Comparing the new APUs, code-named Raven Ridge, against Bristol Ridge (previous generation) we can see that the new mobile parts are significantly faster in both CPU and GPU benchmarks, and use 50% less power. They are truly a step into the future compared to their predecessors. Comparing the Ryzen 5 2500U to the i5-8250U yields results we expect; Intel is better in single, AMD better in multi, and the iGPU of the AMD GPU is much stronger.

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AMD has partnered with many vendors including Acer, ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo.

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Acer's Nitro 5 and Inspiron 5000 Series are two additions to the high-end Ryzen mobile offerings from two of strong vendors.

Introduction to AMD's Mobile Ryzen PRO APUs

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We covered desktop level Ryzen PRO desktop CPUs in the past, and now we will cover Ryzen PRO Mobile CPUs. The new one is four cores and eight threads with up to 10 Vega CUs and with a boost frequency of 3.8GHz. The Ryzen 7 PRO 2700U is said to deliver 22% more productivity performance of the i7-8550U, which is huge. Comparing the two in PCMark, TrueCrypt, and 3DMark 11 shows impressive performance improvements.

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Here we can see systems AMD is offering for Ryzen PRO mobile users and how they compare to their Intel counterparts. Ryzen PRO mobile CPUs offers over 270% perf/Watt improvements, which results in 13 hours of battery life, and 9.2 hours of HD video playback. They also feature Precision Boost 2 and Mobile XFR.

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We had covered Ryzen PRO's security features here, but basically, they have features that directly compete with Intel's vPro. The CPUs are also enterprise grade and carry nice commercial warranties.

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We can also see that AMD's target market is enterprise and workstations much like Intel's Xeon line.

The Zen Roadmap, X470, and the Future

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Many of you are probably wondering about the future of Zen, and the 2nd Generation of Zen will be called Zen+ and will be based on 12nm technology. It will offer roughly 10% performance increase over Zen, that is all we can say for now. We can say it will have higher clocks, Precision Boost 2, and will launch in April. The 2nd generation of Zen is already sampling to AMD's partners, but Zen2 (3rd generation) is already designed and is just wanting. Zen 3 (4th generation) will be on 7nm+ and will come by 2020.

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AMD is shooting high when it comes to performance improvements; they want to exceed industry improvement standards and close the gap on their competition. We can also see how they compare their 14nm, 12nm, and 7nm processes against their competition.

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Their new GloFlo 12nm 12LP Technology should provide 10+% over their 14nm 14LPP technology, and should improve performance per watt. AMD has also set themselves on some very ambitious targets, as they did in the past with the first Zen processor. They are also going to transition to Vega on 7nm before Zen, so they can work out any kinks if they arise.

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In 2018 you will see Zen+ in April, but you will also see the X470 chipset. Pricing is also changed, and some new features have been added to the platform. AMD is still committed to AM4, and 1st and 2nd Zen generations will be fully compatible with X370 and X470.

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Now X470 will come soon, but not immediately. It's more optimized for 2nd Generation Zen than X370, with improved memory layout, some USB enhancements, and any bugs in X370 worked out. While X470 motherboards will most definitely have RGB LEDs, AMD decided to up the RGB game and is adding the Wraith Prism to its arsenal. The Prism will offer intense RGB, with a clear fan, digital/addressable RGBs, and solid cooling performance.

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I am tossing this slide out again; it's very important that you see the "AMD Ryzen Desktop 2000 Ready" sticker/logo on your motherboard box when buying a motherboard for your 2000-series Zen processor. Otherwise, you will need an older CPU to flash a new supported BIOS (if your motherboard doesn't have a USB BIOS recovery method) or you will need to take the motherboard into a computer store and have them flash it.

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Enmotus FuzeDrive will have a version that will only work with Ryzen. It will allow you to pool all your storage and DRAM into a single drive, and it will work out where files are stored, so you get the best performance across different activities.

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Dr. Lisa Su also made it abundantly clear that AMD is all about High-Performance Computing. It encompasses most of what we do today, and AMD is going full steam ahead. AMD also wanted to show us how their leadership in multi-threaded performance spans across all price points and has influenced the market overall.

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Ryzen's 2018 roadmap also looks quite solid, and we will see Zen+ this year with major improvements. With Ryzen (includes ThreadRipper), Vega, and FreeSync 2, AMD is capable of producing a high-performance gaming ecosystem all under the AMD brand.

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We will leave you with this last slide, because from what we have seen AMD is really going to double down in 2018. Let's see what the new year has in store for us!

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Steven went from a fledgling forum reader in 2003 to one of the internet's brightest tech stars by 2010. Armed with an information systems degree, a deep understanding of circuitry, and a passion for tech, Steven (handle Sin0822) enjoys sharing his deep knowledge with others. Steven details products down to the component level to highlight seldom explained, and often misunderstood architectures. Steven is also a highly decorated overclocker with several world records.

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