from the intelundai-i10 dept.
AMD is rumored to be releasing a line of Ryzen 9 "Threadripper" enthusiast CPUs that include 10, 12, 14, or 16 cores. This is in contrast to the Ryzen lines of AMD CPUs that topped out at the 8-core Ryzen 7 1800X with a base clock of 3.6 GHz.
Meanwhile, Intel is supposedly planning to release 6, 8, 10, and 12 core Skylake-X processors under an "Intel Core i9" designation. Two Kaby Lake-X, a quad-core and another quad-core with hyper-threading disabled, are also mentioned.
Finally, AMD's 32-core "Naples" server chips could be succeeded in late 2018 or 2019 by a 48-core 7nm part nicknamed "Starship". GlobalFoundries plans to skip the 10nm node, and where GF goes, AMD follows. Of course, according to Intel, what really matters are transistors per square millimeter.
All of the processors mentioned could be officially announced at Computex 2017, running from May 30 to June 3. Expect the high end desktop (HEDT) CPUs to be in excess of $500 and as high as $1,500. Intel may also announce Coffee Lake CPUs later this year including a "mainstream" priced 6-core chip.
Ryzen was an important launch for AMD. Arguably more important? Its rollout of x86 "Naples" server chips:
For users keeping track of AMD's rollout of its new Zen microarchitecture, stage one was the launch of Ryzen, its new desktop-oriented product line last week. Stage three is the APU launch, focusing mainly on mobile parts. In the middle is stage two, Naples, and arguably the meatier element to AMD's Zen story. A lot of fuss has been made about Ryzen and Zen, with AMD's re-launch back into high-performance x86. If you go by column inches, the consumer-focused Ryzen platform is the one most talked about and many would argue, the most important. In our interview with Dr. Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, the launch of Ryzen was a big hurdle in that journey. However, in the next sentence, Dr. Su lists Naples as another big hurdle, and if you decide to spend some time with one of the regular technology industry analysts, they will tell you that Naples is where AMD's biggest chunk of the pie is. Enterprise is where the money is.
[...] The top end Naples processor will have a total of 32 cores, with simultaneous multi-threading (SMT), to give a total of 64 threads. This will be paired with eight channels of DDR4 memory, up to two DIMMs per channel for a total of 16 DIMMs, and altogether a single CPU will support 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes. Naples also qualifies as a system-on-a-chip (SoC), with a measure of internal IO for storage, USB and other things, and thus may be offered without a chipset. Naples will be offered as either a single processor platform (1P), or a dual processor platform (2P). In dual processor mode, and thus a system with 64 cores and 128 threads, each processor will use 64 of its PCIe lanes as a communication bus between the processors as part of AMD's Infinity Fabric. The Infinity Fabric uses a custom protocol over these lanes, but bandwidth is designed to be on the order of PCIe. As each core uses 64 PCIe lanes to talk to the other, this allows each of the CPUs to give 64 lanes to the rest of the system, totaling 128 PCIe 3.0 again.
[...] While not specifically mentioned in the announcement today, we do know that Naples is not a single monolithic die on the order of 500mm2 or up. Naples uses four of AMD's Zeppelin dies (the Ryzen dies) in a single package. With each Zeppelin die coming in at 195.2mm2, if it were a monolithic die, that means a total of 780mm2 of silicon, and around 19.2 billion transistors – which is far bigger than anything Global Foundries has ever produced, let alone tried at 14nm. During our interview with Dr. Su, we postulated that multi-die packages would be the way forward on future process nodes given the difficulty of creating these large imposing dies, and the response from Dr. Su indicated that this was a prominent direction to go in.
Intel is talking about improvements it has made to transistor scaling for the 10nm process node, and claims that its version of 10nm will increase transistor density by 2.7x rather than doubling it.
On the face of it, three years between process shrinks, rather than the traditional two years, would appear to end Moore's Law. But Intel claims that's not so. The company says that the 14nm and 10nm process shrinks in particular more than doubled the transistor density. At 10nm, for example, the company names a couple of techniques that are enabling this "hyperscaling." Each logic cell (an arrangement of transistors to form a specific logic gate, such as a NAND gate or a flip flop) is surrounded by dummy gates: spacers to isolate one cell from its neighbor. Traditionally, two dummy gates have been used at the boundary of each cell; at 10nm, Intel is reducing this to a single dummy gate, thereby reducing the space occupied by each cell and allowing them to be packed more tightly.
Each gate has a number of contacts used to join them to the metal layers of the chip. Traditionally, the contact was offset from the gate. At 10nm, Intel is stacking the contacts on top of the gates, which it calls "contact over active gate." Again, this reduces the space each gate takes, increasing the transistor density.
Shares of AMD rose 11.6% on Tuesday as Fudzilla reported that Intel would license graphics technologies from AMD after a similar deal with Nvidia expired two months earlier. The deal has not been confirmed.
On the other hand, AMD's 16-core "Threadripper" enthusiast/HEDT CPUs have been confirmed:
With one of the gnarliest CPU codenames we've ever seen, the Threadripper multicore monsters will go head to head with Intel's Broadwell-E and upcoming Skylake-E High-End Desktop (HEDT) CPUs alongside a new motherboard platform that promises expanded memory support and I/O bandwidth. That's likely to take the form of quad-channel RAM and more PCIe lanes, similar to Intel's X99 platform, but AMD is saving further details for its press conference at Computex at the end of May.
AMD's 32-core "Naples" server chips are now known as... "Epyc".
You have seen the launch of 4, 6, and 8-core AMD Ryzen parts. How do you feel about 10, 12, 14, and 16 cores (prices unknown, likely $1,000 or more for 16 cores)?
Recently, Intel was rumored to be releasing 10 and 12 core "Core i9" CPUs to compete with AMD's 10-16 core "Threadripper" CPUs. Now, Intel has confirmed these as well as 14, 16, and 18 core Skylake-X CPUs. Every CPU with 6 or more cores appears to support quad-channel DDR4:
|$61 (less threads)
Last year at Computex, the flagship Broadwell-E enthusiast chip was launched: the 10-core i7-6950X at $1,723. Today at Computex, the 10-core i9-7900X costs $999, and the 16-core i9-7960X costs $1,699. Clearly, AMD's Ryzen CPUs have forced Intel to become competitive.
Although the pricing of AMD's 10-16 core Threadripper CPUs is not known yet, the 8-core Ryzen R7 launched at $500 (available now for about $460). The Intel i7-7820X has 8 cores for $599, and will likely have better single-threaded performance than the AMD equivalent. So while Intel's CPUs are still more expensive than AMD's, they may have similar price/performance.
For what it's worth, Intel also announced quad-core Kaby Lake-X processors.
AMD's Threadripper 1950X (TR 1950X?) will have 16 cores for $1,000, and the Threadripper 1920X will have 12 cores for $800. They will be available in early August:
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.
[...] 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.
[...] 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 for IO support and capabilities. We suspect AMD to run a 180W TDP, and Intel at 165W, giving a slight advantage to Intel perhaps (depending on workload), and Intel will also offer AVX512 support for its CPU whereas AMD has smaller FMA and AVX engines by comparison. The die-to-die latency of AMD's MCM will also be an interesting element to the story, depending exactly where AMD is aiming this product.
There's also some details for Ryzen 3 quad-cores, but no confirmed pricing yet.
Meanwhile, Intel's marketing department has badmouthed AMD, calling 32-core Naples server chips "4 glued-together desktop die". That could have something to do with AMD's chips matching Intel's performance on certain workloads at around half the price.
Previously: CPU Rumor Mill: Intel Core i9, AMD Ryzen 9, and AMD "Starship"
Intel Announces 4 to 18-Core Skylake-X CPUs
Intel Core i9-7900X Reviewed: Hotter and More Expensive than AMD Ryzen 1800X for Small Gains
AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
AMD's TR 1950X (16 cores) and TR 1920X (12 cores) CPUs will be released on August 10th:
The news at the top of the hour is the date at which AMD is making Threadripper and associated TR4 based motherboards available at retail: August 10th. This is expected to be a full worldwide retail launch, so don't be surprised if your favorite retailer starts posting teaser images about how much stock they have. August 10th will see both the 1950X and 1920X with their retail packaging, along with motherboards from the main four motherboard vendors.
AMD has also announced an 8-core version of Threadripper, the TR 1900X, for $549. Why buy it instead of spending $300 on the Ryzen 7 1700 or $420 on the Ryzen 7 1800X, both of which have eight cores?
There are some questions around why AMD would release an 8-core Threadripper, given that the Ryzen 7 1800X is also eight core and currently retails around $399 when distributor sales are factored in. The main thing here is going to be IO, specifically that the user is going to get access to quad channel memory and all the PCIe lanes required for multi-GPU or multi-add-in cards, along with a super high-end motherboard that likely contains multiple CPU-based PCIe x4 storage and/or 10G Ethernet and additional features.