from the Let-'er-rip dept.
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 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.
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:
|i7-7640X||4/4||$242||$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.
Intel's initial Skylake-X chips, including the 10-core i9-7900X, have been reviewed:
Core i9-7900X performs well in our productivity, workstation, and HPC tests. The mesh-imposed disparities aren't as pronounced in those benchmarks. But we also have re-run Ryzen 7 1800X benchmarks to think about. Pressure to size up has pushed AMD's flagship down to $460, less than half of what a Core i9-7900X would cost. While Intel may capture the top 1% of high-end enthusiasts with Skylake-X, everyone else has to consider whether Ryzen may be the smarter buy.
Moreover, AMD's upcoming Threadripper CPU has to have Intel worried. How do we know? The X299 motherboards we used needed firmware updates to address very serious performance issues right up until launch. Intel didn't seem nearly as ready for Skylake-X's introduction as we'd expect. A number of Core i9s with even more cores won't be ready until later this year. However, it looks like Intel couldn't get the four-, six-, eight-, and 10-core models out fast enough. They'll ship later this month.
Unfortunately, this story won't be ready to wrap up until we have Threadripper to compare against. Given Core i9-7900X's high price and performance caveats, enthusiasts should probably hold off on a purchase until we know more about the competition, even if Skylake-X looks like a bigger step forward than Intel's past HEDT designs.
Intel's Skylake-X-based Core i9-7900X weighs in with 10 Hyper-Threaded cores and architectural enhancements that benefit many workstation-class workloads, such as rendering and content creation. The processor struggles in some games compared to its predecessor, failing to match the [10-core] Core i7-6950X in several titles.
While the i9-7900X is generally an improvement over Intel's previous 10-core high end desktop (HEDT) chip, the i7-6950X, Skylake-X runs hotter and is significantly more expensive than its 8-core AMD Ryzen counterparts. Under full load, the i9-7900X used about 149 W, while the previous-gen i7-6950X uses just 111 W and AMD's Ryzen 1800 X is at 92 W. AMD's Threadripper chips will have more PCIe lanes than Intel's Skylake-X line. Ryzen also supports ECC RAM while Intel disables it to differentiate its HEDT chips from workstation/business Xeons. The TDPs of AMD's 10-16 core Threadripper and Intel's 12-18 core Skylake-X CPUs have not been confirmed.
For about a quarter of the price of the i9-7900X, you can get the Ryzen 5 1600X, which often holds its own against Intel's monster chip.
AMD has launched its Ryzen-based take on x86 server processors to compete with Intel's Xeon CPUs. All of the Epyc 7000-series CPUs support 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes and 8 channels (2 DIMMs per channel) of DDR4-2666 DRAM:
A few weeks ago AMD announced the naming of the new line of enterprise-class processors, called EPYC, and today marks the official launch with configurations up to 32 cores and 64 threads per processor. We also got an insight into several features of the design, including the AMD Infinity Fabric.
Today's announcement of the AMD EPYC product line sees the launch of the top four CPUs, focused primarily at dual socket systems. The full EPYC stack will contain twelve processors, with three for single socket environments, with the rest of the stack being made available at the end of July. It is worth taking a few minutes to look at how these processors look under the hood.
On the package are four silicon dies, each one containing the same 8-core silicon we saw in the AMD Ryzen processors. Each silicon die has two core complexes, each of four cores, and supports two memory channels, giving a total maximum of 32 cores and 8 memory channels on an EPYC processor. The dies are connected by AMD's newest interconnect, the Infinity Fabric, which plays a key role not only in die-to-die communication but also processor-to-processor communication and within AMD's new Vega graphics. AMD designed the Infinity Fabric to be modular and scalable in order to support large GPUs and CPUs in the roadmap going forward, and states that within a single package the fabric is overprovisioned to minimize any issues with non-NUMA aware software (more on this later).
With a total of 8 memory channels, and support for 2 DIMMs per channel, AMD is quoting a 2TB per socket maximum memory support, scaling up to 4TB per system in a dual processor system. Each CPU will support 128 PCIe 3.0 lanes, suitable for six GPUs with full bandwidth support (plus IO) or up to 32 NVMe drives for storage. All the PCIe lanes can be used for IO devices, such as SATA drives or network ports, or as Infinity Fabric connections to other devices. There are also 4 IO hubs per processor for additional storage support.
AMD's slides at Ars Technica.
We can continue to talk about Intel's excellent mesh topology and AMD strong new Zen architecture, but at the end of the day, the "how" will not matter to infrastructure professionals. Depending on your situation, performance, performance-per-watt, and/or performance-per-dollar are what matters.
The current Intel pricing draws the first line. If performance-per-dollar matters to you, AMD's EPYC pricing is very competitive for a wide range of software applications. With the exception of database software and vectorizable HPC code, AMD's EPYC 7601 ($4200) offers slightly less or slightly better performance than Intel's Xeon 8176 ($8000+). However the real competitor is probably the Xeon 8160, which has 4 (-14%) fewer cores and slightly lower turbo clocks (-100 or -200 MHz). We expect that this CPU will likely offer 15% lower performance, and yet it still costs about $500 more ($4700) than the best EPYC. Of course, everything will depend on the final server system price, but it looks like AMD's new EPYC will put some serious performance-per-dollar pressure on the Intel line.
The Intel chip is indeed able to scale up in 8 sockets systems, but frankly that market is shrinking fast, and dual socket buyers could not care less.
Meanwhile, although we have yet to test it, AMD's single socket offering looks even more attractive. We estimate that a single EPYC 7551P would indeed outperform many of the dual Silver Xeon solutions. Overall the single-socket EPYC gives you about 8 cores more at similar clockspeeds than the 2P Intel, and AMD doesn't require explicit cross socket communication - the server board gets simpler and thus cheaper. For price conscious server buyers, this is an excellent option.
However, if your software is expensive, everything changes. In that case, you care less about the heavy price tags of the Platinum Xeons. For those scenarios, Intel's Skylake-EP Xeons deliver the highest single threaded performance (courtesy of the 3.8 GHz turbo clock), high throughput without much (hardware) tuning, and server managers get the reassurance of Intel's reliable track record. And if you use expensive HPC software, you will probably get the benefits of Intel's beefy AVX 2.0 and/or AVX-512 implementations.
AMD's flagship Epyc CPU has 32 cores, while the largest Skylake-EP Xeon CPU has 28 cores.
Quoted text is from page 23, "Closing Thoughts".
[Ed. note: Article is multiple pages with no single page version in sight.]
Previously: Google Gets its Hands on Skylake-Based Intel Xeons
Intel Announces 4 to 18-Core Skylake-X CPUs
AMD Epyc 7000-Series Launched With Up to 32 Cores
Intel's Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs Have Nasty Microcode Bug
AVX-512: A "Hidden Gem"?
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.
AMD released Threadripper CPUs in 2017, built on the same 14nm Zen architecture as Ryzen, but with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. Threadripper was widely believed to have pushed Intel to respond with the release of enthusiast-class Skylake-X chips with up to 18 cores. AMD also released Epyc-branded server chips with up to 32 cores.
This week at Computex 2018, Intel showed off a 28-core CPU intended for enthusiasts and high end desktop users. While the part was overclocked to 5 GHz, it required a one-horsepower water chiller to do so. The demonstration seemed to be timed to steal the thunder from AMD's own news.
Now, AMD has announced two Threadripper 2 CPUs: one with 24 cores, and another with 32 cores. They use the "12nm LP" GlobalFoundries process instead of "14nm", which could improve performance, but are currently clocked lower than previous Threadripper parts. The TDP has been pushed up to 250 W from the 180 W TDP of Threadripper 1950X. Although these new chips match the core counts of top Epyc CPUs, there are some differences:
At the AMD press event at Computex, it was revealed that these new processors would have up to 32 cores in total, mirroring the 32-core versions of EPYC. On EPYC, those processors have four active dies, with eight active cores on each die (four for each CCX). On EPYC however, there are eight memory channels, and AMD's X399 platform only has support for four channels. For the first generation this meant that each of the two active die would have two memory channels attached – in the second generation Threadripper this is still the case: the two now 'active' parts of the chip do not have direct memory access.
This also means that the number of PCIe lanes remains at 64 for Threadripper 2, rather than the 128 of Epyc.
Threadripper 1 had a "game mode" that disabled one of the two active dies, so it will be interesting to see if users of the new chips will be forced to disable even more cores in some scenarios.