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AMD details Ryzen chipsets, promises no multiplier locks

AMD details Ryzen chipsets, promises no multiplier locks

AMD has promised that all Ryzen processors will feature an unlocked multiplier, but quietly ensured that those on 'essential' motherboard chipsets won't be able to make use of the feature.

AMD has promised that every single one of its Ryzen processors will feature an unlocked multiplier for overclocking purposes, but quietly admitted that only selected motherboard chipsets will actually support the feature.

As part of its Ryzen unveiling at the Consumer Electronics Show, processor underdog AMD impressed the crowds by promising that its upcoming Ryzen chips - the name given to the first family of processors built around the new Zen microarchitecture - will feature blanket support for multiplier-based overclocking. The company's inference was clear: buy any AMD chip and get free performance boosts, while rival Intel will charge you extra for the same functionality in its enthusiast family.

The announcement was followed by a list of chipset models that will be available for Ryzen motherboards, and it's here that the story gets murky: AMD is keeping the functionality away from its entry-level parts. As a result, the two 'Essential' chipset models - A320 for budget mainstream PCs and A300 for budget small form factor builds - won't include the ability to overclock Ryzen processors.

Those looking to actually make use of Ryzen's unlocked multipliers, then, will need to look further up-market: the functionality begins with the B350 chipset, described as for 'mainstream' systems, while the 'enthusiast' X370 and 'enthusiast SFF' X300 both include overclocking. Interestingly, all full-size motherboard chipsets include native USB 3.1 Gen 2 support but neither the 'essential' nor 'enthusiast' small form factor chipsets include the feature.

Support for AMD CrossFire and Nvidia SLI multi-GPU setups, meanwhile, is unsurprisingly limited to the top-end X370 chipset, where it will take the form of a pair of eight-lane PCI Express 3.0 slots. Naturally, pricing and formal availability for all motherboard types has yet to be confirmed.

During the same presentation, AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster also pledged that Ryzen will be a four-year technology with no plans to launch chips based on a new semiconductor process node until at least 2020. Instead, the company is following Intel in keeping the same process node and concentrating instead on incremental improvements to the underlying microarchitecture - though this doesn't necessarily guarantee that the Ryzen chips launched in 2020 will work with Ryzen motherboards from 2017.

AMD is still keeping quiet regarding Ryzen's official launch date, which is due to take place some time in the first quarter of this year.

32 Comments

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Parge 9th January 2017, 10:54 Quote
Enthusiast SFF - sounds exciting for us ITX fans! Can't see me changing up from a 5820k but it sure will be good to give Intel a bit of competition.
Gareth Halfacree 9th January 2017, 10:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parge
Enthusiast SFF - sounds exciting for us ITX fans! Can't see me changing up from a 5820k but it sure will be good to give Intel a bit of competition.
Aye, but it's a shame there's no native USB 3.1 Gen 2 on that one. Living-room SFF is exactly the sort of device that benefits most from having a nice high-speed multi-function USB Type-C port or two on it!
jinq-sea 9th January 2017, 11:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Aye, but it's a shame there's no native USB 3.1 Gen 2 on that one. Living-room SFF is exactly the sort of device that benefits most from having a nice high-speed multi-function USB Type-C port or two on it!

Exactly. I thought this was quite a weird omission to be honest!
Vault-Tec 9th January 2017, 11:15 Quote
Yeah that kinda sucks. However, it's good to see they have taken a safer and more mature approach to AM4. I can not even begin to tell you how many boards that supposedly supported the FX 8 chips made their way off of the production line with a snowflake's chance in heck of ever running them at their stock speed, let alone overclocked ! Talk about VRM throttling !

Some cases were even worse though. Apparently some of MSI's AM3 boards caught fire if you overclocked a FX8 with them.

Yeah, that whole debacle is best avoided this time around. Maybe AMD have speculated to board partners that they must fit adequate power phases to boards that overclock? a step in the right direction IMO.
Corky42 9th January 2017, 12:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinq-sea
Exactly. I thought this was quite a weird omission to be honest!

Is it because the SFF X300 doesn't have a chipset (southbridge), afaik the SFF boards depend entirely on the CPU (northbridge) for their connectivity.
bawjaws 9th January 2017, 12:40 Quote
Ooh, look - the enthusiast AMD chipset is X370, but Intel's equivalent is Z270. Now, does that mean that AMD is 100 better, or that Intel is better because Z comes after X? So confusing :D

Seriously, though, naming your chipsets as 3xx because Intel's current offerings are 2xx is pretty bloody lame, AMD :D
jinq-sea 9th January 2017, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Corky42
Is it because the SFF X300 doesn't have a chipset (southbridge), afaik the SFF boards depend entirely on the CPU (northbridge) for their connectivity.

Aha! While that makes sense to save PCB real-estate, it's a bit of a shame it means a feature sacrifice. Never mind :(
Corky42 9th January 2017, 13:10 Quote
@bawjaws, Doesn't the letter thing only work with graphic cards, i got an extra 5fps just from covering my GPU with stick on letters. ;)
bawjaws 9th January 2017, 13:54 Quote
I painted mine red. Red ones go faster, everyone know that!
hyperion 9th January 2017, 15:21 Quote
Wishful thinking but if AMD supports AM4 anywhere near as long as AM3+ then I wouldn't spending a bit more on a mobo assuming it carries me through an upgrade.
jrs77 9th January 2017, 22:49 Quote
Aslong as there's no hardware around that actually uses USB Type C connectors I don't see a problem with not having these ports. Quite contrary, the new MacBookPro with only Type C ports is a desaster for all professionals, who can't connect any of their current dervices without those pesky adapters that don't work half of the time.

Anyways, good to see that they actually thought of the SFF right away.
Gareth Halfacree 9th January 2017, 23:00 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Aslong as there's no hardware around that actually uses USB Type C connectors I don't see a problem with not having these ports. Quite contrary, the new MacBookPro with only Type C ports is a desaster for all professionals, who can't connect any of their current dervices without those pesky adapters that don't work half of the time.
Yeah, nothing uses USB Type C! Apart from my phone, of course. And some laptops, including Apple's latest. And Dell's new monitor. And a bunch of other monitors. And external hard drives. And external flash drives. And some cameras. And...

Actually, there's quite a lot of stuff that uses USB Type C, now I come to think of it - and there's more launching all the time. Huh. Guess that's why AMD is crowing about having native USB 3.1 Gen 2 support on its full-size systems, then.
spolsh 10th January 2017, 06:12 Quote
Hmmm, is there some reason a person couldn't get a cable with the more normal USB type connector on one end ? or does type C cable have to be the same on both ends ?
perplekks45 10th January 2017, 07:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Aslong as there's no hardware around that actually uses USB Type C connectors I don't see a problem with not having these ports. Quite contrary, the new MacBookPro with only Type C ports is a desaster for all professionals, who can't connect any of their current dervices without those pesky adapters that don't work half of the time.

Anyways, good to see that they actually thought of the SFF right away.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spolsh
Hmmm, is there some reason a person couldn't get a cable with the more normal USB type connector on one end ? or does type C cable have to be the same on both ends ?

No, it doesn't. But the benefits you get from type C just won't be there, will they?

Given that 'enthusiasts' generally also tend to be early adopters in other areas of the electronical equipment markets I don't really see the reason behind the decision to drop type C from their SFF offering.

Also, while not really a showstopper, the decision to make SLI and Crossfire use a 2 x 8 lane setup doesn't really smell like longevity for this chipset. We don't NEED more than 2 x 8 right now for almost all scenarios I can think of, but what about in 3 years time? What if AMD actually manages to release a properly competing GPU and we will see large(r) strides in GPU development over the next few years? Will 2 x 8 still be enough? Or does AMD just want their customers to upgrade to the next chipset in line in 2020?
Corky42 10th January 2017, 08:31 Quote
Nothings stopping MoBo manufactures from sticking a USB 3.1g2 chip on a SFF board though is there?
I mean technically can that be done or is something preventing them from doing it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Or does AMD just want their customers to upgrade to the next chipset in line in 2020?

They (AMD) have said they expect Ryzen and AM4 to have a 4 year lifetime so what happens in 2020 is anyone's guess. :)
Anfield 10th January 2017, 08:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Also, while not really a showstopper, the decision to make SLI and Crossfire use a 2 x 8 lane setup doesn't really smell like longevity for this chipset. We don't NEED more than 2 x 8 right now for almost all scenarios I can think of, but what about in 3 years time?

Pci Express 4 will be here in much less than three 3 years.
faugusztin 10th January 2017, 09:22 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Yeah, nothing uses USB Type C! Apart from my phone, of course. And some laptops, including Apple's latest. And Dell's new monitor. And a bunch of other monitors. And external hard drives. And external flash drives. And some cameras. And...

To be fair, none of that actually uses USB 3.1 Gen 2, and neither current Intel boards support most of those features.

Most USB Type C phones still use USB 2.0 speeds, some use 3.1 Gen 1. No issue there then. Sure, some future proofing would be nice, but oh well.
Most USB Type C ports on computers cannot charge laptops, as they usually require the USB Power Delivery levels PC's do not provide. I doubt we will see a 20V/5A output from a PC USB Type C port anytime soon. And even the 12V/5A is doubtful.
And finally, monitors. How many of the USB Type C connectors on PCs actually support DisplayPort alternate mode ? Outside of the boards which have the Thunderbolt controller i don't think any do.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spolsh
Hmmm, is there some reason a person couldn't get a cable with the more normal USB type connector on one end ? or does type C cable have to be the same on both ends ?

Problem are the alternate modes of USB Type C, you cannot do that with USB Type A to type C adapter. There is no way to make USB Type A talk HDMI/DP/Thunderbolt alternate mode.
Gareth Halfacree 10th January 2017, 10:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
To be fair, none of that actually uses USB 3.1 Gen 2,
Untrue. Just with a quick Amazon search I can pull up the StarTech USB 3.1 Gen 2 Dual-Bay Hard Drive Dock, USB 3.1 Gen 2 2.5" SATA Adaptor Cable, M.2 NGFF USB 3.1 Gen 2 SATA Enclosure and Aluminium USB 3.1 Gen 2 2.5" SATA Drive Enclosure, the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD, the Lacie Chrome 1TB Desktop Solid State Drive, the Axtremex Micro SSD USB 3.1 Gen 2 USB-C External Solid State Drive, the AData SE730 Type-C External SSD, and the TerraMaster D2-310 USB Type C External Hard Drive RAID Enclosure USB 3.1 Gen 2.

That's even before looking at stuff not yet available in the UK. If we widen our search, there's the Blue Eye Thunderdisk family, the Cru ToughTech Duo C, the G-Drive Slim SSD USB-C, and the Netac Z5 - not even counting laptops with USB 3.1 Gen 2 support, like Apple's new MacBooks.
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Most USB Type C phones still use USB 2.0 speeds, some use 3.1 Gen 1. No issue there then.
USB Type C is exclusively available to USB 3.0/3.1 adopters, so that's also untrue. As for the phones themselves using slower-than-Gen-2 throughput, I'll grant you that - but when USB 3.0 was first hitting motherboards you could make the same argument. "Hey, none of my devices are USB 3.0, so what's the point?" Then you could do the same for USB 2.0, and USB 1.2, and eventually we're all connecting our smartphones to our PCs over RS232 'cos nobody bought anything better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
And finally, monitors. How many of the USB Type C connectors on PCs actually support DisplayPort alternate mode ? Outside of the boards which have the Thunderbolt controller i don't think any do.
So, outside of the boards which do support it nothing supports it? :p

Personally, when I come to upgrade, I'll be buying a device with USB 3.1 Gen 2. Why? Well, I might not have any USB 3.1 Gen 2 devices right now, but I've been using this desktop for, what, three years? Four? At some point in the next half-decade I'm likely to buy a new phone, camera, flash drive, external hard drive, whatever - and it'd be nice if I weren't running it at half its potential throughput 'cos my system doesn't have USB 3.1 Gen 2. It was a good few years after getting my first system with USB 3.0 on it that I got my first USB 3.0 device, to prove my point...
Vault-Tec 10th January 2017, 10:43 Quote
I've got one USB3 device and I didn't even buy it :D

I never use it either (external drive).
jrs77 10th January 2017, 14:44 Quote
Look at professional hardware, especially audio-stuff. And show me the mouse or keyboards with USB Type C-connectors, or what about graphics tablets, flash-sticks, USB-DACs, etc. Nothing available there.
All the guys running Ableton or similar audio-software on their MacBooks currently can't upgrade to the new model because all their input-devices won't work. And no, adapters don't work as they add latency or cut off totally sometimes.

Also. Most of the hardware currently available with USB Type C-connectors are actually Thunderbolt-devices and not USB and they cost a fortune.

So yeah. Aslong as there's no mice, keyboards, flash-sticks, audio-hardware, graphic tablets, etc with USB Type C, aslong it doesn't matter and is just an unused gimmick.
Gareth Halfacree 10th January 2017, 15:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Look at professional hardware, especially audio-stuff. And show me the mouse or keyboards with USB Type C-connectors, or what about graphics tablets, flash-sticks, USB-DACs, etc. Nothing available there.
Show me where I said that a living room SFF machine should only have USB Type C. What's that? You can't? 'Cos I didn't say that. I said, and I quote, "Living-room SFF is exactly the sort of device that benefits most from having a nice high-speed multi-function USB Type-C port or two on it."
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Also. Most of the hardware currently available with USB Type C-connectors are actually Thunderbolt-devices and not USB and they cost a fortune.
Except for every single device I gave you links to, which are all USB 3.1 Gen 2. Oh, and the phone in my pocket, which definitely ain't Thunderbolt.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
So yeah. Aslong as there's no mice, keyboards, flash-sticks, audio-hardware, graphic tablets, etc with USB Type C, aslong it doesn't matter and is just an unused gimmick.
What bollocks - and I've linked you to flash sticks with USB Type C. At the moment, USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2 are largely used where you need high throughput: it's no surprise that every USB 3.1 Gen 2 device I linked you to is storage-related, 'cos there's where 10Gb/s can make a difference. There are also high-end industrial cameras with Type C, again 'cos they need the throughput. A keyboard? A keyboard doesn't need 10Gb/s of throughput. It doesn't need 10Kb/s of throughput.

Here's what will happen, as has happened with every other connectivity standard since the dawn of time: it will be adopted where it makes sense, which in this case is high-speed storage; as users increasingly buy said high-speed storage devices, they'll want more Type C ports and the manufacturers will gladly oblige; as the number of Type C ports increase, the number of Type A ports will decrease accordingly 'cos there's finite room for this stuff; as the number of Type A ports decreases, manufacturers of devices which don't necessarily benefit from Type C connectivity (beyond the universal "I can shove it in the hole with my eyes closed and not worry about which way up it is" benefit) will move to USB Type C so as not to tie up the decreasing number of USB Type A ports.

Replace "USB Type C" with "USB" and "USB Type A" with "RS232" in the above, and you'll have a description of why you're not using an RS232 serial port mouse right now.
jinq-sea 10th January 2017, 15:21 Quote
I think I love you, Gareth.
faugusztin 10th January 2017, 15:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Untrue.
I think we misunderstood each other. I was talking about some of the specific examples you provided :
- current phones with USB Type C being unable to actually use the bandwidth of even USB 3.1 Gen 1.
- USB Type C monitors using HDMI or DisplayPort alternate modes, which do not use USB 3.1 protocol at all (they do not use DisplayLink chips).
- laptops AFAIK do not directly communicate with the host via Type C, so for laptops the Type C connector is a power source at best, which means USB generation is irrelevant, USB Power Delivery spec/support is what is relevant.

The real issue is not the fact that majority of USB Type C connectors on motherboards are missing 3.1 Gen 2. The real issue is that majority of them misses support for most of USB PD spec, that they miss alternate modes.

You can throw out the USB Type C monitor if your USB Type C motherboard connector will not support DisplayPort or HDMI alternate mode. Charging a Macbook battery will also be a painfull process unless the motherboard connector can provide at least 12V@3A charging (which in current implementations is questionable at best).

Simply put, USB protocol itself is only one small part of the whole of USB Type C ecosystem, and that is the major issue with Type C, not the USB 3.1 generation.

It is the same mess as saying M.2 (which size ? which key ? which protocol of the few allowed inside the specific key ?).
Gareth Halfacree 10th January 2017, 16:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
I think we misunderstood each other.
Entirely possible. I've always thought I'm misunderstood. <tortured sob>
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
The real issue is not the fact that majority of USB Type C connectors on motherboards are missing 3.1 Gen 2. The real issue is that majority of them misses support for most of USB PD spec, that they miss alternate modes.
Unless you're looking to use a USB storage device, in which case USB 3.1 Gen 2 via Type C gives you twice the throughput of USB 3.0. Hardly what I'd describe as an 'unused gimmick,' as you put it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Simply put, USB protocol itself is only one small part of the whole of USB Type C ecosystem, and that is the major issue with Type C, not the USB 3.1 generation.
Let's follow this thinking through for a moment and say that a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C port which doesn't support DisplayPort, big-ass Power Delivery, or any of the other shinies properly is on my hypothetical living-room small form factor system. Is it an "unused gimmick," or is it something I can connect my phone to using a USB Type C to Type C cable (neatly sidestepping issues surrounding badly-made USB Type A to Type C adaptor cables making laptops and phones go kaphooey)? Something I can connect any one of the storage devices I linked you to earlier and enjoy the benefit of double the peak throughput compared with USB 3.0?

Here's my understanding of your argument, and feel free to correct it if I've got the wrong end of the stick: USB Type C is an 'unused gimmick' because nothing uses it (untrue), some things that do use it don't use it to its full potential (entirely true), USB 3.0 Type A is fine (true if you don't need the nice things that USB Type C can do or the increased bandwidth of USB 3.1 Gen 2), and Type C is clearly a failure 'cos you can't buy a Type C keyboard or mouse (which will change, in my opinion, given time). S'that right?

Tell you what: you seem confident that USB Type C ain't going to take off. Let's have a little wager: £5 to the charity of the winner's choice that in... let's say two years, motherboards and laptops without USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type C will be in the minority. You in?

EDIT: Look what I found: a USB Type-C keyboard! Okay, it's not out yet, but still - it exists!
faugusztin 10th January 2017, 16:35 Quote
Again, the examples were yours, not mine. For USB Type C displays, for connecting laptops to a PC with USB Type C, the USB 3.1 generation is really irrelevant, simply because they do not use USB 3.1 protocol at all. Obviously for storage it makes sense to get as quick interface as possible, no one argues that point.
Gareth Halfacree 10th January 2017, 16:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Again, the examples were yours, not mine. For USB Type C displays, for connecting laptops to a PC with USB Type C, the USB 3.1 generation is really irrelevant, simply because they do not use USB 3.1 protocol at all. Obviously for storage it makes sense to get as quick interface as possible, no one argues that point.
Do you know, I've only just realised that you're not jrs77 and jrs77 isn't you. No wonder you're confused by what I've said: I'm having a two-way discussion with three people in it! Sorry - clearly I wasn't paying enough attention before posting!
jrs77 10th January 2017, 16:59 Quote
You ironically left out to quote me specifically talking about the new MacBookPro. But I guess you needed to, to make your point ;)
Gareth Halfacree 10th January 2017, 17:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
You ironically left out to quote me specifically talking about the new MacBookPro. But I guess you needed to, to make your point ;)
Neither ironic not to make my point; I trimmed the bits I wasn't responding to, as you should.
jrs77 11th January 2017, 19:49 Quote
Sure, but you destroyed the context of what I was actually saying.

All the currently available professional audio-hardware and/or graphics tablets use USB A-connectors, and aslong as this is the case USB Type C will only be a gimmick and actually disastrous on devices where there's only these ports. That's why I specifically mentioned the new MacBookPro and professional hardware.

And as for the end-users... well... my sister just bought the new MacBookPro and had no clue about the new USB-ports and paid me a visit to resolve the issues she had with that. The adapter wasn't able to connect her external USB-A 3.0 HDD and so she couldn't copy her data. We ended up copying the data from her old MacBookAir to the new MacBookPro via WiFi, but she wouldn't have been able to do that at home either due to the lack of a router. She only has mobile internet these days like all the cool kids, who use their PCs only for recreational purposes.
And people like her definately don't need any 10 GBit/s external HDDs either.

Oh and btw... remember these SATA HDDs, you know, those things most people actually use as their external HDD? Those things can't even use the full speed of the current USB3 5GBit/s and usually max out at ~80 MB/s whereas an external SSD reaches 160 MB/s.
SSDs are way too expensive for the mainstream to be used as external storage, so there goes your awesome 10GBit/s ports.

Seriously. Currently these USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C ports are nothing but a gimmick for enthusiasts.
Wwhat 14th January 2017, 17:19 Quote
I'm sorry but I have zero confidence that ryzen can compete in the higher segment until I actually see it tested as such on reliable sites. AMD has promised the world before.
Spaceraver 29th January 2017, 15:33 Quote
Am I the only one that sees AMD dropping the ball on the pin count? Only 1331 as opposed to 1337 would have been a good humorous gimmick. :D
LennyRhys 29th January 2017, 15:46 Quote
^ Yep it's been said a few times. They might do what intel did with socket 2011 and have some extra pins for better overclocking. :)
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