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AMD Ryzen AMA

Project Scorpio, Versus Core i5, and ECC

Robert Pankiw: Microsoft engineers are said to have made significant improvements to both the architecture and design of the Scorpio Engine, the SoC (system on chip) jointly developed with AMD. The engineering team reduced the Jaguar powered SoC to a 16nm process node. I realize that doing a process shrink isn't nearly as easy as shrinking a picture in MSPaint. What goes into shrinking existing core design?

The team also reportedly made huge strides in parsing DirectX 12 commands, even claiming that their new designs reduced some API calls down from thousands of instructions to 11. Can AMD still benefit from that knowledge and implementation specifics?

DON WOLIGROSKI: I should qualify this by starting with saying I can't comment directly on Project Scorpio, I am not involved in that project and have no idea if what you've heard about a die shrink is true, but I can make a comment on die shrinks in general

Die shrinks are far more involved than people think, because architecture is tied to dies in ways that we don't know. Not that I know, but this is what our architects tell me when I ask. I can say it's a non-trivial, massive undertaking. But I'm no processor engineer, to be sure. So, I don't have the knowledge to answer you with any authority, sorry.

It might sound like I'm tooting our own horn, but I do believe that AMD invented the basis for all modern APIs. DirectX 12 owes a good portion of its existence to AMD's Mantle API, which laid out a template for Microsoft to follow. They do a lot of things similarly. And of course, Mantle lives on as the basis of the Vulkan API. So absolutely, we're very, very focused on future-looking graphics APIs and taking advantage of them as best we can.

g-unit1111: I'm interested in upgrading my 4th Generation Intel Haswell rig to a Ryzen based system. What performance can we expect from the Ryzen 5 Processors? How does the Ryzen 5 1600X compare to say an i5-7600K? Would my money be better spent on upgrading to a Ryzen 7 1700X?

Also, what's the issue with AM4 mounting brackets? I see that companies like Noctua are giving away AM4 mounting brackets but would older coolers be able to work on the new platform?

DON WOLIGROSKI: Ryzen 5 will murder the Core i5 when it comes to prosumer applications: rendering, encoding, encryption. Anything that takes advantage of more threads, the Ryzen dominates.

If you're a prosumer who wants even more productivity, Ryzen 7 will deliver even shorter processing times than Ryzen 5. If this is you, get the

best you can afford. But know that the Ryzen 5 is worlds better than the Core i5. The Ryzen 5 1600X is essentially as fast as the Core i7-6850K when it comes to prosumer applications.

Now, if all you do is surf the web and game, one application at a time, maybe don't upgrade yet. If you game and stream at the same time, and like to run apps while gaming, then Ryzen is a sweet upgrade for gamers.

norune: Has AMD fine-tuned Ryzen chips so there is less overclocking headroom for the 1800X models in comparison to the 1700 models? Any date for the next revision of Ryzen? Like Late 2017 or early 2018?

DON WOLIGROSKI: AMD qualifies chips. We choose the best samples to be the 1800X, because it has to run at the highest clocks. Does that mean a 1700 or 1700X can't run at those same clocks? Not at all, they might run very well at higher clocks! But they might need a bit more voltage and a bit more cooling to do so.

I have no dates for the next Ryzen revision, sorry. All I can tell you is that Ryzen 3 is coming in the 2nd half of 2017.

sp1207: What is the story with ECC? I've read reports of it working with various motherboards, working only in Linux, working in Windows but not advertised as such. Is there any AMD push to coordinate with Microsoft and motherboard manufacturers to enable ECC as an option even if not officially supported?

DON WOLIGROSKI: Ryzen processors support ECC memory, but it's up to motherboard manufacturers to qualify their platforms. Since this isn't a typical consumer feature, you'll need to do some research and see what works I'm afraid, unless a motherboard specifically announces support for ECC RAM.

Robert Pankiw: Does AMD, Intel, and NVidia work together pre-launch to prevent as few hardware related bugs as possible, especially if these bugs only show up in certain configurations?

DON WOLIGROSKI: AMD does its best to ensure the best possible user experience when we partner with any other vendor.


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