AMD says Ryzen was a "worst case scenario," Threadripper built by engineers in their spare...

By midian182 ยท 73 replies
Sep 7, 2017
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  1. After its CPUs spent years as ‘budget’ alternatives to Intel’s dominant chips, AMD is finally challenging Chipzilla with its Ryzen processors. In an interview with 'Joker' from Joker Productions, the company’s desktop CPU marketing manager, Don Woligroski, shared some interesting information about Ryzen, referring to it as a “worst case scenario.”

    While Ryzen has proved extremely popular, it does have areas that could be improved. Woligroski said the fact it’s a brand new architecture on a brand new node is less than ideal, but it still turned out well. He added that future Zen 2 processors will come with better IPC (instructions per cycle), clock speeds, and overclocking.

    Answering a fan question about improvements in AMD’s future CPUs at PAX West, Woligroski said: “I’ve said this before, and I think it holds true. Zen, Ryzen, was the worst case scenario. It was a brand new architecture on a brand new node. So the worst case scenario we could’ve possibly had, and it’s pretty good. You can get to over 4.GHz.”

    It seems IPC rates and base frequencies are going to be two areas of focus in Zen 2. “We’ve got clock speed headroom to take advantage of and we’ve got tweaks to make sure performance for each clock is better,” claimed Woligroski, who said AMD has some “really good stuff coming. We’re not a one hit wonder; we’re keeping the pressure on for some time. It’ll be a great 2018. It was a great 2017, and we’ll see how things turn out.”

    While Intel’s chips still have a very slight advantage over AMD when it comes to gaming performance (check out our comparison feature), the red team continues to work with game creators to optimize their titles.

    “For games that are already released, our focus is making sure if they have a problem on Ryzen processors, which some do you’ll see a big performance delta, you’re like why? Ryzen is pretty fast and we’ll go and engage with the developer. We did it for Dota 2, Rise Of The Tomb raider and we just find out what was wrong.”

    “For future looking stuff, it’s that chicken or egg scenario. When you have more threads and cores available the guys will start developing for it. We certainly have engineers that we hand out to guys who are developing games and our partners like Bethesda have been really great. They’re like how do we take advantage of this hardware? and we send guys in to say here’s how you do it. Here’s some ideas and it’s just a feedback loop. It just gets better and better. We finally have the APIs, now they’re going to learn how to use them. It’s not an instant ON. But then it’s inevitable.”

    A lot of excitement about Ryzen was over AMD’s HEDT processor, Threadripper. Plenty has been written about the chip and its flagship model’s 16 cores and 32 threads, but what’s especially interesting are the revelations that it wasn’t originally part of AMD’s plans.

    In a series of interviews by Forbes, AMD staff reveal that Threadripper was a passion project for the company’s engineers, who worked on the CPU during their spare time. It took around a year of tinkering before management made it official.

    "It’s not really a story of roadmaps and long-term planning or huge R&D budgets—it’s a lot more personal than that and stemmed from a skunkworks project and a small group of AMD employees who had a vision of a processor they’d really want in terms of a high-performance PC," Sarah Youngbauer from AMD's communications team told Forbes.

    Another member of AMD’s comms team, James Prior, said one of the company’s cardinal rules was not to go against the grain. But the turning point came when Jim Anderson joined from Intel. As a CPU enthusiast, he loved the idea of Threadripper, and soon gave it the green light.

    “He [Anderson] believed in the idea, especially the way it leveraged existing technology we were using for Ryzen and EPYC, plus the fact as we were so excited about it that we’d already done a lot of the groundwork that would have been involved in the approval process anyway,” said Prior.

    Earlier this week, a report from German retailer Mindfactory.de claimed AMD’s CPUs are outselling Intel’s offerings for the first time in a decade. It’ll be interesting to see how the battle between the companies’ future hardware plays out, and whether one firm will start to pull ahead. Whatever happens, renewed competition in a market once dominated by Intel can only be good news for the consumer.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  2. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,467   +925

    Here's a few things I want to see in 2018 from AMD:
    - Zen2 with 4.5GHz or more and ~15% IPC gains
    - Continue the fast paced driver/bios updates to improve stability and performance
    - Now that they have their compute monsters in Vega for servers/workstations, to shift focus towards the gaming market too (they don't need to win the crown, just to continue being be very competitive)
    - Help improve compilers and get better support for a wider range of development environments
    - To not stop being aggressive in their pricing and product launches. Coffee Lake might slow down Ryzen adoption, but it will also help AMD because it makes 6+ cores the new mainstream standard. They should be able to remain relevant in the value/$ till Zen2 launches.
     
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  3. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,191   +1,259

    I always thought that IPC stood for "instructions per clock."

    Anyway, I'm really happy to see AMD being competitive again. I currently have an i7 3770k, still a great cpu, but my next upgrade will definitely be AMD. I'm thinking my 3770k has about 3 or 4 more years in it. Intel has been stagnant for so long they allowed AMD to start pulling ahead. Imagine where Intel would be if they weren't so arrogant in their development.

    I'm waiting for AMD to start adding more features to their chip before I upgrade. Hopefully they'll have quad channel memory in their next cycle as well as workstation instruction sets on their chips. I'd really like some full on virtualization chips so I can run multiple systems from one machine. That has always been a dream of mine but Intel chips have always been too expensive to do it. That and the chips that can do it are lacking in gaming performance.
     
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,930   +1,626


    I would like to see a simple to read, colorfull chart of all the existing processors, listed by generation that include all the vitals plus their cost so you could compare them all on one page (11x17 sheet optional).
     
    madboyv1 likes this.
  5. trparky

    trparky TS Addict Posts: 213   +102

    Past 4.0 GHz? What's this guy smoking? I'd love to have a hit of it!

    Most people can't push these things past 3.9 let alone 3.8 GHz without it turning into an unstable mess and those that have managed to do so only have because of massive cooling systems that no normal person is going to spend the time to build.

    They really need to get out of the sub-4 GHz valley and get Ryzen into the mid 4 GHz region to really be able to take on Intel. Combine the lower base clock speeds and less IPC than Intel and it's just not worth it. Better to spend about a $100 more and go Intel and have better single-core performance. Maybe Zen 2 will be worth it, I certainly hope so but as of right now Zen 1.0 just isn't.
     
    AntiShill likes this.
  6. dirtyferret

    dirtyferret TS Maniac Posts: 239   +203

    So the marketing guy gave a sales speech and people are buying it Hook line and sinker...Let's wait until the refreshed Ryzens arrive and are tested before we crown them.
     
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  7. davislane1

    davislane1 Inquisitor Posts: 4,590   +3,613

    If you aren't jumping the gun, you aren't doing it right.
     
    Johnnyblaze1957 likes this.
  8. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,467   +925

    I doubt we'll see quad channel on mainstream systems in 2018.
    For virtualisation, it's more of a compatibility question than any missing instruction sets. Does the software you use have support for AMD equivalent instruction sets? As far as I know you have no major issues with VMs (they even added ACS support in AGESA 1.0.0.6).
    As for instruction sets what are you missing/need besides AVX-512?
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  9. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,467   +925

    That's for OCing on all cores. You do get boost speeds of up to 4.2GHz on some of the CPUs that support XFR.
     
  10. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Booster Posts: 167   +66

    So what is the proposed release date of Zen 2?
     
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,585   +542

    IMO, the takeaway from the marketing statements are that AMD is aware of the areas where the current design falls behind the competition. That certainly does not mean that they will exceed the competition in those areas with the next rev, but being aware of where your design lacks in comparison to the competition is quite different from having your head where the sun does not shine because you are on the top of the heap which allows you to make trivial improvements and double your prices on nearly every rev.

    I'll say this again that in the market AMD went after with Zen, workstation and server, they have achieved gains that make them very competitive. That market also happens to have deep pockets, and IMO, those pockets are deeper than the enthusiast/gaming market. AMD needed the cash, and this article somewhat confirms that by saying that TR was a black project that AMD employees worked on in their spare time.

    But now that AMD has much needed revenue mounting from the workstation/server markets, they can afford to make improvements in their design that will please those in the enthusiast/gaming markets.

    I am sure they know by now that benchmarks will reveal the mojo, or lack thereof, of their next rev, and I doubt that they think that everyone will be fooled again by vaporware.
     
  12. hqxt1964

    hqxt1964 TS Rookie Posts: 16

    The best result: AMD keeps competing against Inter, not over rivals. Otherwise, we're going to see crazy pricing like Vega.
     
  13. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,860   +1,061

    Threadripper starts at 4.0 GHz and boosts to 4.2 GHz, so yes they do go that high.
     
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  14. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 673   +305

    Maybe he is referring to the theoretical limits of the architecture and node, that Zen can go beyond 4GHz if AMD can solve some design/manufacturing/reliability problems.
     
  15. seeprime

    seeprime TS Booster Posts: 84   +67

    Our shop has built custom workstations for local businesses. We've used Intel because of confidence in CPU performance and durability. I look forward to reading how well Ryzen compares to top of the line Core i7 when simultaneously processing dozens of Photoshop images, and 4K videos, in conjunction with high end graphics cards. I hope Ryzen kicks Intel @ss, so my customers can get a bigger bang for their buck. Right now no site, that I'm aware of, has posted results with systems that are pushed to the limit doing batch processing, only benchmarks that show promise.
     
  16. trparky

    trparky TS Addict Posts: 213   +102

    You forget that Threadripper uses only the best silicon whereas Ryzen chips get what amounts to table scraps.

    And yes, I mean 24/7 overclock when I say that you can't push it past 3.9 GHz. XFR is nice and all but that's not all the time overclocking which is what many of us want.
     
  17. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 1,956   +620

    Worst case scenario and it shows.
    Wake me when AMD releases a chip for the 80% instead of the 20% Ryzen caters to.
    Also wake me when AMD gets out of the graphics business and sells it to someone that can actually put money and focus into it.
     
    AntiShill likes this.
  18. trparky

    trparky TS Addict Posts: 213   +102

    Yeah, Vega was an epic fail. Great for miners but piss **** poor for gamers.
     
    AntiShill likes this.
  19. AntiShill

    AntiShill TS Enthusiast Posts: 190   +47

    Are we supposed to feel good about AMD releasing some skunkworks project done in some of their engineers spare time? And just worst case scenario are they imagining? I would be really wary about all the lack of adequate testing, regression, and validation that really needs to be done. They want us to pay more to play guinea pigs. How about a big NO THANKS!

    And if Ryzen was supposed to be best thing since slice bread, why are they talking up the Ryzen+/2 so soon? I don't think AMD knows about the real worse case scenario. All this talk is as if Intel is static and stationary. Core for core, single thread, we know the answer that Intel is faster. What makes AMD think that Intel can't just throw more cores together? As much as Intel hates it, some more cores, some price reduction, and then what? 15% IPC improvement in Ryzen 2 is going to counter that? Who is AMD kidding? The real question is how quickly and how drastically is Intel going to react? If by the time Ryzen 2 is out, and we are back at the same relative situation like "Kabylake vs Ryzen" , AMD will NOT have made any significant gains, and Intel will still in command of pricing and getting away with bloody murder.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
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  20. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,860   +1,061

    I hate to break this to you but Intel's 7700K is also heavily binned. The top processors are always the best silicon, this should be obvious. Most Intel CPUs can't go above 4 GHz either, so I'm not getting this double standard where we can't take AMD's best binned chips vs Intel's best binned chips.

    Just because the idea originated in someone's free time doesn't mean it hasn't been validated. Obviously AMD went through the processing of testing and taping out (which takes more than 9 months mind you). No company is going to tape out just some random first iteration design the engineers come up with, they went though revisions (and you can even tell so by the stepping the processors come with). I'd like to point out that many of world's best things were something made on the side. You need not take my word for it, Threadripper has already been tested and bench marked en mass by the tech press. Any assumption you are making here about it not being tested have already been proven bogus.

    "15% IPC improvement in Ryzen 2 is going to counter that? Who is AMD kidding?"

    Given that Intel has a ~5% IPC lead right now, yes it most certainly would counter. This is also considering that AMD is moving down to the 7nm node with Ryzen2, which means that power consumption will reduce and they will have more free die space. So many things AMD could do with that space from improving frequencies, to adding cache, to integrating more, ect, ect.

    Actually Server and HEDT sales are more like the 80%, given data from Intel's recent sales report. Intel made twice as much Server revenue as it did from desktop processor sales, no even including HEDT / Professional. But it's not like AMD is bad on the desktop either as reviews have shown. You are just complaining to complain, even though we are lucky AMD even pulled a rabbit out of the hat with Zen in the first place. I'm guessing you'd only be satisfied if AMD had crushed Intel in IPC? Or would you then take the side of Intel anyways?
     
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  21. AntiShill

    AntiShill TS Enthusiast Posts: 190   +47

    And AMD has almost none that go over 4Ghz. And just how do you quantify most? LOL. People have been running Sandybridges from 6 years ago at over 4Ghz or more on cheap air cooling. If even a 1/3 of Intel's do go over 4Ghz vs nearly none from AMD, there is a major gap to overcome for AMD.

    What is with all the bios updates and AGESA updates? Are we really done with the last one? And "lack of adequate testing, regression, and validation" does NOT mean zero validation. But you are signing up to be guinea pig beta tester. Let no one be fooled Ryzen is really a beta for Ryzen+/2 etc.

    Really now. Maybe in your universe. You don't end up with charts like thise for being 5% behind:
    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html

    The top AMD on that chart manages about 2000 points, a whole 500 behind Intel. That is hardly 5%.

    Overpaying for AMD stuff today because you can pay more to get better AMD stuff later, is just people like you eagerly making donations to AMD regardless of actual bang-for-buck evaluation and ignoring the purpose of the build. Fact is Ryzen is not a good fit for gamers and its performance for gaming is lackluster and its price is too high to motivate gamers to switch to it. People would pay too much for what would amount to a side grade going from a i5-2500k for their gaming experience.
     
  22. Flebbert

    Flebbert TS Enthusiast Posts: 67   +44

    Man you love complaining for the sake of complaining.

    You seriously are complaining by the fact that their are BIOS updates to improve things.

    So this is a beta product because it needs BIOS updates?? I don't even know how to argue with your logic when every device on the market gets updates to improve things including cars, phones etc.

    You link a graph with all different clock speeds as an argument for IPC difference.........

    You then site that no one wants it yet sales have shown a steady rise over the last few months and almost all reviewers are suggesting the 1600 for mainstream gaming which would have to be atleast 60%+ of all gamers.

    You confused the hell out of me.... well played
     
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  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,860   +1,061

    "People have been running Sandybridges from 6 years ago at over 4Ghz or more on cheap air cooling.

    And yet you can do it on Ryzen with the stock cooler, given the wraith cooler has similar cooling performance to the 212 hyper.

    "If even a 1/3 of Intel's do go over 4Ghz vs nearly none from AMD, there is a major gap to overcome for AMD"

    95% of Ryzen CPUs can clock to 3.8 GHz, numbers from CPU Lottery and ALL AMD CPUs can be overclocked. I'd say 1/8th of all Intel CPUs at best can actually reach over 4.0 GHz. This should be obvious just from the number of locked CPUs Intel sells. What you could say is that most unlocked Intel i5s and i7 can reach 4.0 GHz, but they are a small fraction of the market. That is also assuming that every unlocked Intel processor can achieve 4 GHz or higher. I know for a fact that my 5820k and other high core count Intel CPUs have issues achieving higher frequencies.

    "What is with all the bios updates and AGESA updates? Are we really done with the last one? And "lack of adequate testing, regression, and validation" does NOT mean zero validation."

    You do realize I was talking about threadripper right? That's what your comment was on too... comprehension /fail
    But yes, let's talk about issues with new platforms, or more specifically Intel x79 and skylake. I seem to remember both have issues, especially x79. Once again, you have obvious double standards.

    "But you are signing up to be guinea pig beta tester. Let no one be fooled Ryzen is really a beta for Ryzen+/2 etc. "

    I remember my first beer. You must be new to tech so I'll let you in on a secret, new tech usually has issues. The fact that you had to complain about ryzen's budding issues and then state the obvious that everyone expected far before launch is just a waste of everyone's time.

    "Really now. Maybe in your universe. You don't end up with charts like thise for being 5% behind:
    https://www.cpubenchmark.net/singleThread.html"

    Oh no, look at this guy, he can cherry pick a single test and declare victory. Overclocked Intel CPUs vs stock Ryzen samples no less! Did you even take the time to notice that the top AMD CPUs on that list are at stock and the Intel ones are OC'd?

    Here's a review done by this very site that actually uses more than one test

    https://www.techspot.com/review/1345-amd-ryzen-7-1800x-1700x/page5.html

    Looks to me like Ryzen beats the 7700k's *** in even single threaded productivity tasks. This review doesn't even factor in the 10% performance boost we've seen from updates, which bury any lead the 7700k had in anything but gaming. Should I mention the power consumption numbers, where an AMD 8 core CPU is consuming around the same amount of power as Intel's 4 cores?

    Fun fact, I could cherry pick synthetics that make the FX 8320 look awesome in comparison to the 7700K. Doesn't mean it is.

    "Overpaying for AMD stuff today because you can pay more to get better AMD stuff later, is just people like you eagerly making donations to AMD regardless of actual bang-for-buck evaluation"

    LOL! Yeah, I got to remember that my $280 Ryzen 1700 was such a bad decision for my rendering rig. Yeah, you are right I could have at the time bought a used 5960x with the same amount of cores for $1,000. Totally bad monetary decision for me... I'm totally going to miss not having to buy a new motherboard every CPU generation too! Spending $250 each year was fun! In case you missed it, that was sarcasm. You're about the only dunce I've ever seen recommend Intel's current offerings over AMD's based on value. But let's see you back up your words. Show me the reviews that justify spending $720 more for the same core count Intel processor. I want to see what I get for spending more than 3 times more just on the processor and an additional $250 each year for the mobo. Heck, even worse if you consider this year where Intel switch sockets TWICE in one year.
     
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  24. AntiShill

    AntiShill TS Enthusiast Posts: 190   +47

    I have no idea how you pick the 1/8, perhaps from somewhere the sun does shine. Real fact what does you basic i3 Kabylake run at? Noneven the unlocked K version See:
    https://ark.intel.com/products/97455/Intel-Core-i3-7100-Processor-3M-Cache-3_90-GHz
    3.9 GHZ. So basically 100% of the (non lower/medium power)desktop Kabylakes can clock over 3.8Ghz. And what you consider the small fraction more than matches the entire market share of Ryzen, and there is no ryzen lower power mobile edition yet to date.

    Yep cherry picking.... Looks like you are the one doing it. And in the same article you see lots of charts like this:


    [​IMG]

    Ignore gaming all you want. But this won't sell to gamers. BTW I got my 7700K for $280, and I don't need to spend extra $100 per 16GB for that super high speed DDR4-3600 stuff. And my mini-itx z270 mobo was only $140, because there are very few options for mini-itx no AM4 mini-itx back in March or if that situation has even changed for AM4. There is no reason get $250 mobo every other year. My old i5-2500K z68 is 6 years old and still good enough for backup duty and it can do rendering just fine while I sleep, or game or doing whatever else.

    It is good you got Ryzen for your rendering farm. But just because Intel is the king of overpricing, with $1000 extreme ripoff edition, it does NOT let AMD of the hook for overpricing either. Being less overpriced is still overpriced.

    And in simple terms Ryzen doesn't got game. Maybe ryzen 2 will may be not, that is TBD, therefore the worse case scenario has NOT even been visited yet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  25. AntiShill

    AntiShill TS Enthusiast Posts: 190   +47

    We should absolutely complain every chance we got. These companies need to eat the cost of the testing themselves and NOT make consumers beta testers. Especially if they are NOT giving us massive discounts to make up for that fact.

    My time, your time is worth money, and NOT for these for profit outfits to exploit. It is about delivering real value and quality solutions. There is NOT good justification to let them off easy. Phones, cars, etc. if I am detect the bug, you can be damn sure they'll have a nasty review about their poor quality. I am not shy about giving 1 stars to stuff on Best Buy, Amazon, Newegg, etc. People should be good samaritans and warn others when they seen bad products being put out that can make other people suffer or people being exploited by overpriced products.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017

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