New proposals from AMD at CES 2019

As you know from the previous news reports, the Consumer Electronic Show is now open at Las Vegas, as one of the greatest consumer electronics expo. Of course, PCs belong to the category of consumer electronics, so there are numerous representatives of this industry at the event, including the largest ones. Let’s start our subjective event review with news from AMD, one of ACTINA PC’s key partners.

AMD focused on two segments (probably the most important ones for PCs): they announced new CPUs and new graphics cards. In accordance with earlier leaks, the new CPU line will launch under a provisional Ryzen 3000 identification. These CPUs will have a modular design (using so-called chiplets) for easy modification and upgrading of the CPU, for example with more cores. The main block will be made with 7nm lithography, the auxiliary blocks will be 14nm. This was a deliberate decision, offering serious cost efficiency, easy upgrading and faster launch of the CPU on the market.

The Ryzen 3000 presented at CES was an 8-core 16-thread item; according to Cinebench benchmark (rendering a 3D scene), its performance was slightly better than those of Intel’s Core i9-9900K, and it is allegedly 15% speedier than the Ryzen 2700X. You should note that: AMD did not declare the CPU frequency; they even said that shelf editions will run faster than the demo items; AMD’s CPU registered around 133W power consumption, compared to almost 180W for Intel. Besides, it is 100% sure that the new Ryzens will support the latest version of PCI Express 4.0 bus (for significant transfer acceleration, e.g between CPU and graphics card), they will work on motherboards with an AM4 socket and they are expected to be available in stores around the summer holiday. This is probably going to be a ‘killer’ module, though according to my benchmarks, 15% faster than the 2700X is still not 9900K performance… We’re left with hoping for a good price and availability.

As far as PCI-E 4.0 is concerned, the announced graphics cards with AMD Radeon VII will be compatible, too. The new card is expected to be comparable to RTX 2080 systems in terms of performance, and the prices will be the same. Naturally, the Radeons VII will not have (not quite in this generation of GPU) ray tracing (RT) features, but considering the present engagement of this technology in games, this does not seem to be a real problem… What else is known about the new components? The dimension will be 7nm, they are expected to have 16GB HBM memory and a transfer rate at around 1TB/s. Time will show what happens to the performance and the prices in real life, but even though the CPUs look realistic, I am still a bit concerned about VGA. I suppose Radeon VII will be a mid- to top-price range card with a decent performance, a typical ‘weathering solution’ before a new generation with code name Navi or Arcturus is launched. The battle in the cards segment is resumed, and we can be winners, unless the crypto frenzy explodes again.