AMD RYZEN

THE NEXT GEN­ER­A­TION

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2nd GEN RYZEN CPU RE­VIEWS

OVERCLOCKING GUIDE

WHICH MEM­ORY TO BUY

IN­SIDE THE NEW CHIPS

When AMD launched its first Ryzen CPUs a lit­tle over a year ago, the com­pany was quite clear about the prod­uct it was launch­ing in terms of ex­pec­ta­tions and its fu­ture de­vel­op­ment. AMD ba­si­cally said that the first it­er­a­tion of the Zen core and its im­ple­men­ta­tion in Ryzen was a worst-case sce­nario, given that the com­pany was deal­ing with an en­tirely new ar­chi­tec­ture and fea­ture set in its SenseMI tech­nolo­gies. It was also true that Ryzen pre­sented some chal­lenges in the early days, with poor mem­ory sup­port above fre­quen­cies of 2666MHz, as well as a plethora of other is­sues.

AMD has aimed to re­solve all these is­sues with 2nd Gen Ryzen. In­deed, even some X370 moth­er­boards with the lat­est BIOS up­dates will now en­able you to hit mem­ory speeds over 3400MHz quite eas­ily, but AMD has specif­i­cally fo­cused on these types of is­sues with the X470 chipset.

Smaller tran­sis­tors

There are plenty of other new fea­tures with

2nd Gen Ryzen too. The CPUs now use a

12nm as op­posed to a 14nm man­u­fac­tur­ing process, and AMD has also cut la­ten­cies across the plat­form. How­ever, the two changes that are likely to re­sult in the largest per­for­mance gains are higher fre­quen­cies and im­prove­ments to the fre­quency boost­ing al­go­rithms.

The orig­i­nal Ryzen CPUs’ SenseMI fea­tures, called Pre­ci­sion Boost and Ex­tended

Fre­quency Range (XFR), could only be ap­plied across a small number of cores and threads. That wasn’t an is­sue in it­self, but the al­go­rithms didn’t ac­count for the fact that many ap­pli­ca­tions, in­clud­ing some games, will have one or two main threads, but will of­ten spawn off sev­eral other less de­mand­ing threads. When these threads were spawned, the CPU would as­sume all those threads were high load and cut the fre­quency, un­nec­es­sar­ily in many sit­u­a­tions.

All-core boost

With 2nd Gen Ryzen, not only has the boost­ing sys­tem been made more ag­gres­sive in or­der to deal with this is­sue, but Pre­ci­sion Boost 2 and XFR 2 can now ap­ply across all cores and threads at the same time – the only lim­i­ta­tions are the power de­liv­ered to the CPU and, of course, the tem­per­a­ture. 2nd Gen Ryzen CPUs can not only hit higher fre­quen­cies than their pre­de­ces­sors, but their boost­ing al­go­rithms are now more so­phis­ti­cated too

As a re­sult, if you have de­cent cool­ing, the multi-threaded per­for­mance of the new CPUs should be much bet­ter than that of the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion.

AMD told us that you’ll even see ben­e­fits be­low 80°C, but be­low 50°C, the CPU will usu­ally be ramp­ing up all its cores to the max­i­mum boost fre­quency. That said, as other fac­tors can come into play, you won’t see the max­i­mum XFR fre­quency across all cores for most of the time. Sadly, as with In­tel CPUs, as soon as you over­clock your CPU, you’ll switch off boost­ing. As we saw with Ryzen Thread­rip­per last year, though, de­pend­ing on your re­quire­ments, it may ac­tu­ally be more ben­e­fi­cial to leave the CPU at stock speed, where it will achieve higher fre­quen­cies than an all-core over­clock.

Higher over­clocks

The Ryzen Master overclocking util­ity has more op­tions with the new CPUs now too. You’re fi­nally able to ad­just the fre­quency of in­di­vid­ual cores, and the most over­clock­able core on each Core Com­plex is high­lighted by a star, al­low­ing you to max­imise lightly threaded per­for­mance. There’s more overclocking head­room too – AMD claims that all-core over­clocks reach­ing 4.2GHz should now be more com­mon too, and there’s been a 50mv re­duc­tion in core volt­age across the range.

To deal with the slightly higher TDPs of the new CPUs, X470 moth­er­boards have en­hanced power cir­cu­ity, and while you’ll be able to use first-gen­er­a­tion Ryzen CPUs in X470 moth­er­boards, as well as the new CPUs in older X370 moth­er­boards, you’ll need the lat­est tech­nol­ogy on both fronts to see all these ben­e­fits.

The 2nd Gen Ryzen chips have the same die lay­out as their pre­de­ces­sors, but with 12nm tran­sis­tors

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