THE NEXT GENERATION
2nd GEN RYZEN CPU REVIEWS
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.
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.
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.
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