Ryzen APU Overclocking: A Focus on Memory Support

Also part of the demonstration about the new APUs was overclocking. For a number of years, AMD has hired Sami Makkinen, a well-known former world-record holder in various overclocking categories, to help tune the overclocking on some of its processors. So despite this being an integrated graphics platform, Sami was on hand to show the day-to-day overclocking potential. I was told that liquid nitrogen overclocking might be held at a later date…

Nonetheless, we were shown the system that would be distributed to reviewers for launch day: a mini-ITX motherboard, a Ryzen 5 2400G processor, 2x8 GB of DDR4 memory, and an AMD Wraith cooler. Using the popular benchmarking tool 3DMark Fire Strike, Sami showed a 39% increase over stock performance by overclocking only the memory and the integrated graphics:

  • DDR4-2400 + 1250 MHz GPU: 2911 Points - 'stock'
  • DDR4-3200 + 1250 MHz GPU: 3322 Points (+14%)
  • DDR4-3200 + 1550 MHz GPU: 3596 Points (+24%)
  • DDR4-3600 + 1675 MHz GPU: 4048 Points (+39%)

This shows a couple of interesting data points. First, that the DRAM speed directly influences the results a lot: the 14% gain moving to DDR4-3200 and a similar gain again up to DDR-3600 means that we are still dealing with a graphics system that is memory bandwidth limited, even with only 11 compute units. The Infinity Fabric communication pathways are tied to the DRAM speed, so these would also get a speed up – when asked if it would be possible to discern how much of the speedup is due to a pure DRAM improvement and how much from the Infinity Fabric boost, I was told that AMD could do it in house, but it would be impossible for consumers to do.

However, the DRAM speed gains match up with what we have seen with previous generations of AMD APUs, but also it means that Intel’s decision to combine a Vega GPU with high-bandwidth memory is going to be the way forward in this market.

The second point that this data brings is about memory support. One of the major criticisms of AMD’s initial launch of Ryzen was the lack of high-performance memory support, due to a young firmware. AMD has stated that the Ryzen with Vega graphics line of processors have better memory support with newer firmware revisions, capable of driving higher memory speeds. This is, of course, important to APUs. Additional updates will be coming with the new X470 motherboards in Q2.

Zen Cores and Vega: Ryzen APUs for AM4 AMD Ryzen Price Drops, New Wraith Prism
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  • Outlander_04 - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    TSMC ? Why?
    It would also mean higher costs for AMD
    Reply
  • Holliday75 - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    Just a guess, but based off his comment he suggested that Radeon would be competing for fab space at GF. If reduced capacity for Zen cuts into profits then the extra costs to move might be worth it.

    Just basing this off of his comment.
    Reply
  • Stuka87 - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    I sure hope Dell comes out with a Precision laptop with AMD stuff. The Inspirons share a lot with the Precisions. Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    so it sounds like a "refresh" to RX 500 series which was claimed for 2018 is not happening, that sucks TBH..

    need a new GPU and many of the "good" RX 570-580s are out of stock or low in stock ballooning their prices, need replace my 7870 sometime soon, 460/560 will not cut it, and spending ~$80 more than should is a no go for me to replace it. 1280 shader 256 bit bus with a bump in ROP/TMU at 170w maximum (heavily overclocked) 7870 was THE "mainstream" performance card for its generation, have not seen AMD nor Nv release one that is "comparable" either higher performance (higher price) or less performance (similar price) but nothing to supplant it really.

    Good news though, just shows that Zen+ (12nm) is/was not Zen2 (was always to be on 7nm) which I told off many a 3rd party "review" site claiming it would be ^.^
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    There was period during Nov - Dec 2017 when those rx 570/580s were available and pricing was very good, close to msrp, with everyone getting inventory and slashing prices. Sadly that is no longer the case. Reply
  • Sttm - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    The GPU roadmap is so sad. AMD barely has a GPU that can top the GTX1080 I bought Summer 2016, and won't have a truly superior offering until 2019.

    My only hope of a proper upgrade is now Volta, and Nvidia will have no reason not to price gouge with this pathetic competition!
    Reply
  • npz - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Well I have mid and top end gpus from both camps. I'm just waiting and waiting and waiting for 4k Gsync monitor since it was announced 1 year at last year's CES. Reply
  • Pinn - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    I've had a 4k gsync monitor for a few years now, at a little over a k. Reply
  • npz - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Sorry I left out some info: I mean 4k + HDR10 monitor. Yes, there's been 4k Gsync, but none with HDR. Only one (2 makers, 1 panel) was announced at CES 2016 but hasn't released yet.

    I ended up buying an LG 4k Freesync with HDR. Still waiting for the Asus Gsync one, which will have higher hz.
    Reply
  • Arbie - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    @Sttm - I'm also sorry that AMD's graphics wasn't a win in 2017. But I wonder what games you could possibly find good enough to warrant moving "up" from a 1080? The tiny increase in quality or FPS would only be meaningful - maybe - on a game you love that has top-notch graphics AND doesn't look good enough on your current card. I only wish there was something even close to that for me. Reply

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