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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  • gerz1219 - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    Plenty of modern games play somewhat smoothly at 4K on a 1080 Ti, but could use a bump up in fps. Once you see 4k gaming, it's kind of hard to unsee, which is why I haven't bothered to buy a 1440p gaming panel to complement my professional panel. I'd gladly pay another $700 + the cost of a 4K Gsync/Freesync monitor next year to upgrade the 1080 Ti to something that can crush any game at 4K, but it doesn't look like that product will hit the market in 2019 because AMD is so far behind, and everyone's making tons of money selling GPUs for crypto. Reply
  • sld - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Those who buy price gouging items walk into it willingly. Gsync vs Freesync, for example. Reply
  • Santoval - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    I hope you'll get better soon Ian. I don't think I would be able to type a single sentence if I were in your shoes, I have to admit am impressed by your resilience. Reply
  • sharath.naik - Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - link

    why no ryzen 7 8 core for mobile? Reply
  • msroadkill612 - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    At last, desk top apuS. Its very exciting.

    It bears noting, that liquid cooling is getting to be mainstream, and apuS DO allow both cpu & gpu to use a single cost effective cooler - ~$100usd.

    Desirable as gpu LC may be, it tends to be impossible/difficult on discrete gpuS physically. LC cooling the APU's gpu is very simple.

    The usual chip TDP constraints can be greatly loosened if LC is assumed (as in the ~300w LC vega).

    "The Ryzen 5 2400G will run at up to 3.9GHz with 4-cores/8-threads and 11 CUs, a 65W TDP, and a price of $169."

    Rumors of apuS w/ 28CUs dont seem fanciful, they seem conservative.

    My guess? is most moboS would handle a 180W module in their socket?

    An 8GB vega 56 is 210W TDP.

    FYI:

    "www.tomshardware.com/reviews/amd-ryzen-ama,5018.html
    Apr 14, 2017 - 1. TDP is not electrical watts (power draw), it's thermal watts. 2. Published processor TDPs are often rounded up to fit a desired specification. For example, AM4 motherboards are specd to run processors with 65W and 95W TDPs. It gives motherboard manufacturers and system builders a thermal framework"
    Reply
  • dsplover - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    You will be feeling like crap a long time. Take it easy, you’ll only get worse. Thanks for the info on new desktop w/ GFX.
    Any info on that is appreciated.
    I just got over the flu, caught in Vegas. Lasted 5 weeks and I took the advice and got a flu shot in November. Big help....NOT
    Reply
  • pfdman - Friday, January 12, 2018 - link

    "To accompany the HP Envy x360, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S, and the Acer Swift 3, Q1 will see the launch of a new HP (under embargo until later this week),"

    Now that the week is almost up, has anyone seen news as to what that new HP device is?
    Reply
  • JoeDuarte - Saturday, January 20, 2018 - link

    Did AMD have a solution to the current impossibility of buying an AMD GPU? If we can't deal actually buy their GPUs, AMD might as well not exist, and in a very real sense they don't exist right now. Reply
  • 5080 - Sunday, January 21, 2018 - link

    Well, they do exist, but all are bought up by coin miners. Great for AMD, not so great for gamers and others that need a fast GPU. Reply
  • 5080 - Sunday, January 21, 2018 - link

    Hi Ian, are you still going to update this article with Lisa Su's interview and the rest of AMD's announcements? Reply

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