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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  • billyswong - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    Typo: The table of Ryzen 5 2200G said Wraith Stealth cooler but the article later said they are bundled with Wraith Spire (non-RGB) cooler Reply
  • ET - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    I love "Dark Mode for RGB heathens". I love that heathen feeling. Would have bought one just for that great line. (Or maybe not, but I still like it.)

    "more nearer" has some redundant redundancy.
    Reply
  • mobutu - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    To: AMD, Intel, ARM, whomever,
    call me when you have a brand new product that's not affected by spectre/meltdown family bug.

    Until then, I'm not gonna buy into any of your products.
    Reply
  • Byte - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    The current references to upcoming zen are confusing as hell. There is Zen+ 2nd Generation and then Zen 2 coming out. Should leave out "2nd Gen" alltogether. Reply
  • neblogai - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    To fix mistakes in some tables:
    table on page 2: L3 cache should probably say simply '4MB' for all RR parts.
    first table on page 3- two G-series OPNs have C4 (15W) written in their codes. They should be YD2200C5M4MFB + YD2200C5FBBOX and YD2400C5FBBOX + YD2400C5M4MFB, http://products.amd.com/en-us/compare?prod1=148&am...
    And I still hope 209.78 mm2 die size for 2200U is wrong- and it is Banded Kestrel die. Or at least that BK will be coming to work as 2200U later.
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    I do not see a 39dba being anywhere close to "silent" this is above many others truth be told, if they went with a larger fan probably could have dropped Dba levels down, or if they use fancier blades to reduce air noise, something along that line.

    But yes, wraith max being priced at $60 is/was insane, I would say would be "fair" to be no more than $40. seeing as so many others are available in this price range that are at least as good if not superior, yes RGB adds some to price, but, the dimensions of the cooler and lack of thermal mass also means it will not cool as well or require a much louder fan/pressure to be "equivalent"

    Shame no Vega or RX on 12nm (14nm+) pretty much no where that I can see (Canada) has any RX anything, they have Vega sure, but WAY above MSRP/MSEP, greed of sellers, greed of the makers drives price up and up, just means those who want a "gaming card" end up paying through the nose for it.

    Nice to see AMD focus some attention on the ram overclock side of the equation, so one can use baseline higher memory speed or overclock or both to get that much more performance.

    All in all, IMO AMD have really pushed forward to being far behind the pack (just barely staying alive) to in many ways being substantially better value and performance for $ spent (cpu/motherboard wise) and at least being competitive gpu wise (no they are not always, but have always been since Radeon 1900 days, sometimes more power more performance, sometimes power limited so not as much performance, cannot win every race, but, being able to "show up" is still very important, unlike say Matrox or Via who CANNOT even race the same race these days)

    Sure wish their stock price was showing faith from investors/brokers, from bleeding money to pulling themselves out of the grave in less than 2 years against anything but easy competition says a lot, or at least it should be ^.^
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    GCN (Graphics Core Next) is one of the dumber architecture names out there. I sure hope it doesn't get succeeded by something we end up having to call "Next-Gen". Reply
  • WatcherCK - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    I wish AMD would release an uber APU (hmm just like Intel are doing) with a base performance of say solid 60 fps at 1440p for around 95W or less? I could get this APU and a board ram and a drive for a little more than what a discrete GPU is going for and in theory miners wont want them so they should be in stock for those that want to game... Reply
  • mode_13h - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    An APU that powerful would probably attract miners.

    Also, memory bandwidth is going to be a problem. To achieve that level of performance, the consoles had to use GDDR5. Intel had the right idea of giving the AMD GPU its own stack of HBM2.
    Reply
  • phillock - Saturday, February 3, 2018 - link

    Thanks to amd, intel drops its prices :) Reply

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