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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  • nikon133 - Sunday, February 11, 2018 - link

    These new Ryzen APUs could make nice base for next-gen consoles... with some modifications... but then, console APUs are already custom solutions, so that should not be impossible.

    8 proper Ryzen cores running at over 3GHz and matching up-to-date GPU with sufficient number of CUs... would make quite powerful console at its core. Balanced one, too... it is hardly a secret that current consoles are under-powered on CPU side. Maybe Jaguar cores were necessity for this gen to keep price down, but next gen should be equipped at least with 8x Ryzen 3 cores?
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    I think jaguar cores are much smaller than Ryzen cores. So, you'd probably be looking at 4 core/8 thread Ryzen APU - not 8 cores.

    Anyway, these APUs have much weaker iGPUs and much less memory bandwidth than current-gen consoles (excluding Nintendo).
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Monday, February 12, 2018 - link

    BTW, I'm sure XBox One X kept Jaguar simply because Ryzen wasn't yet ready. There's a very long lead time for this silicon.

    Also, it seems Jaguar's 28 mm cores are only 3.1 mm^2 per core, whereas Ryzen's 14 nm cores are 44 mm^2 (which sounds like it also includes cache). So, it seems pretty unrealistic to expect consoles will just drop in 8 Ryzen cores where they previously had 8 Jaguars.
    Reply
  • forgerone - Sunday, March 11, 2018 - link

    This piece seems to mesh quite nicely with the latest bit about ASRock teaming up exclusively with AMD to produce either headless mining cards or MXM for mining.

    Especially given the nature of the semi-custom Vega gpu that is described.
    Reply
  • forgerone - Sunday, March 11, 2018 - link

    "This caused two theories: either AMD is using EMIB "

    AMD does not need EMIB. They have there own mesh as described here: http://www.computermachines.org/joe/publications/p...

    Design and Analysis of an APU for Exascale Computing.
    Reply
  • Dragonstongue - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    really wish AMD made 12nm refresh for RX 500 series as well as Vega instead of making us wait what 1/2 to 3/4 of a year and HOPE to get a gpu at or close to MSRP (not counting the greed of ODM such as Asus or places such as newegg on top of this pricing)

    May not be quite as bad for USD folks but it sux a$$ for us CAD or other currency folks automatically paying more than should (and not it is NOT ONLY mining folks causing the price increase, it is GREED more than anything else) for example RX 570/580 I can get them easy enough, but absolutely am not willing/wanting to pay $100+ tax and shipping MORE than should be either, screw that noise, and I do not buy 2nd hand (hoping lasts awhile)
    Reply

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