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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  • LurkingSince97 - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    It is well known knowledge that GloFlo 're-branded' their 14nm+ to 12nm.

    There is nearly a dozen different feature sizes in a process these days, no one number captures it.

    Also, GloFlo is not the only one that has done this sort of thing.
    Reply
  • LurkingSince97 - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    To be more specific, GloFo's own conference / announcement talked about the name change... AMD's roadmaps had "Zen+" on a GloFo 14nm+ node, then suddenly that same roadmap changed it to "12nm" when GloFo announced the new node (and named it) Reply
  • coolhardware - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Get well soon Ian! Reply
  • Luposian - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    Wouldn't now be a perfect time to implement changes to the predictive branch execution portions of the new processors, to eliminate issues with Spectre and Meltdown, since they're just making these processors now? Reply
  • LurkingSince97 - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    They have _finished_ the Zen 2 design. Zen already doesn't have problems with Meltdown. Spectre is a lot harder to do anything about, other than maybe adding an instruction for a branch prediction barrier. Maybe they had time to add that to Zen 2, or maybe it can be done even in Zen+ without much trouble. Your software will need to be recompiled against it, however. Reply
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    Spectre fix is promised to Zen2 so Zen+ does not have it. Zen2 has one year time to have some modifications and they already have had about half year to plan those upgrades. Too late for Zen+ but fortunately enough for Zen2 released sometime in 2019. It may be so that Zen2 will come later to the market than Zen+ will depending on how much they need to hone the process. Reply
  • FreckledTrout - Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - link

    Thanks Ian. Any news if Navi will have more than one GPU die on a chip, say something similar to what AMD did with Zen via Infinity Fabric? Reply
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    That is what is guessed. To go from one big core to many smaller cores. Who knows... Reply
  • at80eighty - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    get well soon. articles can come later Reply
  • Azethoth - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    I would love to see GPU articles on unavailable miner only cards be retroactively removed.

    Don't waste my time with useless bullshit that costs $1600 even though the manufacturer is happy with a fat profit at $500 MSRP.
    Reply

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