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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  • slickr - Wednesday, February 7, 2018 - link

    Aren't you a team of 3-4 writers that go on these events, so one person getting sick doesn't necessarily cancel all info? Reply
  • forgerone - Sunday, March 11, 2018 - link

    It would appear that AMD is making Vega GPU's for ASRock MXM mining boards. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Radeon 530 is not Polaris. It uses older 28nm architecture. Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    My bad, I misread a spec table. Updated Reply
  • mateau - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    @Ian...

    "It is our understanding that the 12nm process is essentially a 14+ process for GloFo"

    Forbes disagrees with you. And Forbes IS a credible source that does not plagiarize work form essentially online media hacks.

    "Later this year, AMD will also be refreshing the Ryzen desktop lineup including their Threadripper and Pro processors with a new Zen+ core that is based on GlobalFoundries new 12nm process, which should deliver more performance at lower power."

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/patrickmoorhead/2018/...
    Reply
  • A5 - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Anything that is forbes.com/sites/* is not credible. You can literally go sign up for one right now if you want.

    And Forbes proper isn't credible on anything outside the financial industry.
    Reply
  • iwod - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    I mean Christ, you have financial industry reporter reporting on tech they barely understand and having reader that credit a non technical Journal pieces as creditable source and then attacking a journalist on a technical information site labelling him or her and the site as not creditable and when the journalist has a bloody Oxford PhD in the ElecChem Field. Reply
  • LurkingSince97 - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    LOL.

    GloFo announced LONG AGO that they were skipping the 10nm node and going straight from 14nm to 7nm. They mentioned that there would be some 14nm tweaks.

    Other competitors started tweaking their 14nm / 16nm nodes and in some cases re-branded them (tsmc, IIRC rebranded a 16nm improvement as 12nm).

    There is more than one feature size measurement in a process, being able to shrink a small subset of these by a little bit will allow for some increased density. Add on some other tweaks and you can lower power too. What do you call a heavily tweaked node that only shrinks a few of the feature sizes but not all? What number is half way between 14 and 10?

    It doesn't really matter what they call it. Its ~ 10% faster or 10% lower power, with ~10% to 15% higher density.

    The 12nm process is essentially a 14nm+, or ++. Its not a wholly new node. Fact 1: it will be incrementally deployed as a revision to the 14nm process where you start over nearly from scratch and almost the entire manufacturing pipeline is new. Fact 2: Unlike most minor tweaks, it does increase density. There is some justification in giving it a new size due to fact 2, but it is not a brand new process due to fact 1.

    A truly new node takes _years_ to develop, not months. This appeared on their roadmap suddenly. Everyone and their brother (other than you) knew that they had a 14nm+ in the works -- AMD's roadmaps had "Zen+" on a GloFo "14nm+" node. Suddenly there was no more "14nm+" on AMD's roadmaps, and it was replaced with "12nm".

    Significant tweaks to an existing node however,
    Reply
  • LurkingSince97 - Thursday, January 18, 2018 - link

    Ugh, I should proof-read:
    Fact 1: it will be incrementally deployed as a revision to the 14nm process where you start over nearly from scratch and almost the entire manufacturing pipeline is new.

    Should say:
    Fact 1: it will be incrementally deployed as an upgrade to the 14nm process (many of the manufacturing steps remain identical), while an entirely new node typically implies replacing almost the entire manufacturing pipeline.
    Reply
  • Sane Indian - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    "Acer will use the pre-announced higher-end APUs, the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U, but will also be pairing this with a Radeon RX 560 graphics chip."

    Does iGPU and dGPU can crossfire or they just independently (switch from iGPU to dGPU and vice versa) depending upon power situation.
    Reply

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