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


View All Comments

  • Ian Cutress - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Literally the rest of the paragraph answers the question.

    We were told by AMD that the integrated graphics and discrete graphics will be used in a switching context: for video playback, the lower power integrated graphics is used and the discrete is disabled, however the discrete graphics is fired up for gaming work. For compute, or for games that support multi-adaptor DirectX 12 technologies, both the integrated graphics and the discrete graphics should be available, however this is up to the game/software to implement.
  • npz - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Ian, if you get a chance can you ask AMD about their plans for Playready 3.0 support? Currently there is no AMD solution to play back 4k encrypted content on PC. The only AMD hardware with 4k DRM decryption support is Xbox One S/X.

    I've seen threads on AMD own forums and official subreddits and they seem oblivious to this. Representatives responding seem to think that all you need is HDCP 2.2 and the extra encryption is a Netflix arbitrary requirement when in fact the entire industry for 4k media (not just Netflix) has standardized on this i.e. SGX in Intel CPUs and equivalent in the decode block on Nvidia GPUs
  • Bullwinkle-J-Moose - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    "Currently there is no AMD solution to play back 4k encrypted content on PC.

    .......they seem oblivious to this. "
    That seems like the SOLUTION, not the Problem!

    I never created application and game-streaming so that Microsoft, NVidia and all the rest could lock it down for their own personal profit

    It was created for the end user to stream whatever they want over their own network FOR FREE!

    I also never created Reference Standard for modern Home Theater in the 1980's so that Dolby could standardize and bastardize it with a proprietary locked down "Standard" to make huge profits from other peoples hard work


    All you seem to want to do is to hold the World hostage for your profit at everyone else's expense

    How about I put MY lock on your front door and use MY password for your bank accounts

    Lockdown is created by The Scum of the Earth so they can have a future by stealing ours

    I do not honor your Licenses, Copyrights, Trademarks or Patents!

  • JackNSally - Thursday, February 1, 2018 - link

    What cpu, gpu, memory and other components do you use with no copyright, trademarks or patents? Reply
  • velanapontinha - Friday, February 2, 2018 - link

    Why is this guy still allowed to spam us? Reply
  • Kevin G - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    AMD executing right now and while there is argument that they've played it safe with Zen so far, they are in a very favorable position in the market. -"While most of the roadmap could have been predicted by those of us embedded in this industry, it was good to see AMD volunteering a lot of information. This can be a bit of a double-edged sword, if a competitor knows what you have planned". AMD knows that Intel's roadmap is in chaos as right now and pushing existing Zen designs to lower power envelopes and/or increasing clock speeds will close the performance gap. If Zen 2 advances in terms of IPC by any significant margin, they could actually pull ahead in 2019 but that entirely depends on Intel's response, in particular Ice Lake.

    Intel's missteps with 10 nm has left them open as the first Cannon Lake parts were due in late 2016! Meltdown and Spectre meltdown could have been the death blow to Cannon Lake as the incoming lawsuits make it unwise to release products with such significant flaws. Intel's server line up is also in chaos due to Meltdown/Spectre as Cascade Lake was pinned in as a stop-gap 14 nm solution before Cannon Lake-SP in 2019. Cascade lake for release this year should already be sampling but Meltdown/Spectre could force a delay. In particular is that Cascade Lake is supposed to support Optane DIMMs. The 10 nm Knight's Hill HPC processor has been cancelled roughly a month ago and replaced by Knight's Mill as a stop-gap for partners looking into AI. We'll probably find out later today when Intel's CEO takes the stage at CES.
  • wumpus - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    "Death blow"? You seem to vastly overestimate the amount of silicon GoFlo can produce. Even if everything goes right for AMD, Intel will be shipping Cannon Lake chips left and right to consumers (the chips in the article appeared mostly for consumers) as GoFlo furiously produces Zepplin (or whatever its followup is called) and AMD ships them as hyperprofitable EPYC chips.

    That said, Intel certainly takes AMD competition seriously enough to throw together competing products such as the X299, even if such products make the rest of Intel look like they have no idea what they are doing. But still, massive gains for AMD will look like a tiny blip in Intel's revenue.
  • Orenj - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    With Zen 2 already complete, I'm wondering if it contains any hardware assists for mitigation of Spectre-type attacks a la Intel's proposed IBRS/STIBP/IBPB? Reply
  • PixyMisa - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    Unlikely; they've only known about this for a couple of months. Reply
  • mikabr - Monday, January 8, 2018 - link

    What is the status of thunderbolt and AMD today? Can Apple or similar manufacturer take AMD parts and create something that does the same thing as a Macbook pro or iMac today, with thunderbolt ports that has the same functionality as todays Intel based offerings? Reply

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