After the Computex Keynote today on stage, where AMD revealed its new Ryzen family of processors coming on 7/7, we had a chance to speak with AMD’s SVP and GM of the Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Group, Forrest Norrod. Specifically, we asked him about the ‘Road to Rome’, which AMD stated will be coming in Q3 this year. We have a full transcription of the interview planned, but a couple of key points came out of our discussion.

First, Forrest revealed/confirmed the name of the Zen 4 based EPYC processor that will go beyond Rome and Milan. That name is Genoa, which is follows the Italian naming pattern. Forrest also said that the Zen 5 product follows that pattern, but failed to elaborate what that name is. I was told that the goal with each generation is to make sure the low hanging fruit for performance on each design is taken, and that there is a continual drive for compute performance. Forrest wouldn’t comment on the timeframe for Genoa, but did state that Milan is a mid-2020 platform, and so Genoa is likely 2021/2022.

AMD EPYC CPU Codenames
Gen Year Name Cores
1st 2017 Naples 32 x Zen 1
2nd 2019 Rome 64 x Zen 2
3rd 2020 Milan ? x Zen 3
4th ? Genoa ? x Zen 4
5th ? ? ? x Zen 5

The other snippet of information I wanted to break out from the interview is about the new Frontier supercomputer that was recently announced. This machine, built with AMD CPUs and GPUs, has a goal of being the most powerful supercomputer in 2021, measuring around 1.5 ExaFLOPS, making it a truly exascale machine. It has been largely assumed that this would be a combination of Milan CPUs and Radeon Instinct GPUs, and it would be connected CPU-to-GPU and GPU-to-GPU by Infinity Fabric rather than PCIe or CCIX. Forrest explained that the CPU is not Milan – it is actually a fully custom design CPU specifically for this project.

Forrest clarified that this custom CPU is not in the same way that Intel defines custom – i.e. it’s not simply the same silicon with adjustments in core counts / frequency / cache. The CPU for Frontier will be a fully custom design, built with CPU-to-GPU IF links in mind, without any excess. When asked if IF is going to be a connectivity in other platforms, Forrest would only confirm that it’s the connectivity for Frontier. Though, for what it's worth, AMD announced back at the Frontier unveil that the CPU would ultimately become available for other enterprise customers as well.

As mentioned, I’ll be trying to transcribe this interview ASAP, along with our Lisa Su roundtable. Stay tuned for more of our Computex coverage.

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  • yankeeDDL - Monday, May 27, 2019 - link

    Any news on Threadripper with Zen2 (or future) cores? Reply
  • kobblestown - Monday, May 27, 2019 - link

    What, you're not satisfied with the current offerings? Don't get me wrong, I like new hardware as much as the next guy (on this site). But I'm very (very!) happy with my TR 1920x. I've never been able to max all cores. Sure, some people do have workloads that will make it cringe, but they can get the 24 or 32 core models.

    What I really like in the TR platform is the flexibility. I have three NVMe drivers going directly to the CPU. I use GPU and NVMe passthrough for a WIndows virtual machine. I have ECC memory. I also use PCIe passthrough of one of the USB controllers residing in the CPU (yeah, there are two of them there!) I can plug a SATA M.2 drive without sacrificing any of the SATA ports on the mainboard. In fact, I can plug a M.2-to-SATA adapter board and have another regular SATA port. I can mix and match any kind of hardware with no problem. It's the greatest CPU/MB combo I've ever had. And when the release the Zen2 based models, I can switch to one of them. Although I don't expect to be too much in a hurry...
    Reply
  • Xyler94 - Monday, May 27, 2019 - link

    What motherboard do you own? I've been looking for a Threadripper platform for an unRAID server with VMs for a while now. I'm currently using a 4 core XEON, and I wanna upgrade to many cores. Reply
  • kobblestown - Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - link

    Mine is Asrock X399 Fatal1ty Professional Gaming (I hate the name!). It's basically the same as the X399 Taichi but with 10G Aquantia controller and a serial port. Believe it or not, the latter was important to me. It's the only one I know that has it and use it for configuring a GRUB&Linux serial console on it. It's only a header on the MB but I have spare brackets for mounting at the back.

    Anyway, one thing to watch for is the clearance between the CPU socket and the first PCIe slot. On some it's too close and that orevents you from mounting one of the bigger air coolers. I'd never install a water cooler - I like my systems reliable and quiet. I got the biggest Noctua TR4 cooler and the system is dead quiet at idle.

    Another thing is to have all features exposed. Like 3 M.2 sockets (some systems have only 2) and 8 SATA ports (some systems only go with 6).

    My board has all these things and fits in standard FullATX size - most others are wider and can be a problem with some cases. I would suggest you go for a case with 8 or 9 expansion ports - like that you can mount a hefty GPU on the lowest PCIe slot.

    It also supports 4x4 bifurcation of the x16 slots so you can mount a passive (i.e. without PCIe switch and thus relatively cheap) 4xM.2 adapter and have up to 7 M.2 slots without much sacrifice.

    Finally, it has 5 fan headers two of wich support DC control so you can drive non-PWM fans off them. They all support PWM of course.

    I can only think of two drawbacks. One is that all four network controllers are in the same IOMMU group so I cannot pass them through individually. But I think that's not too much of a problem even for 10G. And even Windows can be used with virtio-net once you install the driver. The other is that I have no idea what 95% of the BIOS options mean or do. And there's no documentation on these things. The built in help feature mostly repeats the name of the option.

    Again, I'm very happy with the TR platform. There's nothing that you cannot do within reasonable limits. And you can start relatively cheap. I got my MB+CPU combo for 700 UK pounds with VAT included. I consider it a great price for all the capabilities I've got.
    Reply
  • Xyler94 - Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - link

    I was looking at one of the ASRock boards for my upgrade. I hear they're pretty good, and to get someone's honest opinion on it from having owned one, it makes the choice better. Thank you for that information. I currently have 4 SATA drives (2 SSDs and 2 HDDs, they're both in a software "RAID" array. I use quotes because unRAID takes care of data replication and such.) I'm planning on adding another HDD into the pool of hard drives, to increase my capacity. It will effectively be a RAID 5 once I do that. With the Third Gen Threadripper on the horizon, I think I can snag a good deal on a TR CPU now, and even that motherboard :) Reply
  • 5080 - Tuesday, May 28, 2019 - link

    PC World just published an interview with Lisa Sue and she confirmed that a new Threadripper based on Zen 2 is in the works.
    https://www.pcworld.com/article/3397917/amd-ceo-co...
    Reply

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