Zen Cores and Vega

Ryzen 3 Mobile, Plus More Ryzen Mobile Laptops

The most immediate announcement from AMD is two Ryzen 3 Mobile processors designed to fill out the Mobile stack, and the introduction of Ryzen-based APUs for desktop machines.

At the heart of both of these designs is the combination of AMD’s first-generation Zen cores, specifically four cores in a ‘core complex’, connected to Vega-based graphics integrated into the silicon. The two units are connected via AMD’s Infinity Fabric, designed for high-bandwidth and scale, and a feature that permeates through AMD’s recent product portfolio.

Ryzen Mobile

To date, AMD has already announced two products using this configuration. Both of them are for Ryzen Mobile, specifically the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U, which have already been pre-announced in devices such as the HP Envy x2, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S, and the Acer Swift 3. Only the HP Envy x2 has been launched into the market so far (with mixed reviews due to the OEM design, which draws similar criticisms when equipped with Intel CPUs), with the others to see light in Q1 as well as other OEMs like Dell.

The first announcement is regarding adding more Ryzen Mobile processors to the family to cater for a wider audience. To pair with the Ryzen 7 Mobile and Ryzen 5 Mobile, AMD has two Ryzen 3 Mobile parts which will formally be available on January 9th with expected system availability within Q1.

AMD Ryzen Mobile APUs
  Ryzen 7 2700U
with Vega 10
Ryzen 5 2500U
with Vega 8
Ryzen 3 2300U
with Vega 6
Ryzen 3 2200U
with Vega 3
FX-9800P
(2015)
CPU 4C / 8T
2.2 GHz Base
3.8 GHz Turbo
Zen
14nm
4C / 8T
2.0 GHz Base
3.8 GHz Turbo
Zen
14nm
4C / 4T
2.0 GHz Base
3.4 GHz Turbo
Zen
14nm
2C / 4T
2.5 GHz Base
3.4 GHz Turbo
Zen
14nm
Dual Module
2.7 GHz Base
3.6 GHz Turbo
Excavator
28nm
GPU Vega 10
10 CUs
640 SPs
< 1300 MHz
Vega 8
8 CUs
512 SPs
< 1100 MHz
Vega 6
6 CUs
384 SPs
Vega 3
3 CUs
192 SPs
GCN 1.2
8 CUs
512 SPs
> 758 MHz
TDP 15W 15W 15 W 15 W 15W
DRAM Up to DDR4-2400 DDR4-1866
L2 Cache 512 KB/core 1 MB/module
L3 Cache 1 MB/core 4 MB/core -
PCIe Lanes ? ? ? ? 8 x PCIe 3.0
Die Size 209.78 mm2 250.4 mm2
Transistors 4.95 billion 3.1 billion
Launch October 2017 January 2018 May 2016

The Ryzen 3 2300U is a quad-core processor without simultaneous multithreading, which separates it from the other components. The base frequency of 2.0 GHz, a top turbo of 3.4 GHz, and a total of six compute units in the Vega graphics (this equates to 384 streaming processors). The Ryzen 3 2300U shares the same TDP as the other parts, coming in at 15W, and AMD wants to position this as a high-performance part for eSports capable notebooks, handily beating anything from Intel’s 7th Generation family.

The Ryzen 3 2200U is the only dual core component in AMD’s entire Ryzen product line, although it does have simultaneous multithreading to give it four threads in total. Having two fewer cores to fire up does give it a boost on the base frequency, coming in at 2.5 GHz, but the turbo frequency matches the other Ryzen 3 at 3.4 GHz. The 2200U is certainly the processor bringing up the rear, with only three compute units (192 streaming processors) in total, and helping AMD shift some of the processors that are not binned as aggressively as the higher-performance units.

AMD is promoting these two processors as capable elements of an entry level 15W notebook that can process DirectX 12, offer advanced video features, and be used in aesthetically pleasing designs with a long battery life, including 2-in-1s, ultrathin notebooks, and gaming laptops.

New Devices

Not to be content with just announcing a couple of new Ryzen Mobile processors, AMD was eager to promote new mobile devices that will be using Ryzen Mobile. To accompany the HP Envy x360, the Lenovo Ideapad 720S, and the Acer Swift 3, Q1 will see the launch of a new HP (under embargo until later this week), the Acer Nitro 5 series, and the Dell Inspiron 5000 series.

Acer’s Nitro line of laptops is typically aimed at the gaming crowd. The Nitro 5 dictates a 15.6-inch display, which in this case is a 1920x1080 IPS panel. 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. 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.

The Dell Inspiron lines are more home/small-medium business-oriented devices, and here Dell is also using the Ryzen 7 2700U and Ryzen 5 2500U processors to offer peak Mobile APU performance. Designed more as a workhorse than for aesthetics, the Inspiron 5000 will offer AMD parts with 15.6-inch and 17-inch displays in a chassis that can support dual HDD/SSD options. The unit also comes with an optional Radeon 530 discrete GPU, which has 384 compute units based on AMD’s older GCN 1.0 architecture. This comes across as very odd, given that even the Ryzen 5 has 512 compute units of the newer Vega architecture. I can only assume that this provides extra displays for very specific customers, though for most it would seem an overly pointless addition.

AMD Tech Day at CES Zen Cores and Vega: Ryzen APUs for AM4
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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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