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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  • 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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