Everything AMD Announced At Computex 2019

Image: Alex Walker (Kotaku)

Invited to give Computex's opening keynote for the first time in the company's history, AMD chief executive Dr Lisa Su began the annual tech show by demoing a 12-core, 24-thread Ryzen desktop gaming CPU, Navi GPUs and a new collaboration with Microsoft.

The keynote began with a collaboration with Microsoft to creature an offering of virtual machines through Microsoft's Azure data centre service, powered by AMD's EPYC high performance data centre CPUs. The next generation of those EPYC CPUs, dubbed Rome, will have up to 64 cores. AMD then ran a demo simulation against Intel's dual-socket 28-core Xeon Platinum 8280, with the EPYC CPU running twice as fast on the molecular simulation.

The next topic was Radeon, where Dr Lisa Su mentioned the release of the Radeon 7 7nm GPU, the 7nm Instinct data centre GPU released last year, and AMD's upcoming partnership to supply the hardware for Google's Stadia cloud platform.

"Gamers are special," Dr Su said. "We believe there are over 2 billion gamers in the world ... gamers are incredibly demanding. Gaming is a very, very social sport, so you want to be able to share it with your friends," the AMD CEO added.

She then mentioned how the Navi architecture was built to be translatable across all platforms—PC, consoles, the cloud, and more. A slide showed how Sony's PS5 would be the first application of Navi, that it would be powered by AMD's semi-custom Navi GPU and Zen 2 CPUs.

For desktop gamers, the Navi architecture would be built on a different architecture than GCN (which powered previous AMD GPUs). It would also be the first gaming GPU to have support for PCIe 4.0.

"We love GCN, GCN has been a great architecture for us, and you're going to continue to see GCN as we go with new versions of Vega ... but you guys know how we thought about Zen in CPUs," Dr Su said. "When we designed Zen in CPUs, we decided it was time for from-scratch design, because we believed that you needed a new design for the future. And that's exactly what RDNA is; it's a gaming engine, the architecture that will power the foundation of gaming for the next decade."

Highlights of RDNA include lower latency, lower power usage, 1.25x better performance per clock cycle, and better instructions-per-clock, a new cache hierarchy, and 1.5x or higher jump in performance per watt on Navi products using the RDNA architecture.

AMD then announced the RX5000 family of GPUs, and began a live demo using Strange Brigade's automated benchmark against an Nvidia RTX 2070. The benchmark showed a 10 to 15fps jump over the RTX 2070, although the tests were also run on a pre-release version of hardware and drivers. The company quoted an average performance benefit of 10 percent over the RTX 2070, which retails from $699 or higher locally. Navi will be available worldwide simultaneously from July, with more details to be announced during an E3 show on June 11 Australian time.

Microsoft then got top billing as a key partner for AMD, welcoming Microsoft CVP of OS platforms Roanne Sones onto the stage. Sones then started talking about planning the next generation of Ryzen co-development, a process which began between AMD and Microsoft two years ago, and that Lenovo, Samsung, HP, Dell, ASUS and Acer would begin shipping laptops with modern hardware. Sones also referenced how AMD would start venturing into SSDs, although no specifics were given.

OEMs were then rolled out to showcase upcoming AMD-powered devices—a Predator Helios 500 that would ship with AMD CPUs and GPUs, but would also be provided with AMD/Nvidia configurations, an AMD-powered ASUS pre-built desktop PC, the Acer Nitro 5, which would use AMD CPUs and GPUs. Acer's upcoming desktops would also be powered by the third-generation Ryzen desktop CPUs, and paired with 7nm Navi GPUs.

Dr Su then revealed specifics on the 7nm Ryzen desktop cores, which would still be based on the AM4 socket while using the Zen 2 core. Along with support for PCIe 4.0, the Zen 2 core supposedly has twice the floating point performance of the original Zen core in the first-gen Ryzen CPUs.

Zen 2 CPUs have twice the cache size, reducing memory latency, and a 15 percent instructions per clock jump on "PC workloads" from the original Zen core.

The first Zen 2 CPU would be the 8c/16t Ryzen 7 3700X, with a 4.4GHz boost speed, 36MB total cache and a TDP of 65W. The 3700X then ran some demos against the i7-9700K in Cinebench R20, with both CPUs using an RX Vega GPU. The 3700X finished the multi-threaded test with a score of 4806, compared to the 9700K's score that was just over 3700.

The Ryzen 7 3800X was pitched as the gaming CPU: a 8c/16th CPU running at 105W, with a base speed of 3.9Ghz and 4.5GHz boost speed. Using the i9-9900K, the 3800X ran a test through a custom demo in PUBG (as PUBG has no automated benchmark, and gameplay is too inconsistent for reliable side-by-side tests). The two tests were running roughly on parity to the naked eye, although the test only featured two players running on a map, so it wasn't much use compared to real-world performance.

A PCIe 4.0 demo was then run using a 3800X and the RX 5700, compared to an i9-9900K and the RTX 2080 Ti. An upcoming test from 3DMark—3DMark PCI Express—was shown, designed to illustrate the difference in bandwidth between PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 devices.

To finish things off, the Ryzen 9 series was announced. The Ryzen 9 3900X would be a 12-core/24 thread CPU for gamers and content creators, with a boost clock of 4.6GHz, a total cache of 70MB, with the same TDP as the Ryzen 7 3800X.

A final test was run against the 12-core i9-9920X—which retails for around $US1000—in Blender versus the Ryzen 9 3900X, with the 3900X finishing about 18 percent faster in AMD's test demo. The 3900X uses significantly less power than the 9920X, but AMD didn't show off any additional gaming tests with the 3900X during the conference.

Internationally, the 3700X would retail for $US329, while the 3800X would sell for $US399. The 3900X 12-core CPU was retailing for $US499. The CPUs would go on sale from July 7—7/7.

This post is being updated live.

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