At Computex, AMD executives added key details about their upcoming Ryzen 7000 processor, including demonstrations that pushed clock speeds well above 5GHz, and a confirmation that its new AM5 socket will preserve compatibility with the cooling solutions used by current Ryzen chips in the AM4 socket.
AMD revealed the three chipsets that will accompany the launch the Ryzen 7000, and several third-party motherboards that will support it as well. AMD chief executive Dr. Lisa Su also showed off the new Ryzen 7000 handily outperforming an Intel Core processor running a project in a Blender render task.
In January, when AMD first unwrapped the Ryzen 7000 and its Zen 4 architecture, the company would only specify the “second half” of 2022 as the launch date for the new chip. At Computex, AMD executives nailed down “the fall” as the launch timeframe for its new processor. Unfortunately, we still don’t know all of the details of the new Ryzen 7000, as AMD plans to trickle them out over the course of the summer.
“Wherever our partners have a need for more computing capability, you will find AMD,” Su said during a keynote presentation at Computex.
The Zen 4/AM5 technology builds off of the current Ryzen 6000 Mobile processor, whose performance proved exemplary in a recent PCWorld review. AMD’s goal for the Ryzen 6000 Mobile was to take aim at mainstream laptops, and AMD couldn’t resist showing off a few of its recent wins, including the Alienware m17 R5 Ryzen Edition, Asus ZenBook S 13 and the Lenovo Legion Slim 7 and Yoga Slim Pro X. Metamechbook and Origin will also build in the Ryzen 6000 as system integrators. AMD also said that it will be adapting the Ryzen architecture for “Mendocino,” a new chip for long-lasting budget laptops costing less than $700.
One of the more interesting Ryzen wins, though, hasn’t been launched yet: the Corsair Voyager, a gaming laptop optimized for streaming. The Voyager ships with a small Apple-like touch bar at the top of the screen, designed around a version of the Elgato Stream Deck, along with several shortcut keys. Inside will be the “latest” AMD technologies, DDR5 memory, and a 1080p webcam said Frank Azor, the chief architect of gaming solutions and marketing for AMD. It’s due this summer.
Good news for Ryzen 7000 builders
We already know several features of the Ryzen 7000: that’s it’s moving to an incompatible 1718-pin AM5 LGA socket, that AMD will manufacture it on a 5nm process technology, and that it uses DDR5 memory technology in place of DDR4, just like Intel’s rival Alder Lake chips. There are two chiplets, each with four Zen 4 cores, plus an I/O die that includes the integrated RDNA2 graphics core.
What we learned Monday morning Taiwan time, however, is that PC builders will be able to use the same coolers as they used for AM4 systems, even if the socket itself has changed, according to David McAfee, the general manager of AMD’s desktop business. It’s not clear what TDP levels each of the individual chips will run at, however; all McAfee would say in that regard is that the platform will max out at 170W (which refers to AMD’s own Package Power Tracking, not Thermal Design Power or TDP, according to analyst Dr. Ian Cutress.) McAfee also clarified some of the I/O capabilities, as well: 24 PCI Express 5.0 lanes, up to 14 “Superspeed” 20Gbps USB-C lanes, WiFi 6E and Bluetooth LE 5.2, and up to four HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 ports.
We also now know the three Socket AM5 chipsets that AMD will ship alongside the Ryzen 7000 as well. They’ll include the X670E, the X670 and the B650, McAfee said.
McAfee described the X670E as the “best of the best,” with the most extreme overclocking headroom and the most power phases to push overclocking to its limits. It will have two PCIe 5 graphics slots and a PCIe 5 storage slot, said Robert Hallock, Ryzen director of marketing for AMD, in a separate briefing for reporters. The X670 will be the chipset for most mainstream Ryzen builders, McAfee said, with PCIe 5 running to the M.2 slots as well as the primary graphics slot on many boards, he said. There will be memory overclocking as well. Finally, the B650 boards will “offer the perfect balance of price point and capability,” but without the overclocking capabilities of the other boards — PCIe4 will be used for graphics, but PCIe 5 for at least one NVMe SSD slot, Hallock said.
“So we’re trying to make our chipset portfolio a little more flexible going into this generation with two premium options, letting users step up to full [PCIe5] or down and tailor their prices accordingly,” Hallock said in a pre-brief for reporters.
All of the boards will include PCIe 5 running to at least one M.2 storage socket, McAfee said. PCIe 5 SSDs deliver up to 60 percent improvement in sequential read performance versus Gen 4, McAfee said, and AMD expects PCIe 5 SSDs from Crucial and Micron to be released in time with the AM5 board ecosystem, he said.
While the SSDs themselves will help speed up PC load times, so will AMD’s work elsewhere in the system. AMD has created Smart Access Storage, which is the counterpart to Windows’ DirectStorage technology that Microsoft created and will dramatically decrease loading times on PCs. Smart Access Storage uses both AMD’s Smart Access Memory as well as Radeon GPU asset decompression to improve both game load times and texture streaming, Azor said.
“Smart access storage gets you out of the load screen and into your gameplay faster than ever,” Azor said. AMD will have more details in the coming months, he said.
Ryzen 7000 performance details
Unfortunately, we don’t know too much more about the Ryzen 7000’s performance than we did previously. But if you think that the performance of the Zen 3-based 5800X3D delivers — 15 percent more performance than the 5800X, Su said — the Ryzen 7000 may offer more of the same: a 15 percent boost in single-threaded workloads compared to the prior generation, she said. In part, that’s because AMD doubled the level-2 cache to 1 megabyte per core for higher throughput. The clock speeds will also run “significantly above 5 GHz and with higher IPC [instructions per clock] and faster clock speeds,” she said. AMD also added dedicated instructions for augmented reality and neural networks. AMD will have more details later, executives said.
Su showed off a preproduction version of the Ryzen 7000 running a copy of Bethesda Softworks’ Ghostwire: Tokyo, where clock speeds reached 5.5 GHz. In a second demonstration, Su showed off a Blender render project running against a “competitor system,” she said, In that demonstration, the Ryzen 7000 finished the project 31 percent faster.
“Hopefully you can see why we’re so excited about our next generation Ryzen 7000 CPUs and AM5 platforms,” she said. “You’ll hear a lot more over the coming months.”
Correction: The AMD Ryzen 7000 will consume 170W PPT, not 165W as an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated.