AMD Intros Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 CPUs: Up to 5.5 GHz, 15%+ Performance, RDNA 2 Graphics

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AMD CEO Lisa Su revealed more details about the upcoming Ryzen 7000 series processors and the 600-series motherboards, both of which will arrive in Fall 2022, today during the company’s Computex 2022 keynote address. AMD demoed a 16-core Ryzen 7000 processor hitting an amazing 5.5 GHz during a gaming demo, and also completing a Blender render in 31% less time than Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900K. As expected, we also learned plenty of new details about the 5nm Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ processors and the new wave of motherboards with the AM5 socket.

The quick snap is that AMD claims the Ryzen 7000 processors will have >15% more single-threaded performance than their Zen 3 predecessors (not IPC), up to a 5GHz+ maximum boost frequency, come with integrated RDNA 2 graphics (a first), and will support only DDR5 memory. In addition, the chips have 5nm CPU chiplets for the cores, a 6nm I/O die, and twice the L2 cache (1MB) per core.

AMD splits the 600-series chipsets into a new X670E (Extreme) upper-tier in addition to the standard X670 and B650 swim lanes. The X670E motherboard will come with full support for PCIe 5.0, while the X670 and B650 will have varying levels of support for PCIe 5.0 or 4.0 (details below). AMD also revealed that the AM5 socket would support up to 170W of peak power, which will be helpful for high core-count models. The RDNA 2 engine also supports up to four display outputs, including HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 2 interfaces.

Let’s dive into the full details. (We’ve also embedded the keynote at the end of the article.)

AMD 5nm Zen 4 ‘Raphael’ Ryzen 7000 CPUs

The biggest news for the 5nm Zen 4 chips comes as a 15% or better improvement in single-threaded performance over the previous-gen Zen 3-powered Ryzen 5000 processors. AMD tells us that this comes as a mixture of instruction per cycle (IPC) and frequency improvements, but won’t share the specific percentage each factor contributes until later. AMD says the chips will reach ‘significantly above’ a 5 GHz peak frequency and even demoed a 16-core model hitting 5.5 GHz. However, that comes with the standard caveat that this frequency only applies to a single core during a light bursty workload, just as we’ve seen with Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors.

That means the 15%+ figure isn’t based solely on IPC improvements, but improved single-thread performance does boost performance across the board as it is amplified as workloads spread across the cores. To that effect, AMD also boosted the maximum power delivery of the AM5 socket (PPT) that will house the Ryzen 7000 chips to 170W, a 28W increase over the previous-gen AM4 socket’s 142W peak. If AMD sticks to its standard use of PPT x 1.35x = TDP, that means we’ll see AM5 socket chips top out at a 125W TDP. We’ll dive into performance comparisons a bit further below, but it looks like we’ll see a closer-than-expected race between Ryzen 7000 and Intel’s Alder and Raptor Lake chips.

The Ryzen 7000 processors come with expanded instructions for AI acceleration, but AMD isn’t sharing details yet. However, we know from the Gigabyte hack that Zen 4 supports AVX-512 instructions, so these are likely the unnamed instructions. If so, that oddly places Intel’s chips at a disadvantage as they have disabled AVX-512 functionality due to the hybrid architecture.

AMD has also doubled the L2 cache per core to 1MB for Zen 4, giving the execution cores a heftier slab of near memory for workloads. However, with Intel’s chips, we’ve seen larger L2 caches primarily benefit data center workloads. Larger L2 caches generally reduce L3 cache accesses (theoretically by ~40% in this case), which reduces contention on the fabric, thus enabling better scalability and performance in all-core workloads — as opposed to enabling big boosts to single-threaded work. This is to say there’s a chance Zen 4’s increased L2 capacity will pay off more handsomely for the EPYC Genoa server chips than it will for most desktop PC applications.

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