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What we know about AMD's Ryzen so far

Gordon Mah Ung | Dec. 14, 2016
AMD's much-hyped Zen CPU now has an official name—here's everything else you need to know about it.

The one negative to a dual-channel configuration is the limited amount of RAM you can pack into a system (128GB on Intel versus 64GB with Ryzen). Intel might have a slight price advantage here as well since smaller DIMMs are usually cheaper.

AMD has the possible advantage of cheaper motherboard construction. Adding more memory channels to a motherboard means running more wires or traces and also more layers. More layers means more cost.

am4 mobo AMD

You’ll need a new AM4 motherboard and cooler for Ryzen.

Motherboard, cooler, and power consumption

For many technical reasons, Ryzen just won’t work in older AMD FX motherboards. A new mounting system means you’ll need a new cooler too, or at least an adapter to make your existing cooler fit.

ryzen power consumption 1 Gordon Mah Ung

Running Blender, AMD showed its new 8-core Ryzen CPU to use a little less power than the equivalent Intel CPU, which ran at about 100W.

AMD’s most recent CPUs have a reputation for running hotter than their Intel equivalents but that doesn’t look to be true anymore. The company showed Ryzen running ZBrushCore while consuming slightly less power than the Intel Core i7-6900K running the same workload. AMD hasn’t actually disclosed the amount of heat, or TDP, the chip generates but did say people would be “surprised.”

UPDATE: AMD said during its New Horizon livestream that the 8-core Ryzen chip will have a 95W TDP, far less than the Core i7-6900K's 140W.

dsc01145 Brad Chacos

Yup, SLI will work on Ryzen motherboards. AMD showed a Ryzen and a Core i7-6900K running Battlefield 1 with SLI’d GeForce Titan X cards.

Yes, SLI works

AMD knows that people who buy 8-core CPUs tend to like cranking their systems to 11. In a nod to enthusiasts, the company demonstrated a Ryzen PC using a pair of Nvidia Titan X cards in SLI to run Battlefield 1 against a similarly configured Core i7-6900K PC.

AMD said it wanted to prove that even with high-end configurations, Ryzen won’t be a bottleneck.

The other good news for enthusiasts is the assurance that we won’t see some walled-off AMD motherboard that forces you to run Radeon for multicard configurations. This isn’t without precedent. Most high-end AMD motherboards support Nvidia SLI.

It’s not really a CPU

AMD actually considers Ryzen to be an SoC, or system on a chip, because each chip will have some south bridge functions such as USB, PCI-E, and SATA. You can read more about the reasons here, but the gist is it was made to scale from laptops to servers so, please, dude, proper nomenclature. 

 

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