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Zen 4 in the second half, Ryzen 7 5800X3D with V-Cache until spring


One of the things I look forward to every year is whether the big companies I write about are ready to present their upcoming products in advance – because the year starts with the annual CES fair, this is the perfect place. A company that is able to present its 12-month portfolio seems confident in its ability to deliver, and also causes salivation in the rest of us due to the capabilities of next-generation hardware. This time, AMD is coming to talk about its new V-Cache CPU coming soon, and the new Zen 4 platform coming in the second half of the year.

Now with V-Cache! One single CPU: Ryzen 7 5800X3D

Each CPU has levels of internal memory, known as cache memory, which starts as a bank of fast but small memory ‘Level 1’, rising to ‘Level 2’ medium size medium memory and then ‘Level 3’ larger slower memory. In addition, there is main DDR memory, which is super large but super slow compared – main memory is 100x slower to access, but can hold much more data.

Last year, AMD announced that it was working on stacked built-in memory in the form of cache memory. This V-Cache concept took one of the standard 8-core chips from the Ryzen 5000 series, which already had 32 MB of L3 cache, and stacked another 64 MB of L3 cache on it, giving a total of 96 MB. Stacking chips is difficult, and AMD is working with TSMC to produce this advanced packaging technique.

The main 8-core chip, built on TSMC 7nm, has 82mm2. This extra complex chip is only 36 mm2, and is located directly above the cache already on the chip, so it does not cover the kernel. An additional 64 MB of the L3 cache chipset was produced on a 7nm version of the TSMC that was optimized for cache density, so AMD set 64 MB directly to 32 MB. The cores are not covered for thermal reasons – the cores are where energy is used, so the thermal spaces are placed on top so that the top of the combined chip is completely flat.

AMD said last year that it will produce user and business versions of this increased cache in 2021 for the 2022 launch. At the Data Center event last November, AMD announced a version that will go to servers and named Milan X. For consumers, AMD today announces what this version of Ryzen with increased cache memory looks like. Introducing the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

AMD will launch only one Ryzen version of its V-Cache technology, using the Ryzen 7 5800X as a base. This means the chip has 8 cores, 16 threads and a 105 W TDP like the regular R7 5800X, but now with 96 MB of L3 cache instead of 32 MB. It will run on 3.4 GHz Base, 4.5 GHz boost, will be able to overclock and run on AMD 400 and 500 series motherboards.

AMD Ryzen 5000 series desktop processors
Zen 3 microarchitecture (Non-Pro, 65W +)
AnandTech core /
Thread
Base
Freq
1T
Freq
L3
C $
IGP PCIe TDP SEP
Ryzen 9 5950X 16 32 3400 4900 64 MB 4.0 105 W $ 799
Ryzen 9 5900X 12 24 3700 4800 64 MB 4.0 105 W $ 549
Ryzen 9 5900 12 24 3000 4700 64 MB 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5800X3D 8 16 3400 4500 96 MB 4.0 105 W ?
Ryzen 7 5800X 8 16 3800 4700 32 MB 4.0 105 W $ 449
Ryzen 7 5800 8 16 3400 4600 32 MB 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5700G 8 16 3800 4600 16 MB Vega8 3.0 65 W $ 359
Ryzen 5 5600X 6 12 3700 4600 32 MB 4.0 65 W $ 299
Ryzen 5 5600G 6 12 3900 4400 16 MB Vega7 3.0 65 W $ 259
Ryzen 3 5300G 4 8 4000 4200 8 MB Vega6 3.0 65 W OEM

The processor will be launched in the spring (we think it is in March / April), and the exact price has yet to be announced.

For those who have been following AMD’s V-Cache news over the past year, I bet you have exactly the same questions I asked when AMD first informed us of this announcement. Here is a summary of the questions I asked and my interpretations of the answers.

Why only Ryzen 7 and not Ryzen 5 / Ryzen 9? Since this is a new project for AMD, they want to know how such a processor will be welcome on the market. Many users (including me) expected AMD to go all-in with a large 16-core version, however anything Ryzen 9 requires two chips, and adding an extra V-Cache requires extra silicon and packaging costs. During the shortage of semiconductors, I was told that this is the best way to get it in the hands of many people, without being in the category of super high costs. It also means a single 96 MB of L3 cache, without having to deal with two valuable chips that may not be optimized right away. Future versions of V-Cache on next-generation products could be extended to other Ryzen family members.

Are the frequencies lower than the standard 5800X? Cache memory adds a few watts of power in terms of both standby and load. Instead of throwing away a tighter chip, the decision was made to reduce the frequency a bit, but still allow overclocking. The chip, although listed at 105 W, still has 142 W packet power monitoring for motherboards that support it.

Who is this chip for? The focus is on users playing video games instead of anything else. Additional cache memory should help communicate with discrete graphics cards, offering additional performance above the standard R7 5800X. This is less likely to affect the workload of productivity, and for those users, regular Ryzen CPUs are expected to be better. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is designed to be the ‘Fastest Gaming Processor in the World’ (compared to the 5900X and 12900K).

Regarding these performance metrics, AMD cites:

  • 1.0x to 1.4x at 1080p High compared to Ryzen 9 5900X + RTX3080 (15% average)
  • 0.98x to 1.2x at 1080p High compared to Core i9-12900K (DDR5) + RTX3080

Both systems worked with Windows 11.

I think the critical element here will be price. As I write this paper, I can find the following prices:

  • Ryzen 5 5600G (6C / 12T *): 240 USD
  • Ryzen 5 5600X (6C / 12T): 290 USD
  • Core i5-12600K (6P + 4E *): 300 USD
  • Ryzen 7 5700G (8C / 16T *): 340 USD
  • Ryzen 7 5800X (8C / 16T): 369 USD
  • Core i7-12700KF (8P + 4E): 390 USD
  • Ryzen 9 5900X (12C / 24T): 540 USD
  • Core i9-12900KF (8P + 8E): 590 USD
  • Ryzen 9 5950X (16C / 32T): 730 USD

Although AMD is promoting the Ryzen 7 5800X3D to have better performance than the 5900X in games, if it goes something north of $ 500, it could be poorly received. Priced at $ 500, it would be a $ +130 addition to the usual Ryzen 7 5800X. Are users willing to pay almost 30% more for triple L3 cache for up to 15% more gaming performance? Or is this just the game for the fastest gaming processor in the world, no matter the price?

Don’t get me wrong, I think the technology is great. But for AMD to keep the same margins, it could be more expensive than people think. I can’t wait to get it for an examination – let us know what tests you want to see.

Comes 2H 2022: Zen 4 at 5nm, with AM5, DDR5 and PCIe 5.0

Perhaps not so surprising given all the information from last year, AMD has confirmed that Ryzen CPUs based on Zen 4 coming in 2022 will be built on TSMC’s 5nm process (we assume the N5) will be built on the AM5 socket and will also have DDR5 as PCIe 5.0. What we get new from this discovery are the images of the new socket and the display of the CPU form factor.

With AM5, AMD will move to an Intel-like Land Grid Array (LGA) style processor, eliminating the Pin Grid Array (PGA) used on current Ryzen desktop processors. AMD is no stranger to LGA, as it is also used by its EPYC enterprise processors and Threadripper processors. The new AM5 socket is a 1718-pin design, with pins in two orientations:

If this type of socket seems familiar to some of you, it is because it seems to be a denser version of AMD’s old socket F from 2006-2010. While that old socket with 1207 pins for Opteron enterprise processors, this one has 1718, so you’ll see we call it the LGA1718. Compared to Intel ‘s 12th Gen Core processors using the LGA1700 socket, both major platforms have approximately the same number of pins.

It is worth noting that this type of socket, like the old Socket F, means that the lower part of the Zen 4 processor will be nothing but contact pads. Using an LGA socket means that the pin density is defined at the socket level, not the processor, and it is easier to design a socket with a higher pin density. But the back with only the pins means that part of the circuitry for the chip will be both in the packaging and on top, which is handy considering that AMD also shows what the CPU will look like.

We have another square-like CPU package, however to accommodate some of that energy delivery, the heat diffuser has this octopus arm design. The heat diffuser is not rotationally symmetrical, with the upper / lower (as shown) central arms smaller than the left / right center arm. The processor also has two notches, one at the top and one at the bottom, to the left of the center to ensure that the processors are entered correctly. There’s also that yellow arrow in the upper left corner that helps guide users.

In addition to introducing the CPU and LGA1718 socket, AMD confirms that the AM5 platform will support AM4 coolers. This means that one should expect the mounting holes for the AM5 to be the same, or at least the platform to accept both the old and the new.

The next-generation Ryzen, featuring Zen 4 cores, 5nm production and a new AM5 socket, hits the market in the second half (2H) of 2022. The number of cores and everything else will come later – I guess we’ll get a deep dive into architecture sometime around August, at the Hot Chips industry event, or at a special AMD event at the time.



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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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