Hardware news headlines with AMD’s delay of the 3950X and the 7nm shortage that TSMC is experiencing. The shortage, it seems, is one of those “good problems” to have — TSMC’s 7nm process is so popular that it’s struggling to keep up with demand, and so the fab is working to increase wafer output. Separately, news talks issues with iCUE software causing impact to FPS, somewhat unsurprisingly, in coincidental timing with the 465X iCUE launch.
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AMD Delays R9 3950X; Launching w/ TR in November
AMD emailed the press on Friday, issuing an update on both the Ryzen 9 3950X and the next-gen Threadripper. Originally slated for launch in September, the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X will now debut in November alongside the new Threadripper family.
“We are focusing on meeting the strong demand for our 3rd generation AMD Ryzen processors in the market and now plan to launch both the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X and initial members of the 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processor family in volume this November. We are confident that when enthusiasts get their hands on the world’s first 16-core mainstream desktop processor and our next-generation of high-end desktop processors, the wait will be well worth it,” says AMD.
There are no signs that signal TSMC’s recent report of increased delivery times as the culprit. AMD is currently one of TSMC’s biggest clients for 7nm, alongside Apple with its new A13 SoC, so TSMC is likely pushing the increased delivery times out to less premium clients.
Source: email from AMD to GN
Recent iCUE Version Is Botching Gameplay for Some
Peripheral software tends to be the bane of many a gamer and enthusiast. Often times, at best, you get a bloated application with a series of unintuitive, labyrinthian menus to dig through. At worst, well, you get Corsair’s latest version of iCUE.
Many users on Corsair’s forums are noticing spikes in CPU usage, as well as seeing frame rate drops and stuttering in games. It seems rolling back to an older version of iCUE solves the problem, as some have noted. The version of iCUE causing problems is 3.19.120, and so far Corsair hasn’t dropped a new version.
Corsair doesn’t appear to have a place to get older versions, so you’ll have to employ some tricks to revert to an older version, as discussed in the forum thread. You could also uninstall the software altogether and wait for a fix, as we’ll keep an eye on the issue.
Forum thread — https://forum.corsair.com/v3/showthread.php?t=189897&page=11
AMD Epyc 7742 World First for Real-Time 8K HEVC Encoding
Beamr Imaging is laying claim to the world’s first real-time 8K HEVC encoding using a single socket, 64-core AMD Epyc 7742 CPU. The Epyc 7742 encoded 8K footage in real time at 79 frames per second, with 10-bit HDR color. Beamer 5 looks to be optimized for parallelization, as it saturates all 64 cores of the Epyc 7742, as noted by Raghu Nambiar, Corporate Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at AMD.
“We are excited to join Beamr with bringing high-performance software-based video encoding powered by AMD EPYC 7002 Series Processors to market. It is impressive to see Beamr 5 consistently loading all cores in both single socket and dual-socket configurations,” says Nambiar.
World of Tanks Is Getting Ray Tracing
At its Wargaming Fest: Tanker Day event, the developers behind the popular World of Tanks announced that the game would be getting ray tracing support, via Intel OneAPI. Although the ray tracing in the game appears to be limited, the announcement has significant implications because it means that any DirectX 11 graphics cards can benefit — not just RTX cards.
Wargaming will update its Core game engine to include ray tracing support as well as introduce concurrent rendering.
“With the introduction of our Ray Tracing (RT) technology—developed at Wargaming with close collaboration with Intel—we can recreate the “main actors” of our game in higher quality; their smallest details will give super-realistic shadows when the sun hits them. Ray Tracing further immerses you in an atmosphere of furious tank combat and provides an even more enjoyable gameplay experience,” explains Wargaming.
Support should roll out in future updates.
ARM Joins The CXL
It’s safe to say that the Compute Express Link (CXL) Consortium has become too big to ignore. The group consists of industry heavyweights like Microsoft, Google, Intel, Nvidia, and most recently AMD. The goal of the CXL is to develop specifications for a new high-speed CPU interconnect, aimed at heterogeneous computing. ARM was the last major CPU developer holding out, but not anymore.
Given ARM’s massive ecosystem and the fact that so many vendors license IP from ARM, the CXL gaining support from ARM is huge. It also raises questions about the future of CCIX, of which ARM has been a big supporter. For now, ARM notes that “we expect to maintain CCIX to support inter-package chip-to-chip interface that is currently not in the scope of CXL. We will continue to support customer solutions based on existing CCIX hardware.”
Reading between the lines, ARM is signaling that it believes CXL is the future. ARM will also continue to support the Gen-Z interconnect and remains a member of the Gen-Z Consortium. However, with so much traction behind the CXL, it seems the new interconnect wars are over before they really ever started.
Windows Scheduler Targeting Wrong Cores
As successful as AMD has been with Ryzen 3000, the chips haven’t come without their flaws. The processors had previously suffered from their inability to hit maximum boost clocks, which prompted AMD to push out new AGESA microcode for BIOSes that did correct the issue — you can see GN’s findings on that here.
Paul Alcorn with Tom’s Hardware discovered that AMD isn’t quite out of the woods yet. Specifically, it seems AMD and the Windows Scheduler still can’t reconcile their differences in terms of core assignment. While testing the Ryzen 9 3900 X with AMD’s recent firmware and BIOS optimizations, Alcorn noted two key problems.
First, the chip was boosting inactive cores, essentially wasting the boost clock and killing any tangible performance gain. Then, the Windows Scheduler was aimlessly lobbing workloads at cores, and often bursty workloads were ending up in slower cores. Both of the problems are exacerbated by the fact that AMD uses a combination of slow, and faster binned cores for Ryzen 3000.
In summation, Alcorn notes that while AMD did correct the boost clock deficiency, the fix doesn’t regularly equate to increased performance. We, much like Alcorn, hope to see AMD continue to optimize Zen 2 and continue to fine-tune how the Windows Scheduler assigns workloads.
For what it’s worth, we did rerun our test suite and saw an average uplift with back-to-back, A/B testing between the two BIOS revisions. This wasn’t new versus old data, it was all new data, so we were able to plot performance uplift of about 1-2% on average across the games. It seems that, despite some inefficiencies, there was an average improvement in our testing. One thing to point-out though is that a lot of viewers lost the plot on the 0.1% lows and totally disregarded our warnings to focus instead on the bigger metrics.
Finally, Anandtech also posted an excellent article on the boosting behavior that’s worth reading.
TSMC Delivery Time Triples Under 7nm Demand
It would seem that TSMC is a victim of its own success, as Digitimes is reporting that the company is expecting delivery lead times to triple under enormous demand for its 7nm process. Digitimes reports that TSMC is increasing its lead times for 7nm chips to 6 months, up from the previous 2-month delivery window.
Digitimes also notes that TSMC is preparing budget increases for fab expansion and other process node advancements. Currently, TSMC likely has its hands full deliver 7nm chips to AMD, which the chipmaker is using in both Ryzen 3000 and the Navi-based RX 5700-series.
Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman