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Second-gen Ryzens out for preorder now, shipping next week

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The second-generation AMD Ryzen desktop processors are open for preorders today. Shipping on April 19th, the new chips start at $199 for a six-core, 12-thread part running at a base of 3.4GHz and a turbo of 3.9GHz; the prices goes up to $329 for an eight-core, 16-thread processor at 3.7/4.3GHz.

AMD’s moment of Zen: Finally, an architecture that can compete
Details on the new chips are a little light, with the full reveal, including performance numbers, coming on release day. We know that the second-generation processors are an incremental improvement over the first-generation Zen architecture. They keep the same basic layout—groups of four cores/eight threads are arranged into "core complexes" (CCXes), and a Ryzen chip has two CCXes joined together. Each core has 512KB of level 2 and 2MB of level 3 cache.
The second generation increases clock speeds (the previous high-end part had clocks of 3.6/4.0GHz) and makes the processor's turbo boosting smarter. On first-generation parts, the clock boosting could happen to a pair of cores, or all cores together. This meant that if you needed, say, four fast cores, they were constrained to the "all core" turbo speed. On the second-generation chips, that turbo boosting is now available with any number of cores, just as long as there's power and thermal headroom. Workloads with more than two cores, but fewer than all of them, should be able to use more of the available power budget and hence run faster.

The new processors are compatible with the first-generation motherboards (though they may need a firmware update to work). AMD is also releasing a new high-end chipset, X470. X470's big feature is "StoreMI," a hybrid disk system that allows volumes to be built that span both SSDs and spinning disks (and even RAM disks) to boost I/O performance.


The price chart above also shows the other couple of differences relative to first generation. First, the top-end part now ships with an in-box heatsink/fan. Previously, the high-end part was shipped naked and had to be used with a third-party cooler. Second, the top part has had its power rating increased from 95W to 105W. This shouldn't make much difference to system builders, as they will generally have power and cooling to spare, but it suggests that those higher clock speeds aren't coming for free.

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