AMD has launched a new range of Ryzen Pro processors that gives the company an important new weapon in its competition with Intel.
Last year, AMD introduced Ryzen Pro, a range of processors aimed at corporate desktops rather than consumer systems. Though broadly identical to their consumer counterparts, the Pro chips offer additional guarantees around supply and availability so that corporate fleets can standardize on particular chips without risking a part being discontinued mid-way through their replacement cycle. The Pro chips also carry longer warranties and emphasize certain security and management features that may not be present or enabled in consumer systems.
The first Ryzen Pros had a major omission, however: they didn’t include integrated GPUs. Corporate desktops and laptops, typically used for Office, Web browsing, and other low-intensity tasks, overwhelmingly use integrated GPUs rather than discrete ones; they simply don’t need anything more powerful. The need for separate GPUs meant that the first-generation Ryzen Pros had only very limited appeal in their target corporate market.
The new processors, however, follow in the footsteps of the Ryzens with integrated Vega graphics launched in February, pairing a single core complex (CCX; a bundle of four cores/eight threads and a shared level 3 cache) with a Vega GPU. This makes them a complete solution for the corporate desktop.
Oddly, these-second generation Ryzen Pros are still based on the first-generation Ryzen design, not AMD’s refined Zen+ processor that launched last month. The use of the first-generation core means that these processors don’t have the improved clock-speed management (which should improve clock speeds under all workloads) of the first-generation parts or the improved cache and memory latency. It also makes AMD’s naming rather confusing: some 2000-series processors are second-generation Zen+ while other 2000-series processors are first-generation Zen.
Update: Or at least, that’s what we were told. Further investigation suggests that it does in fact have the latency and clock management improvements of Zen+, but is built on Global Foundries’ 14nm+ process (versus 14nm for the original Ryzens, and 12nm for the second generation Ryzens).
AMD has launched seven processors total: four desktop and three mobile. AMD has frustratingly only chosen to provide maximum turbo boost clock speeds in its spec sheets. The cache configuration is a little different to previous chips; although each CCX has 8MB of level 3 cache, these processors only have 4MB enabled, along with 512KB of level 2 cache per core.
ModelCores/ThreadsMaximum CPU clock/GHzGPU compute unitsMaximum GPU clock/MHzTDP/WDesktop processorsRyzen 5 PRO 2400G with Radeon Vega Graphics4/83.9111,25065Ryzen 5 PRO 2200G with Radeon Vega Graphics4/43.781,10065Ryzen 5 PRO 2400GE with Radeon Vega Graphics4/83.8111,25035Ryzen 5 PRO 2200GE with Radeon Vega Graphics4/43.681,10035Mobile processorsRyzen 7 PRO 2700U with Radeon Vega Graphics4/83.8101,30015Ryzen 5 PRO 2500U with Radeon Vega Graphics4/83.681,10015Ryzen 3 PRO 2300U with Radeon Vega Graphics4/43.461,10015
Almost more important than the chips themselves, AMD has also announced a number of design wins for the processors. Dell has the Latitude 5495 laptop and OptiPlex 5055 desktop; HP has the EliteBook 700 G5 and ProBook 645 G4 laptops, as well as the EliteDesk 700 desktops; and Lenovo announced that Ryzen Pros will be in the ThinkCentre M715q and M725s desktops and ThinkPad A series laptops. Generally, these machines are variants of existing Intel systems modified to include the Ryzen Pro chips instead.
Ryzen gave AMD an enormous boost in the enthusiast market, and these second-generation Ryzen Pros should do the same in the corporate space. This helps the bottom line, as enterprise systems tend to sustain higher prices than consumer ones. It also highlights an area where AMD approaches the market differently from Intel: all AMD’s Ryzen Pro chips, both first- and second-generation, have the same set of management and security features. Intel’s closest equivalent to Ryzen Pro, vPro, is more restrictive: the company doesn’t make i3 processors with vPro, for example, thereby depriving cheaper systems of the additional features.
On top of that, AMD continues to tout its chips’ substantially superior graphical performance. The value of this is a little mixed. On the desktop side, the difference is likely negligible: desktop systems with workloads that are sensitive to GPU performance are already using discrete GPUs, so the slightly faster AMD integrated GPU isn’t going to make a difference anyway.
But in the mobile market, the situation may favor AMD more strongly. Size constraints often preclude the use of discrete GPUs—the thinnest and lightest laptops just don’t have the space or the power budget for an extra chip—making the value of a faster GPU that nonetheless fits in the same power envelope and system size a more appealing prospect.
More Info: arstechnica.com