Before beginning this week's hardware news recap, we'd like to highlight for our readers -- or those who just prefer referencing our articles rather than scrubbing through videos at a later date -- that we've been making a bigger push to publish written content to the site lately. This site serves almost more as an archive for the scripts than anything else these days, just because the nature of maintaining it is very difficult given our current working hours, but we like it and we know that all of you like the written format. We've made an active effort in increasing how many of our videos (from YouTube) end up on the website in written form, so we published the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 review, Ryzen 3 3300X review, and our B550 vs. X570 (et al) chipset comparison. Check them out on the home page.
In the meantime, we've got a lot of hardware news for the week to recap: The FCC is being forced to reveal its server logs for concerns stemming from fake comments about net neutrality, NVIDIA and AMD are vying over 5nm supply from fab TSMC, RTX Ampere is getting an announcement this week, Intel Alder Lake and LGA1700 are in the rumor mill, and more.
In this content, we’re going to be breaking-down the AMD B550 vs. X570, B450, X470, X370, and A320 chipset specifications number-by-number. Our goal is to look at this purely from a facts-based angle of what the differences are, and those differences will include both numerical specification differences (number and type of lanes afforded) and forward or backwards compatibility differences. This includes the intent of the 500-series chipsets to support Zen 3 architecture (reminder: that’s not the same as Ryzen 4000 mobile, nor is it the same as Ryzen 3000 desktop), while the existing B450 and X470 boards are left to cap-out at Ryzen 3000 series (Zen 2) parts.
We have some additional discussion of the basics of naming, including CPU naming distinctions, in our video component that accompanies this article. You may get more information on the differences between AMD Zen generations and Ryzen generations in that content.
This is the big one: In this review, we’re benchmarking the AMD R3 3300X $120 CPU, but we’re specifically interested in the real-world impact of the CCX-to-CCX communication latency in the Ryzen 3 3100 versus the Ryzen 3 3300X at the same overclocked frequency of 4.4GHz. It’s massive in some instances, beyond 20%, and eliminates the ability to just overclock the otherwise identical 3100 to meet the 3300X performance for cheaper. As discussed in our Ryzen 3 3100 review that’s already live, the 3300X runs a 4+0 core configuration with everything on one CCD, on one CCX, while the 3100 runs a 2+2 configuration on two CCXs on that CCD. We’re going to look at how much that impacts performance, but also review the 3300X versus basically every other current CPU, and a few older ones.
Today we’re reviewing the AMD R3 3100 and Ryzen 3 3300X, but we have a dedicated content piece for the AMD R3 3300X because we added benchmarks for the two CPUs at the same frequency, exposing the latency difference between them. For this specific article and video, we’re focusing all of our attention on the AMD R3 3100 CPU at $100, potentially a high-volume part for budget PC builds. That includes overclocking, power consumption, gaming benchmarks, frequency analysis, production workloads (Premiere, Photoshop, compile, et al.), and more. Our AMD Ryzen 3 3300X review will post within a couple of hours on this one (on YouTube, at least, if not also on the site), and that’ll feature head-to-head 4.4GHz overclocks on the R3 3100 vs. R3 3300X, where the 3300X’s 4+0 core CCX configuration can be tested for its real-world latency impact versus the 2+2 3100.
Writing this review, it felt like we were writing a review script from the same era as the 7700K, and not just because AMD is positioning itself against the 2017 CPU. Back when we reviewed the 7700K, all the comparisons were to the 6700K, the 4790K, the 2600K – the theme was that it was all intra-brand competition. The same is happening now, where we’re throwing a few Intel names out there as comparisons, but until the 10-series, AMD really is just competing against itself. It’s fascinating in a way, because from a reviewer and editorial standpoint, it really does feel like dejavu – except it’s a different company in 2020. The new AMD Ryzen 3 3100 and 3300X CPUs have a release date set for May 21, 2020, with the Intel 10th “Gen” release date set for May 20, 2020.
The Phanteks P400A Digital was one of the most impressive cases we reviewed last year, providing good airflow and a full set of four fans for a reasonable price, but you’d be hard pressed to find it in stock for that price anywhere currently. The P300A is a newer and even less expensive option with the same style of mesh front panel that we covered at CES in January.
Hardware news this week is slammed with announcements to cover. NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD all had big announcements -- for once, all official and not rumors -- and that includes a big focus on upcoming GPUs. AMD reconfirmed its commitment to RDNA2 in 2020, despite global economic and manufacturing challenges. NVIDIA, meanwhile, invites everyone to "get amped" for its upcoming GTC Online event, a clear indicator of Ampere GPUs. Intel teased its Xe GPUs in an interesting packaging, something worth covering to the extent we currently can.
It’s time again for our CPU testing methodology to be updated, alongside the test bench. We’ve done some significant streamlining behind the scenes that make these tests easier to run and the results easier and more accurate to process, but on the public side, we’ve completely overhauled the software suite we’re using. Last time we updated our testing methodology, we added a code compile benchmark that was short-lived. The test featured GCC, Cygwin, some other environments, and ended up being a top-to-bottom sort by cache. We ditched that test (and consulted Wendell of Level1 Techs on it in this video), and we’re just now replacing it. New code compile benchmarking (with more usefulness) has been added for 2020, alongside the addition of Handbrake H.264 to H.265 transcoding (ranked by time), updated Adobe Premiere video rendering and Adobe Photoshop benchmarks, updated file compression and decompression benchmarks, and more. Gaming gets a total overhaul, too, with a big suite of new games added.
Additionally, we’ve updated several existing game and production benchmarks from last year’s suite, with a few left unchanged. This is to keep producing data that we can still compare to old data, which is useful for rapid analysis of parts that may not have been re-tested in the current year. For example, if we were testing a 10700K and wanted to reference its performance vs. a 2600K, but didn’t have a fresh retest, we could reference data from GTA V, Tomb Raider, Civilization, and ACO to form an understanding without fully retesting. We try to limit this, but time often gets the better of us, and it’s good to have reference points to ensure ongoing accuracy.
Intel today announced its 10-series desktop CPUs, which it’s calling “10th Gen,” and that includes the 10-core / 20-thread Intel i9-10900K. Intel confirmed several of the specs we’ve exclusively published in the past couple of HW News episodes, but we can now talk about it in a more official capacity. A bigger focus on thermals was one of the key points, but we were also interested to see expanded overclocking support as a heavily promised feature for the 10-series Intel CPUs. Intel’s press announcement left a lot to be desired from an informational standpoint and the company ended the call before getting through all of the press questions, but we still have information we can work through today. Unfortunately, the press call was not without its usual stuffing of marketing that bordered on territory of “probably literally made up,” but Intel later retracted those claims after questioning. More on that later.
The original be quiet! Pure Base 500 completely failed to pique our interests. It was another mid-tower we knew would have subpar airflow in the $80-$90 range (depending on the configuration), not cheap enough to excuse faults or expensive enough to make it offensively bad. We’re much more interested in the new variant, the 500DX. We were informed back at CES that the DX stands for Deluxe, which may or may not have been made up by be quiet! on the spot, but the gist is a slightly higher-end airflow focused model that’s still part of the Pure Base line, traditionally the least expensive of their three case families. The DX is priced at $99.90, a little more than the original, but comes with an additional fan, RGB lighting, and a mesh front panel. Today we’ll be reviewing the 500DX and pulling our Pure Base 500 from storage to do some tests and comparisons with the original.
News is busy this week and features a story that we'd love to know more about: The Cedar Supercomputer accidentally running cryptomining software for 6 hours a day under the nose of researchers. We're also talking about DDR5 and AMD's future roadmap (all tentative), the Ryzen 3 1200 AF & 1300 AF CPUs coming to market, Unigine Community 2 SDK, TSMC earnings, and more.
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