Ryzen Custom Copper IHS Tested vs. Stock IHS (R3 2200G Delid Benchmark)Tuesday, 01 May 2018
We’ve previously tested custom copper integrated heat spreaders (IHS) for Intel, primarily the unit sold by Rockit Cool for LGA115X CPUs. Our findings of the custom copper IHS (sold here) for the i7-8700K were that, generally, it was a fun, worthwhile project at $20, but that the thermal improvement was not game-changing. It was still impressive, though, as we monitored between 4-5 degrees Celsius improvement from the IHS replacement on the 8700K, partly benefiting as a result of the increased surface area over the stock Intel heat spreader. That’s a lot of uplift for something that isn’t a CPU cooler, and if you’re up against hard requirements for noise in your system, it could allow for just enough headroom to slow-down the case fans a bit more.
Ryzen is different, as its heatspreader is one large block, as opposed to a machined block with cut-outs and dips and generally smaller surface area. Rockit Cool improved on Intel IHS performance by increasing surface area, but had little to improve on with AMD’s. Both Intel and AMD use copper IHS units, but all of them are nickel-plated. This shouldn’t impact performance significantly and helps with cleaning.
Today, we’re benchmarking a custom copper IHS for AMD Ryzen CPUs and APUs, using the Rockit Cool copper IHS on an AMD R3 2200G that we previously delidded and benchmarked.
R3 2200G & R5 2400G vs. GT 1030 & Cheap CPUs | Game BenchmarksThursday, 15 March 2018
Raven Ridge APUs are interesting as products. In a world where MSRP acted as an infallible decree handed down by galactic overlords, the GT 1030 would cost $70, the RX 560 would cost $100, and the G4560 would always have been $60. In this world, however, the GT 1030 has now usurped both the GTX 1050 and RX 560 in price, landing at $110 to $120, and the G4560 has… actually fallen in price, down to $60 from an overpriced $80 previously.
Then the R3 2200G and R5 2400G entered the market, priced at $100 and $170, respectively. These APU launches are different from previous APU launches: Previously, AMD has pushed variants of the Bulldozer architecture with older generation GPU components; today, Ryzen and Vega significantly outperform AMD’s previous parts, and are both found in the APUs.
We’re benchmarking the Raven Ridge parts entirely for gaming right now. In our eyes, the Raven Ridge APUs – the R3 2200G and R5 2400G – are gaming parts, and so we’ll leave the production workloads to the higher-end Ryzen desktop parts. We are also focusing our performance testing on the R3 2200G, R5 2400G, and competing, similarly priced dGPU + discrete CPU options. This includes the G4560 + GT 1030 and R3 1200 + GT 1030. For determining performance scalability, we have a few charts from our GPU bench (run with an unconstrained GPU on an i7-7700K). These are obviously not meant to compare the APU performance to high-end desktop components, but rather to offer perspective of scale – it’s a look at how much performance an APU provides at its price.
Note also that we’ve not bothered to test the Intel IGP performance, as we already know its performance is, comparatively speaking, garbage. There’s no need to do in-depth testing on that; no one should reasonably be using an Intel IGP for gaming at any meaningful quality level. Because our performance floor cuts the IGPs, we are left with the APUs and immediately competing discrete components.
How to Kill Your CPU with “Safe” Voltages | Raven Ridge SOC Voltage GuidelinesWednesday, 28 February 2018
Even when using supposed “safe” voltages as a maximum input limit for overclocking via BIOS, it’s possible that the motherboard is feeding a significantly different voltage to the CPU. We’ve demonstrated this before, like when we talked about the Ultra Gaming’s Vdroop issues. The opposite side of Vdroop would be overvoltage, of course, and is also quite common. Inputting a value of 1.3V SOC, for instance, could yield a socket-side voltage measurement of ~1.4V. This difference is significant enough that you may exit territory of being “reasonably usable” and enter “will definitely degrade the IMC over time.”
But software measurements won’t help much, in this regard. HWINFO is good, AIDA also does well, but both are relying on the CPU sensors to deliver that information. The pin/pad resistances alone can cause that number to underreport in software, whereas measuring the back of the socket with a digital multimeter (DMM) could tell a very different story.
R5 2400G APU Memory Benchmarks & Single vs. Dual-ChannelWednesday, 21 February 2018
CPUs with integrated graphics always make memory interesting. Memory’s commoditization, ignoring recent price trends, has made it an item where you sort of pick what’s cheap and just buy it. With something like AMD’s Raven Ridge APUs, that memory choice could have a lot more impact than a budget gaming PC with a discrete GPU. We’ll be testing a handful of memory kits with the R5 2400G in today’s content, including single- versus dual-channel testing where all timings have been equalized. We’re also testing a few different motherboards with the same kit of memory, useful for determining how timings change between boards.
We’re splitting these benchmarks into two sections: First, we’ll show the impact of various memory kits on performance when tested on a Gigabyte Gaming K5 motherboard, and we’ll then move over to demonstrate how a few popular motherboards affect results when left to auto XMP timings. We are focusing on memory scalability performance today, with a baseline provided by the G4560 and R3 GT1030 tests we ran a week ago. We’ll get to APU overclocking in a future content piece. For single-channel testing, we’re benchmarking the best kit – the Trident Z CL14 3200MHz option – with one channel in operation.
Keep in mind that this is not a straight frequency comparison, e.g. not a 2400MHz vs. 3200MHz comparison. That’s because we’re changing timings along with the kits; basically, we’re looking at the whole picture, not just frequency scalability. The idea is to see how XMP with stock motherboard timings (where relevant) can impact performance, not just straight frequency with controls, as that is likely how users would be installing their systems.
We’ll show some of the memory/motherboard auto settings toward the end of the content.
AMD R3 2200G Delid & Liquid Metal ThermalsWednesday, 14 February 2018
Delidding the AMD R3 2200G wasn’t as clean as using pre-built tools for Intel CPUs, but we have a separate video that’ll show the delid process to expose the APU die. The new APUs use thermal paste, rather than AMD’s usual solder, which is likely a cost-saving measure for the low-end parts. We ran stock thermal tests on our 2200G using the included cooler and a 280mm X62 liquid cooler, then delidded it, applied Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut liquid metal, and ran the tests again. Today, we’re looking at that thermal test data to determine what sort of headroom we gain from the process.
Delidding the AMD R3 2200G is the same process as for the 2400G, and liquid metal application follows our same guidelines as for Intel CPUs. This isn’t something we recommend for the average user. As far as we’re aware, one of Der8auer’s delid kits does work for Raven Ridge, but we went the vise & razor route. This approach, as you might expect, is a bit riskier to the health of the APU. It wouldn’t be difficult to slide the knife too far and destroy a row of SMDs (surface-mount devices), so we’d advise not following our example unless willing to risk the investment.
Newegg Partially Refunds Customers for Overpriced APU Purchases
Newegg’s sale of the new AMD Ryzen APUs, including the R3 2200G (that we’re reviewing now) and R5 2400G, posted the APUs above MSRP by roughly $20. The R5 2400G retailed on Newegg for $190, versus a $170 MSRP, and also landed the product significantly above Amazon’s competing pricing. We purchased APUs from both Newegg and Amazon, and paid less for the product from Amazon; of course, AMD (and other manufacturers) can’t control the prices of retailers – that’d actually be illegal – but they can certainly find ways to suggest a price. It is, after all, a manufacturer’s “suggested” retail price.
Today, we received the following note today from Newegg’s service account:
Invalid "4.6GHz" Overclocks on APUs: Entering Sleep (S3) Tricks TimerMonday, 12 February 2018
As we await arrival of our APUs today, we’ve seen a few news stories reporting “4.56GHz” overclocks (or similarly high clocks) on AMD’s new Ryzen+Vega amalgamation. Seemingly, this significantly higher overclock is achievable merely by entering S3 (sleep) in Windows, and is even easily validated with higher benchmark scores.
In reality, we believe this is the Windows timer bugging out, which has existed on previous platforms and CPUs. The bug is easy to replicate because it only requires entering S3 state – another commonly problematic Windows setting, based on a previous life of lab testing – and waking from S3 causes artificially high clock reports.
Here's Where to Buy AMD's R5 2400G & R3 2200G Before Embargo Lift
AMD's new Ryzen R5 2400G & R3 2200G APUs, codenamed "Raven Ridge," are available for sale ahead of official embargo lift. We've earmarked the pages, for anyone interested in getting a jump on the APUs. Note that, as always, we recommend waiting on reviews before purchase -- but we'll make it easier for you to find them. Our reviews of the 2200G & 2400G are pending arrival of parts, likely today/tomorrow, and we've pre-published some GT 1030 & low-end CPU testing. We'll fully finalize that content once the APUs are in.
For now, you can find the new APUs at these links:
Amazon R3 2200G listing (public - at time of posting, this was $99)
Amazon R5 2400G listing (private - will go live closer to 9AM EST)
Newegg R5 2400G listing (public - at time of posting, this was $190, a bit over MSRP)
Newegg R3 2200G listing (public - at time of posting, this was $130)
Prep for 2400G Benchmarks: GT 1030 & G4560 / R3 1200Monday, 12 February 2018
APU reviews have historically proven binary: Either it’s better to buy a dGPU and dirt-cheap CPU, or it’s actually a good deal. There is zero room for middle-ground in a market that’s targeting $150-$180 purchases. There’s no room to be wishy-washy, and no room for if/but/then arguments: It’s either better value than a dGPU + CPU, or it’s not worthwhile.
Preceding our impending Raven Ridge 2400G benchmarks, we decided to test the G4560 and R3 1200 with the best GPU money can buy – because it’s literally the only GPU you can buy right now. That’d be the GT 1030. Coupled with the G4560 (~$72), we land at ~$160 for both parts, depending on the momentary fluctuations of retailers. With the R3 1200, we land at about $180 for both. The 2400G is priced at $170, or thereabouts, and lands between the two.
(Note: The 2400G & 2200G appear to already be listed on retailers, despite the fact that, at time of writing, embargo is still on)
HW News: Scam PSUs, 2400G Price & Specs, HDD ReliabilityFriday, 09 February 2018
This hardware news round-up covers the past week in PC hardware, including information on AMD's Ryzen+Vega amalgam, CPU "shortage" sensationalism, Newegg commission changes, and more. As usual, our HW News series is written as a video, but we publish show notes alongside the video. We'll leave those below the embed.
The big news for the week was AMD's 2400G & 2200G APUs, which are due out on Monday of next week. The higher-end APU will be priced around $170, and will primarily compete with low-end CPU+GPU combinations (e.g. GT 1030 and low-end R3). Of course, the APUs also carve an interesting niche in a market with limited dGPU supply. Strategically, this is a good launch window for AMD APUs.
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