(Glenn’s Tech Insights… used to be part of our bi-weekly newsletter but we decided to make it a regular blog post instead so it can get more visibility. It covers interesting new hardware and software developments that are generally relevant for SQL Server).
AMD Computex 2019 Announcements
On May 27, 2019, AMD President and CEO, Dr. Lisa Su delivered the opening keynote at Computex 2019 Taipei. During this keynote, Dr. Su announced more details about the 7nm Ryzen 3000 series mainstream desktop processors, 7nm AMD EYPC “Rome” server processors, 7nm AMD Radeon RX 5700 “Navi” video cards and the upcoming X570 chipset motherboards.
AMD is claiming a 15% IPC improvement, a 2X L3 cache size increase, and a 2X floating point performance improvement over the Ryzen 2000 series. AMD revealed some fairly detailed specifications and pricing for some of the Ryzen 3000 series processors, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: AMD Ryzen 3000 Series Processors
AMD ran some Cinebench R20 and Blender demonstrations on stage comparing Ryzen 3000 series processors to various Intel mainstream desktop and HEDT processors. If these demonstrations are accurate (and we won’t know for sure until the various hardware enthusiast sites and respected YouTube hardware reviewers do independent testing), then AMD should have an amazing, game-changing product. They will have better single-threaded CPU performance, better multi-threaded CPU performance, PCIe 4.0 support, and lower prices than equivalent current Intel processors.
Just in case 12C/24T isn’t enough, there are many reports from good sources that there will be a 16C/32T SKU that will be released later this year. The Ryzen 3000 processors are due to be on store shelves on July 7, 2019.
Figure 2: AMD Ryzen 3000 Performance Comparisons
There was also a quick AMD EPYC “Rome” demonstration, comparing a two-socket AMD EPYC “Rome” system to a two-socket Intel Xeon Platinum 8280M system, where the AMD system had more than twice the performance. This isn’t a huge surprise, since the AMD system had 64C/128T processors vs. 28C/56T processors for the Intel system. We still don’t know the detailed specifications for the 7nm “Rome” processors, but if they show similar IPC improvements to the AMD Ryzen 3000 series desktop processors (they both use the same Zen 2 architecture), it will be very impressive. Forrest Norrod, AMD’s SVP and GM of the Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Group, confirmed a Q3 2019 Release Date for “Rome” during the keynote.
Here are some relevant YouTube videos:
Corsair Force Series MP600 SSD PCIe 4.0
Corsair announced a new Force Series MP600 PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD at Computex 2019. If you have this drive in a PCIe 4.0 system, you will get up to 4,950 MB/s of sequential read performance and 4,240 MB/s of sequential write performance. That is pretty impressive, but it is not close to what a PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 socket can deliver, which would be nearly 8 GB/sec. Apparently, the Psison PS5016-E16 controller is the bottleneck, keeping the drive limited to about 5GB/sec on reads.
The large heatsink means this won’t fit in your laptop! Actually, because PCIe 4.0 uses significantly more power than PCIe 3.0, I don’t think we will be seeing PCIe 4.0 support in laptops for a while. That large heatsink should help reduce thermal throttling of the drive in desktop systems.
Figure 3: Corsair Force Series MP600 SSD
This is one of the first announced PCIe 4.0 drives in the consumer space. There are no details yet about capacity, pricing, or availability.