An Unusual Launch Cycle: OEMs now, Individual Units Later

The launch of Bristol Ridge APUs for desktop is taking a slightly different strategy to previous AMD launches. Typically we expect to see CPUs/APUs and OEM systems with that hardware launched on the day of the announcement, with stock of the hardware getting to shelves over the next few weeks. In order to do this, AMD needs to work with all the OEMs (HP, Lenovo, Dell) and platform partners (ASUS, GIGABYTE, MSI, ASRock) and potentially the memory manufacturers (Crucial, Kingston, G.Skill, ADATA, etc) to synchronize a launch with expected hardware, platform control and settings.

This time around, AMD has focused on the OEMs first, with all-in-one PCs and desktop systems being their focus. Typically the big OEMs develop their own PCBs and manage the full gamut of support, as well as being mindful of firmware that can be a work in progress up until the launch date. This allows the launch to be focused on a few models of complete experience systems, rather than the comparative free-for-all with custom build machines. Typically one might argue that the standard motherboard designers take longer to design their product, as it becomes their brand on offer, whereas HP/Lenovo sells the system as a brand, so not every stage has to be promoted, advertised and polished in the same way.

Of course, from an enthusiast perspective, I would prefer everything to come out on day one, and a deep dissection into the platform. But because Bristol Ridge is sharing a platform with the upcoming new microarchitecture, Zen, AMD has to balance the wishes of OEMs along with product expectations. As a result, the base announcement from AMD was somewhat of a brief overview, and we delayed writing this piece until we were able to source certain nuggets of information which make sense when individual units (and motherboards) are on sale for DIY users, as well as some insights into what Zen might offer.

But by focusing on OEMs first, it makes it more difficult for us to source review units! Watch this space, we’re working on it.

The CPU Roadmap

A lot of the recent talk regarding AMD’s future in the desktop CPU space has revolved around its next-generation CPU architecture called Zen. In August, AMD opened up to a significant part of the underlying Zen microarchitecture, detailing a micro-op cache, a layered memory hierarchy, dual schedulers and other information. Nonetheless Zen is initially aiming for the high-end desktop (HEDT) market, and AMD has always stated that Zen will share the AM4 platform with new mainstream CPUs, under the Bristol Ridge and Stoney Ridge names, initially based on an updated Excavator microarchitecture.

AMD’s roadmap seems to be the following:

The latest AMD announcements are for that mainstream segment, but we can see that AMD is moving from a three-socket configuration of AM3, FM2+ and AM1 into a singular AM4 platform from top to bottom, with the budget element perhaps being more embedded focused. This has positives and negatives associated with it, which is part of the reason why AMD is staggering the release of Bristol Ridge and the 7th Generation APUs between OEMs and PIBs.

The positive from the unified problem is that AMD’s OEM customers can have a one size fits all solution that spans from the budget to the premium, which makes OEM designs easier to translate from a high powered platform to a budget system. The downside is variety and compatibility – if a vendor designs a platform purely for a budget system, and has fewer safeguards, then a user cannot simply put in the most powerful CPU/APU available. Luckily we are told that all AM4 systems should be dual channel, which migrates away from the Carrizo/Carrizo-L problem we had in notebooks late last year.

AMD 7th Gen Bristol Ridge and AM4: The CPUs, Overclocking The Integrated GPU
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  • ddriver - Saturday, September 24, 2016 - link

    So you are a fascist who thinks some people are not entitled to opinions? I am not projecting anything, I am expressing my opinion. If you have a problem about it, that's your problem entirely. If my opinions threaten to shatter someone's fragile artificial worldview, that's their their problem entirely. Or maybe you are implying that people should only be allowed to express opinions that are coherent with the herd's baaing? Did you see me denying the right of opinions to dummies or anyone? Nah, because it is their right, even if it is mind-numbingly stupid and even if I don't like it.
  • goatfajitas - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    Different ballparks entirely dood. One runs alot of fun mobile toys, the other runs the entire business world including every computer and every system in every factory that makes all of those toys.
  • ddriver - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    That's not the problem, most people can't and quite frankly don't need to be powerusers - engineers, designers and such are a very small fraction of the population. The problem is the lack of choice - you don't even have the option to use an android or apple tablet for professional work. And the even bigger problem - that this becomes a trend.

    Year after year the entire industry is moving towards the "walled garden spyware milking station" model, I wouldn't be surprised if in the near future owning an open general purpose computer becomes criminalized - because you know... only pirates, hackers, terrorists and pedophiles need it.

    And last but not least, what is perhaps most worrying is people are getting increasingly dumb as technology gets more and more affordable. One would say "big whoop, I don't care about the dummies", however in the long run that's a huge problem, it affects the entire species, and thus every individual member of it. Call me old fashioned, but I think people should, if not get smarter, then at least not get dumber as technology becomes more available and widespread. Today software helps you finish your sentences, before you know it, software will be dictating your sentences. It is ok for machines to do the "legwork" for you - numerous small and repetitive tasks, but it is a very dangerous thing when machines begin doing the thinking for you and you forget how to do it... if you ever knew to begin with...
  • goatfajitas - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    I don't disagree with most that... but I don't know if people are getting increasingly dumb... It used to be the dumber people didn't use computers much, and now everyone does. As computer/tablet/mobile usage went up the average computer user's IQ went down, but those dumbies always existed, its just that now they are online and have a voice.... Yadda yadda yadda, now we have Trump. LOL
  • ddriver - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    They are being made dumber and it makes perfect sense. Longterm economic strategy 101 - with ample resources you breed a lot of workers to produce wealth, as resources begin to run out you automate menial labor and focus on services to take that wealth from the workers, and finally, using the wealth you produce a military complex to protect you from the workers as they become obsolete and infeasible both as workers and consumers. Being dumb will make it easy to march the general population straight into the void, unable to resist or survive without the system which no longer has need of them. Dumb is convenient - easy to exploit, easy to dispose of. More technology has allowed for more ways to dummify - more knowledge of the dummies, more control over the dummies, more distraction for the dummies from the issues at hand. Everything people do online passes through data mining algorithms, gets profiled, analyzed, and combed for anything anyone might find useful in any way. Including this very comment space.
  • goatfajitas - Friday, September 23, 2016 - link

    I agree, there are a heck of alot of dumb people out there... Just not sure they are getting even dumber. Lazier maybe, but the average person has always been mindbogglingly stupid.

    Just picture in your mind how stupid the average person is... Now think, half of everyone is stupider than that guy! - George Carlin (said long before the vast majority of people had any PC at all)
  • msroadkill612 - Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - link

    Its sad to think almost 50% of people are below average.
  • msroadkill612 - Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - link

    Sadly, i concur. Its depressing.

    A way of looking at it via the "property is theft" philosophy is why, w/ all these new marvels, are even the fortunate employed (those serfs useful to the regime), feeling more on a treadmill over a shark tank than ever?

    Our alleged protective regimes have focused more on how to meter mankinds recent gifts (and infrastructure, long paid for by our compatriot forbears), than disperse them free or at cost.

    Most of the great "inventions" and their resultant fortunes were assigned to the best schemer in the group, not the true inventors. Some were unrelated predatory lawyers, & often they were major hinderances to wider adoption.

    The last thing capitalism wants is to remove the necessity of serving the regime.

    To all intents, it is illegal to live simply. You may not build your own shelter e.g. You must take a mortgage for a sale price bureaucrats very actively inflate.

    Free wi-fi to the poor in some areas would cost a pittance to our allegedly caring commonwealths. Instead they hand out monopolistic licences at dodgy auctions, if that.
  • Michael Bay - Saturday, September 24, 2016 - link

    You really have to be braindead or commited ethnic masochist to support anyone but Trump in this cycle.
  • Valantar - Saturday, September 24, 2016 - link

    "Commited ethnic masochist". Did you mean to say "not astoundingly racist"? Because those words you just strung together mean nothing at all.

    Also, braindead? Really? So anyone with a functioning brain would be unable to see the lying, gross inconsistency, thin-skinnedness and general stupidity that spews from the Trump campaign (and his own mouth)? Not to mention the racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, elitism, disdain for poor/middle class people, blatant disregard for the rule of law, due process and the courts, promotion of violence, and willingness to lie about anything and everything to win?

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