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Microarchitecture Zen 2: that’s why we are waiting for Ryzen 3000

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In two weeks we, apparently, expecting a miracle. Such a conclusion can be made, if to summarize all the assumptions expressed by the user in anticipation of the upcoming announcement of Ryzen processors of the third generation. But even the most bold statements about that in the second half of the year in the market of processors for PC we will see a change of leader (in performance), has not been entirely groundless. At the beginning of the year, at CES 2019, AMD promised that its next-generation processors will increase specific performance (at constant frequency) at least 15 %. And now we have learned that this will make a noticeable increase in clock frequencies, dramatically increasing the number of cores and reduced heat dissipation.

Each of these promises separately, it seems at least very brave. But all at once?! However, all this is possible. Held in the framework of the exhibition E3 2019 special event Next Horizon, AMD explained in detail how it happened that the microarchitecture Zen 2, which originally was supposed to be a trivial translation of Zen on the rails 7-nm process technology, could be a real breakthrough, having the chance to turn the whole CPU market.

Since the release of the first processor microarchitecture Zen took a little over two years. During this time, AMD has managed to release the intermediate generation microarchitecture, Zen+. However, we saw almost no improvement. The essence of the past the updates were actually reduced to a transition from 14-nm to 12-nm production technology, and only. New microarchitecture Zen 2 meeting which awaits us in July, again implies a change in the manufacturing process — from 12 nm to 7 nm with a simultaneous change of production-contractor: now CPU, the company will produce not GlobalFoundries, and TSMC. But that’s not all: along with the process technology changes dramatically and a lot of other things.

To understand how Ryzen 3000 will be unlike their predecessors, just look at any photo of these processors with the removed heat-dissipating cover. One glance is enough to understand that AMD are moving away from the use of monolithic semiconductor crystal. The kernel they are distributed across multiple semiconductor crystals – capleton, some chiplet will be submitted and all the controllers I / o. It should be added that simultaneously with the introduction of radical changes in the construction of AMD reworked the internal structure of the cores and made sure to address the major bottlenecks of previous CPU microarchitecture Zen and Zen+.

In addition, with the advent of Ryzen 3000 changes will affect the whole ecosystem in which to operate such processors. Compatibility of new products with traditional Socket AM4 with it will remain, but completely all their benefits may be felt only in the newer motherboards that will support PCI Express 4.0.

All the numerous improvements and optimizations made in the new generation Zen 2, clearly deserve more than a mere enumeration. Therefore, following the event, AMD’s Next Horizon, which is able to be the representative of our website, we decided to prepare a separate detailed material and elaborate on why the Zen 2 is really cool.

#7 nm technology is the key to everything

The goals set by the company AMD while working on a new microarchitecture Zen 2, was quite evident. The main objective was to improve the performance of processors for both the desktop and server segment, with the compulsory preservation of continuity and compatibility with existing platforms. In other words, it was about the future scalability of existing CPU families Ryzen and EPYC comprehensive and improving their consumer qualities.

A solid Foundation for the design of a Zen 2 was to adapt the new process. In the transition from 14 – to 12-nm standards, which occurred in April last year, processors Ryzen only slightly won the clock frequency and was able fairly to slightly increase its specific capacity. But a new process technology with a resolution of 7 nm was supposed to catalyze a much more significant progress in improving the whole set of consumer characteristics. Due to the fact that long-standing manufacturing partner AMD, GlobalFoundries, abandoned the development of the 7-nm technology, the chip maker had to shift to cooperation with TSMC. And in the end, AMD has made the right decision. Speaking in favor of this number: the basic CPU building block — Quad-complex CCX (Core Complex) with L3-cache 8 GB MB — the production of 12-nm GlobalFoundries, had an area of 60 mm2. A similar complex Zen 2 enhanced with four cores and twice more capacious, 16-megabyte L3-cache, manufactured on TSMC for 7-nm process, occupies almost half the area of 31,3 mm2.

The total CPU crystal (chiplet) Zen 2, as before, is formed of two CCX. That is, it contains eight cores and a cache memory of the third level capacity of 32 MB. The total area of such crystal is only 74 mm2, which is significantly less than 213 mm2, which is the processor chip design, Zen/Zen+, for example, the same Ryzen 7 2700X. Such a noticeable gain in density of transistors has opened the doors for developers AMD opportunities for the improvement of the microarchitecture, which could be carried out without any substantial damage for the cost of the new processors.

At the beginning of this year, AMD announced that the microarchitecture Zen 2 will provide a 15 percent performance advantage compared to the Zen+ due to one only micro-improvements, that is, at the same clock frequency. However, a lot of advantages given and new advanced semiconductor process. For example, at identical energy consumption for Zen 2 promised at least 1.25 times higher performance than predecessors, and with the same performance, the new processors should be almost twice cheaper. Furthermore, AMD does not hesitate even to say that in some situations the advantage of the new processors Zen 2 will be more than 75% compared with the previous Zen+ of the same class and more than 45 % compared to the equivalent solutions of a competitor.

Of course, all these calculations have yet to be be tested independent tests and reviews, which will be released July 7. In the framework of the event AMD is actively operated indicators Cinebench R20, which suggests that if you compare the Zen 2 and Intel with the same number of cores, the AMD wins as single-threaded and multi-threaded performance and power consumption and price.

Just one example: according to AMD, senior Ryzen 3800X OCTA core 7 with a price of $400 is very close to a 500 dollar eight-core Core i9-9900K in single-threaded and multithreaded rendering, but its power consumption is comparable with the consumption of Core i7-9700K.

#Kernel Zen 2: “tik” and “tak” at the same time

According to the original plan, microarchitecture Zen 2 was supposed to be a simple transference of the old Zen design to new process technology. But later, analyzing the weaknesses of its first generation of processors Zen and Zen+, AMD engineers decided to bend and the underlying microarchitecture. And I must say, this plan apparently worked perfectly. Despite the fact that in Zen 2, there are no drastic alterations, the increase in IPC (average number of executed per cycle instructions) by 15 % — a perfect illustration of the fact that everything was done correctly.

At the same time, you need to understand that Zen 2 — microarchitecture very similar to the original Zen/Zen+. All the basic elements of a processor core remained unchanged, and the alterations relate only to improve the efficiency of existing function blocks. Accordingly, the internal configuration of the kernel has not changed: it is able to decode up to four instructions and execute up to six instructions per clock. In addition, remained unchanged support SMT technology: each core Zen 2 can execute two threads simultaneously.

What has changed? As usually happens when working on the refinement of existing microarchitectures, the first place of application of forces engineers unit fetching instructions and predicting transitions. However, the changes are not very obvious, because the basis of this unit continues to lie “neural” algorithm based on the perceptron. Although in General this scheme does not give very impressive results when working with a buffer the objectives of the branch of the first level it provides good energy efficiency, therefore, hence, to abandon it and just added more multi-stage statistical mechanism TAGE (Tagged geometric) working with buffer purposes of branching the second level.

At the same time was increased and the size of the buffer goals of the branch. Table of first level in Zen 2 includes 512 entries instead of 256, and the second level – 7K instead of 4K records. With regard to the zero level, the corresponding buffer, as before, includes 16 entries, but an array of addresses of indirect transitions has expanded to 1K entries. In other words, the new microarchitecture transitions are predicted clearly better than the original Zen/Zen+. This means that situation when the processor needs to completely reset the Executive pipeline because of the incorrectly predicted transition will happen much less frequently.

Another improvement is the Zen 2 was the fact that AMD decided to significantly reallocate resources to caching instructions. The micro-operation cache that stores already-decoded x86 instructions has been doubled to 4096 entries. This classic statement cache of the first level, which keeps the team prior to their decoding, on the contrary, decreased. While the earlier volume was 64 KB, with 4-channel associative, Zen 2, he was cut to 32 Kbytes, while increasing the degree of associativity to 8.

Simulations of AMD, demonstrated that such changes have a positive impact on performance. And judging by what happened to the growth of the IPC, it really is. Interestingly, as a result of changes in the size of the cache memory, the Zen 2 become the processor with the largest cache micro-operations. For example, in the Skylake microarchitecture this cache is 1.5 To operations, while at the Sunny Cove Intel engineers just extended it to 2.25 To operations.

Changes in the input part of the Executive pipeline does not entail any significant changes in the organization of the work of planners. As before, the Zen decoder 2 is able to supply four instructions per clock cycle together with the cache micro-operation, which can do up to eight related instructions, they fill a queue of micro-operations from which the user choose two schedulers: one for integer operations and another for operations with floating point numbers. In this case the integer scheduler can submit to the execution of six micro-operations per clock, and veselinovsky – four.

But a noticeable change in the microarchitecture occurred at the stage of execution of instructions. If to speak about the execution of integer instructions, here — bargain to increase the size of the buffers (like the scheduler, so the register file and reorder buffer) by about 10-15 % — there are additional generating block addresses (AGU). In sum, it means that the number of Executive ports in the Zen 2 has increased from six to seven: four ports for arithmetical and logical operations (ALU) and three port – operations for generating addresses (AGU). As a result, the microarchitecture Zen 2 can initiate two 256-bit reads and one 256-bit write operation every clock cycle. Last version of micro was, for obvious reasons, is limited to only two such operations per clock, and only a width of 128 bits.

But more importantly, in Zen 2, AMD has doubled the throughput of the block floating point operations. He was now fully 256-bit, which means the possibility of direct enforcement AVX2 instructions. In the original architecture of Zen/Zen+ such teams, working with 256-bit registers, before executing crashed onto a pair of 128-bit instructions and were processed in two steps, therefore, from Zen 2 you can expect a doubling in the pace of work with AVX2 code. The execution units in the FPU remained old. There are two devices for the operations of addition and two of multiplication that gives Zen 2 the ability to simultaneously execute two 256-bit FMA-team. There is a very useful ability, a new microarchitecture to initiate a 256-bit forwarding operations data: as a result, the performance of the AVX2 code can occur without any delay. Moreover, in Zen 2 AMD was able to ensure that the processing of AVX2 instructions can be carried out without any reduction in clock frequency, as is the case in Intel.

Along the way, AMD reported that it was able to increase the speed of the multiplications of floating point numbers from four to three cycles. Ultimately, this also contributes to increase the performance of processors with a new microarchitecture.

As follows from the above, microarchitecture Zen 2 was a bit “wider” Zen in the sense of ability of parallel execution of instructions. But at the same time she became “wider” in the sense of working with data. Although the subsystem of the cache memory, a data not structurally changed, she got a bus with more capacity, which allow to obtain the necessary data, without delaying the implementation of AVX2 commands. More specifically, it means that L1 data cache retained size 32 KB per core 8 way set associativity, and the L2 cache, as before, has a volume of 512 KB per core 8 way set associativity, but now the cache can handle two 256-bit reads and one 256-bit write operation per clock cycle at level L1, and one 256-bit read and write per clock cycle at the L2 level. The latency of the cache memory has not changed and is 4 cycles for L1 and 12 clock cycles for L2.

Despite the immutability of the structure of the cache memory, the Zen 2 was improved L2 TLB (buffer address translation). In the first generation of processors Zen the size of this table was 1.5 K, now it increased to 2K, and the latency at the same below. But most importantly, now the L2 TLB supports page 1 Gbyte, which in previous versions of the microarchitecture had not been implemented.

Another notable change in the Zen 2 was the doubling of the size of the cache memory of the third level. In new processors of its size is not 8, but 16 MB on each Quad CCX. So AMD tried to compensate for the dismemberment of the processor into several independent crystals. Developers Zen 2 believe that the growth in the volume of L3 cache will reduce the amount of data transfer between the chipset core and capleton with the memory controller. Maybe so, but do not forget that the increase of the cache memory is almost always accompanied by an increased latency. And she had L3 cache in the Zen 2 is really increased to 40 cycles, while in Zen processors L3 cache had a latency of approximately 5 cycles below.

#From the core to the CCX and CCD, and further to the CPU

We have already mentioned that the design of the processors Ryzen 3000 is markedly different from what was arranged all the past Ryzen. However, CCX-complexes collected from the cores 2 Zen exactly the same as before. In one unit CCX merged 4 cores and 16 MB of shared cache in the third level.

CCX pair within the 7-nm semiconductor crystal and generates CPU chipset, received the acronym CCD (Core Complex Die). In addition to cores and caches, in CCD-chiplet also includes a bus controller Infinity Fabric, by which it shall be ensured connection CCD required for any Ryzen 3000 capleton IO.

In coplete input / output (I/O) processors generation Zen 2 are the so-called extra-nuclear components as well as elements of the North bridge and SoC. In it, among other things, the memory controller and bus controller PCI Express 4.0. Also in the I/O coplete implemented and two of the tires Infinity Fabric required for connection with the CCD chipsetati.

Depending on what processor family Ryzen 3000 it is, it can consist of either two or three chipsetov. In processors with eight cores and less used one CCD-ciple and one I/O-chiplet. In processors with cores more than eight CCD-chipsetov becomes two. However, you need to understand that the processor is still a single entity. Due to the fact that in any Ryzen 3000 memory controller is in I/O-Deplete and he is only one, either kernel can smoothly access any of its areas: no-NUMA configurations, which spoiled the lives of the owners of processors Threadripper, in the case of Zen 2 will not.

It is worth mentioning that the Zen 2 is not the first attempt to go to layout multi-chip processors. Previously, manufacturers had resorted to such an approach. For example, was based on two semiconductor crystal Quad-core Core 2 Quad, and before the same technique was used in the creation of a dual core Pentium D. But then the producers still went on to have a monolithic structure processors, as it was more effective as the number of cores and transferring the processor components of the North bridge. However, the new Ryzen 3000, which includes two or three ciplet, – not a step back. On the contrary, it is the transition to the next level because of AMD new generation of processors is not a simple extensive, increasing the number of cores by adding additional crystals and uses a much more intelligent approach, introducing the use of chipley with different features and combining them into a single entity the specialized high-speed bus Infinity Fabric.

The advantages of using a multi-chip layout is quite obvious. First and foremost, it allows you to reduce costs. Production of chipsetov having a relatively small die area, much simpler than the production of large monolithic processor. Smaller crystals not only allow you to obtain a higher yield of chips, but also more effective placed on a circular semiconductor substrate, which further reduces the amount of waste. In the end, it Chipita configuration allowed AMD to create a very complex processors Ryzen 3000 is relatively inexpensive, despite the fact that their production is organized at the facilities of TSMC’s most advanced and new to industry process technology with the norms of 7 nm.

The distribution functions of the processor in various capleton allowed AMD to save money and even in one aspect. New process technology was not necessarily to use in the manufacture of all parts of the processors. “Thin” advanced standards are important to processor cores, because they directly affect the frequency potential and energy consumption, but there is no need to use them to craft more simple chiplet responsible for the functions of input / output. The I/O chiplet Ryzen in 3000 is made the old-fashioned way – in factories GlobalFoundries for 12-nm process used in the manufacture of Ryzen processors of the second generation.

However, you need to keep in mind that Chipita design gives rise to certain difficulties. For example, in modern processors, very high demands are placed on how connect and interact with each other in different parts of the CPU. To implement such a bus when mnogoshipovyh the layout is a bit trickier. However, this problem was solved by engineers of AMD. Processors Ryzen first and second generations, although they were based on monolithic kernel, used for connection the CCX and the memory controller, North bridge and elements of the SoC specialized tyre Infinity Fabric. New Ryzen 3000 processors used the second version of this bus: it is responsible for data transfer between all chipsetati.

Frankly, to how to operate the Infinity Fabric, had previously been well-founded claims: it is not always able to provide the required level of performance when interacting processor cores with L3 cache and memory controller. In processors Ryzen 3000 AMD has tried to correct the main shortcomings of the Infinity Fabric.

First, this bus has been expanded twice: now its width is 512 bits, which means a doubling of the capacity and the transfer of 32 bytes per clock in each direction. The developers claim that this step they went in the first place because of the emergence of Ryzen in 3000 support PCI Express 4.0, but it is obvious that a more productive bus, which connects all key components are CPU, will play a positive role in many other cases.

Secondly, Infinity Fabric is now “unleashed” with the memory controller frequency. Earlier the frequency of this bus was synchronized with the memory clock, which on the one hand, leads to a strong dependence of the performance of processors Ryzen speed assigned to the DDR4 SDRAM, and the other – let overclocking memory above 3466-3600 MHz. Now the tyre Infinity Fabric will be able to work with the memory controller not only synchronous, but less than half relative to the frequency with the use of divider 2:1. It is — at least theoretically — means a much greater freedom in the choice of speed of memory, though AMD continues to insist that the synchronous mode to Infinity Fabric will still provide better performance, and more optimal with Ryzen 3000 to use modules DDR4-3600 with low timings.

However, it is already known that the memory in Socket AM4-systems, processors Ryzen 3000, will do much to disperse.

For example, AMD showed working memory module in the mode DDR4-5100 in the system built on Socket AM4-motherboard MSI MEG X570 Godlike.


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PC / Laptop

The Intel Core i9-9900KS: the gigahertz vs Ryzen

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The whole story of the appearance on the market of Core i9-9900KS from its very beginning made us feel deja vu. Why? It’s very simple, similar events we found sixteen years ago, when AMD released its revolutionary Athlon 64 and Athlon 64 FX to a class of Hammer. Then, to repel these innovations, Intel urgently organized the release is equipped with 2 MB L3-cache of the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, hastily converted from a server chip Xeon MP. Now, of course, the situation is somewhat different scenario, but the General plot outline remains the same. Without the ability to symmetrically respond to the daring encroachments of rival, Intel gets out as he can and instead of the new product family offers temporary flagship processors “rapid response”.

Core i9-9900KS is such made from scrap materials response Ryzen third generation. Remember, the announcement of the impending release of the Intel CPU made in early June at Computex – just a few days before the announcement Ryzen 3000. The significance of this step was easily guessed is just that, at which point it was made, because in reality, the Core i9-9900KS made it to the market only a few months in November. At that, what about Core i9-9900KS would have to say so far in advance, there is is a slightly overclocked version of OCTA-core Core i9-9900K, which in reality should be the main trump card of Intel only for the next few weeks, high pre-Christmas demand.

A full answer to Intel Ryzen 3000 we will see soon enough. Issue 10-core processors in Comet Lake is scheduled for the first quarter of 2020. But if you want to put new Intel under the tree, the content will be Core i9-9900KS. However, do not think that it would be something like a “consolation” gift. Intel about skromnosti says about Core i9-9900KS this: “based on the Core i9-9900K, we made the world’s best gaming CPU is even better, “and it seems to be true.

Translated to marketing, this thesis means that received in the sale of Core i9-9900KS is a special version of the Core i9-9900K, built on selected semiconductor crystals, able to work at even higher clock frequencies. Moreover, the “special” literally: letter S that appeared in the end of the model number – it is short for Special Edition. Formal specs are such that Core i9-9900KS able to work on “beautiful” 5.0 GHz with simultaneous load on all eight cores. Confuses only one: the warranty period of such accelerated processor is limited to one year, while on a conventional Core i9-9900K (in single package) is given a three-year warranty.

The exclusivity of the Core i9-9900KS manufacturer underlines with a story that, for the manufacture of such a CPU it has to use a special procedure for the selection of semiconductor chips, causing the circulation of such processors becomes quite small. What specific number of “special” chips will be put on the market not reported, but you can be sure that in the next year to buy a Core i9-9900KS in the store will be problematic. This is due in part to the fact that the margin for the tab for the Special Edition and 5-GHz frequency is not so large and not able to become a major obstacle for buyers. The recommended price of the Core i9-9900KS — $513 for just $25 more than the cost of conventional Core i9-9900K.

However, the question of whether or not to chase it for a Core i9-9900KS, still remains, and the answer is we will try in this review in which we compare the new Intel with available alternatives from the same price category, among which the most interesting is not even the usual Core i9-9900K, and 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X.

#Read more about Core i9-9900KS

Core i9-9900KS was the fifth member of the family Coffee Lake Refresh received model number 9900. His colleagues have always offered eight cores with support for Hyper-Threading technology and had a 16-megabyte L3-cache, but differed thermal package, with overclocking potential, the target frequencies and the presence or absence of the integrated graphics core. At the Core i9-9900KS as the culmination of the evolution of the ninth generation Core, all of these characteristics are unscrewed on a maximum value, but when matching with a previously released related processors, formal specification of Core i9-9900KS imagination does not impress.

Core i9-9900KS Core i9-9900K Core i9-9900KF Core i9-9900 Core i9-9900T
Cores/threads 8/16 8/16 8/16 8/16 8/16
Base frequency, GHz 4,0 3,6 3,6 3,1 2,1
Turbo frequency (max) GHz 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 4,4
L3 cache MB 16 16 16 16 16
Acceleration There There There No No
Integrated graphics UHD 630 UHD 630 No UHD 630 UHD 630
Memory, DDR4 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666 2 × 2666
TDP, watts 127 95 95 65 35
Price $513 $488 $463 $439 $439

Imposing this table looks, except the calculated dissipation Core i9-9900KS — 127 watts. However, among the mass of processors there have been instances and hotter enough to remember, for example, about Intel Core 2 Extreme or AMD FX Black Edition thousandth series.

More high than the other 9900, the base frequency of the Core i9-9900KS absolutely nothing. First, as we know it, Intel never really work, and the real frequency determines the aggressiveness of the technology Turbo Boost 2.0. Second, the growth of the base frequency is a direct result of raising the heat of the package, because under the current wording, TDP just is defined as the dissipation of the processor at nominal base frequency.

Therefore, in order to assess the uniqueness of Core i9-9900KS fully, you need to look deeper, up to the maximum achievable within the turbo mode frequency when the load on different number of cores. It’s funny that recently Intel decided to remove information about the value of open access, and now the company is faced with the fact that this was done completely in vain, because without this advantage, Core i9-9900KS not to show it. However, with some patience the value of turbo frequencies can be ascertained experimentally or by using diagnostic utilities.

And only in this case the advantages of Core i9-9900KS become clearer: when the load on the six and more cores that the processor is allowed to operate at 300 MHz or 6.3% faster than Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KF.

  Base frequency, MHz Maximum frequency in turbo mode, MHz
8 cores 7 cores 6 cores 5 cores 4 cores 3 core 2 cores 1 core
Core i9-9900KS 4,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0 5,0
Core i9-9900K 3,6 4,7 4,7 4,7 4,8 4,8 4,9 5,0 5,0
Core i9-9900KF 3,6 4,7 4,7 4,7 4,8 4,8 4,9 5,0 5,0
Core i9-9900 3,1 4,6 4,7 4,7 4,8 4,8 4,9 5,0 5,0
Core i9-9900T 2,1 3,6 3,8 3,9 4,0 4,1 4,2 4,3 4,4

In fact, however, all this does not mean that by selecting Core i9-9900KS for your system, you will get 5.0 GHz at any load. Don’t forget that the turbo frequency is the maximum autorange, which is possible, but not guaranteed. The Turbo Boost technology 2.0 automatically increases CPU frequency not just on the basis of the number of operating cores, and taking into account other parameters, in particular, the nature of the load and, most importantly, caused by her consumption. The theory of sets of power consumption of the processor in turbo mode two limit values PL1 and PL2, which limits its short-term and long-term loads. Limit PL2, specifies the maximum consumption for long time intervals, is assumed to be the nameplate value TDP. The same limit PL1 is typically set to one quarter above PL2, allowing the processor to consume more than laid down in TDP, but only for small periods of time. Limit the duration of such time intervals is defined by the constant τ, which, according to the specification, can be selected in the range from 1 to 8 seconds.

All this means that when designing the Core i9-9900KS was laid, that he will consume no more than 127 watts when used for long periods and not more than 159 W for short. And consumption limits with a 5-gigagertsevogo frequency is clearly incompatible. For example, even Core i9-9900K at its turbo frequency of 4.7 GHz in multithreaded rendering in Cinebench R20 consumes around 195 watts. The new Core i9-9900KS at a frequency of 5.0 GHz in this test shows a consumption of about 220 watts.

So if all was fair and in accordance with the specification, it would be no 5.0 GHz we would not have seen even close. The following chart illustrates this, where we have built a frequency curve Core i9-9900KS depending on the load in Cinebench R20, built upon the work of the CPU with the correct limits PL1 and PL2 mounted to 127 and 159 watts. Immediately given, and a similar curve for Core i9-9900K, which are the limits in accordance with the specification set to a quarter lower at 95 watts and 119 watts.

Although Core i9-9900KS and operates with significantly higher frequency compared to Core i9-9900K, about any 5 GHz under full load it still is not. This frequency can be observed if the number of busy threads does not exceed six, and no more. Maximum load in the multi-threaded Cinebench R20 cuts the frequency of Core i9-9900KS to 4.5 GHz due to the fact that silicon Coffee Lake Refresh, produced by 14-nm technology, crossing the line in the 4.4-4.5 GHz is always sharply increasing energy appetite.

However, all of these concerning the frequency of surveys is interesting theoretically, because motherboard manufacturers with the tacit consent of Intel simply ignore the limits PL1 and PL2, setting them to maximum. To meet some meaningful setting these limits is possible only on low-cost motherboards with weak power, the overwhelming majority of Z390 platforms the default is twisting these limitations in maximum and obviously unattainable values. And that’s why reducing the frequency with the growth of power consumption within specification TDP in reality, Intel is not observed.

Until now, such a liberal attitude to power settings went Intel and motherboard makers with it. Everyone was happy, because the users eventually received while not as economical as stated in the specifications, but automatically overclock to the maximum turbo mode frequency of the system with improved performance.

But the Core i9-9900KS this focus takes place with difficulty. Operating at a frequency of 5.0 GHz, this CPU produces so much heat that can deal with it only selected cooling system. For example, during testing of our copy Core i9-9900KS we are faced with the failure of our usual air supercooler Noctua NH-U14S and NH-D15. And with a one-body and two-piece tower CPU when running Prime95 29.8 quickly reached the limit temperature of 115 degrees and sinking into the throttle. To achieve stable operation Core i9-9900KS at a frequency of 5.0 GHz in any program, without exception, was possible only after the transition to liquid cooling. Not aby what, and one of the most effective LSS closed loop NZXT Kraken X72, which includes a 360-mm radiator.

NZXT Kraken X72

NZXT Kraken X72

But even with such a powerful DLC the CPU temperature during the tests reached values of 108 degrees, which, however, is natural, given the 275-watt power Core i9-9900KS under heavy load, seasoned with AVX2 instructions.

All this means that the owners of the Core i9-9900KS unprepared cooling this processor properly, you can easily deal with temperature was throttling, even if they are armed with quite a powerful cooling system and will not overclock it. We are confident that soon the forums and groups in social networks will be swamped with complaints about overheating Core i9-9900KS with the default settings. From Intel there is only one way to avoid this: how to negotiate with producers of motherboards, that at least in the case of Core i9-9900KS they didn’t ignore setting consumption limits.

Of course, you need to keep in mind that we checked the temperature in Prime95 29.8 program, very much warming the processors search for the Mersenne numbers. Such heating occurs in the common problems not so often, but, for example, a high risk of overheating is, in the transcoding of video content modern encoders or rendering. Therefore, by setting the system Core i9-9900KS, better some time to devote to checking temperature and setting it up. We would recommend either to manually pick the consumption limits PL1 and PL2, or set down amendment to the frequency when using AVX instructions, or try to reduce the voltage. And the stories about the 5.0 GHz out of the box always and everywhere do not need to believe: this is hyperbole (literary exaggeration).

Here there is a reasonable question, and it better Core i9-9900KS than Core i9-9900K, if the 25-dollar overpayments for this CPU ensures no overheating to 5.0 GHz and also inevitably dooms the user to careful selection of cooling and additional configuration of the system? But the answer is still positive. As a minimum, Core i9-9900KS really based on selected crystal Lake Coffee Refresh, resulting in slightly lower temperatures and consumption at the same frequency and voltage. For example, we compared the thermal and power characteristics at our disposal copies of Core i9-9900KS and Core i9-9900K at a frequency of 4.7 GHz at a voltage of 1.25 V with liquid cooling system NZXT Kraken X72. And as can be seen from the results obtained when running a stress test like Prime95, Core i9-9900KS really is ceteris paribus more efficient and colder.

4.7 GHz, 1.25 V The maximum temperature Maximum consumption
Core i9-9900KS 86°C 218 W
Core i9-9900K 90°C 226 W

In addition, the Intel Core i9-9900KS, in contrast to Core i9-9900K and Core i9-9900KF guaranteed based on semiconducting crystals of R0 stepping CPU. This means that they have appeared hardware patches for some high-profile vulnerabilities, in particular Fallout and the Spectre V4 (Speculative Store Bypass). However, from a practical point of view it means not too much. Hardware fixes, like their software counterparts, about the same performance impact, and, ultimately, users of Core i9-9900KS did not win, except for the lack of the need to update the firmware and install critical operating system updates and software.


Given how heated Core i9-9900KS when working in nominal mode at 5.0 GHz, to expect from him some of the feats of acceleration would be weird. However, to achieve higher frequencies, overclockers can use special spare tool that helps with overclocking HEDT-Core processors, X-series. Namely, the limit frequency when operating the CPU with AVX instructions.

That in the case of Core i9-9900KS it can have a positive impact on the result, he says, for example, that resort to it all the foreign shops offering samples of Core i9-9900KS with a guarantee of overclocking. And Caseking.deand when you sort processor share reduction amendment -2 or -3 for the coefficient of multiplication when working with AVX instructions.

But it did not help. Our copy Core i9-9900KS could not ensure stability at the frequency of 5.1 GHz when working with resource-consuming programs, even if they did not use AVX instructions. In other words, the processor was actually, without any overclocking potential, 5.0 GHz – his ceiling.

However, to be surprised about this absolutely should not be. We are dealing with already pre-overclocked factory CPU that was selected among the usual Core i9-9900K just on the principle of performance at 5.0 GHz. And if its overclocking potential would allow to take a more distant frontiers, Intel probably would have used it to improve the performance of its proposal, because it is not a mass product, but on a special limited-edition series of processors.

In fact, all this is well corroborated by the results of the selection of the most successful representatives of family Core i9-9900KS, which is conducted by specialists of the store Collected them according to the statistics dispersed on 5.0 GHz only one of the three copies of Core i9-9900KS. And we obviously “happy” chip this time not got.


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Review AMD Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500: Zen 2 for Russia and China

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Hardly anyone would argue with the fact that the processors Ryzen 3000 could significantly strengthen the position of AMD in the desktop segment. “Thank you” for this is to say microarchitecture Zen 2, which was much better than the Zen and Zen+ used in processors Ryzen before. The increase in specific productivity in Zen 2 noticeable 15% in the aggregate 5% increase in clock frequency,is provided with a 7-nm process technology, doubling the capacity of the cache memory of the third level and double extension block floating point operations gave an undeniable synergistic effect. As a result, processors Ryzen first and second generations, which until recently seemed pretty good options for desktop systems, now permanently dropped to the second League, speaking on background Ryzen 3000 exclusively in the role of “poor relatives”. Yes there past Ryzen, new members of the family is now possible even in a fair number of cases, to flout the actual mass Intel processors, offering at comparable price the best computational performance.

Illustrates that giant leap forward, which could make AMD, the situation with prices Ryzen different generations: the flagship CPU microarchitecture Zen+, Ryzen 7 2700X, now sold for $190, that is cheaper one of the youngest media micro Zen 2, Ryzen 5 3600. It turns out that the invisible hand of the market quickly pushed all of Ryzen the first and second generations, the solution below the average level, while the upper market segments were completely at the mercy of members of the family Ryzen 3000.

In fact, it is for this reason AMD did not release based on the microarchitecture Zen 2 processors priced below $200 – the emergence of such models would not allow her to sell the chips to past generations, which stocks in the warehouses of the company, obviously, is far from depletion. So do not expect that in the foreseeable future the market will be cheap Ryzen members of the series 3000, which, for example, to the class Ryzen 3. Strap the entrance to the club owners, the media micro Zen 2 will remain at a high level for a long time.

But even the strictest rules there are exceptions, and the situation with the new Junior model Ryzen 3000 – a case in point. The fact that AMD is a flexible company that continually analyzes market conditions and are ready to quickly make targeted decisions to strengthen their positions. In the result of this analysis, it was observed that in some regions a very high popular six-core processor-level Intel Core i5-9400 and i5-9400Fthat many users are willing to choose as the basis for a relatively inexpensive gaming builds. Among the current proposals like AMD for the price and gaming performance options initially was not provided, leading to loss of company of a certain share of the market.

AMD quickly realized that to resolve this situation it is necessary to release a slightly more affordable model Ryzen 3000, which would be an alternative to the Junior Intel shestiyaderny and pulled on his interest buyers cheap gaming PC. But in order not to undermine the implementation channel Ryzen past generations, to sell the Junior processors Ryzen 3000, it was decided not globally, but only in those countries where the popular Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F is really high. “Tricky” models, selectively opposed to the younger versions of the Core i5, steel Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5, as well as their target audience has been selected, users from China, Russia and some Eastern European countries, where demand has historically shifted towards cheaper models of CPU. And it could work: on the one hand, Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 got the value of $150, allowing them to make Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F in one market segment, and on the other they have six cores Zen 2, providing a quite competitive level of performance, at least at first glance.

However, Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500 still differ markedly from the more expensive six-core processors Ryzen Ryzen 3600X and 5 5 3600. In their regional AMD chips shut off the SMT technology, that is, each core Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500 can perform only one and not a pair of computing threads. But their juxtaposition against the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F it absolutely doesn’t, because six-core Intel processors also do not support Hyper-Threading. As for the difference between Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5, it is not too obvious and is not in clock frequencies, and the size of the cache memory of the third level: the Junior model L3-cache is reduced from 32 to 16 MB.

AMD’s original plan was to offer Ryzen 5 3500X in the Chinese market, and Ryzen 5 3500 in Russia. But in reality, domestic users are luckier because they can get their hands on as he and another processor. In particular, Ryzen 5 3500 gradually appears on the Windows of the large computer shops, while Ryzen 5 3500X you can buy on Aliexpress. As such, we felt duty-bound to conduct detailed testing of both processors in order to establish whether it was true, they can be considered a good alternative to Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F; how their performance is worse than the usual 5 shestiyaderny Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 3600X 3600; and whether it is necessary to deal with these artificially reduced native architecture Zen 2, when for the same or even less you can buy some of the full Ryzen processors of the previous generation.

#5 about Ryzen Ryzen 3500X 3500 and 5 more

With the advent of processors under Ryzen 5 3600 model number desktop media micro Zen 2 was better.

Cores/ Threads Base frequency, MHz Turbo frequency MHz L3 cache MB TDP, watts Chipley Price
Ryzen 9 3950X 16/32 3,5 4,7 64 105 2×CCD + I/O $749
Ryzen 9 3900X 12/24 3,8 4,6 64 105 2×CCD + I/O $499
Ryzen 7 3800X 8/16 3,9 4,5 32 105 CCD + I/O $399
Ryzen 7 3700X 8/16 3,6 4,4 32 65 CCD + I/O $329
Ryzen 5 3600X 6/12 3,8 4,4 32 95 CCD + I/O $249
Ryzen 5 3600 6/12 3,6 4,2 32 65 CCD + I/O $199
Ryzen 5 3500X 6/6 3,6 4,1 32 65 CCD + I/O ~$170
Ryzen 5 3500 6/6 3,6 4,1 16 65 CCD + I/O ~$155

Immediately evident that Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 look at the background of Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 3600X 3600 5 somewhat alien. Senior and Junior model class Ryzen 5 close clock frequencies, but they have different nuclear formula. Although all of these processors – shestiyaderny in Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500 number of simultaneously executed threads is six, i.e. twice less than in 5 and 3600X Ryzen Ryzen 5 3600. Generally, users Ryzen for such a serious distinction of characteristics within the same class of processors is already accustomed to. For example, in the past generation of processors under the brand Ryzen 5 AMD offered at the same time and six-core and Quad-core CPU. Now the number of cores different Ryzen 5 remained the same, but in the younger members of the series of disconnected technology SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading), which previously were blocked by the manufacturer solely in the processor class Ryzen 3.

And it would be a quite normal approach for differentiating one class if he didn’t break the whole paradigm of AMD. Still the basis of the company’s strategy in the consumer market were to offer users the best possibilities of multi-threading compared to Intel in the same price category. New Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 for the number of cores and threads fully on par with the Core i5 processors. However, this does not mean that AMD did a kind of “analogue Core i5-9400F” the microarchitecture Zen 2. In fact, considering the novelty is still superior to Intel processors for a number specification.

Ryzen 5 3500X Ryzen 5 3500 Core i5-9400 Core i5-9400F
The number of cores 6 6 6 6
The number of threads 6 6 6 6
Base frequency, GHz 3,6 3,6 2,9 2,9
Turbo frequency, GHz 4,1 4,1 4,1 4,1
L3 cache MB 32 16 9 9
TDP, watts 65 65 65 65
Memory, DDR4 2 x 3200 2 x 3200 2 x 2666 2 x 2666
Graphics core No No UHD 630 No
Average price 10 500 RUB 10 000 RUB 12 000 RUB 11 000 RUB

Speaking about the merits of Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500, AMD can focus on two things. First, younger Ryzen 5 compared to the Core i5 have more volume L3 cache, which is not inferior cache in the third level Refresh Coffee Lake from the point of view of latency. Moreover, this is true not only for Chinese Ryzen 5 3500X with a 32-megabyte L3-cache, but even for Russian Ryzen 5 3500, despite the fact that most affordable modification Ryzen 5 cache memory is reduced in volume by half.

Second, the AMD processors support faster memory. Formally, we are talking about DDR4-3200, but in fact Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500, like any other mass AMD processors based on the microarchitecture Zen 2 is compatible with faster memory, up to DDR4-3600. Moreover, due to improvements in Ryzen third generation memory controller, high-speed DDR4 SDRAM can be used in all motherboards, including those based on older chipsets X470, even B450 and B350. At the same time, for Intel Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F in the specs the performance is declared only with DDR4-2666. In part, this condition is also formally: if the Core i5 processor installed in the motherboard the chipset Z370 or Z390, the memory can operate at arbitrarily high frequencies – this is no problem. However, in low-cost platforms using chipsets H370, B360 (B365) or H310 specifications and the limitation starts to play a role in such cases to operate the memory with a higher than DDR4-2666 frequency will not work.

We should also mention the clock frequency. Although advertised for 5 Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 3500X 3500 base frequency values substantially higher than the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F, in reality, all these processors are operating at the same frequency. Turbo mode in Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F even load on all six cores keep them running at 3.9 GHz, about the same frequency you can see at full load and at Ryzen Ryzen 5 or 5 3500X 3500.

Ryzen 5 3500X

Ryzen 5 3500X

Ryzen 5 3500

Ryzen 5 3500

As seen in the screenshots, and 5 3500X Ryzen, Ryzen 5 and 3500 under load on all cores develop the frequency of 3.95 GHz. And this is about 100-150 MHz below the frequency at which full load working shestiyaderny AMD higher class Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 3600X 3600 5, although younger shestiyaderny and stated exactly the same base frequency as for Ryzen 5 3600.

Speed L3 cache and the memory subsystem in the Junior six-core Ryzen there are no surprises. Despite the fact that Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 differ dramatically in the amount of L3 cache, it is his capacity, not bandwidth or latency is a major cause of the difference in their performance. That is, a full-sized 32-magarity and trimmed the 16-megabyte L3-cache in this processor offers approximately the same performance.

Ryzen 5 3500X

Ryzen 5 3500X

Ryzen 5 3500

Ryzen 5 3500

However, with the synthetic CacheMem test from the Aida64 package to notice some differences in bandwidth and latency path is still possible. The cache is a smaller size Ryzen 5 3500 slightly faster than the full-size version, but at the same time at the speed of memory operation is a small the advantage is over Ryzen 5 3500X with full L3-cache capacity of 32 MB. However, the differences are in any case unimportant: if we talk about latency, it is no more than two bars.

The apparent lack of differences between Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 is not surprising. These processors are based on the same silicon basis, common to all desktop AMD offerings to a class of Zen 2 and the number of cores not more than eight. Both CPU are under the CPU cover, two semiconductor crystal, one of which is the standard eight-core 7-nm crystal CCD, and the second on 12-nm crystal cIOD that contains the memory controller, the logical part of the tire Infinity Fabric and elements of the SoC. Lock for the considered models Ryzen 5 two “extra” cores and SMT technology, as truncating the cache Ryzen 5 3500 runs at the production stage logically, however, the possibility of restoring lost characteristics by the user hope not. The last time unlocking cores and cache, AMD has allowed the processors of the Phenom, and it was a very long time. In addition, you need to understand that processors like Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500 convenient for the manufacturer so that they can be widely applied in the sorting of partially inoperative semiconductor crystals with defects of single cores or cache.


We usually say that the overclocking Ryzen third generation is deprived practical sense: the manufacturer its technology Autonomous dynamic overclocking Precision Boost 2.0 already squeezed them dry. However, the nominal clock frequency Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5 are somewhat lower than more expensive counterparts, even in comparison with other shestidennomu. For example, Ryzen 5 3600X under load on all cores running at a frequency of about 4.1 GHz, and for 5 and 3500X Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500 that is the limit in turbo mode.

So deliberately expunged from consideration overclocking potential, referring to its insignificance, we will not. Moreover, the possibility of increasing the frequency above the rated values is another competitive plus Ryzen Ryzen 5 and 5 3500X 3500 in the fight against the Core i5-9400 and i5-9400F, which surely will be remembered as in advertising and in online discussions. And it’s true: the younger shestiyaderny Intel is certainly not dispersed, and all processors Ryzen, including today’s heroes, have a free multiplier, which gives a chance to further improve performance.

However, as shown, to a noticeable acceleration of the Junior shestiyaderny better not to hope. These processors can get quite “weak” semiconductor crystals capable of stable operation only in the neighborhood of the nominal clock frequency. So it was that we were able to sample Chinese Ryzen 5 3500X. It is with great difficulty mastered the frequency is increased to 4.05 GHz, which required to raise its voltage to 1.4 V – level, which is the case if acceleration is planned to be used constantly, is “on the verge”.

At higher frequencies the processor is not passed the stability check, which we traditionally hold in 29.8 Prime95 in Small FFT mode with enabled AVX instructions. But even at the relatively low frequency of 4.05 GHz heating during tests reached 86 degrees with that cooling system using a productive cooler Noctua NH-U14S.

But the second CPU, the Russian Ryzen 5 3500, by contrast, turned out to be overclocking very malleable. It easily managed to bring the frequency to 4.3 GHz, but this record acceleration for all tested until now, members of the family Ryzen 3000. Moreover, to ensure the stable operation of Ryzen 5 3500 at this frequency does not even require a particularly strong bully of his food. No stability issues have not arisen when choosing a voltage of 1.35 V.

Temperature Ryzen 5 3500 under load with the cooler Noctua NH-U14S reached 90 degrees, but we have long been accustomed that the 7-nm processors AMD hot chips. In addition, based on overclocking results, we can conclude that the inherited instance CPU has a fairly high leakage currents.

If you compile two fundamentally different result of dispersal Ryzen Ryzen 5 3500X 3500 and 5, we can conclude that in these AMD processors can use much different in quality of semiconductor crystals. They can get as second grade who couldn’t find use processors with higher clock frequencies and very good in the sense of the frequency potential of the chip. Here could be as lucky, so that cheap shestiyadernik can significantly disperse, it is better not to rely on.

The point here is in the fact that all of the model series 3000 Ryzen in fact designed to work about the same clock frequency in the neighborhood of 4.0-4.2 GHz. For the differentiation of varieties of AMD relies on other features – the number of cores, TDP and now the SMT technology and the size of the cache memory. Therefore the usual principle that the younger the processors is almost always possible to disperse the frequency to the level of a senior in this case means almost nothing. Acceleration of any Ryzen 3000, especially one that is not using the function Precision Boost Override, and synchronous across all cores, can bring performance improvements at best only a few percent.


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Overview of ASRock X570 Steel Legend: elementary level X570

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Still, we were introduced exclusively with expensive boards representatives on the basis of a set of logic X570. They are definitely interesting, but the interest is more theoretical. In practice, the majority of consumers with a lot more emphasis on the platforms cheaper. Despite the fact that AMD considers itself a new Socket AM4-chipset X570 among the flagship options, manufacturers can offer not only expensive, but relatively affordable motherboard based on it. And if you delve into the comparison specification X570-boards with radically different price positioning, it suddenly turns out that the $ 700 fee like the recently reviewed ASUS Crosshair Formula VIII is not so much superior card at a price of about $200. And if so, whether it is worth to pay more for the flagship product of premium level?

To answer this question, we will help motherboard ASRock X570 Steel Legend. This popular 200-dollar platform for processors Ryzen 3000, which was in our lab. With its help we try to thoroughly analyze what you will lose customers on Board the chipset X570, if they decide not to spend money on expensive motherboard. Although we will further discuss about the specific offer of the company ASRock, in fact, the name of the manufacturer there is almost no role — similar to X570 Steel Legend at a price and generally similar in meaning X570 solution is from other manufacturers: ASUS TUF Gaming it will be X570-Plus, Gigabyte – Aorus X570 Elite, and MSI – MPG X570 Gaming Edge. All boards in this price range have a fairly predictable list of differences from products with a high cost: they are deprived of rich RGB-backlight, they use more simple power supply circuit, no detailed hardware diagnostics, connected to the processor only a single slot PCI Express x16 slot, network capability is restricted to a single Gigabit controller, as well as, most likely, there are some limits on the number of SATA ports and USB.

All this, of course, doesn’t look any catastrophic flaws, but the devil, as you know, is in the details. In this case, these parts are the design and layout. Not to distinguish the 200-dollar cost of the more expensive products it is impossible: it immediately raises many questions concerning ease of use. On the other hand, the layout is mostly subjective. While enthusiasts typically choose a Board aimed at conducting a variety of tests and experiments, the mass audience is far from such scenarios. Many actually pick out my own computer once and then close it in the case and don’t do any optimization or modernization. And in this case, inexpensive cards can be justified and rational.

In this review, we describe in more detail where complications can arise in active use $ 200 ASRock X570 Steel Legend as a platform for experiments and try to explain why for the ordinary lowly users, this is quite a decent option.

However, detailed familiarity with the next charge will not be the only storyline of this material. As if to confirm the thesis that the AM4 Socket is a platform for experimentation, AMD recently released a new version of AGESA library ABBA, which adjusted the frequency formula of processors Ryzen 3000. A new BIOS should improve their operating frequencies and, consequently, performance. At this point, we also pay special attention to the example of the ASRock X570 Steel Legend check to see if your when you update the firmware of the motherboard, the owners of AMD processors can increase the performance of their systems.


ASRock has traditionally produced a wide range of motherboards based on chipset X570. To the class of the mainstream decision among them can be referred ASRock X570 X570 Steel Legend and Extreme4. Furthermore, along with this pair there are cheaper fees for X570: Phantom Gaming X570 X570 4 and Pro4. However, ASRock X570 Steel Legend looks among all of these alternatives as the Golden mean. On the one hand, the price does not bite, and the other — in features no signs of obvious savings.

Moreover, the credibility X570 Steel Legend cause at least that uses the same PCB design that X570 Extreme4, which is 20% more expensive. The “steel” Board has all the necessary elements of the cooling system, including the two heatsink on the VRM and the heat-dissipating plate on the M. 2 slots. Also in its favor is the fact that the elemental base Board is composed of high-quality and well-established controllers: network Intel I211AT and sound Realtek ALC1220. In other words, if you look at the Datasheet, it seems that ASRock X570 Steel Legend is a very decent choice for a strong Ryzen-secondary level.

ASRock X570 Steel Legend
Supported processors AMD Ryzen 2nd and 3rd generations
Chipset AMD X570
Memory subsystem 4 × DDR4, up to 128 Gbytes, up to DDR4-4666, two channels
Expansion slots 1 × PCI Express 3.0/4.0 x16;
1 × 4.0 PCI Express x16 (mode x4);
3 × PCI Express x1 4.0
The storage interface 8 × SATA 6GB/s;
1 × M. 2 (PCI-E 4.0/3.0 x4 devices format 2242/2260/2280);
1 × M. 2 (PCI-E 4.0/3.0 x4/SATA 6GB/s devices format 2242/2260/2280/22100)
USB ports 1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 on the rear panel;
1 × USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C rear panel;
6 × 3.2 Gen1 USB on the rear panel;
4 × USB Gen1 3.2 internal connectors;
4 × USB 2.0 internal connectors
Network controllers 1 x Intel I211AT (Ethernet 1 Gbps)
Audio 1 × Realtek ALC1220 S1220 (7.1)
Interfaces on the rear panel 1 × HDMI;
1 × DisplayPort 1.2;
1 × USB Gen2 3.2 (Type-C);
1 × 3.2 Gen2 USB (Type-A);
6 × 3.2 Gen1 USB (Type-A);
1 × RJ-45;
5 x audio connector type mini-Jack;
1 × S/PDIF (optical, output);
1 × PS/2 for mouse or keyboard
Form factor ATX (305 × 244 mm)
Price $200 (recommended)

If we compare ASRock X570 X570 Steel Legend with cards in the same price category from other manufacturers, it appears that the product-ASRock, offers a greater number of SATA ports and USB, has a slot M. 2 Type E for Wi-Fi module, and uses high-quality Intel network controller. In other words, X570 Steel Legend likable from the first minute Dating.

#Packaging equipment

ASRock X570 Steel Legend comes in a disproportionately large box, the design of which is hardly strict.


The front side is given over to the name Board, information about the most strong sides of the product can be found on the reverse side. ASRock’s marketing Department wished to highlight the presence of on-Board RGB led lights, and two slots M. 2 with support for PCI Express 4.0. In addition, attention is paid to high power Converter processor power (which is true only in part), mechanically reinforced steel frame PCI Express x16 4.0 and preloaded plug rear panel (I/O Shield), which for boards this price category is not found always.

We rarely engage in detailed analysis of boxes, but about how packages its products ASRock, it’s still worth to say. The fact that the Board of this manufacturer come dressed in a special transport frame, which should ensure their safety even when meeting the most severe riggers.

The supplied ASRock X570 Steel Legend poor, which makes sense for a relatively inexpensive product. In the box, in addition to the cost and paper manual, found four SATA cables, as well as two struts and the three screws for fastening the M. 2 drives or other fees.

#Design and capabilities

As already noted, the ASRock X570 Steel Legend has a close relationship with ASRock Extreme4 X570, differing from it only in design. While the Extreme4 received a more traditional look, X570 Steel Legend painted in some variant of black-and-white urban camouflage.

Individual decoration are the elements of the cooling system, preserving the natural aluminum color and have received a led backlight. However, the colors are not overwhelming fees are highlighted on the radiators only lettering and logos, and of emphasizing their line. The result X570 Steel Legend looks at least original, although it can be assumed that this design will satisfy everyone.

To talk more about the artistic value of ASRock X570 Steel Legend we won’t, because this Board there are far more pressing problems for the layout. Significant difficulties experienced by the potential user when building and upgrading systems with this Board for two.

First, all the expansion slots are shifted up one position, which is clearly seen on the diagram.

Therefore, the bottom Board is formed useless free region and in a vicinity of Socket AM4, on the contrary, getting too crowded. For example, if you want to put the CPU tower cooler has 140 mm fans, be ready to that bracket, the fan will scrape on the rear surface of the card. Moreover, we can assume that the card with thick plates generally back can rest against the radiator of the CPU cooler.

The second problem is that the cover of the chipset and teplosetevaya plate slots M. 2 represent a single detail. It turns out that to install any M. 2 drive you need to remove the entire casing as a whole, what to do when installed in the PCIe x16 slot the video card is impossible, since the first M. 2 slot is exactly under it. Thus, if the user at some point want to install in their system, and collected on the basis of ASRock X570 Steel Legend, the second M. 2 drive, it will have to completely disassemble the entire computer. Access to both M. 2 slots to get without pulling out the video card and the video card to withdraw very difficult, if the processor has a large cooler, which most likely will block access to the latch of the PCIe x16 slot. In other words, ASRock X570 Steel Legend – this Board is not for those who frequently change the hardware configuration of the system.

Complaints about the location of the PCIe x16 slot, designed for the installation of the graphics card, arise not only due to the fact that it rests too close to the CPU socket. The developers of ASRock for some reason decided to place in a narrow strip around the slot and the first slot is for M. 2 drives, and the chipset X570. How effectively we will be able to cool all these components – the big question.

Indeed: under the graphics card will get not only the NVMe drive, but the air intake fan is the chipset, which operates on the centrifugal principle. Aggravates the situation and shape of the sink is a flat plate with four symbolic edges.

See the chipset temperature is around 70 degrees under load on the GPU is a snap.

Even if the chipset is not occupied by any serious operations, it will easily heat up the video card.

While cooling the chipset and M. 2 slots have caused us numerous nitpicking, to the cooling of the Converter of CPU power no major problems. For a cheap Board it is enough. For heating elements installed two not connected with each other aluminum radiator not the most primitive form pressed to him screw fixation.

Even despite the fact that on the reverse side of the Board no reinforcing and heat distribution plates are not provided, such cooling copes with maintaining an acceptable temperature of the power circuit.

For example, when tests ASRock X570 Legend Steel outdoor stand with a processor Ryzen 9 3900X with liquid cooling, that is, in the absence of air flow in the vicinity of the Socket AM4 heating the CPU VRM area does not exceed 90 degrees, according to its own sensor, as applied for in the scheme of the power stage allowed operating temperatures up to 150 degrees.

However, no problems with heating power supply for ASRock X570 Steel Legend is not so much a well thought out cooling as a large power reserve. ASRock says on their website about a 10-phase VRM design, and in its composition is actually used ten power stage Vishay Integrated SiC632A: two for power SoC and eight computational cores. Given the fact that these integrated circuits can long-term to give a current up to 50 A, it turns out that X570 Steel Legend can stably supply the power the CPU is consuming up to 500 A. In reality, even the older Ryzen 3000, collected on the basis of two CCD, the maximum achievable for them to disperse more than 300 And not consume.

However, regarding the number of “good” phases of the power supply ASRock potential users several dezinformare. In fact, their on-X570 Steel Legend six in all – four for the CPU, two for the SoC. Controls the Converter PWM controller Intersil ISL69147, to which is added four doubler Intersil ISL6617A CPU phases, creating four “virtual” phase.

Four fair-processor phase – this is the minimal configuration of the VRM on motherboards using the chipset X570. And even among low-cost Board can be found such, where the CPU wound up five or even six power phases. As example, Gigabyte: Aorus Elite or X570 X570 Gaming X. But four phases – it’s not a disaster, the design of the Converter power supply uses a huge fleet of Socket AM4-motherboard the average, and the problem will not arise. And X570 Steel Legend, unlike the many boards on previous chipsets, used more powerful items.

Expensive motherboards X570 normally support SLI technology, allowing you to distribute the processor PCI Express 4.0 on two slots. To X570 Steel Legend is not true, it CPU the PCIe x16 slot only one — and it’s always running at x16. In addition, the Board displayed a further three PCIe x1 slots and one PCIe x16 slot working at x4 speed. For these slots meets the chipset. The PCIe x16 slot intended for graphics cards, is additionally reinforced with a metal frame and has gold plating on the contacts.

Under the first and second PCIe x16 slots are two slots for M. 2 drives. As well as the PCIe slots, they can work in mode PCI Express 4.0 (assuming the installation cost of modern processor Ryzen third generation). The difference between them is that AM4 Socket closest to the slot meets the processor, but for the far – chipset, plus in the long slot can be set not only a standard 8-inch, but “long” M. 2 module form factor 22110. In addition, X570 Steel Legend can be detected, and another M. 2 slot is located at the center of the Board. It is specially designed for installation of Wi-Fi adapters and is connected to the chipset not four, but only one line of PCI Express.

Drives with SATA-interface for ASRock X570 Steel Legend can be connected through the eight SATA ports serviced by the chipset. Speaking about the internal ports, it is also worth mentioning that the Board includes two needle Gen1 3.2 USB connector (USB 3.0) and two connectors USB 2.0. They are all located on the edges of the Board.

For work audio section X570 Steel Legend meets eight-channel codec Realtek ALC1220, which is slightly higher than the characteristics usually used in cheap motherboards ALC1200 chip. No additional DAC, like the expensive boards, not here, but the conclusions on the front panel of the case uses discrete amplifier Texas Instruments NE5532, able to “pump” high-impedance headphones. Of course, have not gone away, and all the other trappings of a modern integrated sound cards. The scheme uses special capacitors Nichicon “Fine Gold”, the left and right channels separated on different layers of the Board, and the entire audio path is completely electrically separated from the rest of the Board.

Network interface ASRock X570 Steel Legend only one responsible for it Gigabit Intel I211AT. And this is another advantage of this motherboard, as such price platforms are often equipped with a cheaper Realtek NICs.

In addition to the five analogue audio, optical S/P-DIF-out and Gigabit Ethernet RJ-45 connector on the rear panel Board placed a monitor outputs, DisplayPort and HDMI (with support for resolutions up to 4096 × 2160 @ 60 FPS and HDCP 2.2 with HDR, you can use them during the installation cost of APU), as well as eight USB ports. Six of them are standard USB 3.2 Gen1, the other two high-speed USB 3.2 Gen2, and one of them is executed in the form of a symmetric connector Type-C. Also on the rear panel has one PS/2 connector for mouse and keyboard. It is noteworthy that the plug on the rear panel, which on ASRock X570 Steel Legend preinstalled, and even covered, just like on the boards is a high level, there are two openings intended for output to the outside of Wi-Fi antennas. So when you install this module card wireless network one problem will be less.

ASRock X570 Steel Legend endowed with a minimum of diagnostic tools. On this Board there are no hardware buttons and indicator POST-codes, but to understand in General terms the cause of problems if the system does not start, is still possible. The answer to this question will give four led indicators, showing which stage gets the process of passing POST. However, technologies that enable emergency flash BIOS in Astatula the system is not provided.

But in terms of hardware monitoring, all done very soundly. The Board allows the connection of two CPU and six case fans. All connection points support rpm control, and may deliver current up to 2 A, which is enough including pumps for liquid cooling systems. In addition, some attention paid to the connectivity Board for more decorative lighting. To X570 Steel Legend, you can connect two RGB led strips and a single addressable strip, consuming up to 36 and 15 W, respectively. All lighting can be controlled via a proprietary app ASRock Polychrome Sync.


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