The outgoing year was full of interesting announcements in the desktop processor segment. AMD can safely bring the 2018th itself into an asset. Since then, the company has managed to significantly improve its position, offering interesting solutions for various segments. However, Intel is also not ready to say goodbye to its share of the processor market, because even against the background of a shortage of production capacities and difficulties in mastering new technical processes, the company had something to offer to fans of powerful desktops.
By offering the second generation of Ryzen processors, AMD slightly increased them frequency potential, reworked the mechanism of dynamic acceleration, reduced delays in the operation of caches and improved compatibility with high-speed memory modules. These improvements proved to be enough that, despite the minimal architectural changes, 12-nanometer CPUs justified the name Ryzen 2000.
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The chip of the new line – Ryzen 7 2700X as a whole reflects the capabilities of the Socket AM4 platform. The processor has received an aggressive frequency formula (3.7 / 4.3 GHz), initially offering almost maximum performance for the Pinnacle Ridge. At the same time, the flagship of the series comes bundled with a spectacular and fairly efficient Wraith Prism cooler.
The Raven Ridge family of processors with integrated Vega graphics have become the real “secret weapon” of AMD, which the company has successfully used in fighting for the attention of users with a limited assembly budget platforms, as well as those who want to wait out the mining storm without overpaying for a discrete video card.
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The popularity of Ryzen 3 2200G is not at all accidental. A 4-core processor with Vega 8 graphics and a cost of just over $ 100 was a very balanced solution. Economical fans to play, he helped to survive the troubled cryptocurrency times, and after installing the video card fits into the concept of an entry-level gaming PC. The Raven Ridge line also includes the Ryzen 5 2400G chip, which supports SMT and has faster Vega 11 graphics. However, the noticeably higher price tag of this model makes it an interesting choice for those who initially expect to do without a discrete video card, relying on the resources of the integrated GPU.  The niche of the base chips for the Socket AM4 platform since its announcement was closed by models of the Bristol Ridge family. With the advent of Zen-based processors, developers have focused on mid-range and high-end devices, while entry-level solutions have long remained behind 28-nm APUs with the age architecture Excavator. On the one hand, they coped with the simplest tasks of undemanding users, on the other hand, even in this category, we already wanted to use progressive chips for this system.
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] Athlon 200GE appeared on the market exactly by the time when the cost of the competitor's base chips, Intel Celeron / Pentium Gold, significantly increased. The new AMD processors have two processing cores with SMT support, allowing to process up to four data streams. Integrated graphics Vega 3 is quite suitable for any office tasks, viewing HD-video and even simple games. For their money ($ 55), the solution is almost the only option, a great option for budget systems.
By offering the 9th generation Core processors, Intel first used the Core i9 chips for the mass desktop LGA1151-v2 platform. The manufacturer has finally increased the number of computing cores to eight, increased the volume of L3 cache memory to 16 MB and returned the solder to the heat distribution cover. The developers squeezed the maximum of the 14-nanometer process technology, but the final result was worth it.
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Core i9-9900K), in 19959014
Even the recommended price of this CPU is an impressive $ 488, and the current retail in Ukraine is about $ 660. But if the cost is not very embarrassing, then this is an opportunity to get the most productive processor for the ultimate gaming system. And, of course, it is unlikely that the exclusive plastic packaging in the form of a dodecahedron will leave anyone indifferent. But the standard cooling system is not provided, in this the manufacturer does not limit the flight of fantasies of the owner of the flagship 8-core.
It was interesting
There were a lot of activities on the market of processors for desktop systems in 2018. Most of the pleasant this time came from AMD. Despite the fact that the company offered 12-nm Pinnacle Ridge chips, the first wave Ryzen processors are still available on the market. Summit Ridge chips are offered with very good discounts, and therefore thrifty users who are not chasing new products could get excellent processors at a reasonable price. Curiously, this applies not only to entry-level processors, but also to higher-class chips. The list of models with a very attractive price / performance ratio now includes virtually all processors of the Ryzen 1000 series.
Model Ryzen 3 1200 (4/4; 3.1 / 3.4 GHz) for $ 90, Ryzen 5 1400 (4/8; 3,2 / 3,4 GHz) for $ 120 or Ryzen 5 1,600 (6/12; 3,2 / 3,6 GHz) for $ 150 certainly complicate sales of second-generation Ryzen models, but for potential buyers this is a real holiday. This list is far from complete, which only costs $ 200 + to acquire an 8-core Ryzen 7 1700 chip (8/16; 3.0 / 3.7 GHz). Unlocked multipliers make it possible, if desired, to speed up the processors by experimenting with overclocking.
Once again, we note the appearance in the AMD line of processors with relatively powerful integrated graphics. In addition to the already mentioned Ryzen 3 2200G, the line of hybrids of Raven Ridge also includes the Ryzen 5 2400G. The processor is also 4-core, but with support for SMT technology and more productive Vega 11 graphics. Of course, the APUs do not allow to play games with systems equipped with discrete graphics cards, but after overclocking the integrated GPU and using high-speed memory modules, the built-in AMD turned out to be at the level of GeForce GT 1030.
In 2018, AMD not only tried to please the owners of gaming systems, but also cared about the interests of users who need more guns. The company has updated the chips Ryzen Threadripper. In the line of second-generation processors, models with 24 or even 32 processing cores appeared. The manufacturer squeezed the most out of the 4-crystal layout. The top model Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX allows you to simultaneously process up to 64 data streams, has a TDP of 250 W and costs about $ 2,000. Such is the price for phenomenal results in rendering and tasks with high parallelism. This is definitely not the best solution for games, but in its category it is another success and a reason for pride in the work done.
At the very beginning of 2018, Intel presented interesting processors that it worked on with … AMD. The cooperation of two irreconcilable competitors brought interesting results. Even at CES in January, Intel showed off an 8th generation G-series Hybrid Core mobile processor with Radeon RX Vega M graphics and a 4GB HBM2 memory chip on a single substrate. When creating these processors for communication between dissimilar crystals, a high-speed EMIB (Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge) connection was used. The dense arrangement of the elements can significantly save space on the motherboard. However, despite the very interesting solution from an engineering point of view, very few real products were presented over the past year. We can recall perhaps that the gaming version of the compact Intel NUC 8 Enthusiast systems and literally several models of transformer laptops. On presentation slides, Intel assured that solutions with older graphics Radeon RX Vega M GH can compete on equal footing with systems based on discrete GeForce GTX 1060-MaxQ, and processors with graphics simpler Radeon RX Vega M GL are easily cracked with platforms equipped with mobile GeForce GTX 1050. The commercial success of Kaby Lake-G is difficult to judge, but judging by the vanishingly small number of devices based on them, such an attempt was rather an opportunity for Intel to run into EMIB, which later will probably come in handy.
 Despite the huge production s resources, in 2018, Intel has experienced problems with the lack of facilities for the manufacture of products according to the technology of 14 nm. This affected including the production of central processing units. The first calls began to arrive in the middle of the year, however, certain stocks of chips made it possible to smooth out insufficient supplies. Since the beginning of autumn everything has changed. In just 1–2 weeks, Intel processors went up in price significantly. The price of some positions simply doubled in such a short period. Over the past four months, the situation has not fundamentally improved. The cost of some models rolled back a bit after the rapid September jump, for others it almost did not change in price. Particularly painful was the increase in the cost of entry-level CPUs, which became virtually uncompetitive amid AMD offers. Intel promises to cope with the shortage of 14-nanometer chips only by the second quarter of 2019. Up to this point, you should not count on special breaks here, especially if you look closely at the base chips. The priority of the manufacturer is now more marginal models.
As we already mentioned, Intel this year presented an updated line of processors Coffee Lake Refresh. In addition to the top-end Core i9-9900K, the eight-core Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K added to the series. To the flagship in general, there are no questions, except for the price. But the decision of the manufacturer to abandon support for Hyper-Threading for the chips of the desktop Core i7 line looks ambiguous. Yes, the presence of 8 cores is welcome, but 8/8 is not always better than the functional formula 6/12. As for the Core i5-9600K, there is virtually no change compared to its predecessors. Unless the clock frequencies have grown a bit, and under the lid, instead of thermal paste, solder is finally used again.
Having presented three models of Coffee Lake Refresh in early October, the manufacturer is not in a hurry to expand the line of these chips. The network is already actively circulating rumors about the upcoming announcement of Intel processors with KF and F indices in the name of the models that will be used for chips without integrated graphics. Among the devices of the first wave are Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF, i5-9600KF and i5-9400F. Judging by the fact that for such devices already appear stubs on the online sites, their official launch is not far off. In the meantime, we can assume that the appearance of such CPUs is another way to reduce the deficit of 14-nanometer chips. Thus, crystals with possible defects in GPU units can be used.
In the past year, Intel updated the Basin Fals platform, presenting the October line of Skylake-X Refresh processors. The Core i9-9000X series includes chips with the number of cores from 10 to 18. The only 8-core model Core i7-9800Х becomes the youngest. Compared to its predecessors, the updated processors received higher frequencies; all CPUs now have 44 PCI Express lines and solder under the hood. For chips with the number of cores from 8 to 12, the L3 cache memory has also been increased. In general, we have a good update for the LGA2066, although nothing extraordinary on this platform. We only note that the new processors can be used with the existing boards on the Intel X299 chipset, only a firmware update will be needed. New processors are still on their way to the shelves.
To stand up to AMD, which managed to increase the number of Ryzen Threadripper cores to 32, Intel is ready to go to the extreme, "domesticating" the LGA3647 server platform. In this format, the manufacturer offers a 28-core 56-line Xeon W-3175X chip (3.1 / 4.3 GHz) with a six-channel memory controller, TDP of 255 W, overclocking capability and costing about $ 4,000. For the operation of the new chip, you will need special motherboards on chipsets with the as yet unapproved name Intel X599. As we see, in the category of HEDT systems, Intel is also not ready to yield to AMD, but this requires tremendous effort from it. Imagine such a situation two years ago was simply impossible.
Plans for 2019
Next year promises to be even more intense for desktop platforms. AMD is preparing an update for the Ryzen processors. Future chips will use the improved Zen 2 architecture and will be manufactured by TSMC using a 7-nanometer process technology. Ryzen 3000 chips with the codename Matisse can be used with current Socket AM4 motherboards. Surely at the time of the announcement, the developer will offer some top-end chipset, for example, AMD X570 with support for PCI Express 4.0 and some additional "buns", but compatibility with previous models will be preserved anyway.
Surely, we will also see improvements in hybrid APUs that will replace Raven Ridge. Previously we are talking about processors with the code name Picasso. As part of the line, I would like to see a greater variety of models, as well as versions with still increased performance of integrated Vega graphics.
The Ryzen Threadripper line will be further developed. There is even the codename Castle Peak for chips that will replace the current models. However, so far no details about their internal content.
At the same time, AMD has already shared information that the company plans to use a chiplet design for future EPYC server processors. This arrangement assumes the presence of eight 8-core modules and a separate unit for processing I / O operations. That is, the total number of cores under one cover increases to 64. With SMT support, we have a 128-line CPU of adequate performance. It is unlikely that a similar layout will be used for models of Ryzen Threadripper. Even for workstations, this option is likely to be very costly in all respects. Despite the tacit multi-core war between both manufacturers, it’s still not a competition between engineering solutions and concepts, but rather mass processors that need to be sold in certain quantities.
As for Intel, we are first and foremost waiting for the market to saturate with demanded Core 8 processors. 9-generations, as well as further expanding the range of these chips. Versions without integrated graphics may be useful, especially for chips with unlocked multipliers, which are likely to be used with a discrete adapter. Of course, we have become accustomed to the fact that Intel processors have built-in graphics, which is suitable for many tasks, allows you to assemble the system in several stages, or just help out during a breakdown of the main video card. However, with the advent of chips with FK and F indexes, the manufacturer does not replace previous models, but provides a choice. If models with conditionally disabled GPUs also prove to be a bit cheaper, then such chips may well be in demand. Recall that the AMD Ryzen processors of the Summit / Pinnacle Ridge families in principle do not have an integrated graphics core.
It is very interesting to see the updated Skylake-X Refresh. The use of solder should help solve an important problem with heat dissipation that is relevant for multi-core chips of the previous generation. Let's see if the new processors can revive interest in the LGA2066. The platform will continue to be used for workstations or ultimatum PCs with several video cards, but even owners of such systems often consider their money.
The outlook for 28-core Xeon W-3175X under LGA3647 is still rather vague, but let's still wait for practical implementation a similar platform.
For the mass segment, Intel is preparing a major update of the micro-architecture with an increase in the number of instructions executed per clock, an increase in the amount of cache memory, the use of sets of new instructions. The architecture of Sunny Cove will be used for Ice Lake processors manufactured using a 10-nanometer process technology, which will also receive Gen 11 integrated graphics with increased performance. Given the current plans of the manufacturer, these chips are unlikely to appear before the 4th quarter of 2019. Yes, Ice Lake will have to wait, but all this time you will not be bored for sure. We will try to keep you abreast of what is happening.