The new Ryzen 2000 series Pinnacle Ridge chips will feature the new Zen+ architecture and use improved 12nm transistors, as opposed to the first Ryzen chips’ 14nm lithography.
This isn’t going to add to AMD’s already massive core count, it will however cause the transistors to be able to use much less power to run, leading to a cooler chip overall, and more room to overclock if you’re so inclined. James Prior, one of AMD’s desktop gurus, told us at CES that “it’s not an area statement, it’s a power efficiency statement. The area is not going to change much, but the ability for us to manipulate the frequency voltage curve has improved.”
But AMD are also promising extra features to optimize the performance per Watt capabilities of their new Zen+ processors. The new Precision Boost 2 and Extended Frequency Range (XFR) 2 features have changed the CPU goalposts for boosted clock speeds. Previously, the way Precision Boost worked was it would only engage when two cores were being used, but now it’s going to be enabled regardless of how many threads the processor is running.
That’s going to allow the boost frequencies to be used for more real world applications, including most games. A lot of games are still designed to primarily use a single core or thread, but they will often also spill small workloads off onto other threads. With the previous iteration, even these little tasks would end up throttling the whole chip and really impacting performance. With this second generation version on the Ryzen 2000-series processors it’s much more opportunistic and will aim for the highest possible frequency, with increased granularity, by constantly checking against CPU temperature, load, and current.
Along with the new Ryzen 2000-series chips will come a fresh 400-series chipset. The good news is AMD kept their promise, and the new series will use the same socket as their predecessor, with older boards only requiring a BIOS update to be compatible.
You might get some improved overclocking, but aside from the I/O performance the old 300-series boards aren’t going to be too far off the pace of the new chipset when it comes to getting those new 12nm chips rocking after an update. The new 400-series AM4 boards will still retain cross-compatibility with the previous generation of Ryzen processors, as well as support for all the AM4-based APUs too.