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AMD 12-core and 16-core high-end desktop SKUs spotted

AMD has a huge hole in its portfolio, it spans the height above its Ryzen 7 HEDT CPUs all the way up to Naples, the 32-core, 64-thread behemoth it plans to release for datacenter-class computing, and while we'd heard reports it was reserved for lighter server SKUs, it seems that isn't exactly the case.

This week some engineering samples of CPUs on the ‘Whitehaven' platform leaked onto the web. Whitehaven seems to be an HEDT implementation of Snowy Owl. Videocardz.com reports it has picked up the scent of these new 16-core/32-thread CPUs, as well as several other AMD processors for mobile platforms and provides some interesting details on them.

Image credit: Videocardz

Four things stand out when we look at the ID strings on the CPUs:

The first most glaring feature is that two of these samples are running at 3.1/3.6 GHz  (base/boost) speeds, which is quite an impressive feat for such a complex CPU, even if its is built on a multi-chip module, like its bigger brother, Naples.

The second fact is that Alienware, known for its gaming PC street cred, is running a 12-core / 24-thread rig. Alienware is not known for server kit, so it reinforces the idea that Whitehaven is an HEDT platform. This CPU is running at a more conservative 2.7 GHz / 3.1 GHz (base/boost) speeds.

The third fact is that they are listed as Desktop parts, rather than Server parts. Again, AMD listed Snowy Owl as being a server CPU, but seems to have found a place for the ultimately powerful workstation.

The fourth and final is that there are second generation samples, so nearing qualification/engineering sample status, which is one step closer to market.

What's more, it seems that this sampling procedure is spot on with the company's earlier announcements, dating back to February 2016, which is quite the testament to the company's delivery execution. Back in February 2016 AMD had held a presentation where it had forecast the sampling and general release of these server CPUs in Q2 2017.

While these only tell us that the samples are out here, we can expect AMD's late May event to shine some light on the company's plans for HEDT and Server, before things start to get muddled.

KitGuru Says: It seems AMD is quick on its toes to do some course corrections. A while back the 12- / 16-core CPUs were reserved for Server scenarios. Now, it seems, AMD has found a niche for the Powerusers.

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  1. Given the age-old Core i7 HEDT brand change to Core i9 on X299 side of Intel, what are the chances that this upcoming platform is officially branded as Ryzen 9?

  2. Also, it shows that 16C is ahead of the APUs… So there obviously a bunch of server level SKUs coming out for different markets…
    Snowy Owl is BGA for appliances, WhiteHaven is LGA for workstations and Naples is LGA for HPC…

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  4. 12c/24t for me please 🙂

  5. I went from 3c/3t to 8c/16t last time I upgraded; i think I can stomach 16c/32t next time 😀

  6. Nikolas Karampelas

    So am I the only one who feel that last time I just burned myself with going 6c with my phenom II x6 that now I only look at 1500X? 😛
    It is so rare to see those 6 cores in action that I really never felt I needed them.

  7. Time doesn’t stop, but then everyone is at a different point their lives with regards to how many cores they need or use, and what to get next will depend on what new software you get into or not. Just ask yourself a simple question: Would you rather keep up with technology and upgrade every few years while getting more cores, or plan ahead with deliberate overkill if you can afford it at the risk of waiting for the punchline? Meaning, in fully-multi-threaded applications, an older 6-core will be beated by a newer dual-core if the frequency is high enough and the IPC parity is wide.

    For instance, back in the day I went from a dual-core dual-die Pentium D 920 to a Core i7-920 4c-8t single die using WinXP and 3GB DDR3. At the time, I never used more than 3 threads at once, but this was back in 2008 fall. So midterm system upgrades included a laptop with an i5, which at the time was a 2c-4t and it was good enough but then I got into heavier applications. Since then, I’m currently on a Broadwell-C i5, which is 4c-4t and I can tell some games max it out. But not sure if its an issue of purely HT or not. BTW, I’m on Win7 right now.

    Definitely getting more cores next time, but not in a hurry, haven’t decided how many cores to get yet. In gaming, for me it is GPU bottlenecked (GTX1080 Ti at 1440p) and while I wouldn’t need all the cores, I only game 15% of the week.

  8. So, what do you suggest?

  9. Nikolas Karampelas

    I understand that, when I got the 6 core I was at college and had some serious rendering to use it for. Then he was mostly idle because I work as a graphic designer and adobe photoshop, illustrator and idesign are terrible programs and only use 1-2 cores every time (very few actions use more cores).
    My games almost never used that extra cores as well.
    Then this year I got affinity design and photo (equivalents of illustrator and photoshop) and they use 3-6 cores so my cpu started seen some action again.

    The thing is that I have this system for like 15 years now (mostly because of the slow gains in CPU space) and I’m due for an upgrade. But I do feel that I could have the same level of performance with a cheaper (back then) 4 core phenom, and even better if I had taken a higher clocked part, since most apps and games never used more than 2-3 cores.

    So I believe that the best possible way is to go midrange (x6 was high end back then, alongside i7 750) and keep some space for a possible upgrade if your needs change.
    This is hard with intel that kill early the upgrade path, but so far AMD have a better upgrade path. (in the same mobo I could have a bulldozer or a vishera)

  10. If you’re only looking at gaming, I think that 4c/8t would be enough for a while, however, especially with Intel going 6 cores soon, more demanding games will likely make use of 6 cores and more. IMO the 1600X is the way to go.

  11. Nikolas Karampelas

    I hear this since I got the x6, I just can’t believe it anymore. Especially when you can get a dual core pentium perform better than many multicores in games those days.
    However I think that I can go with the 1500X and if things change to upgrade later.

  12. There’s definitely a benefit to more than 2 cores these days in games (although in some games more than in others). When the Phenom II X6 was released consoles didn’t have 8 cores and Intel didn’t even have a 4 core CPU. Developers follow the mainstream market, and that market is now a lot more mature for multi-core.

    Not that I have anything against the G4560. It’s a great inexpensive CPU. I have one myself. The 1500X won’t be a bad buy, but I still feel that the 1600X offers enough over it (in both base clock and number of cores) that it’s worth the extra.

  13. It’s mass market adoption that determines progress of technology in mainstream. The reason 6-core on up for the last 7 years hasn’t been a hit is because it wasn’t available the majority of average folks that represent the bulk of PC hardware sales. As much as AMD tried to bring 6c cost down with Phenom II, it’s OEM contracts that carry the bulk of sales and thus market share, and we know how that turned out.

    Nowadays even dual-quad-core is available in phones and even Kaby Lake Pentiums are 4-threaded, add in Ryzen 5 series bringing the cost of 12-thread down, it helps but it will still take a few years. Depending on the market, let’s say game devs, they will optimize their games for the majority’s PC in order for that majority to buy the game in droves.

  14. What I suggest would only work with me unless there are people like me out there since 1) I’m not an enthusiast (don’t follow status quo), 2) grew up low-end and never forget were I came from (meaning I have more respect for “peasants” than PCMR).

    But because I can afford more, I get it anyway and it lasts a long time. That’s my advice, get more than what you need; it is a lot easier to figure out what you need when you get more as opposed to having less and struggling with limitations.

    If anyone can afford HEDT, they ought to go for it even if they only use half the threads, as within 4-5 years they will use more.

    My own experience is a bit inconsistent. I went from a Pentium D 920, to a Core i7-920 and Core i5-480M (two concurrent systems for school and home) and now up to a Core i5-5675C (Win7) and I may get another concurrent system in a few years just for Win10.

    May, I don’t know, I already put as much as I normally do in one system already, that’s usually a sign that I should stop. But the laptop I got while in school was free from a sweepstakes.

  15. So if I can afford a Ryzen 7 1800x, I should get it?

  16. Pay attention to what you do, your tendencies and preferences.

    But if you can wait until both AMD and Intel debut their HEDT platforms, I suggest waiting for them and then make a call. I have a personal suspicion that the cheapest AMD 10-core may be priced really close to the AMD 8-core in AM4 platform, so I’d hate for you to make a call on the 1800X if you could get more cores for what could be a tad bit extra.

    Unless your current system is dying or your favorite store having a flash sale on a bunch of components you happen to want.

  17. Good advice… I’m itching to upgrade from my Core i5 4690K, plus I HATE Intel.