Apparently, FSP is exceedingly confident in its new PTM line, since all three models are protected by 10-year warranties. So far, only EVGA and Corsair have dared to offer the same coverage, while Seasonic raised the bar even higher with a 12-year guarantee on its Prime PSUs. That’s all well and good, but as we’ve warned so many times before, such long warranties might backfire if PSUs are flogged all day, every day, under extremely tough conditions like those associated with cryptocurrency mining.
FSP’s newest PSU family is called Hydro PTM. That’s a rather odd name, since the models belonging to this line-up are cooled by a fan (unlike the water-cooled Hydro PTM+ we saw during Computex). Then again, we’ve seen FSP use Hydro for other products as well, such as the Hydro G.
The Hydro PTM series is available in 550W, 650W, and 750W flavors. They’re all fully modular, feature 80 PLUS Platinum certifications, and the top-end implementation includes two EPS connectors for compatibility with high-end motherboards hosting CPUs that need extra power. The 750W version is also certified by Cybenetics, earning the ETA-B (88-91% efficiency) and LAMBDA-A (25-30 dB[A]) badges. In each of the Hydro PTM PSUs, cooling is handled by a 135mm FDB-equipped fan. Today we’re looking at that flagship model, the HPT750M.
FSP rates its HPT750M for maximum power output at up to 40°C, whereas the ATX spec calls for at least 50°C. Thankfully, all necessary protection features are present, including over-temperature protection. There is no semi-passive fan mode, but that shouldn’t be an issue since the cooling fan spins slowly under light loads and at normal ambient temperatures.
While it looks a little strange for a high-efficiency PSU to not include some sort of semi-passive option, the fact is that FDB fans endure more stress during start-up since their lubricant takes a while to reach the bearing. This causes increased friction for a brief period. Thus, it’s better to keep FDB fans constantly moving rather than having them cycle through start/stop states frequently.
Total Max. Power (W)
The single +12V rail can deliver the PSU’s full capacity on its own. That’s typical of modern PSUs employing DC-DC converters to generate the minor rails. Those rails sport enough capacity for today’s needs. We would like to see a stronger 5VSB rail; however, this unit proved more capable in real-world testing than its paper specs suggested.
Cables And Connectors
Connector Count (Total)
ATX connector 20+4 pin (600mm)
4+4 pin EPS12V (700mm)
6+2 pin PCIe (500mm+150mm)
SATA (500mm+155mm) / Four-pin Molex (+155mm+100mm)
4 / 4
SATA (500mm+155mm) / Four-pin Molex (+155mm) / FDD (+155mm)
2 / 1 / 1
With two EPS and six PCIe connectors available, this PSU supports a wide variety of hardware configurations. Its complement of peripheral connectors is also generous, including 14 SATA and five four-pin Molex connectors.
It is nice to see a 750W PSU with so many cables/connectors. In the event you attach too many graphics cards and other accessories, there’s always over-power protection to keep your hardware safe.
Since this PSU features a single +12V rail, we do not have anything to say about its power distribution.
There’s also tips on how to backup mobile devices too, as much of the data we generate these days begins life under those brightly lit displays.
What kind of backup do I need?
There are a variety of backup styles on offer, so we break down the main types below. You’ll definitely want to pick one, but it’s wise to use multiple techniques and create multiple backups. This is to prevent a double disaster, by finding that the sole backup you’ve created is corrupted or didn’t cover what you thought it did.
Back up to an external hard drive
This is the simplest way to back up files from your PC. Just plug in a USB hard drive or flash drive and use Windows Explorer (File Explorer in Windows 8.1 and 10) to copy files from your computer to the removable drive.
It’s completely manual, but if you set a reminder to do it once per month and leave it copying while you’re off doing other things, it really doesn’t take much effort. Plus, once the backup is done and the drive is disconnected, it’s offline and safe from ransomware attacks.
Try using the built-in File History feature in Windows 10, or Windows Backup & Restore in Windows 7. You can see how to use the former in our How to backup Windows 10 feature.
Back up to the cloud
Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, pCloud and many other cloud storage services make it supremely easy to make backups of your files, and the free storage on offer when you sign up may just be enough. If it isn’t, you can pay a reasonable monthly or yearly fee to get a lot more storage.
Just bear in mind that most cloud storage services sync files in a certain folder on your computer. This means if you delete a file in that folder, it will disappear from your online storage as well. Many services have an undelete feature (like a Recycle bin) so you can undo your mistake, but this might be limited to 30 days, so check!
A real benefit of cloud storage is that it creates a copy of your files in a physically separate location. They’re safe from flood, fire and theft. Cloud storage has lots of other advantages too: you can access the files from practically any computer with an internet connection and you can keep files in sync across multiple devices.
A full Windows PC or laptop backup
The first two methods back up certain files, but they’re not sufficient to get your PC or laptop up and running after a hard drive (or SSD) fails, or if your computer is stolen.
Making a backup of all the files on your hard drive is also known as a ‘disk image’ or ‘ghost image’, and you’ll need specialist software to do this. This needn’t be expensive though, as there are free and paid versions available.
The best way to automatically back up your phone (or tablet’s) photos and videos is by using Google Photos. If you choose the ‘High quality’ option rather than ‘Original quality’ you get free, unlimited storage. That’s pretty much impossible to beat, and you can get the Google Photos app for a wide variety of devices.
For the other stuff stored on your mobile, such as contacts, notes and more, use the options available on the device.
For iPhones, iCloud is perfectly good, and 5GB should be enough free space, while on Android, your stuff is automatically backed up to Google (assuming you opt in). Read our How to backup Android and How to backup an iPhone guides for more details.
Things to consider before backing up your PC
We’ll admit there’s no one-button solution for backing up all your devices at once, and that no form of backup is guaranteed for life.
Let’s say you backup all your photos to writable DVDs (not really necessary these days, but something you might have done in the past). It’s not going to be long before all the DVD drives are gone (few laptops have them any more), and there’s no way to get the photos off those discs.
The point is: it’s crucial to keep up with the times and make sure your files are moved off any device or platform that may not be accessible for much longer.
Another important point to consider is file versions. If you’re modifying a file because you’re working on it and developing it, it’s useful to be able to return to previous versions. Some backup software supports versioning, as do some online backup and cloud storage services, including Dropbox.
If you’re using software to backup your entire PC, be aware of the difference between incremental and full backups. Because only a subset of files changes between backups, there’s no need to regularly backup all 500GB, say. Only new files and those which have been modified need to be backed up – this is called incremental backup.
Yet another thing to watch out for is the ease of restoring backed up files. Some software and services allow you to get inside a backup and retrieve specific files, while others force you to restore the entire backup. This is why it’s important to read reviews of backup software.
What should I use to backup my Windows PC?
Traditionally, backups have been carried out locally to external hard drives, but you can also use optical discs such as DVD or Blu-ray, or a USB flash drive if you don’t have many large files. Ideally you should do this as well as using an online service.
Optical discs are cheap but hardly convenient. You can’t schedule a backup at night, for example, because you’ll have to be present to swap discs. And you can’t easily back up files from a phone or tablet to DVD or Blu-ray.
For archiving – storing data long term – you’ll also have to give consideration to data longevity because this varies from one type of media to another. A hard disk will probably be reliable for five years although the risk of accidental damage is greater, and for flash drives 10 years has been suggested, but reports vary.
Exactly how long data lasts on optical media depends on a number of factors such as whether the disk is writable or re-writable, the manufacturer, and the environment in which it’s stored. Under optimum conditions data should be readable for a century but there have been reports of discs being unreadable after just two years.
We somehow doubt that DVD and Blu-ray drives will be around to read such disks in 100 years, so it’s important to periodically write your archives to the latest media to ensure the files can be accessed by current hardware.
You should also give some thought to storage of your backup or archive media so that it isn’t lost in the event of a fire, flood or theft. Consider using a fireproof safe or, better still, storing it well away from your PC, perhaps in a friend’s house locally.
You can create local backups or archives with no special software at all, simply using Windows Explorer to copy files and folders to your backup media. However, dedicated backup software makes the job a lot easier and provides additional features too.
Which backup software is best for me?
First things first, Windows 10 has it’s own built-in backup feature. It’s called File History, and you can find it in Settings>Update & Security>Backup. This allows you to make regular, scheduled backups of your data onto an external drive.
The feature has a default setting of backing up any changes to your files once every hour, but this can be changed to other intervals if you prefer.
Windows 7 also has a built-in backup utility: Windows Backup and Restore. Which you’ll find if you type ‘backup’ into the Start menu search box.
Good backup software should be able to schedule backups so that they take place automatically at regular intervals. This is useful if you use an external drive which you leave connected to your computer. Just remember that if the disk isn’t attached to your PC then the backup will fail.
Similarly, scheduled backups aren’t helpful if you’re using optical disks as you’ll have to insert them manually.
On the subject of multiple discs, backup software will automatically split the files and folders so each disc’s full capacity is used. Depending on the software, it may produce a single file which can only be read by the program itself, or it may be readable by Windows natively.
Another common feature is support for incremental backups which we mentioned earlier. This way, only files that have changed since the last backup are copied to the media to reduce the time taken to copy data. Compression can also reduce the time taken as less data has to be written.
Some applications are able to back up ‘locked’ files, which are those that you’re working on during the backup process. Yet another thing to look out for is the ability to back up files and settings outside of your Documents, Photos, Music and Video folders, such as contacts, email, web browser bookmarks and even saved game files.
It’s crucial to ensure you’re backing up everything you need to return you to where you were in the event of a disk failure.
In fact, some backup software offers the ability to backup your entire hard disk (this is known as disk imaging). The advantage of this approach is that in the event of a disk crash, recovery won’t involve re-installing all your software and setting up all the Windows options and preferences.
Creating a disk image is great if you need to recover from a major incident such as complete hard disk failure. However, the convenience comes at a cost, namely that backing up will be more time consuming and you’ll need to use much higher capacity media – usually another hard disk of the same size.
Our recommendation – and you may disagree – is not to bother with disk imaging. After all, disk crashes are relatively rare occurrences and if the worst does happen, having to start again from a blank hard disk will give you the opportunity to install Windows afresh and leave behind the flotsam and jetsam that slows Windows down after a while.
What’s important is that you have all your files and settings backed up plus your application CDs and DVDs (and serial numbers) to hand.
Should I use a Cloud backup service?
The alternative to local backup is to back up online and – as with everything – there are pros and cons to this approach. The major benefit is that it’s easy. You don’t have to make any decisions about what type of media to use and you don’t have worry about media becoming obsolete.
You can also rest assured that your data is safe from fire and flood thanks to multiple redundancies where your data is stored in multiple places.
On the reverse side of the coin, there’s the risk that your backup service provider might go bust. There are no guarantees that even the largest companies will stay in business. Plus, there’s also the issue about the security of your data as it’s sent over the internet and stored on someone else’s servers.
It pays to choose a company with a good track record to look out for companies with ISO 27001 accreditation: the international standard for data security. This not only covers the potential loss of data, but also applies to unauthorised access.
The good news is that most reputable companies employ encryption so prying eyes can’t see the contents of your files when they leave your PC. This way there’s no risk to your data as it flows across the internet and even staff at the backup company will be unable to read your files because they are totally impregnable without a secret key which is known only to you.
Of course, the other drawback of the cloud is that making backups can take a long time. Speed is limited by your broadband connection. Don’t forget your quoted broadband speed is the download speed; the upload speed is typically much, much slower to the extent that backing up gigabytes and gigabytes of data becomes totally impractical and may even exceed your allowances for the month if you have a data cap.
You’ll have to work out whether the volume of files you want to backup is feasible on your particular broadband connection. It’s worth checking the small print scheduling backups so they run overnight.
Unless you live in a remote area of the UK, it’s certainly a good idea to incorporate online services as part of an overall backup strategy. Many of the main options offer free storage, albeit in limited quantities, but these can be increased through subscriptions, which start from around £5 per month.
If you’ve been reluctant to give backup the attention it deserves, we hope we’ve demonstrated that it needn’t be as time-consuming and expensive as you might have feared. And remember, that effort will be well worth it the moment that your hard disk fails, you suffer a virus attack, lose your laptop, or someone steals your pride and joy.
Nvidia finally blew the lid of its highly anticipated GeForce GTX 1070 Ti graphics card, revealing full specifications and pricing.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti features the same GP104 Pascal GPU under the hood as its predecessor, the GTX 1070. Whereas the previous iteration featured 15 SMs (for 1,920 CUDA cores), the Ti enables four out of the five disabled SM units from the GTX 1070 for a total of 2,432 CUDA cores. Clock rates remain the same as the regular GTX 1070, with a base clock of 1,607MHz and a boost frequency of 1,683MHz.
The remaining specifications remain mostly unchanged, with 8GB of GDDR5 memory running at a speed of 8Gbps across at 256-bit bus. The feature set is also the same as before, with support for VRWorks, 2-way SLI, and display resolutions up to 7680 x 4320 at 60Hz. The display outputs (three DisplayPort 1.4, DVI, HDMI 2.0) remain the same as the original GTX 1070, as does the TDP (180W) and power connectors.
You can pre-order the Founder’s Edition GeForce GTX 1070 Ti directly from Nvidia, priced at $449 (the original cost of the GTX 1070), and we will likely see a slew of third party options break cover now that Nvidia has officially debuted the GPU. The estimated ship date for Nvidia’s pre-orders is slated for November 2, so it appears we won’t have to wait long for these graphics cards to reach consumers’ hands.
AMD announced the first SKUs for its mobile Ryzen APUs, in addition to revealing that Acer, HP, and Lenovo would be featuring the new chips in several new mobile products. AMD provided limited information about the new laptops, but we do know a few important details.
Acer Swift 3
Acer declined to comment on the new Ryzen-powered Swift 3, but AMD gave us a brief summary of what to expect when it arrives. The new Acer Swift 3 will be available with either AMD Ryzen 5 2500U or Ryzen 7 2700U processors, with up to 8GB of DDR4-2400 memory and up to a 256GB SSD. The 15.6” 1920 x 1080 IPS display is a worthy match to the onboard Vega graphics (with 8 or 10 CUs for 2500U and 2700U, respectively), and the device features a 48 WH battery and weighs in under 3.96lbs.
Full specifications, pricing, and availability of the new Acer Swift 3 with AMD Ryzen processors is currently unknown.
HP Envy x360
The new HP Envy x360 is a straight refresh of the previous model, which featured an AMD FX A12-9800P processor. AMD also stated that the new Envy x360 will likely operate under the same target TDP as the previous iteration.
We reached out to HP and were able to obtain the full specifications of the Envy x360, which can be equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U. The memory and storage options remain the same, with up to 8GB (2 x 4GB) of DDR4-2400 and up to a 512GB SSD or 1TB HDD. The 15.6” 1920 x 1080 IPS display is also a touchscreen, and you can get online using 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
The Envy x360 sports two USB 3.0 ports, in addition to a USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port with 5 Gb/s data transfer speeds and DisplayPort 1.2 connectivity. You can also connect an external display with an HDMI port. The device is powered by a 65W AC adapter and a 3-cell 55.8 WH lithium-ion prismatic battery, and it weighs in at 4.75 lbs.
HP indicated that the new Envy x360 will debut in November, starting at $699.
HP Envy x360
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
Up to 8GB (2x4GB) DDR4-2400
AMD Radeon Vega Graphics (8 CUs)
15.6” 1920 x 1080 IPS Touchscreen
– USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen 1)
– USB 3.1 Type-A x2
– Card Reader
– USB 3.1 Type-C (DisplayPort 1.2)
3-cell 55.8 WH Lithium-Ion
9.8 x 14.16 x 0.77”
Lenovo Ideapad 720S
Lenovo also declined to offer any further information when we reached out about its new AMD Ryzen-powered laptop, the Ideapad 720S. However, AMD provided basic specifications, revealing that the 720S would feature both of the new mobile Ryzen APUs, the 2500U and 2700U. The 720S will also feature up to a 512GB NVMe SSD and single-channel DDR4-2133, the maximum capacity of which was not disclosed. Similar to the Acer-branded Ryzen laptop offering, the Lenovo 720S also features a 48WH battery, and like the HP Envy x360, it also offers a USB 3.1 Type-C port with DisplayPort connectivity.
The Lenovo Ideapad 720S features a 13.3” 1920 x 1080 IPS display and weighs about 2.51lbs, making it the smallest and lightest laptop among the new Ryzen-equipped notebooks that AMD detailed. Pricing and availability are currently unknown, but Lenovo indicated it would be making a formal announcement for the new 720S in the near future.
2017 is proving to be a great year for gaming, both for consoles and games, and it just got a lot better. Nintendo’s main man is back in a new flagship game for the Switch and here’s our full Super Mario Odyssey review.
Although there have been a number of new Mario games in recent years, Odyssey is the first sandbox-style for quite some time.
You need to go and rescue, you’ve guessed it, Princess Peach from Bowser who this time is trying to marry the damsel in distress.
Instead of getting help from Luigi or Yoshi, Mario happens to bump into a white top hat called Cappy. Luckily for Mario, Cappy managed to save a scrap of Mario’s iconic red hat following a scuffle with Bowser, in which it gets shredded in the propeller of his ship.
Cappy has magic powers, of course, and uses the scrap to make Mario a new hat where Cappy lives. It’s not just a coincidence that the pair team up as Cappy’s sister Tiara has been kidnapped so Peach can wear her at the wedding.
Luckily, there’s more to Cappy inhabiting Mario’s hat than giving it cute eyes. Cappy can do all kinds of things in the game and this is what Odyssey revolves around.
In this open-world game, you’ll control Mario (of course) as he travels around different kingdoms searching for moons (not stars) so you can power up your hat shaped airship called The Odyssey.
Super Mario Odyssey gameplay and features
It’s not exactly hard to get stuck into a new Mario game like Odyssey, whether or not been playing them for decades or this is your, or perhaps your child’s, first one. It plays as you would expect a Mario game to.
As mentioned, Super Mario Odyssey is an open-world sandbox game which means you can roam around freely rather than following a set linear path. It can get a bit confusing as a game like Super Mario 3D World is 3D but not open-world.
Odyssey is much more like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Sunshine with individual levels that you’re free to explore however you like – there’s even a map should you need it.
Some levels are bigger than others and you will explore in different ways. In each one you’ll need to collect enough moons to give the Odyssey the power to fly to the next – sometimes you’ll get a choice of where to fly, a bit like in Lylat Wars.
You’ll be chasing Bowser and his crew as you go, as many of the kingdoms have items he needs for the wedding including the dress and cake.
Open-world gaming isn’t for everyone but it certainly feels good to us to have another Mario game like this. Nintendo has gone to great lengths designing the levels so you can quite easily play through without getting confused or annoyed with what to do, while adding plenty of hidden secrets for those who like to visit every corner and collect every coin.
In true Nintendo fashion, there’s a nice balance of the familiar and the new in Odyssey. And we like the charm in minor details like Goombas wearing different outfits to match the kingdom they are in.
You’ll also find Pauline from Donky Kong, taking the role of mayor of New Donk City.
As mentioned earlier, Cappy is much more than a hat with eyes – we’re talking essential skills, rather than a fun add-on. Although Cappy is integral to the game, Mario retains familiar moves such as Ground Pound, Spin Jump, the Triple Jump. Dive is also back for the first time since Mario Sunshine.
Back to Cappy, and Mario can throw his associate out in front of him to hit enemies, or even jump on as a sort of spring board.
You can even throw Cappy in a circle around Mario which is great if you find yourself surrounded. Mario can still jump on enemies in the usual fashion but Cappy will help new and younger players as you don’t need to get close.
Nintendo has made good use of the motion sensors in the Joy-Con controllers for this kind of move and you can also make Cappy move to the sides or even above Mario with gestures. This does mean playing on the Switch with Joy-Cons attached makes for slightly more limited play, though.
Cappy can also interact with items so you can hit question mark boxes, break items and more.
However, by far the most important feature is that Cappy can take control of things or other characters by ‘capturing’ them. In each level you’ll not only have a barrel of laughs by putting a moustache on various characters and objects but you’ll need to do so in order to reach places and collect moons.
The amount of things you can control with Cappy seems almost endless, allowing you to become familiar with things like stacks of Goombas, Chain Chomps or Cheep Cheeps as well as things exclusive to Odyssey like power lines and Glydon – a flying lizard.
It’s ridiculously fun and feels like a step from the previous formula of Mario wearing a suit to give him different skills. If you’re not sure what to try and take over with Cappy, a small white arrow will give you a hint.
Although Super Mario Odyssey is really a single player game, a second player can take control of Cappy to add a sort-of co-op element. It’s much more enjoyable than the slightly lame task of collecting star pieces like in Mario Galaxy, but it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s super helpful – clearing away poisonous sludge, for example – and other times it just makes things a lot more difficult.
You’re probably used to collecting stars in Super Mario games but it’s all about moons in Odyssey and there are couple of things to note.
There’s more than just one moon to collect in each level so you’ll find them dotted around and you’ll get them in a variety of different ways. Some are extremely easy and simply need locating while others require a bit more brain power and skill.
The other thing is that you won’t get kicked out once you grab the ‘main’ moon (multi-moon) after defeating a boss, for example. Instead, you’ll be teleported back to the start with the option to power up the Odyssey and fly somewhere else (if you’ve collected enough moons) or carry on exploring the level.
A Mario game wouldn’t be complete without boss fights and as usual, Bowser has a crew of thugs to help him thwart Mario’s attempts.
In Odyssey, they are a group of smartly dressed rabbits called the Broodals with one seemingly ready to go to St.Patrick’s day. Bowser hired them as wedding planners, as you do. As you play through the game you’ll meet them multiple times for boss fights.
In true Nintendo style they follow the quintessential formula of three hits to win and while they start out pretty easy, it gets harder and more complex as you go on.
You won’t just fight the Broodals as there are other bosses unique to certain kingdoms and you will also meet Bowser for a sort of half-way battle in the middle of the game.
Another staple of the Mario universe that’s been tweaked is coins. No longer are you aiming to collect 100 to get another life for Mario or even a star (or moon in this case). In fact, there aren’t even lives in Odyssey so if you die you just get some gold coins taken away from your stash. There isn’t even the classic ‘Game Over’ screen.
In this game there are both gold and purple coins, the latter is used as actual currency and the ones you collect will only be usable in each kingdom. You’ll need the purple coins to buy things like moons or outfits which we’ll look at next.
With purple coins there are a limited number to collect in each kingdom and once you’ve collected one going back to it’s location will show a outline as they can only be collected once.
As ever Nintendo is all about the details and it’s neat that the purple coins are different shape to match each kingdom.
Hats and Outfits
In many games, being able to buy different outfits for your character is a purely aesthetic element – a bit of fun or even a way to make you buy in-game currency. In Super Mario Odyssey it’s not only fun but can be essential.
Not only does it give Mario enough different looks to rival London Fashion Week – we particularly like the suit that makes him look like a New York gangster – but you’ll need to have the right outfit to access secret and hidden parts of levels. For example, you’ll need to dress as a workman in New Donk City.
You can wear any hat or outfit at any time and mix and match if you want. It’s also a nice touch that many of the costumes reference older games from Nintendo’s history.
There’s a part of Odyssey which has seemingly been lifted from Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and that’s no bad thing. It also harks back to Paper Mario titles.
In the game Mario can turn into a 2D version of himself that looks like it’s painted onto a wall, so a small section of level plays like an old-school platformer.
It’s just another element that makes it fun and Mario even retains whatever costume he’s wearing. The music also changes to 8-bit which just adds to the charm of this feature and some enemies will even transition between the 2D and 3D worlds.
Last but not least is amiibo which can be used with Odyssey. Three new amiibo for Super Mario Odyssey – Mario, Peach and Bowser – will all be available in white wedding outfits.
Nintendo has also said ‘some’ previously release amiibo will work with the game. Tapping one will give you gameplay assistance and some will unlock outfits for Mario to wear.
AMD announced that its Ryzen Mobile processors, the APUs formerly known as Raven Ridge, will be available in laptops from leading OEMs in time for the holiday season. The processors feature Zen compute cores paired with Radeon “Vega” graphics cores in an SoC (System on a Chip) design.
AMD’s Zen microarchitecture has truly had a transformative impact on the desktop PC industry. The bedrock Zen design, paired with the Infinity Fabric interconnect, provided enough performance for AMD to rise back into contention with Intel. This year alone, AMD has released a string of Zen-based Ryzen desktop products to satisfy nearly every pricing niche. Now it’s time for AMD to tackle the mobile market.
AMD has a key advantage over its rival Intel, though–it’s the only company that produces both x86 processors and GPUs. The company unveiled its new Radeon RX Vega graphics cards earlier this year, and now the company is tying the graphics cores and Zen microarchitecture together with the Infinity Fabric.
According to AMD, the pairing provides explosive performance gains of 44% more multi-threaded CPU performance and 161% more graphics performance than Intel’s new Kaby Lake Refresh mobile processors.
The Ryzen Mobile Die
The Ryzen mobile processors debut with two SKUs. The “U” suffix denotes that the Ryzen 7 2700U and 2500U are destined for ultralights, but processors optimized for different devices will come to market over the next year. AMD hasn’t said when the Zen+Vega PIB (Product In Box) APUs, which you’ll be able to buy at retail, will arrive.
Both Ryzen APUs feature four cores and eight threads, but in a big departure from the previous Ryzen models, they only feature a single Core Complex (CCX).
Moving to a single CCX instead of the dual-CCX design currently found in the Ryzen desktop processors is a critical step. The design ensures that the Ryzen Mobile processors can slip in under the size, power, and thermal constraints of mobile products. We can spot the four-core CCX to the left of the die shot above. The Vega graphics cores populate the right side of the die.
Speeds And Feeds
Both 15W Ryzen Mobile processors feature four Zen cores and eight threads fed by 4MB of L3 cache. The design employs the same 14nm Global Foundries FinFET process as the Ryzen desktop models. The processors feature a dual-channel memory controller that supports up to DDR4-2400, but it is noteworthy that some OEM designs will only feature a single memory channel. That can reduce graphics performance significantly.
The Ryzen 7 2700U slots in as the high-performance model with a 2.2GHz base and 3.8GHz Precision Boost frequency. The slightly lesser Ryzen 5 2500U model comes with a 2.0GHz base and 3.6GHz boost.
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U
Intel Core i7-8550U
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U
Cores / Threads
4 / 8
4 / 8
4 / 8
12 – 25W, 15W Nominal
10 – 25W, 15W Nominal
12 – 25W, 15W Nominal
Base Frequency (GHz)
Boost Frequency (GHz)
1 Core: 4.0, 2 Core: 4.0, 4 Core: 3.7
10 Radeon Vega CUs
UHD Graphics 620
8 Radeon Vega CUs
Graphics Base / Boost
Up to 1,300MHz
300MHz / 1.15GHz
Up to 1,100MHz
Memory Speed Support
DDR4-2400 / LPDDR3-2133
14nm GloFo FinFET
14nm GloFo FinFET
Kaby Lake Refresh
The Ryzen 7 2700U features ten Radeon Vega CUs (Compute Units) while the 2500U steps down to eight CUs. The beefier 2700U features a higher 1,300MHz maximum graphics boost frequency, while the 2500U tops out at 1,100MHz.
AMD hasn’t provided pricing for the new models, but based on AMD’s performance comparisons, we know they contend with the Kaby Lake Refresh Core i7-8500U. Like the Ryzen Mobile processors, Intel’s 15W processor features four cores and eight threads, but it has a significantly lower base frequency. However, the -8550U compensates with higher multi-core turbo frequencies. AMD has also transitioned to a more sophisticated multi-core boosting implementation, a first for a Zen-based processor, which we’ll cover shortly.
A Note on Configurable TDP’s
Like the Ryzen models, the Intel i7-8500U features a configurable TDP range instead of a static specification. This allows OEMs to tailor mobile products with lower TDP (cTDP-down) settings for increased battery life, or higher settings (cTDP-up) that trade battery life for more performance.
AMD and Intel’s TDP settings allow vendors to cram powerful processors into thinner and lighter devices by easing the thermal dissipation requirements. Unfortunately, this permanent setting lowers performance significantly, and OEMs aren’t required to disclose the TDP configuration. Many do this with little fanfare. The end user cannot adjust the statically-assigned TDP value.
Intel’s processors also support Dynamic TDP, which allows the device to make on-the-fly cTDP adjustments based on sensor feedback, such as device orientation or internal and external temperature sensors. Dynamic cTDP adjustments allow throttling when the device is hot, such as outside on a sunny day or after extended heavy workloads, to keep the chip within a safe thermal envelope.
AMD hasn’t said if it supports a Dynamic TDP feature. Intel’s TDP settings may have an impact on AMD’s performance measurements below. For instance, Intel’s cTDP downshifts the processor to an 800MHz clock rate, which of course drastically reduces performance.
AMD’s Performance Comparisons
AMD used an Acer Spin 5 with the Core i7-8500U processor for many of the performance comparisons. The Spin 5 is a thin convertible that doesn’t have much bulk for thermal dissipation, which means Acer could have set a lower 10W setting to accommodate the form factor. We reached out to Acer for confirmation, but have yet to receive a response. Also, a dynamic TDP configuration could throttle the processor below the 15W threshold during extended heavy testing.
AMD verified that it tested the Ryzen processors with a 15W TDP setting, but the test notes for the Cinebench tests indicate AMD tested the Ryzen 7 2700U on a reference motherboard. We’ve included the test notes at the end of the article.
In either case, the 4C/8T Ryzen 7 2700U offers a whopping 36% more performance than the 4C/8T eight-generation Core i7 during the Multi-Threaded test. Ryzen’s Multi-Threaded lead is even more pronounced against Intel’s seventh-generation 2C/4T Core i5-7500U. The Core i7-8500U wins during a Cinebench single-threaded test, which is expected given the characteristics of the Kaby Lake architecture.
The 3DMark Timespy test is overwhelmingly in AMD’s favor, and the Ryzen 7 2700U even beats the Core i7-7500U paired with a GeForce 950M. AMD tested the Ryzen 7 2700U on an AMD Reference Platform with integrated Vega graphics. It’s notable that a portion of the Time Spy scoring is dedicated to CPU physics tests, so CPU performance plays a big role.
For perspective, AMD also provided a test that shows the 15W AMD Ryzen 7 2700U providing a higher multi-threaded Cinebench score than the 91W desktop Core i5-7600K. The Ryzen results were captured on an AMD Reference Platform while the Core i5-7600K was paired with an MSI motherboard. That’s an incredible result. AMD’s processor features eight threads, while Intel’s i5-7600K only features four, which contributes to the performance advantage.
AMD’s spider chart, derived from the company’s internal test data, shows the Ryzen 7 2700U beating Intel’s Core i7-8550U in five of six categories. AMD lists I/O performance is the sole winning category for Intel. AMD generated these results with the Core i5-7500U in the Acer Spin 5 and the Ryzen 7 2700U on the company’s reference platform.
AMD also provided a range of productivity test results that highlight solid performance gains over Intel in a wide range of common applications. The company also included application launch speed testing compared to its older FX-9800P processor. Finally, we see average FPS measurements for the Ryzen 7 2700U in an HP ENVY X360. The benchmarks consist of 1920×1080 gaming in League of Legends, DOTA 2, and CS:GO. The company also tested Overwatch and Quake Champions at 1280×720. None of these titles are particularly graphics-intensive, but delivering playable frame rates within a 15W envelope is encouraging.
Precision Boost 2 & Mobile eXtended Frequency Range (mXFR)
AMD’s SenseMI suite consists of five technologies that allow Ryzen processors to adjust performance and power consumption parameters in real time. AMD has improved the suite and baked in performance-boosting additives. Much like AMD’s XFR for the desktop, the new Mobile eXtended Frequency Range (mXFR) feature allows the processor to dynamically adjust its clock rate above the stock and Precision Boost frequency based on available thermal headroom.
The mXFR boost requires a robust cooling solution, such as those found in premium notebooks. Select high-end notebooks certified for “Ultimate XFR Performance” will offer up to 23% more performance during multi-threaded workloads.
AMD’s Precision Boost feature, which debuted with the Ryzen desktop models, is similar to Intel’s Turbo Boost. However, AMD’s mainstream desktop processors only provided dual-core and all-core boost frequencies.
AMD’s new Precision Boost 2 algorithms include a more sophisticated set of boost frequencies that operate based on varying numbers of active threads. The feature now scales from one to eight active threads, but AMD has not provided a complete listing of the multi-core turbo frequencies.
AMD also said it is bringing Precision Boost 2 to its future desktop processors, but didn’t provide a timeline.
As with any product destined for mobile applications, power consumption is key. AMD’s Infinity Fabric ties the Zen and Vega cores together and provides the communication backbone for fine-grained telemetry data. That allows the processor to react to temperature, current, and voltage changes.
The Ryzen Mobile processors have several layers of elements, such as CPU and graphics cores, which it can shut off independently to save power. The power-gated areas also extend to the entire chip. The SoC also uses both internal and external (on the motherboard) voltage regulators that communicate with each other but operate independently, thus allowing the processor to deactivate a regulator when it isn’t needed. That drops the processor into a lower power state.
Intel’s Kaby Lake and AMD’s Bristol Ridge processors feature two power rails, one dedicated to the CPU and another dedicated to the GPU. The Ryzen Mobile processors use a single rail for both regions to enable power sharing. That allows the SoC to dedicate more current to regions that are experiencing heavier load, which boosts performance.
The “Per-core Frequency and Voltage” slide outlines AMD’s ability to manipulate each CPU core’s clock speed independently. That’s more sophisticated than the desktop processor, which can only control frequencies at the CCX level (groups of four cores).
Shutting off areas of the chip, called power gating, requires a fast resumption time (gate exit). Simply put, if you put a core to sleep you want it to quickly resume activity when called upon. AMD provided performance data that highlights the faster gate exit times relative to the previous generation FX-9800P. AMD designed the faster resumption times to allow power gating without drastically impacting the user experience.
AMD claims the collective improvements provide a 2X improvement in battery life compared to the previous-generation FX-9800P.
The arrival of the Ryzen Mobile processors signals another big step forward for AMD. The company currently has a single-digit market share in the mobile space, which typically ships more units than the desktop PC market. That represents a tremendous growth opportunity. Provided AMD’s Ryzen Mobile processors live up to the claims, the company is sure to make headway.
On the desktop side, AMD’s Ryzen processors have proven to be wildly successful, but the lack of integrated graphics has hindered their addressable market. For now, Ryzen processors are confined to systems with discrete GPUs, which is roughly only 30% of the desktop market. The arrival of a Zen and Vega combination is only coming to notebooks for now, but it foreshadows the pending arrival of APUs on the desktop. That’ll give AMD a broader appeal, particularly on the low end of the market.
The oft-rumored Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti has finally been unveiled in full, and it’s a beast of a GPU.
The Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti comes sporting 2,432 NVIDIA CUDA Cores, well above the original Nvidia GTX 1070’s 1,920 core count. The new Titanium version of the GTX 1070 also matches up clock speed-wise with the Nvidia GTX 1080 at 1,607MHz, though, the boost clock frequency still tops out at 1,683MHz.
Thanks to using the same 5-phase dual-FET power supply and copper vapor chamber cooling that was originally seen in the GeForce GTX 1080, the GTX 1070 Ti should see plenty of head room for overclocking while keeping cool.
What’s most impressive about the Nvidia GTX 1070 Ti Founders Edition (FE) is its $449 or £449 (about AU$580) price isn’t too far off from the Nvidia GTX 1070 (FE) that costs $399 (£379, AU$699). Based on specs, this new graphics card should also far surpass the $469 (£419, AU$699) AMD Radeon RX Vega 56.
Of course, there will also be a ton of vendor editions from the likes of Asus, MSI, EVGA and the like that will potentially be more affordable than Nvidia’s own official edition.
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Ti will be available worldwide on November 2. Stay tuned for our full review in the coming week.