By John Martindale
The annual Computex show closed its doors last week after a tumultuous few days of product announcements, teases, and ultimately, a lot of hints at what we can expect from a range of industries in the coming year. There were no major product announcements by any of the big companies, but a few teases of incredible potential in what’s to come in 2022 and beyond.
AMD was the biggest player with the most to say at Computex 2022, showcasing its upcoming generation of Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 CPUs. They’re probably going to take the performance crown in all manner of games and applications when they debut. Nvidia was a little more focused on its business ventures this time around.
Those weren’t the only companies with news and products to share at Computex, though. Let’s take a look at the big hits and misses from one of 2022’s major tech shows, to see what that might mean for your next upgrade.
AMD had the biggest and most excitable showing at Computex, even if it still didn’t showcase much in the way of real products that are available right now. The big announcements were all surrounding its upcoming Zen 4, Ryzen 7000 processors, which are slated to go on sale sometime in Q3. We didn’t get hard release dates or confirmed pricing, but the numbers we did get a glimpse of were just as exciting.
In one brief recorded showcase, AMD’s CEO, Lisa Su, showed an eight-core Ryzen 7000 processor running at 5.52GHz while playing Ghostwire: Tokyo. That’s an enormous leap over the previous maximum boost clock of the 5950X, which topped out at 4.9GHz on paper, and rarely reached that high in real-world use. Even more amazing was the follow-up clarification AMD gave, where it suggested that was a 5.5GHz all-core clock speed. AMD even suggested it could see 5.7-5.8GHz single core clock speeds in limited thread scenarios, like gaming.
But clock speed isn’t all that’s improved with Ryzen 7000. AMD also announced it would feature a doubled L2 cache, for 1MB of cache per core. Along with architectural improvements to its now-traditional chiplet design, AMD claims that its next-gen CPUs should be able to offer at least a 15 percent uplift in single-threaded performance. Extrapolate that to multi-threaded scenarios, and we’re allegedly looking at closer to a 40 percent increase over comparable Zen 3 CPUs.
That’s a big leap over just a couple of years, and though it does raise questions about how comparable Ryzen 7000 will be with the 5800X3D in gaming, it does suggest that AMD’s next-generation processors are going to be incredibly competitive going forward
Alongside Lisa Su’s unveiling of various exciting aspects of the CPUs themselves, we also got our first real details on AMD’s next-generation motherboard chipsets. They would be broken down into three bands, initially: X670E, X670, and B650, each of which will sport the new AM5 socket and will come with some form of support for both DDR5 memory, and PCI Express 5. The former will be the exclusive memory supported by AMD’s next-generation processors and motherboards, and though that should bring added performance across the board – especially considering how memory hungry AMD’s Ryzen CPUs have always been – it may well lead to an early adopter cost if DDR5 memory prices haven’t fallen by the launch window.
PCI Express 5, on the other hand, will be supported in different ways by the different chipsets. The top-of-the-line X670E motherboards are targeted at heavy overclockers and PC enthusiasts. They’ll be the most expensive of the bunch, but will come with the most premium features and specifications, including advanced VRMs for increased overclocking headroom and stability. They’ll also have PCIe 5 support on every PCIe slot and M.2 slot.
The X670 boards will be more targeted at high-end gamers and those who want to dabble with overclocking. They’ll still feature high-end components and excellent build quality, but the VRMs won’t be quite so impressive, and PCI Express 5 support will be limited to the first x16 slot and at least one M.2 drive slot. The others will be PCIe 4, instead.
The more affordable B650 motherboards are targeted at mainstream gamers and PC buyers, and will still feature PCI Express 5 support on at least one M.2 drive slot, so you can still benefit from the blazing-fast speeds of new-generation NVMe SSDs, but there won’t be any PCIe 5 support on the PCIe slots. Considering the most high-end of current-generation graphics cards don’t even get close to saturating x16 PCIe 4 slots, that’s not much of an immediate concern. Even if top next-generation graphics cards do, and demand a PCIe 5 slot to make the most of them, they’ll almost certainly be relegated to the absolute top-of-the-line GPUs and PC enthusiasts.
While Nvidia didn’t have much to show for general consumers at Computex 2022, it did have some new GPU designs, but they weren’t aimed at gamers.
The A100 Ampere-based data center graphics card will soon be available in a water-cooled version. While water cooling GPUs might typically be reserved for those looking to run a silent system or for overclocking purposes, the reason behind this server GPU design is to both help sustain performance in massive data centers, and bring down power requirements.
As it stands, data centers use some 1% of the world’s electricity, and as much as half of that is because of their extreme demands on cooling. Where traditionally air conditioning and air cooling are used, which requires a lot of electricity and a lot of water as it’s evaporated away. By water cooling GPUs, Nvidia hopes it can take a step towards a more closed-loop cooling solution at data centers, helping to bring down the power costs, and reduce the amount of water used to keep them running at stable temperatures.
Breaking with its usual focus, NVIDA also showed off a new CPU at Computex. The Grace and Hopper super chip designs will deliver as many as 144 cores to servers and will be implemented by a number of manufacturers, including ASUS and Gigabyte, in off-the-shelf server solutions. They’re designed to compete very favorably with the existing AMD Epyc paradigm, with much-improved performance and greater efficiency.
Based on an ARM CPU design, NVIDIA claims its new super chips can be as much as 1.5 times faster than dual 64-core Epyc CPUs. That’s a bold claim that we’ll need to wait until 2023 to know how true it is – time enough for a new generation of Zen 4 Epyc CPUs to bring some additional heat to bear on this clearly heating up industry.
NVIDIA did throw gamers the smallest of bones in the form of updated deep learning super sampling and ray tracing support, adding an extra 12 titles to the former’s now-180-strong list.
However, stock and pricing of RTX 3000 and RX 6000 graphics cards are better now than they’ve been since launch.
Gaming monitors come in all shapes, sizes, and speeds, but ASUS' new ROG gaming monitor takes things to a whole new level. Showcased in the middle of NVIDIA’s keynote address, the new display can hit an unprecedented 500Hz, delivering the fastest refresh rate of any gaming monitor ever made. It trounces even the ludicrous 360Hz models that were the pinnacle of monitor speed just a few months ago and promises an even more responsive gaming experience.
It’s a monitor targeted at esports professionals and serious amateurs, coming with a 24-inch, 1080p resolution panel with G-Sync and Nvidia Reflex Analyzer support. That’s not the kind of display you want for immersive single player experiences, or if you’re playing anything outside of high-speed esports – even with the best graphics card in the world you aren’t going to run AAA games anything close to 500 FPS.
Still, it’s an impressive piece of kit, and if you already run a high refresh rate monitor, have a fast gaming keyboard and mouse, and a kitted-out gaming PC to hit the highest of frame rates, then getting an even faster monitor can’t hurt. Just know that it’ll only shave a couple of extra milliseconds off of your reaction time.
Are you still gaming on an old Gigabit Ethernet connection? While that might be fine for just about anyone, if you have an internet connection that feels constrained by such limitations, Mediatek debuted its Wi-Fi 7 chips at Computex 2022. It promised that with all bands on a Wi-Fi 7 router combined, you’d be able to achieve speeds as high as 36Gbps – more than enough for anyone.
While this will likely see more usage in professional settings to start with, and Wi-Fi 6E hasn’t seen wide adoption in devices or network hardware just yet, Mediatek joins Qualcomm in paving the way for an even faster wireless future.
Devices with these news chips should start arriving in 2023.
500Hz gaming monitor...you will have to do a lot of jumping through hoops to get any value out of that in my opinion.
I don't care how fast the new WiFi is. Actually never mind, I do since hopefully it will bring the price of 10GBE down to make it even more affordable.
I could see a release like this causing that to happen, we'll see!
I'm imagining a setup with a 3090 ti, running League of Legends at 1080p with the 500hz monitor. 😆
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