Technology promises good results, but applications don’t take advantage of it yet
THE OMG launched in April 2022 the technology 3D V-Cache applied to the processor Ryzen 7 5800X3D, a model designed for consumers looking for high speed in games and applications. The promise is that this technology will make the Ryzen 7 5800X3D the best gaming solution on the market. We already have a full review of it to see if this actually happens.
But what is 3D V-Cache? Why is AMD investing in this technology in a consumer product? What does the company expect to bring new and what can we expect from the technology and future CPUs with more integrated? In this article we explain how 3D V-Cache works.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D Processor REVIEW
Understand what 3D V-Cache is
Memories in processors bring a challenge. Data that needs to be “fetched” from RAM or even storage takes a long time to be accessed, so the more cache, the more opportunities for prediction algorithms to get right what the next piece of data the processor cores will need. But a processor die (read its body) is a hotly contested space, with everything in the nanometer range, and each space needs to be explored as efficiently as possible.
More cache is good, but space is limited on a processor
That’s why we rarely have large amounts of cache, especially at levels 1 and 2 (L1 and L2 cache), with only the L3 cache, a little further away but still in the same interposer as the rest of the processor, bringing a more generous amount. But even it doesn’t go far, with a Ryzen 7 5800X bringing 32MB of space, for example.
3D V-Cache is a solution to this problem, enabling larger amounts of cache in the same area of the processor. It consists of stacking a new silicon on the processor die with large amounts of memory, communicating with the processor cores through Hybrid Bond, a TSV (through-silicon via, or via through silicon, in a free translation) connectivity. with a high density of contact points.
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The result is that this “second floor” makes possible an impressive 96MB of L3 cache, the 32MB already present in the original topology plus 64MB stacked above, accessible with high bandwidth and very low latency across the processor cores. With so much space, it increases the number of times that data that the processor still needed to be available in the cache, and consequently, more performance. The scenarios with the most earning potential is a very expensive one for a lot of Adrena’s audience: games.
Stacking cache and putting more has the potential for extra gaming performance
This additional cache is positioned in the center, seeking to avoid the sides where the processing cores are located on the “lower floor” and, consequently, a region of high heat. AMD also had to change the height of several elements so that, in the end, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D would bring the same height as the die of all other AMD Ryzen 5000s without the 3D V-Cache, in order not to make the current cooling solutions on the market incompatible.
But the technology has also had negative effects, at least in its current implementation. The main one is that the 5800X3D lacks the ability to operate the cache and processing cores at different electrical voltages. The result is that overclocking is compromised, as forcing CPU voltages would also mess up the cache. A 5800X3D can go at a maximum of 1.35v, while a 5800X has its limit at 1.5v, for example.
It is interesting to see AMD following the search for new technologies that consequently can bring good results for the future of their processors. To date, no processor for the consumer segment has brought so much cache memory, and just because of this it is only natural that it takes a while for developers to update their tools in order to take more benefit from these faster memories now in greater quantity.
Perhaps in the future other processor models from AMD and who knows from Intel itself will follow this path and in this way speed up the process on the part of developers, which is crucial for practical benefits, as happened with the increase in cores and threads, which at the beginning were not as well used as they are today, both for applications for work and in games.
Below the review and video gameplay with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor:
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