High-performance computing and gaming enthusiasts heard some good news and bad news yesterday from AMD. The good news: the company said its long-awaited Zen CPU architecture, which is built from the ground up, delivered a "landmark increase" in processor performance in tests. The bad news: the first Zen chips, initially expected later this year, have been delayed until early next year.
AMD unveiled some new details about the coming arrival of Zen during a special event in San Francisco. The event took place not far from where Intel is currently holding its annual developer forum. The Zen CPU could potentially pose a new threat to rival Intel's chips.
Speaking during the AMD event, president and CEO Lisa Su said Zen will lay the foundation for a new family of products the company plans to roll out. The company is set to reveal more details about the in-development CPU core at next week's Hot Chips symposium in Cupertino, Calif.
Core Features 'Clean-Sheet' Design
In yesterday's presentation AMD claimed that a Zen-based, 8-core, 16-thread desktop processor -- code-name Summit Ridge -- "just edged out" a comparable Intel Broadwell-E processor when both were set to the same clock speed. AMD senior vice president and CTO Mark Papermaster said the Zen architecture has been shown to deliver a 40-percent clock improvement over AMD's previous generation of CPU.
Zen's "clean-sheet" design features a number of changes over AMD's previous CPUs, including a new cache hierarchy and simultaneous multithreading (SMT). Ars Technica noted today that the new architecture "corrects most of the mistakes made with AMD's line of Bulldozer-based CPU cores," adding that SMT has already "been used to great effect by Intel."
Zen will first make its appearance in core-based computing products for high-performance desktops, according to AMD. The company said the CPU architecture will show up later in enterprise-class servers, mobile PCs and embedded applications.
During yesterday's event, AMD also demonstrated "Naples" -- a 32-core, 64-thread processor based on Zen -- in a dual-processor server with the Windows Server operating system.
Architecture Promises 'Improved Responsiveness'
The first desktops to feature Zen will use AMD's AM4 socket, a new infrastructure that's compatible with AMD's 7th-generation A-Series desktop processors.
"With dedicated PCIe lanes for cutting-edge USB, graphics, data and other I/O, the AMD AM4 platform will not steal lanes from other devices and components," the company said today in a statement. "This allows users to enjoy systems with improved responsiveness and benefit from future-ready technologies that the AM4 platform provides with a powerful, scalable and reliable computing solution."
The new microarchitecture in Zen cores was designed for "maximum compute performance," the company said. Featuring a new low-latency, three-tier cache and new pre-fetch algorithms, Zen also leads to "dramatically fewer cache misses and greater bandwidth compared to the previous architecture," AMD said
Posted: 2016-08-30 @ 10:37am PT
This could get interesting.
Posted: 2016-08-21 @ 6:41pm PT
The 8c/16t market only makes up less than 5% of the CPU market with less than half a percent of users actually benefiting from the extra cores and threads. By February, the 6900K will be selling for $750 to try and respond to the $650 AMD offering. This pricing disruption will spread to lower core offerings too.
Intel which has an inventory glut even before AMD strikes with Zen is in for tough times as their margins are already at multi decade lows. As deeper margin erosion is certain, an Intel shareholder has to ask "When will Intel be forced to reduce the stock buybacks, or heaven forbid, freeze or reduce their dividend."
Posted: 2016-08-21 @ 8:53am PT
We can thank the explosion of mobile cpus for AMD's ability to compete with Intel. They have paid for the node shrink technology AMD is using.
Posted: 2016-08-19 @ 5:09pm PT
Love it! Sends a message to the Chip on the shoulder Corp. They could use a big bite of humble pie. Treating their employees like a pup's training paper. I will not buy anything with their logo on it.
Posted: 2016-08-19 @ 5:04pm PT