AMD will release its powerful Zen CPUs next year. The company made the announcement in San Francisco two days ago while it “crashed” Intel’s party.
The new line of powerful CPUs from AMD is a clear indication that the company wants to regain its lost glory and intends to be taken seriously by the high-end gaming industry.
Interestingly enough, AMD held its event just a block away from where Intel had arranged its own Intel’s Developer Forum event in San Francisco.
AMD gathered, through invites presumably, a select group of industry analysts and media outlets to announce to the gaming world that the company has finally developed its much rumored Zen processor.
AMD also made clear that the existence of its Zen processor, despite some media reports, was never in question and that the company will be able to ship its mighty Zen processor early next year.
The robust Zen CPUs will be available for desktops only in the early part of the launch cycle.
If the announcement of a Zen processor wasn’t a big enough surprise then AMD went one step further that made it crystal clear that the company wanted to target high-end gaming market for its Zen processors.
AMD, historically, has produced chips that have been geared more towards the low-to-medium end gaming market. This time around, AMD will leave the budget builders behind to bring back more high-end gamers to its line of potent Zen processors.
AMD CEO Lisa Su told reporters that the company’s focus was strictly on high-performance CPUs and GPUs.
The CEO then continued to list AMD’s recent achievements in the gaming industry. The list included AMD projects such as manufacturing the chips that currently power PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One.
Not only that but Microsoft’s other projects including Xbox One S and the yet unreleased Project Scorpio will also make use of AMD chips.
As far as Graphics Processing Units (GPU) are concerned, AMD covered that portion as well earlier this year when the company released a surprisingly impressive Radeon RX480 which was a solid $200 video card.
Continuing in a similar fashion, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster proudly listed off factors that made the AMD Zen processor a one of a kind CPU.
The CTO revealed that the AMD Zen processor was built with “performance,throughput and efficiency” in mind. He also said that AMD’s prime focus was to build its Zen processors, from the ground up, for the high-end gaming market.
He also said that the new Zen processor was manufactured using a 14nm FinFET architecture. The aforementioned 3D transistor technology also helped engineers at AMD to increase Zen processor’s instructions per cycle capacity by an incredible 40 percent when compared to AMD’s hardware of the last generation.
AMD engineers were also able to make Zen processors more power efficient without compromising on its performance potential.
Along with that, AMD also put into action its latest Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) technology which has enabled AMD Zen’s cores to run multiple threads and that too at the same time.
Many industry experts believe that the SMT technology from AMD is a direct response to Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology.
Mark Papermaster also said that AMD needed to be faster, more agile and more creative in order to be competitive in the gaming market. The CTO admitted that AMD was a relatively small, if not the smallest, player in the gaming industry and thus needed to be the most inventive of all players to makes itself relevant again.
Technical Details Regarding Zen Processor Were Also Announced
AMD told reporters that the company had managed to increase the instruction scheduler of its new Zen Processor by 1.75x. Along with that, the new Zen processor’s execution resources would also get a 1.5x boost.
AMD revealed that the company’s new Zen processors would have an added 8MB L3 cache. It was also announced that the company also implemented a slightly larger L2 cache to its Zen processors.
With all these improvements, it is expected that Zen processors would be able to push about five times the amount of bandwidth to their cores when compared to AMD’s older Excavator design.
How Does The High-End Gaming Market Benefit From Improvements Made to Zen Processors?
Well, it should be clear by now that the AMD Zen processor will be able to handle massive processing tasks much more efficiently and effectively than all its predecessors.
For high-end users that would translate to better 4K video performance along with increased gaming capability.
The new AMD Zen processor should also help improve any VR experience.
But perhaps most of all, these improvements will not come at the expense of more power usage. In fact, Zen processors would actually increase your laptop’s battery life.
As far as AMD as a company is concerned; Zen processors could help AMD compete with the likes of Intel in the high-end computing market.
Of course, more details would be needed in the future to ascertain if the performance leap provided by Zen processors would indeed allow AMD to give its competitor a good run for their money.
Right now, AMD simply hasn’t released enough information regarding its Zen processor. There has been no talk about how much efficient the Zen processor actually is since AMD hasn’t disclosed its thermal profile.
Therefore, even though the company says that its Zen processors are more efficient than before, there is no way to gauge by how much.
Furthermore, AMD hasn’t talked about ultimate clock speeds and hasn’t published any pricing lists yet.
AMD CTO Mark Papermaster did affirm though that the company will announce more technical details about its Zen processors next week at the Hot Chips conference.
However, AMD did reveal that the company’s first Zen based product would be an 8-core, 16-thread desktop-only chip.
It will be called the Summit Ridge and will run on the new AM4 platform. The chip will also support DDR4 Ram and will ship with a next-gen I/O feature.
Interestingly enough, AMD also revealed that even though its Summit Ridge was a potent product, the company would instead rely on its other Zen processors to put it back on the map of high-end (and very lucrative) server market.
That other Zen processor is titled “Naples” and it will be a 32-core, 64-thread leviathan.
Papermaster also told reporters that AMD expected to see its new chip design join embedded computer in the very near future because of the fact that the new chip designs were much more power efficient.
The CTO also explained that even though the current AMD chip lineup was impressive, the engineers at AMD were already hard at work on AMD’s next platform, Zen+.
Regardless, in order to show how its Summit Ridge held up against Intel’s state-of-art 8-core chip, Core i7-6900K, AMD put its Summit Ridge to the test using Blender rendering benchmark.
For the purposes of the test the Core i7-6900K’s clock speed was reduced from 3.2 GHz to 3.0GHz.
That change allowed both processors to be clocked at 3GHz. The results showed that AMD Summit Ridge machine beat Intel’s core i7-6900K by rendering a scene around half a second faster.
Even though the core i7-6900K wasn’t running at its full potential, the new chip from AMD pulled off an unlikely win.
Reporters were also shown Summit Ridge working with AMD’s R9 Fury X to run games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in 4K. Surprisingly, the frame rates were silky smooth even though AMD did not reveal exact FPS figures.
High-end PC gamers will be able to buy AMD Summit Ridge in the first quarter of 2017 while the much power, reportedly, powerful Naples will get a launch date in the second quarter of 2017.
AMD also announced that the company would bring its Zen processors to laptops sometime in the second half of 2017.
The company had already announced its new laptop chips back in May.