The AMD press event in Taipei this morning was almost peculiar in the way that things unfolded. As we walked in to the auditorium we were handed a press release that announced the company’s ‘New Mobile 7th Generation AMD A-Series Processors', a fact which immediately subdued many attendees looking for a taste of the much heralded Zen architecture. By the end of the event however, we had seen Zen. Well… kind of.
AMD first launched into an expose of their new Polaris Radeon RX Series graphics cards which include the RX480 card which will launch at a price of $199. Benchmarks were shown that reveal how two RX480 cards are able to out-perform a GTX 1080, a value proposition that could save consumers $200 with the AMD GPUs in fact having plenty of headroom left in the tank performance-wise.
AMD then went on outline the arrival of ‘Bristol Ridge’-based architecture APUs within the context of mobile computing. These will officially be referred to 7th generation AMD S-Series APUs which infers that we will have to wait for the following ‘Summit Ridge’ platform before we see real desktop PC part sporting Excavator cores. At this point ‘Zen’ had not been mentioned in any way.
AMD thankfully did manage a ‘and one last thing’ moment however as CEO Dr Lisa Su dangled a suspenseful moment in front of our eyes and pulled out a ‘Zen’ processor for the delight of us media. It turns out that the fore mentioned Summit Ridge is in fact the eagerly awaited ‘Zen’. The slide shown indicates that Summit Ridge will be an AM4 desktop chip with 8 cores, 16 threads and a promise of 40% improved instructions per cycle.
Dr. Su made the point that Zen will be the basis of a new range of products for the company, which means there will be desktop CPUs, 8th generation APUs and eventually server chips and embedded parts too.