AMD Zen Demoed Next to Broadwell-E Core i7 6900K, Does Quite Well

The build up to the launch of AMD’s next generation of Zen processors is heating up nicely with the company trying to steal some of Intel’s IDF limelight with a media briefing in the same city. The upshot was a room full of tech media who were treated to technical details about the new platform, plus a demo of a Zen chip side by side with an Intel Core i7 6900K – the first time that AMD has actually shown a running Zen-based system to media.

The presentation went to a fair bit of detail regarding the technology that makes the new chips tick. Fundamentals about the Zen micro-architecture were revealed including how the new chips will have improved branch prediction, a larger unified 8MB L3 cache, plus a unified L2 cache for data and instructions. The company also talked at length about the hard work that has been done to design wholly new architecture from the ground up with particular attention to keeping thermal efficiency at the forefront of things. However, while they did not reveal any details about TDP at this stage, we can expect the flagship desktop SKU to be an 8 Core / 16 Thread APU that uses the new AM4 socket, DDR4 memory with a base clock of at least 3GHz.

In true media briefing fashion AMD also treated all in attendance to alive technology demo. The company showed two machines side by side doing a rendering job using the Open Source Blender app. What they saw was an 8 core Zen processor (known as Summit Ridge in terms of the complete platform) clocked at 3GHz, compared to an 8 core / 16 thread Core i7 6900K chip, that was underclocked to 3GHz. The demo showed both systems completing the render workload at pretty much the same time.

Regarding the fair and objective nature of the comparison, I think AMD’s marketing team probably don’t care too much – they just want to prove that with the same core-count and clock speed, AMD is back in the game at the high-end x86 processor market.

For a full and detailed look at the new Zen architecture from a technical perspective, check out this article from our buddy Ian Cutress at Anandtech. If you prefer to digest your tech in video form, you can check out this video from Paul’s Hardware which actually shows the benchmark demo that AMD presented to media and the systems used.

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