There’s plenty of news in the wind today concerning AMD’s forthcoming Zen architecture CPUs, mostly due to the ‘New Horizon’ media event that happened last yesterday in Austin Texas. Here’s a look at the new details gleaned form that media event.
It was always pretty likely that AMD was not going to use Zen in its new processor series branding. Apart from anything else, it would be a pretty difficult name to copyright. We now know that the new consumer processor series will named Ryzen, a brand name clearly inspired by Zen, but way easier to claim legally. It also contains connotations of AMD making a come-back in the high-performance segment, and that they are literally risin’ to the occasion? Sure hope so.
As well as the new brand name we also have confirmation about what to expect from the forthcoming Ryzen processor series. The company has confirmed that the new headline processor (i.e. CPU not APU) will be an 8-core/16-thread design running at 3.4GHz or higher, with 4MB L2 and 16MB L3 caches. AMD also released some of the more technical elements that have gone into producing the new Ryzen platform. These include chipset features such as support for USB 3.1 Gen, NVMe SSDs, SATA-Express. However regarding the number of PCIe lanes we’re getting, the DDR4 performance of the IMC, overall power consumption and general IPC performance levels, we are still in the dark somewhat.
The ‘New Horizon’ event (which you can watch here) did feature a demo that showed two PCs side by side, both running Battlefield at Ultra High settings at 4K resolution using Nvidia Titan X Pascal cards. One machine used an Intel Core 6900K (a $1,000+ processor) while the other ran an 8-core Ryzen processor. Both systems ran the game at a steady 60-70 FPS, a general indication of what kind of performance we can expect from the new series.
Plenty of other more technical features were mentioned in the de-brief including AMD SenseMI which is all about switching power modes and includes five Stages; Pure Power, Precision Boost, Extended Frequency Range (XFR), Neural Net Prediction and Smart Prefetch.
Finally, AMD did confirm that Ryzen is due for a Q1 2017 launch, a fact that means they’re (mostly) on schedule. You can watch the ‘New Horizon’ launch video here. To learn more about the new technologies mentioned above, Ian Cutress has done a pretty good job of demystifying it all here on Anandtech.com. You can also find the official press release from AMD here.