AMD’s Zen looks more than promising
AMD has been lagging behind Intel for a decade now but in the past 1-2 years the situation of the second largest CPU manufacturer has become very serious – AMD has not had any new AM3+ processors in a long time, instead relying on its APUs to provide performance. Fortunately for AMD and its fans, the company is working on a new architecture called Zen that should appear by the end of the year.
New pieces of news have surfaced up over the weekend and they claim, once again, that Zen will be a remarkably powerful processor. There isn’t that much detailed information since Zen is still in AMD’s labs, covered in secrecy, but according to the leaks the new chip will offer instruction-per-clock (IPC) performance equal to that of Intel’s fifth generation Core Broadwell processor, which came out in the fall of year 2015. This by itself is a huge step for AMD, since AMD’s own Vishera-based FX processors offer the performance level of entry-level and some mid-range 2nd generation Intel Sandy Bridge processors. As you probably know Zen will appear in two forms – in APUs called Summit Ridge and in processors with no integrated GPUs that will likely be called AMD FX once again. Apparently Summit Ridge is almost done – again according to these leaks the chip currently works at 3.0 GHz and uses an A0 stepping but before the release of the new APU, AMD will move to at least A1 or A2 stepping (maybe even B0), which will offer even higher working frequencies of nearly or even over 4 GHz. Supposedly AMD’s 8-core Zen processors will work at around 3.8 GHz, while chips with fewer cores will run at 4.0 GHz or even higher. Given the expected Broadwell IPC performance Summit Ridge, and hence Zen, has every chance to become one very fast processor.
It appears that fall 2016 will be one very hot season in the PC processor industry but this is what we need after years of weak competition on the CPU market.