In recent reports it appears that we can expect the first of AMD’s “Zen” microarchitecture based CPUs and APUs to be released in 2016. These new processors will mark the first major desktop-market release for AMD since 2012 with the launch of the Piledriver based FX CPUs.
The news comes courtesy of a series of screenshots taken from an investor presentation, and details AMD’s 2015-2016 roadmap, as well as key specifications for the architecture.
As we can see from the above slide, the first Zen-based chips to be released will be the “Summit Ridge” CPUs; based on a 14nm manufacturing process and featuring up to 8 CPU cores, targeted at the enthusiast or “Performance” market. We’ll also see more mainstream marketed “Bristol Ridge” APUs which will feature up to 4 CPU cores, as well as AMD’s next-generation GCN Graphics Compute Units, complete with full HSA 1.0 support, AMD TrueAudio, and AMD Secure Processor.
What is more interesting is the fact that both the mainstream and enthusiast parts will use the new Socket FM3, which will replace both current generation FM2+ and AM3+ sockets. This move to unify both platforms could be much more platform flexibility, and a much wider upgrade path for early adopters.
From the image above we can see that AMD’s Zen architecture departs heavily from their current Bulldozer/Piledriver architecture. Whereas these current-generation architectures features a modular-design with ‘clusters’ consisting of two-cores, which share resources, the new architecture features clusters consisting of a single core, with its own 512KB L2 cache. These clusters are then put together in units of four, each unit featuring 8MB of L3 cache, These quad-core units can then be paired in order to form eight-core processors with a total of 20MB of cache.
Each unit will also feature a dual-channel memory controller which should support both DDR3 and DDR4, as well as a PCI-Express 3.0 controller with a total of 22 lanes.
With this news, it seems that both “Summit Ridge”, and “Bristol Ridge” will likely be more competitive with Intel’s upcoming Skylake processors, then their Broadwell-E HEDT platform. Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure until they’re released.