AMD’s 2016 Roadmap Leaked – Zen & K12 14nm CPUs & APUs Coming
AMD's roadmap for 2016 has been leaked, featuring desktop and mobile products based on the new high performance Zen and K12 cores. As well as APUs that feature AMD's upcoming "next generation" graphics core next architecture. Likely referring to what we have come to know by now as the Arctic Islands graphics architecture featuring 14nm and the second generation of the HBM stacked memory standard.
Two months ago we published an exclusive article detailing the future technologies that AMD will be discussing in its 2016 roadmap unveiling on May 6th at the Financial Analyst Day event. Including its upcoming Zen, K12 and next generation graphics cores. And as we approach this upcoming event in May, we've been bearing witness to a new flood of leaks that have come out to shed light on what's to come.
Two days ago the CPU block diagram for AMD's upcoming high performance x86 CPU code named Zen was leaked. It gave us a rough idea of what to expect from Zen compared to AMD's previous Bulldozer family of cores. And what we saw from the high level layout was quite promising.
Yesterday another leak surfaced, one that detailed how each Zen core would share L3 cache with three other CPU cores arranged in a group of four. This is to form what's described as a quad core Zen unit.
AMD 2016 Roadmap Leaked - Zen And K12 Based 14nm CPU And APU Products Inbound
However in today's leak we get to look at how AMD will be its future cores, the "crown jewels" as AMD likes to calls them, to make a myriad of high performance and low power CPUs and APUs.
[May 8th 2015] UPDATE : Roadmaps below were proven to be fake. They're quite close to the real thing but are false none the less. You can find AMD's official roadmap here.
So let's take a look at the 2015-2016 desktop roadmap.
In 2015 the performance segment will see a continuation of the Vishera FX series which are based on the Piledriver CPU core. In the mainstream segment we're looking at a Kaveri refresh dubbed Godavari. This refresh represents what Richland was to Trinity. The same piece of silicon design but with an optimized manufacturing process and higher clock speeds. In the low power segment we see that the AM1 socket will also get an update from current Kabini APUs to Beema APUs featuring Puma+ cores and higher clock speeds.
However what's really exciting is what lies ahead in 2016. As AMD plans to update the entire product range with its brand new Zen CPU core and its next generation Arctic Islands graphics architecture.
In the performance segment we see AMD finally introducing a successor to the Piledriver based Vishera high performance chips.
Code named "Summit Ridge" this product family will feature eight core CPUs with DDR4 support, an entirely new chipset and a new FM3 socket. An eight core Zen based CPU should be considerably faster than a current eight core FX CPU. In fact according to the Zen block diagram, each Zen core should be comparable to a dual core Excavator module in total throughput but significantly faster in single threaded performance. So an 8 core Zen CPU will be more in the league of AMD's current 16 core Opteron CPUs. But because Zen packs a comparable amount of performance in half the number of cores, the single threaded / per core performance will be significantly up compared to the previous generation.
What's even more interesting is that these high end Summit Ridge CPU only parts will share the same FM3 socket with their APU siblings. So users can have a seamless continuum of product options on a single platform. This is in contrast to how the market is segregated today between the FM2+ and AM3+ sockets on the AMD side and the LGA 1150 and LGA 2011-3 on the Intel side. Having both APUs and high performance CPUs share the same socket will not only reduce the cost of developing motherboards and thus make them more affordable. It also enables the motherboard makers to be a lot more flexible with their designs. Allowing them to deliver a greater variety of motherboards to end-users to choose from.
This brings us to "Bristol Ridge" which is a family of APUs featuring up to four Zen CPU cores, DDR4 memory support and a next generation GCN graphics architecture. Again on the same FM3 socket as Summit Ridge. If the evidence we've so far holds then this should also be the first APU to feature stacked HBM. HBM will be necessary to keep future integrated GPUs sufficiently bandwidth fed. Which would allow integrated GPUs to significantly scale up in performance and match their discrete GPU counterparts. For example even though the A10 7850K features 512 stream processors, the same amount found in the HD 7750 / R7 250X, it's still noticeably slower. Primarily due to lack of memory bandwidth, an issue that HBM is set to address.
However as Bristol Ridge APUs are SOCs, i.e. they feature an integrated southbridge it is inevitable that we will see AMD introduce different chipset tiers to cater for the enthusiast and mainstream segments. Similar to how today we have the 990FX, 990X and 970 chipsets on the AM3+ socket. And a similar scheme on the FM2+ socket with A88X, A78, A68 and A58.
Also because Bristol Ridge APUs have an integrated southbirdge they can boast area and power savings in the mobile segment. Due to not requiring a dedicated southrbidge chipset at all. It should be noted that Carrizo will be the first product to feature an integrated southbridge in the same die. So Bristol Ridge merely keeps the ball rolling in 2016.
Finally in the low power segment AMD will introduce the "Basilisk" APU which is just a miniature version of Bristol Ridge. Featuring up to 2 Zen cores and a smaller integrated GPU all inside a lower power envelope.
Moving on to the mobility roadmap, we see both Bristol Ridge and Basilisk APUs making a reappearance thanks to their highly integrated SOC design. However we also get a glimpse into AMD's first ARM consumer SOC. Code named Amur, this APU will launch later this year. Featuring four ARM A57 CPU cores, an integrated GCN GPU and a security processor all inside a frugal 2W SDP.
It's quite interesting to see that AMD managed to get its GCN graphics architecture inside such a small power envelope. This is perhaps an indication of what we may see on the GPU front from the company in the future. Succeeding Amur will be "Styx" the first consumer product to feature AMD's custom ARM core code named K12. It's also interesting to note that all of AMD's upcoming APUs in 2016 will be fully HSA 1.0 compliant. 2016 is shaping up to be a very busy and exciting year for PC hardware.