AMD Confirms: All Upcoming x86 Platforms, Including Zen Processors and Bristol Ridge APUs, Will Use The AM4 Socket

Jan 9, 2016

In the past AMD’s wider range of offerings from CPUs to APUs were usually catered-to by different sockets. This could easily get confusing – and cumbersome – for customers of the company with more than one processor type. However, as we have been reporting from almost a year now – AMD’s future offerings, including Zen, Bristol Ridge and Summit Ridge will utilize the AM4 platform. This is something that AMD has officially confirmed via James Prior’s talk to PC World.

Future AMD CPUs and APUs will use the AM4 Socket

The slide below shows the socket evolution of AMD’s processor family. Last generation had the AM3+ socket for the FX processors, FM2+ socket for APUs and AM1 for Kabini. The next generation of AMD CPUs and APUs however will finally be available on one single socket: the AM4. This is something that will really convenience enthusiasts in the future allowing the use of all kinds of AMD chips on the same motherboard. The flexibility that this kind of architecture offers will be a welcome relief from the mish-mash socket structrue of the past.

Zen promises to deliver 40% IPC gains and will shift from CMT approach to SMT among other things. That’s not it either, Zen will be using a scheduling model that is similar to Intel’s and it will use specific hardware and simulation to define any needed scheduling or NUMA changes. It will also be ISA compatible with Haswell/Broadwell style of compute. It will bring various compiler optimisations, including GCC with target of SPECint v6 based score at common compiler settings. Benchmarking and performance compiler LLVM targets SPECint v6 rate score at performance compiler settings. Each Zen core will have access to 512KB of L2 cache and 4 Zen cores will share 8MB of L3 cache. The time frame given by AMD regarding the arrival of the brand new micro-architecture is Q4 2016.

AMD Desktop Platform Evolution AM4A slide from AMD showing the evolution of their socket portfolio.

The slide shows the Summit Ridge and Bristol Ridge Platform being the next step in AMD’s evolution. The Summit Ridge platform is the mainstream desktop processors from AMD that will utilize the x86 Zen micro-architecture. The process will be 14nm FinFET (according to footnotes in AMD’s older slides) and will be based on the Promontory Chipset. The TDP is stated to be around 95W – although this remains to be seen. The processor will scale upto 8 cores and will be fully compatible with DDR4 memory. The socket, is ofcourse the AM4.

Similarly, the AMD Bristol Ridge platform is the APU platform that is coming soon. This platform will not however utilize the Zen uarch and instead use Excavator. The APUs will be fabricated on the 28nm process and will have a maximum of 4 CPU cores and “Next-Gen GCN” based GPU cores. They are going to come in both AM4 and FP4 packaging and will support both DDR3 and DDR4 (depending on the chip). The TDP is once again thought to be around 95W and the socket AM4. Bristol Ridge should be succeeded by Raven Ridge later on, which will be the APU family to feature Zen based z86 cores, Raven Ridge will be on the same node as Summit Ridge. AMD AM4 motherboards are rumored to launch by Q2 2016.

WCCFTech AMD Summit Ridge AMD Bristol Ridge AMD FX "8000 Series" AMD A-Series "7000/8000-Series"
Product Segment Performance Desktop Processors "FX" Mainstream Desktop and Mobility APU Performance Desktop Processors "FX" Mainstream Processors "Kaveri/Godavari"
Product Architecture x86 Zen x86 Excavator x86 Bulldozer/Piledriver x86 Steamroller
Process Node 14nm 28nm 32nm 28nm
Max CPU Cores 8 4 8 4
GPU Architecture None GCN 3.0 None Sea Islands GCN
TDP 95W 95W 125-220W 95W
Socket AM4 AM4/FP4 AM3+ FM2+
South Bridge Promontory Promontory/SOC SB950 A78/A88X
North Bridge On-die On-die 990FX Board
Memory Support DDR4 DDR3/DDR4 DDR3 DDR3
Launch Q4 2016 2H 2016 2011-2016 2013-2016