AMD Zen 3 CPU Support Added To Linux Kernel As We Get Closer To Official Announcement

Hassan Mujtaba

It looks like we are getting more closer to the launch of AMD's Zen 3 CPUs as microcode for the upcoming lineup has been added to the Linux Kernel, as spotted by Komachi. The AMD Zen 3 line of processors are aimed to hit in the coming quarters and it looks like they are going to be a bigger upgrade than we have anticipated as many leaks and official representatives have stated.

AMD Zen 3 CPU Architecture Microcode Added To Linux Kernel As We Get Closer To Launch of Next-Gen Ryzen, EPYC Families

The latest code adds EDAC (Error Detection and Correction) support for AMD's Family 19h which refers to the Zen 3 architecture while the Zen 2 architecture was referred to as the Family 17h. It also states that the existing Family 17h functions can be used for Family 19h, while also allowing family 19h to automatically load the module. The full kernel code can be seen here and here. The timing of this code's appearance is particularly interesting as AMD hasn't yet officially announced any new detail at any major event with CES 2020 being the last where we were expecting to hear more about Zen 3 architecture or the respective products.

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However, this means that in the upcoming months, AMD is definitely bringing us more news as also stated by AMD's CEO, Dr. Lisa Su, in the 'The Bring Up' interview where she states that Zen 3 architecture is doing really well, they are excited about it and that she looks forward to talking more about it later in 2020.

Now there is a plentiful of events where AMD can announce and give us more information on Zen 3 with GDC closing up in March, Computex and E3 in June. However, major tech companies may withhold their Computex conferences if the Coronavirus outbreak doesn't get contained which means the announcement would have to move to a different venue and in the case, E3 sounds like the best bet.

AMD has so far confirmed themselves that Zen 3 brings a brand new CPU architecture which helps deliver significant IPC gains, faster clocks and even higher core counts than before. Based on brand new TSMC's 7nm+ process node which utilizes EUV technology, the AMD Zen 3 processors would deliver higher efficiency and deliver more compute output with similar or less energy consumption.

When asked about what kind of performance gain Milan's CPU core microarchitecture, which is known as Zen 3, will deliver relative to the Zen 2 microarchitecture that Rome relies on in terms of instructions processed per CPU clock cycle (IPC), Norrod observed that -- unlike Zen 2, which was more of an evolution of the Zen microarchitecture that powers first-gen Epyc CPUs -- Zen 3 will be based on a completely new architecture.

Norrod did qualify his remarks by pointing out that Zen 2 delivered a bigger IPC gain than what's normal for an evolutionary upgrade -- AMD has said it's about 15% on average -- since it implemented some ideas that AMD originally had for Zen but had to leave on the cutting board. However, he also asserted that Zen 3 will deliver performance gains "right in line with what you would expect from an entirely new architecture."

- The Street

Now according to TSMC themselves, the 7nm+ process node allows an increase of 20% in overall transistor density while increasing power efficiency by 10%. AMD could take full advantage of the process node and we could see a density boost of up to 20% in the Zen 3 architecture while having 10% better power efficiency.  Some of the details we know for EPYC Milan CPUs include:

  • 7nm+ Zen 3 cores (~64 core / 128 thread)
  • Pin Compatible With SP3 Socket
  • 120W-225W TDP SKUs
  • PCIe 4.0 Support
  • DDR4 Memory Support
  • Launch in 2020

AMD CPU Roadmap (2017-2022)

ArchitectureZen (4) / Zen (5)Zen (4) / Zen (4C)Zen (4) / Zen 3 (+)Zen (3) / Zen 3 (+)Zen (3) / Zen 2Zen (2) / Zen+Zen (1) / Zen+Zen (1)
Process Node5nm / 3nm?5nm5nm / 6nm7nm7nm7nm14nm / 12nm14nm
ServerEPYC TurinEPYC BergamoEPYC 'Genoa'EPYC 'Milan'EPYC 'Rome'EPYC 'Rome'EPYC 'Naples'EPYC 'Naples'
Max Server Cores / Threads256/512128/25696/19264/12864/12864/12832/6432/64
High End DesktopRyzen Threadripper 8000 SeriesRyzen Threadripper 7000 SeriesRyzen Threadripper 6000 Series (TBD)Ryzen Threadripper 5000 Series (Chagall)Ryzen Threadripper 3000 Series (Castle Peak)Ryzen Threadripper 3000 Series (Castle Peak)Ryzen Threadripper 2000 Series (Coflax)Ryzen Threadripper 1000 Series (White Haven)
Ryzen FamilyRyzen 8000 SeriesRyzen 7000 SeriesRyzen 6000 SeriesRyzen 5000 SeriesRyzen 4000/5000 SeriesRyzen 3000 SeriesRyzen 2000 SeriesRyzen 1000 Series
Max HEDT Cores / ThreadsTBDTBDTBD64/12864/12864/12832/6416/32
Mainstream DesktopRyzen 8000 Series (Granite Ridge)TBDRyzen 7000 Series (Raphael)Ryzen 5000 Series (Vermeer-X)Ryzen 5000 Series (Vermeer)Ryzen 3000 Series (Matisse)Ryzen 2000 Series (Pinnacle Ridge)Ryzen 1000 Series (Summit Ridge)
Max Mainstream Cores / ThreadsTBDTBD16/3216/3216/3216/328/168/16
Budget APURyzen 8000 (Strix Point Zen 5)Ryzen 7000 Series (Phoenix Zen 4)Ryzen 6000 Series (Rembrandt Zen 3+)Ryzen 5000 Series (Cezanne Zen 3)Ryzen 4000 Series (Renoir Zen 2)Ryzen 3000 Series (Picasso Zen+)Ryzen 2000 Series (Raven Ridge)N/A

Some rumors have even pointed to a 17% increase in IPC and a 50% increase in Zen 3's floating-point operations along with a major cache redesign which is something that Intel is also following with its Willow Cove cores that are to be featured in the 10nm+ Tiger Lake CPUs. Overall, we can expect some great stuff coming in from AMD in the next couple of months but if you're looking for a new CPU today, then there are some sweet deals going on the existing 3rd Gen Ryzen family which you can see here.

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