AMD Zen 3 Launching in 2H 2020, Zen 4 & Zen 5 CPU Cores in Development by Two Leapfrogging Teams

AMD has officially revealed that the company is currently developing the Zen 5 CPU core microarchitecture to succeed Zen 4 after 2022. Both the Zen 5 and Zen 4 core designs are being developed by two separate leapfrogging design teams, CTO Mark Papermaster confirmed.

This is the first official acknowledgement of 'Zen 5' as a distinct core architecture and would officially make the Zen architecture, fathered by legendary CPU architect Jim Keller, one of the longest living x86 CPU architectures by AMD.

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By comparison, the company's previous Bulldozer architecture only saw 4 iterations before it reached end-of-life. Zen on the other hand is already 3 generations in -- if we count 2nd generation Ryzen based on the Zen+ core -- and is expected to continue to be at the foundation of the company's computing roadmap for at least 4 more years.

AMD Zen 3 Landing in 2020, Zen 4 by 2022, Zen 5 post 2022

The Ryzen 4000 series and the Milan server family based on the company's next generation Zen 3 core architecture is scheduled to land by the second half of next year. Zen 3 taped out earlier this year on TSMC's 7nm+ manufacturing process and will go into production next year ahead of its expected 2H 2020 market roll-out.

Zen 3 products are expected to remain socket compatible with all of AMD's current Zen products, which means if you already have any Ryzen system you will most likely be set for a drop-in CPU upgrade next year with a simple BIOS update.

Zen 4 isn't expected to arrive until 2022, which means that we could see a generation of Ryzen products based on Zen 3+ arrive in 2021 as a stop-gap before Zen 4. It isn't clear yet what process node Zen 4 is going to be based on, but there are some indications that it will in fact be built on TSMC's upcoming leading edge 5nm process node.

Alongside Zen 4 AMD is also expected to introduce a new platform, which very likely means a new socket on the desktop. Although, frankly speaking, after 2 process nodes and four generations of products this shouldn't really surprise anyone. Meanwhile, the company has a second design team working on Zen 5 to succeed Zen 4 after 2022.

As Moore's Law continues to slow down it's reasonable to expect AMD to introduce at least two product generations based on the Zen 4 core and an additional couple of product generations based on Zen 5. Which could see us still talking about and using forms of the Zen architecture well into the middle of the next decade. A testament to the strength of the foundation of the Zen microarchitecture.

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AMD Ryzen Desktop Generations

Family Name1st Gen
2nd Gen
3rd Gen
4th Gen
CPU ArchitectureZen 1Zen+Zen 2Zen 3Zen 4
Process Node14nm12nm7nm7nm+TBA
Max CPU Cores8816TBATBA
Max CPU Threads161632TBATBA
PCIe SupportPCIe Gen 3.0PCIe Gen 3.0PCIe Gen 4.0PCIe Gen 4.0TBA
Max L2 Cache8 MB8 MB16 MBTBATBA
Max L3 Cache32 MB32 MB64 MBTBATBA
How far in the future do you think AMD is going to continue to introduce new interations of Zen?


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