AMD Zen Architecture Release Schedule Revealed – Will be Rolled to Server Market First


Hi there, this is our third iteration of our series of talks with an Industry Insider (who had significant knowledge of AMD's workings). As we have already mentioned in the previous two pieces, the information revealed is correct at the point of revelation - however, do keep in mind that there is nothing stopping AMD to change roadmaps, as they have already done so many times in the past.

AMD Zen Summit RidgeNot an official logo. @AMD

AMD's high performance Zen architecture coming in 2016 will be released to server market first

Our source didn't go into much detail about Zen, but from what we learned Zen will be AMD's focus for the duration of 2016. This is good news, because it means that AMD is finally paying attention to the compute of things and could make a comeback with Zen as its high performance architecture. Even more interestingly, Zen might feature something that debuts with Skylake, something I will talk about later in another (and last) piece. The focus of this piece is however Zen's release schedule. Turns out AMD will be releasing Zen for the server side first, then workstations and then HEDT (or mainstream market in other words). This is a slightly different approach from tradition and it looks like AMD is gearing to take back some of the market share that Intel currently rules supreme in. 2016 is shaping up to be a very very interesting year for the Silicon industry.

Here is what we already know about Zen, through previous leaks (read: grain of salt): It will be part of the Summit Ridge series and will contain up to 8 x86 cores (based on the AMD Zen architecture). On power side, while AMD’s FX series currently pushes the TDP to 95W on APUs, 125W on FX series and 220W on the 5 GHz series, the Zen based processors will feature a maximum TDP of 95W which is inline with Intel’s 22nm Haswell offerings. There will also be more power efficient variants toning the TDP down to more conservative levels as Zen will be featured across the board and is likely to be as scalable as Broadwell architecture which has seen 4.5W TDP variants in the form of Broadwell-Y.

On the main architectural side of things, AMD Zen cores will take the best from Bulldozer and Jaguar, delivering a SMT (Simultaneous Multithreaded) design that takes advantage of the various resources in the core and dedicate it to an additional execution thread for added throughput. Now here is the thing, remember what I said about Intel bringing something new with Skylake? well our source speculates that AMD might actually introduce the same new feature with Zen, finally offering Intel proper competition. For more details, stay tuned for our next piece.