You might have heard that Samsung will be ramping up orders from third parties and doubling as a contractual semiconductor manufacturer from now on. As most of you would be aware, the world's biggest contractual semiconductor company is TSMC, but lately it has been prioritizing Apple a bit too much. The result is its customers creating demand for an alternative source and Samsung looking to break of a chunk of the delicious almost-monopoly. And this is where today's op-ed comes in; there have been rumors floating around that AMD's Next Generation Zen Architecture will be fabricated by Samsung, and while there is no substantive proof anywhere, it is certainly very probable.
AMD's Next Generation x86 Zen Processor will probably be manufactured via Samsung's 14nm FinFET Process
Samsung's 14nm Bobba-Fet, eh, FinFET has been making a lot of noise lately, with the company aggressively trying to poach customers from TSMC. It is with this context that one of the most important question arises: could AMD's next generation x86 Zen Architecture be based on Samsung's node? I have to admit, the thought is very, very intriguing. Hypothetically speaking if AMD were to use Samsung's node, and if (that is an insanely huge if) Samsung could deliver, then it just might be able to enter the CPU scene against Intel once more, giving the world the competition it deserves.
A little recap on Zen might be in order I think. No matter which way you put it, Bulldozer was somewhat of a disappointment. Various reasons explaining away the problem exist; ranging from bad architecture design to the choice of CMT over SMT to harsh accusations of lack of R&D. Whatever the case actually is, Intel has had a free run for far too long, and if there is one thing that is bad for the consumers, it is a monopoly. AMD's Next Generation Zen architecture is x86 sibling of K12 and vows to give AMD its say back in the compute sector.
We first heard confirmation about Zen at the Deustche Bank 2014 Technology Conference, where Rory Red confirmed that the core was in fact an x86 variant and not an ARM one. Rory also admitted that Bulldozer wasn't the game changer they had thought it to be, but Zen is poised to change all that. Some of you might recall a piece I did a few months back which stated that AMD would be moving back to the traditional SMT based approach in Multi Threading; well, Zen seems to be it. Personally, I can't wait to see AMD back in the game (CPU-side) because Zen is looking very nice indeed.
— Usman Pirzada (@usmanpirzada) October 4, 2014