It appears that AMD will be sticking with an 8-core dies as far as the fabrication of Zen processors in the Summit Ridge platform is concerned. The mainstream desktop platform is expected to feature 8-core and 6-core variants with SMT and will not, initially, have any quad core or dual core options.
I really hope that Microsoft releases support patches for it for Windows 7 and 8.1 (note how they have been silent in confirming this, unlike their stance on Intel chips...). though one part of the article does make me think it will:
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.
So, fingers crossed, the 80% or so of the market not using Windows 10 will not be locked out of the full performance ability of Zen.
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John Taylor, the Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at AMD, addressed a group of journalists in Australia yesterday. In his address, he remarked that AMD’s upcoming 14nm CPUs, based on their all-new Zen microarchitecture, would compete favorably with Intel on “performance, power and specifications – not just price”.
He also stated that, for the first time since he’d joined AMD in 2006 that he “…can say with absolute confidence that AMD has the products and strategies to change any negative perceptions customers may have had.”
Still it depends on Microsoft not withholding support from Windows 7 and 8.1. I haven't seen anything definitive, and if they do withhold it then AMD's market will be severely gimped.
John Taylor, Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at AMD, needs to release a statement concerning this quickly. With Intel Skylake known to be supported, AMD needs to make it known they will not be limited to much less than 15% of the market, especially as Socket AM4 will require all new core hardware (motherboard, CPU, RAM), and Windows 10 market share to grind to a to snail's pace once July 29th passes and it costs $120.