The upcoming AMD Ryzen CPUs are likely due for a February release and represent the first flush of the red team’s Zen processor architecture. They’re also the first all-new CPUs AMD have released in many a year and, if the early benchmarks and demos are to be believed, could well deliver genuine competition to Intel’s gaming CPU dominance.
AMD have given us some tantalising glimpses at the Zen architecture powering the first AMD Ryzen CPUs, first at the Hot Chips symposium and then their own New Horizon event late last year. But do you know your branch prediction from your retire queue? Your FP register file from your integer physical register file? Nope, us neither, but here's what the new AMD Zen architecture will mean for their next generation of processor and potentially for your next gaming PC.
In short, the AMD Zen CPU architecture represents the best chance for the red team to close the gap on Intel, offering PC gamers a genuine performance processor alternative for our desktop rigs.
AMD have then gone back to the drawing board for their new x86 AMD processor architecture with Zen offering the promise of clawing back performance, and potentially market share, from their big blue Intel rivals. This time though their new CPU design represents more of a balancing act; nailing improved single-core throughput for existing game engines as well as catering to the multi-threaded approach newer graphics APIs, like DirectX 12 and Vulkan, are finally offering.
he main goal for the upcoming AMD Zen CPUs is to offer a credible alternative to the Intel hegemony existing around high-end processors right now, and they absolutely have to be priced accordingly.
Early estimates suggest the Zen architecture will compete with - but probably won't perform faster than - Intel’s current Skylake range of processors when it comes to single-threaded performance. That leads me to believe AMD will continue to price their Zen FX chips lower than the core-comparable Intel parts.
Current rumours have the Zen processors arriving in three distinct tiers - SR 7, SR 5 and SR 3 - following Intel's Core i7, i5, i3 structure. The top SR (Summit Ridge, innit?) tier will be the eight-core, 16-thread CPUs.