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AMD - Road To ZEN First Information | Black Hole Tec

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AMD - Road To ZEN First Information

Submitted by Robbie Pyckhout on Fri, 08/19/2016 - 12:10

AMD lay low on the high-performance CPU market for a full 2 years now. In these two years, they've been working on a entirely new CPU architecture from the ground up. The new high-performance x86 core design supports a Simultaneous Multithreading architecture or SMT for high throughput. This quite a bit different from the currently used architecture in FX CPUs and recent APUs which use a Clustered Multithreading architecture. From what we already knew, the new CPU architecture is focused on an Energy-efficient FinFET design used in client to enterprise-class products. ZEN features a new high-bandwidth, low latency cach system and should be able to deliver 40% improvement in instructions per clock cycle over the latest generation cores (Excavator). 

ZEN for desktop will carry the codename "Summit Ridge" whereas the Server-edition will go through life as "Naples". While 8-core, 16thread Summit Ridge CPUs will be able for consumers early 2017, priority server customer sampling has already begon in Q2 2016 and are now up and running at both AMD's labs and the customers' labs.


The Road to “Zen”:

Four years ago, AMD embarked on a journey that happens rarely in the semiconductor industry when we took a clean sheet approach to develop a ground-up design for our next high-performance CPU engine. Since then, hundreds of skilled AMD engineers around the world have devoted millions of hours of labor to the precise, intricate work required to build an x86 compute core. Thanks to their collective teamwork, perseverance and vision, we expect “Zen” to deliver the most stunning increase in generational performance in the company’s history. Beginning early next year with desktop processors, AMD will launch a line-up of “Zen”-based products that will span from server, networking and storage solutions in the datacenter, to client desktops and notebooks, and beyond.


On a private event in San Fransisco on the 18th of August, AMD's CEO Dr. Lisa Su and CTO Mark Papermaster delivered architectural updates and new demonstrations about the opcoming "Zen"-core.

New information and demo's given on this press conference were:

Three key areas

  • Performance of the engine itself with completely new branch prediction, introduction of a micro-op cache and a much wider instruction window;
  • Throughput, to keep that high-performance engine fed with data and instructions out of memory through pre-fetching and a completely new cache memory hierarchy with 8 MB of L3 cache; and finally,
  • Efficiency — having performance and throughput without increasing power, by leveraging a 14nm FinFET process and a wealth of power saving design techniques in the architecture.


  •         First-ever “Zen” performance demo: “Summit Ridge” vs. Intel “Broadwell-E”
  •         First look at “Naples” – the “Zen”-based 32 core, 64 thread server product
  •         “Summit Ridge”-powered 4K gaming 
  •         Workstation powered by “Summit Ridge” & Radeon Pro Duo
  •         Oculus VR powered by “Summit Ridge” & Radeon RX 480


You can download the powerpoint of the conference in the file below the article.

In a demo using blender, the 16threaded Summit Ridge CPU manages to beat the i7 6900K to the touch (clocked at the same speed)


For more info on the Zen architecture, go the the AMD website:



About the Author

Keeping up with new inventions and technological improvements is kinda my thing. Writing about technology is just a result of my fascination with it. I hope to provide readers with as much news as possible, everyday.
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