AMD: Back in the Game

For some time now, AMD was out of the proper CPU market, but now they finally announced their return and oh boy, they are doing it right. In this post I will walk you through the news that were floating around in the days that have passed.

AMD are making their comeback in 2016, which is a safe bet in terms of DDR4 memory, as until then, the prices should come down a fair bit and DDR4 will not a be an exotic upgrade as it is now. The architecture promises a lot of performance gains over their last generation. This is expected as the Piledriver architecture will be 4 years old by the time Zen architecture will be released.

As you might figure out, the codename for the architecture will be Zen. It will be based off a 14nm manufacturing process that hopefully will bring the power consumption below the 95W mark. With Bulldozer and Piledriver, AMD opted for a so-called cluster multi-threading, that was replicating what Intel done with the Hyper-Threading, but at a physical level that unfortunately made the power consumption hit the 125W mark on the Flagship SKUs. This time around they are opting for simultaneous multithreading, which is the same as Intel`s Hyper Threading. This will hopefully reduce the die size and even more important, the power consumption

What AMD is really proud about is the use of FinFET technology which means that the die size will be three time smaller than a normal manufactured die. This is achieved by a three level stack of gates, that making the whole package operating at almost 30% more speed than a normal one, will reduce the static current leakage by up to 90%, the voltage will be a lot lower and therefore the Power consumption will be lower as well. The most important feature is the possibility to pass through the 20nm barrier previously thought as an end point in the die-shrink process.

Onto the black part of the story now. AMD stated that they will be moving to the 14nm process only when it will make financially sense to do so. That means that we are unlikely to see this architecture before Q3 of 2016. This is mostly due to GlobalFoundries` decision to move from its own 14nm-XM process to Samsung`s 14nm designs.

Let`s hope that the Zen architecture will live up to the hype and it will be a new start for AMD, and who knows, maybe we will see them back in the top as they used to be back in the day.

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