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AMD launches Zen 2 for the datacenter: world's first x86 CPU built on 7nm

By LemmingOverlrd · 27 replies
Nov 6, 2018
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  1. AMD has announced the launch of its latest chip design, Zen 2, introducing the first x86 7nm CPU to the market, and detailing its many architectural improvements.

    At today's AMD Next Horizon event, AMD presented its first 7nm server CPU based on its new Zen 2 architecture. 'Rome', as this iteration of Epyc is known, is the follow-up to 'Naples' and effectively doubles-up on a number of core features of its predecessor, it is also happens to be drop-in compatible with 'Naples' which will bring added savings to the first-gen adopters.

    It's a 64-core / 128-thread design, PCIe 4.0-supporting behemoth, delivering a claimed 4x FPU performance increase per socket. The 7nm process, developed in tight partnership with TSMC, is set to also deliver gains in other metrics: twice the transistor density, half the power consumption (for the same performance) and 25% more performance (at the same power envelope). Of course these are either/or situations, AMD will be able to deliver added performance for the same power or massive power savings for identical (Naples-like) performance.

    Apart from this, Zen 2 brings along architectural improvements throughout; all contributing to the performance gains: a more advanced branch predictor, security enhancements to stave off Spectre-like vulnerabilities, improved execution pipeline, better instruction pre-fetching and larger Ops cache (to name a few).

    But there's more. Zen 2 is a departure from the monolithic CPUs that, while bringing the aforementioned density, power, and core configuration gains, also introduces a design concept which both AMD and Intel have been gushing about for a few years now: a modular CPU built on an interconnect (Infinity Fabric) linking multiple CPU chiplets (in this case, the CCX).

    Below you can see Zen (on the left) and Zen 2 (on the right):

    In Zen 2, each 7nm chiplet contains 8 physical cores and sits on a second gen Infinity Fabric interconnect (built on a 14nm process), connecting the CCX clusters. This enables AMD to add increased flexibility to the CPU designs and, eventually, roll out lower-ranking SKUs such as a next-gen Threadripper and Ryzen 3xxx series CPUs. It also means that AMD found the semiconductor manufacturing Holy Grail, as it can keep costs way down by producing small area (high yield) 7nm dies, and connect them via the 14nm-built infinity fabric. It will essentially punch out multiple CPU SKUs from a single package setup (altough, this is arguably overkill for desktop Zen 2).

    Sticking to the plan seems to be working wonders at AMD. The company launched Zen in 2017, improved it with Zen+ this year, and is now following through with its next design, the Zen 2.

    The long-term planning, which Lisa Su frequently highlighted, allowed it to outmaneuver Intel in the datacenter as it reliably delivered on promises and now allows it to steal the thunder from Intel's 10nm server design, 'Ice Lake'. Zen 2 is here, Ice Lake is still a year away. Intel has been failing to deliver on its promises. AMD has not.

    According to AMD, partners are queuing to sign up for 'Rome' right now, and that is bad news for Intel.

    AMD has been on a roll ever since the initial Zen launch, taking back market share, shoring up industry partners and restoring consumer faith. Maybe one of the most disregarded facts is that AMD has outlined a multi-year plan which it is following (thus far) to a fault, rekindling the long-lost competition in the x86 CPU arena.

    There was no word on desktop CPUs (I.e. Castle Peak), but the news so far bodes well for the AMD camp.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. m3tavision

    m3tavision TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +40

    This is going top be some exciting stuff for the end-users...
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  3. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 332   +155

    "Something to look forward to: The new Zen 2 CPU design promises to deliver performance and security improvements throughout, as well lower power consumption and more flexible CPU setups thanks to its innovative chiplet design."


    as well "as" lower power consumption. you literally ****ed up the first sentence dawg. ya fired.
     
    LemmingOverlrd, Reehahs and jaryn211 like this.
  4. Xallisto

    Xallisto TS Rookie

    Nice one AMD keep it up, Intel resting on its laurels for the last 15 years has done absolutely nobody any favours.
     
    UaPro, Reehahs and Charles Olson like this.
  5. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 481   +574

    25% more performance at the same power envelope.

    This is the key figure here for their CPUs. This slide was shown a few times, and clearly was not just about the Epyc processors. This was about the 7nm TSMC process gains in general.

    That was roughly what I expected from Zen 2 consumer parts. Better IPC, better clocks, combined working out somewhere 25 percent faster. Imagine a 2700x, same TDP and thermals, but 25 percent faster. That would without any doubt threaten Intels' best available desktop processors and there would be no viable response until Intel fix their 10nm process.

    It's the first strong sign of the potential disruption that the next gen Ryzen parts are going to deliver in 2019.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
  6. ZackL04

    ZackL04 TS Maniac Posts: 399   +201

    I could see Zen 2 being kinda expensive, and rightfully so
     
    Sausagemeat and TempleOrion like this.
  7. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 359   +169

    Is there anyone left doubting just how much of a Skull-crushing-fest Zen 2 is about to give Intel?

    Zen 1 managed to just barely beat Intel overall in 2017, and Zen+ secured victory as the best x86 architecture in 2018. Now here comes Zen 2, and it is an almost entirely new architecture. The generation-over-generation performance uplift should be closer to Zen 1 vs Excavator than Zen+ vs Zen 1.
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  8. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,001   +1,478

    This is a switch - AMD delivering on their promises and sIntel not! :)
     
    Charles Olson likes this.
  9. Maxiking

    Maxiking TS Rookie

    Zen+ didn't secure any victory, Zen1 was significantly slower than Intel clock to clock and consumed way more power, Zen+ still slower than Intel clock to clock and consuming more power.

    Excavator and the whole Bulldozer derivatives were simply terrible, they couldn't match Intel even in multithreading whilst having 2x the cores. Nothing big like that jump is going to happen, AMD is limited by their interconnect and slow shared cache design so unless they change it, no big jumps in IPC.
     
    Sausagemeat likes this.
  10. Maxiking

    Maxiking TS Rookie

    Those are just marketing claims, there were 30 - 40% jumps on Intel side per a generation and did mean nothing in RL usage. It just means it will consume up to 25% less power while offering same performance.
     
    Reehahs likes this.
  11. ShObiT

    ShObiT TS Addict Posts: 93   +108

    Oh Oh haters incoming so fast!
     
  12. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 481   +574

    They aren't marketing claims. They are engineering claims. Well documented and fully expected ballpark performance gains on this new process. The slide is what it says, 25 percent more performance for the same TDP. It's in plain language.

    If you think Intel have gained 30-40 percent per generation (even on a new process) then I suggest you review the past 5 years. It's not been above 10 percent between any of the last 5 iterations, usually considerably less.

    A 25 percent performance gain for Zen 2 over Zen+ is entirely probable. Leaks already suggested 13 percent IPC, and the rest could comfortably be made up with improved clock speeds at 7nm. If 2700x can do about 4.1GHz, are you saying that it's impossible Zen 2 could hit 4.5GHz and above? I would say that's virtually a given at this point for the higher binned parts.

    This is not marketing. This is realistic. Come to peace with it.
     
    ShObiT, Lionvibez, Reehahs and 2 others like this.
  13. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,276   +786

    The problem with comments like yours, is you say 25% improvement, but improvement where?
    You can't possibly think it's 25% everywhere.
    AMD has used the words "up to" so many times throughout the years, I'm surprised people are still ignoring the past.

    If AMD is the clear winner this time around, I'll buy an AMD CPU, but I'm not going to watch my mouth until that actually happens. Officially.
     
    Sausagemeat likes this.
  14. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 481   +574

    Fair comment, the IPC leak claim was based on 'scientific' I.e compute/productivity benchmarks. This is multi thread efficiency and front end. Zen's strengths. Gaming is the most obvious weaker area for Zen as we know it, and exactly why I still have and prefer Intel parts for my own personal use.

    For that aspect you really need to look towards better single thread performance. An improved memory controller, and simply higher clocks. Higher clocks alone would go quite a long way to shoring up gaming comparisons against Intel's best. Intel have banked on a good 15-20 percent clock speed advantage to secure much of their gaming dominance. Most of that was granted by their superior manufacturing process.

    One makes assumptions about Zen 2 clocks so the final reveal of them will play a large part in affirming the performance gains AMD talked about today.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    meric and Reehahs like this.
  15. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 608   +286

    They're doing good in cloud and have an ongoing deal with AWS. Also, they had a win recently with Cray; that alone breaks your "didn't secure any victory". Also also, remember what former Intel CEO commented about AMD on datacenter weeks before getting fired?
     
  16. Sausagemeat

    Sausagemeat TS Maniac Posts: 269   +137

    Quite a vague announcement if you ask me. I’m still not much the wiser. Also how does two times as many cores along with IPC & clock speed improvements mean only a 25% performance boost?
     
  17. yeeeeman

    yeeeeman TS Addict Posts: 119   +100

    Gaming performance is within 90% of what Intel achieves. I think this is more than enough and poses a problem only to 1% of the users that are obsessed with max FPS.
    On the other hand, a rendering that lasts one minute less is something tangible and can make a big difference in the productivity flow.

    I don't think Zen has any gaming issues from my point of view. Sure, Intel gets a few percentages better performance, but we are WAY past of that point where we can complain about gaming performance either on Intel/AMD cpus. We are nitpicking, nothing more.
     
    Dimitrios and ShObiT like this.
  18. LemmingOverlrd

    LemmingOverlrd TS Addict Topic Starter Posts: 83   +39

    Fixed that. :) Thanks.
     
    wiyosaya likes this.
  19. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Guru Posts: 481   +574

    My primary concern was always gaming, and so from the moment Ryzen launched I was somewhat disappointed that it did clearly lag behind Intel. Sometimes it was close, other times it was quite a large gap on certain titles I might have liked to play. But no matter what, it was behind. That mattered to me.

    Zen+ closed the gap further, but the perception that Ryzen is inferior in gaming persists for consumers and it is a marketing issue. AMD usually aren't very good at dealing with that.

    Now we might know that 2700x is for practical purposes a match at higher resolutions to Intel's best, but the public might not and still stick with Intel and perceive that superiority. AMD really need a chip that every reviewer can sit there and go yes, this is at least as good as Intel in every single aspect.

    Then AMD will start to make major inroads in the enthusiast market. In Techspot's gaming tests across 35 titles, 8700k was 9 percent faster at 1080p. It didn't go unnoticed by me it had a pretty spectacular 19 percent clock speed advantage.

    Zen 2 desperately needs higher clocks, so many games are still heavily reliant on just one or two threads. Because of this beyond 6 cores just won't matter much in games for a long time.
     
    Sausagemeat likes this.
  20. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Evangelist Posts: 332   +155

    <3 all in good fun sir.
     
    LemmingOverlrd likes this.
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,001   +1,478

    Not all software is able to use more than one core. Games, typically, are not currently written to take advantage of more than one core.

    Even with software that is written for more than one core, there are typically sections of code that must be run serially (on only one core). So even though software written for more that one core will get a performance boost from having multiple cores, the execution times do not directly scale to the number of cores. For instance, having 2-cores with such software does not mean that the program will run twice as fast.
     
  22. Kreegir

    Kreegir TS Rookie

    87% of all stats are made up.
     
    LemmingOverlrd likes this.
  23. pcnthuziast

    pcnthuziast TS Guru Posts: 405   +43

    So far ahead and yet so inexplicably stuck in 2nd place.
     
  24. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 359   +169

    What are you smoking? Even in 720p gaming the 9900K is only ~20% better than the 2700X.... with 20% higher clocks. So it takes 50% higher power usage to win with a significantly more expensive to produce chip:

    https://tpucdn.com/reviews/Intel/Core_i9_9900K/images/relative-performance-games-1280-720.png
     
    HardReset likes this.
  25. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,276   +786

    When you need 16T (2700X) from Ryzen to match 6T (8400) from Intel in games, you have a serious problem.
     

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