AMD reportedly finishes testing Zen CPU, claims they met expectations

By Scorpus ยท 64 replies
Nov 4, 2015
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  1. The launch of AMD's next-generation Zen architecture is set to be one of the most exciting in 2016, with the company focusing on performance in the hopes of once again having a CPU that competes with Intel.

    According to the latest report from OC3D, AMD has finished testing their Zen CPU, and are suggesting that the processor has "met all expectations" with "no significant bottlenecks" found in the design. This news allegedly comes from a former AMD employee with remaining ties to the company, although of course any rumor like this should be taken with a grain of salt.

    If AMD's Zen processor is meeting internal expectations, there is hope that the chip will provide a significant performance boost over their existing and aging FX-series CPUs and newer Excavator-based APUs.

    Zen is expected to be built using a 14 or 16nm FinFET manufacturing process, which will shrink AMD's design down to a node similar to what Intel uses. The cores themselves are designed to provide a significant instructions per clock gain over Excavator – AMD is hoping for a boost around 40% – which will improve integer and floating point performance per core to the point where its competitive.

    The new line of CPUs will require a new motherboard socket (AM4), and will support DDR4 memory. Current estimates suggest the processor will launch in the later parts of 2016, but it will certainly be a launch to look out for next year.

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  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,396   +3,410

    Good news, if true.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,645   +3,268

    Well I certainly hope they can compete with Intel's i5 & i7 procs, even stick it to them and keep on doing so although I'm not holding my breath. I'm sick and tired of their unnecessary, yearly minuscule performance updates which always requires you cough up for a new mobo as well.
    That said, it's doubtful I'll ever switch to an AMD system but if they can keep pace with Intel it'll at least keep them honest.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2015
    Techman3 likes this.
  4. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,554   +1,000

    I don't expect them to win against the most powerful Intel CPUs, but I really want them to compete at the mid to high end of the market. (have a CPU that can beat all of the i5 and a few i7 intel CPUs)
    At least force Intel to lower the prices and offer a good roadmap for the future CPUs.
    crocography likes this.
  5. Steve

    Steve TechSpot Editor Posts: 2,833   +1,948

    2016 could be a very exciting year for hardware enthusiasts. Let's hope we have a serious battle on our hands like the good old days.
  6. lucasde

    lucasde TS Rookie

    Why couldn't they win against intel?
    The architecture is closely the same now and AMD has already won against windows in the past.

    I'm not a fan of any of those brands but I've bought both of them and I clearly remember that my AMD K6-2 was far better than Pentium 2 a few (or a lot of) years ago. It was the same with AMD Athlon XP and X2. Of course now, intel chips are far better regarding the performance per thread but if AMD resurect, then it'll be a good deal for the consumers we are!
    Steve likes this.
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,396   +3,410

    I'm betting you will have loads of repetitious fun. lol
    AMD vs Windows?
    Arris, wastedkill and Adhmuz like this.
  8. Linkinworm

    Linkinworm TS Rookie

    Amd cpus are already slower by about what they want to gain from this (40%) by which time Intel will bring out their new arch and will outperform AMD once again, AMD is not about being faster than intel its about being cheaper and they know that.
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,396   +3,410

    This stance really get old. AMD doesn't want to be cheaper. They are cheaper because they have to be. If AMD really had a choice (like if they could compete) they wouldn't be cheaper.
    Geforcepat, wiyosaya and wastedkill like this.
  10. feathers632

    feathers632 TS Member Posts: 59   +14

    Problem here is that AMD has low expectations.

    Remember bulldozer? 8 cores of slow-ness.
    wastedkill likes this.
  11. Luay

    Luay TS Enthusiast Posts: 75   +11

    Reading between the lines, AMD could be saying that their CPUs won't bottleneck high-end video-cards. In other words, good enough for a gaming rig, but not in the same league as Intel in CPU-dependent applications. All is left for them to do are two things, sell it bellow $250, and have the motherboard manufacturers commit to their platform.
  12. nickstricks007

    nickstricks007 TS Enthusiast Posts: 29   +11

    The New Intel architecture (cannon lake) has gotten pushed back to mid to late 2017. So, if AMD ends up on part or better with Zen, then that gives them almost a year to do a refresh and tweak the Zen architecture to match Intel again. Yes, Kaby lake (sky lake refresh) is coming sometime in the second half of next year, but if Intel's recent track record with refreshes in the same node is any indication then the performance difference will be negligible. Either way, AMD has a lot riding on the success of Zen. I hope the become competitive again.
  13. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,821   +628

    Unfortunately even if this comes close to meeting Intel on the performance ladder, Intel will just release something faster. It's likely Intel already has faster chips, however due to the lack of competitive performance from AMD Intel doesn't need to be pushing the envelop with every new generation of chips, instead they've been primarily optimizing on the efficiency side of what they already have and increasing performance incrementally. It would be so very nice to have competition for the i7, it's just incredibly unlikely to happen as long as Intel has the R&D dollars AMD does not.

    You mean 8ish cores of slow-ness.
    ikesmasher and wastedkill like this.
  14. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 329   +98

    Word going around has been that they developed Zen heavily based on future predictions in order to be somewhere on par (+/-) with whatever Intel has out at the time. Of course, predictions are just that, so they may nail it or screw up their foresight entirely. Of course all coming with a grain of salt.

    Not that I care for one company over the other, people seem to be really downplaying this. If they truly do offer a competitive CPU against Intel and Intel makes something much better rather quickly, that's good. I just want more innovation rather than the stagnant status quo.
    wiyosaya and Adhmuz like this.
  15. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,554   +1,000

    So were their previews CPUs. but they missed their launch window by a lot and they could not compete with intel anymore as they were already at least 1 or 2 generations behind. This meant that AMD had no way to catch up with that architecture and they had to almost abandon it (they did improve it, but only because they wanted to not get kicked out of the market completely, they were buying time for Zen) and start work on a newer and improved one.
    We just have to see the benchmarks for Zen. We should at least see some improvements to compete in games and to catch up to intel in single threaded situations. All of the changes they did point towards that. (the multithreading will naturally improve too)
  16. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Maniac Posts: 244   +113

    AMD has been behind since the release of Core 2 Duo.
    Geforcepat and agb81 like this.
  17. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,722   +376

    Lets hope for another AMD Athlon Thunderbird!
  18. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 560   +237

    Disclaimer: I am an Intel employee and the following is my personal opinion.

    I hope it is true or near true. Skylake will stay in my memory like a launch that gave me bad taste. In my country, the 6700K costs more than twice what the FX-8350 costs -and the former sure doesn't double the latter's performance. In the same store, the entire Skylake line of products cost ~40% than the equivalent Haswell ones [due to alleged stock problems].

    Example: the Core i3 4160 costs an equivalent of $125 USD, with the 6100 costing an equivalent of $165; without even mentioning the additional cost of DDR4 memory.
  19. Matrikz

    Matrikz TS Rookie

    Seriously? AMD has ALWAYS been a lot cheaper than Intel has been. By hundreds of dollars, even when AMD was beating Intel with performance.
  20. cldmstrsn

    cldmstrsn TS Booster Posts: 133   +84

    If it turns out to be true my next build will definitely be AMD.
  21. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 1,733   +643

    Yes, Core was Intel's Bulldozer.

    Being an Intel employee or not, the last time AMD was in the lead, back in Intel's "Core" days, AMD CPUs were, IMHO, outrageously expensive. IF AMD does somehow manage to outperform Intel's flagships, I expect that AMD will price them equally outrageously because they sell to enthusiasts for bragging rights. Though I have remained an AMD fan, but built a Sandy Bridge E system in the meantime, I may just stay in the used market for a while if AMD does price their CPUs outrageously.

    I will, however, wait until AMD has silicon on store shelves and benchmarks have been done. It does sound like Zen could be quite a bit better, however, because of the Bullsh!t, um, I mean Bulldozer fiasco, my trust in AMD's advance press releases is almost non-existant.
  22. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 329   +98

    I just don't see how much longer they can keep going. They've been continuously losing market share, and each release hasn't done well at all for years now. I think maybe there's some chance they realize the significance this time? After all, it was alleged/reported the engineering teams were given full/near-so freedom this time around, aside from Keller being assigned to lead the project (+management points right there), even though he has since left. Seems like they're really trying to go at it this time around, so if they fail, I can only imagine it will hit harder than previous events.
  23. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 2,554   +1,000

    not really. they did protect themselves this time by focusing their business on other areas of the market. they are bleeding money, but not at an rate where they will have problems anytime soon.
  24. lripplinger

    lripplinger TS Addict Posts: 283   +98

    So AMD says the chip meets their "expectations". What is this "expectations" they speak of? I am not going to trumpet the return of AMD as a serious contender to Intel yet. AMD has been struggling financially for a long time now, and I think it is too little, too late. I loved AMD back during the Athlon K7/Thunderbird days. They destroyed Intel in gaming performance per dollar. But after the ATI acquisition debacle, AMD has never been able to compete effectively with Intel.

    Now that I got that out of the way, I am very interested in knowing what the new architecture is. More specifically besides the processor node they are using, what about this new AM4 socket. Does AMD finally catch up to Intel in terms of integrated circuit design? Will the ancient south bridge chip be eliminated finally and go to a single motherboard chip design like Intel has had for years?
  25. Nick D

    Nick D TS Enthusiast Posts: 27

    I'm a fan of technology in general but there are some points many people love to just ignore or refuse to accept.

    - Bulldozer performance (single core) was on the same level as AMD's ancient Phenom II's.
    - Power usage improved slightly but was no where near Intel's CPU's, each generation Intel kept making their CPU's smaller and use less power while improving performance by roughly 10% a generation (average).
    - AMD released fewer generations in comparison to Intel and each generation didn't have much performance difference.

    - Without competition, they kept their pricing the same. i3/i5/i7 for each generation from Sandybridge and on has remained 100/200/300 usd.
    - They have continually improved power consumption while improving performance (not by much, but still improved)
    - Due to prices being stable over many generations, Intel completely barebones dualcores (celeron/pentiums) have been competing with AMD's extremely cheap quad core CPU's (Athlon II x4 and A4/A6 APU's).

    AMD gave up right around the time bulldozer came out. They announced that they were intending to focus on the APU's which was a market that Intel was very weak with. I'm guessing they may have already been aware of the performance not being all that great, so they prepared to move into another computer market. Unfortunately Intel has also been steadily increasing their integrated graphics. Still no comparison for the Radeon cores, the Intel CPU's are still slaying AMD's. For HTPC you do need some CPU power for h264 and people will definitely need a bit of power for when the 265/VP9 codecs become more common place.
    lripplinger likes this.

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