Rumor mill: Are we going to see the Zen 3-based Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs this year? AMD says we will, but a new report claims the chips won’t arrive until early 2021.

The report comes from DigiTimes, which has a real hit-and-miss record with these sort of rumors, so take it all with a heavy dose of salt. The article has been translated by leaker RetiredEngineer.

The alleged main reason why AMD is holding back the Ryzen 4000 CPUs is simply because the Ryzen 3000 series continues to sell in droves—they're being bundled with Horizon Zero Dawn in the UK. The chips take up four of the top six places on Amazon’s best-selling CPU chart, including the Ryzen 7 3700X at number one, and continue to rival Intel’s latest 10th-gen Comet Lake processors, which are built on the 14nm process.

More evidence that Ryzen 4000 might not get here until next year is today's launch of the refreshed Ryzen 3000XT chips. The three refreshed processors don’t have an increased core/thread count, but their clock speeds have been given a boost, offering AMD more options for taking on Comet Lake.

“AMD is extending its life cycle, and definitely will not be launching the next-gen Ryzen 4000 series, based on Zen3 architecture and using TSMC's 7nm EUV process, in Sep.,” states the translated report.

There’s also mention of the Ryzen 4000 Vermeer series of desktop CPUs being built on TSMC’s 5nm process, rather than 7nm. This isn't the first time we've heard these rumors, but it seems highly unlikely this will happen, as shown by the company's own roadmap (below).

AMD has on several occasions said that Zen 3 and RDNA 2 will arrive later this year, but some believe that the company’s new architecture could arrive in its Epyc processors first, with the desktop variants coming later. And with Intel’s 10nm Alder Lake reportedly not launching until next year at the earliest, AMD won’t feel the need to rush out the Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs, giving it more time to perfect the processors.

Will mass production of the Zen 3 desktop chips begin at the end of 2020, followed by a CES reveal? It would be a shock if the report turns out to be accurate, but AMD could still surprise us.