CERN Engineer Leaks AMD Zen Details Confirming 32 Core Implementation And SMT
CERN engineer Liviu Valsan recently gave a presentation on technology and market trends for the data center. At around 2 minutes into the discussion, he brought up AMD's Zen architecture with a slide that contained some previously undisclosed details (along with a few things we already knew). One of the more interesting revelations was that upcoming x86 processors based on Zen will feature of up to 32 physical cores.
The second thing to consider is that it's highly unlikely AMD would release a 32-core processor into the consumer market. Zen-based Opterons aren't out of the question—servers and workstations could take real advantage of the additional cores—but as far as FX processors go, it's more realistic to expect offerings to boast up to 8 cores, maybe even 16 at some point.
Regardless of core count, one thing that's exciting is that AMD will for the first time use a symmetrical multi-threading (SMT) design. Intel's implementation of SMT is called HyperThreading and it's worked out quite well for the company, so hopefully the same types of performance gains will apply to AMD's own implementation of SMT.
Either way, AMD isn't sweating performance—the company previously made the claim that Zen will offer up to a 40 percent improvement in Instructions Per Clock (IPC) compared to its current processors, and that was reiterated by Valsan. He also pointed out that Zen will support DDR4 memory and PCI Express Gen 3.0.
Look for AMD to launch Zen to consumers by the end of the year.