AMD Claims Zen 2 Could Offer A Combined IPC Boost Of 29 Percent (Updated)


AMD revealed its 7nm Zen 2 CPUs last week with the promise of big performance gains over current Zen+ products. However, a benchmark claim recently discovered deeply nestled in the footnotes at the bottom of the the company's official announcement gives us a little more insight intothe performance expectations of Zen 2.

AMD performed an internal test on one of its Zen 2 CPUs using the benchmark tool DKERN +RSA. This test utilizes a mixture of floating point and integer tests to determine a processors IPC performance. The unidentified Zen 2 processor managed to achieve a score of 4.53 IPC. AMD ran the same test on one of its 1st Gen Zen CPUs for comparison purposes, and that CPU returned a score of 3.5 IPC.
AMD Mark Papermaster Zen 2 Arch
Comparing these scores we can see that Zen 2 performed 29% better than its predecessor, but this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. AMD didn't disclose the exact models or platforms tested, and we can't be sure that the CPUs were tested at the same clock speed even.

Regardless, on paper Zen 2 looks impressive, and each bit of new information that comes out makes it all the more tantalizing. But until official benchmarks and testing comes, showing the new AMD CPU microarchitecture in action, we can't be sure exactly how must faster Zen 2 will be than its predecessor. 

Update, 11/13/2019: Since the time that our story ran over the long holiday weekend here in the US, AMD has reached out to us with further commentary and clarification on the benchmark notation and claim that was made with respect to Zen 2. Apparently, the footnote was not intended for general use as an "IPC uplift" claim, as we originally reported. Here's the entire follow-up quote from AMD: 

“As we demonstrated at our Next Horizon event last week, our next-generation AMD EPYC server processor based on the new ‘Zen 2’ core delivers significant performance improvements as a result of both architectural advances and 7nm process technology. Some news media interpreted a ‘Zen 2’ comment in the press release footnotes to be a specific IPC uplift claim. The data in the footnote represented the performance improvement in a microbenchmark for a specific financial services workload which benefits from both integer and floating point performance improvements and is not intended to quantify the IPC increase a user should expect to see across a wide range of applications. We will provide additional details on ‘Zen 2’ IPC improvements, and more importantly how the combination of our next-generation architecture and advanced 7nm process technology deliver more performance per socket, when the products launch.”