AMD Shipping Zen In Limited Quantity Q4, Volume Rollout Ramps Q1 2017

We're getting so close to AMD's release of Zen that it almost feels like you can reach out and grab it, though obviously that's not the case, at least not yet. During a recent earnings call with investors, AMD boss Dr. Lisa Su stated that Zen would trickle out by the end of the year before shipping in any kind of real volume in the first quarter of 2017.

"We have been very focused on the [Zen] server launch for first half of 2017. Desktop should launch before that," Dr. Su stated. "I believe it will be in the first quarter of 2017. We may ship some limited volume towards the end of the fourth quarter, based on how bring up goes and the customer readiness."

AMD Zen Slide

AMD has a lot riding on its Zen microcarchitecture. Zen is being built on an advanced GlobalFoundries-sourced 14nm FinFET process and is anticipated to perform on par with Intel's CPU lineup. The assumption is that AMD will price Zen competitively with equivalent Intel processors, perhaps even undercutting the competition, as AMD's been known to do.

We caught our first real glimpse of Zen last month when Dr. Su brought on stage an 8-core, 16-thread Zen-based Summit Ridge CPU for desktops.

"This product is 8 cores, 16 threads. It is in FinFET technology and it is integrated as part of our new AM4 desktop platform. The AM4 desktop platform is a return to desktop for our enthusiasts and our performance fans," Dr. Su said at the time. "And if you think about AM4, think about it integrated top to bottom throughout our desktop lineup."

Zen was taped out earlier this year and should already be sampling to select customers. On the server side, AMD is readying a version of Zen codenamed Naples with 32 cores, 64 threads, and 64MB of shared L3 cache. According to AMD, Zen will offer a 40 percent improvement in instruction per clock (IPC) performance compared to its current processor architecture.