AMD 7nm Zen 2 Rumor Alleges 13 Percent IPC Lift Over Zen+ That'll Leave Intel Rattled

AMD is well along in development on its 7nm Zen 2 architecture that will be hitting the market in 2019. 12nm Zen+ Pinnacle Ridge architecture provided roughly a low single-digit uplift in instructions per clock (IPC) compared to 14nm Summit Ridge, but AMD has more ambitious goals for Zen 2.

Back in July, it was rumored that Zen 2 would offer an IPC lift (at the same clock rates) of 10 to 15 percent compared to Zen+. Now, according to a tweet from Bits and Chips, it looks as though early performance numbers are hitting right in the middle of that performance range, coming in at 13 percent on average.

The stipulation with this 13 percent IPC uplift is that it pertains to scientific tasks. However, this is to be expected as AMD should be in the process of shipping 7nm EPYC "Rome" samples to customers, so performance benchmarks for those processors are bound to start leaking out. Given the similar microarchitecture underpinning Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper, and EPYC, hopefully we'll see a similar performance gains on the consumer/gaming side.

But IPC is just one part of the equation with regards to Zen 2. We're also expecting faster supported memory speeds along with higher base and boost clocks across the board (as afforded by the move to 7nm). The 13 percent IPC lift combined with the clock boost, memory tweaks and potentially even more cores for mainstream processors could lead to a massive increase in performance across the board, and could leave Intel quaking in its boots. 

Early reports have suggested that Zen 2-based EPYC processors will be the first out of the gate in 2019 (likely launching at CES 2019 in January), which should then be followed by third-generation Ryzen and Ryzen Threadripper processors. AMD has typically stuck to an early Q2 launch for Ryzen processors and Q3 for its Ryzen Threadripper parts, however, we don't know for sure if AMD will stick to the timetable in 2019.

Zen Roadmap

"We knew 7nm would be a big challenge, so we made the bet, we shifted our resources onto the new node," AMD CTO Mark Papermaster told in an interview back in late August. "We didn't just dip our toe in the water. We went all in.

"I think we do have the opportunity to be positioned much stronger than we originally anticipated. But I have to say our original plan was to be positioned very strongly, so any delay from our competitor could simply strengthen the value that AMD brings to the market."

As for Intel, it will be relying on further refinements to its 14nm process for its processors through the end of 2019. Intel has committed on multiple occasions to delivering its first mass-market 10nm processors during the Holiday 2019 shopping season, which is roughly a year away from now.