AMD: Zen 3 Remains on Track for 2020

(Image credit: Fritchenz Frenz)

News that AMD was facing delays to its Zen 3 architecture surfaced this week via a DigiTimes report, but the company quickly quashed those rumors during a press briefing, stating that “AMD confirms that the rumor on ‘Zen 3’ delay is inaccurate."

The initial reports of a delay to for AMD's Zen 3 processors, which the company has stated will arrive this year, were fueled by a DigiTimes report. Some observers also took AMD's announcement of the Ryzen XT models yesterday as a sign that the report was true. 

There are no signs yet of exactly when chips with the Zen 3 microarchitecture and 7nm process will debut this year, but that won't stop the speculation. AMD has shared a roadmap that points to the EPYC Milan processors this year, so that's an obvious starting point. 

(Image credit: AMD)

The HEDT market is firmly in AMDs hands with the existing Threadripper processors, so the company might focus on other strategic products with the first Zen 3 chips for the consumer side of the market. AMD's latest mobile processors are just now taking hold in the market and have finally gained some traction, but a quick follow-up would cement AMD's position as a serious contender in the mobile segment that comprises 60% of the consumer x86 market. However, AMD could also launch a new Ryen 4000 (codenamed 'Vermeer") desktop PC chip to cement its ever-growing success there, too. 

It isn't surprising to see AMD communicate that it remains on track for the Zen 3 architecture: The company has publicly stated that one of its primary objectives during its turnaround is to establish a steady cadence of "boring execution," meaning that it develops and delivers products on such a steady pace that it becomes boring. 

That's important given AMD's continuing penetration into more margin-rich climes, like the data center. AMD's EPYC Rome processors continue to claw share from Intel's Xeon lineup, but as AMD CEO Lisa Su has often stated, data center customers don't necessarily buy into products; they buy into roadmaps. That's an accurate statement because the cost of switching over infrastructure and validating new software stacks can be daunting, so customers want to make sure those initial efforts pay off over the long term as new products are released that bring more advantages to the table. That next product? EPYC Milan

AMD's stratospheric performance in the S&P 500 has also led the company to record share prices this year, and much of the investor interest is predicated on AMD's potential in the profit-rich data center market. Communicating that the company is still on track, even if it means countering a spurious report, is important from many angles, but it also gives us enthusiasts plenty to think about as we ponder AMD's next move. 

Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • PapaCrazy
    There is an inverse relationship between being profit-focused and actually making some. I'm glad to hear they're pushing forward this year. Lots of people like me have been putting off an upgrade. Aggressive innovation will be rewarded.
  • Soaptrail
    Good to know AMD is still on track but i would expect Zen 3 to be released closer to December than summer. Their cadence so far seems to be just over 12 months.
  • cryoburner
    Soaptrail said:
    Good to know AMD is still on track but i would expect Zen 3 to be released closer to December than summer. Their cadence so far seems to be just over 12 months.
    If we were to look at their prior Ryzen launches, the first-gen desktop processors came out in early March of 2017 for the higher-end models, with the mid-range models coming in April. Second-gen Ryzen came in April of 2018, about 13.5 months after the initial first-gen launch. Third-gen Ryzen launched in early July of 2019, about 14.5 months later. So, if one were to go by that ~14 month cadence as an indication of when fourth-gen might launch, that would put the release sometime around early September, give or take a few weeks, making for a late summer or early fall release.

    Of course, two roughly 14 month periods is not a particularly large sample size to go by, so that could easily be different this time around. Seeing as they will be releasing the Ryzen 3000 XT models in early July, I wouldn't expect Ryzen 4000 desktop processors to be out only a couple months later. So, September is probably out of the picture, at the very least.

    Another thing to consider is that they might launch their "Big Navi" GPUs alongside Ryzen 4000, much like they did with Ryzen 3000 and the first Navi cards. AMD already confirmed to investors that their Navi 2X graphics cards will be coming to PC prior to next-gen consoles launching, and since I would expect the consoles to come out around late November in time for the holiday shopping season, that means new graphics cards should be coming before then. So, if both launch together, that could mean a release sometime around October.