Hardware leaker ExecutableFix (opens in new tab) has provided further details on AMD's next-generation Zen 4 processor. This new information comes in hot on the heels of the recent sneak peek at the AM5 socket.
The AM5 socket has been rumored to shift over to a Land Grid Array (LGA) design, meaning the pins are in the socket instead of on the processor. If true, AM5 would mark a turning point in AMD's history. Although AMD utilizes the LGA design for its HEDT (High End Desktop) and server platforms, the chipmaker has never employed the layout on a mainstream consumer platform. It's debatable on whether a LGA design is safer over a Pin Grid Array (PGA) design for the end user. Some might argue that having the pins in the socket means you no longer have to worry about bending the processor pins during installation. On the flipside, it's not unusual for motherboards to arrive with bent pins or cases of users accidentally dropping a processor into the socket and bending the pins in the process.
According to ExecutableFix, Zen 4 (presumably Raphael) processors will be the first Ryzen mainstream chips to arrive without pins. The markup of how the processor may look appears intriguing. The leaker previously claimed that Zen 4 will employ the LGA1718 package, so the chip should have 1,718 contacts. Curiously, the contacts appear to be divided into two sections. The layout is similar to AMD's Ryzen Threadripper and EPYC processors. Although we didn't count the contacts, we can assume that each section holds 859 contacts.
Despite the increased pin count, ExecutableFix stated that the AM5 socket measures 40 x 40mm, so it should still be a square shape. What we don't know is that if the AM5 socket will retain the locking mechanism or the mounting holes. At this point, it's anyone's guess whether consumers will need to invest in a new cooler, or if existing cooling solutions are still viable with a mounting converter kit.
AMD Zen 4 Raphael Specifications
|Zen 4*||Alder Lake*||Zen 3|
|Branding||Ryzen 6000||Core 12000-series||Ryzen 5000|
|Memory Support||DDR5||DDR5 / DDR4||DDR4|
|PCIe Support||PCIe 4.0 x 28||PCIe 5.0 x 16, PCIe 4.0 x 8||PCIe 4.0 x 24|
*Specifications are unconfirmed.
Zen 4 will likely continue to leverage a chiplet design. It wouldn't surprise us one bit if AMD added another core complex die (CCD) to Zen 4 to offer more cores. Zen 3 maxes out at two CCD with eight cores each, which is how the Ryzen 9 5950X got up to 16 cores. An additional CCD would push the core count up to 24, but that is pure speculation for now. However, it would certainly explain the increased TDP (thermal design power) ratings with Zen 4 chips.
If ExecutableFix's information is accurate, the Zen 4 processors could debut with a 120W TDP. There's mention of a special edition 170W SKU, although the leaker didn't provide any details. The extra pins should help improve power delivery as well as increase I/O connectivity.
As for memory support, Zen 4 will no doubt support DDR5 memory. It seems logical since Intel is already embracing DDR5 with its upcoming 12th Generation Alder Lake processors, and AMD probably doesn't want to be left in the dust. However, Zen 4 doesn't seem to carry over support for DDR4, unlike Alder Lake.
While the rumors still have Zen 4 on the PCIe 4.0 interface, ExecutableFix believes that processors will offer 28 PCIe 4.0 lanes. For comparison, existing Zen 3 chips deliver 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes. It's only a four-lane increase, nevertheless, it should be sufficient enough for motherboard vendors to offer at least some connectivity improvements.
Intel's Alder Lake is due in late 2021 to early 2022. If leaked roadmaps are to be trusted, Zen 4 might not land until the fourth quarter of 2022. In that case, Zen 4 or Ryzen 6000's target will probably be Raptor Lake, which is the rumored successor to Alder Lake.