AMD Reveals High-Performance Zen CPU, GPUs With HBM, And FinFET

Today, during AMD's Financial Analyst Day 2015 presentation, AMD announced that it is working on a new x86 microarchitecture called "Zen," succeeding the Excavator core, along with a couple of new tidbits on GPUs.

The Zen core is based off of a completely new core design, which is aimed at high performance, offering over 40 percent more instructions per clock than its predecessor. AMD CTO Mark Papermaster said that it would have simultaneous multithreading for high throughput, along with a new high-bandwidth low-latency cache system.

More interesting, although arguably unsurprising, is that the new CPUs will be based on the new energy-efficient FinFET technology.

On the high-end side, AMD will be introducing a new FX CPU with these new cores, which will have a  "high core count," drop into a new AM4 CPU socket, and have support for DDR4 memory.

With the new Zen, AMD intends on putting competition back into the high-performance x86 CPU market, so our hopes are high.

Beyond the new Zen core, AMD also announced some work in the GPU department. For 2016, its goals are to create even high-performance GPUs that offer twice the energy efficiency, which it will achieve by using FinFET technology.

That's not all, though. These new GPUs would come with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), which is essentially a 3D DRAM die stack on an interposer that creates a shorter path for data to travel to the GPU. Thus, its performance per watt should be 3x that of GDDR5, and on top of that, it should consume more than 50 percent less power.

AMD did not announce any new high-performance desktop GPUs, but CEO Lisa Su did say that the next GPUs (read: Radeon 300-Series) will come out at an industry event in the coming months and will feature HBM memory. The generation following this will feature the second generation of HBM memory.

The new CPUs with the Zen microarchitecture and the new GPUs should be available sometime in 2016.

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Niels Broekhuijsen

Niels Broekhuijsen is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He reviews cases, water cooling and pc builds.

  • bootcher
    Well, there goes my bank account (again) :-).

    Seriously, this is exciting news, if AMD can really pull a rabbit out of their hat again and give Intel a run for the crown, that would be very exciting!! Their last few cpu/apu series were a bit disappointing performance-wise, so hopefully 'ZEN' will be able to deliver as promised.
  • MyDocuments
    Looks interesting, and with the new FX line using DDR4 then I guess we're in for a new MoBo chipset...
    Message to all Motherboard manufacturers, don't forget to produce some smaller Form-Factor motherboards this time around; uATX and ITX (as well as the standard ATX) for these new processors. Thank you.
  • 3ogdy
    I'm all excited but...a 40% performance increase isn't that much, is it, people?
    I mean...that's 40% better performing than...FX-8150...which would translate into 25% higher performance than the FX-8350.

    How wrong am I?
  • edwd2
    waiting for benchmarks, bulldozer destroyed 2600K on the PPT slides back then. im excited and really hope this is true though.
  • When this comes out (Zen cpu), I'll wait two months, read all the benchmark, and if it actually holds it's own against Intel on a price/performance, they will get my money. And if they don't, I'll go with Intel.

    Sorry AMD, after you burned me as a day 1 FX-8150 buyer, you'll have to demonstrate value this time around.
  • 3ogdy
    "40% more IPC" might be more than just 40% overall performance increase. I really hope it is.
  • odwillia
    It would be nice to once again have some form of competition for Intel.
  • ubercake
    I really hope they have something here. The last few releases have been anti-climactic where competition is concerned. I would definitely consider getting an AMD processor if they can live up to the hype. If they can compare to something like a 4770, 4790k, or 5820 at a good AMD price, I'd consider it.
  • SkyBill40
    I don't think the changes or progress made here are truly worth me switching from my perfectly capable 8350, but I suppose we'll see as time marches on.
  • dgingeri
    40% when AMD can't do in 4 cores what Intel's CPU do with 2, or AMD with 8 cores can't do what Intel does with 4. (A10-7850k vs Core i3-4340, FX-8350 vs Core i5 4670k) It's not that big of a leap. I hope they have some other significant shortcuts to improve performance.