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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.