AMD Zen 2 processors rumoured to offer a 10-15% IPC boost and up to 16 cores on AM4

AMD Zen 2 processors rumoured to offer a 10-15% IPC boost and up to 16 cores on AM4

AMD Zen 2 processors rumoured to offer a 10-15% IPC boost and up to 16 cores on AM4

AMD’s Zen 2 architecture will offer AMD’s first major design leap since the release of Ryzen in early 2017, moving their processors to a cutting-edge 7nm manufacturing node while also delivering increased performance and performance per watt improvements.   

Today, there have been reports that AMD’s upcoming Zen 2 processors will deliver an IPC (Instructions Per Clock) boost of between 10 and 15% while also providing higher core counts across all of AMD’s current-generation sockets, ranging from AM4 to TR4 and even SP3. 

The move to 7nm alongside processor design changes are also set to deliver higher clock speeds, allowing AMD’s Ryzen 3000/Zen 2 processors to offer a twofold boost to single-threaded performance, both by completing more CPU cycles per second while also achieving more from each cycle. 

Perhaps the most startling rumours are reports that AMD’s Zen 2 processors will offer up to 16 cores on their AM4 platform, moving their CCX design from offering four cores per CCX to eight cores per CCX. This reported design brings these reports onto the “take with a mountain of salt” category of rumours, as AMD uses the same CCX design across their entire processor lineup. 

In theory, it AMD used an 8-core CCX, 7nm Zen 2 APUs would utilise an 8-core processor and an integrated graphics component, which is a lot for a processor that would conceivably be designed for future Ryzen Mobile-class processors. This report also conflicts with previous rumours that AMD’s Zen 2 architecture would move to a 6-core CCX model, which seems more manageable and likely from a power consumption standpoint.   

These rumours, which have emerged from Chip Hell, claim that AMD’s AM4 socket will host 16-core Ryzen processors, with TR4 featuring 32-core processors over two dies while EPYC 2 CPUs will offer up to 64 cores and a staggering 128 threads. 

AMD Zen 2 processors rumoured to offer a 10-15% IPC boost and up to 16 cores on AM4

AMD has promised to improve their Zen architecture “in multiple dimensions” over both Zen/Zen, making performance gains a guarantee. What is unclear is how AMD plans to achieve these performance boosts, with most people hoping for an increase in single-threaded performance. 

While an increase in core count will be beneficial for some applications, stronger single cores will allow AMD to deliver a performance boost on an application-wide scale, whereas core/thread count boosts can only be utilised by applications which are designed to handle that many processing cores. Other hope that Zen 2 can mitigate a lot of the shortcomings of AMD’s Zen architecture, by enabling support for faster memory, reducing inter-CCX communication times and inter-die communication times for Threadripper and EPYC processors. 

Zen 2 rumours are currently divided on the topic of CCX size, with some reporting a move from four to six cores while other claim a more substantial increase from four to eight cores.

Personally, I see an increase to six core CCXs as being the most likely design choice for AMD, as the use of eight core CCXs wouldn’t suit the mobile or APU market segments, which rely on low power consumption levels and affordability, something which doesn’t meld well with an 8-core CCX architecture. Remember that the whole point of the CCX model is to simplify product design across several product SKUs, making the idea of separate CCX designs for desktop and mobile processors counterproductive. 

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