AMD discusses their Zen 2 architecture

AMD discusses their Zen 2 archtecture

AMD discusses their Zen 2 architecture

At PAXWest 2017 a YouTuber called Joker Productions has been given the opportunity to speak to AMD’s Marketing director, Don Woligroski, regarding the future of the company’s Zen CPU architecture, including a look at planned improvements with Zen 2. 
Sadly there is not any new information here, though it does confirm a few small pieces of information that we already expected, like a focus on continued IPC improvements, work on increasing Zen 2’s clock speeds and an intended release sometime in 2018. 

Don goes as far to call Zen the “worst case scenario” for the Zen architecture, which means that things are only looking up from here. AMD is obviously looking into improving the clock speeds and IPC of Zen 2, given the fact that those are the two mayor ways of improving overall CPU performance. Sadly, Don did not go into any further details.   


I’ve said this before and I think it holds true. Zen, Ryzen, was the worst case scenario. It was a brand new architecture on a brand new node. So the worst case scenario we could’ve possibly had, and it’s pretty good. You can get to over 4.GHz.

We’re definitely working on improving, our engineers are really smart guys and things are looking better as we go along. I can’t talk to specifics on IPC but that’s an area of focus. We’ve got clock speed headroom to take advantage of and we’ve got tweaks to make sure performance for each clock is better. I’m really looking forward to it. 

I’m personally very encouraged by what’s happening in the next little while. We threw down in 2017. We’ve seen our competitor starting to wake up and respond and we’re not just going to roll over. We have more stuff to come, we’ve got really good stuff coming.  We’re not a one hit wonder, we’re keeping the pressure on for some time. It’ll be a great 2018. 


We already know that Zen 2 will be based on GlobalFoundries 7nm process node, which is set to allow AMD to miniaturise their Zen CPU designs further and increase their power efficiency over their existing 14nm Zen counterparts. Right now it is hard to tell what other benefits this node will bring, other than Globalfoundries advertised 60% power reduction, 40% performance increase and 50% area reduction. 


AMD discusses their Zen 2 archtecture  

On the topic of optimising existing and future games for Ryzen and increased multi-threading, Don had the following to say. 


For games that are already released, our focus is making sure if they have a problem on Ryzen processors, which some do you’ll see a big performance delta, you’re like why? Ryzen is pretty fast and we’ll go and engage with the developer. We did it for Dota 2, Rise Of The Tomb Raider and we just find out what was wrong.

For future looking stuff, it’s that chicken or egg scenario. When you have more threads and cores available the guys will start developing for it.

We certainly have engineers that we hand out to guys who are developing games and our partners like Bethesda have been really great. They’re like how do we take advantage of this hardware? and we send guys in to say here’s how you do it. Here are some ideas and it’s just a feedback loop. It just gets better and better.

We finally have the APIs, now they’re going to learn how to use them. It’s not an instant ON. But then it’s inevitable. Next couple of years you’ll start seeing people doing it, great advances. And then it becomes the norm and everybody starts doing that. And then maybe in five years it’s 64 threads, who knows. It’s that beautiful upgrade path that’s for so long has been a plateau that no one has been pushing harder. I think it’s going to benefit us all.


AMD thinks that increased game multi-threading will soon become the norm, given the influx of high-core count CPUs on the market and the competitive pricing in today’s CPU market. AMD is sending engineers to developers to help them take advantage of what Ryzen has to offer, with the company already finding success n games like DOTA and Rise of the Tomb Raider. 

With Ryzen AMD’s plans are not to be a one-trick-pony, with plans to release more competitive products moving forward with increased performance and power efficiency metrics. Only time will tell if AMD will succeed in this regard. 


You can join the discussion on AMD’s Zen 2 architecture on the OC3D Forums.