Socket AM4 Isn’t Dead – What we know about AMD’s Early 2022 Ryzen Processors

Socket AM4 Isn't Dead - Here's what we know about AMD's Early 2022 Ryzen Processors

Enhanced Zen 3 processors are coming, and that’s a big deal for gamers

AMD revealed its Zen architecture in 2016, a new CPU architecture that would bring AMD back into competition with Intel and shake the foundations of the x86 CPU market. Now, five years later, AMD’s Ryzen lineup is the leader within several areas of the x86 CPU market, hitting Intel hard while fueling a rapid increase in desktop CPU core counts. 

AMD’s AM4 socket is reaching the end of its lifespan, but that doesn’t mean that there are no plans to inject some new life into the ageing CPU socket. AMD may have confirmed that a new AMD CPU platform is coming in 2022, but AM4’s getting one last hurrah early in the same year. 2022 will be a big year for AMD’s product release schedule, which is good news for PC builders. 

3D Chiplets Come to AM4 – V-Cache is Coming!

Packaging technologies are a critical part of AMD’s plans for Zen/Ryzen. Chiplets are already a significant part of AMD’s Ryzen and EPYC CPU lineups. Still, AMD plans to take things one step further by integrating 3D packaging technologies into their future Ryzen series processors. 

Back at Computex 2021, AMD unveiled their 3D V-Cache technology, stacking a 64MB SRAM chip onto their existing Zen 3 silicon to triple the size of its L3 cache. This 3D cache stack is connected using TSMC’s 3D Fabric technology, increasing the size and bandwidth potential of Zen 3’s L3 cache. 

On AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 test chip, AMD used two Zen 3 chiplets to create an enhanced Ryzen 9 5900X equivalent with 192MB of L3 Cache. This chip can deliver 2 TB/s of L3 cache bandwidth and what’s more noteworthy is that this solution doesn’t increase AMD’s L3 cache latencies in any significant way. If this claim is valid, AMD’s 3D cache technology will have no major downsides for consumers. That said, we don’t know how much these enhanced Zen 3 CPUs will cost. 

Why V-Cache Matters

AMD has been updating its cache structure with every interaction of its Zen CPU architecture. With gaming workloads being a major focus for AMD, it makes sense for the company to put a lot of effort into their data caching structure. Storing more data on-chip will reduce the amount of time that your processor is waiting on data from DRAM, and increased cache performance (latency and bandwidth) allows on-chip data to be used will less idle time and at a faster rate. 

For gaming applications, data needs to be processed quickly and in real-time. With V-Cache, AMD can store more data on-chip with their enhanced Zen 3 processors, resulting in game data being processed faster. That can result in higher framerates and smoother gaming experiences. 

With their V-Cache technology, AMD has reported a 15% average increase in gaming performance when comparing a Ryzen 9 5900X, and a 12-Core V-Cache enhanced Zen 3 processor with the same 4GHz clock speeds. In the chart below, you can also see that higher performance gains are possible in some titles, with Monster Hunter World (DX11) seeing a 25% performance boost. Should AMD release its enhanced Zen 3 CPUs with higher clock speeds, even larger performance gains should be possible. 

Socket AM4 Isn't Dead - What we know about AMD's Early 2022 Ryzen Processors  
When should we expect AMD’s new AM4 processors? 

The short answer to this question is early 2021. We expect AMD to showcase these new V-Cache enhanced Ryzen CPUs at CES 2021, highlighting its use of 3D chiplet technologies and the improved gaming performance of their latest AM4 processors. 

Currently, we do not know what AMD will call these new processors. AMD could call these chips the Ryzen 6000 series, though new Ryzen 5000 series names are equally possible. AMD may have newer next-generation Ryzen processors later in 2022, but they will require a new DRAM and a new motherboard. For many gamers, AMD’s new V-Cache enhanced Zen 3 processors may be a better upgrade option. 

YOu can join the discussion on AMD’s plans for AM4 in 2022 on the OC3D Forums.