Saturday, March 25th, 2017

AMD rolls out new processor architecture


December 2016 – After an extended period of gradual change the past decade, AMD has released a new computing architecture for the desktop computing environment for the personal computer marketplace. The architecture change to the new “Zen” design modernizes the single tasked office automation (wordprocessing, spreadsheets, etc) optimized structure to a multitask and media centric processing design. The first version for the chips, targeted for the home & office desktop systems are the “Summit Ridge” class processors and will be available under the brand name of Ryzen.

The dominant driver of the new desktop marketplace is performance PCs for content consumption and creation. Gaming, eSports and now for VR in the home all of which have high performance computing requirements. These applications all have large shared memory needs and benefit from multiple independent cores and need the capability to run for long periods of time at low power.

To address these markets, the “Summit Ridge” implementation of the Zen architecture has Eight (8) x86 cores with 2 threads each for a total of 16 threads. To get data to the system, it has a 20MB L2+L3 Cache that is tied to a new smart pre-fetch system with embedded learning algorithms that models and teaches itself application data access patterns as they are used. The cores operate at 3.4GHz, and upwards, which is also driving the need for the large on chip cache.

The advanced process technology is performance and power optimized by having an integrated sensing capability. This helps maintain a lower power by having a high granularity of control over the performance and operational use of a function block. This allows for performance optimization, including boost and extended frequency of operation with automated cooling based clockspeed acceleration based on an artificial intelligence Neural Net Prediction engine that is generations beyond simple instruction look ahead. The Infinity interconnect fabric connects across the multiple cores as well as the multi-stage cache.

To realize the new Zen processor in systems, it includes support for DDR4 memory, PCIe Gen 3 peripherals including the latest generation Radeon graphics cards, and connectivity/storage with USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe and SATA Express. This connectivity supports the latest networking interfaces and storage technology both wired and wireless technology to extend the life of the platform once it is brought into the marketplace.

The products are targeted for release in 2017.

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