AMD has celebrated five years of its Zen architecture (opens in new tab) by announcing that there will be a refresh of its existing Zen 3 processors at the start of 2022. This refresh will make use of AMD's 3D chiplet technology, specifically 3D V-Cache, to bolster the amount of cache on the chips.
This extra cache on its own represents a 15% uplift in performance. "That's like a generational uplift," says AMD's John Taylor. So we wouldn't be surprised for these to launch as Ryzen 6000-series CPUs come 2022.
When AMD originally showed off its 3D V-Cache technology (opens in new tab), Dr. Lisa Su promised "we'll be ready to start production on our highest-end products with 3D chiplets by the end of this year." And with a release window given for early next year it looks like it's still on track. Given the state of the market and the component shortage, this has got to be taken as a bit of a win.
With the Ryzen 3D V-Cache refresh not happening until next year, however, that does mean Intel will get more time to show of its new Alder Lake CPUs (opens in new tab) before AMD can strike back with an answer.
You have to wonder whether that 15% improvement is going to be enough to keep it competitive, too, given the leaked figures for the Core i9 12900K (opens in new tab) which keep appearing. AMD has to contend with rumoured figures for the Core i5 12400 (opens in new tab) now as well, which also appears to be producing some impressive performance figures. And that chip supposedly doesn't have any of the efficient E-cores, either.
In its video, AMD does take a veiled swipe at Alder Lake, and its reliance on software to make sure the new hybrid chips are being managed properly. Robert Hallock says "we don't have to necessarily explore chip configurations that maybe are harder to address in software."
Although given AMD chips are experiencing a performance drop in Windows 11 (opens in new tab) anyway, maybe it should sort out its own problems before throwing stones at Intel. After all, both companies need a solid OS foundation from which to operate.
It will be interesting to see if AMD releases just one 3D V-Cache chip, a complete refresh of every Zen 3 CPU, or a selection, like it did with the XT chips it released in the summer of last year—the Ryzen 5 3600XT (opens in new tab), Ryzen 7 3800XT (opens in new tab), and Ryzen 9 3900XT (opens in new tab). I guess we'll have to wait and see until the start of next year to find out.