AMD's next-gen Zen CPU due in 2016


At AMD's Financial Analyst Day yesterday, the company revealed its roadmap for the next several years, covering GPUs (new graphics cards are arriving this quarter with High Bandwidth Memory) and CPUs coming in both 2015 and 2016. AMD has new 7000 series Carrizo CPUs coming out this year, but those are for noteboooks. More exciting are AMD's plans for 2016 with its next-generation CPU: the x86 Zen.

Due in 2016, the Zen CPU will utilize Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT) — similar to Intel's Hyperthreading — which will allow for a performance increase of 40% Instruction Per Clock (IPC) throughput. Zen is also being labeled as having a "high-bandwidth, low latency cache system," which might refer to the company's efforts to bring high bandwidth memory to technologies other than GPUs. Zen CPUs and APUs will run on a new AM4 socket that supports DDR4 memory.

Zen and AMD's new graphics cards represent a renewed focus on high-performance desktop parts, where the company has lost ground to Nvidia and Intel over the past several years. As you can see from the image below, Zen's IPC improvements will be a huge step up over its CPU development since 2012.

AMD Zen CPU roadmap

Of course, that's just a line on a chart. How that line will translate into everyday performance and competition versus Intel's Core series won't be quite so simple. We don't know, for example, what kinds of clock speeds Zen will be able to hit.

Zen processors will begin shipping in 2016. The first one out the door will be a high-end desktop CPU. APUs and lower-end CPUs will then follow. This CPU will use a new AMD platform known as AM4, which will also support DDR4.

Images via Anandtech

Bo Moore

As the former head of PC Gamer's hardware coverage, Bo was in charge of helping readers better understand and use PC hardware. He also headed up the buying guides, picking the best peripherals and components to spend your hard-earned money on. He can usually be found playing Overwatch, Apex Legends, or more likely, with his cats. He is now IGN's resident tech editor and PC hardware expert.