We're still waiting to see if AMD's next CPU design, Zen 5, can live up to its lofty performance expectations. But in the meantime, we now have our first Zen 6 leak which puts AMD's future CPU architecture two generations hence on 2nm silicon.
We also now have a name for Zen 6, or at least for its cores. They shall be known as Morpheus. For the record, AMD's existing Zen 4 cores, as used in Ryzen 7000 CPUs including the new Ryzen 7 7800X3D, are codenamed Persephone and the upcoming Zen 5 cores are called Nirvana.
Tom's Hardware reports that the 'leak' comes from the Linkedin profile of an AMD Engineer which has now been edited to remove the sensitive information, but not before it could be screenshotted (is that a word?) for posterity.
The Linkedin profile text was quite detailed before it vanished and put Zen 6 on 2nm production technology. The engineer had also worked on Zen 5, describing that as a 3nm CPU. AMD's public roadmaps have previously indicated that Zen 5 will be built on both TSMC 4nm and 3nm nodes.
The time frames involved are also interesting. The engineer worked on power management for Zen 4 from March to December 2020, moved to Zen 5 in January 2021 until December 2022 and began work on Zen 6 in January this year.
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Anyway, if you're an aficionado of PC processors, it's an intriguing glimpse into the development timeline of AMD's CPUs.
As for when you might expect to actually see Zen 6 CPUs for sale, well, there is no official information available. We're expecting Zen 5 to arrive perhaps early next year. If AMD sticks with its usual two-year timeline for CPU releases, that would put Zen 6 into 2026.
We likewise have no direct insight into what to expect from Zen 6 in terms of performance. Again, going on past form we might expect Zen 6 to be a relatively modest update after the big leap that Zen 5 is rumoured to bring.
That would line up with previous Zen releases. Zen 2 was a modest tweak, Zen 3 a much bigger step and Zen 4 was again a mild overhaul of the previous architecture. Put another way, AMD seems to be doing a much larger overhaul for every other generation of Zen.
If it sticks to that approach, Zen 6 probably won't be a radical leap over whatever Zen 5 brings. But all will become clear in time. Patience, grasshoppers, patience.