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AMD Zen-based 8-core Desktop CPU Arrives in 2016, on Socket FM3

In what is a confirmation that AMD has killed socket AM3+ and its 3-chip platform, a leaked slide that's part of a larger press-deck addressing investors, tells us that the company is planning to launch a high-performance desktop processor targeting enthusiasts, based on its next-generation "Zen" architecture, in 2016. Our older articles detail the Zen CPU core design, and the way in which AMD will build multi-core CPUs with it. This processor will be codenamed "Summit Ridge," and will be a CPU, and not an APU as previously reported. In AMD-speak, what sets a CPU apart from an APU is its lack of integrated graphics.

AMD "Summit Ridge" will be an 8-core CPU built on the 14 nanometer silicon fab process. It will feature eight "Zen" cores, with 512 KB of L2 cache per core, 16 MB of L3 cache, with 8 MB shared between two sets of four cores, each; a dual-channel integrated memory controller that likely supports both DDR3 and DDR4 memory types; and an integrated PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, with a total of 22 lanes. We can deduce this from the fact that "Summit Ridge" will be built in the same upcoming socket FM3 package, which the company's "Bristol Ridge" Zen-based APU will be built on. "Summit Ridge" will hence be more competitive with Intel's 6th generation Core "Skylake" processors, such as the i7-6700K and i5-6600K, than the company's "Broadwell-E" HEDT platform.

First AMD "Zen" Chips to be Quad-Core

Some of the first CPUs and APUs based on AMD's next-generation "Zen" micro-architecture could be quad-core. "Zen" will be AMD's first monolithic core design after a stint with multi-core modules, with its "Bulldozer" architecture. Our older article details what sets Zen apart from its predecessor. As expected, in a multi-core chip, Zen cores share no hardware resources with each other, than a last-level cache (L3 cache), much like Intel's current CPU architecture.

There's just one area where Zen will differ from Haswell. With Haswell, Intel has shown that it can clump any number of cores on a chip, and make them share a proportionately large L3 cache. Haswell-E features 8 cores sharing a 20 MB cache. The Haswell-EX features 18 cores sharing 45 MB of cache. With Zen, however, the scale up stops at 4 cores sharing 8 MB of L3 cache. A set of four cores makes up what AMD calls a "quad-core unit." To be absolutely clear, this is not a module, the cores share no hardware components with each other, besides the L3 cache.

AMD "Zen" CPU Core Block Diagram Surfaces

As a quick follow up to our older report on AMD's upcoming "Zen" CPU core micro-architecture being a reversion to the monolithic core design, and a departure from its "Bulldozer" multicore module design which isn't exactly flying off the shelves, a leaked company slide provides us the first glimpse into the core design. Zen looks a lot like "Stars," the core design AMD launched with its Phenom series, except it has a lot more muscle, and one could see significant IPC improvements over the current architecture.

To begin with, Zen features monolithic fetch and decode units. On Bulldozer, two cores inside a module featured dedicated decode and integer units with shared floating-point units. On Zen, there's a monolithic decode unit, and single integer and floating points. The integer unit has 6 pipelines, compared to 4 per core on Bulldozer. The floating point unit has two large 256-bit FMAC (fused-multiply accumulate) units, compared to two 128-bit ones on Bulldozer. The core has a dedicated 512 KB L2 cache. This may be much smaller than the 2 MB per module on Bulldozer, but also indicate that the core is able to push through things fast enough to not need cushioning by a cache (much like Intel's Haswell architecture featuring just 256 KB per core). In a typical multi-core Zen chip, the cores will converge at a large last-level cache, which routes data between them to the processor's uncore, which will feature a DDR4 IMC and a PCI-Express 3.0 root complex.
Source: Planet3DNow, Many Thanks to qubit for the tip.

ASUS Introduces the Ultra-Slim SDRW-08U5S-U External DVD Writer

ASUS today announced the SDRW-08U5S-U external DVD writer, a highly portable optical drive with the thinnest form factor in its class at just 13mm. Its design includes a built-in hidden stand that saves space and reduces clutter while enabling dual-stance horizontal and vertical placement. For data protection, ASUS integrates multiple security measures, with password controls and encryption alongside encoded file name functionality. The SDRW-08U5S-U ships in Mellow Metallic, Dusty Rose, and Bright Berry color options.

The SDRW-08U5S-U employs intricate engineering to achieve a very slender 13mm side profile. In addition to making it highly attractive, the form factor contributes to easy mobility and greater usability as the SDRW-08U5S-U can be effortlessly transported and placed, making it a perfect companion for Ultrabooks and other mobile devices.

Creative Unveils its Newest ZEN Player

Creative unveiled today details for its latest player, the Creative ZEN. Here are some of the main ZEN features:
  • Capacity: 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB
  • 2.5" display with 16.7 million colors (320 x 240)
  • SD Expansion Slot (possible support for SDHC)
  • Audio: MP3, WMA (and WMA-DRM), AAC (supports iTunes Plus tracks) and Audible
  • Video: WMV, Divx, Xvid, MJPEG, and TIVO to Go
  • FM tuner and Voice Recorder
  • Battery Life: 25 hours of Audio, 5 hours for Video
  • Dimensions: 55 x 83 x 11.3mm (65g)
  • Pricing: $149, $199, $299 respectively
The ZEN will officially debut at IFA starting August 31st, and should be released sometime in September. You can pre-order them right now from Amazon.com. Special thanks to our reader DanielF50 for this news story.

Source: epiZENter
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