Wednesday, May 6th 2015

AMD "Zen" Offers a 40% IPC Increase Over "Excavator"

In its Investor Day presentation, led by CEO Lisa Su, and CTO Mark Papermaster, AMD made a slew of careful, near-term product announcements, and market strategies. One of its announcements that strike us, is the company's emphasis on getting the CPU core design right. The company talked about its "Zen" CPU core architecture, not from a technical standpoint, on how it fits into the company's near-term. It turns out that the company is betting on a massive performance increase.

AMD announced that its "Zen" CPU core, will offer a massive 40 percent increase in IPC (instructions per clock) or in other words, performance/clock, over the existing "Excavator" CPU core architecture. Zen will introduce features such as SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), a brand new low-latency cache system, and will leverage the 14 nm FinFET process. The first products based on Zen will be desktop CPUs in the 6th generation FX processor family, which will be launched in 2016. AMD plans to unify the CPU and APU into one socket, which will be called AM4 (and not the previously thought of "FM3"). You'll be able to install both CPUs (which lack integrated graphics, but feature more CPU cores); and the company's 7th generation A-series APUs (which integrate both CPU and iGPUs), on the same kind of motherboards.
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49 Comments on AMD "Zen" Offers a 40% IPC Increase Over "Excavator"

#1
Chaitanya
Don't just make empty claims AMD, show us some products that can actually deliver the goods.
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#2
ManofGod
This does not surprise me since Jim Keller returned. They understand that they need to get it right to survive let alone thrive. They are not going to let this information out unless it is true but then again, why should it be a surprise, they could only go up from where they are now.
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#3
HisDivineOrder
Sounds fine. The problem with AMD has traditionally been that what they say sounds fine, but their execution has more holes than swiss cheese. Like they know what they should do, but just can't capitalize on it because of silly, rookie-level mistakes.

Perhaps they'll finally do better. Hopefully, it's not so late that they run out of money before they get there. They should have replaced the Bulldozer-derived chips a long, long time ago instead of iterating on them for a couple years and THEN hiring someone to make a new core.
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#4
repman244
AM4 socket now? Weren't there slides with FM3 or did I mix that with something else?
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#5
dj-electric
A friendly reminder: Bulldozer was promised to be 50% faster than 1st gen i7s and Phenom IIs
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#6
BiggieShady
After the bulldozer/piledriver/excavator they should be careful with "empty claims" now ... so damn careful, that I'm allowing my hope for AMD to be revived.
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#7
The Von Matrices
Chaitanya, post: 3278532, member: 93474"
Don't just make empty claims AMD, show us some products that can actually deliver the goods.
I have little doubt that AMD can deliver on its claims. The problem has always been when it will deliver. The rest of the market (i.e. Intel) is not standing still, and 40% IPC improvement may not be enough for supremacy depending on the release date. A Steamroller core (A10-7800 @ 3.5 GHz) is only about 50-70% of the performance of an equivalently clocked Haswell core (Core i3-5440 @ 3.5 GHz), so the 40% IPC improvement will only just bring the CPU's IPC in line with Intel's Haswell, let alone Broadwell or Skylake.
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#8
ShurikN
I like the fact that they are unifying everything into one socket.

IMO if they manage to get at least 20% better IPC, it would be fine (for gaming).
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#9
ManofGod
HisDivineOrder, post: 3278537, member: 136874"
Sounds fine. The problem with AMD has traditionally been that what they say sounds fine, but their execution has more holes than swiss cheese. Like they know what they should do, but just can't capitalize on it because of silly, rookie-level mistakes.

Perhaps they'll finally do better. Hopefully, it's not so late that they run out of money before they get there. They should have replaced the Bulldozer-derived chips a long, long time ago instead of iterating on them for a couple years and THEN hiring someone to make a new core.
Dj-ElectriC, post: 3278539, member: 87186"
A friendly reminder: Bulldozer was promised to be 50% faster than 1st gen i7s and Phenom IIs
First thing I would ask is: Who would they have gotten in house that would have been able to turn things around. You are not going to suddenly drop an architecture and create a new one overnight. Also, they did not just simply hire someone, they brought back Jim Keller which makes a hugh difference.

I would need to see proof of this 50% increase claim. However, that AMD is not the AMD of today, things have changed from the top down. Either way, it is clear that waiting for Zen is a good option since I already have a FX 8350 and 8320. No need to upgrade at this time.
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#10
v12dock
Bold claim AMD I would really like to build an AMD machine in 2016 so don't let me down
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#11
gp_online
Sounds good, but I won't get excited until I see "the real deal" :). I'm ready to change my platform (Haswell) IF what they say is true.
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#12
ShurikN
It's not a bold claim when you consider how bad Excavator IPC is.
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#13
ManofGod
ShurikN, post: 3278568, member: 140585"
It's not a bold claim when you consider how bad Excavator IPC is.
Really, how bad is it? We do not even know what it is since we cannot purchase a product with it in it.
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#14
Patriot
repman244, post: 3278538, member: 94396"
AM4 socket now? Weren't there slides with FM3 or did I mix that with something else?
Nope, you saw the faked slides that soo many of us did.
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#15
ShurikN
ManofGod, post: 3278570, member: 41207"
Really, how bad is it? We do not even know what it is since we cannot purchase a product with it in it.
I doubt it will be much better than Steamroller, plus it's on 28nm as well.
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#16
GhostRyder
Ah so AM3+ may not be dead after all as it will be replaced with AM4 (Now question will be if its backwards compatible with AM3+ chips even if its not the best idea). So in other words it now sounds like FM2+ is going to become a dead socket after excavator cores depending on how you look at it.

Either way I am happy but curious beyond belief. I am just wondering how the motherboard market is going to be done in this series being the differences listed for these chips coming out. Mostly interested in the TDP and how the boards power delivery will be overall.
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#17
NC37
Course by the time this launches, Intel will probably have something that beats it. But, hey, 16 threads...giggidy!
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#18
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
A 40% IPC improvement? Now that would really be something to see. I'm not calling bs on that either, as it seems plausible to me for an AMD with improved human management building a CPU on a cutting edge process node.

Also, with a headline like this, I can just see this thread getting that little hot flame icon next to it real soon. ;)
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#19
newtekie1
Semi-Retired Folder
The Von Matrices, post: 3278543, member: 90803"
The rest of the market (i.e. Intel) is not standing still, and 40% IPC improvement may not be enough for supremacy depending on the release date.
Intel basically is standing still. Their last several releases have gone up at best 10% each time. And for the most part people would still be perfectly happy with Sandybridge. Enthusiasts might not be happy, but the majority of the customer base would be. AMD doesn't have to achieve supremacy, they just have to get close enough to matching Intel to be a reasonable alternative.

ShurikN, post: 3278545, member: 140585"
I like the fact that they are unifying everything into one socket.
Me too.
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#20
alucasa
Too early to tell. I've been building PC long enough to learn not to trust empty claims.
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#21
Folterknecht
+40% IPC sounds nice now, problem is that AMD is already ~40% behind Intel atm. By the time Zen hits the market, +40% probably wont be enough.
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#22
TheGuruStud
Folterknecht, post: 3278640, member: 36292"
+40% IPC sounds nice now, problem is that AMD is already ~40% behind Intel atm. By the time Zen hits the market, +40% probably wont be enough.
Excavator is a lot better than bulldozer, but you can't tell b/c it's only in APUs with gimped cache and cache was gimped on BD to begin with.

Also, intel isn't changing anything. You're going to keep getting shiny new sandy bridges LOL Except they won't overclock for shit.
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#23
Dave65
Empty claims, let's see the creamy middle AMD!
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#24
qubit
Overclocked quantum bit
alucasa, post: 3278638, member: 68481"
Too early to tell. I've been building PC long enough to learn not to trust empty claims.
Dave65, post: 3278650, member: 82235"
Empty claims, let's see the creamy middle AMD!
tsk, such skeptics! But quite reasonable given AMD's disappointing products over the last decade.

I see this thread has got that little flame icon on the front page now. ;)
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#25
FrustratedGarrett
NC37, post: 3278609, member: 61225"
Course by the time this launches, Intel will probably have something that beats it. But, hey, 16 threads...giggidy!
perhaps... but 40% increase in IPC and substantially faster cache will do a lot! We'll have to wait n see. Those are some big claims.
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