Tuesday, February 7th 2017

AMD's Ryzen Chips 10% Smaller Than Comparable Intel Skylake Dies

At the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), AMD presented a whitepaper in which they demonstrated how its upcoming Zen x86 core fits into a 10 percent smaller die area than Intel's currently shipping second-generation 14nm processor. According to reports, analysts and Intel engineers in the session said the Zen core is clearly competitive, though many as-of-yet unknown variables will determine whether the die advantage translates into lower costs for AMD. That said, one thing is clear: the chip will have to perform in addition to being smaller, if AMD wants to ever capitalize on the potentially higher margins a smaller die could grant them.

One of the ways AMD improved upon its ZEN core in comparison to its previous products has been on switching capacitance for their new chips, with a reported overall 15% improvement. In addition, AMD has apparently moved on to a metal-insulator-metal capacitor design, thus achieving lower operating voltages as well as as more fine-grained per-core voltage and frequency control (on to become part of their SenseMI technology suite). Looking at the image, which pits an AMD ZEN chip to a comparable Intel solution, we see that AMD saves additional die space by making do with only 12 metal layers as well as overall lower L2 and L3 cache footprints.
Source: EETimes
Add your own comment

46 Comments on AMD's Ryzen Chips 10% Smaller Than Comparable Intel Skylake Dies

#1
Chaitanya
interesting, these leaks have got to stop and I want to see some real world reviews.
Posted on Reply
#2
VulkanBros
YES - NO MORE TALK........RELEASE THE KRAKEN.......for gods sake
Posted on Reply
#3
dj-electric
We're talking about no iGPU here, right? that thing that takes up 35% of intel's LGA1151 dies?
Posted on Reply
#4
Szaby59
This either compares only the x86 CPU cores (not the whole die) or misleading. Because the "comparable" 4/8 CPU die also includes an IGP...
Posted on Reply
#5
kruk
It's really not important if the measurement includes IGP or not, the important thing is that AMD can price their chips lower because their costs will be lower.
Posted on Reply
#7
EarthDog
I wonder how that is going to go for heat dissipation... so long as they don't use frighteningly mediocre TIM (cough intel cough) we should be ok.
Posted on Reply
#8
TheLaughingMan
OMG, no one cares about die size. When enthusiasts brag about their computer, they are not talking about its 14 nm processing, die size, product SKUs, etc. We talk performance and price. If you want to leak something leak those two things.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheGuruStud
EarthDog, post: 3597607, member: 79836"
I wonder how that is going to go for heat dissipation... so long as they don't use frighteningly mediocre TIM (cough intel cough) we should be ok.
I believe pics have already surfaced of the ESs delidded and are liquid metal. Granted , that's not production. Intel's cheapskating is a pretty big deal among enthusiasts, so I don't really see AMD going that route. Also, it makes a big difference in temps, so why have XFR if it will just throttle immediately?
Posted on Reply
#10
Effting
Dj-ElectriC, post: 3597573, member: 87186"
We're talking about no iGPU here, right? that thing that takes up 35% of intel's LGA1151 dies?
They are not comparing the entire die (as its not possible since intel has many different cpus dies), but the cores itself (actually a set of four cores and the caches only).
Posted on Reply
#11
Effting
TheLaughingMan, post: 3597609, member: 70334"
OMG, no one cares about die size. When enthusiasts brag about their computer, they are not talking about its 14 nm processing, die size, product SKUs, etc. We talk performance and price. If you want to leak something leak those two things.
One may think that die size is not relevant, but in the end it is all that matters, as it translates to price, power, performance, competitiveness, profitability.
Posted on Reply
#12
AsRock
TPU addict
Chaitanya, post: 3597559, member: 93474"
interesting, these leaks have got to stop and I want to see some real world reviews.
Leaks make them money, in mean time they refine the process and so forth.

kruk, post: 3597592, member: 168606"
It's really not important if the measurement includes IGP or not, the important thing is that AMD can price their chips lower because their costs will be lower.
If only life was so simple.

TheLaughingMan, post: 3597609, member: 70334"
OMG, no one cares about die size. When enthusiasts brag about their computer, they are not talking about its 14 nm processing, die size, product SKUs, etc. We talk performance and price. If you want to leak something leak those two things.
Well they got to give details to avoid intel\nvidia knowing to much about there product before it's released.
Posted on Reply
#13
deu
TheLaughingMan, post: 3597609, member: 70334"
OMG, no one cares about die size. When enthusiasts brag about their computer, they are not talking about its 14 nm processing, die size, product SKUs, etc. We talk performance and price. If you want to leak something leak those two things.
As some mention; die size decide how many that can be fitted on a waffer and that directly impact the price. If AMD can have 10% more CPUs on one waffer that means they can produce more CPUs at same cost which means they can sell them cheaper without a loss. This theoretically mean that even if their CPU perform 10% worse than intels, they can sell them 10% cheaper without loosing money. :)
Posted on Reply
#14
zelnep
die size has nothing to do with product pricing... products are priced as high as market can accept. and to determine that - there is Marketing team with different strategies and decisions. do you think that intels 1700$ chips are so priced, because it has so many die in them or something (when not even 40% less cpu die size chips from same gen can be priced around 349$)?
Posted on Reply
#15
HD64G
Great news imho. Lower price is easier for AMD than Intel, so if Zen is comparable to Skylake or newer CPU arch of Intel, AMD have an ace in their hand and we as customers will be able to get more performance for less money.
Posted on Reply
#16
deu
zelnep, post: 3597662, member: 166600"
die size has nothing to do with product pricing... products are priced as high as market can accept. and to determine that - there is Marketing team with different strategies and decisions. do you think that intels 1700$ chips are so priced, because it has so many die in them or something (when not even 40% less cpu die size chips from same gen can be priced around 349$)?
Dude... It has to do with BOTH.

1.you produce something (at a cost)
2. you sell your product (at a price)

Either you are not thinking it through or else you're trolling :)

If the CPU cost 10% LESS to produce, well you can sell it 10% cheaper and potentially still earn a profit. Granted that the product need to have a market segment, but it has already been established that AMD is well within the range of Intels offers. It is possible that AMD's zen will not from the start beat Intels CPUs in performance, but you can bet your arse they will beat them in price/performance ratio. Then its up to marketing and education of the customers to get that know, but chances are that AMD will deliver a disruption in the CPU market that have been idle in almost 7 years. They will force Intel to ramp up and start actually working for their money. The question is whether or not intel can respond to this reasonably (if thread is true they are not in this case) or/and have money to bleed (im pretty sure they do) Expect AMD to deliever a product 50-100 under intels i5 7600 / i7 7700K products; this can be done because; better waffer efficiency; AMD accepts lesser margin (intel have pushed margin in a period of no competition.) and; AMD is the underdog and right now they want profit ; BUT they want something almost more important; marketshare...
Posted on Reply
#17
EarthDog
You CAN sell it cheaper... but WILL they? There are MANY more variables that go I to pricing these things outside of how many fit on a wafer.. a big one is yields.. what's the point of 10% smaller if your yields per wafer aren't going to get there? Also, how they bin out is another factor, and last, but not least, what the market will support...

You aren't dealing with a company that can afford to keep it REALLY cheap against Intel with comparable performing chips.

He's not trolling.. I mostly agree with him in fact. ;)
Posted on Reply
#18
deu
EarthDog, post: 3597675, member: 79836"
You CAN sell it cheaper... but WILL they? There are MANY more variables that go I to pricing these things outsode of how many fit on a wafer.. a big one is yields.. what's the point of 1p% smaller if your yields per wafer aren't going to get there? Also, how they bin is another factor, and last, but not least, what the market supports...

You aren't dealing with a company that can afford to keep it REALLY cheap against Intel with comparable performing chips.

He's not trolling.. I mostly agree with him in fact. ;)
I dont think you understand: Intel have been running a riduculous margin in the hardware industry. I dont know the precise numbers but my guess would be somewhere around 30-40 on 6600 and 6700 product-group. AMD dont have the luxury of these margins; mainly they want marketshare; margin would be nice but you can be sure that that is not what they are going for with the Ryzen CPU. They want to get MARKETSHARE. Margin is worth NOTHING if you only sell to 1% of the market. Trust me this is how it is done :)

So to be honest; yes AMD can be cheap compared to current intel prices because intel's margin is ridiculous and if AMDs die size and yields is better or comparable they will put their CPU cheaper; It is how the market works! Ofcource AMD cant bleed on their product but im pretty sure they would be happy with just 5% margin in the first generation. You can proberbly get a master in bussiness-dude to explain it in "cleaner terms" but it is how it is :)
Posted on Reply
#19
EarthDog
@deu - Well aware.. we just simply disagree on what is driving prices. This 10% smaller is not a huge factor considering all the other variables involved as well as assumptions (like yields being the same on a brand new process for amd) ;)

We can go around in circles all you want, but, I just realized now (an edit nearly 12 hours later) the article even said what I am saying... LOL
Analysts and even Intel engineers in the session said the Zen core is clearly competitive though many confidential variables will determine whether the die advantage translates into lower cost for AMD.
Posted on Reply
#20
ZoneDymo
Chaitanya, post: 3597559, member: 93474"
interesting, these leaks have got to stop and I want to see some real world reviews.
VulkanBros, post: 3597568, member: 6693"
YES - NO MORE TALK........RELEASE THE KRAKEN.......for gods sake
Now you just hold on there little buddy, I need to know if the ihs has rounded edges and what colour it is first.
I also need to know how much it weighs, what names it likes to be called and what to feed it on a daily bases.
So you just sit there while I get my valuable information, then we shall get to your so called "benchmarks" and other such nonsense.
Posted on Reply
#21
BiggieShady
deu, post: 3597687, member: 164351"
Trust me this is how it is done :)

:laugh:
You do have some strong points there, but intel's ridiculous margins aren't set in stone, wouldn't be a first time we see a price wars ... maxing both margin and volume is both enticing and tricky because of the way how sold volume is affected by high margins ... however it works differently with duopoly market share, AMD may want to use intel's ridiculous margins to cash in, but I think they can't avoid the price wars even if they start just below intel price points.
You know, start at current market price points and keep lowering the prices as you go but just enough to keep gaining steady market share in a never ending price war?
Posted on Reply
#22
ssdpro
10% smaller? WOW, now I am sold! I was just starting to run out of room in my chassis.
Posted on Reply
#23
natr0n
It's like wiener size. I just depends on how you use it and it's efficiency/effectiveness.

or something like that
Posted on Reply
#24
TheLaughingMan
Effting, post: 3597614, member: 160090"
One may think that die size is not relevant, but in the end it is all that matters, as it translates to price, power, performance, competitiveness, profitability.
And that is why you tell your partners, investors, etc., not your customers. I am not saying its not important. I am saying we would all be happier with the end result like an actual price tag, confirmed specs, confirmed release SKU models, etc.

I am just tired of being teased with this daily drip of hype juice and I just want my dinner now.
Posted on Reply
#25
Foobario
AMD was already going to have a die per wafer advantage since they weren't going to include the useless IGPU on the same die. Intel offset that cost advantage since they don't have to pay a "foundry markup".

This revelation about smaller die size than Intel on a CPU/CPU basis implies that AMD is alot closer to Intel on a cost basis than one would have imagined.

A FX 8350 is 100mm2. Retails at $150. If AMD held the line on retail pricing for Zen their profitability would double should Zen be 50mm2. Of course, a wafer at 14nm finfet will cost more than a 32nm planar, then again, AMD's average ASP is going to be well over $100 higher than the FX 8350.

Then we get to the Naples release in a couple of months with it's near 100% margins. We are seeing that, per recent history, AMD's stated estimate of 40% margins was a sandbagged estimate. I think 40% will be the low end of reality by Q4 of this year.

One thing is for sure, Intel's margins will be dropping. They are barely covering their dividend/buyback/CAPEX now at 59% margins (gm). Should they cut back on any of the three either their share price collapses or they harm their future pipeline.

BTW, Intel already announcing price cuts as of yesterday. Writing is on the wall for team blue.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment