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Rumor: AMD's upcoming Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs may actually use TSMC's 5 nm enhanced production process

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Rumor | AMD's upcoming Zen 3 Ryzen 4000 desktop CPUs may actually use TSMC's 5 nm enhanced production process, still scheduled to launch in Q4 2020

If AMD manages this feat, the PC competitive landscape could drastically change in favor of team red, leaving Intel way behind struggling to make the jump to 10 nm. However, these may as well be just unfounded rumors, as a production shift from 7 nm to 5 nm on such short notice may not prove to be that easy.

Chinese publication DigiTimes recently dropped a huge bomb claiming that AMD’s Ryzen 4000 CPUs based on the Zen 3 architecture that are supposed to launch in Q4 2020 will be built using the TSMC 5 nm node instead of the 7 nm one that was cited in all previous rumors. If this is indeed true, AMD could essentially deliver a deadly blow to Intel, which is still struggling to port its mainstream desktop CPUs to 10 nm. Sounds too good to be true? Analysts tend to think so, but there is not much evidence to the contrary either.

Twitter user RetiredEngineer was kind enough to translate the entire DigiTimes report that is now hiding behind a paywall. First of all, the report mentions that TSMC will begin mass production on the 5 nm node in Q4, apparently ahead of schedule. We already knew that 5 nm production would occur in some capacity by the end of 2020 since mobile SoCs like the A14 Bionic and Kirin 1000 are scheduled to be released in that period. Nevertheless, SoC production is different from CPU production, which requires some more refining, so TSMC might be speeding things up to allow for a tighter release schedule.

According to the report, one of the possible drives for such change in the release schedule could be the ongoing pandemic that apparently boosted demand for PC and server sales due to the shift to a work-from-home economy. Q1 2020 sales for Ryzen and EPYC CPUs were strong, bringing revenues 40% higher than the same period of 2019. With such remarkable growth, AMD has now managed to become one of TSMC’s most important customers, prompting the foundry to allocate increased production capacity. This was made possible through TSMC’s decision to drop Huawei’s 5 nm Kirin 1000 SoC orders by Q4 due to the ban imposed by the U.S.

The report goes on to say that the Ryzen 4000 CPUs codenamed Vermeer were originally planned to use the 7 nm EUV node, yet will launch with 5 nm tech instead. We are not quite sure how AMD was able to change the blueprints for these chips on such short notice, as the designs were most likely finalized at least one year in advance. The math does not seem to be adding up, but maybe AMD and TSMC have found an elegant workaround that is eluding us. In any case, the report claims the new Ryzen 4000 CPUs should be unveiled in September - October, while the actual availability of the chips could be scheduled for December 2020 or early 2021.

As a conclusion, DigiTimes notes that the accelerated launch of the 5 nm chips “will put unprecedented pressure on Intel,” bringing the greatest change to the PC platform competitive landscape in 15 years. AMD’s market share could thus sore to historical highs, and its market cap could explode.



 

CubanB

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These rumors are frustrating, because it can build false hope. I remember before 3000 series, there were clock speeds rumored or leaked that turned out nowhere near accurate. Then.. the actual clock speeds were a disappointment. Then.. AMD doesn't even properly hit those.. and has to release a series of AGESAS. I mean, technically if they hit those speeds for 5ms once a blue moon it's accurate but yeah. Fortunately, the power effeciency and IPC of these chips were strong but still below earlier expectation.

The 4000 series is exciting in a number of ways. Especially if one can use them on their X470 or B450 boards. I guess it's possible the new refresh (XT) models could pass the time.. and allow them to release on 5nm instead but it just seems far fetched at the moment. They'll be great chips either way, but similar to the recent B550 announcements, they are probably going to be more expensive than people are used to.
 
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FWIW, there was this rumor a while ago, but the idea was that AMD could use both technologies. It was more like an opportunistic move, the idea was not to delay the launches until the new technology becomes available, but rather to take advantage of it once it is mature enough, mostly for the higher-end products (Ryzen 4000 or Navi).
 
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But 7 is 10 and 5 is 7, at least that's what I remember about differences between nodes used by tsmc and Intel.
 
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But 7 is 10 and 5 is 7, at least that's what I remember about differences between nodes used by tsmc and Intel.
To be able to produce even low power parts for mobiles, Intel was forced to loosen the tides between transistors and thus, their 10nm process is worst than the 7nm TSMC one. And judging from the clocks able to reach, much worse. Financially obsolete in reality. So, you cannot practically compare those processes at all.
 

ppn

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ZEN2 74mm² at 50Mtr/mm²
ZEN3 40mm² at 100Mtr/mm²

Not impossible. since 40mm² is relatively very very small 5mm² per core it is just crazy, compared to 12,5mm² per core Coffee lake, but unlikely,

N7P 4000-5000, N6 -6000 and then N5 in 2022 -7000 series.
 
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My trust in DigiTimes is zero after they published an article that TSMC won't build a foundry in the USA, and then two days later TSMC announced they were going to do just that.

This rumour, in particular, is complete nonsense. Changing process node only ~3 months before supposed launch is a massive risk, even more so when the node in question is unproven (how many TSMC 5nm chips are in commercial products right now? none). Further, TSMC stated in December that yields on 5nm were only 32% for Zen-sized dies. And the new Rocket Lake CPUs are faster than their predecessors, but not fast enough to challenge Zen 2 in a meaningful manner.

tl;dr literally zero reason for AMD to take the risk of changing process node for Zen 3 this late in the game. Zen 3 will be 7nm, period. Zen 3+ and/or Zen 4 may be 5nm, but more likely 7nm+.
 
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This rumour, in particular, is complete nonsense. Changing process node only ~3 months before supposed launch is a massive risk, even more so when the node in question is unproven (how many TSMC 5nm chips are in commercial products right now? none). Further, TSMC stated in December that yields on 5nm were only 32% for Zen-sized dies. And the new Rocket Lake CPUs are faster than their predecessors, but not fast enough to challenge Zen 2 in a meaningful manner.

tl;dr literally zero reason for AMD to take the risk of changing proces node for Zen 3 this late in the game. Zen 3 will be 7nm, period. Zen 3+ and/or Zen 4 may be 5nm, but more likely 7nm+.
How do you know this wasn't set in motion six, nine, 12 months ago? Just because of a rumour that comes out now, doesn't mean it was something that was set in motion a few days/weeks ago.

Also, how do you know that Zen 3 is going to launch in three months? As far as I'm ware, AMD has so far not announced a launch date. So you're basing you disbelief one rumour on another rumour, makes complete sense :kookoo:

Our 5nm technology entered risk production in March 2019 and target for volume production in 2020.
Obviously this might very well be for mobile SoCs, but it seems like it's far from impossible that AMD could have access to 5nm this year.
I'm not saying they will ship anything 5nm this year, as I simply don't know.
 
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Agreed whith those who doesn't believe Zen3 desktop CPUs will be made on 5nm process. Too late into the schedule to change plans imho. Maybe next TR and Epyc series will be made on 5nm but neither that is logical judging by previous iterations of Zen CPUs.
 
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How do you know this wasn't set in motion six, nine, 12 months ago? Just because of a rumour that comes out now, doesn't mean it was something that was set in motion a few days/weeks ago.

Also, how do you know that Zen 3 is going to launch in three months? As far as I'm ware, AMD has so far not announced a launch date. So you're basing you disbelief one rumour on another rumour, makes complete sense :kookoo:


Obviously this might very well be for mobile SoCs, but it seems like it's far from impossible that AMD could have access to 5nm this year.
I'm not saying they will ship anything 5nm this year, as I simply don't know.
Does AMD have access to TSMC 5nm and is testing it with respect to using it in future products? Absolutely.
Will AMD ship commercial products fabbed on TSMC 5nm this year? Absolutely not. Doesn't matter whether Zen 3 launches September 1 or December 31.

The issue is not the timeline, it's being commercially proven. TSMC's 5nm is unproven, and the risk of being the first 5nm commercial customer is too large for AMD to take. If they bet on 5nm and it fails, it disrupts all their plans, the rhythm of launches they've built up, the trust they've rebuilt with consumers. Intel made that bet with 10nm and look at where that's left them - AMD can be oblivious at time but they have not missed that particular lesson.
 
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The issue is not the timeline, it's being commercially proven. TSMC's 5nm is unproven, and the risk of being the first 5nm commercial customer is too large for AMD to take. If they bet on 5nm and it fails, it disrupts all their plans, the rhythm of launches they've built up, the trust they've rebuilt with consumers. Intel made that bet with 10nm and look at where that's left them - AMD can be oblivious at time but they have not missed that particular lesson.
And now you're mixing apples with oranges...
Intel tried something new with 10nm and it failed because it was an experiment that the management should've turned down.
TSMC's 5nm is simply a shrink of its 7nm node from what I understand, much like their 6nm node. It would also allow AMD to wait with a move to the much more expensive EUV nodes.
I guess we're just going to have to wait and see what happens, as neither of us knows what's going on.
 
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