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AMD "Picasso" APU Graphics Surfaces on UserBenchmark Database

AMD appears to have begun testing of its third APU for the socket AM4 platform, codenamed "Picasso." The code-name saw first light some 10 months ago, when it was described as AMD's APU product for 2019. The integrated graphics core of "Picasso" made its way to UserBenchmark database under the device ID "15D8." There are no benchmark results associated with this chip, yet. OIder slides described "Picasso" as being a slightly improved variant of "Raven Ridge," with improvements to out of the box performance and performance/Watt. It's likely that the chip is essentially "Raven Ridge" fabricated on the 12 nm node, with tweaks to the chip's on-die software. 2019 will also see AMD introduce its first chips based on the "Zen 2" architecture.

AMD Readies Ryzen Threadripper SKUs based on "Pinnacle Ridge" Dies

Hot on the heels of this morning's big AMD Ryzen 2000-series slide dump, comes a new roadmap slide that gives a larger overview of how AMD is addressing various client processor market segments. It begins with the mention of a 2nd generation Ryzen Threadripper series launch within 2018. These chips presumably, are multi-chip modules of the company's new 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon, and will be compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards through BIOS updates. The "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon supports higher clock-speeds, has several microarchitecture refinements, and a few new overclocker-centric features.

The better news is that company seems to be updating its HEDT processor lineup every year; and that the current Threadripper series isn't a one-off halo product like its Athlon64 FX "QuadFX" 2P platform. With "Pinnacle Ridge" based Threadripper 2000-series MCMs slated for 2018; 2019 will see the launch of the new "Castle Peak" HEDT processor. It's not known if this is an MCM. The spiritual successor to "Pinnacle Ridge" is "Matisse." This is Zen 2 based, and will have significant changes to the core design, presenting AMD with an opportunity to review the way it arranges cores. "Picasso" succeeds "Raven Ridge" as the company's Zen 2-based APUs. "Picasso," along with "Matisse" and "Castle Peak" could see AMD implement GlobalFoundries' new 7 nm silicon fabrication process, given its 2019 timeline. 2020 will see their refined avatars - an unnamed "Next-Gen HEDT" chip, "Vermeer," and "Renoir," respectively.

AMD Confirms 2nd Generation Ryzen Processors to Debut in Q1-2018

At a press event, AMD confirmed that its 2nd generation Ryzen desktop processors will debut in Q1-2018 (before April). It also clarified that "2nd Generation" does not equal "Zen2" (a micro-architecture that succeeds "Zen"). 2nd Generation Ryzen processors are based on two silicons, the 12 nm "Pinnacle Ridge," which is a GPU-devoid silicon with up to eight CPU cores; and "Raven Ridge," which is an APU combining up to 4 CPU cores with an iGPU based on the "Vega" graphics architecture. The core CPU micro-architecture is still "Zen." The "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon takes advantage of the optical shrink to 12 nm to increase clock speeds, with minimal impact on power-draw.

AMD is also launching a new generation of chipset, under the AMD 400-series. There's not much known about these chipsets. Hopefully they feature PCIe gen 3.0 general purpose lanes. The second-generation Ryzen processors and APUs will carry the 2000-series model numbering, with clear differentiation between chips with iGPU and those without. Both product lines will work on socket AM4 motherboards, including existing ones based on AMD 300-series chipset (requiring a BIOS update). AMD is reserving "Zen2," the IPC-increasing successor of "Zen" for 2019. The "Mattise" silicon will drive the multi-core CPU product-line, while the "Picasso" silicon will drive the APU line. Both these chips will run on existing AM4 motherboards, as AMD plans to keep AM4 as its mainstream-desktop socket till 2020.

AMD Zen 2 Architecture: Socket AM4, 2019, Code-named "Matisse"

AMD's Zen-based Ryzen and Threadripper have been said by the company as representing the "worst case scenario" of performance for their architecture. This is based on the fact that there are clear areas for improvement that AMD's engineers were keenly aware of even at the moment of Zen's tapping-out; inadvertently, some features or improvements were left on the chopping block due to time and budget constraints. As unfortunate as this is - who wouldn't love to have even more performance on their AMD processors - this also means AMD has a clear starting point in terms of improving performance of their Zen micro-architecture.

Spanish website Informatica Cero have gotten their hands on what they say is an exclusive, real piece of information from inside AMD, which shows the company's CPU roadmap until 2019, bringing some new details with it. On the desktop side, there's mention of AMD's "Pinacle Ridge" as succeeding the current Zen-based "Summit Ridge" Ryzen CPUs in 2018. These leverage the same Summit Ridge architecture, but with a performance uplift; this plays well into those reports of 12 nm being used to manufacture the second-generation Ryzen: it's an AMD tick, so to say. As such, the performance uplift likely comes from increased frequencies at the same power envelope, due to 12 nm's denser manufacturing design.
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