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AMD Fast-tracks 7nm "Navi" GPU to Late-2018 Alongside "Zen 2" CPU

AMD is unique in the world of computing as the only company with both high-performance CPU and GPU products. For the past several years we have been executing our multi-generational leadership product and architectural roadmap. Just in the last 18 months, we successfully introduced and ramped our strongest set of products in more than a decade and our business has grown dramatically as we gained market share across the PC, gaming and datacenter markets.

The industry is at a significant inflection point as the pace of Moore's Law slows while the demand for computing and graphics performance continues to grow. This trend is fueling significant shifts throughout the industry and creating new opportunities for companies that can successfully bring together architectural, packaging, system and software innovations with leading-edge process technologies. That is why at AMD we have invested heavily in our architecture and product roadmaps, while also making the strategic decision to bet big on the 7nm process node. While it is still too early to provide more details on the architectural and product advances we have in store with our next wave of products, it is the right time to provide more detail on the flexible foundry sourcing strategy we put in place several years ago.

Rumor: AMD's Zen 2, 7 nm Chips to Feature 10-15% IPC Uplift, Revised 8-core per CCX Design

A post via Chiphell makes some substantial claims on AMD's upcoming Zen 2 microarchitecture, built on the 7 nm process. AMD has definitely won the core-count war once again (albeit with a much more decisive blow to Intel's dominance than with Bulldozer), but the IPC battle has been an uphill one against Intel's slow, but sure, improvement in that area over the years. AMD did say, at the time they introduced the Zen architecture, that they had a solid understanding on Zen's choke points and its improveable bits and pieces - and took it to heart to deliver just that.

MSI Drops First Hint of AMD Increasing AM4 CPU Core Counts

With Intel frantically working on an 8-core socket LGA1151 processor to convincingly beat the 8-core AMD Ryzen 2000 series processor, AMD could be working on the next cycle of core-count increases for the mainstream-desktop platform. Motherboard maker MSI may have dropped the first hint that AMD is bringing >8 cores to the socket AM4 mainstream-desktop platform by mentioning that its upcoming motherboards based on the AMD B450 chipset support 8-core "and up" CPU in a marketing video.

AMD will get its next opportunity to tinker with key aspects of its CPU micro-architecture with "Zen 2," being built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process. If it decides to stick with the CCX approach to multi-core processors, the company could increase per-CCX core counts. A 50 percent core-count increase enables 12-core processors, while a 100 percent increase brings 16-cores to the AM4 platform. MSI video confirms that these >8-core processors will have backwards-compatibility with existing 400-series chipsets, even if they launch alongside newer 500-series chipset.
The video follows.

AMD Vega 20 GPU Could Implement PCI-Express gen 4.0

The "Vega 20" silicon will be significantly different from the "Vega 10" which powers the company's current Radeon RX Vega series. AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su unveiled the "Vega 20" silicon at the company's 2018 Computex event, revealing that the multi-chip module's 7 nm GPU die is surrounded by not two, but four HBM2 memory stacks, making up to 32 GB of memory. Another key specification is emerging thanks to the sharp eyes at ComputerBase.de - system bus.

A close inspection of the latest AMDGPU Linux driver includes PCI-Express link speed definitions for PCI-Express gen 4.0, which offers 256 Gbps of bandwidth per direction at x16 bus width, double that of PCI-Express gen 3.0. "Vega 20" got its first PCIe gen 4.0 support confirmation from a leak slide that surfaced around CES 2018. AMD "Vega" architecture slides from last year hinted at a Q3/Q4 launch of the first "Vega 20" based product. The same slide also hinted that the next-generation EPYC processor, which we know are "Zen 2" based and not "Zen+," could feature PCI-Express gen 4.0 root-complexes. Since EPYC chips are multi-chip modules, it could also hint at the likelihood of PCIe gen 4.0 on "Zen 2" based 3rd generation Ryzen processor family.

AMD to Begin Sampling 7nm "Zen 2" Processors Within 2018 for a 2019 Launch

It looks like AMD's processor product launch cycle is on steroids, and keeping up (or even ahead) of Intel. After launching the first 12 nm processor architecture with "Zen+," the company is giving final touches to what it hopes to be the world's first 7 nanometer processor architecture, with "Zen 2." The company will reportedly begin sampling the chip within 2018, to enable volume production and market launch in 2019. Speaking at an investors conference call following the company's Q1-2018 Results release, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su confirmed the 7 nm roll-out strategy of her company.

"We have a 7nm GPU based on Vega that we'll sample later this year. We have a 7nm server CPU that we'll sample later this year. And then, obviously, we have a number of products that are planned for 2019 as well. So it's a very, very busy product season for us. But we're pleased with the sort of the execution on the product roadmap," Dr. Su said. Unlike Zen+, Zen 2 is a major update to the company's processor micro-architecture, and presents the company with opportunities to improve several silicon-level specifications, such as the number of cores per CCX, the IPC of each core, the core-count of the die, the cache hierarchy, and the overall energy-efficiency.

AMD Works on "Zen 5" Micro-architecture Already

AMD late Monday posted a video of key people associated with the company's successful Ryzen processor family, to walk down memory lane and stare into the future, on its official YouTube channel. Mike Clark, who holds the designation of Sr. Fellow Design Engineering at AMD, stated that he is "already working on Zen 5." Going by AMD's naming convention, the number next to "Zen" denotes major micro-architecture generation since "Zen" and any "+" following the number denotes refinement to a newer silicon fabrication node. "Zen+," for example, is a refinement of "Zen 1" or simply "Zen" to the newer 12 nm process, and allows AMD engineers to make minor improvements without any major design changes.

On the other hand, "Zen 2" presents AMD with the opportunity to bring about major design changes (think "more than 4 cores per CCX"), or even improvements within the core itself. "Zen 5" is hence the fifth major micro-architecture chance since "Zen," although it would be premature to call it "6th generation Ryzen," as there could be several "+" stopgaps between "Zen +" and "Zen 5." To ensure people don't dismiss Clark's words for a slip of the tongue, AMD even annotated "Yes, he said Zen 5, see Endnote," and in the Endnote that has a lot of CYA statements, confirmed that "Zen 5" is a legit internal code-name for a micro-architecture AMD is working on.
The video follows.

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 Reveals CPU, Graphics 2018-2020 Roadmap at CES

AMD at CES shed some light on its 2018 roadmap, while taking the opportunity to further shed some light on its graphics and CPU projects up to 2020. Part of their 2018 roadmap was the company's already announced, across the board price-cuts for their first generation Ryzen processors. This move aims to increase competitiveness of its CPU offerings against rival Intel - thus taking advantage of the blue giant's currently weakened position due to the exploit saga we've been covering. This move should also enable inventory clearings of first-gen Ryzen processors - soon to be supplanted by the new Zen+ 12 nm offerings, which are expected to receive a 10% boost to power efficiency from the process shrink alone, while also including some specific improvements in optimizing their performance per watt profile. These are further bound to see their market introduction in March, and are already in the process of sampling.

On the CPU side, AMD's 2018 roadmap further points towards a Threadripper and Ryzen Pro refresh in the 2H 2018, likely in the same vein as their consumer CPUs that we just talked about. On the graphics side of their 2018 roadmap, AMD focused user's attention in the introduction of premium Vega offerings in the mobile space (with HBM2 memory integration on interposer, as well), which should enable the company to compete against NVIDIA in the discrete graphics space for mobile computers. Another very interesting tidbit announced by AMD is that they would be skipping the 12 nm process for their graphics products entirely; the company announced that it will begin sampling of 7 nm Vega products to its partners, but only on the Instinct product line of machine learning accelerators. We consumers will likely have to wait a little while longer until we see some 7 nm graphics cards from AMD.
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