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G.SKILL Memory First to Break DDR4 6 GHz World Record Speed

G.SKILL, the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is very thrilled to announce a new world record for the fastest memory frequency at DDR4-6016.8 MHz, being the first ever to break through the DDR4-6000 barrier. This milestone is set by the Taiwanese professional overclocker, TopPC, using G.SKILL DDR4 Trident Z Royal memory on the latest MSI MPG Z390I GAMING EDGE AC motherboard and Intel Core i9-9900K processor.

Just 3 short months after the world record DDR4-5886MHz set by Toppc at the G.SKILL Computex booth in June, Toppc has once again set a new world record for memory frequency speed and is the first to push DDR4 memory to an astonishing 6 GHz. The validation links for this major milestone can be found in the following CPU-Z validation link and HWBot website screenshot below (validation).

AMD Designing Zen 4 for 2021, Zen 3 Completes Design Phase, out in 2020

AMD in its 2nd generation EPYC processor launch event announced that it has completed the design phase of its next-generation "Zen 3" CPU microarchitecture, and is currently working on its successor, the "Zen 4." AMD debuted its "Zen 2" microarchitecture with the client-segment 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, it made its enterprise debut with the 2nd generation EPYC. This is the first x86 CPU microarchitecture designed for the 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process, and is being built on a 7 nm DUV (deep ultraviolet) node at TSMC. It brings about double-digit percentage IPC improvements over "Zen+."

The "Zen 3" microarchitecture is designed for the next big process technology change within 7 nm, EUV (extreme ultraviolet), which allows significant increases in transistor densities, and could facilitate big improvements in energy-efficiency that could be leveraged to increase clock-speeds and performance. It could also feature new ISA instruction-sets. With "Zen 3" passing design phase, AMD will work on prototyping and testing it. The first "Zen 3" products could debut in 2020. "Zen 4" is being designed for a different era.

Next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors to Deliver Breakthrough Platform Performance with up to 56 Processor Cores

Intel today announced its future Intel Xeon Scalable processor family (codename Cooper Lake) will offer customers up to 56 processor cores per socket and built-in AI training acceleration in a standard, socketed CPU as part of its mainline Intel Xeon Scalable platforms, with availability in the first half of 2020. The breakthrough platform performance delivered within the high-core-count Cooper Lake processors will leverage the capabilities built into the Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series, which today is gaining momentum among the world's most demanding HPC customers, including HLRN, Advania, 4Paradigm, and others.

"The Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series that we introduced as part of our 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor family generated a lot of excitement among our customers who are deploying the technology to run their high-performance computing (HPC), advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and high-density infrastructure. Extended 56-core processor offerings into our mainline Intel Xeon Scalable platforms enables us to serve a much broader range of customers who hunger for more processor performance and memory bandwidth."
-Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager of Data Center Marketing, Intel Corporation

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

AMD Halts Further x86 Technology Licensing to China

AMD Lisa Su at Computex 2019 confirmed to Tom's hardware that the company wasn't licensing anymore of its x86 IP portfolio to China-based companies. AMD entered a technology license agreement with China's Tianjin Haiguang Advanced Technology Investment Co. Ltd. (THATIC) in 2016. As part of the agreement to license its x86 and SoC IP for chip development, AMD received a cash infusion worth $293 million (plus royalties).

As a result, Chinese chipmaker Hygon started delivering their "Dhyana" CPUs, which looked like copies of AMD's Zen-based Epyc chips with added, Chinese-government approved cryptographic capabilities. AMD had to go through some hoops to get this deal done, but it did. However, now the technology refinement pipe is draining for the Chinese companies, as AMD won't be delivering its post-Zen updates to the core design. It remains to be seen if AMD's intellectual property was enough for Chinese companies to ignite their own in-country CPU development, or if the ongoing US-China trade war will keep on draining the company of CPU independence.

Intel Releases ModernFW as Open Source, minimal Firmware Replacement

Today Intel announced ModernFW - an experimental approach to building a minimum viable platform firmware for machines such as cloud server platforms. The reason for this software is that, while traditional PC Firmware has evolved over time and retained its backward compatibility, it has become very big and often inefficient.

So to meet the requirements of new platforms that need to be built quickly and adapted easily, Intel decided to offer a new software package that will help with that. The new firmware package targets x86_64 from ISA standpoint and Linux kernel based OSes.

Intel Officially Sinks the Itanic, Future of IA-64 Architecture Uncertain

Intel has unceremoniously, through a product change notification (PCN), discontinued the Itanium family of microprocessors. The Itanium 9700 "Kittson," which was released in 2017, is the final generation of Itanium, and its sales to new customers have stopped according to the PCN. The series has been marked "end of life" (EOL). Existing customers of Itanium who already have their IT infrastructure built around Itanium 9700 series, have an opportunity to determine their remaining demand of these processors, and place their "Last Product Discontinuance" order with Intel. The final LPD shipments would go out mid-2021.

With this move, Intel has cast uncertainty over the future of the IA-64 microarchitecture. IA-64 was originally conceived by Intel to replace 32-bit x86 at the turn of the century, as an industry-standard 64-bit processor architecture. AMD laid the foundation for its rival standard AMD64, which could go on to become x86-64. AMD64 won the battle for popularity over IA-64, as it maintained complete backwards-compatibility with x86, and could seamlessly run 32-bit software, saving enterprises and clients billions in transition costs. Intel cross-licensed it as EM64T (extended memory 64-bit technology), before standardizing the name x86-64. Itanium dragged on for close to two decades serving certain enterprise and HPC customers.

Intel Unveils "Lakefield" Heterogenous SoC and "Project Athena"

Intel today unveiled a killer new product with which it hopes to bring about as big a change to mobile computing as Ultrabook did some eight years ago. This effort is a combination of a new mobile computing form-factor codenamed "Project Athena," and an SoC at its heart, codenamed "Lakefield." Put simply, "Lakefield" is a 10 nm SoC that's integrated much in the same way as today's ARM SoCs, which combine IP from various vendors onto a single PoP (package-over-package) Foveros die.

The biggest innovation with "Lakefield" is its hybrid x86 multi-core CPU design, which combines four Atom-class low-power cores, with one Core-class "Sunny Cove" core, in a setup akin to ARM's big.LITTLE. Low-power processing loads are distributed to the smaller cores, while the big core is woken up to deal with heavy loads. The SoC also integrates a Gen 11 iGPU core, partial components to accelerate 802.11ax WLAN, 5G, an PoP DRAM and NVMe storage devices. The reference motherboard based on "Lakefield" is barely larger than an M.2 SSD!

Intel's Foveros-based, Hybrid x86 CPUs Mean the Company Needed to Sprinkle some ARM

Intel at its architecture day revealed one of the more exquisite in-house designs for the company in recent years: a hybrid x86 chip that seems to imbibe from ARM's own big.Little design mantra. The new Hybrid x86 CPU that was announced takes this design choice in pairing a single, high-performance Sunny Cove core with four smaller Atom cores. This chip is built using Intel's Foveros manufacturing technology, which means a 22FFL IO chip serves as an active interposer, connected via TSVs to a 10nm die that contains both types of cores. The tiny chips measures just 12 x 12 x 1 mm (144 mm²), and looks to reduce footprint even further by including a POP (package on package) memory design.

The new Intel design is aimed at low-power environments, with the chip having been designed to work on a 2 mW standby power ratio, with less than a 7 W of power - for a big.Little five-core design and a 64 EU design with Gen11 graphics core. Intel's Jim Keller said that the company is testing the intricacies and advantages of this design internally, so more products based on this manufacturing and packaging mantra could pop up sometime in the future.

It Can't Run Crysis: Radeon Instinct MI60 Only Supports Linux

AMD recently announced the Radeon Instinct MI60, a GPU-based data-center compute processor with hardware virtualization features. It takes the crown for "the world's first 7 nm GPU." The company also put out specifications of the "Vega 20" GPU it's based on: 4,096 stream processors, 4096-bit HBM2 memory interface, 1800 MHz engine clock-speed, 1 TB/s memory bandwidth, 7.4 TFLOP/s peak double-precision (FP64) performance, and the works. Here's the kicker: the company isn't launching this accelerator with Windows support. At launch, AMD is only releasing x86-64 Linux drivers, with API support for OpenGL 4.6, Vulkan 1.0, and OpenCL 2.0, along with AMD's ROCm open ecosystem. The lack of display connector already disqualifies this card for most workstation applications, but with the lack of Windows support, it is also the most expensive graphics card that "can't run Crysis." AMD could release Radeon Pro branded graphics cards based on "Vega 20," which will ship with Windows and MacOS drivers.

AMD and Oracle Collaborate to Provide AMD EPYC Processor-Based Offering in the Cloud

Today at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) announced the availability of the first AMD EPYCTM processor-based instance on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. With this announcement, Oracle becomes the largest public cloud provider to have a Bare Metal version on AMD EPYCTM processors1. The AMD EPYC processor-based "E" series will lead with the bare metal, Standard "E2", available immediately as the first instance type within the Series. At $0.03/Core hour, the AMD EPYC instance is up to 66 percent less on average per core than general purpose instances offered by the competition2 and is the most cost-effective instance available on any public cloud.

"With the launch of the AMD instance, Oracle has once again demonstrated that we are focused on getting the best value and performance to our customers," said Clay Magouyrk, senior vice president, software development, Oracle Cloud Infrastructure. "At greater than 269 GB/Sec, the AMD EPYC platform3, offers the highest memory bandwidth of any public cloud instance. Combined with increased performance, these cost advantages help customers maximize their IT dollars as they make the move to the cloud."

Intel is Adding Vulkan Support to Their OpenCV Library, First Signs of Discrete GPU?

Intel has submitted the first patches with Vulkan support to their open-source OpenCV library, which is designed to accelerate Computer Vision. The library is widely used for real-time applications as it comes with 1st-class optimizations for Intel processors and multi-core x86 in general. With Vulkan support, existing users can immediately move their neural network workloads to the GPU compute space without having to rewrite their code base.

At this point in time, the Vulkan backend supports Convolution, Concat, ReLU, LRN, PriorBox, Softmax, MaxPooling, AvePooling, and Permute. According to the source code changes, this is just "a beginning work for Vulkan in OpenCV DNN, more layer types will be supported and performance tuning is on the way."

It seems that now, with their own GPU development underway, Intel has found new love for the GPU-accelerated compute space. The choice of Vulkan is also interesting as the API is available on a wide range of platforms, which could mean that Intel is trying to turn Vulkan into a CUDA killer. Of course there's still a lot of work needed to achieve that goal, since NVIDIA has had almost a decade of head start.

VIA C3 Processors Compromised by a Simple Shell Command

VIA processors probably make up an infinitesimal amount of the desktop PC market-share, and its makers market the chip only at pre-built machines such as digital-signage kiosks, information kiosks, ticket vending machines, ATMs, etc (which don't need a lot of processing power). At the Black Hat 2018 conference, security researcher Christopher Domas discovered that getting access to root privileges in Linux on a machine powered by VIA C3 "Nehemiah" processors is laughably easy. Just key in ".byte 0x0f, 0x3f" (without quotes) in any Linux CLI in user mode, and voila! You are now the root user.

Domas calls this his own iddqd (the cheat-code for "God Mode" in "Doom"). This backdoor, probably put in place by the processor's designers themselves, completely collapses the ring-based privilege system of the operating system, and elevates users and applications from the ring-2 (and above) userspace to ring 0 (root). It is an exploitation of a shadow-core, a hidden RISC processor within C7, which manages the startup, operation, and key storage of the x86 cores. Intel and AMD too have shadow-cores with similar functions.

Intel is Giving up on Xeon Phi - Eight More Models Declared End-Of-Life

Intel's Xeon Phi lineup, which started as Larrabee. has never seen any commercial success in the market despite big promises from the big blue giant that its programming model would be more productive for developers coming from x86. In the meantime, NVIDIA GPUs have taken over the world of supercomputing, with the latest generation Volta decimating Intel Xeon Phi offerings.

Intel's plan was to release a new generation of Xeon Phi called "Knights Hill", on a 10 nanometer process. However, constant delays ramping up 10 nm, paired with generally low demand for Xeon Phi, forced the company to abandon this project. Now the company announces that they are stopping production for eight currently shipping Xeon Phi models.

Chinese Company Begins Making x86 Processors Based on AMD "Zen" Architecture

Chinese chipmaker Hygon began mass-producing its first x86 processors codenamed "Dhyana" based on AMD's "Zen" micro-architecture. The processor is the fruition of a deal AMD entered with a Chinese state-owned company back in mid-2016. As part of this deal, a company called Haiguang Microelectronics Company (HMC), in which AMD has a 51 percent stake, would license the "Zen" architecture to another company called Hygon (Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit Design Co.), in which AMD owns a 30 percent stake. Hygon would then design "Dhyana," and a third entity (likely TSMC or some other Chinese foundry), would contract-manufacture the chip.

Such legal gymnastics is necessary to ensure AMD makes good on the $293 million it will take from the Chinese firms to license "Zen," while not breaching the x86 architecture cross-licensing agreement it signed with Intel, the core x86 IP owner. Chinese firms are going through all this trouble to build "Dhyana" instead of simply placing a large order of EPYC processors not just because they want more control over the supply and pricing of these chips, but probably also to ensure that China can keep an eye on all the on-die software that makes the processor tick, and weed out any backdoors to foreign governments (*cough*NSA*cough*).

Intel Rumored to Commemorate 40th Anniversary of the 8086 with a Special Core i7 SKU?

Intel recently celebrated 20 years of the Pentium brand that made the company a household name, with a special Pentium 20th Anniversary Edition G3258 SKU. If rumors are to be believed, the company could do something similar with the upcoming 40th anniversary of its 8086 processor, the distant ancestor of today's x86 architecture. Some sources even suggest that the company could take advantage of its 8th generation Core product cycle to launch a "Core i7-8086K" SKU.

Pictures surfaced on social media of the said "i7-8086K" SKU in the flesh, complete with a part number "SR3QQ." Based on the same 14 nm "Coffee Lake" silicon as the i7-8700K, this chip has a nominal clock speed of 4.00 GHz, a maximum Turbo Boost frequency above 5.00 GHz, an unlocked multiplier, and 12 MB of shared L3 cache. Intel could choose June 8th (around the 2018 Computex and the actual anniversary of 8086), to launch the new SKU.

Apple to End the x86 Mac Era in 2020

One of the biggest tech stories of the 2000s was Apple's transition from the PowerPC machine architecture to Intel x86, which brought the Mac closer to being the PC it so loathed. The transition wasn't smooth, as besides the operating system, practically every third-party software developer (eg: Adobe), had to rewrite their software for the new architecture, with new APIs, and new runtime environments. Apple could be bringing about a similar change before the turn of the decade.

Apple already builds its own application processors for iOS devices, and some of the newer chips such as the A11 Bionic and A10 Fusion have already reached the performance levels of entry-level x86 desktop processors. It's only a matter of time before Apple can build its own SoCs for Macs (that's not just iMac desktops, but also Mac Pro workstations, MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro). That timeline is expected to be around 2020. Since these chips are based on the ARM machine architecture, they will mandate a major transformation of the entire software ecosystem Apple built over the past decade and a half. Intel shares dropped by as much as 9.2 at the first reports of this move.

Dear Intel, If a Glaring Exploit Affects Intel CPUs and Not AMD, It's a Flaw

Intel tried desperately in a press note late Wednesday to brush aside allegations that the recent hardware security-vulnerability are a "bug" or a "flaw," and that the media is exaggerating the issue, notwithstanding the facts that the vulnerability only affects Intel x86 processors and not AMD x86 processors (despite the attempt to make it appear in the press-release as if the vulnerability is widespread among other CPU vendors such as AMD and ARM by simply throwing their brand names into the text); notwithstanding the fact that Intel, Linux kernel lead developers with questionable intentions, and other OS vendors such as Microsoft are keeping their correspondence under embargoes and their Linux kernel update mechanism is less than transparent; notwithstanding the fact that Intel shares are on a slump at the expense of AMD and NVIDIA shares, and CEO Brian Kraznich sold a lot of Intel stock while Intel was secretly firefighting this issue.

The exploits, titled "Meltdown," is rather glaring to be a simple vulnerability, and is described by the people who discovered it, as a bug. Apparently, it lets software running on one virtual machine (VM) access data of another VM, which hits at the very foundations of cloud-computing (integrity and security of virtual machines), and keeps customers wanting cost-effective cloud services at bay. It critically affects the very business models of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Alibaba, some of the world's largest cloud computing providers; and strikes at the economics of choosing Intel processors over AMD, in cloud-computing data centers, since the software patches that mitigate the vulnerability, if implemented ethically, significantly reduce performance of machines running Intel processors and not machines running AMD processors (that don't require the patch in the first place). You can read Intel's goalpost-shifting masterpiece after the break.

AMD Struggles to Be Excluded from Unwarranted Intel VT Flaw Kernel Patches

Intel is secretly firefighting a major hardware security vulnerability affecting its entire x86 processor lineup. The hardware-level vulnerability allows unauthorized memory access between two virtual machines (VMs) running on a physical machine, due to Intel's flawed implementation of its hardware-level virtualization instruction sets. OS kernel-level software patches to mitigate this vulnerability, come at huge performance costs that strike at the very economics of choosing Intel processors in large-scale datacenters and cloud-computing providers, over processors from AMD. Ryzen, Opteron, and EPYC processors are inherently immune to this vulnerability, yet the kernel patches seem to impact performance of both AMD and Intel processors.

Close inspection of kernel patches reveal code that forces machines running all x86 processors, Intel or AMD, to be patched, regardless of the fact that AMD processors are immune. Older commits to the Linux kernel git, which should feature the line "if (c->x86_vendor != X86_VENDOR_AMD)" (condition that the processor should be flagged "X86_BUG_CPU_INSECURE" only if it's not an AMD processor), have been replaced with the line "/* Assume for now that ALL x86 CPUs are insecure */" with no further accepted commits in the past 10 days. This shows that AMD's requests are being turned down by Kernel developers. Their intentions are questionable in the wake of proof that AMD processors are immune, given that patched software inflicts performance penalties on both Intel and AMD processors creating a crony "level playing field," even if the latter doesn't warrant a patch. Ideally, AMD should push to be excluded from this patch, and offer to demonstrate the invulnerability of its processors to Intel's mess.

VIA Making a Comeback to x86 CPU Market with Zhaoxin R&D Monies

The only other active x86 architecture licensee than AMD, VIA Technologies, is planning a comeback to the x86 processor market, bolstered by R&D investment by Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor. VIA and Zhaoxin have been co-developing the ZX family of x86 processors for rollout in 2018, and at least on paper, the chips appear to have the chops to take on Intel's "Gemini Lake" SoCs. The new VIA-Zhaoxin combine CPU family begins with the KX-5000 "Wudaoku" SoCs launched late-2017. These are full-fledged SoCs, which completely integrate the chipset (including the southrbidge).

The KX-5000 chips feature 4 or 8 CPU cores without SMT, 2.00-2.20 GHz nominal CPU clock, 2.40 GHz boost clock, a dual-channel DDR4 IMC, a PCI-Express gen 3.0 root complex, an integrated graphics core, and platform I/O that includes SATA 6 Gbps, and USB 3.1 gen 2. This chip debuted on only one product from a major OEM, the Lenovo M6200 desktop model launched in China. 2018 could see a broader launch of VIA-Zhaoxin chips, with the KX-6000. While the older chips were built on the 28 nm process, the KX-6000 series will be built on the newer 16 nm process, feature 4 or 8 CPU cores clocked at speeds of up to 3.00 GHz, while retaining the feature-set of the KX-5000 series. These chips could realistically be touted as low-cost alternatives to Intel "Gemini Lake" SoCs, although Zhaoxin is making bold claims about its performance nearing that of AMD Ryzen processors.

IBM Unveils Industry's Most Advanced Server Designed for Artificial Intelligence

IBM today unveiled its next-generation Power Systems Servers incorporating its newly designed POWER9 processor. Built specifically for compute-intensive AI workloads, the new POWER9 systems are capable of improving the training times of deep learning frameworks by nearly 4x allowing enterprises to build more accurate AI applications, faster.

The new POWER9-based AC922 Power Systems are the first to embed PCI-Express 4.0, next-generation NVIDIA NVLink and OpenCAPI, which combined can accelerate data movement, calculated at 9.5x faster than PCI-E 3.0 based x86 systems. The system was designed to drive demonstrable performance improvements across popular AI frameworks such as Chainer, TensorFlow and Caffe, as well as accelerated databases such as Kinetica. As a result, data scientists can build applications faster, ranging from deep learning insights in scientific research, real-time fraud detection and credit risk analysis.

Intel Hires Raja Koduri, to Develop Discrete GPUs, This Time for Real

Intel hired Raja Koduri, who resigned as head of AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), earlier this week. Koduri has been made Senior Vice President and Chief Architect of Intel's future discrete GPUs. That's right, Intel has renewed its dreams to power high-end graphics cards that compete with AMD and NVIDIA. Intel's last attempt at a discrete GPU was "Larrabee," which evolved into a super-scalar multi-core processor for HPC applications under the Xeon Phi line.

This development heralds two major theories. One, that Intel's collaboration with AMD RTG on graphics IP could only go further from here, and what is a multi-chip module of Intel and AMD IP now, could in the future become a true heterogeneous die of Intel's and AMD's IP. Two, that the consolidation of AMD's graphics assets and IP into a monolithic entity as RTG, could make it easier to sell it lock, stock, and barrel, possibly to Intel.

Intel CPU On-chip Management Engine Runs on MINIX

With the transition to multi-core processors, and multi-core processors with integrated core-logic (chipset), the need arose for a low-level SoC embedded into the processor with just enough compute power to make sure all the components you pay for start-up and function as advertised. Enter the Intel ME (management engine). This is a full-fledged computer within your Intel processor, which isn't exposed to you. It runs on its very own tiny x86 CPU core that isn't exposed, and its software is driven on an infinitesimally small ROM and RAM. Since you can't have software without some sort of operating-system, Intel chose MINIX for the job.

MINIX is a Unix-like OS with an extremely small memory footprint. The OS was designed by Andrew Tanenbaum, originally as an educational tool to demonstrate that machines can still be built with extremely tiny code. If you're familiar with the "ring-level" system of hardware-access privilege by software, ring 0 would designate the "highest" level of access. A software with ring 0 access can erase your disk, flash your system BIOS, and even make your CPU run at any C-state. The OS kernel needs these privileges, and hence is a ring 0 software. Most user software, like the web-browser you're reading this on, runs at ring 3 (with the browser's own sandbox, the user-level, and API level forming inner levels). Intel ME runs at ring -3 (negative 3), and your OS has no power over it. Most system BIOS updates for Intel motherboards include a ROM update for ME. ME governs the functioning of the rest of the processor, its start-up, and booting. It also governs silicon-level security and management features that can't be compromised by malware.

On The Story of AMD's Ryzen Threadripper Product Development

In a Forbes interview conducted by Anthony Leather, AMD officials Senior Vice President and General Manager Jim Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Marketing John Taylor, Sarah Youngbauer of AMD's communications team, and James Prior, AMD's Senior Product Manager, have shed some light on the development process for AMD's equivalent of a flash hit - their HEDT, HCC Threadripper chips. Threadripper, which leverages AMD's Zen architecture used in their Ryzen and EPYC processors, makes use of an MCM design with up to 16 cores and 32 threads, with AMD's svelte Zen, 8-core base units linked through the company's high speed interconnect Infinity Fabric.

This has allowed the company to scale designs from four core processors with Ryzen 3, all the way towards the current cream of the crop Threadripper 1950X. It's an extremely scalable design, which brings with it improved yields and some pretty significant cost savings for AMD due to smaller dies. This, in turn, means the company is able to more agressively price their Ryzen and Threadripper processors compared to the competition, at least when it comes to high core and thread counts for the same price bracket - and the success of that business decision is showing.

For our forum lurkers, this article is marked as an editorial.

AMD to Build "Zen 2" and "Zen 3" Processors on 7 nm Process: CTO

AMD is in no mood to stick to the 14 nm process for as long as Intel has (building four performance x86 CPU micro-architectures on it). In an interview with EE Times, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster confirmed that the company's "Zen 2" and "Zen 3" CPU micro-architectures will be built on the next-generation 7 nm silicon fab process. Transition to the 7 nm process is not as straightforward as optically shrinking your chip designs and shipping them over to your foundry. Apparently it requires big technical changes for the chip design teams, which AMD feels are better executed while it's still riding on the success of its current "Zen" architecture.

"We had to literally double our efforts across foundry and design teams…It's the toughest lift I've seen in a number of generations," said Papermaster. He added that the 7 nm node requires new "CAD tools and [changes in] the way you architect the device [and] how you connect transistors-the implementation and tools change [as well as] the IT support you need to get through it." Papermaster predicts that 7 nm will be a "long node like 28 nm" in that chip designers will have to build several refinements to their designs on the node before the newer 4 nm node could be heralded. He urged semiconductor foundry companies to introduce EUV (extreme ultra-violet lithography), a technique used to etch transistors and circuits at the infinitesimally small 7 nm node, as soon as possible, so AMD could have more options at manufacturing its next generation processors.
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