It feels like it was just yesterday that AMD released its Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs, but the next generation of performance is right around the corner.
AMD CTO & EVP of Technology & Engineering Mark Papermaster took the stage during today’s Financial Analyst Day 2020 event and teased some of AMD’s future CPU plans. Among those were a roadmap that confirmed the progress of its Zen 3 and Zen 4 processors.
The former looks like it’ll be out before the end of the year, but there’s a surprising quirk: what happened to Zen 3 being a 7 nm+ part? Well, AMD has explained that it could no longer use “7 nm+” to describe a successive iteration of 7 nm after TSMC formally defined its EUV-based N7+ process – which Zen 3 isn’t actually using.
TSMC has three versions of its 7 nm process:
N7: the basic initial version using “DUV”-only tools (no EUV)
N7P: the second generation version of N7, which is also only DUV
N7+: EUV version of N7 for a number of layers in the metal stack
The roadmap also confirmed that Zen 4 would release by 2022. This generation is especially exciting because it marks Ryzen’s debut on the 5 nm node, which should bring significant performance and power improvements.
As for the more distant future, Papermaster teased a stacking technology called “X3D” packaging. AMD believes that this will increase bandwidth density by as much as ten times.