Editorial: AMD Zen is now RYZEN processor

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AMD Zen has risen – RYZEN is announced

Last week I was in the Sonoma, the USA. AMD hosted an exciting event talking about new technologies and products that are upcoming. Yesterday we have already shared a thing or two about the new Radeon Instinct MI accelerators and related, a thing or two on VEGA. But As we know there are several products, architectures and technologies in the pipeline for AMD starting in Q1 2017, among them the artists formerly known as ZEN. Alongside the AMD live-stream we are allowed to share a few things about what probably is the biggest and most important release for AMD next year, their new processor series.

We will walk through this article by following these bullet points:

  • 3.4 GHz base-clock (or greater) at launch.
  • 20 MB L2+L3 Cache
  • Processor chipset
  • SenseMI


AMD CEO and president, Lisa Su made the RYZEN announcement

 Meet the RYZEN processor series

We’ll start off first with the naming. You all know the upcoming AMD processor as ZEN. That is a codename for the new architecture, and as such AMD figured they need a proper final name for the product series. However with ZEN pretty much sticking in everybody’s mind, AMD made the rather sensible decision to name Zen to something similar sounding. Yes the Zen and thus Summit Ridge product series officially will be named AMD RYZEN, kind of extrapolated from risen I guess, and not the Rizen gospel group (yes I Googled!). We think this is a terrific name for hopefully an even more terrific processor series. RYZEN is still on target and scheduled for launch in Q1 2017.


RYZEN starts at a 3.4 GHz baseclock

We’ll start off with the news on the 8-core RYZEN processors. We’ve seen engineering samples at work and it is good, in fact even impressive even seen from the limited circumstances we have seen it being tested. Compared towards an 8-core Intel Core i7-6900K Processor on the demos we have seen, the RYZEN engineering sample is FASTER.



One example is a demo we have seen with the two processors mentioned crunching in handbrake (video transcoding over the CPU), in a roughly 60 seconds run, the AMD RYZEN part was seconds faster than the Core i7-6900K. The above  cam video (go full screen for detail) shows the RYZEN processor at work, on the other side of the room on a screen the Intel 6900K processor results where shown. The 8-core 16-threaded Core i7 6900K was running stock frequency clocks, thus at a 3.2 base / 3.7 Turbo boost on an MSI X99 motherboard.

Unfortunately that 6900K result screen was out of reach for me to video so I just pointed my camera at the stuff that mattered, the Summit Ridge results. Now here’s the shocking news, the RYZEN engineering sample (Summit Ridge 8-core / 16-thread) processor did not have any turbos enabled just yet. So the product was running its cores at the default 3.4 GHz.


Power consumption 95 Watt

In a Blender demo (3D content creation), we have been able to spot the power consumption for the entire system, setup as discussed above. The power consumption for the 8-cores at that base frequency of 3.4 GHz was roughly sitting at 95 Watts, this in fact included the system and thus motherboard. So this again is looking really good. That number might get slightly higher as AMD has not implemented the Turbos on this setup. Typically we talk about 10% margins here.


 That base clock frequency 

So as you guys have been able to read a couple of times now, the engineering sample only had a baseclock of 3.4 GHz. And that it is exactly here where the news starts to get even bigger as that is the lowest clock frequency for this processor series. So it is very plausible that the baseclock could even get higher for some parts. We expect the bigger more core 8-core processors to get that 3.4 GHz baseclock on all 8 cores with an added Turbo frequency in the 10% maybe 15% range as extra. While the turbo clocks where not enabled (AMD is finalizing and QA’ing them) it looks like the turbo’s could end up at anywhere from 3.6 to maybe 4.0 GHz binned e.g. two at 3.7, two at 3.6, two at 3.5 and two at 3.4. This last part (turbo clock ranges)) is just unconfirmed speculation on my side.  AMD will be able to precisely bin and adjust clock frequencies in steps as small as 25 MHz. So to sum up this paragraph, the 8-core 16-threaded RYZEN processor will get a 3.4 GHz base-clock (or greater) at launch in the 1st quarter of 2017. If I stay conservative on the Turbo clocks, then 3.7 GHz would be the lowest target.

Next page please.

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