After Zen 3’s hugely successful launch, AMD is ready to repeat history with its Zen 4 line of desktop CPUs, codenamed “Raphael“. According to AMD’s second-quarter earnings call, they are “on track” to launch both Zen 4 CPUs and RDNA 3 GPUs next year.
We remain on track to launch next generation products in 2022, including our Zen 4 processors built with industry-leading 5 nanometer process technology and our RDNA 3 GPUs. – President & CEO Lisa Su
Zen 3 was a historic release for AMD. After nearly 14 years of tailing behind the monopolistic lead of Intel, Ryzen 5000 was the final nail in the coffin that toppled Intel over the edge. Thanks to massive IPC uplifts and higher core clocks alongside massive efficiency gains, Zen 3 was finally able to beat Intel’s contemporary 10th Gen “Comet-Lake” processors in both productivity and gaming.
11th Gen (Rocket Lake) wasn’t Intel’s brightest release either. Not only did they make only slight improvements to their 10th Gen counterparts, in many areas, Rocket Lake performed worse than its 10th Gen contemporaries and simply could not hold a candle to Ryzen 5000, especially in high-end computing.
Unlike Intel, whose downfall was primarily marked by its perpetual laziness and lack of innovation, AMD is looking to maintain its lead in the desktop CPU segment. Zen 4 will be the fifth consumer desktop release under the Ryzen brand for AMD and, according to AMD themselves, it will come out in 2022.
If the rumors and leaks are to be believed, next-gen Ryzen will be manufactured on TSMC‘s 5nm process. Zen 4 will also shift to a new platform and introduce a new socket called “AM5“, which will reportedly move AMD Ryzen away from the PGA pin layout to an LGA one, similar to Intel. This platform change will allow for PCIe Gen 5.0 support on a hardware level.
DDR5 support is also expected to be included alongside, for the first time, integrated graphics on a mainline Ryzen processor. If true, this can perhaps close the last gap between AMD and Intel, where Intel has had the advantage of offering SKUs with iGPUs for the longest time. According to widespread rumors, Zen 4 will feature RDNA 2 integrated graphics onboard.
The Appetizer Before The Main Course
Before we even see the first glimpses of Zen 4, AMD is already well on its way to reveal high-end Zen 3 desktop CPUs that leverage the 3D “V-Cache” chip-stacking technology AMD debuted back in June at Computex.
We also recently demonstrated the next major advance in our triplet strategy with our differentiated 3D dissecting technology that enables significantly denser and more efficient connections between stack chips. Based on the strength of our long-term roadmap and the deep partnerships we have established, we expect to continue growing significantly faster than the market. – President & CEO Lisa Su
Speaking of RDNA, AMD also saw success with its recent RDNA 2 lineup of GPUs. It blew expectations out of the water by offering genuine competition to Nvidia’s RTX 30 series by matching it in terms of performance but undercutting it in price. Case in point, the RX 6900 XT cost $500 less than the RTX 3090 yet delivered somewhat equivalent performance.
While not as triumphant as Zen 4, RDNA 2 was still a success and one that AMD looks to build upon. RDNA 3, aka Radeon RX 7000 will be the first series of GPUs in the industry to house a Multi-chip Module (MCM) design. TSMS’s 5nm process will also be utilized here.
Big Navi 31, the flagship RX 7000 series GPU reportedly features up to 15,360 cores on a 256-bit memory bus. It’s still expected to use GDDR6 VRAM instead of the upgraded GDDR6X found on some of Nvidia’s latest cards. All in all, the RX 7900XT is supposedly 2.5 times faster than its current-gen counterpart, the RX 6900XT.
TSMC 5nm (MCD 6nm)
MCM: 2 GCD + 1 MCD
6 SE (3/GCD)
60 WGP (30/GCD)
no more CUs
larger Infinity Cache
256 Bit GDDR6
release expected H2/2022
perf target: N21 x2.5
— 3DCenter.org (@3DCenter_org) July 26, 2021
RDNA 2 was the first true contender to Nvidia’s graphical domination. Touting performance comparable to the best of the best Nvidia can offer but at an even lower price. AMD had never been this close to dethroning Nvidia at their own game. If everything goes as planned, maybe, RDNA 3 is just what they need to recapture the GPU market and mark their reign in yet another desktop computing segment.
Unfortunately, AMD also reinstated that supply constraints will follow for the rest of the ongoing year, but production is expected to ramp up at the start of 2022. AMD is confident it can grow its production threshold significantly in the remaining half of 2021 to open the following year on a vastly improved supply chain.
Despite these concerns and a prevalent graphics card shortage, AMD looks to remain on track to launch not only its RDNA 3 lineup of GPUs but its Zen 4 lineup of CPUs in the coming year, as well. Expect marginal performance improvements throughout the product portfolio at, hopefully, a competitive price.
You can take an in-depth look at the second-quarter earnings call for AMD here.