AMD is already working on advanced Zen 5 processors

AMD Ryzen

AMD has already begun work on making processors based on the Zen 5 architecture, which may come as a bit of a surprise seeing as the current Ryzen CPUs represent just the first outing of the Zen architecture.

This is according to AMD’s Mike Clark, a senior design engineer and chief architect for Zen, who revealed that Zen 5 was underway in a video interview celebrating the one year anniversary of the release of the first Ryzen chips (check out the clip below).

So what’s going on here, and why is a seemingly big leap to Zen 5 occurring already? As mentioned, AMD’s existing processors are based on Zen, with Ryzen 2nd Generation being based on Zen+, a refinement of that original architecture which ekes out some nice performance boosts (and is expected to release next week).

We’ve already seen AMD’s roadmap for future generations which shows that Zen 2 and Zen 3 (which drop to a 7nm process) CPUs will be coming at some point between Zen+ and the year 2020.

Zen 5 will be arriving next after that, and as Clark admits in the video, he’s already working on this architecture. So logically the earliest it could appear is 2021, although it’s likely to be later than that.

Unlucky for some

But what happened to Zen 4? Apparently, this number in the series is being skipped because it is associated with negative or unlucky connotations in China.

No actual information was imparted about Zen 5, or what process it might employ, because this is obviously still very early days.

At any rate, it’s interesting to see that AMD has already begun work on these chips, and as Clark notes, it’s “kind of scary that it takes so long for these projects that I have to be working on Zen 5 [now]” in order to get everything in place for the launch in the early 2020s.


Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).