AMD is already set to make the leap into processors (CPUs) built on a 7-nanometer (nm) process with its upcoming Zen 2 family of chips. But, new information about the 7nm+ process that will be used to create its Zen 3 chips is making the future of AMD's Ryzen, Threadripper and Epyc processors all the more exciting, as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) will make them using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, according to China's Commercial Times (opens in new tab).
There are a few reasons this is exciting. While the Zen 3 chips will still be 7nm, like the Zen 2 chips, the use of EUV lithography is going to allow for an extra-dense transistor arrangement. The new chips will reportedly be able to offer a 20% increase in transistor density with a 10% reduction to power consumption compared to Zen 2.
That increase in density and decrease in power consumption are also based on only limited use of EUV lithography. According to the report, the EUV lithography will only be used for some layers of masks that serve as manufacturing templates.
- Here's everything you need to know about Ryzen 3rd Generation processors
- These are the details on AMD's Ryzen 2nd Generation chips
- See our review of the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
What will this mean for you
We're still a little bit away from even getting an official launch of the Zen 2-based Ryzen 3rd Generation CPUs. Processors built on Zen 3's 7nm+ architecture won't be here before 2020.
But, when those new Zen 3 processors do arrive, we can expect them to offer a slight performance boost and a considerable improvement in efficiency. Powerful Zen 3-based mobile processors are likely, and the improved efficiency can lead to longer battery life, lower-profile cooling solutions, and the possibility of smaller power adapters.
The shift to EUV lithography also suggests a pathway for CPUs to continue getting smaller, faster and less power hungry in the future. With silicon computer chips reaching their limit in terms of the rules set forth in Moore's Law for transistor density to double every two years, EUV could be a solution that helps keep density increasing steadily for some time to come.
- Check out our review of AMD's 7nm graphics card, the Radeon VII