The chips are down: AMD's Zen set to take on Intel's Broadwell-E


Intel already has all giddy about the prospect of new seventh generation processor-powered laptops coming later this fall and now AMD says it's also on track to deliver desktop-grade Zen processors by next year too.

Literally a block away from the IDF 2016 conference, AMD unveiled the first official details of its next generation processor. Zen is built on a 14nm FinFET architecture that's not only smaller, but also more power efficient while delivering 40% better performance.

Beyond the core architecture, Zen also introduces a new cache hierarchy, improved branch prediction, and simultaneous multithreading. Altogether these changes make AMD processors ready to tackle a broader range of applications from powering your everyday hybrid laptop to data centers and high-performance computing.

AMD expects Zen will launch first on desktops utilizing the AM4 socket, which will be compatible with motherboards designed for seventh generation A-series CPUs. The new socket will support DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0, 10GBps USB 3.1 gen 2.0, NVMe and SATA express

Codenamed Summit Ridge, AMD showed off an octo-core, 16-threaded desktop processor designed to compete with Intel's Core i7-6900K Broadwell-E CPU. Both chips were pitted in a Blender benchmark test and Zen CPU the finished rendering a half-second faster – that said, AMD had the Intel processor clocked down from 3.2Ghz meet its part its part at 3GHz.

Additionally, there was a 32-core, 64-thread Zen-based server processor codenamed Naples.

AMD's plans on shipping its first desktop systems featuring 7th generation AMD A-series processor to its OEM partners towards the latter half of this year. However, it's likely that we won't see Summit Ridge hit the desktop market in the first half of 2017 and Zen powered laptops even later than that.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.