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AMD Epyc CPU with 39.5 billion transistors is a jaw-dropping sight under the microscope

(Image credit: AMD)

Want to know what AMD’s 2nd-gen Epyc processors look like close-up? Well feast your eyes on the below image of one of these innovative server chips which is bristling with no less than 39.54 billion transistors.

The image of the Epyc processor under a microscope was provided by Hardwareluxx.de forum member OC_Burner, who has taken similar close-up chip shots in the past.

AMD Epyc Rome chip close-up

(Image credit: OC_Burner / Fritzchens Fritz)

The IOD (Input/Output Die) contains 8.34 billion transistors in an area of 416 mm², compared to a Ryzen 3000 processor’s IOD which has 2.09 billion transistors in an area of 125 mm².

The CCDs – or Compute Core Dies, home to the actual CPU cores and caches – boast 3.9 billion transistors in an area of 74 mm², the same as Ryzen 3000. There are eight CCDs and one IOD in an Epyc 2nd-gen (Rome) CPU.

PCIe boost

Focusing on Epyc’s much larger IOD (in comparison to consumer Ryzen), as Wccftech (which spotted the original story) observes, what’s interesting to note is that on both sides of the die, there are 128 PCIe lanes – but the possibility exists with PCIe Gen 4 to open up more lanes. In fact, up to 160 PCIe lanes, the extra lanes of which are already present but used by the Infinity Fabric links (the interconnect which hooks up the CCDs and IOD).

This possibility has previously been talked about, and there would be a performance trade-off in doing this, of course, in terms of reduced socket-to-socket bandwidth – but still, the option could be there for those who want to go that route.

As we’ve seen recently, Intel is taking AMD’s growing threat in the processor world more seriously, and Epyc server chips likely represent the biggest danger of all. Analysts have previously highlighted the potential of these heavyweight 7nm server chips, and AMD has already scored some big-name wins in terms of new clients including Google and Twitter.

So given this, and the already obvious Ryzen 3000 threat, it isn’t exactly surprising to see Intel already slashing the prices across some of its processors, including Intel Xeon W CPUs and high-end desktop Cascade Lake-X models (Threadripper 3rd-gen is also incoming, of course).