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AMD is sneaking in another ‘Zen’ demo ahead of Intel’s desktop CPU launch

December is going to be an interesting month. Head over to AMD’s website (or Facebook) and you’ll see that the company has plastered a huge banner on the front page announcing an event called “New Horizon.” It will take place at 4 p.m. ET on December 13 in Austin, Texas, and will be live-streamed for everyone who can’t attend. The company says it’s going to provide live demos of its upcoming desktop “Summit Ridge” processors based on its new Zen architecture, and we can’t wait to see how that unfolds.

AMD’s Zen showcase will be hosted by video game journalist Geoff Keighley, the former host of GameTrailers TV and G4TV.com. Also on hand will be Peter “PPD” Dager, a former member of the Evil Geniuses eSports team, who will put the Zen-based Summit Ridge processor “through its paces.” There will also be guest appearances and giveaways during the show.

“This is the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities,” the company states. “If you’re serious about gaming, this is an event you do not want to miss.”

AMD isn’t launching its Summit Ridge desktop processors until sometime in the first quarter of 2017. They will arrive after Intel unleashes its seventh-generation Kaby Lake desktop processors, which is expected to be before the CES 2017 convention in Las Vegas this January. There’s a good chance AMD got a whiff of this possibility and decided to give the public a little taste of what is to come before Intel’s launch. We expect even more Zen-based exposure during January’s show.

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The last time we saw Zen was during AMD’s reveal event in late August. The company said it nearly started over from scratch when designing the new Zen processor architecture, as it uses very little from the previous “Excavator” CPU design. That has left customers and critics alike extremely curious over what’s to come with the new design.

According to AMD, Zen-based processor cores will have 40 percent more instructions per clock than Excavator. Each core will have two threads (lanes), access to 8MB of shared L3 cache, a large amount of “private” L2 cache, and a micro-op cache. Other highlights include two AES encryption units for security, and transistors based on energy-efficient FinFET process technology.

AMD previously provided a glimpse of the Zen architecture in a small press event during the Intel Developer Forum convention in early August. The company compared an eight-core Summit Ridge processor sample against an eight-core Intel Core i7-6900K “Broadwell-E” down-clocked processor, both of which were set at 3GHz for an actual clock-to-clock, core-to-core, thread-to-thread boxing match. The result showed that the Summit Ridge sample could render AMD’s Zen logo slightly faster than the Intel chip.

We will just have to see how AMD’s upcoming Summit Ridge desktop processors, which will aim at the high-end desktop market, will compete with Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake desktop processors targeting the same market. Like we said, December is going to be an interesting month, as will January for that matter. PC gamers have a lot to look forward to from both sides of the CPU coin.

So we recommend that you take a seat, pop some popcorn, grab your loved one’s hand, sit back, and enjoy watching AMD and Intel duke it out in the desktop processor arena. This is going to be great!