AMD’s Zen processors set for high-end hardware in late 2016

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Information shared over the course of an AMD earnings call on Tuesday suggests that the California-based company plans to begin the roll-out of its Zen processor architecture sometime late in 2016. The chips will debut in luxury systems like gaming PCs and other high-end desktops.

AMD CEO Lisa Su noted that the company is in talks with a number of hardware manufacturers about their usage of Zen components. Su also noted internal expectations that a Zen processor combined with a GPU based on AMD’s Polaris architecture will prove to be a popular choice for gamers building a rig for virtual reality experiences.

It’s clear that AMD is banking on its Zen processors being able to help the company claw back some of the processor market from long-time rival Intel. Given the release schedule being put forward, it’s likely that Zen chips will have to compete with both the current crop of Skylake components and their next-generation Kaby Lake successors.

The release of these Zen chips — code-named Summit Ridge — was described by Su as a “re-entry” into the high-performance desktop market, according to a report from PCWorld. The current popularity of PC gaming and the ever-increasing accessibility of custom builds seems to have prompted AMD to refocus on this area.

It’s expected that the first wave of Summit Lake chips will be sold under AMD’s FX Processors line. The components will apparently boast a high core count, and will support DDR4 memory, They will also implement a high bandwidth caching system to improve communication between memory, cache, and CPUs.

The high-end desktops using Zen chips that are set to hit before the end of 2016 are just the first step in AMD’s processor schedule. The chips will then be used in servers starting in 2017 — implementation in laptops is likely the next step, but AMD remains tight-lipped on that application for the moment.

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