AMD’s new Zen CPU architecture will last until 2020 and beyond

amd zen architecture ces 2017 ryzen 004
While Intel has made some noise at CES 2017 with a host of PCs using its seventh-generation Core processors, AMD hasn’t been sitting still. With its introduction of its Ryzen CPU, AMD has countered Intel’s best with some excellent performance of its own.

Ryzen represents a more aggressive improvement over AMD’s previous architecture, Excavator, with the new Zen chips offering a full 40 percent improvement. That’s much more significant than Intel’s more conservative improvements with its latest generation of CPUs, which focused on smaller performance increases and better mobile battery life. This is an important accomplishment for AMD, because apparently, it’s going to have to last for at least four years, as PCWorld reports.

The news came during CES 2017, where AMD’s computing and graphics senior vice president and general manager Jim Anderson discussed the new architecture. As he put it, comparing AMD’s process to Intel’s “tick-tock” development cycle that was actually skipped this time around, “We’re not going tick-tock. Zen is going to be tock, tock, tock.”

While Intel’s methodology usually results in a brand new architecture every two years, AMD has averaged closer to three to four years. It’s Opteron and Athlon architectures lasted from 2003 until 2007, and its K10 lasted from 2007 until 2010. The bottom line is that AMD simply must introduce impressive new performance metrics each cycle because its new architectures must remain competitive for far longer.

With Zen and Ryzen, AMD has taken the tactic of improving not only clock speeds but also making the chips better at guessing at what data will be processed next, called “branch prediction,” as well as build in the ability for chips to process more information at a time. That means AMD is focusing on going beyond Moore’s Law, which has predicted increased processor performance in PCs for decades, into “Moore’s Law Plus” that focuses on more than just manufacturing processes.

Judging by CES 2017, AMD’s efforts are paying dividends. A number of leading motherboard makers announced Ryzen-based components, with a total of 16 AM4-based solutions that are primed to plug in new Ryzen desktop processors. Not only AMD’s newest CPUs are supported in this year’s round of components, but also other high-end PC parts such as PCIe 3.0, M.2 SATA devices, USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 3, and more.

ASRock Asus Biostar Gigabyte MSI
X370 Taichi B350M-C X370GT7 GA-AX370-Gaming K5 A320M Pro-VD
X370 Gaming K4 X350GT5 GA-AX370-Gaming 5 X370 Xpower Gaming Titanium
AB350 Gaming K4 X350GT3 AB350-Gaming 3 B350 Tomahawk
A320M Pro4 A320M-HD3 B350M Mortar

Clearly, AMD is not messing around in making Ryzen a real product. As Anderson put it, “We’re not going to do a paper launch [where products are announced long before they actually ship]. We’ve done that before. We’re not going to mess with it.” That means that AMD and its customers will be able to squeeze every bit of life out of the Zen architecture for its entire four-year lifespan.

Competition is a good thing, and so AMD’s efforts are welcome in pushing PC’s forward. Intel isn’t standing still itself, of course, with its own upcoming advancements such as the 10mm manufacturing process coming with its own next generation of CPUs. But AMD is apparently confident that it’s positioned itself well to remain relevant in PCs well into the next decade.

Computing

Nvidia faces attacks from AMD, Intel, and even Google. Should it be worried?

Nvidia announced an expanded array of RTX server solutions designed to leverage the power of ray-tracing at GTC 2019. The effort will help Nvidia take on Google's Stadia in game streaming with GeForce Now, and the company's investments in…
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for March 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.
Computing

Intel Command Center lays foundation for next year’s ‘Arctic Sound’ GPU

Intel revealed its new Command Center driver software at GDC 2019. The updated interface will control current Intel integrated graphics and also lays the groundwork for next year's Intel video card.
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Computing

Amazon and Nvidia bring artificial intelligence to the cloud with T4 GPUs

Nvidia announced the availability of new mainstream servers optimized to run the company's latest T4 GPUs with Turning architecture. Amazon jumped on board immediately, announcing that new AWS EC2 G4 instances will offer the technology.
Computing

Microsoft’s Clippy came back from the dead, but didn’t last very long

Before Cortana, Alexa, and Siri even existed, Microsoft Clippy dominated the screens of computers in the 1990s to help assist Microsoft Office users when writing letters. He recently made a bit of a comeback only to die off again.
Computing

How 5G networks will make low-latency game streaming a reality

Faster speeds and more bandwidth are some of the many promises that 5G can deliver, but for gamers, the most important thing is low latency. To achieve low latency, carriers like AT&T and Verizon are exploring hybrid models for game…
Deals

Time to do taxes? Save up to 50 percent on H&R Block tax software this weekend

Tax season is stressful, and with new tax laws in effect this year, it's not a bad idea to get some help. H&R Block has you covered: For two days only, you can save 50 percent on its great software so you can file your taxes online and save…
Computing

Stop dragging windows on your Mac. Here's how to use Split View to multitask

The latest iterations of MacOS offer a native Split View feature that can automatically divide screen space between two applications. Here's how to use Split View on a Mac, adjust it as needed, and how it can help out.
Computing

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.
Computing

The new iMacs push on iMac Pro territory, but how much power do you really need?

With Apple refreshing the higher-end iMacs with newer processors and graphics cards, it moves closer to the iMac Pro. In this guide, we consider the performance, features, and help make sense of the differences between the two.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Computing

Protect your expensive new laptop with the best Macbook cases

If you recently picked up a new MacBook, you’ll want something to protect its gorgeous exterior. Here, we've gathered the best MacBook cases and covers, whether you're looking for style or protection.
Computing

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.