2016 is going to be a big year for a lot of things in computer hardware. We’re going to see the growth of 3D NAND memory products, virtual reality is going to kick off in a big way, and AMD is going to release its first major CPU architecture in almost half a decade.
How it will perform is anyone’s guess at the moment, but AMD is said to be pleased with how the test units are coming and is even said to feel that they meet “all expectations.”
That’s according to a rumor from a source said to be an ex-AMD employee with contacts still inside the company (via OC3D). That means this is information that’s passed through a few chains to reach us, so don’t take it as gospel — but even if partially true, it’s exciting news.
If the chips are capable of meeting expectations, then presumably they offer reasonable performance in comparison to similar Intel hardware. Indeed, AMD has said that its new Zen cores will handle as many as 40 percent more instructions per clock than current generation Excavator cores, which were an evolution of the Bulldozer line released back in late 2011.
AMD’s Zen CPU series needs to be a heavy hitter for the company. It’s trailed Intel in desktop performance for years. If Zen is a powerhouse, it will restore a lot of faith in AMD’s ability to offer a credible alternative to Intel, and therefore help continue to propel high-performance processor development.
Better yet, if AMD can make the new CPU line up a good earner for the company, it can perhaps look to invest a little more in its GPU developments and bring the power draw of its graphics cards down, making it more competitive with Nvidia.
Whether you are an uber fan of any of the companies mentioned here, competition is healthier for consumers. As much as it might be fun to watch one firm dominate another, without competition, there is much less price cutting and much less innovation. Here’s hoping AMD can deliver a serious offering with Zen next year.