AMD’s upcoming Zen architecture is arguably the most anticipated hardware release this year. After years in the wilderness, AMD will finally come back with a new CPU design that will challenge Intel again on IPC, process node and power efficiency. According to the latest leak, it appears that Zen is progressing well enough that engineering samples have already been distributed to various partners for testing. This also means AM4 motherboards are already sampling as well.
These stepping A0 samples are that of the previously rumoured 95W, 8 core Zen CPU. That AMD has managed to get an 8 core CPU in a 95W thermal envelope is stunning and combined with the early engineering sample release, points to a strong 14nm LPP process. What’s more, the frequency isn’t a slouch, at 3Ghz base though boost isn’t enabled yet. This is pretty much the same as the base clocks for Intel’s own prosumer i7 5960X which sports 8 cores as well at 3Ghz base and 3.5Ghz boost. We can expect the Es to set the baseline so release Zen will almost certainly clock higher.
At 3GHz, the engineering sample is already faster than the first Bulldozer ones suggesting that 14nm LPP won’t be holding back frequency too much. After all, Intel’s own 14nm process has performed better than their 22nm. Samsung and Global Foundries have also had plenty of time to refine their 14nm process to ensure it will offer the best performance at launch. Hopefully, AMD will be able to be competitive in both IPC and overclocking.