For those are hoping for “MOAR COARS”, it looks like AMD will be delivering later this year. First alluded to in a Linux patch last week, AMD’s upcoming Zen Opteron CPUs are set to have up to 32 psychical cores. A leaked slide from CERN reveals that patch was right on target. Combined with the introduction of Symmetrical Multi-threading, this will allow Zen to handle at least 64 threads at once, an unprecedented amount for AMD and quadruple current chips.
In addition to the large core, Zen is expected to bring PCIe 3.0 and DDR4 to AMD’s server offerings. The memory subsystem also gets a major boost with up to 8 channels, double from the current 4 on Socket G34. Compared to Intel’s Haswell-EP, Zen will offer 14 more cores and 28 more threads and double the memory channels. While Broadwell-EP may change things up later this year, AMD may still hold a lead in terms of core and thread count.
Combined with the expected 40% IPC boost, Zen may finally bring AMD back into relevance in the lucrative server and data centre market. AMD has had no real update to their server lineup since 2011, leading to their market share dropping to near zero. With such a major update, AMD will once again be competing in the server market with Opterons that can go toe to toe with Intel. While 32 cores is unlikely for the consumer lineup, a 16 core chip seems pretty likely.