AMD Zen 4 is coming later in 2022

The next-generation Ryzen CPUs on AMD’s planned “Zen 4” microarchitecture aren’t nearly ready to launch yet. However, during CES 2022, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su confirmed that Zen 4-based Ryzen will arrive sometime in late 2022.

AMD also announced a CPU we weren’t expecting: the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which will be available this spring. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the company’s first consumer-oriented desktop CPU to feature the company’s new 3D V-Cache technology, which AMD claims boosts performance, particularly when gaming.

Save for the fact that it will be built on a 5-nanometer (nm) process, AMD hasn’t revealed much about the upcoming Zen 4 architecture. The first desktop CPUs based on Zen 4 will be known as “Ryzen 7000 series” processors and will be available in the second half of 2022. For the time being, the most tantalizing tidbit of information AMD offered was a live demonstration of a Ryzen 7000 series processor in action. Here, Su claimed that the chip was running all of the CPU cores at above 5GHz.

Take note that this was a pre-production CPU, and the exact operating conditions aren’t known. That said, if the upcoming Ryzen 7000 chips can maintain a speed of 5GHz or higher on all cores without significantly lowering their IPC (instructions per clock), that would indeed be impressive.

AMD’s new AM5 socket, as well as new accompanying system chipsets, will be released alongside these new processors. The latter has yet to be named. But if AMD simply follows through on their previous naming scheme, these will likely be named B650 and X670.

More interesting is the fact that the new AM5 socket will be moving to an Intel-style land grid array (LGA) over the pin grid array AMD is using in its existing Ryzen chips. The new socket has been designated “LGA1718,” which based on Intel’s practice should indicate that it has 1,718 pins.

AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series processors and first-generation AM5 motherboards will provide several platform generational enhancements, such as support for PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5 memory. The company didn’t provide any additional information on either of these topics, but DDR5 memory-speed support is likely to equal Intel’s at 4,800MHz, according to the JEDEC DDR5 specification.

Beyond that, AMD also announced that the new AM5 socket will be compatible with CPU coolers built for AM4. This should make upgrading to AM5 a bit easier for current AM4 owners. (Read: GUIDE: Should you upgrade your CPU?)

Ryzen 7 5800X3D coming this spring

For those who can’t wait for Zen 4 to arrive in late 2022, AMD is also releasing a new Zen 3 CPU later this spring. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D will be AMD’s first consumer-oriented CPU to include the company’s 3D V-Cache hardware. This uses a new architecture that physically stacks more cache on top of the CPU. According to AMD, this extra cache should improve performance in a variety of applications, but especially in gaming.

On paper, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the ordinary Ryzen 7 5800X are essentially identical. Both chips include eight Zen 3 CPU cores and a 105-watt TDP. They also offer thread-doubling SMT technology. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D has a base speed of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 4.5GHz, compared to the 3.8GHz base and 4.7GHz boost frequencies on the normal Ryzen 7 5800X. The new Ryzen 5800X3D, on the other hand, compensates for the gap with a massive (64MB) pool of AMD 3D V-Cache, which is added to the chip’s 32MB of 2D L3 cache.

This 3D V-Cache is a separate chip on the processor that is connected to the CPU core. The CPU can access the 64MB pool at a stated pace of up to 2TB per second. Applications that are extremely bandwidth-hungry and memory-intensive should experience a large advantage from this, but programs that are less sensitive to bandwidth fluctuations would likely see no effect at all—or, in some cases, an even worse performance due to the reduced CPU clock speeds.

AMD states that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor will perform particularly well in games. According to AMD, users should experience a 15% performance boost over the company’s current 12-core flagship, the Ryzen 9 5900X, when gaming at a 1080p resolution with high graphics settings.

According to AMD’s internal testing, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D should occasionally outperform an Intel Core i9-12900K. That said, it’s worth noting that AMD claimed a tie with the Intel Core i9 in three of the games tested, and the overall improvement is closer to 7 percent on average. Of course, being these are based on AMD’s own testing, and not of an independent third party, all of this should be taken with a grain of salt.

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