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New Zen microarchitecture details

JustMe21

Senior member
Sep 8, 2011
235
1
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The only expectation I have with Zen is that it will perform better than Bulldozer. I purchased AMD processors for many years, but Bulldozer always looked like a dud even before it came out. The reason was that even though AMD could beat Intel's Integer performance, their FPUs have sucked since the Pentium days and with Bulldozer was sharing an FPU between 2 cores, that just went from bad to worse. Also, extensions like 3DNow never performed on par with Intel's counterpart. But, if AMD can offer Ivy Bridge performance, at least 3.5 GHz and an 8 core processor for around $300, I'd certainly pick one up. I'd be tempted to go 4 core if they can get it to 4 GHz and around $250.
 

Ajay

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2001
4,726
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Honestly, I hope this is good enough to for AMD to fetch a good price for Zen CPUs. Getting $500+ for the top binned part would be a major win for them financially (and that's the place the need to win - if they are to continue as an MPU/SoC developer).
 
Feb 6, 2011
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Honestly, I hope this is good enough to for AMD to fetch a good price for Zen CPUs. Getting $500+ for the top binned part would be a major win for them financially (and that's the place the need to win - if they are to continue as an MPU/SoC developer).
No the main prize is selling 64C/128T 2P servers to cloud, enterprise and web 2.0. In all of those markets the already demonstrated clocks are sufficient. Being able to clock Zen high enough to fight intel quads on the left and enough throughput to fight Intel 8-10 cores on the right would just be extra cream. The one advantage AMD has this time VS bulldozer is that most of really IPC hungry app's are now significantly better in terms of threading. So clock disadvantage to intel quads shouln't hurt as much as it might of a few years ago.
 

piesquared

Golden Member
Oct 16, 2006
1,584
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No the main prize is selling 64C/128T 2P servers to cloud, enterprise and web 2.0. In all of those markets the already demonstrated clocks are sufficient. Being able to clock Zen high enough to fight intel quads on the left and enough throughput to fight Intel 8-10 cores on the right would just be extra cream. The one advantage AMD has this time VS bulldozer is that most of really IPC hungry app's are now significantly better in terms of threading. So clock disadvantage to intel quads shouln't hurt as much as it might of a few years ago.
V good points. Id add to that the muticore era in regards to gaming has also just begun with low level APIs able to extract parallelism quite well. High single thread performance on many cores seems pretty good. :)
I think its important to remember that the idea of low level APIs would have been in discussion within AMD for a fair while, having a working copy with Mantle way before anyone else, so there were likely design decisions made with those in mind also. AMD takes gaming very seriously, so i think ZEN will be a great gaming chip as well as getting them back into datacenters. Anyway, Lisa Su, Mark Papermaster and team look pretty confident and looking forward hearing the rest as Lisa says 'the best is yet to come'.
 
Mar 13, 2006
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Word is Mark Papermast is doing a deep dive at Hotchips.

Confirmed. Last session of the last day :(
 

KTE

Senior member
May 26, 2016
478
0
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Word is Mark Papermast is doing a deep dive at Hotchips.

Confirmed. Last session of the last day :(
It's Day 2, by Mike Clark, Lead Zen Architect

Straight after the other two exciting presentations:

Inside 6th generation Intel Core code named Skylake: New Microarchitecture and Power Management by Jack Doweck

POWER9: Processor for the Cognitive Era by Brian Thompton


I can't bloody wait for David's write up!

Oh yea, little birdy tells me that frequencies are on target and +3GHz is game.

Sent from HTC 10
(Opinions are own)
 

raghu78

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2012
3,993
7
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No the main prize is selling 64C/128T 2P servers to cloud, enterprise and web 2.0. In all of those markets the already demonstrated clocks are sufficient. Being able to clock Zen high enough to fight intel quads on the left and enough throughput to fight Intel 8-10 cores on the right would just be extra cream. The one advantage AMD has this time VS bulldozer is that most of really IPC hungry app's are now significantly better in terms of threading. So clock disadvantage to intel quads shouln't hurt as much as it might of a few years ago.
yeah zen's primary goal is to gain share in servers. Now it all comes down to clocks. GF 14nm is not quite mature and a lot will depend on whether they can get it to good shape by Q1 2017. I think if AMD hit 2 Ghz base clocks for 32c/64t SKUs they would be competitive with Skylake EP (28c/56T).

It's Day 2, by Mike Clark, Lead Zen Architect

Straight after the other two exciting presentations:

Inside 6th generation Intel Core code named Skylake: New Microarchitecture and Power Management by Jack Doweck

POWER9: Processor for the Cognitive Era by Brian Thompton


I can't bloody wait for David's write up!

Oh yea, little birdy tells me that frequencies are on target and +3GHz is game.

Sent from HTC 10
(Opinions are own)
yeah.

http://www.hotchips.org/program/

A New, High Performance x86 Core Design from AMD Michael Clark AMD
 
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sirmo

Golden Member
Oct 10, 2011
1,008
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Server is lucrative and an important market for AMD to recapture. But where Zen really looks promising to me is AMD's APUs. AMD has never been able to make competitive APUs due to being held back by poor Bulldozer based cores. And if Zen has the perf/watt, AMD's APUs could finally show their true potential. Add some HBM2 into the mix, and you have a unique product no other company can rival.
 

swilli89

Golden Member
Mar 23, 2010
1,432
0
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Server is lucrative and an important market for AMD to recapture. But where Zen really looks promising to me is AMD's APUs. AMD has never been able to make competitive APUs due to being held back by poor Bulldozer based cores. And if Zen has the perf/watt, AMD's APUs could finally show their true potential. Add some HBM2 into the mix, and you have a unique product no other company can rival.
Yeah even a 2C/4T Zen APU with ~800 Polaris/Vega Cores with HBM2 would be an absolute beast in both outright performance, form factor, and performance/watt especially with HBM2 being more energy efficient that traditional memory systems. You could have a Nintendo Wii sized Mini PC that could play games @ 1080p for probably pretty cheap. Apple surely is waiting for this with baited breath in their obsession with small form factors.
 

sirmo

Golden Member
Oct 10, 2011
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Yeah even a 2C/4T Zen APU with ~800 Polaris/Vega Cores with HBM2 would be an absolute beast in both outright performance, form factor, and performance/watt especially with HBM2 being more energy efficient that traditional memory systems. You could have a Nintendo Wii sized Mini PC that could play games @ 1080p for probably pretty cheap. Apple surely is waiting for this with baited breath in their obsession with small form factors.
I could totally see it.. Apple who loves to solder RAM in their MacBooks.. being told, they don't have to solder it on the PCB it's already soldered onto the CPU core. ... "where do we sign?" :p
 

raghu78

Diamond Member
Aug 23, 2012
3,993
7
136
Server is lucrative and an important market for AMD to recapture. But where Zen really looks promising to me is AMD's APUs. AMD has never been able to make competitive APUs due to being held back by poor Bulldozer based cores. And if Zen has the perf/watt, AMD's APUs could finally show their true potential. Add some HBM2 into the mix, and you have a unique product no other company can rival.
I agree completely. AMD has the opportunity to deliver a gaming PC on a single package. I think they will wait till 2018 to introduce HBM2 to APUs due to cost and yield reasons. I would like to see a Zen+ combined with Vega and 16GB HBM2 on a single package. Thats the future.
 

Ajay

Diamond Member
Jan 8, 2001
4,726
5
136
No the main prize is selling 64C/128T 2P servers to cloud, enterprise and web 2.0. In all of those markets the already demonstrated clocks are sufficient. Being able to clock Zen high enough to fight intel quads on the left and enough throughput to fight Intel 8-10 cores on the right would just be extra cream. The one advantage AMD has this time VS bulldozer is that most of really IPC hungry app's are now significantly better in terms of threading. So clock disadvantage to intel quads shouln't hurt as much as it might of a few years ago.
Good point. I hope AMD and it's partners can muster enough strength and breadth in infrastructure to move in on some of Intel's Cloud computing market.
 

F-Rex

Junior Member
Aug 11, 2016
18
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Yes, I know. But find a better way, don't go on stage saying "For this comparison we handicapped our competitors chip". I mean come on, that's the same as saying "Our competitors product is better than ours".

The point is to highlight your products advantages, not your competitors.
Perhaps amd don't want to let Intel know at what frequencies zen Will ship.
If i was AMD i would not disclose frequencies until zen launch. Let's Intel worrying a little bit.
 

turtile

Senior member
Aug 19, 2014
414
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I agree completely. AMD has the opportunity to deliver a gaming PC on a single package. I think they will wait till 2018 to introduce HBM2 to APUs due to cost and yield reasons. I would like to see a Zen+ combined with Vega and 16GB HBM2 on a single package. Thats the future.
I doubt we'll see HBM2 on any new product in 2018 since AMD has plans to move to the next generation memory that year. We'll probably only see HBM2 is someone like Apple asks for a custom design.
 

rtsurfer

Senior member
Oct 14, 2013
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I doubt we'll see HBM2 on any new product in 2018 since AMD has plans to move to the next generation memory that year. We'll probably only see HBM2 is someone like Apple asks for a custom design.
What's next gen after HBM2...?
 

Dresdenboy

Golden Member
Jul 28, 2003
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citavia.blog.de
Perhaps amd don't want to let Intel know at what frequencies zen Will ship.
If i was AMD i would not disclose frequencies until zen launch. Let's Intel worrying a little bit.
Might well be the case. But there's another point: power consumption or efficiency. With those power optimized FP execution units (see my latest blog), uOp cache, high density design (also targeting lower power), there is a good chance for scenarios with Zen cores using less power for a task than BDW cores. This could result in less throttling or higher boost clocks.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
5,783
37
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What's next gen after HBM2...?
Navi (GPU) has "Next Gen" memory... my guess would be stacked memory on the die, maybe with the GPU die on top of the memory.

Whether this would be suitable or cheap enough for a consumer APU is anyone's guess. HBM2 for sure isn't though. I don't know why people think otherwise.
 

rtsurfer

Senior member
Oct 14, 2013
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Interesting, thanks for the information. I thought we were gonna settle with HBM2 for a few years, guess not.

The price argument definitely makes sense though.
 

turtile

Senior member
Aug 19, 2014
414
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91
Navi (GPU) has "Next Gen" memory... my guess would be stacked memory on the die, maybe with the GPU die on top of the memory.

Whether this would be suitable or cheap enough for a consumer APU is anyone's guess. HBM2 for sure isn't though. I don't know why people think otherwise.
The interposer has to be pretty expensive to implement. I think 7nm will allow for something different than what we've seen before. Apparently, Global Foundries is moving to 7nm next in 2018 but we'll have to see if that happens on time.
 

Abwx

Diamond Member
Apr 2, 2011
8,722
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there is a good chance for scenarios with Zen cores using less power for a task than BDW cores.
More than a good chance since they explicitely stated that Zen was consuming a little less than BDW during the Blender rendering comparison at 3GHz..
 

sirmo

Golden Member
Oct 10, 2011
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136
Navi (GPU) has "Next Gen" memory... my guess would be stacked memory on the die, maybe with the GPU die on top of the memory.

Whether this would be suitable or cheap enough for a consumer APU is anyone's guess. HBM2 for sure isn't though. I don't know why people think otherwise.
HBM2 isn't that expensive. Interposers are pretty cheap, it's not what's significantly adding to the cost of an HBM solution. Interposer can be done on a 90nm process or similar (watch AMD's presentation on it). What adds the cost to an HBM solution is the extra tooling to do the packaging, and the special memory required.. and there are only a handful of packaging places that can do the work. The additional steps in the process of putting dies on interposer also lower yields, because each step adds to the failure rate. Part of the reason AMD offers a free license for HBM2 is so that they can lower the cost of manufacturing. Packaging and economies of scale from SK Hynix.

Why I mentioned Apple is because Apple more than any other manufacturer would be willing to pay the cost of the difference for the benefits HBM2 offers. Lower power, better bandwidth, and the biggest advantage to Apple in their pursuit of ever thinner devices the space savings.

Take this mobile Intel CPU: http://ark.intel.com/products/93336/Intel-Core-i7-6970HQ-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz with its $620 pricetag. An HBM2 Zen based APU could be built for that price range while providing the cost benefit of simplified motherboard (no need for the memory bus and PCB traces) and integrated HBM2 memory.

I would argue that AMD could build HBM2 based APUs and still have better margins than they do on HBM2 GPUs.

Not to mention this same product could have applications in high density blade servers. And other benefits like iGPU not being memory bandwidth starved.
 
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Enigmoid

Platinum Member
Sep 27, 2012
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HBM2 isn't that expensive. Interposers are pretty cheap, it's not what's significantly adding to the cost of an HBM solution. Interposer can be done on a 90nm process or similar (watch AMD's presentation on it). What adds the cost to an HBM solution is the extra tooling to do the packaging, and the special memory required.. and there are only a handful of packaging places that can do the work. The additional steps in the process of putting dies on interposer also lower yields, because each step adds to the failure rate. Part of the reason AMD offers a free license for HBM2 is so that they can lower the cost of manufacturing. Packaging and economies of scale from SK Hynix.

Why I mentioned Apple is because Apple more than any other manufacturer would be willing to pay the cost of the difference for the benefits HBM2 offers. Lower power, better bandwidth, and the biggest advantage to Apple in their pursuit of ever thinner devices the space savings.

Take this mobile Intel CPU: http://ark.intel.com/products/93336/Intel-Core-i7-6970HQ-Processor-8M-Cache-up-to-3_70-GHz with its $620 pricetag. An HBM2 Zen based APU could be built for that price range while providing the cost benefit of simplified motherboard (no need for the memory bus and PCB traces) and integrated HBM2 memory.

I would argue that AMD could build HBM2 based APUs and still have better margins than they do on HBM2 GPUs.

Not to mention this same product could have applications in high density blade servers. And other benefits like iGPU not being memory bandwidth starved.
How much HBM2 RAM will such a system have? Remember the RAM is shared. 8 GB is simply not enough for the consumer anymore, least of all going into the future. Motherboards are dirt cheap. That would save maybe $10.

Intel's mobile CPU prices are not accurate. Remember the desktop prices from ark intel are the prices you pay the retailer (who gets a cut). CPUs sold in bulk to a OEM are far cheaper.
 

sirmo

Golden Member
Oct 10, 2011
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How much HBM2 RAM will such a system have? Remember the RAM is shared. 8 GB is simply not enough for the consumer anymore, least of all going into the future. Motherboards are dirt cheap. That would save maybe $10.
4 stacks of HBM2 RAM is 16Gb. Which is plenty for most applications. Apple ships 8Gb or less on most of their computers.
Intel's mobile CPU prices are not accurate. Remember the desktop prices from ark intel are the prices you pay the retailer (who gets a cut). CPUs sold in bulk to a OEM are far cheaper.
Similar is the case for GPUs as well. Sapphire doesn't buy a GPU from AMD for what we pay in the store. Also there is additional costs in GPUs, like VRMs, heatsinks, card manufacturing.. etc.
 

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