Rumor: AMD Zen 3 architecture could run four threads per core
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AMD looks set to breakthrough the wall that Intel’s ancient x86 architecture has been hitting up against lately with a breakthrough in the development of its new Zen 3 design. According to WCCF Tech, AMD has recently completed the design and it is said to include a new execution feature dubbed SMT4. If accurate, SMT4 will give AMD’s 4000 Series chips the ability to process four threads per core simultaneously. With AMD already challenging Intel for single-core performance and leading in multi-core performance this is great news for customers and bad news for Intel.
AMD is said to have been able to take advantage of underutilized pipelines in the more complex core designs of its new Zen microarchitecture to maximize the use of the available resources. IBM has been able to achieve up to eight threads per core with its designs, but this would be the first time anyone has been able to achieve this with x86-based designs. With AMD also moving to TSMC’s 7nm+ process node for Zen 3, Team Red is looking set to move into a new golden age for the company. If can replicate the approach with its server CPUs as well, Intel will have every reason to be seriously concerned.
Intel is facing pressure at both ends of the performance spectrum. At the lower end, it is facing a threat from ARM-based designs like Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx chipset that area a perfect performance-per-watt fit for ultrabooks and at the upper end of the spectrum AMD is seriously threatening Intel’s dominance in a way that no one could foresee just a few years ago. Part of the reason for this is, of course, Intel’s infamous woes trying to move to the 10nm process but it is only now, since Skylake, that it is starting to make meaningful architectural gains again.