AMD Ryzen CPUs May Be Limited To 4 and 8 Core Variants
The world of computing is holding its collective breath for AMD's Ryzen CPU, but in the absence of more concrete model information prior to launch the rumour-mill is already working overtime in an attempt to tease out previously unclear characteristics of the design. Today the CPU Complex - referred to by AMD as the Ryzen CCX - is under the spotlight, and it's not good news for the chances of a 6-core Ryzen consumer variant.
Thai publication zolkorn.com have stated that at launch AMD will only be releasing 4-core and 8-core models in the Ryzen lineup, citing 'reliable sources', which has been echoed by pcgameshardware.de. The rationale for this appears to be two-fold: each 4-core CCX module is difficult to subdivide, and an 8-core part with Simultaneous Multhreading (SMT) disabled may better serve the mid-range.
A Ryzen CCX is a module of four CPU cores each equipped with L1 and L2 cache; L3 cache is shared between these cores. Single CCX (4-core) and Dual CCX (8-core) are therefore fairly obvious models to release, both supporting SMT (a rough equivalent to Intel's Hyperthreading). Previously AMD had indicated that disabling individual cores on a CCX would be possible, hence the rumours of a 6-core (dual-CCX with cores disabled) model as part of the lineup to neatly fit into the mid-range, however if the report is accurate then this configuration is more difficult (i.e. costly) than assumed.
It is known that AMD will be releasing Ryzen into three broad product categories - 'Budget' SR3, 'Mid-range' SR5 and 'Performance' SR7. If a six-core model is off the cards then an 8-core part with SMT disabled, akin to the Intel Core i5-x600K models, would be the ideal compromise for the SR5 category. That's a bitter blow to budget-conscious overclockers and gamers looking for a bargin 6-core/12-thread part to squeeze their money the furthest.
If, however, you were pinning your hopes on a 12-thread AMD Ryzen CPU there is a ray of hope. French outfit Canard PC have stated that 6-core models are in fact being finalised, although it's not clear if they will reach the market.
A whole lot more should be known about AMD's launch plans for Ryzen by the end of February.
SOURCES: PCGH.de, Zolkorn