Rumour Places AMD Zen Release In Q1 2017
With the release of AMD's 7th Generation APUs and Bristol Ridge platform to OEMs last week - incorporating the first AM4-socket CPUs and likely the final large-scale outing for CPUs or APUs based on the Bulldozer-derived Excavator CPU core - attention now returns to Zen, their next-generation architecture. Plenty of information on the technical aspects of the architecture have been divulged over the past few weeks, not to mention some eye-opening performance demonstrations against their chief competition, but the red team have been silent over the release date. Now perennial Far-East leak site Benchlife are reporting that Zen will not be in desktops until February 2017, just missing the hoped-for late 2016 window and pushing it to a time of the year traditionally quite slim on new hardware in the retail channel.
At this time AMD have good reason to be quietly upbeat over the release of Zen despite a winter release date. A strong showing at CES 2017 in January would be the ideal launching pad outside of Computex, and critical for securing all-important design wins that will see the the platform in OEM laptops and desktops that year. Intel meanwhile will be releasing or have released Kaby Lake, an optimisation of Skylake that's unlikely to make huge strides in performance or features. Simply by offering a competitive alternative AMD will get the all-important publicity, and that's without beating Intel's Octacore HEDT Core i7-6950K.
AMD's 7th Generation APUs roll in more functionality than ever into the processor itself and delegates less to the motherboard chipset, much in the mould of Intel's platform designs. Zen is likely to continue this trend if not accelerate it, adding more core features such as additional USB 3.1 or next-gen storage support and allowing the chipset to be ever more streamlined.
The new Bristol Ridge Mainstream B350 and Essential A320 motherboards effectively replace FM2+ and AM3+ designs below the top-range 990FX & A88X chipsets. Alongside the release of Zen will be new X-prefix motherboards that incorporate both DDR4 Memory and the AM4 socket; they will be the final step in the unification of CPU and APU platforms and the phasing out of AM3+ and FM2+ sockets.
Intel's Kaby Lake CPU family, an optimisation of Skylake based on the same 14nm process and updated 200-series motherboard family, is due for release this year but thus far remains MIA. AMD will hope that early hype will be enough to persuade interested parties to delay purchasing decisions.
Source: Benchlife via Guru3D.