Zen (microarchitecture)

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Zen is the codename for a family of computer processor microarchitectures from AMD, first launched in February 2017 with the first generation of its Ryzen CPUs.


First generation[edit]

The first generation Zen was launched with the Ryzen 1000 series of CPUs (codenamed Summit Ridge) in February 2017.[1] The first Zen-based preview system was demonstrated at E3 2016, and first substantially detailed at an event hosted a block away from the Intel Developer Forum 2016. The first Zen-based CPUs reached the market in early March 2017, and Zen-derived Epyc server processors (codenamed "Naples") launched in June 2017[2] and Zen-based APUs (codenamed "Raven Ridge") arrived in November 2017.[3] This first iteration of Zen utilized Global Foundries' 14nm manufacturing process.[4]

Second generation[edit]

Zen+ was first released in April 2018,[5] powering the second generation of Ryzen processors, known as Ryzen 2000 (codenamed "Pinnacle Ridge") for mainstream desktop systems, and Threadripper 2000 (codenamed "Colfax") for high-end desktop setups. This generation used Global Foundries' 12nm process, an enhanced version of their 14nm node.[6][7]

Third generation[edit]

The Ryzen 3000 series CPUs were released on July 7, 2019,[8][9] while the Zen 2-based Epyc server CPUs (codename "Rome") were released on August 7, 2019.[10] Zen 2 also powered a line of desktop APUs marketed as Ryzen 4000. These were the first consumer CPUs using TSMC's 7nm process node.[11] Zen 2 introduced the chiplet based architecture, where all desktop, workstation and server CPUs utilized the same core chiplets[citation needed]. The IO for these processors was taken care of by an IO die,[12] separate from the processing cores. The IO die used by Matisse processors was a small chip on GF 12nm,[13] where as the IO die utilized for Threadripper and Epyc was much larger, able to handle more IO.[14] These chiplets were linked by AMD's own second generation Infinity Fabric,[15] allowing a low-latency interconnect between the cores and their IO. Matisse was limited to two 8-core chiplets and Threadripper/Epyc was limited to eight 8-core chiplets. The processing cores in the chiplets were organized in CCXs (Core Complexes) of four cores, linked together to form a single eight core CCD (Core Chiplet Die).[16]

Fourth generation[edit]

Zen 3 was released on November 5th, 2020,[17] using a more matured 7nm manufacturing process, powering desktop Ryzen 5000 CPUs[17] (codename "Vermeer") and Epyc processors (codename "Milan"). It is speculated that Zen 3 will also power future Rembrandt and Cézanne APUs, for both mobile and desktop.[18] Zen 3's main performance gain over Zen 2 is the introduction of a unified CCX, which means that each core chiplet is now composed of eight cores with access to 32MB of cache, instead of two sets of four cores with access to 16MB of cache each.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Anthony, Sebastian (18 August 2016). "AMD says Zen CPU will outperform Intel Broadwell-E, delays release to 2017". Ars Technica. Retrieved 18 August 2016.
  2. ^ Cutress, Ian. "AMD's Future in Servers: New 7000-Series CPUs Launched and Epyc Analysis". AnandTech. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  3. ^ "HP ENVY x360 Convertible Laptop - 15z touch - HP® Official Store". store.hp.com.
  4. ^ "AMD Shipping Zen In Limited Quantity Q4, Volume Rollout Ramps Q1 2017 | HotHardware". web.archive.org. 2019-04-21. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  5. ^ Bright, Peter (8 January 2018). "AMD's 2018 roadmap: Desktop APUs in February, second-generation Ryzen in April". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  6. ^ Cutress, Ian. "The AMD 2nd Gen Ryzen Deep Dive: The 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600 Tested". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  7. ^ Hruska, Joel (2017-09-22). "AMD Will Use 'New' GlobalFoundries 12nm Node for Future CPUs, GPUs - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  8. ^ Leather, Antony. "AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X Review: Old Ryzen Owners Look Away Now". Forbes. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  9. ^ "AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs launching July 7 with up to 12 cores". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2019-05-28.
  10. ^ "2nd Gen AMD EPYC™ Processors Set New Standard for the Modern Datacenter with Record-Breaking Performance and Significant TCO Savings". AMD. August 7, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  11. ^ January 2020, Bill Thomas 15. "AMD Zen 2 specs, price and release date: all about AMD's newest processor tech". TechRadar. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  12. ^ Jun 12th, btarunr; Discuss, 2019 23:24. "AMD Ryzen 3000 "Matisse" I/O Controller Die 12nm, Not 14nm". TechPowerUp. Retrieved 2020-10-21.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  13. ^ Cutress, Ian. "AMD Zen 2 Microarchitecture Analysis: Ryzen 3000 and EPYC Rome". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  14. ^ Cutress, Ian. "AMD Zen 2 Microarchitecture Analysis: Ryzen 3000 and EPYC Rome". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  15. ^ Cutress, Ian. "AMD Zen 2 Microarchitecture Analysis: Ryzen 3000 and EPYC Rome". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  16. ^ September 2019, Scharon Harding 14. "What Is an AMD CCX? A Basic Definition". Tom's Hardware. Retrieved 2020-10-21.
  17. ^ a b Ridley, Jacob (2020-10-08). "AMD Ryzen 5000 – Zen 3 CPU release date, specs, pricing, and performance". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  18. ^ "Speculation: AMD Cezanne, Rembrandt and Van Gogh APUs". VideoCardz.com. Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  19. ^ "AMD's Zen 3 Drops November 5 With Major IPC Enhancements - ExtremeTech". www.extremetech.com. Retrieved 2020-10-21.