AMD EPYC 'Rome' to feature up to 64 Zen 2 cores

AMD EPYC 'Rome' to feature up to 64 Zen 2 cores

Although the former isn't of much interest to us since the announced-so-far Vega graphics chips won't be made available to consumers, the CPU news is much more pressing as it furthers rumors that AMD's next-generation architecture will make it not only competitive with Intel on cost, but on overall raw power too.

"The multi-chip processor uses 7nm process technology for the "Zen 2" CPU cores that benefit from the advanced process technology, while leveraging a mature 14nm process technology for the input/output portion of the chip". That could soon change.

One of AMD's mainstay features is socket compatibility for those that have already adopted previous generation processors. AMD says the 7nm process will allow AMD to achieve either 25% more performance or 50% less power usage, however AMD did not state which nod they were comparing against; AMD could be comparing to either GlobalFoundries's 12nm or 14nm nodes (used on Zen+ and Zen respectively) or TSMC's previous 16nm node. While AMD claims the design handily beats Intel's Xeon Platinum 8180M at the C-Ray benchmark, though, the company has taken the unusual step of redacting full benchmark results until after the chip has launched. If you've been tracking the x86 wars for the last couple of decades, you'll know such a development is an exceedingly rare occurrence. 'Combining world-class performance and a flexible architecture with a robust software platform and the industry's leading-edge ROCm open software ecosystem, the new AMD Radeon Instinct accelerators provide the critical components needed to solve the most hard cloud computing challenges today and into the future. According to Papermaster, this was something of a gamble, given the challenges of implementing such a complex design on a leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing technology.

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While Rome's 64-core/128-thread count is double that of EPYC's first-generation, Naples, CEO Lisa Su promised that users can also expect double the performance thanks to the switch to TSMC's 7nm manufacturing process. It's next-generation Epyc chips combine up to eight 7nm CPU "chiplets" with a central 14nm I/O die supporting 8-channel DDR4 memory and PCIe 4.0. Fear not, because not only will the EPYC "Rome" chips be socket compatible with existing EPYC "Naples" silicon, but it will also be forward compatible with AMD's "Milan" CPUs that will use the Zen 3 microarchitecture.

AMD is now sampling EPYC "Rome" chips with customers, with the chips expected to launch sometime in 2019. A Zen 4 processor is also in the works, although no timeline was given for its debut.

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