There is no denying that AMD’s Zen 3 launch blew away everyone who was watching at home, none of us expected Ryzen to take the crown away from Intel, and it’s been a very tough uphill battle ever since the beginning. No longer is the red team stuck being the “budget-value” option; they’ve finally broken through the ceiling and proven they can compete head-to-head and beyond with the competition.
On top of this staggering success, their Radeon graphics card team hasn’t been slacking off as well. With their promised performance scores matching up with Nvidia’s Ampere architecture at very competitive pricing, RDNA2 is by no means something we can put aside. Overall, AMD had just thrown two direct punches at their competitors, showing they’re ready and willing to keep innovating.
However, the best news yet to come out of this entire rollercoaster ride is that AMD shows no signs of stopping, and they are already recouping on research and development for their next line of CPUs – Zen 4.
Next-Gen Architecture, Zen 4
Following AMD’s roadmap for Ryzen CPUs and the usual 12-18 month release schedule, we can expect the first collection of Zen 4 processors to roll around Q1 of 2022. And, while that may seem far enough not to think about, with the company’s current pacing and progress, it’s hard not to consider what they can achieve with further improvements and using newer architecture.
- 5nm Manufacturing Process: As stated by AMD, Zen 3 will be the last of their processors running on the 7nm manufacturing process, and we’ll be seeing the debut of the TSMC 5nm node on the Zen 4 platform. And judging by the original jump from Zen to Zen 2, who knows how much more cores, effective speed, and increased efficiency on power consumption we can get.
- 19% Performance Gain: Team red has been known to keep their promise of a roughly 19%-20% performance gain with each new architecture it introduces. However, given that the next in line will be on a smaller manufacturing process, we could see a performance uplift more than that, which could further distance the value-appeal of AMD to Intel.
- Breaking The 5GHz Barrier: In terms of advertised speeds, AMD’s processors and the current Zen 3 lineup have been known to stay below the 5GHz barrier, an area where Intel continues to thrive. However, while touching beyond 5GHz with an AMD chip is more than possible, the next-gen architecture might be the generational leap AMD needs to break the 5GHz barrier boost clock.
What is Intel’s Answer?
On the other side of the spectrum, Intel isn’t looking too bright with their CPUs and next-gen architecture, and it seems they’re grasping at straws to make anything substantial and diminish the hype surrounding team red at this point. Of course, we won’t deny that specific applications and games still heavily prefer Intel processors; the slight fps and time differences are negligible, putting AMD at the top for now. Hopefully, the increase in popularity and performance uplift of AMD will further encourage Intel to do the same to increase competition in the CPU market.
- Single-Thread Performance: As it stands, Intel’s upcoming Rocket Lake CPUs this Q1 of 2021 might have a chance to at least take back the crown for top single-thread performance. But apart from that, we are currently let in the dark until Intel releases their plans or road map for future processors to compete with AMD’s lineup.
- Dated Compute Architecture: Sadly, Intel is still using 14nm architecture, which severely inhibits any further performance uplift due to the dated compute architecture. What’s worse, the upcoming Rocket Lake is most likely still going to be on a 14nm refresh manufacturing process, which doesn’t help Intel’s case at all. Yes, we will be getting 10nm from Intel later down the line, but if they don’t pick up the pace, AMD will already be on 5nm before that even happens.
- Price Battle: When Rocket Lake eventually releases in 2021, team red will have already made back all their resources for Zen 3 and be ready with a price battle with discounts or refresh variants to drive Intel further back. We might see non-X variants popping up or driver updates to increase Zen 3 processors’ performance gain.
The Future of PC Tech Is Bright
Overall, the future of PC tech appears very bright and hopeful now, and if you are planning to get into the PC enthusiast market, there’s no time better than today. In fact, if you have any plans of building a workstation or mid-range gaming rig, the choices are vast, and upon restock, you could potentially get a system that could last you well over five years worth of use and production. So, feel free to lounge near the fireplace and have the wood-burning inserts running because there’s only going up from here on out.