Computex 2022 in Taipei, Taiwan opened on Monday, May 23rd – the main event for the day being the keynote presentation from AMD President and CEO, Dr. Lisa Su. As is typical for AMD at Computex, the focus was on introducing their upcoming consumer level technologies – the highlight of which being the introduction of their new Ryzen 7000 series desktop CPUs and the new AM5 CPU socket.
If you’ve ever watched a tech keynote, the best stuff is always mentioned last and I’ll be covering things in much the same order they were presented – however – I will spare you having to sit through the introduction of a bunch of upcoming laptops featuring AMD Ryzen 6000 series CPUs and just get to the best parts.
If you’re interested in actually watching the keynote for yourself, it is available on YouTube.
One last thing before we get into it … keep in mind that AMD will make some performance claims during the presentation and I’m simply reporting their claims to you. As always with manufacturer claims, take them with a large grain of salt until they can be verified by trusted independent reviewers.
First up, AMD introduced a new mobile APU launching in Q4 – code named Mendocino. This chip is targeted at mainstream notebooks for the hybrid workforce – the large number of workers who in the new corporate climate prefer to have the flexibility to work at home and remotely – in the $399 to $699 price range.
Mendocino is being fabricated on TSMC’s 6nm node and features a 4 core / 8 thread design using their older Zen 2 CPU architecture and RDNA 2 graphics. I’m curious as to how much additional performance AMD has been able to squeeze out of the now dated Zen 2 architecture by switching to the new 6nm node. Additionally, the chip features LPDDR5 support and “cutting edge video codecs”, ostensibly to improve the experience of working remotely via Teams / Zoom meetings. AMD is touting greater than 10 hour battery life in mixed use workloads for devices featuring this APU.
One last thing on Mendocino that I, personally, found interesting was that AMD seemed (to me at least) to go out of their way to mention that the chip was intended for both Windows and Chromebook devices. Admittedly, I’m not a big Windows fan so I could be reading into this. Up until now, ChromeOS has struggled to find acceptance outside of the budget device segment.
With Chromebooks, however, having become de facto computing devices for school kids and Valve recently announcing Steam for the operating system, it’s not surprising to see AMD targeting a moderately powerful APU at the platform.
AMD Smart Access Storage
Confirming some pre-Computex rumors, AMD has finally taken the wraps off of AMD Smart Access Storage as the latest in their line of AMD Advantage Framework technologies – designed to improve visual fidelity for streaming assets and allow for faster game load times. The technology is said to be compatible with Microsoft’s DirectStorage, which means there are games already in the hands of gamers that can take immediate advantage of the new storage tech. AMD was light on additional details, however, they did say there would be additional news in the coming months.
Gamers might be familiar already with similar technology found in the latest generation of Microsoft Xbox (affiliate) and Sony PlayStation (affiliate) consoles – both featuring chips custom designed by AMD.
The Main Event
Alright, now that we got the rest of everything out of the way, here’s what you really came here to see – AMD announced their upcoming Ryzen 7000 series CPUs featuring their Zen 4 architecture on the new AM5 platform – slated for release sometime this fall, exact date yet to be announced.
Ryzen 7000 / Zen 4
The next generation Zen 4 chips are fabbed on TSMC’s 5nm node with two core chiplets with up to 8 CPU cores per chiplet. Additionally, AMD has designed a new I/O die for Ryzen 7000 that is manufactured on TSMC’s 6nm node. Zen 4 features twice the L2 cache when compared to the previous Zen 3 cores – 1MB per core, a reported 15%+ improvement in single threaded IPC (instructions per clock), CPU boost speeds over 5GHz, DDR5 and PCIE5 support, improved power management, and new hardware AI acceleration instructions.
I’ve heard rumors speculated that AMD would have Zen 4 based Ryzen CPUs with up to 24 cores, however, it appears we can put that rumor to bed with Dr. Su specifically mentioning the two chiplets of up to 8 cores.
At the end of the presentation, AMD showed off a couple demonstrations of a pre-production 16 core Ryzen 7000 CPU – I’d assume this will end up being called a Ryzen 9 7950X when released but we’ll have to wait for an official product announcement to know for certain. The CPU in this demo was had a CPU boost up over 5.5GHz – a MASSIVE improvement in clock speeds which will certainly be cause for consternation at Intel as AMD has finally caught up to them in the clock speed race.
As I watched, I was listening for Dr. Su to mention whether the new Zen 4 chips will feature the same 3D cache technology that was recently unveiled in their Ryzen 7 5800X3D CPU. Unfortunately this was never mentioned specifically. I would assume that the lack of mention means that these new Ryzen chips will not (at least not these first chips being announced) be featuring this technology. I will speculate that AMD might be holding this tech back for potential product refreshes and for their Epyc server CPUs.
The demo CPU was also compared head-to-head against an Intel i9 12900K (affiliate) using Blender. The Ryzen 7000 system completed it’s render 31% faster than the Intel chip. As mentioned previously – grain of salt until these performance numbers can be independently verified.
One last detail on Ryzen 7000 that I think is going to be huge news – EVERY Ryzen 7000 CPU will feature an integrated RDNA 2 GPU – removing a selling point that, up until this point, Intel has been able to tout over AMD that their CPUS (with the exception of the F model chips) have integrated graphics.
After the last few years of GPU shortages, I think this is especially smart on AMD’s part to include some level of integrated graphics so that in the event of another GPU shortage, consumers won’t be forced into making the decision to purchase an Intel chip simply so that the system will work until they can buy a graphics card. I’m particularly interested to see what kind of 3D performance we’ll get from the integrated graphics on these chips – especially considering how well the current Ryzen 5 5600G (affiliate) and Ryzen 7 5700G (affiliate) chips perform with their outdated Vega based graphics.
Let’s start with some of the stuff that’s been leaked / reported on already. AM5 features a 1718 pin LGA socket and is 100% compatible with existing AM4 coolers (affiliate). Obviously, if Ryzen 7000 has support for DDR5 memory and PCIE 5 devices, so will AM5 motherboards. When it comes to PCIE 5 support, AM5 has 24 direct-to-socket PCIE 5.0 lanes for graphics and storage devices. Additionally, AM5 supports up to 14 SuperSpeed USB ports – up to 20Gbps – and up to 4 display outputs onboard for use with the Ryzen 7000 integrated graphics.
AM5 motherboards will come in varieties with three different chipsets – X670 Extreme (X670E), X670, and B650. Rumors suggest that the X670 boards actually make use of two B650 chips, however AMD hasn’t yet remarked on this publicly. As one might assume, each tier of motherboards will feature improved features such as PCIE 5.0 I/O along with more power phases and overclocking capabilities.
I’m excited to see what kind of performance AMD is delivering with their upcoming Zen 4 based CPUs. I’m especially interested in what the integrated GPU performance will be like. If AMD delivers a good enough 1080p gaming experience on integrated graphics, could this be the first nail in the coffin of the budget GPU segment? Tell me what you think in the comments below.