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AMD prepares to take a big leap with Zen 5: Up to 256 cores

Zen 4 and Zen 5 are the names by which we know, provisionally, the next architectures that AMD will use in its future generations of high-performance processors. Zen 4 will logically be the successor to Zen 3, although it is said that we could see an intermediate generation known as Zen 3+, which will maintain the base of that, but will use the 3D stacked cache technology that the company recently unveiled publicly.

Zen 4 will be a very important advance in every way, since will bring profound changes at the microarchitecture level that will allow an increase in the CPI (instructions per clock cycle), and will use the process of 5 nm from TSMC. Thanks to that new process, and the reduction in the size of the chiplet, it is rumored that AMD will be able to make the leap to a configuration of up to 128 cores and 256 threads in its next generation EPYC processors.

It’s impressive, but with Zen 5 the Sunnyvale giant could go even further. The information we have is still very scarce, but the first leaks say that AMD could make the jump to the 3nm process, and that this would allow it to raise the maximum of cores and threads to 256 and 512, respectively. This is really impressive, since, with a double socket configuration, we would find a total of 512 cores and 1,024 threads.

However, it is important to bear in mind that a configuration of this type, with that enormous number of cores, will have a very high TDP, so much so that it could reach the 600 watts. To put this in context, a current processor like the Ryzen 9 5950X, which has 16 cores and 32 threads, has a TDP on PL1 of 105 watts, although it can reach the 180 watts at full load.

The EPYC Milan processors, based on Zen 3, register a TDP of less than 300 watts. However, these chips have configurations of up to 64 cores and 128 threads, so if this information is confirmed AMD would manage to multiply by 4 the maximum number of cores and threads, but it would only have doubled the TDP. It would be a significant advance in terms of performance and efficiency.

We do not yet have an exact launch date, but if everything goes according to the forecasts that AMD released we can expect Zen 4 to debut by the end of 2022. The arrival of Zen 5 would therefore take place sometime in 2023, although there is a possibility that it will end up going to 2024.

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