Computex: AMD shows off a working 8-core Zen processor

AMD demos a working Zen CPU, giving hope to AMD fans looking for an Intel alternative.

AMD’s long-awaited high-performance Zen desktop CPU will feature 16 threads across 8 physical cores and begin sampling later this year, the company proudly announced Tuesday evening.

”Zen is alive, Zen is on track and we are extraordinarily excited about what Zen will bring to the market place,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said during a press conference at Taiwan’s annual Computex trade show.

Zen was “taped out” earlier this year, Su said, and the (simplistic) video for the chip's presentation was even produced with a Zen CPU. AMD's expected to begin sampling the processors to limited partners within a few weeks, with a wider round expected for the third quarter of this year.

Why this matters: After a disastrous few years of getting its nose punched in by Core processors, AMD created Zen from scratch to go toe-to-toe with Intel's CPUs. This chip signals AMD’s return to duking it out for high-performance supremacy.

pasted image at 2016 05 31 10 56 pm

AMD’s Zen-based Summit Ridge will take the fight to Intel, the company hopes.

Waiting for Zen

Zen's built around a new AM4 socket that introduces DDR4 memory compatibility to AMD's lineup and will apparently be compatible with existing coolers from legacy AM3+ motherboards.

AMD has long said Zen would feature at least a 40 percent increase in instructions per clock over its current generation Vishera chips. AMD will abandon the architecture of its Vishera chips in favor of a simultaneous multi-threading approach similar to Intel’s Hyper-Threading.

Pricing wasn’t disclosed—nor even hinted at—but many are looking forward to AMD’s Zen putting pressure on Intel. The very day before Su held up a Zen CPU, Intel announced a new 10-core chip many expected to cost $1,000. Instead, Intel will charge over $1,700 for the Core i7-6950X.

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