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AMD's New Ryzen Chips Could Threaten Intel Dominance
Posted February 8, 2017
AMD's New Ryzen Chips Could Threaten Intel Dominance
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By Jef Cozza. Updated February 8, 2017 10:18AM

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A new processor from AMD due out in a few weeks could provide Intel with its first real competition in years. AMD published several new details of its upcoming quad-core Ryzen CPU, which is due out in March, in a paper delivered to the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week.

The specifications for the Ryzen suggest it could offer several advantages over Intel's competing Skylake chip. For one thing, the Ryzen will be more compact than Intel’s current 14nm x86 core. The chip will fit into a die area 10 percent smaller than Intel’s chip, according to AMD. The smaller size could also yield real-world advantages for AMD, such as a cheaper price for consumers.

A Run for Their Money

In addition to being smaller, AMD said that the new chip will also have twice the L2 cache size as Intel’s comparable CPU, which should offer a significant advantage in terms of performance. However, that calculation does not appear to take into account the graphics cores Intel includes onboard its Skylake chips.

AMD is relying heavily on the new Ryzen architecture to help turn the company’s fortunes around. During CES 2017 in January, the company announced that 16 motherboards would be launched for the chip this year, with more than a dozen PCs based on the chip due out. The company said it expects to see PCs designed for the Ryzen chip from all the major OEMs around the world.

While the details published by AMD do not prove that the Ryzen chips will be the clear leader over Skylake when they arrive in March, they nevertheless indicate that AMD has a product that is at least capable of competing with Intel in most of the major chip areas.

Signs of Life for AMD

That's no small feat for a company that appeared to be on the ropes against an industry leader whose reputation was made on its manufacturing prowess. Twenty years ago, AMD managed to carve out an impressive niche in the chip market as a lower cost alternative to Intel’s Pentium chips. But the past several years have not been as kind to the company, as it has struggled to hold its own against a dominant Intel and new chips such as the Snapdragon.

Meanwhile, it's unlikely that Intel will rest on its laurels in the face of new signs of life from AMD. The company is rumored to be working on changes to its own product line to better compete with the new Ryzen chips. That includes new i5 and i7 Kaby Lake chips that are faster than the versions Intel launched just a few months ago. The new chips may also include hyper-threading, a feature Intel recently added to some of its newer Pentium processors.

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Maurice:
Posted: 2017-02-23 @ 4:37am PT
Isn't Ryzen supposed to be 8 core rather than quad core?

Jay:
Posted: 2017-02-22 @ 5:39pm PT
Intel has been sitting on its corporate backside resting on its near-monopoly. Now it is caught with its corporate pants down. But they do have deep pockets to launch a price war which is what they might do to salvage it.

Rumcajs:
Posted: 2017-02-22 @ 12:55am PT
@Howard: no surprise here, as it's about AMD CPU not GPU.

Rod:
Posted: 2017-02-15 @ 11:44am PT
@JudasGoat, thank God for small miracles. Windows 7 is dead...

@Howard, That is because Raven Ridge will not be going up against Kaby Lake, it will directly compete with Coffee Lake and that will probably have a AMD based custom GPU inside.

@Robbie, WHAT? Do you not pay attention? Everyone knows AMD's Raven Ridge Ryzen parts will have Vega inside, and then AMD's Gray Hawk Ryzen+ will have Navi inside. So as far as everyone knows, yes Ryzen and Ryzen+ will have integrated graphics, per AMD's own charts. 2017's Summit Ridge Ryzen parts won't have graphics on board as we already know but that's by design. Both Zen based chips Raven Ridge and Gray Hawk will have graphics AND HBM built in.

Robbie:
Posted: 2017-02-14 @ 9:31am PT
As far as anyone knows, there will be no integrated graphics in Ryzen chips.

Howard:
Posted: 2017-02-13 @ 2:57am PT
You read all the articles about Ryzen and not one of them mention how AMD Graphics will completely annihilate what Intel will offer with its kabylake. I really find that incredible. AMD Graphics -Daylight -Intel Graphics

JudasGoat:
Posted: 2017-02-08 @ 5:37pm PT
AMD is missing a big opportunity if Ryzen doesn't support Windows 7.

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