AMD’s Jim Anderson last night confirmed that the 7nm AMD Zen 2 processors will start to sample out to different segments of the market before the end of this year.
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AMD hosted a one year anniversary webinar last night, celebrating the progress their Ryzen processors made throughout 2017. It was all very lovely, with Anderson, AMD’s senior VP and general manager of their Computing and Graphics Group, waxing lyrical about all the technological and financial gains they’d made throughout the last 12 months.
It’s great timing considering the impressive-looking AMD Ryzen 2 processors are set to launch next month, but the most interesting nugget of info came from Anderson’s claims about the architecture which is to follow - the AMD Zen 2 CPU design.
“Zen 2 and Zen 3,” explains Anderson, “represent our new microarchitecture developments for the future cores that will come out and be used in a number of different products... Our execution on Zen 2 I’m really pleased with that, it’s executing very well. Zen 3 as well, we’ve made a lot of great progress on those new cores.
“We'll start to see on Zen 2, which is on 7nm process technology, you’ll start to see initial samples in some specific market segments across AMD before the end of the year for those products. But when I look forward to the product roadmap for Zen 2 and Zen 3, I’m really excited about what I see - very, very competitive processor cores and products that are planned based on that.”
We’d heard at the pre-CES event in January that the Zen 2 7nm design had been completed, along with the 7nm AMD Vega designs. but I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’ve heard AMD speak publicly about the potential sampling times of their next generation of processors.
But sampling definitely doesn’t mean release. It will mean a selection of engineering sample chips will find their ways into the hands of technicians either looking at the software stack around Zen 2 or making sure they place nice with the AM4 CPU socket.
What it does lend credence to, however, is that we’ll be looking at a 2019 release for AMD’s Zen 2, and if they follow the current trend that would put it at a spring 2019 launch. And if the momentum from Ryzen to Ryzen 2 continues apace through the Zen 2 architecture then Intel are going to have a hell of a job trying to contain their rivals.
At the moment Jim Anderson is remaining relatively restrained about the market share potential of their chips. From the end of 2016 to the end of 2017 AMD’s desktop market share had grown from 8% to 12% - a 50% rise. But that’s without a full year of Ryzen sales.
“With the strength of Ryzen, and the Ryzen products,” says Anderson, “I don’t see any reason we can’t get back to historical share levels AMD has enjoyed in the past, in the PC segment in desktop and notebook. Typical share levels we’ve seen in AMD history is low-20s in desktop and high teens in notebook. And when I look at the strength of the Ryzen products I don’t see any reason we can’t get back to those share levels.”
But if Ryzen 2 and the AMD Zen 2 architecture can continue their momentum there’s a good chance we might see historically unprecedented levels of AMD market share.