AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Zen 4 Architecture Explained: Here’s Its Blueprint for Leading Single-Threaded Performance


The next generation of AMD microprocessors for desktop computers is on the way. Two days ago, Lisa Su, the general manager of this company, took advantage of the start of Computex, which is being held this week in Taipei (Taiwan), to publicize some of the features that the Ryzen 7000 processors will have. And they look really good.

The Ryzen 5000s left the flag very high, and on top of that, Intel stepped on the accelerator in terms of overall performance with its Alder Lake microarchitecture 12th Gen Core processors. Given the circumstances, it is clear that AMD cannot afford to make a mistake. And if we stick to what we know the Zen 4 microarchitecture it seems not.

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There are still plenty of details about the Ryzen 7000 processors that we don’t know, but AMD has unveiled the information we need to get a pretty good idea of ​​what they have in store for us. And one of the biggest improvements that, in theory, will come from the hand of these chips is a performance boost in single-threaded applications of more than 15%. This is how AMD intends to fight its competitors.

Ryzen 7000 processors compared to their predecessors

Chiplets continue, but 5nm photolithography is coming

AMD made many good decisions when developing the generations of Ryzen processors it brought to market, and one of them was to bet on the implementation of chiplets. This strategy requires splitting the logic that, until recently, processor manufacturers packaged into a single chip into several different ICs that are packaged into a single package. It just means that when we remove the heatsink that covers the CPU PCB, multiple chips will be exposed, not just one.

There are two kinds of chiplets: IOD (Input output matrix) and CCD (Basic complex die). The CCDs integrate the cores and the cache memory subsystem, among other essential elements of the CPU, while the IOD contains the main memory access logic and handles the CCDs’ interfacing and communication with the CPU. chipset of the motherboard. In Ryzen 5000 microprocessors, the CCDs are made using 7nm FinFET photolithography, but the IOD is produced by 12nm integration technology.

The next Ryzen 7000 will keep this same organizational scheme, but the photolithography that TSMC will use in its manufacture will be more advanced. In fact, the CCD will be produced using the same integration technology of 5nm that this semiconductor manufacturer already uses to produce chips for Apple or Huawei, among others, and the IOD will use 6nm integration technology. The introduction of more advanced photolithography will increase the performance per watt of the Ryzen 7000, but that’s only one ingredient in the recipe.

The other fundamental ingredient of the future Ryzen 7000 is its microarchitecture. Everything, so a priori this seems the way to go. However, that’s not all.

We also know that AMD engineers have redesigned the CPU’s building blocks and algorithms that are directly involved in processing threads (son) in which it should prevail the minimum possible consumption, and not so much to achieve maximum performance. Increasing performance is key, but so is controlling thermal power consumption and CPU dissipation level. And it is clear that with these decisions the AMD technicians seem determined not to let go.

In Zen 4, the level 2 cache is twice as large as in Zen 3

The impact of the cache memory subsystem on the overall performance of a microprocessor is profound. It matters the scheduling policy of what information to store in the different cache sublevels, but its size also matters. And in this area the Ryzen 7000 will take a decisive step by double the capacity of level 2 cache. Thus each core will have at its disposal in Zen 4 an L2 cache of 1 MB, whereas in Zen 3 each of them had “only” 512 KB.

What is AMD all about, which is the first of this brand for desktop computers that implements this innovation, and it left us with a good taste in our mouths in our test bench.

3D V-Cache technology has already been used by AMD in some of its professional solutions, such as EPYC processors for data centers. Generally speaking, it allows stacking chiplets, so that instead of being placed next to each other, they are placed one above the other. In this way, it is possible to significantly increase the capacity of the level 3 cache memory, and, in addition, the latency of this subsystem is reduced. At the moment this is just speculation, but it is likely that some Ryzen 9 and 7 processors from the 7000 family will support this technology.

Going beyond 5 GHz is crucial for increasing single-threaded performance

In the opening paragraphs of this article, I mentioned that AMD has made public its intention for Ryzen 7000 processors to increase in more than 15% its performance in single-wire applications. If in a real use scenario they show this increase in productivity, their performance in multi-threaded applications will also be noticeably increased.

In any case, in addition to the contributions that the Zen 4 microarchitecture will make, which will undoubtedly be significant, it is also crucial to increase the maximum clock frequency that the cores that link the CCDs are able to reach. AMD assures that its next processors will be able to operate at maximum clock speed above 5GHz.

Zen4 5ghz

In fact, in one of the videos he posted, a prototype of a possible Ryzen 9 from the 7000 series appears. running at 5.5 GHz. The Ryzen 9 5950X that we can currently buy is capable of running at a maximum clock rate of 4.9 GHz, and that extra 600 MHz added to the improvements introduced by the Zen 4 microarchitecture invites us to predict that, indeed, the 15% increase in single-threaded applications that AMD promises us is achievable.

With socket AM5, DDR5 memories and PCIe 5.0 interface will arrive

The AM4 socket that accompanied the latest generations of AMD microprocessors has its days numbered. And it is that the Ryzen 7000 will arrive from the hand of a new platform known as AM5, and its protagonist will be a new LGA-type socket that will have a 1718-contact interface. This mechanical interface will be compatible with processors that have a maximum TDP of 170 wattsand, obviously, this will force us to change the motherboard of our PC if we want to get our hands on one of the new Ryzen 7000s.

However, the adoption of this new platform will go hand in hand with the introduction of DDR5 memories and the PCI Express 5.0 connection interface. In addition, with its new processors, AMD will launch three different chipsets: the X670 Extreme, which will be the solution offered by premium motherboards with slots for two graphics cards; the X670, for which high-end motherboards will bet; and, finally, the B650, which will be the one that the mid-range motherboards will integrate. The arrival of Ryzen 7000 processors Later this year This promises us one of the most exciting home stretches of 2022.

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