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AMD Analyst Day 2020: Zen 3, Infinity Fabric 3, and 3D Packaging


AMD’s Financial Analyst day catered more heavily to Wall Street than the technology crowd, but the company did share some details on its plans for future products. We’ve detailed some of those already, with our discussion of RDNA2 and CDNA, but there was new information on the Ryzen side of the equation as well.

First off, AMD is continuing to claim top performance expectations for the Ryzen 4000 Mobile versus Intel’s Core i7-1065G7. Cinebench and Time Spy are just two tests, but pulling slightly ahead in single-thread is an impressive result for AMD in mobile.

AMD-Ryzen-4000-Mobile

The 90 percent lead is fairly expected, given that the Ryzen 7 4800U packs 16 threads compared with eight for the Core i7-1065G7, but the fact that AMD leads by that kind of margin implies that the CPU manages to hit its turbo frequencies for at least short intervals, despite packing a full 8 cores in a 15W TDP.

AMD-Packaging-Plans

For over a year now, Intel has been talking up its work with 3D interconnect technology, with Foveros expected to debut with Lakefield this year. AMD, in contrast, has been much quieter on this score. The company has now declared that it will use X3D packaging in future projects, where “X3D” is understood as a blend of existing 2.5D interposer technology and future 3D adaptations. TSMC has previously demonstrated 3D IC technology using CoWoS (Chip on Wafer on Substrate) late last year is actively researching additional approaches for various markets and products. The following chart from EETimes lays out some of the approaches TSMC is actively developing.

media-1313830-tsmcalphabetsoup-3

We have too little information to speculate on the exact details of X3D, save that the diagram shows what looks like HBM stacked around an array of chiplets.

Earlier this week, we speculated that AMD might introduce a “Zen 3+” node or move straight to Zen 4 following this year’s Zen 3 uarch. We now know that’s not going to happen. The way to think about the yearly cadence, according to AMD, is that each CPU family introduction happens over a significant period of time. Zen 2 debuted last July with Ryzen, came to Threadripper last November, and will ship in mobile hardware this spring. Zen 4 should deploy across all of 2022. Zen 3 is expected to launch “later this year,” for consumer hardware, while Zen 3 for enterprise is expected in “late 2020.” One implication of that is that Zen 3 arrives for desktop between May and August, while we might see enterprise shipments in November / December. Also, AMD is no longer referring to any of its 7nm products as being built on 7nm+, reportedly due to a shift in TSMC’s nomenclature. AMD’s upcoming Zen 3 CPUs may still be based on a non-EUV process node.

Finally, some updates on third-generation Infinity Fabric. According to AMD, second-generation IF enables multi-GPU configurations which then attach to the CPU via PCIe 4.0. Infinity Fabric 3 will introduce full cache coherency between CPU and GPU, similar to what AMD enabled with its APUs when it launched Raven Ridge.

AMD is also claiming that Infinity Fabric 3 will be substantially faster than IF2, which makes sense given what we know about the near-term timeline for interconnect I/O. Just as IF2 had to be much faster if it was going to handle PCIe 4.0 traffic, IF3 would need to be much quicker to handle PCIe 5.0. We don’t know for certain when PCIe 5.0 will hit market, but the standard was finished a year ago. To be clear, we’re not saying that IF3 is based on / related-to PCIe 5.0 — but it makes sense to support an equivalently capable standard to avoid bandwidth choke points.

The overall emphasis out of AMD’s event this year was on traction and uptake, including new server wins, mobile market penetration, and new CPU and GPU architectures. If 2019 was the year AMD demonstrated it could successfully navigate moving both CPU and GPU products to 7nm, 2020 looks to be the year it capitalizes on those successes and demonstrates it can continue to evolve its products to better challenge Nvidia and Intel across every semiconductor market.

Now Read:

  • AMD Announces CDNA, RDNA2 Architectures, Significant Leap in Performance-per-Watt
  • The PCIe 5.0 Specification is Now Available, Before PCIe 4.0 Has Even Shipped
  • AMD, HP Unveil 2-Exaflop Supercomputer With Epyc, Radeon Instinct

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