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Rumor: AMD’s Zen 4 Flagship to Offer 32 Threads, 170W TDP

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Both AMD and Intel are currently hard at work prepping for an epic CPU battle in the fall of 2022, no pun intended. We already know quite a bit about Intel’s upcoming Raptor Lake, but less is known about AMD’s Zen 4 offerings. We know it’ll sport a new AM5 LGA socket, offer PCIe 5.0, and support DDR5 memory, but that’s about it. Some new details have finally emerged though, indicating the top-dog chip will consume a lot of power. It is rumored to top out at 32 threads, which is the same as AMD’s current Zen 3 chips.

The rumors come from Twitter user Greymon55, who is a recurring source for next-gen AMD hardware tips. They state the top part in the product stack will feature 16 cores and 32 threads, with a TDP of 170W. That’s a lot of power for an AMD CPU, as the current Ryzen 9 5950X 16C/32T requires only 105W, with a theoretical socket maximum of 140W. Another interesting tidbit is according to Videocardz, it will require a liquid cooler with a 280mm radiator. That’s one rumor we’ll file in the “we’ll believe it when we see it” category for now. Though that’s a heavy lift for a lot of air coolers, it’s still possible with several current models. Greymon55 also says for Zen 4, the 105 TDP part is reduced to 12 cores and 24 threads. AMD is using TSMC’s N5 node, which will also be the foundation for its RDNA3 GPUs.

The AM5 socket. The group of people who can’t stop themselves from getting paste on top of the chip — and you know who you are — had best start practicing their application technique.

If this rumor is true, AMD won’t initially bump core counts with Zen 4, despite a newly competitive Intel. AMD, of course, was the first desktop manufacturer to offer 16 cores in a mainstream platform back in 2019. Both the Ryzen 9 3950X and Threadripper 3970X used that design, and the Threadripper 3990X offered 64C/128T. Intel has already demo’d up to 32 threads in its upcoming Raptor Lake CPUs, with eight hyper-threaded P-cores and 16 E-cores. Therefore, it’s possible AMD thinks this is all it needs to beat Intel this time around. Either that or going beyond 16C/32T wasn’t feasible from a thermal or cost perspective. AMD’s also likely motivated to not cannibalize its Threadripper workstation market as well.

One aspect of Zen 4 that AMD hasn’t formally confirmed yet is the question of its memory compatibility and whether the chip can use DDR4 and DDR5 or just DDR5. Intel’s Alder Lake currently offers this flexibility, but it’s unclear if AMD will or not.  Zen 4 will supposedly support both memory types, and DDR4 compatibility would be a welcome addition. AMD is also rumored to be supporting extended memory profiles for DDR5 with Zen 4, which will be called Ryzen Accelerated Memory Profiles (RAMP). However, DDR5 is currently twice as expensive as DDR4 memory, and its adoption rate has been slow with Alder Lake. The chip shortage has also impacted DDR5 module availability, and pricing, as well.

Though AMD said at CES that Zen 4 would launch in the second half of 2022, it might be closer than we think. Popular hardware diagnostic tool HWiNFO added support for Zen 4 in February. It usually does this three to six months before a launch, according to Tom’s Hardware. That could place its launch right around September, or even sooner if we’re lucky.

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