Saturday , 10 December 2016
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AMD Preps Zen CPU, Reigniting Chip War with Intel

Chip developer AMD plans to offer a sneak preview of its long-awaited Zen CPU during a live online event scheduled for 1 p.m. Pacific time on Dec. 13. Originally set for release this year and now expected to launch in early 2017, Zen’s built-from-the-ground-up architecture could amp up AMD’s competition with Intel, the current 800-pound gorilla of the global microprocessor market.

The “New Horizon” event will be hosted by video game media figure Geoff Keighley, who produces The Game Awards show for the gaming industry. In addition to featuring other guests and giveaways, the event also promises to have gamer Peter “PPD” Dager “put ‘Zen’ through its paces.”

AMD, which is now taking signups for the live-stream event, said the Zen preview will be “the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities.” The company added the event will be of particular interest to serious gamers.


Zen: Improved Power and More

Until yesterday’s event announcement, AMD hasn’t said much about Zen in several months. The last big news came in mid-August, when the company revealed some test and performance details about the CPU at a special event in San Francisco.

AMD senior fellow Mike Clark followed up on that event with a presentation at the Hot Chips symposium held in Cupertino, Calif., in late August. In his deep dive, Clark described how Zen’s new architecture was able to handle 40 percent more instructions per clock than AMD’s previous Excavator x86 core and could provide both improved power usage and better caching.

Zen’s “clean-sheet” design will introduce a number of changes compared to its previous CPUs, including a new cache hierarchy and simultaneous multithreading (SMT), according to AMD. In August, Ars Technica noted that the new architecture “corrects most of the mistakes made with…

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