Intel might want to be worried about what AMD is cooking with its upcoming Zen architecture, with AMD unveiling a bunch of details on the next-gen architecture being made on the 14nm process.
Zen has been built from the ground up, with integrated SMT (simultaneous multi-threading), which is a first for AMD and will "take efficient advantage of a longer pipeline", reports PC Perspective. AMD will be doubling the CPU thread count, stepping up against Intel's HyperThreading technology with the new Zen-based range of processors. There's also a high bandwidth and low latency caching system that will be used to "feed the beast", thanks to the 14nm process we're looking at greater power efficiency and a nice speed boost of 40% more instructions per clock (IPC).
If you don't think the 40% increase in IPC is real, Ryan Shrout from PCPer says "AMD proved to me today that the claims are real and that we will see the immediate impact of that architecture bump from day one". I've been hearing internal rumblings that Zen is underpromised right now, and will have even more performance - and now that Shrout has had AMD prove the performance of Zen to him, my excitement meter has just shifted further into 'please, can I have it now'.
There are some big changes to the Zen architecture, with branch prediction completely overhauled, and this is the first AMD processor to feature micro-op cache. Shrout adds: "Wider execution width with broader instruction schedulers are integrated, all of which adds up to much higher instruction level parallelism to improve single threaded performance".
AMD has used an integrated 8MB of L3 cache, with prefetching improved with up to 5x the cache bandwidth per CPU core. SMT is there to make sure the pipeline is filled, where "bubbles" that latency arrives in and lower efficiency are prevented, while AMD has also used region-specific power gating that will see Zen-powered notebooks be very powerful, and power efficient, too.
AMD was comparing its new 8-core, 16-thread "Summit Ridge" processor against Intel's ridiculously expensive 8-core/16-thread "Broadwell-E" processor - the Core i7-6900K. AMD compared the IPC improvements of Zen, by using a rendering workload that finished 1-2 seconds faster than the 6900K. Impressive stuff.
There's no pricing information or finalized clock speeds just yet, but it looks like we can begin to get genuinely excited about AMD processors again.