AMD Zen 5 CPUs may not debut until late in 2024 - could Intel's Arrow Lake even arrive first?

A new rumor suggests that next-gen Ryzen desktop processors might not turn up until right at the end of 2024, which would be great news for Intel.

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AMD's Zen 5 processors are set to enter mass production in Q3 according to a new report.

This is from UDN, a Chinese tech site, as highlighted by Dan Nystedt as you can see in the tweet above (which was noticed by Wccftech).

UDN tells us that TSMC will start making Zen 5 processors in Q2, but that volume production won't be fully spun up until Q3 of 2024.

There are some notes of confusion woven into this rumor, though, the most obvious of which is the report mentioning Zen 5 'Nirvana' (which is simply the codename for the new architecture) being made on TSMC 3nm, and this isn't the case.

It appears to be confusing Nirvana with Prometheus, the latter being Zen 5c (cores with lower power usage than standard Zen 5 cores - though they aren't as cut back as Intel's efficiency cores). Zen 5c is on 3nm, but vanilla Zen 5 is in fact built on TSMC 4nm.

That's a worrying mistake, then, compounded by other rumors we've heard recently that Zen 5 is already ramping up in mass production. Mind you, the previous speculation could be the rumor that's incorrect - who knows, we need to be careful around all of these whispers from the grapevine.

Running late

If true - and we're not sure on the source ourselves, but Wccftech asserts it has been right in the past and has a solid track record - then we could be looking at a later release for Zen 5 desktop CPUs than previously anticipated.

There's been a lot of talk around a Q3 launch, or at least that possibility, but if volume production is only going to be at full pelt at that point - meaning July at the earliest - then we might be looking at a release date towards the very end of the year for Zen 5 (Ryzen 8000 or 9000 desktop CPUs).

Typically, once mass production has begun, the actual CPUs won't be on shelves until a number of months afterwards - it was five months with current-gen Ryzen 7000 silicon. It certainly isn't a swift journey to the shelves from spinning up the assembly lines for obvious reasons (time to build up a healthy stock of chips, packaging, distribution and so on).

In other words, Intel's Arrow Lake CPUs could even have a chance to beat Zen 5 to market, in theory, if the scenario outlined here pans out. Team Blue's next-gen desktop CPUs are also rumored to be landing late in 2024 (alongside Lunar Lake chips, perhaps, though those laptop processors may not be out until early 2025).

We'll have to keep our eyes peeled for other launch date rumors for Zen 5 in the near future to see if they back up this latest speculation.

For now, though, we'd view this leak with caution. But if it's correct, Intel will doubtless be breathing a sigh of relief regarding the battle of the next-gen desktop processors.

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Darren has written for numerous magazines and websites in the technology world for almost 30 years, including TechRadar, PC Gamer, Eurogamer, Computeractive, and many more. He worked on his first magazine (PC Home) long before Google and most of the rest of the web existed. In his spare time, he can be found gaming, going to the gym, and writing books (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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