As one last thing at its Computex 2016 press conference, after introducing the Radeon RX 480 graphics card, AMD wanted to remind the world that its next-generation Zen CPU core isn't that far away. And we've now seen a desktop Zen chip for the first time, held by AMD boss Lisa Su — the same chip that will be competing with Intel's top processors in the months to come.
Code-named Summit Ridge, the Zen desktop processor offers a 40 per cent IPC calculation improvement over the last generation of AMD's FX CPUs. The small slice of silicon on show at AMD's demo was an 8-core, 16-thread chip — yep, AMD now has a technology called simultaneous multi-threading, or SMT, that is effectively the same as Intel's hyper-threading.
AMD will use its Zen core in everything from desktops to laptops to server hardware, but thankfully for us PC gaming and benchmarking enthusiasts the desktop chip is first. When? AMD is still staying quiet on that, but we'll definitely see it before the end of the year, likely in the final three months of 2016. AMD will be showing off Zen to its major PC vendor partners in the next few months.
"Zen is a very very special product and project for AMD — we decided the industry needed another high performance computing CPU. W are in the early stages of bring-up, but the product looks good — really good." AMD's chief executive officer Lisa Su showed Zen to the assembled audience and online viewers, but only gave a quick peek at the chip itself and didn't reveal any more detailed performance benchmarks.
We'll know more in the coming days and weeks as AMD shows off its new kit around Computex, but at least we know Zen is real, and it's on the way. If you're thinking of building a brand new PC for high-end computing work or gaming any time soon, it's probably worth holding off for a little while — this is why 2016 is going to be a very exciting year to buy a PC.
Skip to 1:08:00 for the introduction of Zen: