Some Zen CPUs may pack 32 cores and eight memory channels

— 11:03 AM on February 11, 2016

Every time there's an impending CPU or GPU release, a lot of rumors start floating around. AMD's upcoming Zen architecture is no exception to that rule, but now there are a few tasty morsels of actual information.

A couple weeks ago, folks from CERN's IT Technical Forum delivered a talk titled "Technology and Market Trends for the Data Center." In that talk, a CERN engineer revealed that the upcoming AMD CPUs will pack as many as 32 physical cores on a single package, spread across two 16-core modules with an on-die interconnect. The presenters said that AMD is also introducing its own take on Hyper-Threading into the mix, called Symmetrical Multi Threading.

This tidbit of info from CERN corroborates some earlier information derived from a Linux kernel patch which contains a reference to a maximum of 32 cores for an upcoming AMD "Zeppelin" CPU architecture.

32 isn't the only big number being thrown around, though. The presenter repeated AMD's promise of a 40% increase in IPC, which is a welcome improvement and could help the company's CPUs become more competitive with Intel's offerings.

Zen looks to be packing serious memory bandwidth, too. The CERN slides mention that the new CPUs can make use of as many as eight channels of DDR4 memory. Given the 16+16 core architecture described above, it's possible that the eight-channel total is implemented as four channels connected to each 16-core physical module.

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