The internet is ablaze with rumors of a leaked lineup of AMD's hotly-anticipated Ryzen CPUs. The leak in question first originated on Chinese forum Coolaler. The post has since then been removed, but Google has a cached version here. The list shows a total of 17 Ryzen models, ranging from a so-called R3 1100 with four cores, all the way up to the R7 Pro 1800X with the eight-core, 16-thread design that AMD has touted since the first Zen announcements. Perhaps the most interesting nugget in the leak is the presence of four six-core, 12-thread models. Drop the wimpy little salt shaker and grab the 40-pound bag of ice-melting magnesium chloride from the garage as we dig into this.
The full Ryzen CPU list includes four R3 models with four-core, four-thread designs, four R5 chips with four cores and SMT, four R5 models with six-core, 12-thread setups, and five R7 models packing eight cores and 16 threads. The rumors suggest a rather narrow range of clockspeeds among all Ryzen chips, since the eight-core versions have a range of 3.0 to 3.6 GHz. All lesser models have an even smaller range between the lowest and highest clock speeds. It looks like we're looking at base clocks, and there's no word on how high turbo clocks might be. The meaning of the "X" and "Pro" suffixes are similarly shrouded in mystery.
On the surface, the leak suggests that AMD will adopt a similar naming scheme to the one the it used in the era of Radeon 200- and 300-series graphics cards, then seemingly dropped after releasing the Polaris-based Radeon RX cards last year. Thinking along the same lines, the application of the "R7" terminology to the range-topping processors seems strange. Another possible scenario is that the processors are named in order to ease comparison to Intel's Core models, which have used i3, i5, and i7 prefixes to stand in for good, better, and best performance, for seven generations over the course of most of a decade.
Given that Zen is made of CPU complexes (CCXes) with four cores each, the existence of six-core Ryzen CPUs has been the subject of hardware forum debate for some time. A six-core model could possibly be manufactured by mixing and matching fully- and partially-enabled CCXes. WCCFTech speculates that six-core products may be manufactured by pairing two CCXes with one disabled core each. Alternatively, one could theoretically obtain six cores by joining a fully-enabled CCX with a half-disabled unit.
The rumor of models with partially-disabled four-core CCXes likewise raises the possibility that we'll see Zen-based replacements for current Kabini APUs. Sub-$100 processors practically require integrated graphics, but once AMD completes work on the rumored Raven Ridge Zen-based APUs, bargain-basement models with less than four cores may be a reality.
The rumor goes on to say that AMD will begin selling eight-core Ryzen models on March 3, and that quad- and six-core models will soon follow. Pricing remains an open question, though no matter what happens, some gerbils will not be impressed.