Rumor: Leaked AMD roadmaps give a peek at future CPUs

The folks over at Videocardz got their hands on what appear to be some decidedly non-video-card-related internal AMD roadmaps. The slides describe AMD's enterprise CPU and APU products, but given that they are dated February 2016, they could be quite out of date. Still, if accurate, the presentation gives us an interesting picture of AMD's future plans. Just ring up your local supermarket and ask for a truckload of salt before proceeding.


The purported roadmaps list a number of products that have launched and a great many more that have not. Perhaps the most salient hypothetical news is that AMD is planning a 48-core-per-socket CPU fabricated on a 7-nm process. According to the roadmaps, this would-be processor was code-named "Starship." Starship would be the next Opteron at the top of AMD's product stack after the 32-core "Naples" processor that is expected to launch any day now. 

If the slide deck is real, AMD could be expecting to launch Starship as soon as next year—although, once again, remember that these roadmaps would be fourteen months old. Shortly after Starship we could see "Grey Hawk" and "River Hawk" CPUs also fabricated on a 7-nm process, but those products seem highly speculative, seeing as they're listed for a hypothetical 2019 release.


This new-old rumor also seems to lend some credence to the existence of the all-but-known 16-core Zen processors. The slides refer to the chips as "Snowy Owl" and curiously claim that they would only be offered with BGA packaging. More recent rumors have identified the upcoming processors as LGA packages akin to Naples. In any case, the slides explain that "Snowy Owl" uses one or two of the "Zeppelin" dies found in current Ryzen processors to scale between four and 16 Zen cores.

Further down the slides, we find some possible information about AMD's upcoming APUs. The slides talk about AMD's embedded processors, which means the information may not translate directly to consumer products. Still, the data in the rumors is tantalizing. One slide describes "Great Horned Owl" as an APU featuring four Zen cores, 11 GCN CUs, support for VP9 video decoding at 4K resolution and 60 Hz, and support for up to four simultaneous 4K displays. 

The slides describe the graphics bits of those purported APUs as being based on the GFX9 architecture—that's Vega, for those unaware—and go on to say that they can also decode and encode 10-bit H.265 video. The would-be chips have lots of connectivity, too: four USB 3.1 connections, four SATA ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet connections, and the usual 16 lanes of PCIe 3.0 connectivity. If true, AMD's presentation says that the chips will go into BGA format as well as AM4 sockets, and that TDPs will range from 12W to 65W.

There's a lot more information in the slides, and though they may be outdated, they're still interesting to look at. Just keep the salt handy, because even the slides themselves say that the information is subject to change.

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