A new processor from AMD due out in a few weeks could provide Intel with its first real competition in years. AMD published several new details of its upcoming quad-core Ryzen CPU, which is due out in March, in a paper delivered to the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week.
The specifications for the Ryzen suggest it could offer several advantages over Intel`s competing Skylake chip. For one thing, the Ryzen will be more compact than Intel’s current 14nm x86 core. The chip will fit into a die area 10 percent smaller than Intel’s chip, according to AMD. The smaller size could also yield real-world advantages for AMD, such as a cheaper price for consumers.
A Run for Their Money
In addition to being smaller, AMD said that the new chip will also have twice the L2 cache size as Intel’s comparable CPU, which should offer a significant advantage in terms of performance. However, that calculation does not appear to take into account the graphics cores Intel includes onboard its Skylake chips.
AMD is relying heavily on the new Ryzen architecture to help turn the company’s fortunes around. During CES 2017 in January, the company announced that 16 motherboards would be launched for the chip this year, with more than a dozen PCs based on the chip due out. The company said it expects to see PCs designed for the Ryzen chip from all the major OEMs around the world.
While the details published by AMD do not prove that the Ryzen chips will be the clear leader over Skylake when they arrive in March, they nevertheless indicate that AMD has a product that is at least capable of competing with Intel in most of the major chip areas.
Signs of Life for AMD
That`s no small feat for a company that appeared to be on the ropes against an industry leader whose reputation was made on its manufacturing prowess. Twenty years ago, AMD managed to carve out an impressive niche in the chip market as a lower cost alternative to Intel’s Pentium chips. But the past several years have not been as kind to the company, as it has struggled to hold its own against a dominant Intel and new chips such as the Snapdragon.
Meanwhile, it`s unlikely that Intel will rest on its laurels in the face of new signs of life from AMD. The company is rumored to be working on changes to its own product line to better compete with the new Ryzen chips. That includes new i5 and i7 Kaby Lake chips that are faster than the versions Intel launched just a few months ago. The new chips may also include hyper-threading, a feature Intel recently added to some of its newer Pentium processors.