We seem to have hit something of a ceiling when it comes to the raw speed of processors; things are now progressing rather more slowing than they have been.
Attention has now turned to other areas, such as the number of cores. Dual-core, quad-core, and octo-core CPUs are now quite common, but AMD's upcoming processor - codenamed 'Zen' - will feature no fewer than 32 cores.
We already knew that Zen would have 'a lot' of cores, but a CERN engineer has now revealed not only how high this figure is, but more details of the processor. But this is not a true 32-core processor - AMD is using a little trickery to up the numbers.
During a presentation, CERN engineer Liviu Valsan revealed that Zen will feature up to 32 physical cores and will support Symmetrical Multi-Threading. This is achieved by combining two 16-core CPUs on a single die with what is described as "a next-generation interconnect". AMD's CPU refresh has been a long-time coming, and there's a little more we know about Zen.
As well as 32 cores, the upcoming x86 processor will:
- Feature 14nm FinFET technology.
- Offer 430 per cent improvement for Instructions Per Clock when compared to current processors.
- Support DDR4 (8 channels).
- Support PCIe 3.0
There's no word on when Zen processors will see the light of day, but launch is expected by the end of the year.