AMD Reveals Zen of X86

CUPERTINO, Calif. – On paper, Zen looks like the kind of core that could drive Advanced Micro Devices to a comeback in PC microprocessors. The part that aims to drive everything from fan-less notebooks to supercomputers is packed with hard lessons learned from more than two decades trying to deliver competitive x86 CPUs against archrival Intel.

In an evening talk at the annual Hot Chips conference here, chief architect Michael T. Clark rattled off a lengthy list of improvements in Zen. They aim to deliver the chip’s goal of a 40% boost in instruction-level parallelism over AMD’s prior core while keeping a lid on power consumption.

If it achieves that goal, the chips AMD will start delivering by early next year could be at a competitive level the company hasn’t played at in a decade. But AMD has many battles yet to fight to get back into head-to-head competition with Intel.

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