AMD’s Zen based Ryzen CPUs have single-handedly transformed the microprocessor landscape. Not only are they significantly better than the preceding Bulldozer chips, but they also forced Intel to double the core counts of their competing parts. What started with the Ryzen 1000 series as a fairly viable alternative to Intel’s low-end and budget offerings is now obliterating Intel’s offerings in both the PC as well as the server space. The latest 3rd Gen Ryzen processors offer performance on with their counterparts at lower prices and much better multi-threaded performance.
This means while the gaming performance is mostly on par or slightly lower than the competing Intel parts, the CPUs are much faster in everything else. All this while costing notably less. AMD will be looking to keep the momentum going in 2020 with the launch of the Ryzen 4000 and Epyc Milan processors.
Let’s have a look at the info we already have about the next-gen Ryzen 4000 processors, codenamed Vermeer:
7nm+ EUV node: The 4th Gen Ryzen 4000 processors will be based on the more mature 7nm+ node. This means higher frequencies at lower TDPs, as well as better overclocking capabilities. Compared to the 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs, we can expect 200-300MHz higher clocks for the succeeding chips along with other improvements.
Zen 3: According to AMD’s Forrest Norrod, the Zen 3 microarchitecture will be a new design, unlike Zen 2 “which was more of an evolution of the Zen architecture”. Essentially we’re looking at IPC gains in the same range or perhaps even higher than the Ryzen 3000 chips.
Core Counts: When it comes to the core counts, I expect them to stay unchanged with the next-gen Vermeer lineup. Most games usually utilize 6-8 cores at most and for other applications 8 is the upper limit as well. As such, for the consumer market, it makes no sense to increase the core count. The server and HEDT markets are a different cases, however. You can expect Epyc Milan CPUs with well over 64 cores. After all, AMD’s chiplet design scales linearly with core count.
4-way SMT: According to multiple rumors, Zen 3 will take SMT to a whole new level, supporting four threads per core, reducing the need for more cores. Although this is possible in theory, I’m not sure if it can actually be implemented on a practical level.
Memory: Some rumors claim that AMD’s next CPU offering will be compatible with DDR5 memory. However, I seriously doubt that and expect the company to continue support for the DDR4 standard.
AM4 Socket: The AM4 socket has been around for a while now, and it won’t be long before it’s sidelined. However, for the next Ryzen lineup it’ll probably be retained.
Launch date and Pricing: The Zen 3 design is already taped and ready for mass-production. We should see the first wave of Ryzen 4000 chips hit retail in the second half of 2020. Just like the 3rd Gen parts, their successors will be priced at the same points. You can expect heavy discounts by mid-2020 on the older Matisse parts as retailers clear their inventory to make way for newer chips.