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Oct 14, 2014

AMD's Next Desktop APU Will Be Called “Zen”




Advanced Micro Devices may have unveiled the Carrizo and Carrizo-L APUs, or at least their ETA, indirectly or otherwise, but those are laptop chips exclusively. On the desktop front, we won't see anything new before 2016.

Sure, there will be a refresh of the Kaveri lineup in 2015, but with all the problems that the 20nm has posed, they will probably have to stick to the same 28nm architecture as now. Since the GPUs are doing it, it makes sense that CPUs (or in this case APUs, if you want to be technical) do the same. No one wants to see a whole year go by without some sort of product release. This does, however, show that desktop owners won't have much reason to go PC hunting for the next year or so. Sure, the Kaveri refresh will be nice and all, but it will be just an upgraded version of what's already out there. And the APUs aren't really enthusiast-grade parts anyway, so hardcore gamers won't be looking at them regardless.

Now, though, we may have found out exactly what name we should be hunting for in future leaks, analyst conference calls and press releases.

The “Zen” desktop Accelerated Processing Unit

This is the name that some people believe will be borne by the next generation of APUs from the Sunnyvale, California-based company. The Zen is supposedly on track for release in 2016, and it will at the very least be found in many desktop PCs from ASUS, if not every other AMD OEM in the world. We don't have any information on the Zen, but this rumor does seem to align with another we reported on, about AMD having delayed its next APUs to 2016 instead of 2015.

The reason given back in July this year (2014) was that AMD had trouble adding DDR4 memory support to them. Whatever the case is, the rumor seems to have been corroborated, although since this, too, is a rumor, you might want to take it with a grain of salt regardless.

Market placement of the Zen

Probably the upper mainstream, with maybe one or two chips for the high-end front. AMD may have said that it no longer competes with Intel on the hardcore enthusiast segment, but that doesn't mean we can't hope it will change its mind. It does make sense for it to stick to the mid-range and performance segments though. Any higher GPU and the mid-range integrated ones would be seen as pointless cost additions instead of resources, since people at that level always buy an add-in video card anyway. Or two. Or three or more.

AMD Zen desktop CPU coming in 2016
Image credits to AMD

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