AMD unveils world’s first 5nm processors for PCs
Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has announced the first PC processors built on a 5nm manufacturing process. Announced at Computex 2022, the company’s Ryzen 7000 processors are an upgrade to AMD’s current Ryzen 5000 chips.
The new chips, which have been in the works for a while, are powered by the company’s new Zen 4 architecture, but will require users to buy a new motherboard to use them.
The new Ryzen 7000 chips have a new socket design, which is the cluster of pins that connect the processor to the motherboard. The new motherboards, called the AM5, bring their own enhancements as well. They will offer higher bandwidth and will offer up to 14 USB ports.
Perhaps the biggest improvement on the new 16/32-core Ryzen 7000 chips though is the clock speed. AMD says that the chips will cross 5GHz turbo speeds, and showed demos where they hit up to 5.5GHz frequencies, which is perhaps why the company is claiming 15 per cent faster “single threaded performance”.
Processors today are capable of running multi-threaded operations, where chips can run two or more instructions at the same time, supported by the operating system. Single-threaded performance, however, is still important for running many apps and gaming. For instance, higher single-threaded performance allows games and apps to launch faster when they’re booting up.
That said, all this performance comes at the cost of power consumption, or at least so it seems right now. According to AMD, the AM5 motherboards will provide the Ryzen 7000 up to 170W of power, which is significantly higher than the 142W power chips running on the Zen3 architecture used to use. They will also support DDR5 memory, which means PCs can have even higher RAM capacity.
To be sure, the 5.5GHz turbo speed in AMD’s demo is equal to Intel’s Core i9-12900KS processor, which is that company’s fastest chip on the market. Last year, Intel said that it will start producing 5nm chips from 2024, which gives AMD a healthy head start on the company. Intel will call its 5nm manufacturing process the Intel 20A.
A report by Mercury Research on CPU market share in December 2021 showed that AMD ended 2021 with 25.6% of the global market for x86-based (the architecture, created by Intel, used by most PC chips) chips — the highest market share it has ever achieved. The company had last had this much market share in 2006, when it took 25.3% of the market.
Part of AMD’s success has been attributed to the fact that its Zen 3 architecture has improved performance of its chips, and the company progressed to new manufacturing nodes faster than Intel. A two-year head start could help AMD increase its share on the market.