AMD’s 12nm Picasso APUs to launch in 2019… so 7nm Zen 2 APUs will be 2020 at the earliest

AMD Picasso APU benchmark appears online


AMD’s APUs might be getting another refresh if the latest UserBenchmark leak is to be believed. We don’t actually have any performance numbers for what could be AMD’s next-gen APU iteration, but it is a good sign that an APU refresh may be on the way in 2019… just as one leaked slide prophesied nearly a year ago.

At the start of the year AMD released the first Raven Ridge desktop APUs. These Vega GPU-equipped hybrid chips followed on from low-power mobile variants released at the end of 2017. All the Raven Ridge APUs offer both graphical power from AMD’s Vega GPU architecture and Ryzen’s Zen core architecture in one discrete AM4/FP5 package.

But despite the 2000-series nomenclature and updates to the SenseMI suite, including Precision Boost 2 and XFR 2, AMD’s Raven Ridge architecture actually utilised GlobalFoundry’s 14nm process – the same one used in first generation Ryzen processors. AMD’s current Ryzen 2 processors utilise GloFo’s 12nm process, but Zen 2 is expected to move over to the even denser 7nm node next year.

The entry on Userbenchmark doesn’t say all that much beyond the Radeon Picasso name – which wouldn’t be much to go on in itself. However, previously leaked slides, which have been proven continually accurate so far, indicate that Picasso will be the successor to Raven Ridge, utilising the same architecture. The name alone popping up elsewhere lends credence to this slide’s information.

AMD Ryzen processor with Radeon Vega Graphics Die Shot

That means we can expect products within the Picasso APU umbrella in 2019. And, we can expect them to arrive with some degree of power/performance uplift over the previous generation due to the process node improvements. That should allow for higher clockspeeds, within the same power limitations, while retaining the same AM4/FP5 socket compatibility.

So, as it stands currently, all signs point toward AMD trailing APU architectural changes slightly behind their desktop CPU and GPU counterparts for the foreseeable future. With AMD looking to move onto the 7nm GloFo process node in 2019, starting with a vanguard 7nm Vega GPU later this year, the APU space likely won’t make the transition to the denser node until 2020 or later on the current trajectory.