MSI has accidentally let slip that its latest B450 motherboards will support AMD Ryzen CPUs with more than eight cores… even though no such Ryzen CPUs actually exists. Could this be the first sign of AMD pushing core counts above eight cores with its Ryzen chips? Probably not, but it would certainly be a big marketing win for the red team over an increasingly panicked-looking Intel if the red team could pull it off.
In a rather exceptional, baffling breakdancing marketing video – seriously, watch it below – MSI takes the viewer through all the features of the latest, and technically unreleased, B450 motherboards. You can actually buy these motherboards right now, although AMD hasn’t actually pressed the big red launch button yet. It’s a pretty weird situation.
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Within said video, one feature that stands out is ‘Core Boost’, which as MSI points out, is an “enhanced layout and digital power design for 8-core and up CPU.” Currently the most Zen cores you can stuff into an AM4 socket is the Ryzen 7 2700X, which utilises two whole core clusters, or CCXs, to reach its full eight cores of processing power.
Obviously, there’s a pretty big chance the reference is just a Trump-level miscommunication or simply human error. But reasonable assumptions be damned! If we throw caution to the wind and delve a little deeper, it could be construed as a sign of what’s to come from the 7nm AMD Zen 2 architecture.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard rumours of AMD upping the core count with Zen 2. According to sources close to the rumour-heavy WCCFTech back in May, AMD is allegedly looking to push the next-generation of Ryzen CPUs, based on the Zen 2 architecture, up to 12, or potentially even 16, cores by 2019.
16 cores would be quite an exceptional, and needless, feat considering Threadripper exists. However, squeezing in another four-core CCX with 7nm isn’t entirely beyond the realms of possibility – even if it may be at the expense of power efficiency and worth.
With the AMD Zen 2 CPUs being sampled before the end of the year it would be very surprising not to see some sort of engineering chip’s specs leak out as 2018 breathes its last, so the veracity of this speculation could be proved one way or the other relatively soon.
We are expecting a brand new Ryzen chip to actually be released before the end of the year, however – a high-specced AMD CPU to give the eight-core Intel i9 a run for its money – but that’s surely going to be too early for any core-boosting shenanigans.
So don’t get your hopes up for a Ryzen 7 2800X this gen with more than eight cores. While Jim Anderson, GM of client computing at AMD, hinted that there might by a Ryzen 2800X one day when the time is right, I wouldn’t expect this flagship CPU to be anything more than an eight core chip with the clockspeeds turned up to 11 to face off with Intel’s upcoming eight-core Coffee Lake.
As for what to expect from AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, maybe AMD could keep Intel at bay with an increase in core counts next generation. But, then again, AMD has plenty to work on with the Zen 2 architecture to surpass Intel in gaming performance – and that isn’t completely reliant on just bumping up the cores and hoping for the best.