Engineering samples for AMD’s Zen CPUs are impressively idle

AMD AM4 chip

Early silicon for AMD’s new processor architecture is out there and specs have leaked, showing super-low idle power.

Read more: AMD Zen – release date, specs, price and rumours.

As is usual with a new processor architecture, even one as hotly anticipated as the upcoming AMD Zen chips, early versions of the silicon is circulated around different testers. These early engineering samples are not 100% representative of the final retail chips, but they still give a tantalising glimpse into what we could get into our hands before year’s end.

There are reportedly four different versions of the Zen CPU architecture doing the rounds at the moment, though only two of them are of any real interest to the likes of us. Despite the exciting headline numbers of 24 and 32 cores, two of the chips are full-on server style, only usable in platforms far away from the humble desktop PC.

But two of the engineering samples are to be used in the AM4 socket which will be their home when Zen gets a final release, further code-named as Summit Ridge. This pair of desktop samples are the quad-core, eight thread and eight-core, sixteen thread versions.

In terms of their cache configuration the quad-core chip is sporting 2MB of L2 and 8MB of L3 cache, with the octo-core Zen hitting 4MB and 16MB of L2 and L3 cache respectively. The thermal design point (TDP) of the two chips is also being reported as 95W for the octo-core part and 65W for the quad-core. By comparison the quad-core, eight thread Intel Core i7-6700K has a TDP of 91W.

New AMD silicon

As these are engineering sample specs though nothing is set in stone, so we’re not massively concerned about what look like relatively low clockspeeds. Both Zen chips are running at 2.8GHz base and 3.2GHz under boost. It’s likely to be that low clockspeed which is keeping the two processors honest with fairly modest TDP levels.

The most interesting part of the report though stems from the idle performance of the Zen chips. They are reported to idle with a clockspeed of just 550MHz delivering a low power state of 2.5W and 5W for the quad and octo-core CPUs. That’s a seriously low idle power, especially given that AMD’s previous CPU architecture draws some 30W even at idle. The Core i7-6700K looks pretty good at around 3.5W, but Zen’s quad-core chip might even better that.

Obviously we’re still grinding away at the rumour mill right now, and even if these engineering samples are specced out as stated the final Summit Ridge Zen CPUs might not be able to deliver the same level of power performance. That doesn’t stop this latest leak from making us just that little bit more excited about the prospect of the first new AMD CPU architecture in far too long.

Via The Guru of 3D.