AMD knew it needed to make radical changes in its Zen CPU chip to become a force in the PC and server markets again.
So when the chip designers sat down four years ago to etch out the Zen design, they had two things in mind: to drive up CPU performance as much as possible and to keep power efficiency stable.
The company ultimately settled for a 40 percent improvement in Zen over its predecessor, Excavator.
“We had a hard time convincing the team we were going for 40 percent,” said Mike Clark, a senior fellow at AMD. “It was a very aggressive goal, and we knew we had to do it to be competitive.”
AMD first promoted the 40 percent CPU improvement goal when it introduced Zen in 2015 during an overhaul of its chip roadmap. The company recently demonstrated Zen chips to prove it has achieved the goal.
If benchmarks of PCs with Zen hold, a 40 percent boost in CPU performance will be a radical improvement compared to low-double digit improvements claimed by Intel and AMD in recent x86 chips.