While all eyes are on the recent launch of the Ryzen 2000 Series processors, AMD is already finalising its 7nm Zen design. TSMC has just begun large volume manufacturing of 7nm silicon chips, with AMD preparing for the first 7nm Zen 2 CPU samples later this year ahead of a full launch in 2019.
It would put AMD at a significant technological advantage over Intel, whose in-house fabrication teams have been struggling to develop its 10nm Cannon Lake CPUs. Cannon Lake has been delayed multiple times already, and just last week Intel CEO Brian Krzanich told invests that low yield issues meant volume production wouldn’t even begin until at least 2019.
AMD, meanwhile, is already forging ahead with 7nm Zen 2 after finding success with 12nm Zen+. Its refined 12nm process was used for the recent launch of Ryzen 2000, including the Ryzen 7 2700X, Ryzen 7 2700, Ryzen 5 2600X, and the Ryzen 5 2600. In short, AMD is primed and ready for 7nm chips in both its GPU and CPU departments in 2019, and the competition is going to have to play catch-up.
“We have a 7nm GPU based on Vega that we’ll sample later this year. We have a 7nm server CPU that we’ll sample later this year. And then, obviously, we have a number of products that are planned for 2019 as well,” said AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su. “That will be in production in 2019, and we do believe that the adoption rate of the second-generation could potentially be higher than the adoption rate of the first-generation, mostly because customers will be more familiar with our systems and our products.”
TSMC has already been contracted to mass manufacture 7nm chips for dozens of firms, with AMD at the front of the queue. Should AMD play its cards right, 2019 should be a very interesting year. We’re expecting some great generational leaps from hardware, but time will tell whether this will be enough to claw back a significant part of the market share.