CES: AMD Details V-Cache, Zen 4, and the Ryzen 6000 Mobile Family
by Joel Hruska
CES has kicked off, with a flurry of releases from the usual suspects. Like a lot of companies, AMD uses CES to preview the products it will launch throughout the year. Things were pretty quiet for AMD in the back half of 2021, but the company has a number of interesting launches teed up for 2022. Major new CPU and SoC initiatives from AMD in 2022 include the Ryzen 6000 Mobile family, Zen 4’s debut, and AMD’s V-Cache-equipped Zen 3 cores.
V-Cache Comes to Just One CPU
When AMD announced V-Cache, we thought the company’s higher-end chips like the 5900X and 5950X would be the obvious targets for the capability. One of the best ways to improve the performance of memory-bound CPUs is to add more L3 cache, so the larger CPUs seemed like prime targets.
Instead of going that route, AMD is going to introduce just one V-Cache enabled SKU. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D will be an 8C/16T CPU with a 3.4GHz base clock and a 4.5GHz boost. That’s slightly below the base/boost clocks of the Ryzen 7 5800X, which comes in at 3.8GHz and 4.7GHz respectively. According to AMD, it made the decision to lower clock speeds slightly rather than binning a stricter variant of the chip.
The reason AMD is limiting itself to just one SKU is that the 5800X3D is a bit of a pipecleaner (that’s our term, not AMD’s). A two-chiplet design is more complex than a single chiplet and requires a second die, which would increase CPU prices and lower availability at a time when parts are already in short supply.
This is the kind of limited launch we would expect when a company is testing a new capability, and integrating a huge L3 cache directly on top of the CPU definitely qualifies. We know Milan X will debut V-Cache in servers this year and expect to see the capability on at least some Zen 4 chips going forward, though AMD has not confirmed that it will offer a 64MB V-Cache as a standard option on any specific Zen 4 parts.