back to list

Does Size Matter In the PC Industry?

Processors are shrinking in size, yet their performance gains are massive


What's going on?

AMD recently announced the specifications and dates of their newest CPU and GPU lineups. They also made an exciting presentation on the evolution of the Socket AM4, Ryzen’s platform, which further showcases AMD’s growing development over the years to where they are now. AMD first announced the 32nm Piledriver-based desktop processors in 2012. Their top two chips sported eight cores and were able to reach high clock speeds, but it was not as efficient as their Intel counterpart.


After refining the Piledriver, they announced the 28nm Steamroller-based processors in 2014 and claimed that they achieved a 30% reduction in power draw, running cooler than its predecessor. When the 14nm Zen architecture arrived in 2017, it led to significant improvements in IPC over previous generation chips. Known as Ryzen, these chips run at much higher efficiency for the same power consumption. They were also priced at a great value, and consumers were the winners with a with a much wider offering of choices.


The latest by AMD, Ryzen 3000 was announced at E3 2019 – becoming the first company to utilize the 7nm architecture on desktop processors. This manufacturing process enabled engineers to fit in as much as 16-cores into a single package and resulted in 15% clock-for-clock improvements over the first-generation Zen architecture. Until now, this was only common in high-end desktop processors running in workstations. As we approach the end of Moore’s Law, chipmakers are finding different ways to improve algorithms and configurations. While chips may be shrinking in size, their performance impact surely speaks the opposite.


The Ballad of AM4: How AMD Stretched a CPU Socket From 28nm to 7nm