Intel is still managing to keep up, at least on the performance front, a small miracle if we consider the 14 nm production process of the Comet Lake-S CPUs. The new i9-10900K that we have just reviewed is a small power monster, net of higher consumption than its rivals, and remains above the AMD counterparts in the tasks where the frequencies are more influential than the number of cores.
But now AMD seems ready to give Intel a quick response with one new series of Zen 2 processors, the 3600XT, 3800XT and 3900XT, renewed thanks to the flexibility of the 7 nm production process, which allows to go up with the frequencies compared to the current models.
The production process makes the difference
To achieve higher and higher frequencies Intel has focused on small optimizations in the architecture of its CPUs, but above all on very advanced peak clock management algorithms, which allow the i9-10900K to touch 5.3 GHz for short periods of time.
Intel has managed to cross this milestone with a 14nm production process, why should AMD not be able to increase frequencies relying on the greater freedom granted by the 7nm one?
The new CPU range is expected to retain the same number of cores as the current models, 12/24 for the 3900XT, 8/16 for the 3800XT and 6/12 for the 3600XT, with the second number representing the amount of virtual cores available thanks to Simultaneous Multithreading.
The first leaked noises indicated, in base and boost mode respectively, frequencies of 4.1 / 4.8 GHz for the 3900XT, with a 200 MHz increase in boost compared to the current model, of 4.2 / 4.7 GHz for the 3800XT, with a +300 MHz , and of 4.0 / 4.7 GHz for the 3600 XT, which would also mark in this case a +300 MHz. These frequencies should be obtainable without any increase in the TDP, which would remain 95W for the 3600 XT and 105W for the other models, but simply through a refinement of the production process.
A result that could allow AMD, at least in theory, to reduce if not close the gap with Intel in single core performance.
However in the past few hours these data have been scaled back: it seems in fact that the clock frequencies will not exceed 4.7 GHz in the new variants. The launch should take place in July but the timing itself casts a shadow over the veracity of these rumors.
Zen 3 processors are expected to arrive later this year, leaving a very tight time window for these Zen 2 refreshes. AMD is actually in no hurry to counter Intel’s move and could therefore wait for the end of the year and the Ryzen 4000 series processors to end 2020 with a flourish, with products that would outperform the current Comet Lake-S in performance.