AMD has released the results of internal testing which claim that Zen, its upcoming CPU microarchitecture, is capable of beating Intel's designs at equal clock speeds.
In a presentation to journalists AMD staff revealed impressive claims for the Zen microarchitecture, including reiteration of a promised 40 percent increase in instructions per cycle (IPC) compared with the company's previous-generation Excavator microarchitecture. A 40 percent gain in one generation is undeniably impressive, but it's something AMD desperately needs: the company's current microarchitecture is notorious for its low IPC, which lags badly behind majority market shareholder Intel.
It's no surprise, then, to find AMD concentrating on this gulf in performance in its presentation. Using an engineering sample of a Summit Ridge Zen-based processor boasting eight cores and 16 threads, AMD ran a head-to-head benchmark using the open-source Blender 3D modelling package with eyebrow-raising results: the Summit Ridge part, running at 3GHz, beat Intel's eight-core 16-thread Core i7-6900K chip downclocked to the same speed.
A single benchmark does not real-world performance prove, of course, and there are a few tweaks to the setup to note. As well as running the Core i7-6900K at 3GHz rather than its stock 3.2GHz to match the speed of the engineering sample, AMD disabled the processor's Turbo Boost setting which would otherwise have bumped up the core clock to 4GHz when conditions are favourable. Even so, the test at least shows that Zen is shaping up to be a lot more competitive than any other top-end design the company has released in the last few years.
AMD's presentation on Zen's performance is reproduced below.