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  • Post published:18/11/2021
  • Post last modified:18/11/2021

AMD may have taken a breather on core counts in the past few years, but the company is poised to ramp things skyward again. AMD CEO Lisa Su shared the company’s updated server roadmap at its Accelerated Data Center event. In addition to new Milan CPUs with 768MB of L3 cache courtesy of AMD’s upcoming V-Cache, 2022 and 2023 will see new increases in core counts.

First up, Genoa, which arrives on 5nm with up to 96 cores, PCIe 5.0, and DDR5 support. While Genoa will use the standard Zen 4 core, a follow-up chip that scales up to 128 cores, Bergamo, will use a tweaked Zen 4C design and debut in 2023. Like Genoa, Bergamo will be built on the 5nm process node.

AMD is playing coy with the difference between Genoa and Bergamo beyond the latter’s increased core count. “AMD optimized the new ‘Zen 4c’ core for cloud-native computing, tuning the core design for density and increased power efficiency to enable higher core count processors with breakthrough performance per-socket.”

Chiplets are key to AMD’s ability to hit these core counts.

This could mean a lot of things. The fact that AMD is labeling the core as “4c” implies Bergamo is more than just Genoa with a few extra chiplets slapped on the packages, but the company isn’t sharing any details on how it’ll achieve these improvements or what technologies and/or design changes it will make to enable increased density in the same socket.

Earlier this month, ExtremeTech covered rumors that a future AMD Zen 5 CPU might offer as many as 256 cores in the future. A 128-core Zen 4c CPU makes this more plausible. With Bergamo not expected until 2023, a 256-core Zen 5 CPU wouldn’t arrive before 2024 – 2025 — and that’s a time frame that makes sense relative to where core counts are today.

Even AMD’s positioning of Zen 4c as a specialty product makes sense. A 128-core Zen 4c or future 256-core Zen 5 is a CPU that’s very interesting to a specific group of customers. It’s not just a matter of the consumer market — there are plenty of data center workloads where power budgets are better allocated to storage, GPUs, or networking as opposed to centralizing as much CPU performance as humanly possible.

Other major announcements by AMD at the same event include Milan-X’s drop-in compatibility with Milan. V-Cache servers will launch in Q1 2022 from Cisco, Dell, Lenovo, HPE, and Supermicro, and AMD has signed a new deal to provide server chips for Meta. The company has continued to win new business and advance its position in the market overall, with excellent results throughout 2021.

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