AMD’s Zen 6: Standard, Dense Classic, Client Dense

Last year, an AMD engineer divulged details about the forthcoming Zen 6 architecture, revealing its internal codename “Morpheus” and its manufacturing process using 2/3nm technology. If AMD continues its partnership with TSMC, leveraging its semiconductor progress, processors based on the Zen 6 architecture could potentially debut between late 2025 and early 2026. Additionally, the Zen 6 architecture is reported to incorporate higher bandwidth 2.5D interconnect technology, and the core count for desktop Ryzen processors might increase to as many as 32 cores.

Zen 5 mobile platforms

According to Moore’s Law Is Dead, the Zen 6 architecture will be available in three different versions: Standard, Dense Classic, and Client Dense. The “Standard” version, as the name suggests, will be the regular desktop variant, boasting the highest core frequencies. In contrast, the “Dense Classic” is anticipated to correspond to the cores similar to the Zen 4c/5c.

The relationship between Zen 4 and Zen 4c may not be well understood by all; AMD’s approach differs from Intel’s “big.LITTLE” configuration. The Zen 4c architecture uses the same ISA as Zen 4 but is essentially a low-power, streamlined version of the Zen 4 cores. It offers the same IPC but has reduced L3 cache, resulting in a higher energy efficiency. The physical size of Zen 4c cores is considerably smaller than that of Zen 4 cores, being just half the size. Moreover, the frequency of Zen 4c cores is lower, and they provide peak performance below that of the standard Zen 4 cores.

The “Client Dense” variant builds further on the “Dense Classic,” likely increasing the core count but possibly at the expense of energy efficiency.

Compared to the Zen 5 architecture, the Zen 6 series is expected to feature a completely redesigned memory controller and a new execution scheduler. There are rumors that the Zen 6 architecture represents a major overhaul akin to the scale of changes seen with the Zen 2 architecture.

Furthermore, AMD plans to complete the design of the Zen 6 architecture series by the third quarter of 2024, with rumors suggesting a possible delay in the release date, tentatively set for 2026, as AMD is still determining how many products in the series will utilize the 2nm manufacturing process.