There have been rumors floating around the past few days that AMD might delay the Zen 3 CPU family. A DigiTimes report, combined with a relatively small launch for the updated Ryzen 3000XT parts, convinced some people that Zen 3 wasn’t arriving this year, either. AMD has now pushed back directly against such reporting. According to our contacts at the company, “[T]he rumor on ‘Zen 3’ delay is inaccurate.”
But what kind of Zen 3 products should we expect to see? That’s a different question. AMD has said only that Zen 3 will launch for the consumer market, but not what consumer chips it will bring forward.
The one part AMD has committed by name to bring to market in 2020 is Milan, its Zen 3 server platform. That’s an obvious jumping-off point for a refresh cycle for Threadripper — and Threadripper might be an attractive market for AMD to focus on right now. AMD is focused on winning market share for its Rome CPUs, and wants to push into Intel’s Xeon workstation turf as well. The server and workstation markets are not as large as the desktop market is in terms of volume, but they’re both incredibly lucrative.
It’s unlikely that AMD would lead with mobile, given that the company has launched a new APU lineup quite recently. The desktop space will also be due for a refresh by the end of the year, and that’s where we might see the most resurgent competition. Intel’s Rocket Lake will supposedly launch by Q4, and it’s supposed to be Intel’s first new desktop CPU architecture since Skylake in 2015.
Historically, AMD has launched hardware in several different sequences. It isn’t unusual for the company to lead with server, or to debut server and desktop within weeks of each other. What it hasn’t historically done is launch desktop, server, and workstation all on top of each other — even in 2019, it spaced out the launches to hit in July, August, and November, respectively.
Given AMD’s overall dominance of the HEDT space right now, if we had to bet on a pairing, it would be desktop/server. This is especially likely if AMD tries to launch hardware early enough in Q4 to allow for some holiday buying. The company could wind up having a truly enormous Q4, with the launch of the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, the presumed debut of its Milan server platform, and a separate desktop, laptop, or workstation launch on top of that.
Either way, though, AMD wants people to know it has every intention of launching Zen 3 this year.
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