AMD’s Next-Gen Ryzen and Vega to Use 12nm LP Process in 2018

AMD's Mark Papermaster on Next-gen Ryzen and Vega

At the GlobalFoundries Technology Conference, AMD announced its plans to transition its next-gen Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs to 12nm LP process. The announcement was made by AMD’s CTO Mark Papermaster, who confirmed alongside GloFo that 12LP will begin production in the first quarter of 2018, with both Ryzen and Vega parts arriving soon thereafter.

AMD's Next-gen Ryzen CPU and Vega GPU on 12nm LP process
Image Credits: Patrick Moorhead

Earlier, AMD revealed at its FAD event that Zen 2 and Zen 3 designs will be built on 7nm process. Same is the case on the GPU side, where Vega graphics will be followed by Navi and a yet unnamed “next gen” graphics, which will both be based on the 7nm technology.

AMD will, however, release Ryzen and Vega refreshes before rolling out Zen 2 and Navi. These refreshes were originally planned on 14nm+, but now it seems that they will be using GlobalFoundries’ newly announced 12LP node.

The transition of the next-gen Ryzen and Vega to 12nm LP comes as part of AMD’s five-year wafer supply agreement with GlobalFoundries. The move will likely deliver higher density and greater efficiency for both the existing CPU and GPU architectures.

Nvidia is also set to ship its upcoming Volta architecture based on 12nm FinFET process node. The technology is manufactured at TSMC, although they have already explained it’s just a term being using for their updated 16nm process because of the improvements brought to the density, performance, and power consumption.

It remains to be seen if GlobalFoundries’ 12nm LP is actually a true 12nm design. We may not know about this yet, but Intel has already promised “real” 10nm chips for next year.

Team Blue is set to roll out 10nm Cannon Lake CPUs in late 2018, which should appear in the ultra low power chips designed for the next-gen 2-in-1 and ultrabook devices. Cannon Lake will be succeeded by Ice Lake, Intel’s second iteration of 10nm architecture.

While Intel will be ahead in process technology, AMD’s relatively quick transition to the 12nm LP processor should help the company better compete against Intel’s upcoming 14nm++ Coffee Lake processors.