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Zen 3 may boost AMD’s lead in multithreaded performance with 4 threads per core

The next generation of AMD processors could enjoy even more capable multithreaded performance with an improvement to simultaneous multithreading, called SM4. It would effectively give Zen 3-powered CPUs the ability to run four threads per core, double that of existing Zen and Zen 2 CPUs.

AMD’s Ryzen 3000 processors finally caught up with Intel in single-threaded performance, even beating them in some games — especially when you consider value for money. But it’s multithreaded performance has been far more impressive for some time, with the new Ryzen 3000 chips steaming ahead with more cores and threads than anything Intel offers in the mainstream. Ryzen 4000 CPUs, based on the Zen 3 architecture, could extend that lead even further by effectively doubling the number of threads they can handle at any one time.

Zen 3 is AMD’s next-generation CPU architecture and is fully design-complete as of September 2019, meaning it’s finished and ready for sampling before heading into mass production. It will have a number of enhancements, including being produced on an enhanced version of TSMC’s 7nm, process node, called 7nm+, which will enjoy the benefits of extreme ultraviolet lithography. That, plus some other design tweaks, will reportedly deliver around a 10% uplift in overall performance over Zen 2, with a slight increase in clock speeds helping to reach that target.

But if AMD can also support SM4 with its new CPU line, multithreaded performance could make a significant leap across the range. That would arguably, be most impactful at the low-end with hexacore CPUs that can suddenly support as many simultaneous threads as the top-tier 3900X and older Threadripper 1920X and 2920X. The top end would benefit too though. Especially for users who run software that can utilize greater thread support but don’t want to pony up the additional cost of Threadripper 3000 CPUs.

If SM4 does come with Zen 3, AMD will be the first company to enable greater-than two threads per core on mainstream CPUs, as per WCCFTech. AMD’s existing simultaneous multithreading and Intel’s hyperthreading, both enable two threads per core. If AMD went on to implement that same feature in its HEDT and server CPUs, AMD’s multithreaded lead over Intel would snowball exponentially.

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