Zen Microarchitecture

What is Zen Microarchitecture?

Zen refers to the codename of the microarchitecture of the family of AMD processors. Released in February 2017, it is found in the Ryzen processors used in desktop and mobile, Threadripper CPUs used in workstation and high end desktops, and EPYC for servers.

Over the years, different upgraded versions of Zen were released by AMD such as Zen+, which was released in April 2018, Zen 2, Zen 3, and Zen 4.

Understanding Zen Microarchitecture

What is Zen Microarchitecture

The Zen microarchitecture, which is the codename of the processors manufactured by AMD, supports different CPU lines such as:

Picked by Michael Clark, the architecture is just right for all aspects of a processor including:

Generations

There are different versions of it with different features which include the following:

These features of Zen allow adjusting frequency and temperature dynamically for individual cores, helping in maximizing its performance.

The architecture includes CPU cores, RAM, PCIe, SATA, and others and increases the overall performance with its general design aspects, which include the following:

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Add to that, the Zen microarchitecture also offers higher instruction support which includes:

There are also a few other generations of Zen microarchitecture that came up in the following years. For example:

Zen+ is an upgrade of Zen and comes with improved features such as:

Zen 2 is the successor to Zen+ and was released on July 7, 2019. It is designed with a much smaller 7 nm fabrication process and includes unique features such as hardware alleviation of the Specter vulnerability.

Zen 3 is the successor to Zen 2 and was released on November 5, 2020. It is also designed on a 7 nanometer fabrication process and supports four-way SMP with four cores sharing cache and RAM access.

Zen 4 is the successor to Zen 3 and was launched on September 27, 2022. It is designed on a 50 nm fabrication of TSMC.

Codenames

The Zen-based chips come with different codenames, such as:

The AMD Zen-based processors come in different brand names as well, such as:

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There are also some Ryzen processors based on the Zen architecture that are designed to be used as embedded APUs with four cores and AVX2, IGP, and ECC support.

Compiler and OS Support

The Zen microarchitecture supports only the Windows 10 operating system and initial support to 4.10 kernel and full support to 4.15 kernel of Linux OS.

As for the compilers, the architecture supports the following:

It also supports Visual Studio.

Cache

The parity-protected L0 µOP cache comes with the following features:

The parity-protected Level 1 instruction cache that is shared by two threads in each core comes with the following features:

The Level 1 data cache comes with the following features:

The Level 2 cache comes with the following features:

The Level 3 cache comes with the following features:

As for the system’s Dynamic Random Access Memory or DRAM, the features include the following:

Translation Lookaside Buffer

The Zen microarchitecture comes with a TLB for instruction cache called the ITLB and one for data cache called the DTLB with different features.

In the ITLB, there are:

In the DTLB, there are:

Clocks

It supports different clock domains such as:

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Security

There are several security features included in the Zen architecture such as:

Sockets

All mainstream Zen-based consumer processors use the AM4 Socket from AMD with a unified infrastructure.

However, the connectivity options offered may differ according to the processor and chipset type.

And, as for the Threadripper processors, they typically use the Socket TR4, or sTR4, or simply TR4.

Advantages

Conclusion

Also referred to as Family 17h, Zen is the successor to both Puma and Excavator and offers a perfect balance between power and performance.

It supports the entire range of computer systems available, right from the regular computing machines to the server computers and the fanless notebooks to the HEDTs.