AMD announces 3rd-gen Ryzen and Radeon VII, beating Intel and Nvidia to 7nm

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AMD used its first keynote address at CES to formally announce its next GPU, the Radeon VII, as well as its 3rd-generation Ryzen processor. Both will ship this year using the 7nm manufacturing process, giving AMD the technological edge over Nvidia and Intel in the war for ever-shrinking chips.

The keynote by AMD chief executive Lisa Su initially paled in terms of new announcements to Intel’s own 10nm keynote blitz a day before. But it ended strong, with the smaller, finer 7nm technology the focus of Su’s speech. It’s already been a busy show for AMD, which already announced new mobile chips and its first foray into Chromebooks earlier in the week.

Su reminded the audience of several AMD historical firsts, from the world’s first 64-bit processor to the integrated GPUs driving today’s game consoles. She then looked forward: over 34 billion connected devices will be available in 2025, generating 125 zettabytes of data.

amd moores law slowing AMD

“When we look as an industry, what really excites us how do we deliver all that computing performance is how we keep on that trendlines…it’s going to require new approaches, and new innovation and is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to deliver new leaders,” Su said.

The problem is that Moore’s Law, the axiom that transistors double over two years, has slowed, putting a premium on design. AMD is also prioritizing heterogenous computing, tasking the right processor to do the right job. 

Powering consoles as well as PCs

Content creation is primarily done on the PC, and AMD created Threadripper as a response to it. Su claimed that Threadripper was the most popular high-performance processor, and for those performance users, “Threadripper is a game-changer,” she said, and played a strong endorsement by Fox VFX backing the processor.

ryzen mobile AMD

About 160 million notebooks will be sold this year, many of them ultrathin notebooks, and Su recapped some of the earlier 2nd-gen mobile Ryzen announcements. Modern Windows PCs includes features like the ability to wake it using your voice, 4K streaming, and all-day battery life, and AMD designed its Ryzen chips to support those. AMD will also be powering its first Chromebooks. 

AMD is the only company delivering CPUs and GPUS for console as well as PCs. Over 400 million gamers play on AMD Radeon graphics, and a lot of them are playing esports; Su said the top five games played on AMD’s GPUs are all competitive titles. The founder of esports team Fnatic appeared on stage to remind gamers what esports prioritizes: 1080p resolution and 144Hz or higher refresh rates, with as low of a latency as possible. Speed.

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