Sunday, July 3

Renewing our PC is going to continue to be an odyssey, although we can get a run: the outlook will improve just when Intel and AMD will be in better shape

We are living in bad times for PC enthusiasts. During the last year and a half, get a good part of the components that we need to renew the hardware of our computer at the official price marked by manufacturers, and, therefore, eluding the clutches of speculators, is being practically impossible. In these circumstances, it is difficult not to get carried away by frustration, and worst of all, nothing seems to indicate that the outlook will improve in the short term.

Users who need to buy a complete PC already assembled have it a little easier. Most of the equipment dealers and manufacturers are reserving the meager stock available from some components, especially graphics cards, for machines selling assembled, something that given the circumstances is perfectly legal. The problem is that those who only need to renew some of the components of their computer have a very difficult time.

This is the situation in which a semiconductor crisis has placed us, which in the short term does not seem willing to give us a truce. Not even a small one. The most optimistic forecast about the arrival of its end has been offered by Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel. This executive predicted at the end of last April that the enormous investment that is required to start up new integrated circuit factories and the time that must be invested in this process will cause the chip deficit lasts for two more years.

According to Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel, the crisis will continue throughout 2022, and the outlook will possibly improve in 2023

These statements invite us to assume that the crisis will continue throughout 2022, and possibly the outlook will begin to improve slightly in 2023. At the moment none of the senior officials of the companies that manufacture integrated circuits has dared to predict precisely when they will achieve put an end to the imbalance that has placed us in this situation, but it is clear from your statements that the deficit will give its last blows in 2024.

This is what it is, and users, unfortunately, have no choice but to assume it. At this juncture, it is undoubtedly preferable to extend the life of the current components of our PC as much as possible and look to the future with the intention of renewing it as soon as the hardware market returns to its course. Intel and AMD have already given us some clues about the microprocessors they will put in stores by the end of 2022 and throughout 2023. They paint really well, so we suggest you take a look at what we know about them. Perhaps that way we can maintain the illusion with the hope that when they arrive all this will be behind us. Or, at least, is about to do so.

AMD excited with Zen 4, and Intel is determined to get the batteries with its photolithography

At the beginning of last November Lisa Su, the CEO of AMD, made it known some of the features that processors with microarquitectura Zen 4 that will arrive during 2022 and 2023. The EPYC ‘Genoa’ and EPYC ‘Bergamo’ chips that he spoke about at that event will be destined for workstations and data center equipment, but will share the essential characteristics of their microarchitecture with the processors codenamed ‘Raphael’, which will possibly be the first Zen 4 chips destined for our PCs, and which could arrive at the end of 2022.

The first Ryzen processors with Zen 4 microarchitecture, ‘Raphael’, will possibly arrive in late 2022. And they promise

The ‘Genoa’ processors will incorporate up to 96 cores, they will be manufactured using 5 nm photolithography of TSMC and they will arrive throughout 2022. The ‘Bergamo’ chips will have up to 128 cores and will also be produced with 5nm integration technology, but will incorporate slightly different Zen 4 cores from the ‘Genoa’, known as Zen 4c. These cores appear to be optimized to process cloud applications that demand a high level of parallelism. The ‘Bergamo’ processors with Zen 4c microarchitecture will arrive in 2023.

And finally, as I mentioned above, the first Ryzen CPUs with Zen 4 microarchitecture, known by the code name ‘Raphael’, will possibly arrive by the end of 2022. They will incorporate up to 16 cores, they will be able to simultaneously process a maximum of 32 threads of execution (threads), and, like ‘Genoa’ and ‘Bergamo’, they will coexist with DDR5 memory modules and implement the interface PCI Express 5.0, two technologies already proposed by the 12th generation Intel Core chips with Alder Lake-S microarchitecture.


Let’s go now with Intel. Our review of the Intel Core i9-12900K and Core i5-12600K processors showed us that these chips perform spectacularly. Its high-productivity cores deserve a special mention because they are, objectively, authentic thread eaters. However, they also have two Achilles heels: their high consumption and their high capacity to dissipate thermal energy when the load to which they are subjected is maximum.

Intel plans to start manufacturing 20-angstrom (2nm) photolithography chips in 2024

This behavior clearly reflects that these processors would benefit greatly from more advanced integration technology than the one they are being manufactured with, which, according to Intel, is comparable at 7 nm node from TSMC or Samsung. And this company seems to be putting all the meat on the grill to solve this handicap.

In fact, in the roadmap that we publish above these lines we can see that Intel expects to start the production of chips with Intel 3 photolithography during the second half of 2023. And, what is even more surprising, in 2024 it plans to have ready his lithograph of 20 angstroms (equivalent to 2 nm). However, this is not all.

It also ensures that during that same year it will begin to produce chips using the RibbonFET transistor architecture, which is called replace the current FinFET. It doesn’t sound bad at all. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that both Intel and AMD deliver on what they have promised us, and, above all, that in 2023 we will finally witness the end of the semiconductor crisis.

Cover image | Martin Lopez

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