For the first point, AMD needs a strong counter blow to the 12th-generation Intel family of Alder Lake processors. The Core i9-12900K easily snatched the crown from AMD’s Ryzen 5000 family in gaming benchmarks, and the Core i7-12700K doesn’t hold back at a lower price point either. Rumors suggest that AMD will release a Zen 3 update that features the new 3D V-Cache technology as an intermediate step between the current Zen 3 families and the next generation Zen 4.
AMD has confirmed that Ryzen 3 based Zen 3 processors with 3D V-Cache will enter production later this year, which means TSMC is likely to push them out now. Whereas current Ryzen 5000 processors have up to 64MB of L3 cache, 3D V-Cache enables an additional 64MB of 7nm SRAM cache on top of the core complex die (CCD). With this arrangement, AMD tripled the maximum amount of L3 cache from 64MB to 192MB.
According to AMD’s calculations, the Ryzen 9 5900X with 3D V-Cache can deliver up to 15 percent of gaming performance (on average) at 1080p. That might give AMD the ammunition it needs to battle the Core i9-12900K and Core i7-12700K. However, we’ll need to evaluate real-world performance against our suite of productivity and gaming benchmarks (not just select apps from AMD), along with the expected price hikes on current Ryzen 5000 processors.
Currently, the Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 9 5900X carry MSRPs of $799 and $549, respectively, compared to $589 and $409 each for the Core i9-12900K and Core i7-12700K. 3D V-Cache is likely to expand the price delta only among AMD and Intel processors of the enthusiast class.
In terms of graphics cards, expect to hear a lot more about AMD’s Radeon RX 6400 and Radeon RX 6500 XT RDNA 2 graphics cards. According to a recent leak from the Eurasian Economic Commission (ECC), both graphics cards will come with 4GB of GDDR6 memory. This should be enough to play modern games at 1080p with moderate levels of eye candy enabled. These cards will likely compete with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3050, which is also rumored to debut at CES 2022.
Other possibilities for AMD’s CES 2022 launch include Ryzen 6000 “Rembrandt” processors, which are rumored to pair Zen 3 CPUs with RDNA 2 GPUs. These processors will likely find their way into gaming laptops and eventually OEM desktops from the usual suspects like Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard. It’s uncertain if AMD will shed much (if any) light on its upcoming Zen 4 processor and RDNA 3 GPU families at the event. Both are slated to use a TSMC 5nm process node and should prove to be a formidable competition to Intel and NVIDIA, respectively.