Should I wait for Zen 4? It's likely a question you're considering, as you're reading this, and we'd say it's well worth an ask.
As things stand, some of the best gaming PCs and best gaming laptops feature processors based on AMD's Zen 3 architecture that is fantastic and it's, therefore, worth considering if you should upgrade to Zen 4, or stick with what you've got for now.
With some brilliant upcoming gaming laptops and prebuilt PCs like the Acer Predator Orion 5000 feature some great 12th Intel CPUs, this adds another element to the debate - do you go with Team Blue, or stick around for Team Red's new architecture?
Here's what we think.
How Long Could The Wait For Zen 4 Be?
Team Red's CES 2022 keynote noted that the first processors to feature Zen 4 will be the upcoming Ryzen 7000 series and gave a potential release window of the second half of 2022 for them.
Of course, as the year goes by and we enter 2023, Zen 4 CPUs are likely to be more prominent and there will be processors ranging from lower-spec Ryzen 3s to server-grade EPYC options.
This comes alongside the announcement and release of AMD's latest run of desktop chips, Ryzen 6000, which is powered by Zen 3+, which can be seen as kind of a halfway house between Zens 3 and 4.
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These new mobile chips are powering a slew of upcoming gaming laptops from the likes of Asus, Acer and Razer for instance, and should be coming to more machines over the coming months.
What Is Zen 4?
In short, Zen 4 refers to the system architecture on which AMD's latest run of processors is going to be built.
It's best to think of it as the wider umbrella under which processors ranging from cheaper Ryzen desktop chips to increasingly powerful Threadripper and server-grade EPYC processors will be accommodated.
Zen 4 Rumoured Specs
Zen 4 is certainly going to bring with it some rather notable performance boosts, which we're going to get into some more detail on below.
The big headline point is that processors built on this new architecture will be built on a 5mn processing node as opposed to Zen 3's 7nm. In short, this will allow them to be more efficient.
In addition, if they can pack more transistors in, then they can also be more powerful. A March 2020 article from WikiChip indicated that the density of transistors could be as much as 87% higher on a 5nm processor in comparison to the older 7nm.
For reference, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su when discussing the next round of EPYC processors noted that 5nm chips will offer twice the density and power efficiency and 1.25 times the performance when compared to the last generation built on the 7nm process.
A smaller processing node, by increasing density, can also help to increase the quantity of cores-per-chip, which in turn can lead to better performance, even if clock speeds don't necessarily change too much.
AMD hasn't officially stated any core and thread counts for their upcoming Zen 4 processors at the moment, but some spotted SKUs have pointed to 8 and 16 core processors, according to TechPowerUp, namely the Ryzen 7 7800X and Ryzen 9 7950X.
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On the point of cores and threads, Zen 4 is capable of supporting up to 96 cores, and the top-end Genoa SKUs (relating to EPYC processors), will look to take advantage of this, alongside support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0.
It doesn't end there either, as the later Zen 4c EPYC processors, known as Bergamo, should support up to 128 cores.
Also, Zen 4 processors across the board will be supporting DD5 and PCIe 5.0, allowing for even faster components alongside these new processors.
Should I Wait For Zen 4?
Whether or not you choose to wait for Zen 4 chips is up to you and down to what your current system is like and of course, budget. From where we're standing at the moment though, there looks to be a lot to stick around for.
The introduction of a 5nm processing node and the potential for even more efficient and powerful processors is always welcome as PC tasks become more demanding, and judging by what we know so far, these Zen 4 processors should be up to the task.
Moreover, the support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 across the range is a bonus as this will in turn allow other components of your system to run at quicker speeds.
For reference, DDR5 RAM has a starting point of 4800MHz when it comes to speed, and the potential to go as high as 8000Hz.
As much as this new performance is definitely welcome. it's also likely to bring with it some higher costs. New CPU architecture and sockets mean you'll need to get a compatible motherboard, as will DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0, which can all add up.
Whether this is worth doing certainly depends on your budget and of course your current system. If your Ryzen 5000 system with DDR4 RAM, powerful PCIe 4.0 SSD and a beefy GPU are serving you well for now, then you might as well hold off.
However, if you're running older components and you've been saving up for a new PC, then it's worth considering going for Zen 4 with Ryzen 7000 when those processors come around as you'll be able to experience a whole new world of speed.
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In short, if you've got the money to go and buy a new system to fit a Zen 4 chip in, then we'd say to go for it, but if you've already got a capable system, then it may be worth holding off until the component prices begin to come down.
Of course, Zen 4 is a little way off by way of release right now, and there are some brilliant upcoming laptops with Ryzen 6000 bundled in like the Razer Blade 14 (2022) which may be more worth you're while if you're after something for right now.
Or, if you're more into Team Blue than Team Red, then the latest 12th gen Intel Alder Lake CPUs look rather good and are being packed into some upcoming powerful pre-built PCs like the Acer Predator Orion 3000, which may suit you better.
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