ARM shills on suicide watch.

Intel executives are most certainly shitting themselves right about now because I honestly don’t really know how to assess the situation Intel now currently faces.

Their whole big.LITTLE “hybrid” design seemingly has gone up in smoke as AMD seemingly have cracked the code to Intel’s entire hybrid philosophy on their first attempt with Zen 4c which has now entered the consumer market.

Today, AMD is introducing two elements within the 7040U series: the Ryzen 5 7545U and Ryzen 3 7440U, incorporating a blend of Performance cores and compressed “efficient” cores similar to Intel’s hybrid P-Cores and E-Cores design which is anything but efficient.

AMD claims that its strategy provides superior performance due to various factors.

For instance, the Zen 4c cores themselves share the same instruction set (ISA) as Zen’s performance cores, and crucially they provide a near identical IPC (Instructions Per Clock), both of which aren’t luxuries that Intel currently has their their Hybrid design which features a mixture of 8 “Raptor Cove” performance cores alongside 16 total “Gracemont” cores.

Better still, Zen 4c cores are entirely capable of SMT multithreading so no more arbitrary weird core and thread counts as has been notorious on Intel’s hybrid chips since the introduction of Alder Lake.

Additionally, Zen 4c cores operate efficiently without requiring specific operating system scheduler activation. AMD’s approach involves a software-based solution facilitated by the Chipset Software, which instructs the Windows scheduler to view the “Zen 4” cores as UEFI CPPC “preferred cores,” directing traffic priority to these cores as they can sustain greater boost frequencies.

This is nothing new, AMD have been utilizing this approach since the introduction of Zen 2, with the operating system (OS) automatically giving priority to the “best cores” within a given topology even down to a CCX level.

AMD doesn’t need to explicitly differentiate between Zen 4 and Zen 4c cores as the clock speed disparity between them already distinguishes them.

This is a completely different approach when compared to Intel’s crop of Hybrid designs which were seemingly tailor made for the new Windows 11 operating system with their own hardware scheduler doing the heavy lifting.

And crucially, AMD’s hybrid design eliminates the need for the OS itself to determine effective core utilization in programs and games, especially with similar IPC figures this could potentially alleviate some of the issues with Intel’s hybrid CPUs currently face in some video games such as induced stuttering when E-Cores are enabled.

Zen4c cores are set to feature in a minimum of three products such as the Ryzen 7 7545U, the Ryzen 3 7440U, and non-Extreme Ryzen Z1 processors, with their Extreme counterparts being the preferred choice for performance oriented handheld PCs.

The Ryzen 5 7545U maintains the specifications of the 7540U, except it replaces the 6 Zen4 cores with two Zen4 and a set of four Zen4c cores making it AMD’s first hybrid professor, the Ryzen 5 7545U shares an impressive 16MB of L3 cache across its six cores with each individual core featuring 1MB of dedicated L2 cache as well.

The next chip from AMD, featuring Zen 4c, is the Ryzen 3 7440U. This entry-level addition to AMD’s mobile lineup boasts a lone Zen 4 CPU core alongside a set of three Zen 4c CPU cores similar to Intel’s Lakefield with its 1+4 core setup.

It is the sole processor among these new releases with just four CPU cores in total and exhibits a peak single core clock speed of 4.7GHz. In terms of cache, the chip includes 8 MB of L3 cache shared across its cores, with 1 MB of L2 cache per core (a total of 4 MB). Both processors feature a TDP band of 15-30W.

Unfortunately, AMD is negligent on the actual frequencies these new Zen 4c cores will be operating at with these official specifications, however AMD should disclose them separately at a later date.

Developed based on the Phoenix2 chip, it includes a smaller die than the “Big Phoenix,” showcasing a distinct core and GPU subsystem layout (137mm2 versus 178mm2).

The Phoenix 2 core is distinct for its absence of the XDNA core used in Ryzen AI acceleration, and its topmost core configuration consists of 2x Zen4 and 4x Zen4c cores for a total of 6 cores, as opposed to the maximum of 8 full fledged Zen 4 cores featured on the bigger Phoenix core.

However, the graphics system is also downsized to only 4 RDNA3 compute units, equaling 256 stream processors, branded as the Radeon 740M. This is significantly lower than the Radeon 780M for instance which features 12 compute units (768 stream processors).

So, why opt for Zen4c cores in these CPUs?

Zen4c is a more compact core that was previously confined to the EPYC Bergamo series. AMD managed to shrink the effective core size by roughly 35% compared to full Zen4 cores, but this reduction in size led to slightly lower clock speeds due to reduced high-performance libraries.

However, according to AMD, this architecture should offer greater energy efficiency when comparing both cores at an equivalent clock speed. The smaller Zen4 cores, with similar IPC, are anticipated to be more power-efficient at lower TDPs, something that the mobile products can certainly capitalize upon.

This strategy of cannibalizing the existing core structure to essentially compress the effective core size is certainly intriguing as a hybrid design which is no longer exclusive only to data centers, giving AMD the advantage of having two different core types based upon the same instruction set, offering enhanced efficiency and scaling in terms of multi-threaded performance from smaller sized dies

Laptops utilizing the Ryzen 5 7545U and Ryzen 3 7440U are expected to hit the market. These chips are primarily targeted for entry-level and mainstream versions of slim designs, including notebooks with typical thickness variations in the mainstream segment.

I’m looking forward to the testing and comparison of these new offerings against the prior Ryzen 7040U chips. I’m also curious to know if AMD has any intentions to increase multi-thread performance with a desktop or “H-class” mobile variant in the near future, or most likely we’ll be waiting until Zen 5 before we actually see hybrid designs on performance desktop processors.