Gaming desktops with AMD Zen chips will be hard to come by this year

Volume shipments of desktops with AMD's Zen chips will begin next year

If you're expecting widespread availability of gaming desktops with AMD's Zen chips by year-end, don't hold your breath.

It's been a long wait for Zen since it was first announced in mid-2015. It's shaping up to be the best CPU from the company in more than a decade, and the AMD faithful are hungry to get their hands on a desktop with the chip.

High-end desktops with Zen will be available, but in "limited volume towards the end of the fourth quarter," said Lisa Su, CEO of AMD, during an earnings call Thursday. The number of available Zen-based desktops will depend on how testing of the chips goes and how ready PC makers are to ship the machines, Su noted.

Volume shipments of desktops with Zen will begin in the first quarter next year, Su said.

It will be a gold rush for Zen gaming desktops during the year-end holiday shopping season. Those desktops could become available right at the end of the year, and be priced at a premium.

Before the earnings call, it wasn't clear when Zen-based desktops would land in the fourth quarter, but volume shipments were expected. AMD at Computex in June said it would start shipping Zen processors for testing to a few partners, with a larger volume of chips shipping in the third quarter.

AMD claims major advancements with Zen, among them a 40 percent improvement in instructions-per-clock (IPC), a metric for CPU performance. The desktop Zen chips will be benchmarked to see if those claims hold water.

AMD has big plans for the enthusiast segment as it will best represent how far the company has come with its CPU and GPU technologies. If Zen fails, it will be disastrous for AMD considering the amount of resources put into its development.

The chip maker wants to combine Zen chips and GPUs based on the Polaris graphics architecture to provide the ultimate gaming experience. Competition in high-end desktops will come from Intel's Extreme Edition chips and Nvidia Pascal GPUs like the GeForce GTX 1080. Both are extremely popular, and it will be challenging to convince customers to move to an all-AMD desktop.

But the Zen chip looks promising, and AMD hopes to get back on par with Intel on CPU technology. Laptops with Zen chips and integrated graphics will launch next year, Su said. Server chips based on Zen will ship in the first quarter.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?