AMD has announced that it plans to transition from 14nm LP (low power) to 12nm LP FinFET process in 2018. The announcement was made by AMD’s Mark Papermaster, during the Global Foundries Technology Conference. This process technology switch means that future iterations of both Vega GPUs and Ryzen CPUs will be based on the smaller 12nm FinFET process.
Due to this transition, consumers can expect AMD’s upcoming chips to be more efficient in terms of performance output and power consumption. In addition, decreasing the optical shrink of Vega GPUs will, in theory, allow them to boast even higher overclocking headroom as well. According to Papermaster, production of AMD’s 12nm FinFET chips will begin the the first quarter of 2018.
That said, it seems likely that AMD will stick to its plans of only releasing “Zen 2” with 7nm sometime in the future (possibly in 2019). This, of course, means that the company’s 2018 lineup of Ryzen processors may only feature a die shrink instead of an architectural update. Likewise, it’ll be unlikely that we’ll get to see Navi-based GPUs next year either, since that architecture is also expected to be based on the 7nm process.
Regardless, it seems that 2018 will most likely only be filled with product refreshes from AMD and Radeon. This isn’t necessarily bad though. Process technology shrinking can sometimes lead to significant gains in performance and efficiency. Let’s hope this will be the case for AMD’s upcoming lineup of products.