AMD’s Ryzen will follow Intel’s lead with hybrid cores

From PC World: Farewell, simple CPUs. AMD is moving toward a future where generic CPU cores will be replaced with performance cores, efficiency cores, and accelerators, much like Intel.

Tom’s Hardware cornered AMD chief technical officer Mark Papermaster at a Belgium supercomputing conference, where Papermaster agreed to answer questions on a number of subjects. But it was Papermaster’s admission that AMD is moving to a hybrid architecture that most piqued our interest.

“What you’ll also see is more variations of the cores themselves, you’ll see high-performance cores mixed with power-efficient cores mixed with acceleration,” Papermaster replied to a question from Tom’s deputy managing editor Paul Alcorn. “So where, Paul, we’re moving to now is not just variations in core density, but variations in the type of core, and how you configure the cores.”

Hybrid architectures have been around for years, though they’ve only recently made their way into the X86 architecture used by both AMD and Intel. Arm was the first company to popularize the hybrid of “performance” and “efficiency” cores, the latter used for background tasks. (Arm’s latest chips use a three-tiered hierarchy.) In 2021, Intel ushered in the 12th-generation Alder Lake family, the first to mix and match Intel’s own P- and E-cores.

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