Big, performance-oriented cores and small, efficient cores was a concept that was previously exclusive to smartphones. Intel brought to the PC ecosystem, and now AMD plans to make processors with the same hybrid architecture.
AMD’s CTO, Mark Papermaster, has confirmed that, on future AMD Ryzen chips, we’ll see “high-performance cores mixed with power-efficient cores mixed with acceleration.” AMD has already talked about its efficiency cores, called Zen 4C, which are due to appear in the next-generation Epyc server chips. They have yet to land on desktop PC processors, though, and the CTO pretty much confirmed that it’s happening, after saying “absolutely” when pressed by the interviewer about the use of hybrid cores on desktop PCs.
The current top-end AMD chip, the Ryzen 9 7950X, features 16 cores, but they’re all identical Zen 4 cores. Intel, on the other hand, uses a mix of performance and efficiency cores, bringing the core count up (to 24 cores on the Intel Core i9-13900K, to be precise). This change would see AMD also use hybrid cores, exposing itself, and its chips, to the advantages these chips bring.
We’d need to see AMD’s offering (the company is not expected to announce its next Ryzen chips until next year anyway) to give more concrete opinions on this matter. But right now, things are looking great.