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AMD leak reveals mysterious new next-gen ‘Sound Wave’ mobile chip - could this be Zen 6?

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A new leak has revealed an upcoming mobile APU from AMD - codenamed ‘Sound Wave’ - along with a few other details on AMD’s future processor selection. Could these become the best processors on the laptop market?

The leak, hailing from user gamma0burst on Korean blogging site Tistory, features several heavily redacted images, meaning we don’t have a lot to go off - but crucially, gamma0burst’s information appears to confirm the names and release order of several new mobile chips from AMD.

First on the list are Strix and Sarlak, which we already knew were coming; these will be manufactured on AMD’s existing 7nm process, presumably with a ‘chiplet’ design that separates the CPU’s components into multiple smaller chips on the same die, thus improving performance. Current speculation puts the Strix Point chips at a late 2024 release, which would be in line with previous mobile APU releases from AMD. They’re expected to replace the existing Hawk Point processors but will still fall under the Ryzen 8000 family.

Next up is Kraken Point, which will use a 5nm process and launch under the Ryzen 9040 brand - another known upcoming chip that we’ve reported on before. Kraken will likely launch in 2025, meaning that we’ve got a long wait til 2026 and the Sound Wave launch.

So, what exactly is ‘Sound Wave’?

Details are extremely thin on the ground right now (after all, this is the first we've seen of it), but Sound Wave is expected to follow Kraken Point and will be built on TSMC's cutting-edge new 3nm process - if this leak is accurate, so keep your salt-shaker at the ready.

Wccftech notes that Kraken Point is currently expected to use a combination of Zen 5 CPU cores and RDNA 3.5 GPU cores, meaning that Sound Wave could well herald the arrival of AMD’s long-awaited Zen 6 CPU architecture. All of the above chips will also feature AMD’s new neural processing unit, XDNA 2, or possibly even a more advanced version of XDNA for Sound Wave and beyond.

Both Kraken Point and Sound Wave are also speculated to use a chiplet design, although some rumors have suggested that we’ll see both monolithic and chiplet versions of AMD’s future processors, with the chiplet iteration being a more expensive, higher-performance chip. Although we don’t have any leaks to suggest it right now, it’s also reasonable to assume that Kraken Point will use RDNA 4 GPU cores, with Sound Wave possibly featuring an even more advanced graphics architecture.

In other words, AMD has a pretty stacked selection of mobile chips coming across the next two years, with a visible effort to push ahead with new CPU microarchitectures. Laptops and other edge computing devices stand to benefit massively from these processors, in particular compact devices without dedicated graphics cards. AMD already impressed us with the power of its Z1 Extreme APU (as seen in the excellent Lenovo Legion Go handheld) so the future of gaming on integrated graphics looks bright - just as I’ve always predicted.

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