I’m pretty sure that the next time I go to a trade show where new silicon is being announced, the next tool I need in my backpack is a set of calipers in order to measure the die size. While die size doesn’t in of itself mean much as a number on its own, it is the end result of lots of hard work, focused co-design between silicon engineers and the semiconductor fabs, and ultimately there’s a fine balance between features, die size, performance, power, and at the end of the day, cost. With AMD showcasing the first x86-based 8-core CPU to move into the 15 W power envelope, finding out the die size is one of the elements of our investigation into how AMD has created its new Renoir / Ryzen Mobile 4000 product.

When I first saw the silicon, I wasn’t able to take pictures. Instead, I had to guess the size by manually placing it next to a 8-core Zen 2 chiplet from AMD’s monster 64-core Threadripper 3990X. We’ve known the die size for a while now, at 10.32 x 7.34 mm, or 75.75 mm2. My guess at the time that the new Renoir APU was almost exactly double the Zen 2 chiplet, and I mean it was scary how close to double the size it was. At the time of the announcement of Ryzen Mobile 4000, I had stated in our article that I estimated 150 mm2 for the die size. Turns out, I wasn’t too far wrong.

This image is not to scale.

Later at CES, I went up to the AMD booth and this time they were more than happy for me to take photographs of the new silicon. The 3990X was also there, so I could place the two side by side and get a reasonable reference photograph on which to do calculations. This is the point of the event where I should have remembered to bring calipers! Taking photographs of chips is actually quite hard, making sure you get them lined up perfectly to get the same perspective, but also having enough light to get clear defined silicon edges.

In our picture, the Renoir chiplet you may notice is very slightly angled to the camera, which we’ve compensated for in our measurements.

With that in mind, here are our numbers.

The Zen 2 chiplet on the left, measures 10.32 mm by 7.34 mm, which is a ratio of 1.406 to 1.
In our image, the chiplet measured 265 pixels by 189 pixels, which is a ratio of 1.402 to 1.

In our image, the Renoir SoC measured 282 pixels by 350 pixels, which is a ratio of 0.806 to 1.
If we take the corresponding pixel dimensions, that gives us 10.98 mm by 13.59 mm, a ratio of 0.808 to 1.

This means that the die size of an eight-core Renoir APU with eight 2nd Gen Vega compute units, according to our calculations, 149.27 mm2.

Die Sizes
AnandTech x y Die Size Process Cores EUs/
AMD Zen 2 Chiplet 10.32 7.34 75.75 mm2 TSMC N7 8 -
Intel Ice Lake 11.44 10.71 122.52 mm2 Intel 10 4 64
Intel Tiger Lake 13.64 10.71 146.10 mm2 Intel 10+ 4 96
AMD Picasso 19.21 10.92 209.78 mm2 GF 12 4 11
AMD Renoir APU 13.59 10.98 149.22 mm2 TSMC N7 8 8

That’s pretty close to my 150 mm2 estimate, and I’ve also spoken to a few trusted individuals who have been tracking Zen 2 die structure sizes and graphics structure sizes, and they came out very similar, within 1mm2 or so.

At 149.27 mm2, assuming that AMD is achieving the same defect ratio on the silicon as reported by TSMC for the standard N7 process (0.09 defects per cm2), the process yield should be around 90%. Obviously that doesn’t take into account manufacturing for yield, or the distribution of the power/frequency of the chips within a wafer, but it’s still rather impressive.

Before AMD announced this new chip, there was a good deal of speculation as to how AMD would build it: either four cores with more graphics, or with eight cores and graphics only a little better. One factor of that was the die size: at 200 mm2, one would have expected AMD to definitely use eight cores. For sub 125 mm2, in order to maintain GPU performance, perhaps a quad-core design only have been suitable. However, AMD is claiming a great win here: eight Zen 2 cores, with frequencies at 1.8-4.3 GHz at 15 W, and despite fewer graphics compute units (down from 11 to 8), a higher per-compute unit performance claim of +56% means that performance is actually higher. All just shy of 150 mm2.

We are living in the future. I can’t wait for more.

It's worth noting that AMD's official number for the Zen 2 die size is 74 mm2. This is derived from the floorplan of the chip, which during manufacturing has additional space added to ensure clean die seperation between adjacent die prints. Ultimately what we get as the consumer is that seperation lane (known as a scribe lane) from one side of the die to the other, which is just slightly bigger than the floor plan that AMD supplies to the fabrication plant / TSMC. With calipers, what we get is that additional space, which is above AMD's quoted size.

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Farfolomew - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    What are you talking about? There's a ton of laptops out there with 10xxGx series parts. Even cheap $300 budget laptops. How is Ice Lake exotic?
  • shing3232 - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    those are comet lake I suppose.
  • kenansadhu - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    If it's 10xxGx as what Farfolomew said, it should be Ice Lake, I believe. Comet Lake's series name is 10xxxU
  • Santoval - Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - link

    Not even Comet Lake. $300 laptops are based on crappy Celeron SoCs.
  • Santoval - Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - link

    The majority of the laptops are based on Comet Lake, not Ice Lake. And I doubt you will find a $300 laptop this year, not even with Comet Lake. Pulling arbitrarily low dollar values out of your behinds is not a valid argument. Ice Lake based laptops are much fewer (because Intel have only a couple of 10nm fabs and their yields are rather poor), are quite more expensive and are largely intended for Project Athena certified devices.

    What Project Athena boils down to is "higher prices". It is effectively a market segmentation strategy to differentiate between "premium" and "non premium" laptops with just a two word marketing term instead of a list of specs. It is also a tidy way for Intel to isolate Ice Lake laptops from the "common" laptops with Comet Lake, since they don't have enough of the former anyway to fulfill the demand of the market. In short, I doubt Project Athena would have been devised if Intel had been able to manufacture Ice Lake at a yield that would satisfy them and at the volume required to meet demand on its own. That is not the case though, and in 3 to 4 quarters we will have a repeat of more or less the same (though not quite) with Tiger Lake + Rocket Lake...
  • regsEx - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    Looking at two largest retailers here, there are hundreds of notebook models on ICL.
  • Korguz - Friday, January 17, 2020 - link

    hundreds??? yea right
  • levizx - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    Typing on one of those you haven't seen.
  • tsk2k - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    Please compare Ice-lake and Renoir as soon as possible In, my body is ready.
  • Gondalf - Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - link

    He! AMD has one a masterpiece. We can not compare well a 4 core with a 8 core.
    They gave up on four cores with an higher core count.....low clocked by default outside a spare single core turbo. Someone can see the real issue with Ryzen 3 4300U.....4 cores, the clock speeds are absolutely bad to compete with Intel.
    More or less Renoir is not AMD answer to Ice. It is another thing for another class of users. They try a new street to do some dent in the market.
    There isn't much to compare unfortunately.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now