AMD’s Zen 4 CPUs will use a ‘highly optimized’ 5nm process, but don’t be fooled by node numbers

AMD is promising a 5nm node for its upcoming chips “highly optimized for high-performance computing.” The processing technology of a GPU or CPU is one of the key aspects of its design, but smaller is not automatically better. That’s why AMD didn’t just jump straight to the absolutely cutting-edge 3nm or 4nm process; because one nanometer isn’t necessarily the same as the other.

When we review a new generation of CPU or GPU, we always talk about some process technology. Companies have been eager to move to smaller nodes. There are several key reasons for this. Other comparable chips on smaller nodes generally offer better power efficiency and therefore output less heat. Another key reason is that smaller transistors and smaller dies mean more chips can be squeezed out of a traditional 300mm wafer. More dies per wafer means more end product to sell and higher profits.