AMD Epyc: Socket SP6 for efficient Zen 4 and Zen 5 CPUs

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In addition to the high-end socket SP5, AMD will also offer a second, smaller offshoot SP6, which accommodates the Zen 4 and Zen 5. This seems intended for smaller more efficient systems including embedded solutions. But the CPU is limited accordingly.

At first glance, the SP6 socket looks like the current SP3 socket. That's no coincidence, as it has the same dimensions: 58.5 mm × 75.4 mm.

But everything is already different on the inside, instead of 4,096 contact surfaces as in the current SP3 socket, the SP6 socket has 4,844 contact points. It becomes visible in the socket and on the CPU itself: With socket SP6 there is only a single free space for small caps in the middle, with socket SP3 there were two of these zones.

On the bottom of the CPU makes the difference clear. If previous socket SP3 solutions were divided into two areas, there are four in the upcoming solution. Nevertheless, AMD finally accommodates 20 percent more contact areas in a socket of the same size through adjustments.

According to an alleged AMD roadmap, the SP6 socket should be positioned on the market as a smaller variant for the SP5 socket. With the right processors, not only is the number of cores halved, but also the memory interface, the number of PCIe lanes reduced from 160 to 96 and the focus solely on 1-socket systems with a TDP of only 70 to 225 watts instead of 200 to 400 watts for the socket SP5. On paper, this solution would also be something for future thread rippers – if they still exist in the future.

According to the roadmap, Socket SP6 should be ready in Q2/2023, and according to the older “Super NDA” roadmap for Epyc with Zen 4 aka Genoa, the start was planned for the third quarter of this year. Speaking of Genoa: An X variant with an enlarged L3 cache like Milan-X is also mentioned, the start as last suspected will follow in 2023. These both appear in socket SP5, both socket SP5 and socket SP6 are said to be compatible with Turin be, the successor Epyc processor with Zen 5 architecture.

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