The GNU Compiler Collection has received support for AMD's upcoming Zen 5 architecture with a new patch. This indicates that several new instructions will be coming to Zen 5-based chips (via Phoronix). The update not only indicates that AMD is preparing Zen 5 for launch, but also indicates specific instructions in which AMD is aiming to implement the new architecture.
Zen 5 debuts with five instructions that have never before appeared in a Zen-based chip. Four of these instructions have been native to Intel processors for several years, and one will appear in the company's Granite Rapids server processors soon, so in a sense, AMD is catching up with Intel. This is not unusual, as AMD does not seem to place as much emphasis on instruction set support as Intel does, especially for AVX-related instructions, reports Tom’s Hardware.
Perhaps the most notable of the five instructions is AVX-VNNI, which Intel first introduced in its 2021 Alder Lake processors. VNNI stands for Vector Neural Network Instructions and is becoming more relevant in today's AI-centric environments. AVX-VNNI should not be confused with AVX512-VNNI, it is more powerful than AVX512 instructions. Both instructions can perform the same operations, but AVX512-VNNI has access to 512-bit vectors and EVEX extensions for even better performance.
Zen 4 already has AVX512-VNNI, so adding support for a weaker version may seem strange, but Intel did the same thing a few years ago. The benefit of using the non-512-bit version is for consumer components, which will be able to run software that does not take advantage of AVX512, as data center applications do. Either way, it seems clear that AMD continues to focus on AI in its future processors (including consumer models).
The latest GCC patch is not the first for Zen 5 processors. Code for Zen 5 has been leaking since July last year, and there was also a Linux update that added new power management features. For the record, GCC support for Zen 4 was added after the launch of the Ryzen 7000 processors, and while this should not be taken as an imminent release of Zen 5, it is likely that the new generation will launch this year. AMD hasn't talked much about Zen 5 so far, but it may break its silence at Computex in May.