We know this story. Intel got in it’s tick-tock groove with alternating process/architecture generations of CPUs. AMD managed to get stuck in a low performance rut.
This graph shows how deep a rut AMD was in. When AMD released Bulldozer in 2011 it was destroyed by the competition. AMD had to live with their creation for four more years. Starting in 2014, AMD discontinued their FX series of CPUs – the CPUs they targeted to the high-end PC segment.
Zen brings AMD back to respectable IPC performance. A place where it can compete in the high-end CPU segment. In a way, AMD is capitalizing on Intel’s misfortune. Intel missed the mark transitioning to 10nm, opening the door to renewed competition. This time, the competition is here.