Ryzen has risen – sorry not sorry – at long last. AMD’s latest multi-core desktop processors were revealed during an event in San Francisco back in February and have since permeated the market in full force.
The new chips promise to bring AMD into the high-performance sphere with Intel in a way that’s more affordable and is a marked improvement on its own previous generation of silicon.
Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about AMD Ryzen before the imminent launch later this week.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The latest in AMD's high-end desktop CPUs
- When's it out? The first of many released on March 2
- What will it cost? Ryzen 5 series starts at $168 (£158, AU$245)
AMD Ryzen release date
Ryzen 7, the first of the batch, came out on March 2. That’s the series of top-end chips, which include, but are not limited to, the seriously competitive Ryzen 7 1800X, whose multi-threaded benchmarks put it in line with the Intel Core i7-6900k.
On April 11, AMD released Ryzen 5. Among this series is the Ryzen 5 1600X, comparable to the overclockable, albeit mid-range, Intel Core i5-7600K.
The next lineup in AMD’s processor range, called Ryzen 9 (also known as ‘Threadripper’), is set to challenge the all-but-confirmed Core i9 chips from Intel. According to AMD, the series will feature “up to 16 cores and 32 threads” and is slated for a summer 2017 launch.
AMD Ryzen price
The Red Team, if you will, has positioned the Ryzen 7 series against Intel’s Core i7 chips, but for far better prices. The Ryzen 7 1800x chip, for instance, will be available for $499 (about £500, around AU$650). That’s less than half as much as Intel wants for its Core i7-6900K.
The Ryzen 7 1700x is marketed as AMD’s mid-range chip within this series, priced at $399 (about £320, AU$520), while the Ryzen 7 1700 (no “x”) is available for $329 (about £260, AU$430).
Positioned as the mid-range Ryzen chip, the 6-core Ryzen 5 1600X costs $249 (£249, AU$359), though there are more affordable options, like the $219 (£219, AU$319) Ryzen 5 1600 and the $168 (£158, AU$245) Ryzen 5 1400 in the mix as well.
It’s not clear how much the Ryzen 9 chips will cost, but headlined by a 16-core flagship, we can safely surmise it’ll be a lot. If you’re holding out for something a little more budget-friendly, the Intel Core i3-rivaling Ryzen 3 CPUs are anticipated to touch down in the latter half of the year.
As you can see, these are the top-end of AMD’s new chips, aimed at professional and serious PC gamers.
AMD Ryzen specs
Ryzen was designed by AMD to perform well at high loads and be compatible with the latest hardware in PC gaming. To that end, the firm had to develop a new chipset for the processors, the X370 and X300, and a new socket, the AM4.
Yes, that means you’ll need a new motherboard (and a newer OS than Windows 7) for your Ryzen CPU. Luckily, a pretty handful of AMD Ryzen motherboards are already on the market for this very occasion. These mobos support all the same technologies as the bulk of Intel’s boards including the following:
- Dual-channel DDR4 memory
- M.2 SATA devices
- USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2
- PCIe 3.0 capability
Now, for the Ryzen processor architecture itself. AMD says that its goals with Ryzen were “maximum data throughput and instruction execution plus high bandwidth, low latency cache-memory support for optimal compute efficiency.” So, take solace in the fact that all Ryzen processors enjoy these same traits:
- Two threads per core
- 8MB shared L3 cache
- Large, unified L2 cache
- Micro-op cache
- Two AES units for security
- High efficiency FinFET transistors
Essentially, the Ryzen chips are better at hyper-threading across their eight (so far) cores, enabling more actions per clock than before.
Plus, we already witnessed an AMD Ryzen chip break a world record in benchmarks – albeit under extreme cooling. (Maybe that's why Intel's working on a 16-core Core i9 CPU.)
High-level capabilities aside, here are the highlights for each of the three new Ryzen 7 chips:
- AMD Ryzen 7 1800x – 3.6GHz (up to 4GHz); octa-core; Extended Frequency Range (XFR) with better cooling; 95 Watt TDP
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700x – 3.4GHz (up to 3.8GHz); octa-core; XFR; 95 Watt TDP
- AMD Ryzen 7 1700 – 3GHz (up to 3.7GHz); octa-core; AMD Wraith Spire cooler; 65 Watt TDP
And here are those for the Ryzen 5 chips:
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600X – 3.6GHz (up to 4GHz); hexa-core; XFR; 95 Watt TDP
- AMD Ryzen 5 1600 – 3.2GHz (up to 3.6GHz); hexa-core; AMD Wraith Spire cooler; 65 Watt TDP
- AMD Ryzen 5 1500X – 3.5GHz (up to 3.7GHz); quad-core; XFR; 65 Watt TDP
- AMD Ryzen 5 1500 – 3.2GHz (up to 3.4GHz); quad-core; AMD Wraith Spire cooler; 65 Watt TDP
During AMD's GDC 2017 livestream, Capsaicin & Cream, the firm revealed that the Ryzen processor makes it possible to achieve 4K, 60 frames-per-second rendering of games at Ultra settings from just one AMD Vega GPU.
Stay tuned to this page for more of the latest AMD Ryzen information as more news emerges about the forthcoming AMD Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 9 processing chips.
Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article
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