In recent years Intel processors have been outperforming AMD’s processors, with most people,including gamers, choosing the Intel-based CPUs for their rigs. AMD is looking to offer real change to that scenario in 2017, with its new Ryzen processors. Here’s everything you need to know about the new Ryzen CPUs, including specifications and prices.
Ryzen 7 is now on sale, plus two new Ryzen 5 chips announced. Ryzen is the official brand name for the chips which are based on the ‘Zen’ core architecture. They’re aimed at gamers and PC enthusiasts who want a high-performance CPU, and AMD believes it’s better than Intel’s Skylake. Ryzen processors will be available for desktop PCs, laptop and servers.
Release day was 2 March. As of launch day there are three new Ryzen 7 chips, AMD has announced two new Ryzen 5 chips to release soon. The pair of Ryzen 5 chips are cheaper, and will go on sale in a couple of months.
Obviously, the big deal here is that the flagship eight-core Ryzen 7 1800X is only $499 – half the price of Intel’s eight-core i7-6900K.
Although, it’s the mid-range chips which are likely to be the large sellers, and the Ryzen 5 1600X supposedly outperforms the Intel Core i5-7600K by almost 70 percent.
It’s obvious how the naming scheme is designed to guide buyers: Ryzen 7 = Intel Core i7, and Ryzen 5 = Intel Core i5. There will be a Ryzen 3 coming, but AMD hasn’t said anything about this lower range apart from that it will release 3-series CPUs in the second half of 2017.
Here are some of the other highlights
CrossFire SLI will be available only on X370 motherboards . Every Ryzen chip can be overclocked
Overclocking is supported only on motherboards with X370, X300 and B350 chipsets
Motherboards will support plenty of the latest features including NVMe and DDR4 RAM
AMD Ryzen release date: 2 March 2017
AMD Zen processor – CPU
AMD coordinated a worldwide launch on 2 March, and you’ve been able to buy/build a Ryzen-based PC – or just the chip – since that date, unless of course you’re on the bleeding edge and pre-ordered.
Laptops with Ryzen processors will launch in the second half of the year, and these have the codename Raven Ridge.
Server versions will also launch sometime between July and December 2017. They are codenamed Naples.
Right now, Ryzen is just a CPU, but AMD will also launch Ryzen APUs, accelerated processing unit – a CPU with a built-in graphics processing unit in one chip. The APUs are essentially made for those who don’t have, or don’t intend to buy a separate graphics card. Rumour has it that the Ryzen APU processors will have comparable graphics performance to that of a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One console – which is not awful considering it could usher in the popularity of building fanless and silent, small form factor PC builds, with respectable capabilities. Not to mention superior micro sized media servers, workstations etc.
Ryzen will require a new motherboard because it is compatible with the new AM4 socket which includes DDR4 memory support.
AMD has been making processors for a long time and Zen is the name of the new core architecture around which a whole family of products will be based. One of these is the newly announced Ryzen processor. This is not a single CPU, but rather a range, just like Athlon was back in the day. Ryzen CPUs will be available for desktop PCs, laptops and even servers.
The x86 Zen architecture is built on a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. Essentially, this means that Ryzen processors are able to do a lot more work per clock cycle – 40 percent, in fact. This is the key, or one of the keys, to competing with Intel processors. Previously AMD could only compete on performance at a much higher power consumption, because it needed to use a higher clock speed to do the same amount of work as the equivalent Intel Core CPU.
With Ryzen, AMD is claiming that an 8-core, 16-thread chip is 10 percent faster than an Intel Core i7-6900K in various benchmarks, such as Blender and Handbrake. Importantly, these tests were run with the Intel chip using its Turbo Boost speeds, while the Ryzen chip had its boost disabled. So there’s more performance to be had, which is exciting to hear, and not just for AMD fanboys.
Intel is about to launch the next-generation chip, the seventh-generation Core processors, codenamed Kaby Lake. This shouldn’t worry AMD though, since early indications are that the Core i7-7700K is no more efficient than the 6900K in terms of performance per clock cycle, it is simply more power efficient. An incremental improvement, at best.
Ryzen, meanwhile, is 40 percent more efficient than the Excavator chips it replaces. To be specific, it is able to process 40 percent more instructions per clock cycle – this is the ‘40% More IPC’ in the slide below.
One of the ways it does this is by using a smaller manufacturing process: 14nm. This is nothing new – Intel has been using this process for a while now. On top of this change is what AMD is calling SenseMI.
SenseMI has five components:
Pure Power – more than 100 embedded sensors with accuracy to the millivolt, milliwatt, and single degree level of temperature enable optimal voltage, clock frequency, and operating mode with minimal energy consumption;
Precision Boost – smart logic that monitors integrated sensors and optimizes clock speeds, in increments as small as 25MHz, at up to a thousand times a second;
Extended Frequency Range (XFR) – when the system senses added cooling capability, XFR raises the Precision Boost frequency to enhance performance;
Neural Net Prediction – an artificial intelligence neural network that learns to predict what future pathway an application will take based on past runs;
Smart Prefetch – sophisticated learning algorithms that track software behaviour to anticipate the needs of an application and prepare the data in advance.
Arguably the most interesting part of the Zen architecture is its ability to support ‘Simultaneous Multi-Threading’, a technology that’s been used in Intel’s CPUs for years under the name Hyper-Threading. This allows a single core to have multiple threads, such as an Intel Core i7 having four cores and eight threads.
I predict Ryzen coming in four initial models. However, I do see a dual-core APU ($40-ish), a 16-core ($250-ish) and even a 32-core server-type ($400-ish) processor being released too. These predictions are purely based on previous generation models and based upon its competition Intel’s lineup.
AMD Ryzen specifications: What we can summarize.
Power!! We all love performance and it comes to no surprise that AMD’s Zen architecture will be built on the new 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. The new process is similar to Intel’s Skylake and Kaby Lake architectures.
This means the new architecture will be more efficient than its predecessors. The eight-core Ryzen is rumoured to consume 95 Watts. In comparison to the FX 8000 series that had a 125-220W TDP, the Ryzen is set to be AMD’s most power-efficient CPU yet.
The new Zen processors will also feature ‘Simultaneous Multi-Threading’, which will drastically improve performance for those who use their computers for rendering videos or highly-intensive games which really utilize a processor’s threads.
AMD Zen processor
Ryzen will support DDR4 memory which means it can run up to eight channels on one board. Interestingly enough the APU version of Ryzen will support High Bandwidth Memory (HBM), which will result in even better performance for those who use multiple different programs that eat up RAM.
On a compatibility front, you’ll be able to use your AM3+ socket coolers with the new AM4 socket. Some have even reported the AM2 and AM3 socket coolers to also work. Speaking of which, the new Zen platform is set to unify all the sockets into one AM4 socket, meaning there won’t be several different sockets like the AM3+, FM2+ and AM1 to confuse consumers.