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AMD Ryzen: Specs and technology explained, plus Ryzen 3 release date info

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AMD Ryzen specs, price and release dates: Everything you need to know about AMD’s CPUs and what it means for your next PC.

The first-generation Ryzen story is almost over, so it’s about time we recapped everything we know so far, and then look to the future of AMD Ryzen. To read more about the technical details of Ryzen, take a look at our technical explainer below.

For the products released so far and what we’re expecting yet, read on…

AMD Ryzen: The story so far

First, let’s recap our Ryzen reviews: TrustedReviews has so far reviewed four of AMD’s seven Ryzen chips. We have separate reviews for the eight-core Ryzen 7 1800X and Ryzen 7 1700 chips, and we also have a combined review of the mid-range Ryzen 5 chips.

How’d they do? Pretty well, with nines across the board. At the very top end, Ryzen has a significant price advantage over Intel’s equivalent processors, and for brute force performance there’s not much that can beat it. However, Intel still manages to win the ultra-high-end thanks to its support for more PCIe lanes for high-end components such as SSDs and multiple graphics cards.

AMD Ryzen 5

Ryzen 5s, again, have reviewed very well and look to be a perfect fit for mid-range gaming PCs.

AMD Ryzen: What's next?

We’re now waiting on Ryzen 3, the company’s Intel Core i3-rivalling processors. We don’t have too much on these right now, aside from the fact that we’re expecting quad-core processors that could really impact the lower end of the gaming market. We do know that they will launch in the third quarter of the year, so any time from June to September.

Ryzen roadmap

We’ve also just had the news of Ryzen Mobile, which is Ryzen’s first leap onto laptop processors.

Beyond that? We know that Zen, the architecture on which Ryzen is based, will be refreshed at the end of 2017 – although likely for high-end server parts, and again in 2020 with Zen 3.

Zen 2 and 3

What is AMD Ryzen?

Ryzen is AMD's newest brand of high-end processors, taking on Intel's own Core i5 and i7 chips at their own game. The technology is based on AMD's Zen architecture, which uses a 14nm process for manufacturing smaller and more power-efficient chips.

AMD has long struggled when it comes to so-called "instructions per clock" (IPC), and while its processors of old have all had high clock speeds (measured in GHz), they often ran hot without the same efficiency as Intel's finest. Read on for more technical info on AMD Ryzen, as well as the latest news.

Related: Best CPU coolers

AMD Ryzen: Why is it important and what can it do?

Although the PC market may be in decline, there's one area that's showing growth: performance and gaming. It's no surprise, then, that AMD is aiming Ryzen at that market, hoping to attract PC gaming fans away from Intel rigs.

This also shows that AMD is once again ready to compete with Intel properly. In the past, as discussed above, AMD didn't have Intel's performance per clock. This meant that the only way the company could match Intel's performance would be to increase clock speeds and power consumption.

With Ryzen and the Zen architecture in general, AMD has revamped its processor architecture to make it more efficient and capable of performing more work per cycle.

Video: Watch AMD's Ryzen launch event

Fast forward to 15 minutes in for the start of the stream

AMD has confirmed that Ryzen is capable of doing 40% more work per clock cycle, compared to the previous-generation Excavator core. Impressively, power consumption per cycle remains the same. AMD had these goals from the outset, but it's good to know that this has been achieved.

AMD Ryzen 7

So, how did AMD achieve Ryzen's performance boost? Partly, it's down to the new 14nm process, which means more transistors can fit onto a given piece of silicon, resulting in improved performance without a big increase in power consumption.

An entirely new architecture also helps. Importantly, Ryzen chips support “Simultaneous Multi-Threading”, which is similar to Intel’s Hyper-Threading tech. This allows for better distribution and handling of multiple tasks. For the high-end chip, there are eight cores that can handle 16 threads.

SenseMI drives performance and efficiency

Underpinning the processor are a series of new technologies bundled under the SenseMI umbrella term. These are technologies to make the processor more efficient and powerful.

Pure power is first. This uses monitors on the processor to work out the amount of energy required for any given task. In other words, the processor will run only as fast as it needs to, saving power when the system is relatively idle.

AMD Ryzen 9

Precision Boost is AMD's equivalent to Intel's Turbo Boost, increasing clock speed on the fly to deliver maximum performance when you need it. The company is promising that its speed-boost tech is super-smart, providing 25MHz steps with no latency or queue drain.

AMD Ryzen 11

Extended Frequency Range (EFR) is an automatic overclocking that kicks in if there's enough thermal headroom. EFR needs no user intervention and licks in automatically, while the processor remains cool. For those users who like to set everything manually, Ryzen can still be overclocked in the usual way.

AMD Ryzen 13

Neural Net Prediction is designed to speed up the CPU, by pre-loading instructions and choosing the best path through the CPU. With the right prediction, the CPU no longer has to wait for instructions to be loaded.

AMD Ryzen 15

Smart Prefetch is the final tool, designed to work out where the code is, anticipating the location of future data. This data can then be stored in the cache, so that the CPU isn't slowed down waiting for comparatively slow system memory.

AMD Ryzen 17

The new platform is AM4

AMD's new AM4 platform will accompany Ryzen. It brings all of the new tech that you'd expect, including DDR4 RAM, PCI-E Gen 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe and SATA Express. AMD is promising that this is a platform that you can "buy and know that this will work for years and years".

AMD Zen Performance

You can read more about performance in our AMD Ryzen 7 1800X review, but in short Ryzen offers blistering multi-core performance up against a more expensive Intel CPU, but is still sligtly wanting in gaming performance versus cheaper Intel CPUs. These are problems that are hopefully going to be ironed out through software updates, but it is a minor mark on an otherwise very clean report sheet.

Related: Best gaming PC

AMD says the Zen architecture won’t only be limited to enthusiast desktop chips. Laptops and servers are also expected to benefit from Zen in the future, although the laptop part (Raven Ridge) won't launch until the end of 2017.

Zen architecture will also make it to AMD APUs, meaning you’ll be able to buy a full chip with both Zen architecture and AMD Radeon graphics on board. These have proven relatively successful for budget gaming PCs in the past, so with better processing performance and graphics, AMD could really take a bite out of the budget gaming market.

Watch: AMD Radeon RX 480 review

AMD Ryzen 5 or Intel Core i5, which do you think will prevail? Let us know in the comments below.

cheese king

December 14, 2016, 10:30 am

Very nice to see AMD finally catch up, unless this is just hype. I wonder though if this will drive Intels prices down or whether AMD will simply load their prices to match, we'll have to see, Intels prices have been frankly ludicrous for years now which is one of the reasons I still using a 2700k.

Adrian S

December 14, 2016, 11:17 am

I do not really need I7 perfomance, so I hope AMD will make something that compares with the I5 at a lower price, saying that if AMD do produce a I7 comparable chip for a good price then I will get it.

Hardscrabblehammer

December 14, 2016, 1:52 pm

Gaming enthusiasts like myself realize that we don't need something that beats the fastest Intel offering. A lot of us are using i7-3770K or even i7-2500k without issues. My CPU feeds all the info my GTX 1070 can use. But someday my mobo, and/or cpu will go to binary heaven, and so what I, and a lot of other people need, is an upgrade path that gets us close to Intel for an affordable price. I probably won't want to pony up the cash for the 8-core 16 thread chip, but if they come out with a quad or hex-core variant for $300, which to be honest would be very much an ADM thing to do, I'd be all over that.

Athenasius

December 14, 2016, 2:54 pm

AMD's 8 core is probably going to be far cheaper than people think. And far from the price of the 6900k.

Thomas

December 15, 2016, 9:17 pm

My 5 year old 2550k at 4.5 Mhz has kept my Nvidia 670 rocking my HDTV at 1080p 60Hz just fine. Until I can get a HDR 4k 120Hz TV/Monitor with freesync I have no reason to upgrade. Perhaps an AMD 490 / Zen combination will make sense. I refuse to pay the extra $100-$200 for a G-Sync monitor over a freesync monitor, and would rather put that money into a better graphics card. Once it makes sense to get a better monitor then I will upgrade. HDR rocks !

Zero'clock Gaming

January 20, 2017, 5:59 pm

idk man, a 3770k cant stream at 1080p 60fps with slow or more compression, so I would love a better cpu.

John 'Genryu'

February 2, 2017, 12:48 am

The only real growth sector with CPU's is at the $200 - $300 price point. If AMD cannot bring out a CPU with good performance at that point, this will be a massive failure. Very few care about $700 CPUS enough to buy them. Also the article makes the same mistake as many others, there will be a six core CPU on offer practically from launch.

Dave Bristel

February 7, 2017, 8:33 pm

I'd expect the R5 and even the lower side of the R7 range may land in that range. A critical issue has always been when the OEMs suck up supply of processors, making it difficult to find what you want for yourself. AMD is aware of this, and for the initial supply, we SHOULD be able to get a chip, leaving HP, Dell, and Lenovo to wait.

As far as $700 processors, the real key is that those who really need that level of CPU will pay, not just the enthusiast group. Getting something that will last for 7 years without being seen as an old and slow piece of junk also appeals to some people. Hell, my Phenom 2 X4 955 still does well enough with 8GB of DDR2 memory to keep up with the $450 computers on the market, and it really does need to be replaced. Still, quad core 3.2GHz....seems like it fits into the current $450-$500 desktop computer market, doesn't it?

Azmodan

February 8, 2017, 6:35 am

The good thing is you will get something to compete with the i5 and with hyperthreading to boot.

mode11

February 8, 2017, 7:54 am

Bit weird that (according to the article at least) most of the range is 6 and 8 core chips with hyper-threading. That's a tiny market. What they need is a decent ~3.5GHz i5/i7 competitor at a lower price. Given that Intel desktop CPU performance has plateaued in the last 5 years, that shouldn't be an unachievable goal. Intel's concentrating on mobile CPUs these days - they're performance per watt at the lower end would be much harder to reach.

Adrian S

February 8, 2017, 8:45 am

Lets hope so, but it just seems to be taking ages.
#

putin and the greeks

February 9, 2017, 4:48 pm

the whole cpu market is very suspect ,,,i need 24 cores right now stop giving me tiny updates ,,,dam you intel and amd ,,i need more power stop selling me toys...i'm very angry

ZoubIWah

February 10, 2017, 4:11 am

of course it can
you forgot to specify what compression, and blabla. it can play a 1080p60fps h264 main profile no problem.
and all games no problem (gpu is the bottleneck)

ive a i7-2600k for 5 or 6 years (basically when it came out) and any cpu replacement today will only barely help in any game.

ZoubIWah

February 10, 2017, 4:12 am

the thing is, you'll need a much better gpu to enjoy a 4k 120hz (thus 120fps unless u wanna play around 25fps with freesync but then why... ;-)

by that time the cpus will be even cheaper.

Bennett Russell

February 11, 2017, 8:19 am

until you look at the IPC, and the power consumption of your processor, the fact that you can get ddr2 for practically free, and the fact that it has no SMT/Hyperthreading

Bennett Russell

February 11, 2017, 8:25 am

no, your GPU is syncing with you monitor to force an average of roughly 60 FPS, with a 1070 you should get atleast 120 FPS at 1080p in ANY game before the GPU becomes the bottleneck.

paradroid2

February 12, 2017, 9:17 am

Still on a 45 watt AMD here. I think it's fine for everyday tasks. Surfing the web on heavy sites or photoshopping and such is noticeably slower than my skylake i7 at work, but not annoyingly so. I'm hoping this 65w Ryzen will be a good cpu to replace mine with.

Yo Hannis

February 13, 2017, 9:36 am

me too, i'll go for 65W ones. i think i'll get AMD Ryzen 5 1400X

Bob Rooney

February 15, 2017, 4:14 am

this. then again, that amd chip will last 4 chipsets. thats what go me through the phenom 2 years. 790fx mobo, 870a, 990fx. 2008 to god knows how long. its still running in my mom's home as a pass-me-down.

A Glass of Water (IN VR)

February 17, 2017, 6:42 pm

Yep found the Intel fanboy

Glib

February 18, 2017, 12:50 am

So, if AMDs 6 core (regardless of clockspeed) costs more than $250, you're going to buy a $425-$600 Intel chip? All because you think a debugger will reduce crashes? It won't, FYI: at best it'll halt the process and crash the software. So you know, the top-end 6 core Ryzen is rumoured to cost $247, though I'm sure you'd come up with some other illogical reason why you wouldn't buy it.

As well, in case you didn't know, you're WAY more likely to reduce the number of crashes (as if that even happens to modern CPUs outside of server applications) with ECC RAM, which the Intel's you're speaking of do NOT support, but the Ryzen ones might (we will soon see, I'd presume yes).

Zaven

February 18, 2017, 5:44 pm

oh there is a misunderstanding. i am NOT saying Intel i7 will be FASTER than AMD. Intel comes with integrated graphics worth like 40-60 dollars and I am an video, software programming professional who doesn't need a video card other than integrated graphics. With that being said, an i7, quad core 8 thread will have similar performance to AMD 6 core 12 thread (since not everything is about cores and processing speed). IT COMES DOWN THAT BOTH HAVE SIMILAR PRICING FOR SIMILAR ABILITIES. AMD shouldn't try to out-compute Intel but try to create slightly slower processors at a cheaper price. Right now, AMD is doing the first, not the latter. If both are at similar speeds at similar prices, i will buy intel for the name because i am not stupid. I mean who wouldn't buy a macbook with the same specs as a windows laptop for the same price???? who woulldn't buy a good that cost similar to another but has a way better name???

Zaven

February 18, 2017, 5:48 pm

btw i am talking about unlocked ryzen 5 processor being equal to an i7 7the gen and that costs 320+ while the i7 costs 420+

Zaven

February 18, 2017, 6:02 pm

btw i am not an AMD fan i am using FX 8350 right now because its is cheap octa-core where as the new octacores from amd costs $500 and hyperthreading does not make your processor twice as fast but approximately 1.4 times faster because strings cant be strung at same time and it needs a refresh phase.

Zaven

February 21, 2017, 6:28 am

yes someone finally understands me!!! AMD target audience is not professionals but people who want performance for little pricing. if you make amd and intel same price, i will get intel not only because of branding but also better drivers, able to operate at higher temperatures, supports linux better, contains a gpu, and so much more. AMD processors shouldn't exceed 200 american dollars or 250 cnd.

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