Why the new Ryzen chips will benefit AMD and Intel users

AMD Ryzen
AMD Ryzen

We're anxious to get our hands on the new Ryzen lineup of CPUs, but from what we've learned from AMD's official announcement and demo workstations, the company seems to have an ace card of an architecture. Intel has some powerful and efficient desktop CPUs, there's no questioning that. But the prices are steep for many of them, and innovation has become stagnant with only minor improvements made with each new generation of processor.

Ryzen is looking to shake things up, and we've only seen AMD's high-end and more-expensive options thus far. Take the new Ryzen 7 1800X, for example. The company puts this CPU up against the Intel Core i7-6900K, which sets you back around $1,000. Performance is on the side of AMD in tests between the two CPUs, but what's incredible is the new Ryzen processor costs around half of that Intel CPU. And that's substantial savings for the consumer.

It's also interesting how AMD is naming its new chips, opting for a similar naming convention as Intel's Core family. Ryzen 3 will be the entry-level solutions, Ryzen 5 for mainstream applications, and Ryzen 7 for those who require the absolute best in terms of performance. Having such competition should kick Intel into higher gear with marketing and development, which in turn should result in lowered pricing for current and new processors, as well as new innovations down the line.

With Ryzen, AMD looks to level the playing field

AMD isn't only targeting desktops and laptops, but also smaller form-factor systems. If you're on AMD's #TeamRed, or are merely looking for the best performance for your buck, the company is certainly opening up the floodgates to offer competitive alternatives to the status quo. There's still more to come from AMD too. We've yet to see anything from the Ryzen 3 and 5 product lines, which will make things even more interesting considering the Core i5 line of processors is a popular choice for gamers and system builders.

With the FX line of processors, AMD was unable to tackle Intel to the ground with solid performance per watt, so the company had to increase the number of cores, clock speeds, and power draw. Remember all the jokes surrounding AMD's chips and how you could turn off your heating in the winter and fire up your FX-powered desktop? They weren't entirely fictional. AMD's processors got hot, and they weren't the fastest CPUs when it came to single-core performance.

Here's what we have seen so far with Ryzen:

  • $499 - Ryzen 7 1800X (opens in new tab) at 3.6 GHz, up to 4.0 GHz.
  • $399 - Ryzen 7 1700X (opens in new tab) at 3.4 GHz, up to 3.8 GHz.
  • $329 - Ryzen 7 1700 (opens in new tab) at 3.0 GHz, up to 3.7 GHz.

Where to order AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs

That's AMD's high-end lineup, so you can bet that the company's Ryzen 3 and Ryzen 5 families will be even more competitively priced. For Intel fans and those who prefer to their processors, this new breath of life in AMD will cause Intel to rethink its current CPU strategy. We'll have to see whether or not prices come down for current and future generation chips, but it would be a smart move for Intel to address AMD's more aggressive pricing structure.

I'm not trying to bash Intel for sitting around doing nothing, because the company hasn't needed to do much to stay ahead of AMD. Regardless of which camp you happen to be in, processor competition is good for everyone.

What do you think of Ryzen so far. Will you switch to (or back from) Intel to try out AMD's new platform?

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I'm thinking of using Ryzen for my Plex server instead of the i7 7700K. CPU Benchmark site states that the best Ryzen CPU outperforms the 7700K by a good amount.
  • For a server, the R7 1700 and quite possible the R5, 6 core, 12 threads will outperform the 7700K as well.
  • Never mind, he clarified his use case below.
  • Wow, do you really need that kind of performance for a Plex-server?  With this kind of a high performance processor the idle power should be quite substantial.  .  
  • I have a full house and transcoding of my blu-rays are primarily handled by the server.
  • Do you understand what Plex fully is? Plex is much more than just a fancy DLNA server. It can transcode movies on the fly and if you make use of that type of feature you do need a somewhat powerful processor.  It just so happens that transcoding is what these Ryzen processors excel at :)
  • Yeah, if that's what you do. It appears he does, so it would make pretty good sense.
  • If the i7 was your price range, then the 1700 would be a good aim. You're talking basically the same price on the CPU, and a cheaper board that will support future iterations of the Zen arch (as opposed to Intel's insistence on replacing the socket every year/refresh).
  • Take a look at Guru3d's review, specifically the memory tests (page 13). Latency was crazy high, above 80ns and even above 100ns in one case. To compare, PC133 SDRAM pretty much has the worst latency ever seen in RAM and that's only around 24ns.
  • Hmm, even with ECC memory? I won't pretend to know much about memory, though I've heard AMD chips support ECC across the board. (no pun intended)
  • ECC memory isn't faster than non-ECC memory. In fact, depending on how the ECC is implimented it could be slower than non-ECC.
  • @Peter M Smith, got a link?
  • overall performance is a bite worse but i dont think you should care about https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/ECC-and-REG-ECC-Memory-Perfor...    
  • I just hope Zen based mobile/laptop class chipsets can give Intel a run for its money with the similar half price more performance mantra of Ryzen 7. And together AMD and Qualcomm/ARM (with Windows 10 on ARM) can put a nail in Intel's coffin. On the whole though, what I'd want to accomplish through this is to see Intel chipsets brought down in prices and more so more innovation and competition from these chip makers at high performance low price range which ultimately bodes well for consumers and computing.
  • Guess we will not see a price war (this time).  AMD will need to make money to pay for all the money they invested in R&D, 
    and Intel will not undercut AMD. Because they don't need to.    .  
  • That's not what you are going to see. The big price gain on AMD is really just at the very top, with the 8-core CPUs being pitted against the 8-core stuff from Intel. What you're more likely wanting is the unreleased Raven Ridge stuff, the APUs that could hopefully pack HBM2 and give a better graphics offering than what na Intel-based laptop would with its mediocre iGPU. That's still a platform off of Zen, but it's probably 6 months away, and we don't know much about what kind of GPU quality one can find on there. Regardless, as you trickle down the Ryzen lineup, and get into the 4- and 6-core stuff (Ryzen 5 and 3), the price compares pretty closely with Intel.
  • I love my i7 6700k, but I am SO happy AMD is competing again. We desperately need lower prices, and more substantial improvements. I hope Ryzen and Vega are a substantial success. NVidia and Intel have been resting on their laurels for too long.
  • I agree with Intel, but the 10-series are not just an idle upgrade. NVidia was brilliant with them. All of them.
  • I think they are great, ans I have a 1080 OCed to 2100, but a lot of small things add up: Could have used more VRAM, HBM instead of GDDR5X (they already have HBM memory on certain cards), less cost (the TI is going to be $100 less for the founders ed) and finally, better DX12/vulcan support. RX480 has a 10FPS increase in certain DX12 titles, and the 1080 usually loses ~10FPS on DX12. For $700, I feel like they could have done a bit more for memory and API optimization. Still an awesome card though, I love mine to death.
  • After seeing Toms Hardware tests. In the gaming segment, Ryzen is sadly lacking. Hope that game dev will try more to optimize for this CPU in the future. I am less eager to get one now. I know this is the launch and thing will.get better later. But wanted to see far less gap in gaming even with the 6700-7700 series.
  • Remember that the places where the CPU falls short are weird scenarios. They were going with low-resolutin, low-fidelity graphics to force a CPU bottleneck that won't exist for people who really push for a solid gaming PC. Once you hit resolutions over 1080p, the GPU really starts to become the major focal point, and the CPU tests had most things in a dead heat (even the PileDriver scum looked passable in such testing). Where Ryzen falls short in gaming, is primarily older gaming tech and stuff that has had its code optimized for Intel (which made perfect sense, given it was the only CPU offering on the market for gaming in the last 3-5 years). AMD sounds like it is really psuhing devs to focus on Ryzen hardware long-term, and they have stated they know where the next iteration of the hardware can make solid gains for performance. That part means waiting for the next CPU release, but even shorter-term, it does sound like tweaks to the Ryzen platform can help it along. Plus, we haven't seen a great idea of what kind of clocks can result from water cooling or high-end air cooling (only a couple of reviews I saw gave a good idea on that). Though not a gaming-centric CPU, Ryzen is unlikely to produce a disappointing experience for people who are looking to build a good, strong PC.
  • Hehe 😁 I just don't want my current games perform worst than it should. My brother is a full AMD guy. He will buy one 😀 I will wait a bit and wait for more stability with boards and wait for Anandtech for some dx12 bench that I saw that are quite good with Ryzen
  • Ton's Hardware has always been Intel biased. Look at the reviews from Guru3D and Kitguru. Also, Stilt, on the Anandtech forums, found that Ryzen is crazy efficient at lower clock speeds, making it likely that they'll be great laptop Cpu's. Gaming issues look to be more related to issues with early Bios issues, optimization of software and firmware, and SMT issues with games. This platform is brand new, so there is likely a good chunk of performance left on the table in gaming scenarios. Gaming will be much closer 6 months from now.
  •   Desktop CPUs are fast enough for what is needed today. 
    And the market is also quite price sensitive, especially for the home PC market that is true.  The money is made in the server market, 
    a market which pays good money for good performance.    So, if you are really going for the best and fastest gaming PC 
    you might find yourself looking at Intel Xeon processors and AMD equivalents. This is where future speed improvements will happen (first).  .        
  • "Intel Xeon processors and AMD equivalents" Thing is, it sounds like there ISN'T an AMD equivalent right now. One review said Opteron (AMD's server line) hadn't been refreshed in about 5 years. I don't know if Ryzen 7 can fill that niche short-term, fighting a server CPU, nor did I see mention of AMD's server chip plans.
  • I've seen plenty of server chip plans mentioned
  • Look up Naples. 32-core, 64-threads server chip.
  • I'd like to see an option for AMD processors in the next Surface lineup.
  • Based on past history, this would probably result in better gaming options for Surface, but I doubt that happens anytime soon. We're talking a H1 launch for Surface hardware, and none of AMD's iGPU stuff seems slated for anything better than a fall release.
  • I wonder what are the chances that rysen 7 will be in the Xbox Scorpio. If that is announced at E3, Sony would have no choice but to announce a PlayStation 5 for holiday season 2018
  • The rumor mill has talked about Xbox Scorpio with 8 core CPU and some 6 Tflops graphics processor. Which may indicate a Ryzen processor + a powerful (AMD?) graphics processor. But who knows? With the indicated prices, a Ryzen CPU + a top-of-the-line AMD GPU will be quite expensive for the CPU + GPU alone. So it is difficult to see how a Scorpio price of some $500 (which some have been dreaming about) is possible.
  • I read somewhere that Microsoft is actually paying a good chunk of the production cost for whatever AMD will be putting in the Scorpio. That might help keep the price from being astronomical. Either way, all in on it.
  • I'd love to have that core count on the table.
  • I haven't seen it listed anywhere and I'm not sure where to find it, but does anyone know if Ryzen will support Netflix 4K streaming? For Intell you need a Kabby Lake due to some DRM in the chip, and not due to processing power. Did AMD include the same?
  • I can't wait for my parts to come in!  I'm in on the 1800X.  I need a new 4K video editing rig.  My current one makes life miserable.  Still deciding on the motherboard...
  • So far it's looking good in terms of delivering promises. I myself will go for one of the R5s.
  • Quick question.. Does Miracast work with AMD equipment??
  • Another unknown...AMD is behind.
  • These are really exciting times in PC gaming;  I've got some aging desktops (socket AM2/AM3/FM1era with Athlon II X4 CPUs) that I recently upgraded with inexpensive GTX1050Ti cards to extend the life of, and they do OK at gaming with reduced settings. (The highest res monitor any of these are connected to is 1080p).  Now we're seeing a potential CPU price/performance war the likes of we haven't seen since the early 2000s.  I can definitely see some reasonably priced tick-tock (sequential CPU/GPU) upgrades coming in the relatively near future.
  • Atleast AMD didnt give and say "Hey we lost the Desktop CPUs curve, we are now are waiting for next paradigm shift".
  • You know MS funded AMD R&D for these chipsets right? Back in 2011 MS gave around $4 billion for R&D of Ryzen and Vega technologies. Which is another reason people are thinking Ryzen and Vega are in Scorpio. As MS will get a massive discount on them. Meaning the console price could be very low.
  • There was a rumour that Scorpio is using Ryzen technology modified by Microsoft engineers. And a Vega GPU. To add fuel to that fire AMD had Project Scorpio plastered at their RYZEN event. http://wccftech.com/xbox-scorpio-amd-ryzen-vega/
  • Very interesting!
  • I would like to see something new from Cyrix
  • I've been using AMD CPUs to power the systems I've built for some 15 years years now. When I began following the news of the new AM4 interface and the ability to use DD4 memory, I decided to move in this direction for my next upgrade. Yesterday, when the ASUS mobos finally became available, I pre-ordered one, but found out right after, that while the Prime B350-Plus mobo will accept the 7th Gneration APUs and Athlon CPUs, AMD is only shipping the Bristol Ridge AM4 chips to OEMs, leaving the only option for DIYers, the high priced Ryzen CPUs. I'll have to mwait, as my pockets aren't deep enough for the $300 plus entry level Ryzen CPU. I hope AMD doesn't hold back too long, as many of us are not gamers. I use my primary machine for graphics design work, and have stayed with AMD because of their slight graphics edge over Intel at the prices I can afford. I hope that their committment to the mainstream user at lower pricing continues with their new AM4 platform.
  • Going 7700K Ryzen not near as good on single core or most gaming.
    Plus Intel dropped prices...thanks AMD 😁
  • I have used a PC with an AMD CPU and it was great until the Motherboard died. I like AMD because they can get OEM's or PC builders to build a nice Powerful but affordable PC. I think I will build a new PC with AMD's best CPU and see how well it holds up. keep up the good word AMD.