Zen is AMD's latest architecture that has enabled the company to take the fight to Intel and retain some market share before falling off the battlefield. AMD has slowly been in decline during the past decade, but everything is pinned on the success of Zen. "Summit Ridge" is the codename for the new desktop processors, though "Ryzen" is what's used for marketing and product branding.

AMD Ryzen

It's fairly apt as names go. AMD is essentially Ryzen-ing from the depths of despair. (Editor's note: We're sorry about the puns). The new processor family consists of Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9. This should sound familiar as it shares similarities with how Intel goes about separating its mainstream processor product lines. This also makes it easier for consumers (and AMD) to better determine and compare which processors are meant to compete with those from Intel.

AMD's Ryzen Threadripper packaging is slicker than your average processor

Ryzen 7 processors actually launched ahead of everything else, sporting a total of eight cores and 16 threads, specifically designed for intensive workloads like video editing. The Ryzen 5 series is for those who multitask and enjoy pushing their systems to the limit for gaming. Finally, Ryzen 3 is for those on a tighter budget. AMD has Ryzen 9 in the works, set to take on Intel's enthusiast chips.

Meet the Ryzen family

Things are fairly straightforward when it comes to breaking down the various Ryzen product families. (Click the pricing on each processor to go to retailers and find more details. Ryzen 3 should launch in late-July, with Ryzen 9 following in August.)

Family CPUs Cores Pricing
Ryzen 3 1300X
Four TBA
Ryzen 5 1600X
Six (12 threads)
Six (12 threads)
Four (eight threads)
Four (eight threads)
Ryzen 7 1800X
Eight (16 threads) $419
Ryzen 9 1950X
16 (32 threads)
12 (24 threads)

Optimized technologies

The company has worked for years on optimizing the new processor, unlocking enhanced levels of efficiency. The chips automatically monitor temperature and voltage readings across the board and adjust performance parameters depending on current stats. This makes it possible to get the most out of the CPU with available cooling right out the box. And we must say, AMD packs in some killer OEM coolers.

Precision Boost utilizes a 25MHz granularity, making it rather accurate when it comes to setting the final clock speed of each core. This all helps with getting maximum performance without turning the CPU into a new source of heat for the home. Finally, for system builders or those with adequate cooling, the eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) allows for the Ryzen CPU to be pushed even further.

Pure Power handles all temperature readings and power draw to maximize performance, while Neural Net Prediction and Smart Prefetch work alongside one another to better prep the processor for workloads. It all sounds like smart technology and it's something that has enabled AMD to return to the battlefield and force Intel to change into a higher gear. Not only is this solid news for AMD fans but for Intel die-hards, too. Competition leads to great things.

Should you join Ryzen?

Are AMD processors now worth your investment? In a word: absolutely. There are nothing but positives with Ryzen, especially when one looks at what AMD brought to the market in recent years. Whether you're with team red or blue, Ryzen is worth considering the for price since AMD is aggressively targeting similar Intel processors. It's also worth noting that Ryzen (and Zen) is brand new. This means that further revisions on the software and OS front will unlock further performance enhancements.

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