AMD Ryzen

AMD's new Zen architecture is going to bring an array of new processors to consumers on the desktop, codenamed Summit Ridge. Here's what you need to know about this new line of Ryzen CPUs.

Zen is set to hit the world in early 2017 to take the fight to Intel and retain some marketshare before falling off the battlefield. AMD has slowly been in decline the past decade, but everything is pinned on the success of Zen. Summit Ridge is the codename for the new desktop processors, though "Ryzen" will be what's used for marketing and product names.

It's fairly apt as names go. AMD is essentially Ryzen'g from the depths of despair (editors note: I'm sorry about that pun). While AMD has yet to provide exact technical details on turbo speeds of the featured processor (likely the top-of-the-line option), we do know that it has eight cores, a total of 16 threads and is rated at 3.4GHz as base speed. We'd expect to see a turbo frequency of anything up to 4GHz, though we'll have to wait and see what comes out of AMD prior to release.

The chip's TDP is under 100W, which is a superb feature when one considers this processor is expected to rival the likes of Intel's i7-6900K (140 TDP). 20MB of cache is also available, which is made up of 4MB L2 (512KB per-core) as well as 16MB shared by all cores. SenseMI (pronounced Sense-Em-Eye and not Sense-Me or Sense-My) is the technology that really makes AMD's new processor shine.

The company has been working on optimizing the new processor, unlocking enhanced levels of efficiency. It automatically monitors temperature and voltage readings across the board and adjusts 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.

Precision Boost utilizes a 25MH 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 adaquate cooling, the eXtended Frequency Range (XFR) allows for the Ryzen CPU to be pushed even further.

AMD states that before the new line of Ryzen processors are made available that they still have some optimizing to do, as well as bring Precision Boost online. That means that not only are the new chips capable of matching Intel's counterparts as-of-now, but they're also keen to make them more energy efficient and maybe even more powerful in some cases, but this is all before the company has fully optimized the chips and brought online all the new technology.

This could be rather interesting. That said, we need the new processors in our office to do some benchmarks and see how they tackle Intel's own chips. Those of you eagerly awaiting Ryzen, you'll need to look to purchase a new motherboard, one with specifically the new AM4 socket and accompanied chipset. Pricing and exact details on availability are still yet to be confirmed by AMD.