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What you need to know about AMD Ryzen

AMD Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 5 2600 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Zen is AMD's architecture that enabled the company to take the fight to Intel and retain some market share before falling off the battlefield. AMD was in a slow decline, but everything was pinned on the success of Zen. Ryzen is the branding used for the new processors, which are separated into numerous families. AMD launched the latest generation of 3000 series Ryzen processors in 2019.

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 processor family consists of Ryzen 3, 5, 7, 9, and Threadripper. 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.

Meet the Ryzen family

AMD Ryzen

AMD

Things are straightforward when it comes to breaking down the various Ryzen product families. 1000 series processors were released in 2017, 2000 series followed in 2018, and 3000 series launched in 2019. The 3rd-gen Ryzen CPUs come rocking substantial improvements over the predecessors with better efficiency through 7nm manufacturing and more performance, though older generation Ryzen CPUs can often be found at great prices.

AMD Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9 processors all use the AM4 socket. Most AM4 motherboards include support for all three generations, but it's worth checking if the motherboard you own (or plan to purchase) supports the AMD Ryzen CPU you have in mind. Threadrippers are huge CPUs and require their own socket, called TR4. You'll need a specific motherboard to support these beasts.

FamilyCPUsCoresThreadsGPUPricing
Ryzen 31200
1300X
2200G
3200G
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
4
-
-
Vega 8
Vega 8
$110 (opens in new tab)
$125 (opens in new tab)
$113 (opens in new tab)
-
Ryzen 51400
1500X
1600
1600X
2600
2600X
2400G
3600
3600X
4
4
6
6
6
6
4
6
6
8
8
12
12
12
12
8
12
12
-
-
-
-
-
-
Vega 11
-
-
$139 (opens in new tab)
$150 (opens in new tab)
$150 (opens in new tab)
$200 (opens in new tab)
$170 (opens in new tab)
$189 (opens in new tab)
$156 (opens in new tab)
$200 (opens in new tab)
$249 (opens in new tab)
Ryzen 71700
1700X
1800X
2700
2700X
3700X
3800X
8
8
8
8
8
8
8
16
16
16
16
16
16
16
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
$220 (opens in new tab)
$190 (opens in new tab)
$700 (opens in new tab)
$280 (opens in new tab)
$320 (opens in new tab)
$240 (opens in new tab)
$329 (opens in new tab)
$399 (opens in new tab)
Ryzen 93900X
3950X
12
12
24
24
-
-
$499 (opens in new tab)
$750
Threadripper1900X
1920X
1950X
2920X
2950X
2970WX
2990WX
8
12
16
12
16
24
32
16
24
32
24
32
48
64
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
$260 (opens in new tab)
$365 (opens in new tab)
$490 (opens in new tab)
$542 (opens in new tab)
$731 (opens in new tab)
$1,204 (opens in new tab)
$1,618 (opens in new tab)

Picking the right AMD Ryzen CPU

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD Ryzen 5 2600

AMD has a number of product families in the desktop processor market, including the popular Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, Ryzen 9, and Threadripper. But which one is best for you and your PC?

How to pick the right AMD Ryzen CPU

Optimized AMD technologies

Ryzen 5 2600

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.

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 for the price since AMD is aggressively targeting similar Intel processors.

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is 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 over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

86 Comments
  • This is good news. I'm all for competition.
  • I'm all in for new amd at mo
  • Fiercy 🔥👏
  • Awesome. I need to build a new pc
  • Likely gonna be using AMD for my next pc build then.
  • I wouldn't take hat to the bank. They've not bothered competing in the consumer CPU space in about 3 years, and when that was last happening, it was in the form of a chip that was insanely power hungry (next to Intel), hotter, and slower by a good margin. While I hope for AMD to knock it out of the park (read: be moderately competitive), I'm not getting my hopes up. I'll wait for real-world benchmarks and testing to see what we get from this.
  • Yeah and now they produce less expensive tech leading edge chips with lower power consumption than intel.
    Intel has lost, I moved from Intel to ryzen 2600, never going back.
  • I got a Ryzen 7 1700 myself about a year and a half ago. They are now in a position where buying Intel is just foolish for all but the most niche cases. Ryzen is definitely great, but it took more time to reach that "why buy Intel ever?" point than some had hoped.
  • already using Ryzen 5 1600X and loving it, FAST!
  • That comment by Keith Wallace was made two years ago, rollindice lol.
  • Yeah, and? I wasn't wrong at all. There were a lot of bad issues with Ryzen at that launch. The BIOS was a tire fire at best, which was fun to fix. I fully supported the platform, sold my firmed on it and got it myself, but AMD had a LOT of ground to make up. They did some crazy stuff in that time away, and now they're undoubtedly the market leader.
  • I've only ever had bad experiences with AMD laptops, not once tried an AMD desktop though. I think in part it's because AMD is usually found in budget laptops so the performance is going to be terrible anyway due to other cheap components in the mix, but what I've found is if you spend say £300 on a laptop, Intel chips always outshine AMD (even though the laptop itself is still pretty terrible). I'm interested to see if this new architecture can compete with Intel for real and not just on paper, with Windows on ARM and now some possible real competition coming from AMD it might just be the thing needed to start getting some innovation across the board and that's always good for everyone.
  • I've had good luck with AMD desktop processors.
  • Same here
  • 2017 will probably be the year I actually build a desktop again, haven't had a real desktop for about 4 years now, the last thing I owned was a dell AIO with an i5 but got rid of that last year. If these new chips turn out to be good performers and decent value I think I'll give them a try for sure.
  • There is an excellent piece from AnandTech analyzing why AMD based laptops perform so bad, much worse than expected considering the CPU. Bottom line, vendors combine the chips with terrible other components get the cheapest laptop and thus performance is very limited.  http://www.anandtech.com/show/10000/who-controls-user-experience-amd-car... There was a time when I choose an AMD's CPU to my rig not because it was cheaper (although it was) but because it was also faster than the equivalent from Intel. A lot of older enthusiasts remember these times and are eager to see with AMD is back into the game.
  • Got one right here.. Was around when the athlon 500 released and in