Once the undisputed market leader for desktop processors, Intel has been looking over its shoulder in recent years. The competition has been lead by fellow American company AMD, with its Ryzen chips rapidly increasing in popularity.
Now, AMD has launched its new Zen 3 architecture, aiming to “bring the best to the PC market”. It will make its debut in the new Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors, which deliver significant improvements across the board.
They’re primarily aimed at gamers, but AMD stressed that content creators are also a priority for the company. Here’s everything you need to know.
AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) release date
The Zen 3 and new Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors were officially launched at AMD’s online event on 8 October 2020, as was confirmed a month earlier by CEO Lisa Su:
It’s going to be an exciting fall for gamers… time to start a new journey with @AMDRyzen Zen3 and @Radeon RDNA2 pic.twitter.com/O9SXvLo4y0
— Lisa Su (@LisaSu)
September 9, 2020
All the new chips in the Ryzen 5000 series will be available globally from 5 November.
Here’s how to watch back the AMD Zen 3 launch live stream if you missed it.
AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) price
The Ryzen 5000 series has been confirmed as the first generation of processors to be based on the new Zen 3 architecture. Here’s how much they will cost:
Ryzen 9 5950X – US$799
Ryzen 9 5900X – US$549
Ryzen 7 5800X – US$449
Ryzen 5 5600X – US$299
These US prices are all a slight increase on the equivalent processors from the Ryzen 3000 series ($749, $499, $399, $249), but AMD is hoping the significant upgrades they deliver justifies the modest RRP hike.
AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) specs and features
With Zen 3, AMD claims it has improved “every aspect of the CPU”. This includes a higher frequency, higher instructions per clock (IPC) and lower latency, achieved as a result of a significant redesign of its internals.
The company has also said that Zen 3 provides the best gaming performance and single threaded performance around. The leaps forward are supposedly even more significant on the Ryzen 5000 series of desktop chips, the first to be based on Zen 3.
The four processors announced are primarily targeted towards gamers, with AMD claiming the high-end Ryzen 5900X will provide an average FPS improvement of 26% over the previous generation. The company has also stated that the Ryzen 5000 series is faster than Intel’s equivalent across gaming, single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. It also offers up to 2.8x the clock speeds.
Here’s a summary of all four new processors that were announced:
Ryzen 9 5950X – 16-core, 32-thread, up to 4.9GHz boost, 105W
Ryzen 9 5900X – 12-core, 24-thread, up to 4.8GHz boost, 105W
Ryzen 7 5800X – 8-core, 16-thread, up to 4.7GHz boost, 105W
Ryzen 5 5600X – 6-core, 12-thread, up to 4.6GHz boost, 65W
As was widely rumoured, AMD has skipped the 4000 series in its desktop processor line Assuming the company adapts the Zen 3 architecture to support laptop chips, expect those to also be known as the Ryzen 5000 series. If your keen on the technical details of how this might be achieved, check out the following article on our sister site PC World: How AMD optimized Zen 2 for laptops.
Zen 3 still uses a 7nm process, but has made move to extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. It is thought that this will allow for a 20% increase in performance as well as a 10% decrease in power consumption.
The company also has a clear long-term strategy, confirming than the 5nm Zen 4 was on track and under development.
As ExtremeTech reports, Zen 3 is expected to be the last generation to come with DDR4 (AM4) memory, before AMD switches to DDR5 for 2021. That means there’s unlikely to be significant improvements in this area, although performance was already excellent on Zen 2.
In an official post on Reddit, AMD earlier revealed that Zen 3 architecture will support the company’s current X470 and B450 motherboards.
A subsequent AMD community post confirmed that the X570 and B550 motherboards would also be supported, but none pre-500 series. If you’re running older hardware, it means you’ll need to upgrade to a new motherboard.
While you’re here, check out AMD’s upcoming series of GPUs, known as the Radeon RX 6000 Series.