A new generation of AMD Ryzen CPUs is coming in 2019. Based on a next-gen Zen 2 architecture, Ryzen 3000 processors offer dramatic performance improvements over their predecessors in the Ryzen 2000 series and are more hotly competitive with Intel’s best — more so than AMD has been in more than a decade. Here’s everything you need to know about AMD’s new chips.
Pricing and availability
Following a quick look at an unnamed Ryzen 3000 CPU at CES 2019, Lisa Su, AMD CEO, took to the stage at Computex in May, and revealed a trio of top-tier chips from the lineup. All three were set to release on July 7, to celebrate their use of the Zen 2 architecture based on a 7nm process.
The AMD Ryzen 7 3700X will cost $329, the 3800X $399, and the 3900X $499. Mid-range Ryzen 3000 CPUs weren’t unveiled at the event, but product listings have since appeared on the AMD website for both the 3600X and 3600 and were later revealed to be priced at $249 and $199, respectively.
These prices are hotly competitive with Intel’s ninth-generation but performance is expected to outstrip them in many cases, potentially leading to far greater value from AMD’s new lineup of CPUs.
Mobile Ryzen 3000
AMD kicked off its discussion of the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs at CES 2019 with the unveiling of its entire lineup of mobile CPUs. It confirmed earlier rumors from a leaked road map that suggested the Ryzen 3000 series mobile APUs would be code-named Picasso and built upon the Zen Plus architecture, rather than the new Zen 2 design.
|Mobile APU||Cores/Threads||Process Node||L2 & L3 Cache||Base/Boost Frequency||Vega GPU Cores||GPU Frequency||TDP|
|Ryzen 7 3750H||4/8||12nm||6MB||2.3/4.0GHz||10||1,400MHz||35w|
|Ryzen 7 3700U||4/8||12nm||6MB||2.3/4.0GHz||10||1,400MHz||15w|
|Ryzen 5 3550H||4/8||12nm||6MB||2.1/3.7GHz||8||1,200MHz||35w|
|Ryzen 5 3500U||4/8||12nm||6MB||2.1/3.7GHz||8||1,200MHz||15w|
|Ryzen 5 3300U||4/4||12nm||6MB||2.1/3.5GHz||6||1,200MHz||15w|
|Ryzen 3 3300U||2/4||12nm||5MB||2.6/2.6GHz||3||1,200MHz||15w|
The Ryzen 3000 mobile CPUs come in dual-core and quad-core varieties, with some sporting simultaneous multithreading for up to eight supported threads at one time. Boost clocks reach up to 4GHz on the fastest 3700U and 3750H CPUs, with entry-level options sitting well south of 3GHz.
Since these are based on the 12nm Zen Plus architecture, rather than the Zen 2 that the desktop 3000-series will be built on, the performance improvement over the 2000-series Ryzen mobile chips is unlikely to be as dramatic as in the desktop space. However, the increases in clock speed will provide a small bump in power in compatible laptops.
As with that first-generation though, these chips are all AMD APUs, rather than just dedicated CPUs. They come bundled with Vega graphics cores, which should make them relatively capable gaming chips. We’ll need to see some real-world examples to better gauge that, but the potential is certainly there for some affordable and efficient gaming laptops that won’t destroy battery life.
Asus’ new Ryzen 5 3550H-powered laptop, the FX705DY , is said to be capable of seven hours of video playback, but can switch to a dedicated Radeon RX 560X when more graphical power is needed.
AMD also announced a number of partnerships with major manufacturers at Computex 2019, so expect to see a much broader array of AMD-powered laptops in the coming months.
Desktop Ryzen 3000
The Ryzen 3000 series is built upon a successor architecture to Zen and Zen Plus used in the first and second-generation chips, known as Zen 2. It represents a major overhaul to the design of the CPUs, as well as a die shrinking for certain components. In a similar fashion to AMD’s “Rome” Epyc server CPUs, AMD has split its next-gen chips into 7nm “chiplets,” built on TSMC’s 7 nm FinFET process. They contain the CPU cores and are paired with a 14nm input/output (I/O) processor that gives them direct connections to memory, which should reduce the latency concerns that we saw on similar designs with the Zen and Zen Plus-based Threadripper CPUs.
The first Ryzen 3000 CPUs were revealed at Computex 2019 in May, giving us an expansive breakdown of the specifications and capabilities of these new chips. Product listings have since appeared on AMD’s website for the 3600 and 3600X that give us more information about other chips further down the product stack.
|CPU||Cores/Threads||Base clock||Turbo clock||TDP|
|Ryzen 5 3600||6/12||3.6GHz||4.2GHz||65w|
|Ryzen 5 3600X||6/12||3.8GHz||4.4GHz||95w|
|Ryzen 7 3700X||8/16||3.5GHz||4.4GHz||65w|
|Ryzen 9 3800X||8/16||3.6GHz||4.5GHz||105w|
|Ryzen 9 3900X||12/24||3.8GHz||4.6GHz||105w|
Although these specifications fall short of the rumored 5GHz we heard tell of before their reveal, it’s important to note that there are other enhancements at play that will contribute to an overall uptick in performance. AMD CEO Lisa Su revealed that Ryzen 3000 chips enjoy a 15% increase in instructions per clock, which should equate to a major increase in single threaded and multithreaded performance. That, combined with increased cache for each chip, greater efficiency, and reductions in memory latency, should equate to an overall large increase in power over first and second-generation Ryzen CPUs.
In some first-party benchmarks shown off on the Computex keynote stage, AMD showed the 3700X as being comparable in single threaded performance to an Intel Core i7 9700K, but 28% faster in multi-threaded workloads. It also showed the 3800X as being three percent, and 37% faster than a 9900K, respectively.
Its biggest snipe at Intel, however, came from its top-tier Ryzen 3000 CPU, the 3900X, which it claims is faster than an Intel 9920X — a CPU that costs $1,200. The 3900X is set to be priced at just $500.
AMD didn’t discuss memory support at Computex, but an earlier report from Tom’s Hardware suggests performance increases may also come from greater support for high-speed memory. While Ryzen 2000 CPUs officially supported memory up to 2,933MHz, it reports that Ryzen 3000 will support 3,200MHz frequencies out of the box and will allow for overclocks up to 4,400MHz. Tom’s also suggested Ryzen 3000 could support 128GB of RAM, which motherboard makers have since confirmed.
It’s always important to remember that first party benchmarks are usually best-case scenarios and we’ll want to see a lot of third-party and real world testing before we officially stamp these chips with the performance capabilities AMD claims. But these are exciting numbers and suggest that the Ryzen 3000 series could well live up to the hype it’s built up over the past few months and look set to be the most capable chips for gamers and workstation users for just about every task; At a better price than the Intel competition, too.
The new chipset for third-generation Ryzen CPUs is the X570. These new generation motherboards aren’t strictly necessary for Ryzen 3000 CPUs, since they’re based on the same AM4 socket (see below) as the last two generations of Ryzen platforms, but they do bring some exciting enhancements to the table.
PCIExpress 4.0 is a major advancement for both Ryzen 3000 and will be supported on X570 motherboards at launch. It may be added to more mid-range motherboard solutions further down the line as well as some X470 boards through a BIOS update. It will double the bandwidth of PCIExpress 3.0 and opens the door to greater graphical bandwidth and higher speed PCIExpress solid state drives too.
These boards support up to 128GB of DDR4 memory and up to 5G Gigabit Ethernet.
Some of them require dual eight-pin CPU power connectors and due to the power requirements of the X570 chipset, all of the revealed boards so far require active cooling, as well as additional passive cooling across the PCB, especially on the VRMs.
Like Zen and Zen Plus platforms, the Zen 2 chips will utilize the AM4 socket. That means the Ryzen 3000 CPUs can work in existing AM4 motherboards with a BIOS update and future motherboards built with the new-gen chips in mind should support first- and second-generation Ryzen CPUs in turn.
The only caveat there is that the higher core counts of some Ryzen 3000 CPUs will require greater power. That means that certain first-generation and even some second-generation boards won’t be compatible. It’s going to be down to the manufacturer on a case by case basis, so make sure that your board can support the new-gen CPU if you’re planning to upgrade your chip without a new motherboard.
AMD has pledged to continue to use the AM4 socket through 2020 when Ryzen 4000 CPUs (based on the Zen2 Plus architecture) are expected to be released. That means that not only will those looking to upgrade to the Ryzen 3000 series from existing Ryzen platforms not have to upgrade their motherboard at the same time, but they won’t have to do so for the Zen 2 Plus chips either. That could make it a much more cost-effective upgrade, and the backward compatibility opens up many more options for potential buyers.
Although third-generation Threadripper CPUs were originally slated to appear shortly after mainstream Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs in 2019, AMD has since removed Threadripper from its planned road map for the year. While that has prompted some to suggest that Threadripper may have been killed off entirely as a platform, we think that’s unlikely and would be a missed opportunity if that were the case. It would also be counter to supposedly leaked information that appeared earlier in the year.
AMD CEO Lisa Su said after her keynote address at Computex 2019 that Threadripper was still under development at AMD and that we could expect to learn more about the next-generation of that range of HEDT CPUs in the future.
Updated on May 27, 2019: Added everything we learned from Computex 2019.