Ryzen Returns AMD to the DesktopMarch 21, 2017
Author: David Kanter
Marking a potential turning point for the PC industry, AMD rolled out Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5, the first processors based on its new Zen CPU. For the last five years, the company’s Bulldozer-derived microarchitectures have failed to compete effectively with Intel, and AMD has ceded most of the market for high-end desktops, servers, and power-efficient notebooks. It has now pinned its hopes for regaining PC market share on Ryzen.
Benchmarks indicate that the Zen core suffers a modest disadvantage in single-thread performance relative to Intel’s latest Kaby Lake generation, but it closes what was previously a massive performance and efficiency gap. These results demonstrate that AMD has successfully designed and validated five years of architectural innovations, boding well for future products.
AMD will continue rolling out Zen-based processors for the rest of 2017. They will include a low-end Ryzen 3 family and another family with integrated Radeon graphics (code-named Raven Ridge), both slated for 2H17. The Naples server processor is scheduled to arrive in 2Q17. These future Zen products could restore competition to the PC and server world.
Ryzen 7 delivers excellent multithread compute performance and offers tremendous value for workstations compared with Intel products. The pricing ($329–$499), however, is too high for gaming, where performance doesn’t scale beyond eight threads owing to the software ecosystem; for this application, Intel offers lower prices and higher performance. The Ryzen 5 family closely targets Intel’s Core i5 line and should be competitive at most prices, delivering slightly lower single-thread performance but more multithread performance. Ryzen has won designs at every major OEM, which speaks far more to its success than mere benchmarks do.
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