It may not have got much of a mention in the CES Keynote, but AMD has announced there are two new Zen 3 desktop processors in the works as well as all those lovely laptop chips (opens in new tab). The Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800 are similar to their X-suffixed predecessors but have lower TDPs. Just 65W in fact.
These are only for OEMs though, so you're aren't going to be able to go and buy them on their own, only in prebuilt systems.
The lower thermal designs could make for some interesting machines and here I'm primarily thinking thinner and smaller desktop gaming PCs. We'd need much lower power graphics cards for such fantasies of course, but at least this way designers can mainly focus on cooling the GPUs.
OEMs may also use these in normal PC cases as well, so it's worth keeping an eye on what you're actually buying if you've got your heart set on the full power of Zen 3.
As you can see, the stock frequencies are much lower on these new non-X chips, and while the Boost clocks aren't far off, how close they get to that clock and for how long is going to be entirely dependant on the cooling on offer. Basically, because of their lower TDP, they aren't going to be as fast, although AMD is still claiming that games are still 24 percent faster than the previous generation at 1080p.
Here's how the new OEM chips compare to the ones you can buy yourself:
|CPU||Cores / Threads||Base / Boost Clock||Cache||TDP|
|Ryzen 9 5900X||12 / 24||3.7 / 4.8 GHz||70 MB||105 W|
|Ryzen 9 5900 (OEM)||12 / 24||3.0 / 4.7 GHz||70 MB||65 W|
|Ryzen 7 5800X||8 / 16||3.8 / 4.7 GHz||36 MB||105 W|
|Ryzen 7 5800 (OEM)||8 / 16||3.4 / 4.6 GHz||36 MB||65 W|
While these new chips maybe aren't too exciting for anyone looking to build their own gaming rig, they're worth looking out for if you are buying a pre-built gaming machine. And they're an important release for AMD too, as it should help get Zen 3 into even more gaming PCs.
If this all tickles your interest, then AMD does support a feature called Eco Mode on its CPUs, which essentially lowers the TDP so that you can reduce power usage and temperatures. This worked great with Ryzen 3000 processors but was marked down as something that was coming later at the launch of the Ryzen 5000 models.
I've just tried it again on the Ryzen 5 5600X (opens in new tab) in the test rig, and while it shows that Eco Mode has been enabled properly in Ryzen Master (there's a switch in the BIOS), it still says it's drawing too much power. Though it has dropped the temperature, so it might be working. Still a work in progress by the look of things. I've reached out to AMD to see what's happening.