AMD is the spunky underdog that anyone who is a fan of competition roots for in the CPU space. Lately, it hasn't been letting us down. After several years of ho-hum product launches, AMD reasserted itself into the enthusiast discussion with its Zen CPU architecture, which has given way to two generations of capable Ryzen (desktops and laptops), Threadripper (high-end desktop, or HEDT), and Epyc (server) processors. We are now on the cusp of a third-generation Ryzen launch. Here's everything we know about the price, specs, and release date of the upcoming Ryzen 3000 series.
All of AMD's current generation processors are based on some form of Zen, the name of its modern CPU architecture for every processor category—desktops, laptops, all-in-ones, servers, and so forth. While generally easier to follow than Intel's many different CPU architectures, it can still be confusing. Let's clear that up.
Here are the versions of Zen, along with the corresponding codenames and desktop processor series:
- Zen ("Summit Ridge")—Ryzen 1000 series
- Zen+ ("Pinnacle Ridge")—Ryzen 2000 series
- Zen 2 ("Matisse")—Ryzen 3000 series
- Zen 3 ("TBA")—Ryzen 4000 series?
Zen 2 is actually the third iteration of the Zen microarchitecture, and is attached to AMD's upcoming Ryzen 3000 series.
AMD's first-gen Ryzen processors (Zen) utilized a 14-nanometer FinFET manufacturing process. For the second-gen Ryzen parts (Zen+), AMD shifted to a 12nm node, while the upcoming Ryzen 3000 series (Zen 2) are being built on a 7nm node. Then in 2020, AMD will launch its Zen 3 lineup, built on an enhanced 7nm+ node.
Otherwise known as a die shrink, smaller manufacturing nodes typically lend themselves to better power efficiency, which in turn can lead to less power consumption and higher clockspeeds. From everything AMD has said up to this point, those benefits will apply to its Ryzen 3000 processors.
I should note there are even more codenames than the ones above. What I've labeled are the names of AMD's mainstream desktop processors, but there also exist codenames for the company's CPUs with Vega graphics (essentially APUs, or accelerated processing units) and Epyc server chips.
Further confusing the matter, AMD has already launched several Ryzen 3000 series APUs for laptops, such as the Ryzen 7 3750H. Because nothing can ever be simple, those are actually second-gen mobile Ryzen processors based on Zen+, not Zen 2.
Ryzen 3000 series specs and pricing
AMD provided the first real glimpse of its third-gen Ryzen processor at CES earlier this year. What the company showed off was two slices of silicon on the same package, as part of a chiplet design. This consisted of a 7nm 8-core chiplet for the main processor, and a larger 14nm input/output chiplet with dual memory controllers and PCIe lanes. So, we know there will be 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 3000 processors. That's really a no-brainer, though, since AMD has been churning out 8-core/16-thread processors since first-gen Ryzen.
It seems likely we will see up to 16 cores and 32 threads with Ryzen 3000. AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su hinted as much when talking about the chiplet design.
"Some people may have noticed on the package some extra room," Dr. Su told PCWorld. "There is some extra room on that package and I think you might expect we will have more than eight cores."
So, Zen 2 will definitely scale beyond 8 cores, though whether it reaches 16 cores remains to be seen. That said, there have been various leaks and rumors pointing to a couple of 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 3000 series processors.
One of those leaks/rumors comes from AdoredTV, which claims to have received the following product list from a tipster:
- Ryzen 9 3850X—16C/32T, 4.3GHz to 5.1GHz, 135W TDP, $499
- Ryzen 9 3800X—16C/32T, 3.9GHz to 4.7GHz, 125W TDP, $449
- Ryzen 7 3700X—12C/24T, 4.2GHz to 5.0GHz, 105W TDP, $329
- Ryzen 7 3700—12C/24T, 3.8GHz to 4.6GHz, 95W TPD, $299
- Ryzen 5 3600X—8C/16T, 4.0GHz to 4.8GHz, 95W TDP, $229
- Ryzen 5 3600—8C/16T, 3.6GHz to 4.4GHz, 65W TDP, $178
- Ryzen 3 3300X—6C/12T, 3.5GHz to 4.3GHz, 65W TDP, $129
- Ryzen 3 3300—6C/12T, 3.2GHz to 4.0GHz, 50W TDP, $99
Keep in mind that those specs and prices are not confirmed. Pricing on the higher-end models feels optimistic. Even if real, those prices might refer to bulk orders, in trays of 1,000 CPUs. If that's the case, street pricing would end up higher, at least initially.
What will performance be like?
Barring a catastrophic launch, the Ryzen 3000 series will surpass the Ryzen 2000 series in performance. The additional cores and threads at the upper half of the stack will benefit multi-threaded workloads, as will the faster clockspeeds—a 16-core/32-thread processor that hits 5.1GHz is an enticing proposition.
What's of more interest, though, is what kind of uptick in IPC performance Ryzen 3000 will deliver. At CES, AMD showed off an early sample of an 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 3000 series processor edging ahead of Intel's Core i9-9900K, the best CPU for gaming, in Cinebench R15. Dr. Su noted at the time that the AMD chip was not at its final frequency, which insinuates that the launch product will be even faster than what was shown on stage.
The AMD chip also consumed considerably less power—around 26 percent less, peaking at just over 133W versus the Core i9-9900K bumping up against 180W.
"Now you really see the power of 7nm technology and what being aggressive with technology does," Dr. Su noted.
Zen+ -> Zen2: +13% IPC (Average) in scientific tasks. Not bad.P.S. No gaming data, atm.October 16, 2018
Leaked benchmarks have not exactly been plentiful, but if AMD's Cinebench demo is any indication, Ryzen 3000 is in good shape. That said, Bits And Chips claimed in October of last year that Zen 2 was delivering a 13 percent bump in IPC performance in "scientific workloads."
Beyond raw CPU performance, Ryzen 3000 paired with an upcoming X570-chipset motherboard will be the first mainstream platform to support PCI Express 4.0. Some X400 and X300 series motherboards may also adopt PCIe 4.0 support by way of a BIOS update, but that will be at the discretion of each mobo vendor.
What does that mean? PCIe 4.0 doubles the total bandwidth of PCIe 3.0, from 32GB/s (x16 duplex) to 64GB/s. The added bandwidth means more flexible lane width configurations to accommodate multiple graphics cards and NVMe drives.
When is the Ryzen 3000 release date?
Dr. Su is scheduled to deliver a keynote at Computex 2019 in Taiwan on Monday, May 27. According to the press release, she will "provide new details about the next generation of high-performance AMD platforms and products," including Ryzen 3000 and Navi (GPU).
It's not clear if AMD will officially launch its third-generation Ryzen processors (and also Navi) at Computex, though it seems likely. AMD has already said the new CPUs will come in the second quarter, and by the time Computex rolls into view, there will only be a few weeks left.
Actual availability should be not long after, as AMD has said for some time now that third-gen Ryzen will ship in mid-2019.