The Ryzen era
Yes, gaming performance is a little lackluster, especially at 1080p where the CPU tends to be the limiting factor. However, AMD says that over 300 developers – including the likes of Oxide, Sega, and Bethesda – are working on optimizations that will be better able to take advantage of Ryzen’s capabilities.
"This takes time, but we’ll get it done," said Robert Hallock, a member of AMD’s CPU technical marketing team, in a Reddit AMA with CEO Lisa Su.
Having said that, the new Ryzen 7 CPUs promise great performance as long as applications are able to take advantage of its 8-core/16-thread architecture, and that’s one aspect may possibly improve as time passes. And after the announcement of the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 CPUs, it looks like AMD will continue to appeal to those who are both content creators and gamers in the mid-range.
Five different chipsets
Unlike past AMD processors however, Ryzen, and AMD’s APUs, will work on the same unified AM4 platform, which should simplify matters quite a bit. What’s more, AMD has said it intends to use AM4 for multiple generations to come with modern features like support for DDR4 memory, NVMe storage, and USB 3.1 (Gen 2).
AMD has released five different AM4 chipsets to cater to different subsets of users. You'll notice that the main points of differentiation center around USB support, the number of SATA 6Gbps ports, the number of PCIe lanes provided through the chipset, and whether or not the chipset supports the splitting of PCIe lanes from the CPU. Furthermore, AMD has also designed the X300 and A300 chipsets explicitly for small form factor systems, while X370, B350, and A320 are intended for regular-sized boards.
That said, all AM4 chipsets allocate two PCIe 3.0 lanes for NVMe storage devices, but this can be expanded into four lanes if you are willing to give up to SATA 6Gbps ports. They also connect to the CPU using a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection, which is equivalent to Intel’s DMI 3.0 interface. These PCIe lanes are drawn from the 24 PCIe 3.0 lanes provided by the CPU, while the remaining 16 lanes are allocated to the GPU.
The X370 and B350 chipsets will be the ones most people gravitate toward, and the main difference between the two is the lack of official support for SLI and Crossfire on B350.
That said, the X370, B350, and X300 chipsets are the only ones that will support overclocking, even though all Ryzen CPUs come with unlocked multipliers. This is also one of the key advantages that the mid-range B350 chipset has over Intel’s H270 as the latter doesn’t allow overclocking.
The X300 chipset is actually the small form factor version of the enthusiast X370 platform. It features fewer connectivity options than X370, but it still supports splitting of the CPU’s PCIe lanes between two GPUs and allows overclocking.
If all that seems confusing, here's a simpler slide that parses the information based on major features like support for SLI/Crossfire and overclocking.
However, all this only scratches the surface of what Ryzen brings to the table, and below is a list of all we've written about Ryzen so far.
AMD Ryzen roundup
NEWS / 17 Apr 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
Late last week, users who were still running Windows 7 and 8.1 began reporting that their Windows updates were being blocked if their systems were equipped with the new Intel Kaby Lake or AMD Ryzen processors.
NEWS / 12 Apr 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD today announced its full Ryzen 5 line-up, complete with pricing and availability details. Ryzen 5 will have up to 6-core/12-thread SKUs and will target both content creators and gamers.
NEWS / 11 Apr 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD has announced a custom Balanced power plan for Ryzen and a third game – Total War: Warhammer – that will be receiving a performance-boosting patch.
NEWS / 31 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD has released benchmark results from a beta version of Oxide Games’ Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation, and the good news is that there’s actually a significant boost in performance after just a few weeks of tweaking.
FEATURE / 27 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
Looking for DDR4 memory for your new Kaby Lake or Ryzen rig? Maybe one of these RAM kits will be just what you need.
NEWS / 15 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD has said it will issue an update for Ryzen in early April to optimize the power policy parameters of the Windows Balanced power plan.
NEWS / 12 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
With AMD's Ryzen chips now available to buy or pre-order, we've decided to round up a list of all the AM4 motherboards you can buy from the major brands.
REVIEW / 12 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD's hotly anticipated Ryzen processors have finally dropped, and gamers and enthusiasts finally have an option other than Intel when it comes to selecting a CPU for their next rig. After all the hype, how does AMD's Zen microarchitecture hold up to Intel's recent Kaby Lake launch in the real world?
NEWS / 03 Mar 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
ASUS has announced four new AMD AM4 boards for the Ryzen CPUs when they hit stores on 2 March.
NEWS / 24 Feb 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
ASRock has announced its new AMD AM4 motherboards based on the X370 and B350 chipsets, hot on the heels of ASUS’ own announcement of its AM4 line-up.
NEWS / 22 Feb 2017 / By Vijay Anand & Zachary Chan
At a special Ryzen Tech Day in San Francisco, AMD unveils the official specs and pricing of their upcoming Ryzen processors - specifically for the high-end Ryzen 7 series chips. Dive in to scoop up the details.
NEWS / 22 Feb 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
The latest rumor out of the grapevine involves supposedly leaked performance numbers from the top-end Ryzen 7 1700X, which appear to show it outperforming the already beastly octa-core Intel Core i7-5960X (3.0GHz, 20MB L3 cache).
NEWS / 14 Feb 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
AMD’s much anticipated Ryzen processors may not be due for another month, but we may already have an idea of how it performs and costs, thanks to a bunch of leaks over the weekend.
NEWS / 10 Feb 2017 / By Koh Wanzi
Cooler Master has announced the availability of an AMD AM4 upgrade kit for the upcoming Ryzen CPUs. Ryzen is just around the corner now, and the AM4 kit will allow you to adapt your current Cooler Master cooler for use with AMD’s new desktop chips.
NEWS / 08 Feb 2017 / By Wong Chung Wee
At this week’s International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), AMD engineers presented a whitepaper that revealed the die size of the company’s upcoming Ryzen processor is approximately 10% smaller than its Intel Kaby Lake counterpart.