AMD’s first Ryzen chips went up for pre-order a few weeks ago, and they’re available for purchase starting today.

The Ryzen 7-1800X, Ryzen 7-1700X, and Ryzen 7-1700 are high-performance octa-core chips aimed at desktop computers. Prices range from $329 to $499, and in terms of performance, AMD says the new chips are withing striking distance of Intel processors that cost twice as much.

But these three chips are just the first Ryzen processors to hit the market. AMD says Ryzen 7 chips are aimed at the “enthusiast/prosumer” market, but we’ll see “high performance” and “mainstream” chips in the future.

Here’s a quick run-down of Ryzen’s new naming scheme, which gives us an idea of some of the chips that are in the pipeline.

The Ryzen 7 1700X can be broken down this way:

  • Ryzen = based on AMD’s new Zen architecture
  • 7 = enthusiast/prosumer
  • 1 = first gen
  • 7 – enthusiast/prosumer performance
  • 00 – this is the first Ryzen 7 17xx chip. Future versions could be 1720, 1750, etc
  • X = high performance, with XFR (higher base clock speed and boost speed)

So the Ryzen 7 1700 is similar, but since it lacks the “X,” it’s a “standard desktop CPU” without the XFR speeds.

AMD says future generations will include Ryzen 5 “high performance” processors and Ryzen 3 “mainstream” chips. And we could see 1400, 1500, and 1600 names used for some of those models. For example, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Ryzen 5 1500 desktop chip designed to go head-to-head with Intel’s Core i5 processors in the future.

Two o the first Ryzen 5 chips will include the 65 watt 3.5 GHz quad-core Ryxen 5 1500X chip and the 95 watt hexa-core 3.6 GHz Ryzen 5 1600X, which are coming in the second quarter of 2017.

Ryzen 3 chips will launch later this year.

Finally, there’s the power suffix at the end. The letter X means high performance with XFR. T means low-power desktop, and so on.

Some of the models I’m most looking forward to are H, U, and M. These stand for “high performance mobile,” “standard mobile” and “low power mobile,” which means that chips with these suffixes are likely to compete with Intel’s U and Y series processors, which are 15 watt and 4.5 watt chips for laptops, tablets, and low-power desktops.

Right now AMD is primarily talking about the high-performance features of its Ryzen 7 chips, which are powerful enough for high-end gaming tasks or heavy-duty multitasking (like the kind of performance you’d need to be able to both play bleeding edge PC games and encode and stream them over the internet at the same time).

Fun fact: revealed in a pre-release call about the new Ryzen 7 series chips: all of the chips are sold unlocked, allowing users to overclock them. AMD says most users won’t do this, but those that do can try to overclock a $399 Ryzen 7 1700X chip so that it runs at higher clock speeds than the $499 Ryzen 7 1800X.

Performance won’t be guaranteed or officially supported, but you’re free to try. The reason for offering both SKUs is to give customers who don’t want to mess with overclocking a chance to spend more money up front and get a chip designed to run at higher speeds out of the box.

For an in-depth look at the kind of performance to expect from Ryzen chips, check out the reviews from Ars Technica and AnandTech. Ars also has a great article explaining some of the history behind the new Zen processor core.

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11 replies on “AMD’s first Ryzen chips launch today… but they’re just the start”

  1. CNBC is reporting that the stock price of AMD at the close of trading on Thursday has fallen by slightly more than 7 percent, which CNBC attributes to some technology reviewers (including ArsTechnica) being disappointed by the poor gaming performance. of the new Ryzen 7 CPUs.

  2. I would love to try building a new PC with one of these but I know I no longer have the time to build and use a real desktop. Whenever I get a chance, I use my laptop but that’s only for the short while before one of the kids comes to set in my lap or request to watch cartoons.

  3. I’m not saying that Intel is bad, but it’s been long overdue to show some competition to them, prices has been ridiculously high lately.

    1. The AMD Ryzen benchmarks seem to indicated that Intel’s $300 to $500 chips are reasonably priced. For example, if all you’re interested in is hard-core gaming, then the Intel i7-7700k is still the best value chip out there, even at its current price.

      It’s above $500 where Intel has been able to name its prices — until now…

      It will be interesting to see how the lower end Ryzen chips fare.

  4. Gaming performance appears to be about 10% under 7700k. I used to be concerned with transcoding performance, but lately it is only gaming.

    1. Well, there’s no doubt that the 7700k seems to be the right choice for the present set of games at the moment, though given the fact that most of the multi-core friendly titles have yet to be tuned for the new AMD architecture, as well as the motherboards, bioses, etc. then it’s likely we haven’t heard the final word on Ryzen gaming performance yet.

      In the end, the most likely answer will be that with a new $350 processor from AMD or Intel, you’re not going to be too disappointed with the results. (Heck, I have just bought an RX-480 to go with my i3-6100, and will still be able to play all the games in my Steam library at 1900×1080 high quality.

      The difference between the top performing CPUs in gaming is easily overstated these days.

      1. Core i3 good as long as game engine do not require 4 physical cores to work properly. In this case, even aged i5 from fist or second generation will be much faster than latest i3.

  5. I’m hopeful that their upcoming APU lineup has decent models. I’d really like to build a new HTPC, and it would be great to get decent gaming performance out of it.

    1. Yup. I remain impressed with old APUs on a value basis despite how far AMD fell behind. I can’t wait to see what an up to date zen APU looks like.

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