AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs will be with us very soon, potentially arriving in June kicking Intel into second place as the go-to gaming CPU. And we’re all rather excited by the prospect of such a battle.
The 3rd Gen Ryzen chips will be the first desktop processors built on the 7nm process node with the AMD Zen 2 ‘revolutionary chiplet design’ at their core. For the first time in a long time, AMD truly has Intel on the backfoot, and this processor generation could bring high-performance, high-core-count computing to the mainstream.
Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s esteemed CEO, officially announced the 3rd Generation Ryzen processors would be landing on shelves mid-year. Now before we proceed, let’s get this straight. It’s either 3rd Gen Ryzen, Ryzen 3000-series, the ‘Matisse’ codename, or maybe Ryzen 3K because it sounds cool. It is definitely not Ryzen 3. Ever. We’ve already got those, and they’re the budget chips.
But that first glimpse of these 7nm Zen 2 chips was awfully promising. Live on stage at CES, the red team pit its eight-core 3rd Gen Ryzen engineering sample against Intel’s Core i9 9900K. The resulting bloodbath was nearly pulled from the stream for its graphic nature.
The Ryzen chip only slightly surpassed the equally core-heavy Intel chip in Cinebench R15 score alone, but it got there with a fraction of the power demand – at 133W to 180W, respectively.
Performance looks hella promising already, but wait, there’s more. Yes, Su wanted to tease the CES crowd a little further, holding up a totally bare 3rd Gen Ryzen die on stage. So what, you ask? Well, not only is it a glimpse of the 14nm I/O and 7nm processing chiplet design, there’s just about enough space under that Ryzen integrated heat spreader to fit a whole other 7nm chiplet. That’s theoretically 16-cores under one AM4-sized roof.
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If that’s not enough for you to throw down your hesitations and buy a ticket for the hype train, Su later ditched the tacit acknowledgement talking to press post-show. “Some people may have noticed on the package some extra room,” Lisa Su says. “There is some extra room on that package and I think you might expect we will have more than eight cores”.
Exciting, no? But 7nm cores aside, there’s also a whole bunch of other new features to wet gamers’ whistles. We’ve briefly touched on the matter of power consumption – that’s something the 7nm process will keep in check – but there’s also PCIe 4.0 support. The move from PCIe 3.0 to 4.0 will double bandwidth, ostensibly allowing for SSDs and other platform devices to run wild without limits – as their silicon intended.
AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen release date
Lisa Su confirmed a rough release date of mid-year or thereabouts. We expect that to mean that AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs will be announced at Computex – if you’re not familiar, this is one of the world’s most prominent computer hardware shows, and runs from May 28 – June 1, 2019.
AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen specs
AMD is introducing the Zen 2 microarchitecture to the mainstream market with 3rd Gen Ryzen. That means we can expect a number of new and interesting things on the specs sheet, for example: up to 16 cores, low power consumption, PCIe 4.0, and even an instructions per clock bump over the last gen.
AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen performance
An early eight-core engineering sample of 3rd Gen Ryzen managed to ever-so-slightly surpass the Intel i9 9900K in a Cinebench R15 multi-core run. While that’s mightily impressive, it was the 47W less than the Intel chip that it required to get there which was impressive most of all.
AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen price
AMD hasn’t confirmed pricing, or even upcoming CPU SKUs. With a 16-core CPU potentially on the cards, we expect this chip to be upwards of the $329 price tag of the Ryzen 7 2700X. Meanwhile more modest processors further down the stack will duke it out at similar price points to 2nd Gen Ryzen.
Over at CES, AMD confirmed that 3rd Gen Ryzen processors would launch mid-year. Previous leaked slides denote that the Taiwanese Computex tech show that runs from May 28 to June 1 will be when motherboard manufacturers should get X570 motherboards out the door. So you’d hope some CPUs might announced at the Taipei event, too.
We also have good reason to believe that AMD will be launching new product over at Computex. We have our ways of getting information out of people. Oh yes, we have our ways.
Back in November, 2018, at its Next Horizon event, AMD confirmed it was sampling Zen 2 chips out to the necessary channels. This was when we received our first glimpse of the Zen 2 architecture in all its server-side, EPYC Rome glory.
What do we know about Zen 2 and the 3rd Gen Ryzen processors? First off, the Zen 2 architecture is built upon the 7nm process node, handing the red team the ability to weigh up the balance between power and performance within its initial designs.
We’re expecting power demand to drop considerably, as demonstrated on stage at CES, and the ‘revolutionary chiplet design’ allows AMD to cram a lot more processing power into the AM4 footprint.
The low-down: These are the best CPUs for gaming right now
Those chiplets are key to AMD’s entire CPU product stack, and scalability is the watchword with Zen 2. For everything from the top-tier, multi-core behemoths of EPYC Rome to the low-power Ryzen 3 (see: smug) processors at the bottom of the stack, AMD will be able to match the requirements of the client with its simple mix-and-match die approach.
Each tiny 7nm chiplet is packed with up to eight, individual cores (no semantic funny business here). That means we can expect single chiplet AMD Matisse chips to feature up to eight cores of processing power, and dual-chiplet designs rocking up to 16 cores of compute. There have also been reports of a 12-core engineering sample doing the rounds right out of the 3rd Gen Ryzen stable.
There is some extra room on that package and I think you might expect we will have more than eight cores
Don’t expect greater core counts, however. Not only would that outrage every Threadripper owner going, unless AMD figures out the technology that makes the TARDIS tick, two chiplets is all AMD will be able to fit into a chip while retaining AM4 socket compatibility.
We can also expect a whole host of brand new X570 gaming motherboards, too. We still don’t have all the specifics as of yet, but we know that AMD intends on bringing PCIe 4.0 support with its latest chipset.
AMD has also confirmed that even some 300- and 400-series chipsets may be capable of PCIe 4.0 transfer speeds on the primary x16 PCIe slot, pending a BIOS update.
There’s also a chance that AMD might be building the X570 chipset itself. While the 300- and 400-series chipsets were manufactured with the help of ASMedia, the company is returning to its old-school ATI expertise and potentially building its own native chipset – complete with 15W power draw. That’s nearly double the last AM4 chipsets… now what could AMD be doing with that extra power?
Despite only having an engineering sample to hand, AMD proved the Zen 2 design is capable of taking on the very best from Intel’s lineup. Matching core-for-core, AMD’s 3rd Gen Ryzen sample managed to slightly surpass Intel’s i9 9900K in Cinebench R15, scoring 2,057 to the i9’s 2,040.
With a power draw some 47W less, that’s a mighty impressive score. Intel has some catching up to do with 10nm towards the end of the year, that’s for sure. But how did AMD do it?
Some of that performance catch-up on AMD’s part is down to changes in the front-end. The company has increased IPC, or instruction per clock, along with various front end advances to boost performance.
The platform: These are the best AM4 gaming motherboards
Branch prediction, instruction pre-fetching, instruction cache, and floating point performance have all been enhanced or optimised with Zen 2 to offer greater throughput and performance while sticking to the necessary power envelope for its desktop parts. That could make all the difference in gaming, in which AMD’s previous Ryzen chips have slightly lagged behind Chipzilla’s silicon.
Of course, the high core counts and frequency gains – by how much we’re not yet sure – thanks to the 7nm process and chiplet design will have the biggest impact on overall performance. Somewhere between those two chiplets is the perfect blend of clockspeed and core count for gaming. And, however much you might want to brag about your 16-core Ryzen chip, the best gaming chip will potentially be far more modest.
AMD hasn’t confirmed any pricing for the upcoming 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs, it hasn’t even confirmed SKUs as of yet. However, with core counts on the rise, we may see a shift upwards in upper-tier pricing for the really core-heavy chips – potentially demanding the Ryzen 9 nomenclature.
While the Ryzen 9 tier is not yet confirmed, AMD does have a habit of ruthlessly copying Intel’s naming conventions, even if everyone finds it incredibly annoying and confusing. Intel introduced the Core i9 tier into the desktop mainstream with its 9th Gen chips, and we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see AMD go tit-for-tat with its own equivalent high-performance tier.
Assuming a similar Ryzen 3, 5, and 7 product stack for the rest of the lineup, we can expect individual product prices to fall somewhere in the region of its 2nd Gen Ryzen forebears.
The Ryzen 7 2700X, an eight-core, 16-thread CPU, launched for $329, and the best-in-class gaming CPU, the Ryzen 5 2600, costs just $190. That’s an incredibly competitive price, and we can expect AMD to be pushing hard into this dominion again with its 3000-series CPUs.
Yet Intel’s set the precedent with its $579 i9 9900K chip. If enthusiasts want top performance, they are willing to pay for it. So while AMD may offer more silicon for your money with Matisse, it could reasonably charge well upwards of the Ryzen 7 2700X’s price tag to deliver on the potential of 12- and 16-core, enthusiast-grade computing.