Two weeks ago, AMD spoke to the gaming world with the claims at its launch of its well-anticipated Ryzen 5000 Series of desktop processors, the first to be built upon the company’s new Zen 3 core architecture. Ryzen, launched initially in 2017 and built on the original Zen architecture, was the beginning of an impressive turnaround and return to form for AMD in the desktop PC category. Zen 2 iterated further on that, going from a 12nm to 7nm process, and bringing a 15% increase in instructions per cycle (IPC) performance, twice the cache size, and twice the floating-point performance of the previous generation. It still lagged Intel at peak gaming performance.
Now we finally have Zen 3 and the Ryzen 5000 Series details, and understandably, many are salivating at the claims. While I’ll need to run my own benchmarks and research others, today, I wanted to provide my preliminary take on the announcement.
Most powerful gaming processer?
Lately, AMD tends to promise big and deliver on its promises. I don’t believe that was the case before Zen.
Positioned as the “best for gamers and content creators,” the Ryzen 5000 series’ top-of-the-line flagship chip, the Ryzen 9 5950X, features 16 cores, 32 threads, 72MB of cache, up to a 4.9GHz boost and a 105W TDP. All told, this translates to a 26% increase in gaming performance over the previous generation’s top-of-the-line offering. The Ryzen 9 5950X also claims the highest single-thread and multi-core performance for any desktop gaming processor on the market and the best multi-core performance of any desktop processors in a mainstream CPU socket.
Go one step down to the Ryzen 9 5900X, and it’s still impressive—on select titles, the 12 core, 24 thread processor is reportedly on average 7% faster in 1080p gaming than its competition, and an average of 26% faster in 1080p gaming than the analogous processor in the previous generation Ryzen series. The two other newly announced 5000 series processors, the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X, feature 8 and 6 cores and 16 and 12 threads, respectively.
All of these improvements are due in no small part to Zen 3, which claims a significant 19% increase in IPC over Zen 2 for PC workloads—the largest leap in generational performance since Zen first hit the scene. Zen 3 features a slew of core improvements, such as a unified 8-core complex with direct access to a 32MB L3 cache (double Zen 2’s L3 cache). According to AMD, this accelerated core and cache communication reduces latency—extremely important for gaming. Additionally, AMD says Zen 3 can deliver as much as 2.8 times more performance-per-watt than its competition.
AMD says its 500 series of motherboards—of which there are over 100 models, from all leading motherboard manufactures—will require only an easy BIOS update to be ready for the new 5000 series. The new processors should be available for purchase worldwide on Nov. 5th. To sweeten the pot, between Nov. 5th and the end of the year, buyers will be eligible for a free copy of Far Cry 6 Standard Edition, through AMD’s Ryzen Equipped to Win bundle program.
I cannot wait to see those first reviews and eventually put these new processors to the test myself. AMD has been riding its Zen/Ryzen hot hand for years now, and if the claims of Zen 3 and the 5000 series prove out, the stakes just got even higher. At this point, many younger gamers may not remember AMD’s original desktop PC processor heyday with the original Athlon line at the turn of the century, nor its subsequent slump when Intel Core became king. Now Intel appears to be the one playing desktop defense, as AMD raises the bar with every subsequent release—I look forward to its response to the 5000 series. Rivalry ultimately benefits everyone. It’s an exciting time to be a desktop PC gamer.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy writers and editors may have contributed to this article.