Why it matters to you
News about AMD’s much-anticipated Ryzen processors has continually leaked to the press since CES 2017 wrapped up last month. But a rumor isn’t the same as official confirmation, and we know now the real, final specifications of the high-end Ryzen processors everyone is buzzing about.
The company new that it would only become competitive if it was able to increase the instructions per clock, so it focused on a 40 percent improvement over previous AMD hardware as a design goal. That’s a big number – but AMD says it has exceeded it, hitting a 52 percent increase in instructions per clock. Put simply, this means Ryzen can do far more work per-core than was previously possible.
AMD is not just talking about instruction per clock, though. Core count is very much part of the store, and as predicted, the company plans to debut Ryzen with a phalanx of eight-core, 16-thread chips. By comparison, most Intel chips are quad-core, though it does have some eight and 10-core (expensive) processors.
Better yet, they start as low as $329, and cost no more than $499.
|Ryzen 7 1800X||Ryzen 7 1700X||Ryzen 7 1700|
|TDP||95 watts||95 watts||65 watts|
This trio of processors spans the gamut from high mid-range to top of the line. The most affordable chip, AMD’s Ryzen 7 1700, is targeting Intel’s Core i7-7700K (and by extensions, its predecessors), which are currently the processor of choice for many enthusiasts. The $329 price tag undercuts the i7-7700K, which sells for $350, by about 20 dollars, but AMD claims it will slightly exceed its performance.
At the high-end, there’s the AMD flagship – the Ryzen 7 1800X. Its main claim over the more affordable versions comes in form of processor clock speed. The 1800X can hit a Boost of 4GHz out of the box. It’s also a 95-watt chip, as is the Ryzen 7 1700X, which gives some headroom for clock speed higher than the Ryzen 7 1700. Priced at $499, the Ryzen 7 1800X is definitely not cheap – but AMD says it’s designed to compete with Intel’s fancy Core i7-6900K, which retails for $1,049.
Oh, and if you’re interested in overclocking, we have good news. Every one of these processors is unlocked. AMD is also planning to launch a new cooling solution, the Wraith Spire, for those who happen to want a first-party path to improved cooling.
Pre-orders start today
The company is taking pre-orders starting today, February 22, through over 185 retail partners. This includes OEM (original equipment manufacturing) partners, who are also putting up custom, pre-built systems. The chips, and systems, will ship on March 2.
Given the high price, you might wonder if the processor will be widely available. AMD insists it will be. The company says it has plenty of experience with 14nm production from the Radeon line-up, so it anticipates a good number of chips available. That doesn’t mean they won’t sell out, though – and if they do sell out, you can bet retailers will start to increase prices of the chips they do have.
We can’t recommend dropping up to $500 on a processor before reviews are available. Indeed, putting up a pre-order for a CPU ahead of a review is a bit unusual. But if you’ve held off on Ryzen before building your next rig, well – the wait is over.
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