They're primarily aimed at gamers, but AMD stressed that content creators are also a priority for the company. Here's everything you need to know. 

AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) release date

The Zen 3 and new Ryzen 5000 series of desktop processors were officially launched at AMD's online event on 8 October 2020, as was confirmed a month earlier by CEO Lisa Su:

All the new chips in the Ryzen 5000 series will be available globally from 5 November. 

Here's how to watch back the AMD Zen 3 launch live stream if you missed it. 

AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) price

The Ryzen 5000 series has been confirmed as the first generation of processors to be based on the new Zen 3 architecture. Here's how much they will cost:

  • Ryzen 9 5950X - US$799
  • Ryzen 9 5900X - US$549
  • Ryzen 7 5800X - US$449
  • Ryzen 5 5600X - US$299

These US prices are all a slight increase on the equivalent processors from the Ryzen 3000 series ($749, $499, $399, $249), but AMD is hoping the significant upgrades they deliver justifies the modest RRP hike.  

AMD Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000) specs and features

With Zen 3, AMD claims it has improved "every aspect of the CPU". This includes a higher frequency, higher instructions per clock (IPC) and lower latency, achieved as a result of a significant redesign of its internals. 

The company has also said that Zen 3 provides the best gaming performance and single threaded performance around. The leaps forward are supposedly even more significant on the Ryzen 5000 series of desktop chips, the first to be based on Zen 3. 

The four processors announced are primarily targeted towards gamers, with AMD claiming the high-end Ryzen 5900X will provide an average FPS improvement of 26% over the previous generation. The company has also stated that the Ryzen 5000 series is faster than Intel's equivalent across gaming, single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. It also offers up to 2.8x the clock speeds.

Here's a summary of all four new processors that were announced:

  • Ryzen 9 5950X - 16-core, 32-thread, up to 4.9GHz boost, 105W
  • Ryzen 9 5900X - 12-core, 24-thread, up to 4.8GHz boost, 105W
  • Ryzen 7 5800X - 8-core, 16-thread, up to 4.7GHz boost, 105W
  • Ryzen 5 5600X - 6-core, 12-thread, up to 4.6GHz boost, 65W

The first benchmarks for the Ryzen 5000 series have been shared by leaker APISAK on Twitter, and reveal some impressive results:

The key results to pick out here are for the Ryzen 5 5600X, which scored 255.22 GOPS in the processor arithmetic test and a 904.38 Mpix/s in the processor multimedia test. That may not mean anything to you unless you have specialist knowledge, but the equivalent Core i5-10600K only scored 224.07 GOPS and 662 Mpix/s in the same tests.

A subsequent tweet from the same user shows similar performance gains for the high-end Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X. 

Geekbench 5 is widely recognised as a fairly accurate test of performance capabilities, and the Ryzen 9 processors' single and multi-core scores put AMD in a league of its own. For comparison, Intel's current Core i9-10900K scores 1,393 and 10,689 respectively in the same tests. 

Intel is set to respond in 2021 with its Rocket Lake chips, but on paper there's a significant deficit to make up.

As was widely rumoured, AMD has skipped the 4000 series in its desktop processor line. Assuming the company adapts the Zen 3 architecture to support laptop chips, expect those to also be known as the Ryzen 5000 series. If you're keen on the technical details of how this might be achieved, check out the following article on our sister site PC World: How AMD optimized Zen 2 for laptops.

We also have an article looking at where the Ryzen 5000 series fits into the desktop processor landscape. Read: The Ryzen 5000 series sets a new gold standard for desktop performance.

Zen 3 still uses a 7nm process, but has made move to extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. It is thought that this will allow for a 20% increase in performance as well as a 10% decrease in power consumption. 

The company also has a clear long-term strategy, confirming than the 5nm Zen 4 was on track and under development. 

As ExtremeTech reports, Zen 3 is expected to be the last generation to come with DDR4 (AM4) memory, before AMD switches to DDR5 for 2021. That means there's unlikely to be significant improvements in this area, although performance was already excellent on Zen 2. 

In an official post on Reddit, AMD earlier revealed that Zen 3 architecture will support the company's current X470 and B450 motherboards.

A subsequent AMD community post confirmed that the X570 and B550 motherboards would also be supported, but none pre-500 series. If you're running older hardware, it means you'll need to upgrade to a new motherboard.

While you're here, check out AMD's upcoming series of GPUs, known as the Radeon RX 6000 Series.