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:
To learn more, check out where to buy the AMD Ryzen 5000 Series.
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'll cost:
- Ryzen 9 5950X - £735.84/US$799
- Ryzen 9 5900X - £505.61US$549
- Ryzen 7 5800X - £413.51/US$449
- Ryzen 5 5600X - £275.36/US$299
The 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. Crucially, they remain more affordable than the equivalent Intel chips from the Comet Lake series.
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.
The Ryzen 5 5600X also seems to perform well in Cinebench benchmarks:
Its single-core score of 258cb and multi-core score of 2040cb blows Intel's equivalent Core i5-10600K out of the water. That processor tends to get around 200cb and 1450cb 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.
Of course, we should be mindful that benchmarks aren't always the most accurate indicator of performance for many users. Without testing the devices for ourselves, it's hard to determine how much of a difference this will make to everyday usage. However, on paper, Intel has a significant deficit to make up with its upcoming Rocket Lake chips.
As was widely rumoured, AMD has skipped the 4000 series in its desktop processor line. Assuming the company adapts the Zen 3 architecture to also 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 how AMD optimized Zen 2 for laptops on our sister site PC World.
We also have an article looking at where the Ryzen 5000 series fits into the desktop processor landscape: Ryzen 5000 Series Sets 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.
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 noticeable 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 supports 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.
To learn more about what you'll need to run the latest processors, check out: Is my PC compatible with the AMD Ryzen 5000 series?
However, a now-deleted tweet from custom PC builder PowerGPU suggested that a significant number of Ryzen 5000 series CPUs were DOA (dead on arrival), meaning it would not function at all. A follow-up tweet, which is still live, suggested that 6% of the 320 Ryzen 5000 chips that were purchased were faulty, putting the figure at around 19 processors.
The same account also suggested that this was not an isolated issue:
Took 2 seconds pic.twitter.com/Vp265T4ksT— PowerGPU® (@PowerGPU) February 14, 2021
Of course, there are many reasons why a new processor might not work with your existing setup, with motherboard issues the most likely cause. Nonetheless, it's concerning to hear about brand new chips not working properly out of the box.
If the Ryzen 5000 Series doesn't offer enough performance for you, you'll be glad to hear that AMD's most powerful processor will soon be available to buy as a standalone component. As AnandTech reports, the Threadripper Pro will soon go on general sale after AMD's exclusivity deal with Lenovo came to an end. The agreement had previously meant devices like the ThinkStation P620 had first dibs on the chips, but this will no longer be the case. While we don't know the exact price, the Threadripper Pro will be much more expensive than even the Ryzen 9 5950X.
If that isn't enough power for you, AMD has also announced that the Ryzen Threadripper Pro desktop processors are now available globally. Described as 'the ultimate processor for the professional workstation', the new 3995WX, 3975WX, and 3955WX chips offer up to 64 cores, 8 channels of memory and 128 PCIe Gen 4 lanes. They're based on the 7nm processor, and will come built into to many high-end desktop PCs.
Alongside the Zen 3 announcement, AMD also confirmed that the Zen 4 architecture was on track and under development. That's when the company are expected to move to a 5nm process, although that may not arrive until 2022.
AMD launched the Ryzen 5000 laptop chips at CES in January 2021, with most new chips based on the Zen 3 architecture. Desktop fans will be more interested in the recently-released 'Big Navi' series of GPUs, known as the Radeon RX 6000 Series.
Looking ahead to the next generation, we already have a guide to the Ryzen 6000 Series, which we'd expect to begin with desktops chips in the autumn.