Can AMD’s Ryzen chips propel it into the premium league?
AMD's new line-up of chipsets are positioned as high-performance chips for PCs
After playing second fiddle to Intel in the PC segment for many years, AMD has decided to enter the high-end gaming segment with the new Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 series of processors. AMD’s chips are usually found in budget laptops while Intel dominates the high-end PC segment. Ryzen 7 series chips are now available for PC makers as well, which means we can see laptops and desktops based on them in the next couple of months. Ryzen 7 1800x is the most powerful of the lot with a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and boost clock speed of 4.0GHz. It is priced at $499 (around Rs32,716). The Ryzen 7 1700X and Ryzen 7 1700 have lower clock speeds and are priced at $399 (around Rs26,160) and $349 (around Rs22,887), respectively.
There is no update on the Ryzen 3 series yet, but the Ryzen 5 series processor will be available in the market from next month.
According to some reports, Microsoft will no longer support the older version of Windows such as Windows 7 and 8 on new Intel and AMD processor, including the Ryzen family chipsets. Users can still run older versions of Windows, but they will not receive any security or other updates from Microsoft.
What the new line-up offers
At the top of the Ryzen hierarchy sits the Ryzen 7 series which includes Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X and 1700 chips. All three are octa-core chips and are based on AMD’s new 14nm Zen architecture which is more energy efficient than the 28nm based Bulldozer architecture used in earlier AMD chips. The new chipsets also support simultaneous multi-threading (equivalent to Intel’s Hyper threading technology) which means each core can run more than one thread at a time. The cache system has also been redesigned to allow faster access to data.
For users looking for more affordable options, AMD has Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 line-up of processors. The Ryzen 5 series includes four different models. The Ryzen 5 1600X and Ryzen 5 1600 are the superior hexa-core chips sets with boost clock speed of up to 4.0GHz. The Ryzen 5 1500 and Ryzen 5 1400 are the quad-core variants with boost clock speed of up to 3.4GHz.
One of highlights of the new chipsets is the AI-powered Sense MI technology, which allows the chips to customise its performance based on how the user interacts with apps or games. It uses neural networks and software algorithms which can predict how apps and games will run based on earlier runs and monitor user and app requirements to optimise clock speeds.
Lower power needs
Due to the smaller architecture and improved cooling system, the Ryzen chipsets have also got a lower TDP (thermal design power), which stands for maximum power consumption. The Ryzen 7 1800X and Ryzen 7 1700x have a TDP of 95W. Ryzen 7 1700 has a TDP of 65W.
What it means for users
For years, AMD has been providing a more cost-effective alternative to Intel’s chips for laptops and desktop PCs. But none of its earlier products were powerful enough to compete with Intel’s top-of-the-line chipsets. The Ryzen line-up changes that, and brings in some much-needed competition. What users will have to brace up for is that AMD chips will cost more than some of Intel‘s 7th gen chipsets. For example, the Ryzen 7 1800x costs $499, while Intel’s 7th gen i7 processor costs $350 (approximately Rs22,947). This means, the new AMD-powered PCs will cost as much as the high-end Intel 7th Gen based PCs.