AMD says its Ryzen 3000 isn’t just cheaper—it’s better

AMD’s new line of Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs will benefit from the same 7nm manufacturing process as the company’s new Navi-powered GPUs. Much of the tech community’s hype is for the biggest and baddest of the bunch: the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950x. But there’s an entire new line ranging from the $749 3950x down to a relatively-modest $199 3600X—and AMD is gunning for Intel every step of the way.

I don’t think there’s any reason people would buy an Intel processor after we [launch the Ryzen 3000 line].
Travis Kirsch, AMD Client Product Management Director

What’s really interesting is, this time around, AMD is not just pitching cheaper parts and “good-enough” performance—the company is claiming top-dog stats, along with thermal and power efficiency wins. The Ryzen 9 3700x is listed at $329, while Intel’s i7-9700k is currently available for about $410. But according to AMD’s slides, the Ryzen part also outperforms the i7-9700k across the board, and it draws less power and produces less heat while doing so. Even when comparing absolute flagship CPUs, the monstrous 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 3950x boasts 105W TDP, while Intel’s 32-threaded i7-7960x runs 165W TDP.

If the data here is reasonably accurate, the savings in power and cooling costs over the lifespan of a system will probably outweigh its already lower purchase price.

One thing does remain constant in the Intel-vs-AMD wars: it appears that Intel will still enjoy a small single-thread performance advantage, while Ryzen runs away laughing with massively-multithreaded benchmark wins due to its greater number of threads at the same price points. (For example, the Ryzen 3700x boasts 24 threads to the i7-9700k’s mere 8.) This generally is little or no help with gaming benchmarks, which tend to block on single-threaded performance and benefit very little from more than four CPU threads—but AMD figured out a way to make all those extra threads shine in a gaming benchmark anyway.

Either Intel’s 8-thread i7-9700k or AMD’s Ryzen 9 3700k will play in 1440P at an effortless 90fps… but according to AMD’s data, effectively  the experience live is a different story entirely. A ludicrous 16 extra CPU threads are at the Ryzen’s disposal for simultaneous video compression. Granted, AMD is stacking the deck here with extremely high-bitrate, high-quality compression that may or may not be strictly necessary for a game stream—but it’s certainly desirable, and what’s possible tends to set the standard for what’s expected going forward.

More importantly—for those of us who want to play the games even if we don’t stream them—this also hints at a tremendously improved experience gaming on an “everything box.” Such a set-up may have email clients, Web browsers, anti-virus, and more running in the background.

For those of you who are already AMD fans, the news gets even better: the new product line still uses the AM4 socket, and the company says you can expect Ryzen 3000 CPUs to be drop-in replacements for existing Ryzen 2000 CPUs—no motherboard swap needed.

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