This week we have been at the AMD Tech Day in San Francisco which has focused on the company’s upcoming Ryzen 7 series launch. On March 2, 2017 there will be three AMD Ryzen 7 desktop CPU SKUs that will launch globally. Each of the Ryzen 7 SKUs will retail for between $300 and $500 and have a full 8 core/ 16 threads. As of now, you can pre-order AMD Ryzen 7 SKUs along with accompanying motherboards from over 180 retailers worldwide. You can read our previous Ryzen coverage.
Initial Details on the AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs
A few features are going to be common on the AMD Ryzen 7 platform. First, each SKU will be a 8 core/ 16 thread part. AMD is specifically targeting the high-end desktop market that is dominated by gaming and overclocking with its first Zen architecture release. All three of the Ryzen 7 parts released will have the ability to overclock via multipliers but are binned for speed at the factory.
- The AMD Ryzen 7 1800X is the top-end SKU that the company is targeting at Intel’s high-end Core i7-6900K ($1000+ CPU.) AMD is being extremely aggressive on pricing and is targeting a suggested retail price of $499, or about half of its Intel 8 core / 16 thread Broadwell-E competitor. Clocks are in the 3.6GHz all core base to 4.0GHz turbo range. TDP is listed at 95W.
- In the middle of the range, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X has 3.4GHz all core base clock to 3.8GHz turbo. AMD is targeting a $399 price point for this part with a listed TDP of 95W. This SKU is about saving 5-10% on clock speeds and 20% in terms of CPU cost.
- Perhaps equally as interesting, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 is a 65W TDP part that has a 3.0GHz base clock and a 3.7GHz turbo clock. This is one part you should have your eye on. Although it has the highest boost range, the lower clocks mean it is expected to have a significantly lower TDP. This was compared to the Intel Core i7-7700K which offers higher single-core speeds but half the core count (4 v. 8 for AMD.)
At the AMD event, the company spent a lot of time focused on drastically improved IPC (they claim 52%) and the fact that they are selling the lowest cost 8 core/ 16 thread parts on the market. The AMD Ryzen 7 1700 at 65W TDP with its eight cores is extremely compelling as it can flat out provide twice as many cores and more L3 cache than Intel has in its Core i7 and the Xeon E3 line.
Just to give some perspective, the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 offers about twice the multi-threaded performance of the slightly more expensive Xeon E3-1270 V5 (still current generation as of this writing) at about the same price.
The AMD strategy of going after AMD in the overclocking market makes a lot of sense. Most Intel Core i(3/5/7) sales are through OEM systems such as notebooks and desktops. The overclocking market is dominated by “channel” systems built piecemeal from different component vendors. It is the segment of the client and data center market that is least impacted by large Intel relationships and is also highly likely to be using an AMD Radeon GPU. If you were looking for the path of least resistance from Intel, this is likely the market you would go after.
We did ask about a potential single socket Ryzen/ Zen part with ECC memory support and were told that AMD was not announcing such a product at this time alongside the Ryzen/ Zen launch.
AMD Ryzen Performance
We were able to run benchmarks on systems and have the data but will be holding off per the NDA on publishing results. We can say that the single thread performance is solid, perhaps “good enough” while the multi-threaded performance, especially with 4 core Intel v. 8 core AMD in a price range, being excellent.
We can say this, at the pricing that AMD has set, the Ryzen 7 chips are extremely compelling so long as you are not set on getting the absolute highest single-threaded performance.
One other note we can make is that TDP claims are not exactly apples-to-apples between AMD and Intel. For example, AMD will tout that the AMD Ryzen 7 1700 is 65w while the Intel Core i7-7700K is 91w. That 91w TDP on the Intel part includes a GPU. Likewise, when comparing Broadwell-E to AMD Ryzen, one must remember that Intel has features such as a quad-channel DDR4 memory controller.
How to Get One
If you want to get AMD Ryzen you can head to your favorite etailer/ retailer and pre-order today. We are already looking to pick up a few additional Ryzen CPUs, non-ECC DDR4 memory, and an AM4 (X370 / B350 so we can overclock) motherboards for launch day. Those sellers should have items available for pre-order today with shipments on March 2, 2017 the launch day.
Want to watch the session replay?
If you want to check out the session replay from the event this week you can see Lisa Su’s Ryzen 7 introduction here:
This is certainly the most exciting time in the x86 market in years.