Third time's still the charm: AMD touts Zen-3-based Ryzen 5000 line, says it will 'deliver absolute leadership in x86'

Cache me if you can, Intel


On Thursday, AMD CEO Lisa Su presided over a webcast to introduce the chip designer's latest line of Ryzen processors based on its Zen 3 microarchitecture.

"Zen 3 increases our lead and overall performance," said Su. "It increases our lead in power efficiency. And also now it delivers the best single threaded performance and gaming performance as well."

The gaming-focused processor line consists of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, and Ryzen 5 5600X. And there's a high-end version of the 9 series, the Ryzen 9 5950X.

AMD CTO Mark Papermaster was equally effusive about its Zen 3 cores. "It is a beast in performance and will deliver absolute leadership in the x86 market," he said.

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According to Su, the Ryzen 5900X has 19 per cent higher IPC (instructions per cycle) than its predecessor, the 3900X; higher clock speed; and other innovations.

Papermaster cited a new processor design layout that brings all the cores together into a unified eight-core complex, which accelerates core-to-core communication. "That consolidation actually allows every core to directly access the 32 megabytes of L3 cache, and that dramatically accelerates workloads that are latency sensitive, like gaming," he said.

He also pointed to wider floating-point and integer execution units as a source of increased execution capability at a lower latency, and improved zero-bubble branch prediction that reduces delays when cramming software instructions through the processor's pipelines, which means applications run faster.

Where Zen 2 used two four-core cache complexes to access 16MB of L3 cache, Zen 3 uses a single unified eight-core cache complex that provides direct access to 32MB of L3 cache.

"That direct access to a cache pool of this size is very significant for gaming," said Papermaster.

Here are the specs for these TSMC-fabricated 7nm parts:

Name Price Cores / Threads Clock Freq. Turbo Freq. L2+L3 Cache TDP
Ryzen 9 5950X $799 16 / 32 3.4 GHz 4.9 GHz 70 MB 105W
Ryzen 9 5900X $549 12 / 24 3.7 GHz 4.8 GHz 70 MB 105W
Ryzen 7 5800X $449 8 / 16 3.8 Ghz 4.7 GHz 36 MB 105W
Ryzen 5 5600X $299 6 / 12 3.7 Ghz 4.6 GHz 35 MB 65W

In gaming, AMD claims the 5900X provides 28 per cent better performance in Shadow of the Tomb Raider compared to its own 3900X.

For general content creation, AMD compared its 5900X to Intel's 10-core Core i9 10900K, with the 5900X coming out ahead in video editing (13 per cent), rendering (59 per cent), CAD (6 per cent), and compiling (14 per cent).

The Zen 3-based Ryzens will be available on November 5, 2020. AMD is planning another event on October 28, 2020, to talk about its Radeon RX 6000 gaming GPUs. ®

PS: Intel tried to spoil AMD's announcement today by yesterday mentioning that its "11th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (codenamed 'Rocket Lake') are coming in the first quarter of 2021."


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