For several years now, AMD Ryzen CPUs have been the preferred choice for gamers. Indeed, AMD’s return to form with this CPU family provided much-needed competition for Intel’s Core series, giving lower costs and higher core counts. AMD’s return to form.
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With that in mind, keep reading if you’re planning to buy a Ryzen CPU for your new PC and want to know what you should keep in mind when doing so.
What Ryzen CPUs Are There?
The Ryzen range is separated into the following brands, much like the Intel Core series:
- The Ryzen 3 is a budget-friendly option.
- Ryzen 5 — A mid-range processor that delivers excellent value for money
- Ryzen 7 — High-end variants with a focus on performance
- Expensive CPUs for enthusiasts: Ryzen 9.
There’s also the Ryzen Threadripper, but it’s aimed at professionals, so it’s not a good option for a gaming PC because it’s so pricey.
That being said, how do the aforementioned Ryzen CPUs differ from one another and how do they compare? When creating a gaming PC, what is the most critical question to ask?
Core and Thread Count
Previously, Ryzen CPUs offered a significant edge in terms of core and thread counts over similarly priced Intel Core models, as indicated in the introduction. However, Intel finally caught up in this area with the release of their 10th generation Core CPUs.
And what are the benefits of having a large number of cores and threads?
The more cores a CPU has, the more simultaneous tasks it can perform. For gaming purposes, the core count has become more essential than it used to be a few years ago, as more and more games are built to take advantage of many CPU cores.
Furthermore, multithreading has gained popularity in recent years and allows a single CPU core to do two tasks at once if necessary, thereby doubling a CPU’s multitasking capacity. Today, all of the most mainstream gaming CPUs, AMD and Intel alike, have this feature included in their specifications.
As for the newer Ryzen 3000 and 5000 desktop CPUs, the Ryzen 3 models have 4 cores and 8 thread, the Ryzen 5 models have 6 cores and 12 thread, the Ryzen 7 models have 8 cores and 16 thread, and the Ryzen 9 models have either 12 cores 24 threads or 16 cores 32 threads, depending on the model.
How many cores and threads do you really require, then?
A 6-core CPU is now the overall optimum selection for gamers in 2022, although the hardware requirements and software optimization will unavoidably differ depending on the game.
Quad-core CPUs are still a viable option, especially if money is an issue. But as the number of cores and threads increases, a quad-core CPU is less future-proof, and newer games will almost certainly be tuned to take advantage of the additional cores.
In the meantime, an 8-core CPU is usually unnecessary unless you’re acquiring a highly powerful GPU or intending to use some CPU-heavy applications that can benefit from having more cores and threads. If you’re a professional who needs a lot of horsepower, though, the Ryzen 9 12 and 16-core processors are worth the extra money.
Clock Speeds and Overclocking
Clock rates are the next consideration. The higher the clock speed, the more operations a single core can perform in the period of a second, hence the higher the clock speed, the more heat the CPU will be creating.
There is a tiny advantage that Intel has over AMD when it comes to raw performance in games due to the importance that gamers place on clock speeds and single-core performance.
Overclocking is the practice of increasing the clock speed of a computer’s processor in order to gain additional performance.
Overclocking is accessible on all Ryzen models, but only Intel Core CPUs stamped with a “K” at the end of their model number can be overclocked.
However, the question remains: Is overclocking a Ryzen CPU even worth the trouble?
There are many people who prefer overclocking because they enjoy adjusting the CPU parameters to see how much performance they can get out of it without crashing the machine.
It isn’t worth it if you’re trying to save money or get the greatest value for your money, as you’d also need an aftermarket cooling if you really wanted to overclock a CPU.
On the other hand, there’s the cache on a CPU’s list of features. In gaming, how vital is it to have a good cache?
Essentially, the cache is a little piece of memory that the CPU keeps for speedy access to crucial data. And while it does improve overall performance and stability, it doesn’t make much of a difference when it comes to gaming, especially because all the current Ryzen CPUs have the same cache capacities.
CPU vs APU
In the Ryzen series, you’ll see that there are both CPUs and APUs. So how are CPUs and APUs different from each other in terms of what they can accomplish and what they can’t do?
The name “APU” was used by AMD in the early 2010s to characterize processors that include both CPU and GPU cores on a single die, thus eliminating the need for a dedicated graphics card in some PCs.
APUs are wonderful for PCs that aren’t going to be used for anything particularly taxing, but how do they fare when it comes to gaming?
They are, in fact. Depending on your financial situation, some of these games may be affordable if you don’t mind playing at a lesser resolution or with fewer settings. As you can see in the video, Vega-equipped Ryzen APUs are a reasonable value if that is the case.
But despite the fact that these are some of the most advanced integrated graphics to date, even the weakest dedicated GPUs can’t really compete.
Because these APUs offer substantially less processing power and are more likely to bottleneck most GPUs, they are not ideal options if you want to use a dedicated graphics card.
This is similar to the Core designations found in Intel’s Core series, which are used by some AMD Ryzen models. So, what are AMD’s various designations, and what are they used for?
A and B are among the most frequently used alphabets.
- Overclocking performance can be improved with a higher boost clock, but since all Ryzen CPUs are unlocked, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
- APU processors are identified by the code G.
There are a few additional classifications, though, that are less common:
- only with two CPUs so far, the Ryzen 5 1600 (AF) and the Ryzen 3 1200 (AF) based on the Zen+ architecture and 12nm budget options, respectively.
- CPU/APU power efficiency is denoted by the letters E or GE.
- As of now, the suffix “XT” has only been used to denote a little increase in boost clock and overclocking performance over the preceding generation’s CPUs (Ryzen 5 3600XT, Ryzen 7 3800XT, and Ryzen 9 3900XT).
Socket And Chipset
Fortunately, AMD has performed far better than Intel in recent years when it comes to CPU compatibility, which is an important consideration when in the market for a new CPU.
The regular AM4 socket is used by all Ryzen CPUs (except Threadripper versions), thus you don’t have to be concerned about which socket you require.
To be safe, not all motherboard chipsets are compatible with every CPU, therefore you should double-check before buying to make sure that the CPU you want is compatible with the motherboard chipset.
Consideration No. 1: Upgrade or New Build?
Whichever way you choose to answer this question, you’ll be on a narrow or wide route. If you’re replacing the CPU in an existing desktop PC, your choices are constrained by the motherboard’s design, socket, and compatibility. In fact, you’re building your own PC if you’re willing to swap out the motherboard to upgrade to a newer or more powerful processor class. Partitioning and replacing additional components are often necessary in order to do an effective motherboard upgrade.
Often, “In-Place” Upgrades Are a Waste of Time
With Intel motherboards, changing to a chip that is compatible with the same socket as your existing one is usually not worth the effort. It has been increasingly common in recent years for CPU sockets and chipsets to only work for a few years before they are no longer compatible with one other. That cycle has been stopped for the time being by AMD’s AM4 socket-based mainstream CPUs. Unless you’re upgrading from a low-end chip to a high-end CPU at the very end of a platform’s existence, an in-place CPU upgrade on a dead-end platform is unlikely to yield much benefits.
Socket compatibility is the most important factor to consider when upgrading a motherboard that already has a CPU (that is, the receptacle into which you seat your new CPU). When it comes to upgrading your PC’s processor, it’s not worth it unless you’re getting a great deal on the new chip and making a significant leap in core/thread count or raw clock speed from the old chip to the new one, or you’re making a significant leap in core/thread count or raw clock speed from the old to the new one.
So, Wait…How Do I Know What’s a Dead End?
To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for the most recent platform improvements. You can find out what “socket” your present CPU is in by searching for its name and then going to the spec page on AMD or Intel’s website.
This is just a rough guide, as we’ve said before. Every line has an edge case. To replace a Core I3 with an Intel Core i7-10700K for $50 and six beers on Craigslist, you’re more than welcome to go for it.
A new motherboard and processor are more cost-effective in most circumstances when you have an older, midrange or superior CPU on an obsolete platform, unless you’re willing to fork over a lot of money for a new one. It’s worth noting that a brand-new motherboard for an Intel or AMD mainstream platform costs as little as $50. ( While both Intel and AMD employ DDR4 in their current consumer platforms, Intel’s 12th Generation Core CPUs and Z690 motherboards are among the first to incorporate support for DDR5. If your older system is still running on DDR3, you’ll need new RAM as well.
Four Key Concepts to Know About CPUs
In order to better comprehend Intel and AMD’s respective lineups, we’ll take a quick look at some of their most important specs first.
CORE MATTER. Core count can be compared to the number of cylinders in an engine; the more cylinders there are, the more power there will be. If the program is properly developed, many cores can be used to process different sections of a task simultaneously.
Only comparing core counts within the same generation of a specific CPU line is significant. Of course, all else is rarely equal. As a general rule, the more cores, the better. For multithreaded software like modern content-creation and picture and video-editing programs, having more cores will be beneficial. And some of the most demanding PC games require a minimum of four cores or threads. For example, 8C/16T is 8 cores and 16 threads, which is a shorthand way of saying eight cores and sixteen threads.
Since Intel’s 12th Generation “Alder Lake” processors were released, this equation has become a little more complicated, thanks to the introduction of “Performance Cores,” or P-cores, and “Efficiency Cores,” or E-cores. A “big.LITTLE” architectural concept, in which cores intended for peak performance output are partnered with another set that runs more power-efficiently at lower frequencies co-exists on the same device. There is a lot more information on this subject here.)
MULTITHREADING. Some CPUs from Intel and AMD are multithreaded-capable. You might think of multithreading as an architecture in which each CPU core is able to handle two separate processing tasks (threads). If the software and operating system can take advantage of it, this effectively doubles the amount of data that can be processed at the same time.
AMD refers to this technique as “SMT,” which stands for symmetric multithreading, while Intel refers to it as “Hyper-Threading” (HT). You might say that practically speaking. Support for HT/SMT is a huge plus when it comes to CPU-intensive operations like video rendering. Intel’s standard Core CPUs for desktops in the 9th Generation have pushed HT to the top of the stack for the first time. (HT was only supported by the Core i9 processors.) HT was once again made available to users of Intel’s Core 3, 5, and 7 desktop processors as of the company’s 10th Generation Core desktop chips. AMD’s Ryzen desktop series has SMT capability across the entire mainstream processor lineup.
With Intel’s upcoming 12th Generation processors, things get more complicated. Just eight of them have multithreaded “P-cores,” resulting in statistics like 16 cores/24 threads on the Intel Core i9-12900K, which has eight P-cores against eight E-cores…….
A total of 24 threads are created by using eight P cores threaded twice and eight E cores threaded once. You won’t have to worry about this being on the exam!
BOOST AND BASE CLOCK. These are two of the most important specifications for any CPU, both expressed in gigahertz (GHz), but understanding them requires some background information. An operating system’s base clock is a multiple of the system’s low-level clock and the CPU multiplier (which may be manually tweaked; more on that in a moment). When the workload requires it, and the system’s thermal circumstances allow, the boost clock allows one or more cores to run at a higher clock speed.
Some or all of the system’s cores may experience an accelerated clock rate up to the boost rate, which can vary from core to core depending on the software, CPU cooling technology, and the CPU’s and motherboard’s characteristics. For example, Intel’s 12th Gen chips, which have two independent core types, have a boost clock that isn’t evenly distributed across all cores.
A 3.5GHz Intel Core X-Series processor and a 4GHz AMD Ryzen standard processor are not exactly comparable on the basis of clocks alone. This is where our lab-based reviews and rigorous benchmarking come into play.
Is it better to be locked or unlocked? Overclocking a “locked” chip is not possible since the BIOS or operating system overclocking software can’t access the chip’s clock multiplier. Other chips have the multiplier locked down. We’ve outlined each line’s overclocking ability below, but in summary: While Intel’s regular Core processors are a mix of unlocked and locked processors, AMD’s Ryzen and Threadripper chips are all unlocked. Near the end of this guide, you’ll find further information on overclocking.
Which Intel or AMD Processor Family Should You Focus On?
By definition, your motherboard will constrain your ability to choose a CPU. The numerous AMD and Intel chip families must be taken into consideration if you’re open to all contemporary CPU platforms. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at each of the lines that are significant today for PC builders, buyers, and upgraders.
Intel’s Mainstream Desktop Choices
At this writing in late 2021, several generations of Intel’s mainstream Celeron, Pentium, and Core i3/i5/i7/i9 processors share the market. Socket 1151 on the motherboard is the CPU socket used by the earliest models. Socket 1200 is still used by middle-aged people. Socket 1700 is used by the most recent generations. (I’ll get to that in a sec.) Socket 1151 is physically compatible with chips from the Celeron to the Core i9 across the 7th Gen (“Kaby Lake”), 8th Gen (“Coffee Lake”), and 9th Gen (“Coffee Lake Refresh”) platforms. This socket is also home to 6th generation (“Skylake”) processors, which are nearing the end of their useful lives.
Socket 1151 motherboards are compatible with all 1151-class chips, although not all of them will operate with all of the 1151-class chips. The motherboard’s controlling silicon, the onboard chipset, must also be taken into account. If you want to use an Intel Core i9-9900K, you’ll need a motherboard that supports Intel’s Z390 chipset, which is only supported by the latest Socket 1151 boards.
If you’re trying to figure out which chipsets will work with a specific CPU generation, you’ll often encounter four or five chipsets that are compatible with the same CPU generation. For this reason, you’ll want to check the motherboard specs to ensure that the specific chip you’re looking at is supported by the motherboard you’re contemplating. Detailed CPU compatibility lists are provided by motherboard manufacturers for a certain board. Listen to what they have to say.
You should double-check the compatibility lists for chipsets such as the Z390, Z370, B365, B360, H370, and H310 before purchasing. Overclockers and tweakers will find the Z chipsets most suited to their needs, while ordinary users will choose the H370, the B360, and the B365. The H310, on the other hand, is the most stripped-down of the bunch. Z/B/H letters have been used for generations now.
Only the most expensive 9th Generation Intel mainstream CPUs support Hyper-Threading, which doubles the number of processing threads. This is important if you utilize a lot of resource-intensive programs that take advantage of as many threads as possible in the creation and presentation of your content. Consider yourself warned if you’ve ever used one of the previous generation’s Core i7 processors, which has Hyperthreading (HT). Check.
With Intel’s 10th Generation, though, that all changed. Intel has dubbed the new range “Comet Lake-S” and the Core i9-10900K is the flagship. In addition, it makes use of a newer socket, LGA 1200, which is incompatible with anything that came before it in history. Z490 (high end), B460 (mainstream), and H410 (low-end) are all Z/B/H chipsets (budget). Midway through the year 2020 will see the release of these circuit boards and chips.
Newer 11th Generation “Rocket Lake” chips were also released on Socket 1200 in March, and received mixed reviews. This line-up includes Z590 (high-end), B560 (mainstream), H570, and H510 chipsets, which are all compatible with LGA 1200 processors (budget). However, 11th Gen processors are not backwards compatible with B460 or H410 motherboards, even though both are based on the LGA 1200 socket. It’s a lot more complicated than you thought!
With “Rocket Lake,” the Intel Core i9-11900K is the best of the bunch, but it’s still below AMD’s finest in single-threaded performance, and it’s only marginally faster than its predecessor. Every new “Rocket Lake” chip is based on the 10-nanometer (nm) “Ice Lake” architecture, however it was backported to the 14nm process for this particular chip design. To see them all, click here…
Intel’s newest 12th Gen launch, based on 10nm Enhanced Superfin parts manufactured in Intel’s fabs, saw the company finally move beyond 14nm and introduce what it’s calling the “Intel 7 Process.” An exceptionally powerful first lithography and design effort from Intel is currently at the top of this “Alder Lake” stack, with one small drawback at the time of its release (the Core i9-12900K). LGA 1700 and Z690 chipsets are used in Alder Lake, which has a new socket and new chipset. There are now just Z690 motherboards on the market, although there are indications that more midrange and cheap alternatives may be available in early 2017.
Let’s take a look at the first six CPUs in the 12th Generation range. In the meantime, here is what Intel has provided, with more expected in 2022
There are only three main processors (the Core i5-12600K, the Core i7-12700K, and the Core i9-12900K) available in “K” and “KF” configurations, making this one of Intel’s slimmest CPU-stack debuts yet. (We’ll get into KF in a second.) From Celeron to Pentium, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7, and eventually Core i9 CPUs, Intel’s consumer desktop line released its 9th Generation family, the performance pecking order inside each Intel chip generation rises. In 2017, the first Core i9 processors appeared on Intel’s Core X-Series, which is discussed in more detail below.) For example, CPUs with overclockable multipliers and processors with locked-down multipliers can be found in each of these chip classes. (Model numbers ending in K or KF designate overclockable chips, which are primarily Core i5, i7, and i9 parts.)
Even those who are well-versed in Intel’s CPU history may be perplexed by the company’s new approach to integrated graphics. Intel HD Graphics, UHD Graphics, Iris Graphics, and now Xe Graphics have been the traditional names for on-chip visual acceleration in Intel’s mainstream CPUs. (These “integrated graphics processors,” or IGPs,” are another name for these on-die graphics options.) So, if your motherboard includes video outputs that are compatible with the IGP, you don’t need a separate video card to use the IGP as your display.
Some of Intel’s 9th to 12th Generation Core CPU lines, on the other hand, feature IGP-less variants. In order to distinguish these graphics-free chips, the suffix “F” is used. With the Core i9-12900KF, for example, you get just a CPU. Without the IGP silicon, this is the same chip as the Core i9-12900K
(We’ve reviewed the Core i9-10900KCore i9-10900K, Core i5-11600KCore i5-11600K, Core i9-11900KCore i9-11900K, Core i5-12600KCore i5-12600K, and the Core i9-12900KCore i9-12900K as examples of this series.)
The Core X-Series: Intel’s Power-Lifters
While the regular Core processor family has been around for decades, the Core X series is only a few years old, if you go by its official designation. The HEDT (for high-end desktop) market is a direct descendant of Intel’s traditional high-end CPU architecture for content creators and extreme performance/gaming hunters. There are predecessors to the Core X-Series such the Core i7 Extreme Edition, like the Core i7-6950X.
LGA 2066 is the current socket for the Core X-Series processors. Because of their larger die sizes and slightly higher wattages than conventional Cores, these chips necessitate more robust cooling systems. There is no built-in fan with the Core X processors, so you’ll need to buy one.
In addition to having a higher core and thread count, these chips support a greater number of CPU-bound PCI Express lanes than conventional Core processors from Intel. Video cards, PCI Express solid-state drives, and other PCIe internal cards rely on these lanes to transport electrical data within their own internal circuits. (The maximum number of lanes on a typical mainstream Intel CPU is 16). If you have numerous PCI Express x16 slots and many PCI Express SSDs on the bus, the problem of lane count is important; you need enough lanes to handle your gear.
SLI or CrossFire multiple-video-card gaming rigs or PCIe SSD arrays can benefit from the Core X platform. Nvidia’s support for SLI or NVLink in most of its newer video cards makes this less important these days. Please keep in mind, however, that the number of PCI Express lanes enabled can vary depending on the Core X-Series CPU and motherboard combination that you choose. You may learn more about a certain processor by looking at the CPU’s specifications and reading our individual reviews.
X-Series chips have had two major refreshes since their debut, going from the initial 7000 series under the names “Skylake-X” and “Kaby Lake-X” to the all-Skylake-X 9000 series in 2018 and then the “Cascade Lake-X” 10000 series in 2019. The last two generations are summarized as follows…
The Intel X299 chipset provides the tremendous I/O and lane bandwidth that customers of this platform are looking for in a single chipset. One issue to keep in mind is that the first two “Kaby Lake-X” CPUs have low core/thread counts and restricted PCI Express lane support. (The Core i5-7640X and the Core i7-7740X were the models.) They are no longer available, and you should steer clear of them. They were illogical for most consumers to use as entry-level processors on such a pricey platform.
Other than the “Cascade Lake-X” line, the family nomenclature is all Core i7 or Core i9 with the exception of the “Cascade Lake-X.” Overclocking is possible on all Core X-Series CPUs that have model numbers ending in X. As no HEDT options were released as part of the 11th or 12th generation, the highest-end model currently available is the 18-core/36-thread Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition. The top Core X-Series chip in a generation is commonly designated as “Extreme Edition.” There have been reports that Intel’s 12th generation stack will include HEDT CPUs, but there is no word on when these chips will be offered to the general public.
The Core i9-7980XE Extreme EditionCore i9-7980XE Extreme Edition, the Core i9-9980XE Extreme EditionCore i9-9980XE Extreme Edition, and the Core i9-10980XE Extreme EditionCore i9-10980XE Extreme Edition are all examples of this series.
AMD Ryzen A Series: Budget Dual-Purpose Chips, Phased Out
The A series from AMD has long been the company’s low-cost CPU line with acceptable integrated graphics.. Aside from light gaming, these chips are designed to be affordable engines for productivity and educational purposes. If you don’t want to shell out a ton of money on a dedicated graphics card, AMD has a solution for you: its greatest CPU/GPU combo chips (some of which belong under the Ryzen family; we’ll get to them in the following section). If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a separate graphics card, these are good alternatives.
As far as system upgraders or system builders are concerned, AMD A series processors have little appeal and are on their way out save in systems that have been reconditioned or resold. Older prebuilt budget PCs are more likely to use these CPUs, although even in such systems, low-end Ryzen 3 CPUs are taking their place. As with the Ryzens below, the “Bristol Ridge” final A-series processors use the same AMD Socket AM4 as the previous A-series chips. A budget Ryzen CPU (such as the “Raven Ridge,” “Picasa,” or “G” processors, as long as you don’t plan on using a video card) is the best option in most circumstances.
AMD Ryzen: The Mainstream Alternative
There are many power users who will be pleased with AMD’s standard Ryzen processors. Most of them only have CPUs, which means you’ll need to get a separate graphics card. Model numbers ending in “0” or “X” are used for parts without integrated graphics.
A variant of AMD’s Vega graphics was built onto the CPU die with the “Raven Ridge” family of Ryzen chips (plus a few Athlon-branded processors). When it comes to budget systems that prioritize productivity software and light gaming, processors with the suffix “G” (for “graphics”) at the end of their names are a great choice. However, if you lower the resolution and detail settings, you may get decent gaming performance with their on-chip graphics, which are better than Intel’s HD and UHD Graphics solutions (and even its latest Iris Xe IGPs).
The Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000, and 5000 series CPUs, which represent the first through fourth generations, are the main beating hearts of the Ryzen line (and what has brought AMD roaring back in the desktop market over the last few years). Only OEMs were able to purchase the Ryzen 4000 desktop processors, and not end-user PC builders. The mainstream market has been upended by these graphics-less CPUs, which deliver high core and thread counts. Like Intel’s Core subgroups, they are divided into Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and (from the third generation) Ryzen 9 classes. Taking a look at the most relevant Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series in 2021…
Please note that only retail chips are listed above. Besides the chips listed above for commercial system makers, AMD offers a Ryzen Pro line for business deployments as well as several other chip models. We have a few favorites in each line, and we’ve examined many of them individually, but on the whole, they’re good options for those who require a lot of cores and threads for a low price. You can overclock them all if you’d like. Additionally, their pre-installed cooling solutions (where available) are eye-catching, appropriate for stock speeds, and reasonably priced.
A mainstream value pick, the Ryzen 5 range is particularly appealing. With the exception of a small number of OEM parts seen outside the United States, all Ryzen 5 processors enable symmetric multithreading, making them all 4C/8T or 6C/12T. With the current iteration, AMD’s Wraith air cooler is included with all of them. A great option for gamers are the newest Ryzen 3 3rd generation CPUs (4C/8T).
You’ll need to fit your motherboard chipset to your specific use case much like with standard Intel models. A BIOS update may be required for older motherboards to work with newer Ryzen chips, however compatibility is more general than with 6th to 9th Gen Intel Socket 1151 Core CPUs and their chipset-dependent complications. Check the motherboard specifications to see whether your old chips will work on the newer models.
Ryzen chipsets from AMD include the X570/X470/X370 (the equivalent of Intel’s Z-series chipsets for overclockers), the B550/B450/B350 (the mainstream models), and the A520/A320 (the entry-level variants) (resolutely budget-minded boards). With an X470 chipset you’ll have access to slightly higher system memory clocks and support for StoreMI, a flexible storage management feature that allows you to pair an SSD with a hard drive to facilitate keeping your most frequently visited files and programs on the speedier drive. With third-generation Ryzen and PCI Express 4.0 support, the X570 debuted in 2019 and appeals to buyers searching for the fastest possible PCI Express 4.0 SSDs or those who want to take advantage of the new “resizable BAR” feature that AMD and Nvidia GPUs are progressively introducing.
Examples of the family include the Ryzen 5 3400G, Ryzen 5 3400G, Ryzen 5 5600G, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 9 3900X, and Ryzen 9 3950X. In terms of the latest generation of AMD processors, check out the Ryzen 5, 7 and 9 series (the Ryzen 7 5700G, the Ryzen 7 5800X, the. Ryzen 9 5900X, and the. ryzen 9 5950X)
Maximum Cores and Threads
Threadripper! The Ryzen Threadripper, as its aggressive moniker suggests, is all about getting the most cores and threads for your money. It’s AMD’s answer to Intel’s Core X-Series and a better deal for many customers.
Threadripper CPUs have slower clock speeds than Intel’s equivalents, but they make up for it in raw core/thread counts and support for 64 PCI Express lanes all the way across the board. Overclocking is possible on all Threadripper CPUs.
There have been three generations of Threadripper chips so far. In terms of platform and socket, the first two are identical (a gigantic one known as socket TR4, with more than 4,000 pins and a special loading mechanism). The TRX40 chipset and sTRX4 socket debuted with the third-generation Threadrippers. The AMD X399 is the only high-end chipset used in the first two iterations. If you’re using a third-generation motherboard with a third-generation processor (Threadripper), you can’t use a second generation processor.
As a result, Threadripper processors require unique cooling systems or brackets, which are based on AMD’s EPYC servers. TR4 and sTRX4 aren’t compatible with most existing coolers, yet the vast majority of Threadripper PCs use liquid cooling. Threadripper air coolers, such as AMD’s Wraith Ripper or Deepcool’s Fryzen, are available, but you’ll have to figure in the expense of a heavy-duty air or liquid solution as Threadripper chips, like Intel Core X, don’t include a cooler in the package.
Another pricey item: a high-quality motherboard. AMD’s X399 and TRX40-based boards, like Intel’s X-series processors, are designed for power users and enthusiasts. At the time of this writing, the lowest-end X399 boards cost roughly $250, and the cheapest TRX40 boards cost around $400.
As of Threadripper 2.0, the X series and the higher-end WX processors were separated. The 32C/64T Threadripper 2990WX and 24C/48T Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX are included in the later group. Until the third-generation Threadripper 3990X, which offers 64 cores and 128 threads for $3,990, these two chips were the pinnacle of consumer-affordable core and thread counts (and dropping the X versus WX distinction). We recommend checking out our 2970WX review for more information on these extreme chips.
AMD also launched a new Threadripper Pro series in 2020, which was initially only available in a few pre-built Lenovo workstations. As of late January, AMD announced that Threadripper Pro CPUs would be offered to consumers, and price would be released in late January. Threadripper Pro 3955WX, which costs $1,149, is the cheapest of the three available processors.)
It is possible to use all 128 PCI Express 4.0 lanes on a Threadripper Pro. Memory channels are increased from 4 to 8, and only error-correcting-code (ECC) memory may be used, which is critical in sectors like scientific simulations and high-performance data analysis. In order to use it, you’ll need the WRX80 chipset. So far, WRX80 motherboards have been announced by Asus, Gigabyte, and Supermicro, among others. AMD’s purported impending “Chagall” Threadripper Pro 5000 Series processors (as well as the alleged cancellation of non-Pro Threadrippers) have been making the rounds in the rumor mill, but for the time being, we’ll simply say “keep tight.”
For more information on this series, see our reviews of Ryzen Threadripper 2950XRyzen Threadripper 2950X, Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX, Ryzen Threadripper 3960XRyzen Threadripper 3960X, and Ryzen Threadripper 3970XRyzen Threadripped 3970X.)
What Kind of CPU Cooler Do You Need?
A new CPU cooler may be necessary when purchasing a new processor. Whether or not a cooler is included in the box is dependent on the processor family you’re looking at, whether or not your current cooler will work with the new CPU, and whether or not you intend on overclocking.
If you’re looking at Intel’s mainstream CPUs on Socket 1151 or 1200, most come with Intel’s capable, recently upgraded stock air cooler. In this case, the expectation is that you will bring your own, improved cooler to the chip-tuning party if you purchase an unlocked Core enthusiast processor. If you’ve got an AMD Threadripper or an Intel Core X-Series, you’ll have to provide your own coolers.
Almost all of Intel’s mainstream CPUs on Socket 1151 or 1200 have Intel’s freshly updated standard air cooling. Except for the unlocked Core enthusiast processors, which arrive without any, the presumption is that you’ll bring your own, improved cooling to the chip-tuning party. Same goes for the Intel Core X-Series and AMD Threadripper lines: It’s a BYO cooler party.
Should You Consider Overclocking?
If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can overclock your CPU to a higher-than-stock clock speed. For the most part, productivity users won’t see any benefit from overclocking, therefore we suggest reserving it for geeks and nerds alone.
Why? No matter how much you gain by overclocking, your CPU’s warranty may be voided. (The “silicon lottery” refers to the fact that overclocking appropriateness varies from chip sample to chip sample.) Because not all chips are unlocked and not all motherboards support overclocking, you’ll need a strong cooling solution and a motherboard and CPU that are suited to the task. Once you’ve made the initial investments, it’s generally more cost effective to simply upgrade to a faster CPU.
But if you do decide to take the plunge, be sure you know your overclockables! Seek out processors with the suffix “K” (unlocked) or “KF” (unlocked with no integrated graphics) on the mainstream Intel Core Socket 1151, 1200, and 1700 models. It is possible to overclock any of the AMD Ryzen, Ryzen Threadripper, or Intel Core X-Series processors, as well as any of the X399 or X299 motherboards. While a Z390 or Z370 motherboard is required for Intel Socket 1151 processors, you’ll want to opt for Socket 1200 or 1700 models with a Z490 or a Z590 or a Z690 platform for Ryzen processors.
As previously mentioned, you’ll want to make sure the cooler you’re using is suitable. In order to overclock, you’ll want to make sure that any cooler you purchase has enough TDP capacity to handle the additional demands of a liquid cooling. (Due to the higher heat output required, the chip’s rating will have to be exceeded.)
What Generation CPU Should You Get?
When purchasing for a new computer component, it can be tempting to simply opt for the “newest and finest.” However, do you really need the most up-to-date technology, or can you save money by purchasing an older CPU?
Older CPUs rarely drop sufficiently in price to make their savings worthwhile, thus it is advisable to get the most recent processors. It’s actually possible that demand for these older CPUs will increase, as no new ones are currently being produced.
Even if you can get a decent price on a last-generation CPU, buying a used CPU is the most cost-effective option if you want to save as much money as possible. CPUs are among the “safer” components when it comes to buying old components, although there are always hazards.
Any used hardware purchase should go well as long as you exercise caution and seek for signs that the vendor has a solid reputation, has the original packaging and manuals included, and appears to be knowledgeable about the product in question.
The performance gap between Ryzen generations narrows over time and becomes more pronounced when comparing CPUs from further apart.
It’s possible to save money by purchasing a Ryzen 5 3600X at a discount or by purchasing it used, as opposed to a Ryzen 5 5600X. However, unless you’re really on a tight budget and are purchasing a used CPU, we don’t recommend purchasing a Ryzen 2000 or older model.
Is It A God Time To Buy A New Ryzen CPU?
Another question that has to be answered is whether now is a suitable time to switch over to Ryzen.
With the Ryzen 6000 models due out in early 2022, AMD will be transitioning to a new AM5 socket, meaning that the Ryzen 5000 models will be the last to use AM4.
However, if you’d prefer to keep your PC future-proof and open to future upgrades, it might be a smart idea to wait for the Ryzen 6000 range and the AM5 socket, especially since they’re only around the corner.
You can upgrade today if you’re in desperate need of a new computer and don’t like to prepare too far in advance.
Even though a motherboard has a particular socket, it doesn’t mean that it will be able to handle CPUs that come out three years later, even if they utilize the same socket, because chipsets are also a factor in CPU/motherboard compatibility.
How do I choose a Ryzen processor?
Core and Ryzen are the two main processor families, and their CPUs are divided into three groups: 3, 5, 7, and 9. As the number decreases, so does the processor’s capability. It’s unlikely that a Ryzen 3 CPU can outrun a Ryzen 7, for example, in terms of performance.
How do I choose an AMD processor?
AMD CPUs for gaming: Which one is best? If you’re a gamer, a high CPU clock speed is far more critical than a big number of processor cores. You should look for a CPU with at least six cores and the highest GHz you can afford.
Ryzen 5 CPUs are the best value for most gamers, as they are reasonably priced and won’t significantly slow down anything but the most powerful high-end GPUs, as we’ve already discussed in the article.
However, if you’re going to spend a lot of money on a new graphics card, or if you’re looking for a more future-proof platform, a Ryzen 7 might be a smart option.
In contrast, Ryzen 3 processors are ideal for budget gaming PCs, but they aren’t as future-proof or a good match for the more powerful GPUs.
For those on a tight budget, Ryzen APUs are a great option for building the cheapest gaming PC possible. Alternatively, if you just ever play games that don’t require the type of GPU power that you’d get from a discrete graphics card, these are a wonderful option for you as well.