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AMD Unveils 5 Third-Gen Ryzen CPUs, Including 12-Core Flagship

Photo (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

AMD fired off the first salvo of its third-gen Ryzen lineup today at Computex 2019 as it revealed five new CPU models that range from Ryzen 5 with six cores and 12-threads for $199 up to a Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores and 24 threads for $499. To go with the new processors, which arrive on July 7th (7/7 for 7nm) the company also unveiled its new X570 chipset.

It isn't often that we witness tectonic shifts in the processor market, especially given Intel's dominance over the last decade, but AMD's third-gen Ryzen series processors could be a turning point for AMD as the company takes its first process node leadership position over Intel in its history. The 7nm manufacturing process, which is fabbed by TSMC, promises to bring lower pricing and power consumption, and according to AMD's own numbers, it appears to deliver on those goals.

SEP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Boost Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 Lanes (Processor / Chipset)Launch Date
Ryzen 9 3900X$49912 / 24105W3.84.67024 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3800X$3998 / 16105W3.94.53624 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3700X$3298 / 1665W3.64.43624 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600X$2496 / 1295W3.84.43524 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600$1996 / 1265W3.64.23524 / 16July 7, 2019

Pairing those advances with AMD's new Zen 2 microarchitecture, which the company says provides a 15% improvement in instructions per cycle (IPC) throughput, with the higher core counts afforded by the denser 7nm process also bring along additional hefty performance improvements.

With full PCIe 4.0 support on AMD's new X570 motherboards, the platform becomes very attractive for enthusiasts seeking bleeding-edge connectivity. Imagine an SSD that operates at up to 8 GB/s and you understand why this new interface is so important. Previous-gen AMD motherboards will be compatible with the new CPUs, but will only get partial PCIe 4.0 support via BIOS updates.

It's noteworthy that Intel has yet to bring a PCIe 4.0-capable desktop chip to market, but AMD has enabled the faster interface and also unveiled its new PCIe 4.0 Radeon RX 5700 "Navi" graphics card alongside a new PCIe 4.0 SSD from its partner Gigabyte that pushes out 5GB/s of throughput. That sets the stage for massive performance improvements for secondary devices. 

But pricing is the ultimate weapon, and the combination of AMD's chiplet-based architecture, which enables a scalable design and improves manufacturing yields, and the 7nm process has proven to be one of the most disruptive aspects of the new third-gen Ryzen lineup. Make no mistake: The Ryzen 3000 series disrupts Intel's pricing structure on the high end, while improving Ryzen's price-to-performance ratio in the mid-range.

Let's take a look at the big picture, then go blow-by-blow through pricing and performance of the full product stack compared to Intel's competing chips.

The Ryzen 3000 Series Models

The Ryzen 3000 series' current halo product comes in the form of the 12-core 24-thread Ryzen 9 3900X, and it's likely AMD chose the 9-series branding to counter Intel's Core i9.

Make no mistake - there is no alternative to this processor's core counts on any mainstream desktop platform, affording AMD the leadership core count for mainstream PCs. The $499 price point is extremely competitive, too. This 105W chip comes armed with a 3.8 GHz base clock speed, 4.6 GHz boost and a whopping 70MB of total cache. AMD isn't giving us the respective L1, L2, and L3 cache capacities, instead providing us an aggregate number for now.

SEP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Boost Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 Lanes (Processor / Chipset)Launch Date
Ryzen 9 3900X$49912 / 24105W3.84.67024 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3800X$3998 / 16105W3.94.53624 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 7 3700X$3298 / 1665W3.64.43624 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600X$2496 / 1295W3.84.43524 / 16July 7, 2019
Ryzen 5 3600$1996 / 1265W3.64.23524 / 16July 7, 2019

The third-gen Ryzen 7 lineup consists of two models that both wield eight cores, 16 threads, and 36MB of total cache. The 105W 3800X has a 3.9 GHz base and 4.5 GHz boost for $399, while stepping down to the $329 65W model saves you 40W and $70 while you only take a slight reduction in clock speeds to a 3.6 / 4.4 GHz base/boost.

The Ryzen 5 lineup comes with six cores, twelve threads, and 35MB of L3 cache, again split into two TDP tiers. The 95W Ryzen 5 3600X comes with a 3.8 / 4.4 GHz boost for $249, while the Ryzen 5 3600 drops down 30W to a 65W TDP and comes with 3.6 / 4.2 GHz base/boost clocks.

In addition to its native PCIe 4.0 support, the new X570 chipset accommodates up to 40 PCIe lanes, 12 USB 10Gbps ports, and 14 SATA ports. The X570 motherboards also support dual channel memory. We'll provide deep dive details once AMD releases more information.

All of these processors should drop into existing motherboards with the AM4 socket, though support for the cheapest 300 and 400 A-Series motherboards may be spotty.

Ryzen 9 3900X Compared to Intel, Threadripper

It should go without saying, but the Ryzen 9 3900X now stands alone as the highest core-count model on the mainstream desktop. 

SEP / RCP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Boost Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 LanesPrice Per Thread
Intel Core i9-9920X$119912 / 24165W3.54.43216$49.95
Ryzen 9 3900X$49912 / 24105W3.84.67024$20.79
Threadripper 2920X$62512 / 24180W3.54.36064$26.04
Core i9-9900K$4888 / 1695w3.65.018.516$61

AMD's disruptive pricing is most apparent at the top end of the stack. Given what we know about Intel's delays on its client roadmaps, it doesn't appear that the company will have a chip with a higher core count in the near future, though we do expect 10-core Comet Lake chips to come to market in 2019, albeit on the 14nm process.

The real focus here, performance-wise, falls to the Core i9-9900K versus the Ryzen 9 23900X. AMD provided a number of benchmarks, but as with all vendor-provided benchmarks, we should take them with a grain of salt. The chart above is the cumulative scores relative to Intel's Core i7-9700K, which serves as the baseline. That makes the chart a bit tricky to read, but AMD claims that the Ryzen 9 3900X offers a 2% improvement in single-threaded Cinebench performance over the Core i9-9900K and a 60% improvement in the multi-threaded benchmark score. Cinebench isn't representative of real-world results in applications, but these are impressive results nonetheless, especially given the relatively similar price points.

We have to reach up to Intel's high end desktop platform to find a fair comparison based on core counts. The Core i9-9920X slots in with 12 cores and 24-threads for $1,199, a $700 premium over AMD's Ryzen 9 3900X, not to mention the extra costs associated with stepping up to an HEDT motherboard. The disparity in pricing is apparent here, but the -9920X does come with support for quad-channel memory, whereas the Ryzen chips support dual channel memory.

But at the end of the day, it boils down to performance and price. AMD says the Ryzen 9 3900X offers 14% more single-threaded and 6% more multi-threaded performance in Cinebnech R20 than the -9920X, but with a 60W lower TDP. Intel specs its TDP at base frequency, so it increases demonstrably during boost periods, while AMD measures its power under full load conditions. That means the actual difference in power consumption under load is likely much larger in favor of AMD.

There's no doubt the Ryzen 9 3900X blurs the line between the company's Threadripper platform and the mainstream desktop, with the Threadripper 1920X being AMD's only core-comparable processor. That processor has its own advantages, such as support for 64 PCIe lanes and quad-channel memory, but you'll notice those features come at a premium. 

Third-gen Ryzen 7 Series Versus Intel Core i7

SEP / RCP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Boost Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 LanesPrice Per Thread
Core i9-9900K$4888 / 1695w3.65.018.516$30.05
Ryzen 7 3800X$3998 / 16105W3.94.53624 $24.94
Core i9-9700K$3748 / 895W3.64.914.516$46.75
Ryzen 7 2700X$3298 / 16105W3.74.320.76820$20.56
Ryzen 7 3700X$3298 / 1665W3.64.43624$20.56
Core i7-9700$3238 / 895W3.64.914.516$40.38

The third-gen Ryzen 7 series finds us in familiar turf where the Ryzen processors square up with the Core i7 lineup. You'll notice that AMD has maintained similar price points for the new models compared to the previous-gen Ryzen 7's, but we caution that pricing is a moving target for the last-gen chips. Although third-gen Ryzen pricing is close to the current-gen processors on sale, this is far lower than the per-core pricing at the launch of the previous gen. Normalize the numbers to price-per-thread, and its clear AMD maintains a pricing advantage over Intel's lineup. But performance varies based on architecture, so again, the price-to-performance ratio is where the rubber meets the road.

AMD provided gaming benchmarks, conducted at 1920 x 1080 with an Nvidia RTX 2080, that show a huge jump that ranges from 14% to 34% over the previous-gen Ryzen 7 2700X. That's an impressive gen-on-gen performance increase, and much more than we've become accustomed to after years of slow incremental updates from the blue team. The extra performance also helps justify the 3900X's higher pricing compared to the previous-gen Ryzen 2700X.

This chart quantifies Cinebench performance for both the 3800X and the 3700X against Intel's relevant chips. Here we see the less expensive Ryzen 7 3800X carve out a 1% advantage in single-threaded performance and a 2% advantage in multi-threaded Cinebench performance over the Core i9-9900K that retails for $89 more.

We also see the Ryzen 7 3700X take a 1% lead in single-threaded and a 38% lead in multi-threaded Cinebench performance over the Core i7-9700K, again at a big price disparity--the Ryzen processor is $45 cheaper. 

Here we see a direct comparison of the performance improvements of the Ryzen 7 3700X over its previous-gen counterpart, along with the 40W lower TDP rating. That's a boon for enthusiasts looking to overclock and/or pair their processor with more value-centric coolers.

Plotting those same metrics against the Core i7-9700K, we can see that AMD claims to win by 1% in single-threaded and 28% in multi-threaded Cinebench performance, but within a 30W lower power envelope.

Third-Gen Ryzen 5 Series Versus Core i5

SEP / RCP (USD)Cores / ThreadsTDP (Watts)Base Frequency (GHz)Boost Frequency (GHz)Total Cache (MB)PCIe 4.0 LanesPrice Per Thread
Core i5-9600K$2626 / 695W3.74.6~1116$43.67
Ryzen 5 3600X$2496 / 1295W3.84.43524$20.75
Ryzen 5 2600X$2296 / 1295W3.64.2~19.520$19.08
Core i5-9500$1926 / 665W3.04.4~1116$32
Ryzen 5 3600$1996 / 1265W3.64.23524$16.58
Ryzen 5 2600$1996 / 1295W3.64.3~19.529$16.58

Again, AMD's pricing at the bottom of the stack remains relatively consistent with the prior-gen chips, but the company didn't provide us with any performance data for these chips. Given the improvements we've seen in the higher-end models, we expect these processors will also offer a compelling price-to-performance ratio. You'll also notice that the Ryzen 5 2600 has a 35W lower TDP than its predecessor.

Ryzen 3000 Series Design

Third-gen Ryzen 9 SeriesThird-gen Ryzen 7 SeriesThird-gen Ryzen 5 Series
12 Cores, 24 ThreadsEight Cores, 16 ThreadsSix Cores 12 Threads
Two Client Compute Die (CCD) - One I/O chipletOne Client Compute Die (CCD) - One I/O chipletOne Client Compute Die (CCD) - One I/O chiplet

We've covered what we know about the third-gen Ryzen architecture in detail, but from a high level we're looking at two small 7nm Client Compute Die (CCD), which each housing eight processing cores, tied together with AMD's second-gen Infinity Fabric to a larger 14nm central I/O die. The I/O die contains the memory controllers, Infinity Fabric links, and I/O connections. AMD isn't releasing more architectural details at this time, but we will update as we learn more.

The important takeaway here is that chips with eight or fewer cores will have one CCD (the small chiplet), while chips with more than eight cores will come equipped with two CCD, as we see in the image of the 12-core Ryzen 9 3900X above.

AMD hasn't shared many fine-grained architectural details, but we do know that third-gen Ryzen features a reorganized cache hierarchy that reduces latency and improves gaming performance, while also doubling floating point performance.


AMD will add chips with lower core counts to attack the budget range in the coming months and, though it is not officially acknowledged by AMD, it's also safe to assume we will hear more about a 16-core, 32-thread model in the future.

The hallmarks of AMD's standard value proposition include bundled coolers and unlocked multipliers on all models for unrestricted overclocking, and although the company hasn't explicitly promised those features, we expect the processors will include these staples. Mixing in the lower power consumption for the Ryzen 7 3700X and the Ryzen 5 3600 is a compelling selling point, especially when paired with AMD's famously-capable coolers. Unfortunately, we don't have hard specifics on overclocking performance, but that will likely play into the value equation for enthusiasts. Given the low power envelope, it's easy to imagine that there is plenty of thermal headroom to play with. And the chips still feature solder between the die and heatspreader, which helps.

AMD's addition of PCIe 4.0 support for its platform, and whipping up the PCIe 4.0 Radeon RX5700 and fostering the NVMe SSD ecosystem, are powerful value-adds. As the first PCIe 4.0 platform, Ryzen does offer something you can't get anywhere else -- access to leading platform I/O performance. That does come at the cost of higher power consumption; we're told the chipset sucks down 11-15W compared to the previous-gen's 3.5W with PCIe 3.0. That requires the active cooling via fans that we've seen on motherboards here at the show, but we're sure that many enthusiasts won't mind the return of chipset fans if they get leading throughput in exchange. 

AMD still hasn't shared many of the details we would like to see, like memory accommodations and specific cache hierarchy breakouts, along with a tour of the Zen 2 microarchitecture. We do know that the company has improved its branch predictor, instruction prefetching, re-optimized its instruction cache, improved the throughput and latency of the Infinity Fabric, and tuned its cache hierarchy for lower latency, but how the company accomplished those goals won't come to light until we get closer to launch on July 7, 2019.

It's hard not to be excited about the advancements AMD has made with the third-gen Ryzen chips, not to mention the platform, but it all boils down to real-world performance. We can't wait to get our hands on the chips to put them through their paces, and we won't have to wait too much longer. In the meantime we'll be tracking down more information and updating this article as necessary.

Paul Alcorn

Paul Alcorn is the Deputy Managing Editor for Tom's Hardware US. He writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage and enterprise hardware.