Note: This article was first published on Mar 2, 2017.
Well, here’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. AMD’s hotly anticipated Ryzen processors have finally dropped, and gamers and enthusiasts finally have an option other than Intel when it comes to selecting a CPU for their next rig.
Intel has had free reign of the high-end CPU market for too long now, which means they’ve been able to set their prices with impunity and without much worry of being price competitive. If you wanted performance, you just had to go with Intel.
AMD says Ryzen could change all that. For starters, its price is extremely attractive when set beside Intel’s Broadwell-E CPUs. Here’s a quick recap of the models (all are 8-core/16-thread parts) that are launching now and their prices:
On the other hand, the octa-core Intel Core i7-6900K (3.20GHz, 20MB L3 cache) that AMD has so often compared the Ryzen 7 1800X with retails for over S$1,500 here. The US pricing tells a similar story, with the Ryzen chip costing US$499 and the Intel one costing US$1,049 on Newegg. While that sounds great for serious content creators where Ryzen can offer a much more lucrative option, the price point of these chips and the enthusiasts who are interested in them are better pegged to Intel's current Kaby Lake processors. After all, at those prices, Ryzen will be assessed by the mainstream DIY folks and the bulk of them generally use it for some levels of content and office productivity tasks along with a good dose of gaming.
We’ve already covered most of the key features of the Ryzen architecture here, so we won’t bore you with the details of the processor again.
The main feature to note is what AMD collectively calls SenseMI, a set of technologies that include Precision Boost and eXtended Frequency Range (XFR). These enable granular 25MHz increments in clock speeds, and allow speeds to boost beyond the official specifications. For the Ryzen 7 1800X, this is an extra 100MHz for a maximum boost speed of 4.1GHz.