Ryzen (pronounced RYE zen) is an AMD CPU aimed at the server, desktop, workstation, media center PC and all-in-one markets. AMD’s Ryzen base models feature eight cores and 16-thread processing at 3.4Ghz with 20MB cache, neural net-based prediction hardware and smart prefetch. Codenamed Zen in development, Ryzen is the first major architectural change for AMD since Bulldozer.
The AMD processor runs on new 1331 pin AM4 socket motherboards shared by FX models in high-end systems as well as APU models. AM4 motherboards support DDR4 RAM, PCIe Gen3. Ryzen can function as a system on a chip for low-cost, bare-bones setups. AM4 offers other chipset-enabled features, such as additional PCIe slots, enhanced sound, SATA express, and USB 3.1 gen2 10Gbs connectivity. The shared socket also makes it easier to upgrade from base APU systems to discrete graphics cards along with FX CPUs for upgrades as well as those looking to at start entry level. Also of interest are claims of machine learning to predict instructions, making the CPU capable of learning how to run programs faster.
In launch demonstrations, un-boosted at 3.4Ghz, AMD Ryzen did slightly better than Intel’s 6900K 3.2-3.7Ghz with turbo enabled. Those stats equal performance with a $1100 Intel part. One historical disadvantage to AMD's competitiveness has been Intel’s manufacturing process lead. Using a smaller process has often given Intel’s processors the ability to run at higher speed. The launch of Ryzen represents the first time the two will be using the same process: 14 nm FinFET.
Watch AMD's launch event: