Ryzen CPUs explained: Everything you need to know about AMD’s disruptive multicore chips

After a decade of fielding ho-hum FX-series processors, AMD’s finally released its highly disruptive Ryzen chips, throwing down the gauntlet and challenging Intel’s supremacy in high-end computing.

AMD’s new Ryzen chips include several CPUs (and CPU families) of various levels of potency. What’s more, Ryzen introduces a completely new motherboard platform, and the processors require different memory and coolers than their predecessors. There’s a lot to sift through—so let’s sift!

Here’s everything you need to know about AMD’s Ryzen.


  • Meet AMD’s Ryzen CPUs
  • Ryzen technologies
  • Ryzen performance
  • What you need to upgrade for Ryzen
  • Ryzen operating systems

Meet AMD’s Ryzen CPUs

AMD Ryzen 7 prices

Mark Hachman

High-level Ryzen 7 specs and prices.

Let’s begin with the stars of the show: the Ryzen chips themselves.

AMD’s mainstream Ryzen chips will be split across three families. The top-of-the-line Ryzen 7 processors launched first, with 8 cores, 16 threads, and price points that undercut the comparable 8-core Intel Extreme Edition by a whopping $500. Sweet holy moly. The initial Ryzen 7 lineup consists of the $500 Ryzen 7 1800X, the $400 Ryzen 7 1700X, and the $330 Ryzen 7 1700.

amd ryzen pricing


AMD’s Ryzen 5 chips will start at $169 for the 1400 and go up to $249 for the 1600X, staying with range of Intel’s Core i5.

The more affordable Ryzen 5 series launched on April 11 with more variation among processors than you’ll find in the 7 series.

The $249 Ryzen 5 1600X is a 6-core, 12-thread processor capable of boosting to 4GHz, the same max speed as the Ryzen 7 1800X. The $219 Ryzen 5 1600 is a 6-core, 12-thread chip that tops out at 3.6GHz. The rest of the Ryzen 5 lineup consists of quad-core, 8-thread CPUs, with the $189 Ryzen 5 1500X hitting 3.7GHz with boost and the $169 Ryzen 5 1400hanging between 3.2GHz and 3.4GHz.

Ryzen 3 price and details | The Full Nerd Ep. 27  (20:55)

Moving down to the mainstream Ryzen 3 lineup, the $109 Ryzen 3 1200 and $129 Ryzen 3 1300X are true quad-core 65W chips withouthyperthreading, designed to battle Intel’s dual-core (but hyperthread-enabled) Core i3 processors.

The Ryzen 3 1200’s clock speeds hover between 3.1GHz and 3.4GHz, while the Ryzen 3 1300X hits 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz, and both come with AMD’s Wraith Stealth cooler.

ryzen threadripper cpu