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Ryzen 5000 Rides Zen 3 to the Top

November 10, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Signaling greater competitiveness, AMD is raising prices on its newest Ryzen desktop processors compared with its prior generation. It justifies these increases on the basis of the double-digit performance gains that its Zen 3 architecture delivers across many games. Code-named Vermeer, the fourth-generation Ryzen desktop processors employ the same TSMC 7nm process and AM4 socket as the third-generation Matisse, so they fit into the same motherboards; they’re in production now. AMD brands Vermeer as the Ryzen 5000 to differentiate it from Ryzen 4000 mobile processors (Renoir). Desktop core counts remain the same, as do most TDPs.

At the package level, Vermeer has the same die configurations as Matisse, even reusing the 12nm I/O die. The 5950X and 5900X comprise two CPU die and one I/O die, whereas the 5800X and 5600X comprise a single CPU die. The big change is a unified core complex, with eight CPUs sharing an L3 cache, whereas Matisse implements a pair of four-core complexes per die. This change doubles the amount of minimum-latency L3 cache available to a CPU and thread. Because many games have one dominant thread, the change boosts performance.

Although previous Ryzen designs have lagged Intel’s in single-thread performance, AMD made considerable improvements to the Zen 3 CPU aimed at taking the lead. It claims a 19% generational increase in per-clock performance (IPC) using the geometric mean of 25 varied workloads. Because Vermeer is manufactured in the same IC process as Matisse, maximum clock speeds rise about 5%, whereas base speeds fall slightly. For multithread workloads, the company claims its 12-core 5900X delivers a massive 24% performance-per-watt improvement over the prior generation.

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