The rise of AMD has been nothing short of spectacular. Throughout the last few years, the company has clawed its way back from a distant third place in the CPU race to nearly equal footing with Intel. This is especially impressive when you consider that it’s done so using what many would agree was a less-than-impressive chip design process and architecture.
That, however, has all changed now with the introduction of AMD’s Ryzen processors. These new chips take everything good about their older architecture (Zen) and add a much-needed shot of adrenaline to their product line. Now AMDs are coming back stronger than ever, poised to take over your entire system.
AMD Ryzen Series Names Explained
The Ryzen series is AMD’s newest line of CPUs. The first CPUs to come out were the Ryzen 3, 5, and 7, which were released on July 27, 2017. The Ryzen 9 was released on August 31, 2017. The CPUs are based on Zen microarchitecture and are manufactured on a 14nm process.
The Ryzen series is divided into two parts: the Ryzen 3, 5, and 7 are for mainstream users, while the Ryzen 9 is for high-end users.
AMD Ryzen 3
AMD Ryzen 3 is the budget series of CPUs from AMD. The CPUs in this series are cheaper and have less powerful specs when compared to the Ryzen 5 and 7 series. Even so, they are still good performers and are great for budget systems. The newest line of CPUs, the Ryzen 3 5100 and 5300G, are some of the best-performing budget CPUs on the market.
AMD hasn’t made a retail version of the Ryzen 3 with 5000 series CPUs. The only way to get your hands on one of these chips is to buy a pre-built system that has one installed. The current lineup of Ryzen 3 CPUs is the 3300X and the 3100. The 3300X is a 4 core, 8 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.5GHz and a boost clock of 4.3GHz. The 3100 is a slightly lower-end CPU with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 3.9GHz.
The Ryzen 3 CPUs are geared towards those who want a good-performing CPU but don’t want to spend a lot of money.
AMD Ryzen 5
AMD Ryzen 5 is the middle ground between the budget Ryzen 3 and the high-end Ryzen 7 and 9. The Ryzen 5 series is a great choice for most users, offering good performance and a reasonable price. If you’re looking to build a Ryzen-based system on a budget, the Ryzen 5 is the way to go.
The Ryzen 5 lineup has undergone a few changes since its launch. The newest CPUs in the lineup are the Ryzen 5 5600X3D and the 5600X. The 5600X is a 6 core, 12 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.7GHz and a boost clock of 4.6GHz. The 5600X3D is a slightly higher end CPU with a base clock of 3.8GHz and a boost clock of 4.7GHz. Older CPUs in the Ryzen 5 lineup include the Ryzen 5 2600X, 2600, and 1600. The 2600X is a 6 core, 12 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.2GHz. The 2600 is a 6 core, 12 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 3.9GHz. The 1600 is a 6 core, 12 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.2GHz and a boost clock of 3.6GHz.
AMD Ryzen 7
AMD Ryzen 7 is the high-end series of CPUs from AMD. The CPUs in this series are more expensive and have more powerful specs when compared to the Ryzen 3 and 5 series. The Ryzen 7 series is great for gaming and for users who need the extra power. The newest line of CPUs, the Ryzen 7 5800X, is the best performing CPU on the market.
The current lineup of Ryzen 7 CPUs is the Ryzen 7 5800X, 3800X, and 3700X. The 5800X is an 8 core, 16 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.8GHz and a boost clock of 4.7GHz. The 3800X is an 8 core, 16 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.9GHz and a boost clock of 4.5GHz. The 3700X is an 8 core, 16 thread CPU with a base clock of 3.6GHz and a boost clock of 4.4GHz.
AMD Ryzen 9
AMD Ryzen 9 is the current flagship CPU range from AMD. It offers the most powerful processors for workstations, content creation rigs, and high-end gaming systems. If you want the very best that AMD has to offer in a Ryzen CPU, this is the range you want. The Ryzen 9 line currently offers two CPU options and one OEM-only APU option.
The Ryzen 9 5950X is the most powerful desktop CPU on the market right now. It’s a 16-core, 32-thread behemoth that can chew through any task you throw at it. The other CPU option is the Ryzen 9 5900X, which is a 12-core, 24-thread CPU. It’s still an extremely powerful processor, but it doesn’t have the same core count as the 5950X.
AMD Ryzen Letter Meanings
Now that we’ve gone over the different Ryzen series, it’s time to look the letters that come after the number. These letters denote different things, and they’re important to understand if you want to get the most out of your CPU.
X – The X designation denotes the highest performance SKU in the Ryzen series. It has the highest clock speeds and the best single-core performance.
G – The G designation denotes a CPU with integrated graphics. These are usually the lower-end SKUs in the Ryzen series.
S – The S designation denotes a CPU with a reduced TDP. These CPUs have lower clock speeds and are meant for energy-efficient systems.
GE – The GE designation denotes a CPU with a reduced TDP and integrated graphics. These are the lowest power SKUs in the Ryzen series.
XT – The XT designation is given to special edition CPUs that have higher clock speeds than the standard X CPUs. These are usually released later in a product cycle.
H – The H is given to CPUs that have a reduced TDP and higher clock speeds. These are meant for gaming laptops and other mobile devices.
HS – These are high-end SKUs that have a reduced TDP. They’re meant for laptop systems or other energy-efficient systems.
AF – The AF designation is used for “affordable” CPUs. These are lower-end CPUs that are still part of the Ryzen lineup but are meant for budget systems.
AMD Ryzen Number Meanings
The numbers in the Ryzen lineup denote different things, and they’re important to understand if you want to get the most out of your CPU.
The first number in a Ryzen CPU denotes the generation of the CPU. The higher the number, the newer the CPU. For example, a Ryzen 7 2700 is a 2nd-generation CPU, while a Ryzen 7 3700 is a 3rd-generation CPU.
The second denotes the performance tier of the CPU. The higher the number, the higher the performance. For example, an AMD Ryzen 5 5500 is a lower-end CPU, while an AMD Ryzen 5 5600 is a higher-end CPU.
Third Number & Fourth Number
The third and fourth number denote the CPU model. This leaves the option for speed bump and SKU differentiator.
How To Check What Generation Your AMD Ryzen Processor Is On Your Laptop
To check what generation your AMD Ryzen processor is on your laptop, you will need to open the Task Manager.
- Right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
- Select the Performance tab.
- Select CPU.
- Find the Processor column and look for the number next to it. This number is your generation.
For example, if the number next to Processor is 7, then your AMD Ryzen processor is 7th generation.
Now that you know the different AMD Ryzen series and what the letters and numbers mean, you can make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing a CPU for your next PC build.
If you’re looking for the most affordable option, go with Ryzen 3. If you’re looking for the best all-around CPU, go with Ryzen 5. If you want the most powerful CPU, go with Ryzen 7. And, if you want the very best that AMD has to offer, go with Ryzen 9.