There are lots of different CPUs from AMD. The company uses Ryzen as the primary name for its CPUs. However, with lots of options available, it can be hard to keep track of AMD’s Ryzen processors.
But that shouldn’t be the case as it’s essential to know what lies under the hood of each to know what you’re getting before splurging cash. AMD, just like Intel, doesn’t have a straightforward naming convention. But if you get Intel’s Core i3, i5, i7, and i9 naming scheme, it shouldn’t be hard to crack the AMD CPU naming scheme.
Let’s take a look at AMD Ryzen CPU to help you get the hang of everything. We’ll look at what different AMD CPU numbers mean, Ryzen generations, AMD CPU name scheme, and more. We hope this guide shall help you make an informed decision next time you’re in the market for a new PC. Looking to buy a new AMD CPU right now? Our in-depth guide on the best AMD CPUs right now should come in handy.
What do AMD CPU numbers mean?
Like Intel which uses Core for naming its CPUs, AMD uses Ryzen. Together, Ryzen and Core are the two most popular CPU lingos you’ll see thrown around in PC communities. When you see Ryzen, know they’re referring to an AMD CPU. If it’s Core i-* know it’s an Intel CPU.
AMD CPU follows an identical naming scheme to Intel – 3, 5, 7, and 9.
There are four different AMD Ryzen processor brackets as follows:
Ryzen 3 — Up to 4-core processors.
Ryzen 5 — Up to 6-core processors.
Ryzen 7 — Up to 8-core processors.
Ryzen 9 — Up to 16-core processors.
Threadripper — Up to 64-core processors.
As you can see from above, each Ryzen processor bracket indicates a certain amount of maximum core processors that should be expected. The higher the number, the more the number of core processors and performance, and vice versa.
This model is constant, and you’ll see it stand out as you compare individual Ryzen CPUs. Intel’s CPU naming convention has its quirks as well but generally, they follow a similar idea.
Ryzen 3 processors are targeted at the mainstream market, Ryzen 5 the mid-range performance market, while Ryzen 7 and 9 are for pro-consumers like gamers. Sure, Ryzen 9 series is more powerful than Ryzen 7.
To get a better hang of everything included in the Ryzen 5950X name, it helps to look at Ryzen CPU generations.
Ryzen generations explained
AMD announced its Zen microarchitecture on August 17, 2016, but it was not until March 2017 that the first CPUs based on the architecture hit the shelves. March 2017 is when we saw the first generation of Zen-based processors.
Years later, there are four different Ryzen generations. The latest in the series, fourth-gen CPUs, are based on the Zen 3 (yes, Zen 3, not a typo) architecture launched on October 28, 2020.
To understand how we got to Zen 3 architecture, yet Ryzen CPUs are fourth-gen, here’s a quick breakdown of the different architecture–and when they were launched.
First Generation: 14nm Zen architecture (released in March 2017)
Second Generation: 12nm Zen+ architecture (released April 2018)
Third Generation: 7nm Zen 2 architecture (released July 2019)
Fourth Generation: 7nm Zen 3 architecture (released November 2020)
That’s how AMD started the whole confusion around its Ryzen CPU generations.
Again, there are also different types of Ryzen CPUs for different purposes. AMD has Ryzen CPUs for mainstream desktop users, high-end desktop users, and those meant for laptops. Heck, the company even has APUs, which we’ll look into below.
That’s a lot to sift through–but let’s do it.
We’ll start with AMD’s mainstream desktop processors.
1. AMD Ryzen Mainstream Desktop CPUs
AMD Ryzen 1000 Series
The first generation of Ryzen CPUs based on the 14nm Zen architecture was Ryzen 1000 Series. These were called “Summit Ridge.” Example of 1st-gen Ryzen mainstream desktop CPUs includes Ryzen 7 1800X, Ryzen 7 1700X, Ryzen 7 1700, to name a few.
Examples of 2nd gen Ryzen CPUs include Ryzen 5 2500X, Ryzen 2600X, and Ryzen 5 2600.
AMD Ryzen 3000 Series
These were announced at Computex on May 27, 2019. They leveraged the third-gen Zen 2 architecture based on the 7nm processing technology. AMD Ryzen 3000 series uses Matisse micro-architecture. It presented massive improvements to mainstream Ryzen 2000 series chips. That is all thanks to the massive jump from the previous 12nm Zen+ architecture to TSMC’s 7nm FinFET fabrication node.
With Ryzen 3000 series, AMD furiously took at Intel. And that’s when AMD started to realize the fruits of switching its CPUs to the Zen architecture, build from the ground up.
Examples of the Ryzen 3000 series include Ryzen 5 3500 and Ryzen 5 3500X.
AMD Ryzen 4000 Series (APUs)
For Ryzen 4000 series, things get a little complicated as AMD maintains consistency in confusion. AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series chips were known as APUs, short for Accelerated Processing Unit.
What is an APU?
APU is a marketing term designated to AMD chips that have both a CPU and a GPU on a single die. In other words, the GPU is integrated into the CPU, which is commonly known as integrated GPU in Intel marketing lingo.
Other than that, there’s nothing to it. However, it was formerly known as Fusion.
Ryzen APUs landed on the market in mid-2020, based on Renoir microarchitecture. Examples of recent APUs include Ryzen 3 4300GE, Ryzen 3 4300G, Ryzen 5 4600GE, and Ryzen 7 4700G.
Ryzen 5000 Series
These are fourth-gen chips based on the Zen 3 microarchitecture. They are fabricated using the 7nm architecture and offer high performance to previous generations. Mainstream Ryzen 5000 series chips from AMD are known in the wood by their code name Vermeer.
An example of an AMD Ryzen 5000 series chip is the Ryzen 5 5600X. There are also high-performance options, like the Ryzen 7 5800 and its marginally better Ryzen 7 5800X and even more potent Ryzen 9 5900X. The latter is among our best AMD CPU you can get your hands on right now.
2. AMD High-End Desktop (HEDT) CPUs
AMD’s chips targeted at high-end desktops (HEDT) are nicknamed Threadripper. These are high-performance chips that could get just about anything done. Editing videos, gaming, Bitcoin mining? You name it.
Ryzen Threadripper 1000 Series
This was the first generation of AMD HEDT CPUs based on the Zen architecture. An example includes Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU.
Ryzen Threadripper 2000 Series
The second-generation Threadripper chips added higher clock speeds relative to their first-gen counterparts thanks to the new 12nm process and “Zen+” architecture.
An example of how the two compare is taking a deeper look into the 1st gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X CPU vs. 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X CPU.
Ryzen Threadripper 3000 Series
The third-generation of AMD’s HEDT CPUs crafted using the Zen architecture. An example includes the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X launched in February 2020 in the US at a whopping $3990. These are the latest HEDT CPUs from AMD.
Ryzen Threadripper 5000 Series
Ryzen Threadripper 5000 series is yet to come out, and no one knows when they’ll drop. There’s so much anticipation on what AMD has in store for its HEDT CPUs based on the Zen 3 architecture.
3. AMD Mobile Processors
In addition to mainstream Ryzen and high-end Threadripper CPUs, AMD also has mobile chips. These follow a similar naming convention as mainstream desktop APUs. The only difference is you’ll see new H, HS, HX, or U suffixes in addition to the regular chip name.
What do U, G, H, HS, X, GE mean in AMDProcessors?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different Ryzen series SKU models:
AMD H Series processors – featured on high-performance laptops primarily targeted at gamers. Laptops with an H SKU have higher 45W Thermal Design Power(or TDP). TDP is the amount of heat dissipated by a chip while working that can be pushed out by the cooling system effectively.
AMD HS Series processors – HS SKUs are less powerful chips than their H counterparts. HS is more power-efficient, however, relative to H SKUs. HS has a lower 35W TDP, ten less than 45W TDP offered by AMD H Series chips.
AMD HX Series processors are mobile processors that offer slightly higher performance than other standard H series chips with over 45W TDP. The new class of the Ryzen 5000 series is lead by the Ryzen 9 5980HX, which offers “elite-level” performance than other H series chips, followed closely by Ryzen 9 5900HX. (We hope you’re getting a hand of the numbers😉)
AMD U Series processors – U Series processors are mobile chips running ultrathin and ultraportable laptops for productivity and extended battery life.
AMD G, E, and GE Series processors – G, E, and GE suffixes are featured on mainstream desktop CPUs with integrated graphics cards that AMD calls APU. From high performance to least powerful G, E and GE can be summarized as follows: G > GE > E.
AMD X Series processors are high-performance chips with Extended Frequency Range or XFR. These chips are automatically boosted to higher clock speeds in certain favorable conditions, known as overclocking, although you can overclock all AMD CPUs.
Other AMD Processors
Apart from these, AMD also has other processors for business users. The Threadripper Pro and Ryzen Pro series lead on this front.
With that out of our way, let’s tackle some of the most commonly asked questions regarding AMD CPUs.
Are Ryzen CPUs better than intel? Largely, yes. AMD CPUs perform better than their Intel counterparts in most cases. Paired with their aggressive pricing, AMD CPUs provide bang-for-buck. It continues to be seen whether Intel will make a comeback soon.
Are AMD Processors good?
Sure, no doubt. And now that AMD processors lead in the market for both performance and value, there’s never a better time to switch to AMD from Intel.
What AMD CPU should I get?
This boils down to what you’re looking for and also the budget. If your main focus is on high-performance gaming, the mid-range Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU with higher clocks should take care of your needs. These should cost you anywhere between $200-$300.
Why not the high-end Core i7 or Ryzen 7 chip? Do you ask? Because gaming doesn’t entirely depend on a CPU. As much as a CPU is vital, having a high-end GPU will ensure you get the most out of your chip.
A budget AMD CPU (more of cheapest) like a Ryzen 3000 series chip should do for those on a tight budget and won’t do any heavy tasks.
High budget($300-$400) and need more power? Go for a Ryzen 7 chip. For workstation needs, a Threadripper should do.