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AMD Unveils Refreshed Ryzen PC Chips

By Timothy Green – Jun 17, 2020 at 7:00AM

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The company is boosting performance as it competes with Intel's latest chips.

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD 1.31%) rolled out its third-generation Ryzen desktop PC processors in July 2019. The chips offered compelling value propositions, providing more cores for less money than comparable products from Intel (INTC -0.30%). By using a cutting-edge 7nm manufacturing process from Taiwan Semiconductor, AMD was able to very nearly close the single-threaded performance gap with its rival.

While AMD is expected to launch fourth-generation Ryzen desktop PC processors sometime this year, the company is refreshing its lineup in the meantime. The company announced on June 16 that it was adding three new processors to its Ryzen 3000 family aimed at bumping up performance.

AMD logo on a chip.

Image source: AMD.

The Ryzen 3000XT Series

Three new chips are set to join the Ryzen 3000 desktop processor family on July 7, each priced the same as existing chips with similar specifications:

New Chip

Cores/Threads

Suggested Price

Comparable Existing Chip

Ryzen 9 3900XT

12/24

$499

Ryzen 9 3900X

Ryzen 7 3800XT

8/16

$399

Ryzen 7 3800X

Ryzen 5 3600XT

6/12

$249

Ryzen 5 3600X

Data source: AMD.

These new chips are based on the same underlying technology as the existing chips, and they're built using the same manufacturing process. But AMD has made some optimizations that it says will raise single-threaded performance by as much as 4% over their non-XT counterparts. In terms of specifications, the only difference between the XT chips and the non-XT chips is a higher boost frequency.

It should be noted that the existing lineup of Ryzen 3000 chips currently retail below their suggested price. The 3900X, for example, can be found for $415 on Amazon.com. Given that the XT chips bring minimal improvements, an official price cut from AMD on its existing chips may be coming down the pike.

Responding to Comet Lake

AMD's refreshed chips will go up against Intel's Comet Lake desktop processors, announced in late April. Comet Lake spans price points from $42 to $488, with the top processor offering 10 cores and 20 threads.

Intel has done some de facto price cutting by adding features to mainstream chips that were previously absent. The 6-core i5-10600K, for example, includes Hyperthreading which boosts its thread count to 12. The previous generation of i5 chips from Intel lacked that feature.

The main selling point for Comet Lake is single-threaded performance. While AMD has made incredible progress with Ryzen, Intel can still claim a performance advantage. Single-threaded performance matters for any application that can't take full advantage of many cores. PC games are an example.

In its review of Intel's i5-10600K, Tom's Hardware called the chip "the mainstream gaming champ" thanks to its strong single-threaded performance and capable multi-threaded performance. In launching the XT series with improved single-threaded performance, AMD is looking to minimize Intel's single-threaded advantage.

AMD's fourth-generation Ryzen desktop chips should bring meaningful performance improvements, although it's unknown at this point exactly when they'll arrive. For now, the XT series is the company's way of countering Intel's focus on superior single-threaded performance.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Timothy Green has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. The Motley Fool recommends Intel and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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