At Computex 2024, AMD's CEO Dr. Lisa Su unveiled the highly anticipated Zen 5 architecture, set to power the next generation of Ryzen processors.

The announcement has generated significant excitement in the tech community, with promises of substantial performance improvements and efficiency gains.

Zen 5 Architecture

Zen 5 architecture focuses on a substantial increase in Instructions Per Clock (IPC), with expected gains of up to 15-20% over the previous Zen 4 generation. This improvement is aimed at delivering better overall performance in both single-threaded and multi-threaded applications, making these processors highly competitive against Intel's upcoming Ultra offerings.

One of the standout features of the new Zen 5 processors is their compatibility with existing AM5 motherboards, requiring only a BIOS update. This ensures that users with current AM5 setups can upgrade without the need for new motherboards, continuing AMD's commitment to providing long-term value through platform stability.

The new processors will also incorporate enhanced AI capabilities. These improvements are designed to optimize performance in applications leveraging artificial intelligence, which is becoming increasingly important in both consumer and enterprise computing environments.

Zen 5 chips are built on a more advanced manufacturing node, likely using TSMC's 3nm process. This transition allows for higher transistor density, which contributes to better power efficiency and higher performance per watt.

Ryzen 9000 Series

The first wave of processors based on Zen 5 will include the Ryzen 9000 series. These CPUs are expected to feature up to 16 cores and 32 threads, with clock speeds reaching up to 5.7 GHz on boost. Early benchmarks suggest significant performance improvements in gaming and productivity applications compared to the Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 series.

The new flagship model is the Ryzen 9 9950X, a CPU with 16 cores and 32 threads with a TDP of 170W. AMD indicates a maximum boost frequency of up to 5.7 GHz and mentions 80 MB of overall cache (L2+L3).

One step below we find the Ryzen 9 9900X with 12 cores and 24 threads, 76 MB of overall cache, a maximum boost frequency of 5.6 GHz and a TDP of 120W.

Completing the range are the Ryzen 7 9700X and Ryzen 5 9600X. The former is a processor with 8 cores and 16 threads, maximum boost clock of 5.5 GHz and 40 MB cache. The TDP is 65W. The 9600X has 6 cores and 12 threads, maximum boost clock of 5.5 GHz and 38 MB cache.

AMD plans to launch the Ryzen 9000 series in the second half of 2024, with wide availability expected by the holiday season. This timing positions AMD well to capitalize on the increased demand for high-performance computing hardware during the peak shopping period.

Although the new CPUs are compatible with 600-series chipset platforms via firmware updates, AMD and its motherboard partners are ready with 800-series chipsets, particularly the X870 and X870E chipsets.

Key features of motherboards based on these chipsets include the integration of USB4 support as standard, PCI Gen 5 connectivity for graphics and SSDs, and support for higher memory clocks via EXPO profiles. The X870 and X870E chipsets both have 44 total PCIe lines and direct connectivity to the processor for PCIe 5.0 NVMe SSDs. AMD said the X870E has 24 PCIe 5.0 lines, including 16 lines dedicated to the GPU.

The continued support for AM5 motherboards and the promise of significant performance gains make the Zen 5-based Ryzen 9000 series an attractive upgrade for both current AMD users and those looking to switch from Intel.

Ryzen 9 5900XT and Ryzen 9 5800XT

The AM4 platform extends its lifespan with the introduction of two new Ryzen 5000 series processors. The Ryzen 9 5900XT, a 16-core model with a suggested price of $359, and the Ryzen 5800XT, identical in features to the 5800X but 100 MHz faster in boost than the latter, are on the way. In this case, the price is $249 and includes a Wraith Prism cooler.

Both models will be available in July.