Complete Guide to AMD CPUs: Generations, Names, Good and Bad

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AMD has been around for a long time trying its best to claw into Intel’s dominance in the CPU market. The past few years have seen the company really rise to the occasion and is now a popular choice among gamers and PC enthusiasts. The reason for that is most of the modern AMD CPUs perform better than their Intel counterparts and thanks to their aggressive pricing, they provide great value for money.

Just like Intel, the company has a wide variety of competitive processors and APUs in various categories, and similarly, the nomenclature can be difficult to keep up with. In this post, I am going to try to clear some of the confusion when it comes to naming AMD’s processor range. To keep things simple, I have kept this guide limited to the company’s Ryzen processors that are based on the Zen microarchitecture. There are a total of four generations of the Zen microarchitecture:

  • First Generation: AMD Ryzen 1000 CPUs, 14nm Zen architecture (March 2017)
  • Second Generation: AMD Ryzen 2000 CPUs, 12nm Zen+ architecture (April 2018)
  • Third Generation: AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs/Ryzen 4000 APUs, 7nm Zen 2 architecture (July 2019)
  • Fourth Generation: AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, 7nm Zen 3 architecture (November 2020)

Rather than using Zen, Zen 2, Zen 3, etc. AMD chose to name its second-generation Zen+. The family of processors is denoted by the ‘Ryzen’ branding which is similar to how Intel uses ‘Core’. There is also a number affixed to the name where the higher you go, the more cores and processing power you get:

Ryzen 3: Quad-core processors primarily used for budget-friendly PCs. Comparable to Intel Core i3 series

Ryzen 5: Made for high-performance processors capable of handling heavy multitasking and gaming. Available with quad-core and six-core configuration and comparable to Intel’s Core i5 series.

Ryzen 7: These are meant for enthusiasts or ‘prosumer’ available with quad-core going up to an octa-core configuration. These are comparable to Intel Core i7 processors

Ryzen 9: Targeting serious professionals including professional gamers, content creators, and creative professionals who need maximum performance. These are available from octa-core configuration going up to 16-cores. These are as good or even better than Intel’s Core i9 series.

Threadripper: AMD’s HEDT or high-end desktop CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper delivers the highest possible performance and is available with up to 64 cores and 128 threads. These are meant for professional workloads and are comparable to Intel’s Xeon line of processors.

AMD-Ryzen-name-scheme.jpg


These model names remain constant throughout generations. What differs is the processor name. For instance, a Ryzen 9 5950X is more powerful than the Ryzen 9 5900X.

AMD also uses suffixes when it comes to naming its processors:

No Suffix- Standard desktop processors.

X- High-performance desktop processors that require discrete graphics cards.

XT- CPUs with boosted clock speed and performance compared to processors with the ‘X’ suffix.

G- CPUs with integrated graphics.

S- Low power consumption desktop processor with integrated graphics.

H- High-performance processors with integrated graphics for laptops. Mostly for gaming and other high-end laptops.

U- CPUs used in thin and light laptops and mobile devices. They have lower clock speeds and consume less power.

The latest-gen Ryzen 5000 series CPUs currently the best processors from the company. What I like about the Ryzen series is that if you are running a Ryzen 3000 series, you can upgrade to the latest generation without having to buy a new motherboard. AMD had confirmed that a simple BIOS update should bring support for new newer CPUs. You do have to consider an important factor though. A majority of AMD's mainstream desktop processors do not come with integrated graphics. This means that you need a dedicated graphics card if you want to use a Ryzen CPU.
 
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Sidgup1998

Senior Member
Jan 11, 2020
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I am using ryzen 5 2500u based Laptop and I can play Demanding games at low - med settings easily. Thanks to inbuilt vega 8 Graphics....
 

CamoGeko

Retired Forum Moderator
I am using ryzen 5 2500u based Laptop and I can play Demanding games at low - med settings easily. Thanks to inbuilt vega 8 Graphics....

Yeah AMD Vega is okay for games like League of Legends.

Lots of decent AMD powered laptops have been discounted lately so maybe you can get an upgrade at some point too. Definitely worth checking out the deals. :)
 

SigmundDroid

Senior Member
Sep 25, 2015
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I recently got a alienware m15 r5 ryzen edition with ryzen 7 5800h and rtx 3060 it's runs better than my desktop in certain applications it's run very close to ryzen 9 3900x and I have rtx 3070 I have been using amd since the phenom days I been really pleased how far amd has come to become one of the greatest cpus ever
 
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flash713

Senior Member
May 7, 2015
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I recently purchased a new 2021 model HP pavilion 15z-eh100 and up'd the ram to 32gb with 1TB nvme m.2 2280. It has a Ryzen 5 5500u. Six cores, twelve threads , 2.1 base clock.. It compiles android with ease and is 100% silent with the fan cranked to max and has ran cooler than my other computers. I've had my eye on AMD since they made their name back on Ryzen 4 series and I believe I'll stick with them. They are on a good road. 👍
 

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    AMD has been around for a long time trying its best to claw into Intel’s dominance in the CPU market. The past few years have seen the company really rise to the occasion and is now a popular choice among gamers and PC enthusiasts. The reason for that is most of the modern AMD CPUs perform better than their Intel counterparts and thanks to their aggressive pricing, they provide great value for money.

    Just like Intel, the company has a wide variety of competitive processors and APUs in various categories, and similarly, the nomenclature can be difficult to keep up with. In this post, I am going to try to clear some of the confusion when it comes to naming AMD’s processor range. To keep things simple, I have kept this guide limited to the company’s Ryzen processors that are based on the Zen microarchitecture. There are a total of four generations of the Zen microarchitecture:

    • First Generation: AMD Ryzen 1000 CPUs, 14nm Zen architecture (March 2017)
    • Second Generation: AMD Ryzen 2000 CPUs, 12nm Zen+ architecture (April 2018)
    • Third Generation: AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs/Ryzen 4000 APUs, 7nm Zen 2 architecture (July 2019)
    • Fourth Generation: AMD Ryzen 5000 CPUs, 7nm Zen 3 architecture (November 2020)

    Rather than using Zen, Zen 2, Zen 3, etc. AMD chose to name its second-generation Zen+. The family of processors is denoted by the ‘Ryzen’ branding which is similar to how Intel uses ‘Core’. There is also a number affixed to the name where the higher you go, the more cores and processing power you get:

    Ryzen 3: Quad-core processors primarily used for budget-friendly PCs. Comparable to Intel Core i3 series

    Ryzen 5: Made for high-performance processors capable of handling heavy multitasking and gaming. Available with quad-core and six-core configuration and comparable to Intel’s Core i5 series.

    Ryzen 7: These are meant for enthusiasts or ‘prosumer’ available with quad-core going up to an octa-core configuration. These are comparable to Intel Core i7 processors

    Ryzen 9: Targeting serious professionals including professional gamers, content creators, and creative professionals who need maximum performance. These are available from octa-core configuration going up to 16-cores. These are as good or even better than Intel’s Core i9 series.

    Threadripper: AMD’s HEDT or high-end desktop CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper delivers the highest possible performance and is available with up to 64 cores and 128 threads. These are meant for professional workloads and are comparable to Intel’s Xeon line of processors.

    AMD-Ryzen-name-scheme.jpg


    These model names remain constant throughout generations. What differs is the processor name. For instance, a Ryzen 9 5950X is more powerful than the Ryzen 9 5900X.

    AMD also uses suffixes when it comes to naming its processors:

    No Suffix- Standard desktop processors.

    X- High-performance desktop processors that require discrete graphics cards.

    XT- CPUs with boosted clock speed and performance compared to processors with the ‘X’ suffix.

    G- CPUs with integrated graphics.

    S- Low power consumption desktop processor with integrated graphics.

    H- High-performance processors with integrated graphics for laptops. Mostly for gaming and other high-end laptops.

    U- CPUs used in thin and light laptops and mobile devices. They have lower clock speeds and consume less power.

    The latest-gen Ryzen 5000 series CPUs currently the best processors from the company. What I like about the Ryzen series is that if you are running a Ryzen 3000 series, you can upgrade to the latest generation without having to buy a new motherboard. AMD had confirmed that a simple BIOS update should bring support for new newer CPUs. You do have to consider an important factor though. A majority of AMD's mainstream desktop processors do not come with integrated graphics. This means that you need a dedicated graphics card if you want to use a Ryzen CPU.
    1
    I recently got a alienware m15 r5 ryzen edition with ryzen 7 5800h and rtx 3060 it's runs better than my desktop in certain applications it's run very close to ryzen 9 3900x and I have rtx 3070 I have been using amd since the phenom days I been really pleased how far amd has come to become one of the greatest cpus ever