TEAM RED AMD has squared up against Intel and Nvidia with the launch of its third-gen Ryzen CPUs and Navi-based Radeon RX 5700 graphics.
On a balmy Sunday, AMD pushed out its suite of next-generation Ryzen processors, built on the 7-nanometre Zen 2 architecture, alongside the Radeon RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT GPUs. The CPU line-up looks set to butt heads with Intel, while the Navi-based cards duke it out with Nvidia's mid-range Turing and GeForce RTX graphics cards.
We've already detailed the third-generation Ryzen chips, which pack in more cores, offer better clock speeds and handle more instructions per clock than their predecessors. And while we don't review processors directly, the initial bout of reviews elsewhere are looking pretty positive.
The Ryzen 9 3900X, the current cream of the Ryzen crop - the 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X will be along a little later - has won acclaim for delivering healthy dollops of performance and beating Intel chips in the same price bracket. The same can be said for the Ryzen 7 3700X.
Both processors sport PCIe 4.0 interface, a first for desktop PC CPUs, which means new motherboard will be needed, though AMD has those in the form of X570 motherboards available today.
As it stands there's a bevvy of third-gen Ryzens to choose from: the Ryzen 9 3900X, Ryzen 7 3800X, Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 3700, Ryzen 5 3600X and Ryzen 5 3600. There are also two Ryzen CPUs with Vega-generation Radeon graphics onboard: the Ryzen 5 3400G and Ryzen 3 3200G.
While the jury is still out on how these chips stack up against the competition, things are looking pretty rosy for Team Red. It was already competitive with Intel before on a performance-per-pound basis, but single-core and gaming performance remained Intel's domain; that gap looks set to be closed or at the very least, significantly narrowed with the new Ryzens.
On to the graphics side, AMD has been garnering a good deal of positive attention for its Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700XT cards, both of which are available to buy now. Again, we've given you folks the skinny on the cards before, and both look in a position to take on Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2600 and RTX 2700.
Early reviews point towards that being the case, with both cards looking like solid pixel pushers at 1440p resolution, at competitive prices. The only fly in the rendered ointment is Nvidia's Super series of GeForce RTX cards, which offer cranked up versions of the base cards for pretty much the same price the original cards were at launch.
There's also no ray-tracing hardware on the Navi Radeon cards, which does make us wonder how Sony's going to get the PlayStation 5 with its Navi-based graphics kicking out ray-tracing rendering. We'll have to wait for more info or 2020 to come around before we get an answer.
With these new Ryzens and Navi-based Radeons, AMD has a pretty strong CPU and GPU line-up for 2019.
Of course, there'll be arguments about which bit of hardware is best for certain tasks when it comes to AMD, Intel and Nvidia parts.
But for the average PC enthusiast, there's plenty to choose from and the competition in the market should see aggressive pricing deliver plenty of bang-for-the-buck. Good times PC builders, good times. µ
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