AMD’s second generation of Ryzen CPUs are now well-established, but figuring out which CPUs go where can be a bit of a puzzler. Let’s have a brief look at the AMD 2000-series of CPUs as a whole and demystify this convoluted product line.
Since early 2018 we’ve seen 2000-series Ryzen cards come to market and as of today there’s an entire range from bottom to top bearing the 2XXX model number. You should be careful however, since not all 2000-series CPUs are made equal and we mean in more than just megaherz and cache terms.
Good, Better, Best The main tier indicator for Ryzen CPUs is whether it’s a Ryzen 3,5 or 7. This is directly comparable to Intel’s i3,i5 and i7 CPUs. Ryzen 3 chips are meant for entry-level desktops. Basic office work and web browsing are good use cases for these CPUs.
The Ryzen 5 cards are mainstream products for people who like to play video games and have a snappy overall system with solid multitasking and media capabilities. Ryzen 7 chips are for enthusiast users or those who need to do higher-end productivity work. Video editors, game streamers and anyone who can use more threads should look here.
Above these mainstream CPUs stands Threadripper 2, the 2000-series high-end solution for professionals on a budget and ultra-enthusiast users. However, just because a CPU is a 2000-series model and has a Ryzen number next to it, doesn’t mean you know the whole story.
APU vs CPU
AMD makes two broad types of CPU packages. Their “APU” processors combine a CPU units along with a GPU unit. AMD is one of the best GPU makers in the world, which means their APUs pack a lot of punch as a total package.
These products are now referred to as Ryzen Mobile and have series numbers that end in “U”. For example, the Ryzen 7 2800H has four cores and a Vega GPU with 11 GPU cores. Perfect for laptops, HTPCs and other mobile or small form factor computers.There are also desktop APUs that have integrated Vega GPUs.
If a Ryzen 2000-series has an integrated GPU, then it is not currently running the latest Zen+ architecture, but the original Zen architecture under the name “Raven Ridge”. These processors are all either dual or quad core. With twice the number of software threads in each case.
The Real Deal Zen+ CPUs
While the 2000-series APUs are fine for what they are, the really important chips for desktop use are the Pinnacle Ridge Zen+ Ryzen chips. These start at the waud-core level with only four hardware threads. That’s the Ryzen 3 2300X and end with the monstrous Threadripper 2 2990WX, which has 32 cores and 64 software threads.
These chips improve on the older architecture in almost every way. Boost clocks are higher, base clocks are higher and per watt performance is generally better. As with the first generation of Ryzen chips, all but two processors in the range have more than four cores. All the Ryzen 5 Zen+ chips have six cores. The Ryzen 7 ones have eight. Then the Threadrippers really go to town on the core count.
The Bottom Line
In short, if you want the best desktop chips that AMD currently offers, you should only be looking at Pinnacle Ridge 2000-series chips, without integrated graphics. That’s where you’ll find the best price-to-performance chips on the market at the moment. Technology that has allowed us to build incredibly all-round workstation at price points which would have been impossible just a year or two ago.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our new Ryzen 2 workstations. There are some truly exciting machines on the horizon!
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