Intel used to be the de facto king of the CPU world, crafting the best processors out there – no contest. However, with AMD Ryzen, everything changed. These days, AMD dominates the market with both AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation and Threadripper 2nd Generation. In fact, AMD has more than doubled Intel’s sales, according to a German retailer.
As far as this generation goes, though, we’ve been able to review a wide range of Ryzen 2nd Generation processors from the Ryzen 5 2600X to the powerhouse that is the Ryzen 7 2700X, we know AMD isn’t holding back as it pushes power and value even further.
We had also heard rumors of a Ryzen 7 2800X, which might have given the recent Coffee Lake Refresh processors a run for their money – but, with the advent of AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation, announced at Computex 2019 and released July 7th, 2019, we doubt that particular processor will ever surface.
Plus, AMD has brought Zen 2 to the mainstream, the architecture behind the third generation of Ryzen. And, according to the latest rumors, we could see up to 16-cores on the flagship, and clock speeds up to 5.0GHz. If any of this is real, the processor world will shake when these next-gen chunks of silicon drop sometime in 2019.
Microsoft has also announced that its next-generation Xbox console, known as Project Scarlett, will utilize a custom-designed SoC based on Zen 2.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? AMD’s upgraded, budget-friendly processor chips
- When is it out? April 19, 2018
- What will it cost? $199 (about £140, AU$260) starting price for the Ryzen 5 2600
AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation release date
The wait for the new AMD chips finally ended in 2018. The first-generation Ryzen processors launched in March 2017 and continued to roll out throughout 2017. Ryzen 2nd Generation chips launched at around the same time the following year, on April 19, 2018.
Beyond the first few AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation chips, AMD continued to release some Ryzen Pro and Ryzen Threadripper chips through the rest of 2018. Ryzen Pro chips are made for business and IT use cases, with up to 8-cores and 16-threads. Ryzen Threadripper 2nd Generation is the ‘big daddy’ of AMD’s 2nd gen offerings, with up to 32 cores for die hard creative types.
AMD also announced a Ryzen 5 2500X and Ryzen 3 2300X, but at this point we don’t expect to see these mid-range chips make it to market. Intel’s Coffee Lake Refresh has been out for a while now, and Ryzen 3rd Generation chips are out now, having been announced at Computex 2019.
Those are all desktop chips, and AMD has already launched the Ryzen 7 2700U, along with Ryzen 5 and 3 parts. And, laptops have been rolling out with these chips.
And, even though AMD Ryzen 3rd Generation have been released, AMD may be releasing 50th anniversary editions of some of its parts, including the beloved Ryzen 7 2700X.
AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation price
AMD made its second generation of Ryzen chips to be just as affordable as the first batch. Granted, delivering more reasonably priced CPUs has always been AMD’s edge, but for the first time in years, the cheaper Ryzen chips could honestly compete with, if not surpass, Intel’s offerings.
AMD has decided to continue its course with the 2nd Generation models. It was crucial that it delivered affordable, high-performing CPUs. And the price tags we’ve seen for the mid-range chips stay in line with the pricing for the first generation.
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700X: $329 (£329, AU$509)
- AMD Ryzen 7 2700: $299 (£279, AU$419)
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600X: $229 (£209, AU$338)
- AMD Ryzen 5 2600: $199 (£179, AU$259)
In 2017, the quad-core Ryzen 3 1300X debuted at $129 (£112, AU$169), while Intel’s Core i3 7350K went for $149 (£169, AU$299). Bump up to the hexa-core Ryzen 5 1600X, and we saw it offered for $249 (£249, AU$359) – compare that to the quad-core Intel Core i5-7600K at $239 (£219, AU$339), although you drop a couple of cores in the process.
We saw the biggest contrast in price with the Ryzen 7 1800X, which at $499 (£500, around AU$650) was nearly half the price of Intel’s Core i7-5960X/6900K. Of course, this lead Intel to introduce a more affordable Intel Core i7-8700K and Intel Core i7-7820X. Meanwhile, the AMD Threadripper 1950X came in at $999 (£999, AU$1,439) and delivered even stronger performance than Intel’s like-priced Core i9-7900X.
Of course, AMD had slashed its Ryzen prices across the board when they announced the 2nd Generation, keeping things competitive with Intel as the two companies fight for your CPU-buying dollars.
AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation specs
Ryzen 2nd generation processors offer an impressive generational leap over their predecessors. They’re built using an updated 12-nanometer process, which will pack in even more transistors and thus provide more raw speed along the way.
According to AMD 12nm process results in an approximately 16% performance increase and 11% better lower power draw over the original Ryzen’s 14nm process.
We have finally come across some rumors swirling around about the Ryzen 2nd Generation APUs, which will succeed the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G. According to PCGamesN, the next generation APUs should be coming out next year, and will feature the same Zen+ 12nm architecture as the Ryzen 2nd Generation CPUs. This could mean APUs could see a similar performance boost as we saw when the first generation Ryzen chips were superseded.
AMD states that the Ryzen 2nd Generation chips will be the smallest and fastest desktop processors to date – lofty promises, but ones that definitely excite PC enthusiasts and users of all stripes. Ryzen 2nd Generation chips should deliver higher clock speeds and introduce the enhanced Precision Boost 2 technology to boost performance during high-drain scenarios.
And, now that we’ve been able to play with the Ryzen 7 2700X and the Ryzen 5 2600X, we know that AMD has succeeded in pushing its specs. The 2700X with its 8-cores, 16-threads and speedy boost clock of 4.3GHz outperforms the Intel Core i7-8700K, AMD has fully embraced the enthusiast market. Even the lower-end Ryzen 5 2600X pushes performance into the next generation with 6-cores, 12-threads and a 4.2 GHz boost clock.
We also saw leaked benchmarks for the Ryzen 3 2300X and Ryzen 5 2500X. The former is a four-core, four-thread processor clocked at 3.5GHz and a 4.0GHz boost clock. Meanwhile the Ryzen 5 2500X is a four-core, eight-thread chip, featuring a 3.6GHz core clock, boosting up to 4.0GHz.
Since these chips have come out, they’ve been great entry-level and mid-range options, respectively, but seem to only be available in prebuilt systems.
We also saw a leak from ASRock pointing to the existence of some low-power E-series Ryzen 2nd Generation chips, the Ryzen 5 2600E and Ryzen 7 2700E. These chips will have a much lower 45W TDP and feature an 8-core design for the Ryzen 7, and 6-cores for the Ryzen 5 – according to the rumor reported by Wccftech. These rumors have since been proven true when they both launched in September of 2018.
But, it doesn’t stop with the desktop chips. AMD has also released Ryzen 2nd Generation mobile chips in the Ryzen 7 2700U, Ryzen 5 2500U, Ryzen 3 2300U and Ryzen 3 2200U. These all have Vega graphics packed in, meaning you can easily do some light gaming on them. The two higher-end chips are four-core, eight-thread processors with boost clocks of 3.8GHz and 3.6GHz for the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 5, respectively.
The Ryzen 3 2300U and 2200U are four-core, four-thread chips with 3.4GHz boost clocks. The core difference between these two chips is that the former features stronger Vega graphics, while the 2200U has a higher base clock of 2.5GHz.
AMD Ryzen 2nd Generation is the culmination of everything AMD wanted to do with Ryzen. And, if the specs of the Ryzen 2nd Generation CPUs are anything to go off of, we’re very excited with what this lineup can do.
AMD has a very technical primer on Precision Boost 2 from its Ryzen Mobile Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics, in case you want to dig into the specs.
We’ve seen some SenseMi improvements in AMD’s recent Ryzen-based desktop APUs, so it stands to reason that there is similar performance and efficiency increases in the Ryzen 2nd Generation line. That could include optimized power usage through Pure Power smart sensors and improved overclocking potential from Extended Frequency Range 2.
Anyone wanting to upgrade from Ryzen Gen 1 should be happy to know that AMD has kept the same AM4 socket intact, so you don’t need to buy a new motherboard to slot one of these CPUs into your machine. There is also an enhanced X470 chipset that’s optimized for Ryzen 2nd Generation with lower power consumption.
Keep in mind that AMD calls the heart of Ryzen 2nd Generation the Zen+ architecture, rather than Zen 2. What’s the difference? Well, Zen 2 is an entirely new architecture built on a 7nm process, which – as you can imagine – could provide a world of difference when it comes to power and performance.
AMD’s roadmap shows the Zen 2 and Zen 3 (listed at “7nm+”) cores coming somewhere between the release of the Zen+ and the year 2020, which we expected to appear in 2019. And it looks like Zen 2 has arrived along with Ryzen’s 3rd generation.
Zen 2 design is of course complete at this point, and it “improves on Zen in multiple dimensions” according to AMD. And the Zen 3 is “on track,” as well. AMD could be primed to shake up the CPU industry all over again with the Zen 2. However, Zen+ is what’s powering the Ryzen 2nd Gen chips.
Even so, there’s plenty of reason to be excited for the Ryzen 2nd Generation chips, especially if you’re in the market for a PC upgrade this year. And, even with Intel on the defensive, it’s safe to say that AMD knocked it out of the park.