If there's one thing that never changes about computers it would be the neverending progress. Every few months something new and shiny shows up providing a step up over previous generations of hardware. Sometimes said step up is negligible and not worth the wait however.
So how do 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs stack up and are they worth waiting for (and if so - how long until their release)? Let's take a look at the upcoming generation of new processors from AMD and find out. Before we do so however it's worth pointing out that I will be discussing a chip that is not yet released meaning that some information regarding it is still a rumor.
1.) An 8 core Ryzen 3xxx managed to outperform Intel's fastest 8 available mainstream CPU, 9900k, in Cinebench R15. It also did so at half the power consumption. What this means is as follows:
- In heavy multithreaded use (rendering and so on) AMD will have a processor that outperforms current Intel's best (assuming consumer platforms, not professional ones) at half the power draw.
- Result achieved by AMD's processor was 2057 points. Compared to 2040 that a 9900k reached and ~1800 that Ryzen 7 2700X could pull off. This implies at worst a 14% increase in performance at same pricepoints (and also means that Intel Core i7-9700k and 9900k will either become completely irrelevant in vast majority of builds or their prices will have to be decreased).
Of course, we do not yet know how well will this processor perform in gaming. Cinebench is a benchmark program that simulates performance in rendering, not in video games that require low latencies and high frequency. Assuming a 14% increase over previous generation new AMD processor will reach roughly a tier of i5-9600k/9700k in video games (currently having more than 6 cores doesn't really benefit gaming, even when bundled with 700+€ video cards) while visibly outperfoming them both in professional use.
2.) It's a first consumer platform with PCIe 4.0 support. For those of you unaware - there are limitations to how many devices can you connect to a motherboard in regards to how fast they will work. New standard doubles available bandwidth. In practice, this is very good news for people with dual GPUs, multiple SSDs and so on.
3.) These upcoming processors are compatible with currently available motherboards. This is already confirmed by manufacturers themselves. What is not yet fully known is the extent of compatibility. Certain features (PCIe 4.0, support for higher core units, higher speed RAM support) might remain unavailable (in particular PCIe4.0, even if it works, might only be limited to just one port). Still, it's very good news for those that have to get a computer now or already sit on an older Ryzen based platform.
4.) These new processors (and motherboards for them) will be released in Q3 2019. Confirmed by AMD itself:
5.) New high-end motherboards for this platform will use active cooling via fan. This is due to PCIe 4.0 controller. Confirmed by seeing this design on every showcased motherboard. This might also lead to slightly increased prices on these products over current generation.
- 8 core unit is a Ryzen 5 3600. This would imply that processor tested live on AMD stream is a successor to Ryzen 5 2600 which costs around 160€.
Possibility? Fairly likely. New processors are built using newer technology process that allows AMD to fit roughly 2x transistors in the same area. If this turns out to be the case then waiting is definitely recommended as 9700k costs around 400€.
- There will be processors with more than 8 cores. While not so useful for gamers (at least not just yet) it's a huge selling point for those interested in CPU heavy workloads as for now their only options are TR4/LGA2066 platforms which are visibly more expensive than consumer variants.
How likely is it to be true? Such processors have already been tested on the internet. So it's effectively a question of when they will be released, not if.
- Product release is scheduled for July.
Possibility? Likely. Many motherboards have already leaked to the internet meaning that release date must be relatively soon. We are also seeing a huge amount of discounts for current generation processors which implies that shops are clearing stock knowing that once new hardware kicks in it will get much harder to get rid of older one.
Should I wait?
As usual, it depends. In a mere week from now there will be an AMD event during which we might get more concrete information regarding these processors, possibly including official release date.
I would say that if you want a build that will last you several years, especially one that's not going to be used only for gaming then it's definitely worth to wait. At worst you will be able to pick up a current generation processor with a massive discount, at best you might get 12 cores instead of 8. That is assuming a release in July that is, which is only 1.5 months from now.