AMD just officially unveiled its Ryzen desktop processor family, a chip that it says can compete with Intel's chips at long last. AMD's last generation of desktop chips was disappointing, and has been largely relegated to low-end computers. But Ryzen manages a 52 percent boost in instructions per cycle (IPC) over last time, which puts it on a level playing field with the best Intel has to offer.
The Ryzen family will come in multiple flavors, but the high-end Ryzen 7 is shipping first. The chip has eight cores and 16 threads, and starts at $329. At the top end is the 3.6GHz (4.0GHz turbo), $499 Ryzen 7 1800X, which compares well with Intel's $1,050 i7-6900K. According to AMD's benchmarks, the 1800X ties the 6900K on singlethreaded benchmarks, and beats Intel on multithreaded performance.
AMD uses a few hundred more megahertz to get there, which means AMD isn't doing quite as much as Intel Broadwell per hertz. But it's the end result that matters, and AMD is claiming to match or beat Intel across the spectrum with better prices — the dream scenario, basically.
The new processors are available for preorder now, and will ship on March 2nd. AMD is promising to have plenty of inventory and a ton of motherboard options at launch. It's a lot of promises, AMD! Hopefully Ryzen can deliver, and we can get a real fight in the desktop market, which will be wonderful for anybody not named "Intel."