There has been a leakening… have you seen it? AMD’s family of Ryzen processors are due to launch very, very soon, and in the last 24 hours there have been several price and model specification leaks from retailers and distributors around the world. Up to now, the expectation was that AMD would be competitive against Intel in price and performance, but wouldn’t price their chips too low to begin a price war from the start. With the pricing rumours going around now, though, that expectation appears to have been thrown out the window. How does $500 sound for a flagship eight-core, sixteen-thread high-end desktop processor sound to you?
The source for the pricing leak came from an article on PC Games Hardware Deutschland, which had a picture of the Ryzen engineering sample they had acquired, along with the chip’s serial number and a readable QR code. AMD and Intel include these on their chips now to allow you to scan the code for more information about it, and a couple of people did just that.
Once the QR code was found to be readable, PCGH deleted the picture from their article, edited the original to block out the QR code and serial number, and deleted all comments, but not before product listings were discovered on the following sites:
Taking the pricing from Shopbit’s listing for comparison (and Newegg’s pricing for the Intel processoes), AMD is taking a stab at Intel’s high-end desktop lineup with the Core i7-6800K, as well as the Core i7-7700K. At $490, or perhaps $500 at a retailer, The R7 1800X would pull away from the Core i7-6800K in terms of performance per dollar, and it’ll produce much less heat thanks to the lower thermal design point (TDP).
Stepping down to the R7 1700X, this looks like a lower-binned chip that might not overclock as well as the R7 1800X, and it commands a much lower price as a result. Despite this, it is more expensive than the Core i7-7700K with this rumoured pricing, and there’s no doubt that it could leave the Kaby Lake processor in its wake. I mean, who isn’t going to say yes to four extra cores for only $40-$50 more than a Core i7-7700K? You’d be crazy not to, especially if your workload entails a lot of content creation and video encoding.
The surprise out of the lot would be the R7 1700. Boxed in with the AMD Wraith cooler, it’s a cheaper purchase than the Core i7-7700K, and thanks to the bundled 95W cooler that is actually quite effective for mild overclocking, it may sway your purchasing decision towards AMD even more, especially if you don’t have a high-end cooler or an all-in-one water cooler already. It’s also a better choice than the Core i5-7600K, potentially offering twice the multithreaded performance in applications that can take advantage of it.
How would these chips at these rumoured prices compare to processors that are already locally available? To find out, I compared prices from Rebeltech for the same processors from Intel, as well as chips from the socket AM3+ FX family. The US dollar is trading today at R13.33 to $1, and I’m rounding off to the nearest whole number.
Intel Core i7-6800K
Ryzen R7 1800X
Intel Core i7-7700K
Ryzen R7 1700X
Ryzen R7 1700
Intel Core i5-7600K
Obviously, we shouldn’t expect these processors to actually appear at these prices because we source chips from EMEA suppliers, and there may additionally be a significant mark-up on these processors because of limited stock availability. Local retailers and distributors might also find themselves between a rock and hard place, because they still have to get rid of those older AM3+ and AM2+ chips before the Ryzen R5 and R3 processors appear, along with Bristol Ridge APUs.
That said, even if the prices listed here are out by R500 or so, that’s still great value for money. Ryzen R7 CPUs should be almost twice as fast as their FX counterparts, and might be just as fast in games as Intel’s Kaby Lake Core i5 CPUs. That would be a significant jump in useability for a modern AMD system, and it would entice anyone considering the Core i7-6800K to pick up the R7 1700 instead.
AMD’s Ryzen processors will be launching sometime towards the end of February or early March 2017, and will require a new socket AM4 motherboard and DDR4 memory, as well as a different cooler bracket if you’re using an older cooler that had compatibility with the AM3+ socket. So long as your cooler uses the standard AM3+ mounting points, you can use the bundled bracket that comes with your motherboard to attach it to your new CPU. If you use a cooler with a custom mounting plate, then you’re going to need a new mounting plate with the correct holes drilled for the AM4 socket.
If you’re hearing about Ryzen for the first time, click the following links for all the things I’ve ever written about Zen and Ryzen. Again, keep in mind that the pricing in these tables are based on rumour and speculation from listings online, but these have been fairly close to the real deal in the past.