The end of Intel’s reign over PC gamers

With the launch of its new Ryzen processors, AMD has threatened Intel’s position in the high-end desktop CPU market.

Intel’s Broadwell-E processors might boast high-end multi-core performance, but this is reflected by their high price.

AMD has upset the market with its high-value eight-core processors and their increased performance over Intel’s multi-core solutions.

Intel has continued to refine its architecture and provide small performance boosts each generation, while AMD has launched its new Ryzen processors – which are set to compete with the longstanding market leader.

Ryzen 7

The most powerful Ryzen processor is the Ryzen 7 1800X, which AMD said is the fastest eight-core processor in the world.

Despite its impressive performance, it is priced at R8,199 – less than half the price of the Intel Core i7 6900K (R18,591).

This price difference makes the Ryzen line-up a great choice for high-end desktop users looking for a powerful and affordable eight-core CPU with relatively low power consumption.

Another important feature of Ryzen 7 processors is that all chips are unlocked, unlike Intel’s Core processors.

The increased implementation of new APIs allows processors with good multi-threaded performance to scale well in future applications, including high-resolution gaming.

Below are benchmarks published by AMD for the Ryzen 7 1800X and Intel Core i7 6900K.

Ryzen 1800X

Microarchitecture

Intel’s approach to desktop processor architecture has changed since it reached the 14nm processor node, breaking its “tick-tock” design model.

The “tick-tock” model involves the release of two architectures per fabrication process node, with the second being a refinement of the previous architecture on the same manufacturing process.

The company previously progressed through architectures in this manner, but has remained on the 14nm fabrication process of late – choosing to continue optimising its microarchitecture.

While Intel has been upgrading its processors with small performance and clock speed improvements on the 14nm process, AMD has been working on Ryzen – the company’s first desktop CPU architecture manufactured on the 14nm process node.

Intel’s Kaby Lake chips received criticism for their small performance increase over previous CPU generations, with the the new processors providing little motivation for upgrading from a Skylake product – apart from Optane support and slightly-higher clock speeds.

AMD has reportedly seen a 52% increase in IPC compared to its previous processor architecture, which is the result of a new process node and redesigned CPU architecture.

While Intel’s mainstream – and more affordable – desktop products still remain unchallenged, AMD is yet to unveil its Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 3 processors.

These are set to compete with Intel’s Core i7, Core i5, and Core i3 CPUs.

If the price-per-performance ratio of Ryzen 7 processors scales down to AMD’s mainstream Ryzen products, Intel’s popular Core i5 and Core i7 gaming chips could be the next CPUs threatened by AMD’s new processors.

Now read: Nvidia unveils hugely-powerful GeForce GTX 1080 Ti

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The end of Intel’s reign over PC gamers