AMD’s First Zen 5 CPUs Put the Focus on AI and Gaming

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Key Takeaways

  • AMD has unveiled its first CPUs based on Zen 5.
  • The Ryzen 9000 desktop and Ryzen AI 300 laptop chips deliver more power per clock, including for AI.
  • Ryzen 9000 arrives in July, while Ryzen AI 300 laptops have just been announced.

AMD used Computex 2024 to introduce its first processors based on the Zen 5 architecture, and the company claimed to have best-in-class performance for both AI and premium gaming PCs.

The Ryzen 9000 series desktop and Ryzen AI 300 series laptop CPUs make use of Zen 5 to provide more throughput and parallelism, including for AI inferencing and code that uses AVX-512 instructions. AMD boasted of a 16% average boost to instructions per clock (IPC) for the Ryzen 9 9000 line versus a comparable Zen 4 system, although it’s not clear how well that will translate to real-world tests.

The chip giant also maintained that the Ryzen AI 300 had the “world’s most powerful” neural processing unit (NPU), with 50TOPS of computing power and three times the AI engine performance of second-gen Ryzen AI parts.

Four Ryzen 9000 desktop CPUs will be available starting this July, and are chiefly aimed at gamers and some workstation users. The leading model, the Ryzen 9 9950X, is a 16-core design with a 4.3GHz base clock and a 5.7GHz boost clock. The Ryzen 9 9900X cuts that down to 12 cores with relatively similar clock speeds. For more cost-conscious gamers, the eight-core Ryzen 7 9700X (3.8GHz base and 5.5GHz boost) and six-core Ryzen 5 9600X (3.9GHz and 5.4GHz) may be more practical.

All the new desktop Zen 5 CPUs use a new Socket AM5 mainboard platform with companion X870E and X870 chipsets. The format might disappoint fans who’ve been using AM4 for years, but it also makes USB 4 and PCIe 5.0 standard along with support for Wi-Fi 7.

Beyond the NPU upgrade, the Ryzen AI 300 range includes integrated Radeon 800M series graphics that supposedly deliver “console-class” gaming performance on systems without dedicated GPUs. The Ryzen AI 9 HX 370 offers 12 cores, z 2GHz base clock (5.1GHz boost), and Radeon 890M video with up to a peak 54W of thermal design power. The Ryzen AI 9 365 includes 10 cores, a slightly lower 5GHz boost clock and Radeon 880M visuals.

The Ryzen 9000 will be available to both enthusiasts and PC manufacturers in July. Brands like Acer, ASUS, HP, Lenovo, and MSI are already announcing Ryzen AI 300 laptops.

The Zen 5 debut could prove critical for AMD. The company is facing renewed competition from Intel, particularly its more AI-friendly Core Ultra chips. It also faces mounting pressure from ARM-based systems-on-chip like Apple’s M4 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X series.

Microsoft is also pushing AI capability with its Copilot+ PC initiative. The Ryzen AI 300 will help AMD get into Copilot+ computers and ride the AI trend where it previously risked sitting on the sidelines.