What Is AMD Ryzen (and When Is It Coming to Laptops)?

AMD is back in the CPU game. Its newest processor line, called Ryzen (pronounced Rye-zen), is meant to face off with Intel's Core i CPUs on both gaming and productivity. Right now, you can only buy the Ryzen 7 series desktop processors, but you'll soon see a wider variety of SKUs -- including laptop chips that could change the mobile market. We've answered some key questions about the new platform below.

What is AMD Ryzen?

Ryzen is AMD's latest generation of CPUs. If you've ever seen an "Intel Core i" sticker on your laptop is referring to your processor, and Ryzen is an alternative. This isn't AMD's first foray into CPUs, but its one of its most serious, and perhaps most critical.

AMD suggests that Ryzen is meant specifically for the enthusiast market -- think gamers and high-end productivity users.

Is Ryzen in laptops?

Not yet. The first batch of CPUs are exclusively for desktop computers.

Will Ryzen Come to Laptops?

Yes. AMD told Laptop Mag that "we expect to see Ryzen in the mobile space in the second half of 2017."

These will likely be in the form of an APU, or accelerated processing unit. That's a marketing term that AMD uses to refer to a CPU and integrated graphics in one chip.

MORE: Which Laptop CPU is Right for You?

What's the AMD Ryzen naming structure?

It's just as confusing as Intel's. The first three Ryzens are:

  • Ryzen 7 1700
  • Ryzen 7 1700X
  • Ryzen 7 1800X

So the structure is Ryzen Y ZZZZ, where Y is the family (3, 5, or 7) and Z is the more specific model number.

Just as with Intel's Core i series, 3 is the entry level, while 5 is mid-level and 7 is for enthusiasts and professionals.

How will Ryzen compare to Intel's Core i CPUs?

According to AMD's own tests, they hold up quite favorably. 

Here are some numbers from a test between the Ryzen 7 1800X and Intel Core i7-6900K, as conducted by our sister site, Anandtech. Note that these are from desktop builds, as the laptop chip is not yet available.

Here's the test build that they used for the Ryzen 7 1800X:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
 TestRyzen 7 1800XIntel Core i7-6900K
Cinebench 15 SingleThreaded161 points155 points
Cinebench 15 MultiThreaded1,628 points1,477 points
Blender Render296.5 seconds294.3 seconds
PCMark 8 Home (non-OpenCL)3,806 points3.920 points
PCMark 8 Work (non-OpenCL)3,620 points3,171 points
Google Octane 2.0 on Chrome 3633,505 points34,785 points

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