I figured this was a question that got asked a lot. This post is really more for those that are unaware of AMD’s newest processors or the names they call their products. In this brief post, I will gloss over what each of the AMD processor series is and the benefits you get on purchasing one over the other.
If you are interested in keeping up with the latest AMD processor, follow the link. We update that section whenever AMD announces something big and/or releases their newest batch of processors. For example, in the summer of 2017, they announced the new AMD Ryzen 3 series.
What is AMD FX?
First, let’s start with the FX processors AMD has made. “AMD FX” is the name of the family of processors that debuted in 2011. These were marketed heavily by AMD to compete with Intel’s Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge family. The FX line was the first to offer true 8-core processors, with 8 physical cores compared to Intel’s dual-core line that were hyperthreaded to 4 logical cores.
Perhaps the most prominent feature for PC enthusiasts of this series is that each of the CPUs were overclockable, while still being fairly affordable. At the time, most processors were locked at their base clock speed, with the exception of the more expensive ones.
The FX series is not old, however. AMD still manufacturers hundreds of them and adds updates to their architecture, despite having already released a new architecture type. One of the updates to the FX line is the new Wraith Cooler that the AMD FX-8370, -8350, and -6350 processors comes with. It is an extremely silent cooler attached to the chip to allow cooling when those processors are overclocked.
The most popular FX processors today fall under the Vishera family (Piledriver architecture). This is because they have the most value per dollar out of all the FX chips and are highly suitable for multi-tasking on an everyday PC. Vishera-based processors in the FX line also have fast clock rates and their processing power is good enough to play modern games on.
- AMD FX-9590 (4.7Ghz base, 5.0Ghz Turbo)
- AMD FX-9370 (4.4Ghz base, 4.7Ghz Turbo)
- AMD FX-8370 (4.0Ghz base, 4.3Ghz Turbo)
- AMD FX-8350 (4.0Ghz base, 4.2Ghz Turbo)
- AMD FX-8320 (3.5Ghz base, 4.0Ghz Turbo)
- AMD FX-6300 (3.5Ghz base, 4.1Ghz Turbo)
The only 6-core processor on that list is the FX-6300, which can be found considerably cheap today. The rest are 8-core chips that are popular for their power and value. The FX-8320 in particular is special because it is one of the cheaper 8-core CPUs out there that is still suitable for everyday computing. That is the reason why it is currently our pick for the best AMD processor period. It provides unmatched value at such a low cost while delivering great performance, especially when it is overclocked.
What is AMD Ryzen?
AMD Ryzen is the new architecture developed by AMD. It is the new line of CPUs introduced to the PC world, designed to compete heavily with Intel’s i5 and i7 chips. These are very powerful new units that performs very well as processors for a gaming PC.
The new “Zen” architecture uses some new technology. One of the features is increased efficiency. By using new logical paths called “Neural Net Prediction”, AMD’s new line is able to predict which line of code it is about to process. It then loads up that code before it arrives, setting a pathway before it even executes. This is intended to make things faster for you as the client. Other technologies include Extended Frequency Range, which allows automatic overclocking of the processor so long as it is being sufficiently cooled.
The new Ryzen processors do use a different socket, which is unlike what Intel is doing with their LGA 1151 socket types. This new socket is called the AM4 and allows users to take full advantage of their processor’s power since it would be unlocked. Click here for more on AMD’s socket and which type of motherboard might be right for you if you’re considering investing in a Ryzen chip.
It is hard to judge which chips are the most popular since the Ryzen just launched in 2017. However, we can see that the more budget-oriented ones are purchased more since it is both affordable and has the new Zen technology everyone is after. The Ryzen 7 processors are also very expensive as of now and thus only the most enthusiastic PC hobbyists have purchased them.
- Ryzen 5 1600X (3.6Ghz base, 4.0Ghz Precision Boost)
- Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2Ghz base, 3.6Ghz Precision Boost)
- Ryzen 5 1500X (3.5Ghz base, 3.7Ghz Precision Boost)
The most popular by far of that list is the 1500X. It combines the new power and technology AMD announced to the public with the affordability of a mid-range processor. The 1500X is favored by the gaming community for precisely this. It is affordable and can match up well with mid-range video cards like the GTX 970 or GTX 1060, or the GTX 1070. It pairs well with AMD cards as well.
Why would you purchase FX vs. Ryzen?
The only reason you would purchase any processor in the AMD FX family is to stay within a budget. These are still powerful chips that are fortunately much cheaper nowadays. Something like the FX-8350 provides amazing value while still giving 8 cores of processing at good clock speeds. They are very easily paired with mid-range video cards.
You might also buy into or upgrade into the FX series if you already have an AM3/AM3+ socket motherboard. Compatibility is one of the leading factors into which processor you end up going with. If you already have a socket that is compatible with the popular FX series processors, then it becomes much cheaper for you to upgrade into it.
Lastly, I believe most people would favor the FX processors as part of an everyday, working desktop. If you are just going to do regular things on the computer like word processing, web browsing, and other light work, the FX processors would be ideal to buy. This is because they are again very affordable and provide enough power for day-to-day tasks.
Why would you purchase Ryzen vs. FX?
So basically any reason that I did not mention in the case of FX is why you should purchase Ryzen. If you are not concerned about budget, the Ryzen is the obvious choice. It is utilizes new architecture with new logic and efficiency. AMD has worked hard to compete with Intel and their Ryzen line looks very dominant so far.
Even the cheapest Ryzen processor, the Ryzen 5 1400 (excluding the Ryzen 3 series, which are budget-based processors), is a good processor. It uses the same Zen technology and comes at a fraction of the price. Ryzen has made a name of itself for being quite expensive, as most of the Ryzen 5 chips cost over $200 and the Ryzen 7 processors are at least $400. However, the processing power per dollar is very much up there.
If you currently have an FX processor and do not mind purchasing a > $200 CPU plus a new motherboard (remember they use the new AM4 socket), definitely upgrade to any of the Ryzen ones. The most value for one of the lowest prices is the Ryzen 5 1500X. The difference between something like the FX-8350 and the Ryzen 5-1500X is almost night and day. The processing power is simply unmatched and video games tend to run a lot smoother.