It’s hard to believe that AMD released its very first Ryzen CPUs as recently as 2017. They were based on a new Zen architecture, built from the ground up in the five years prior to release. Looking back, this was a defining moment for AMD, and the future of laptop and desktop chips more widely.
Since then, we’ve seen five more generations of Ryzen chips and four subsequent Zen architectures. The latest of these is Zen 4, which makes its debut on the Ryzen 7000 Series. However, that doesn’t mean that all of the latest CPUs use the new architecture. Here’s everything you need to know.
AMD Zen 4 release date
After well over a year of hints, AMD officially announced Zen 4 on 29 August 2022, alongside the Ryzen 7000 Series it debuted on. Only four desktop processors were initially revealed, before 10 more were announced at CES 2023.
Almost all Ryzen 7000 Series laptop CPUs were revealed at the same event on 4 January 2023, but only the high-end Ryzen 7045 Series (known as ‘Dragon Range’) and Ryzen 7040 Series (known as ‘Phoenix’ use the Zen 4 architecture. Dragon Range laptops will begin shipping in February, but you’ll have to wait until at least March for Phoenix-powered devices.
This aligns with the roadmap previously shared by AMD:
The cheaper Ryzen 7035 Series uses Zen 3+, while the Ryzen 7030 Series uses Zen 3. The previously announced Ryzen 7020 Series opts for Zen 2 architecture instead.
AMD Zen 4 devices
Here’s a summary of the current Zen 4 desktop CPUs that you’ll be able to buy – some are already available:
Ryzen 9 7950X – 16 cores, 32 threads, 5.7GHz max clock speed, 80Mb cache, 170W TDPRyzen 9 7950X3D – 16 cores, 32 threads, 5.7GHz max clock speed, 128Mb cache, 120W TDPRyzen 9 7900X – 12 cores, 24 threads, 5.6GHz max clock speed, 76Mb cache, 170W TDPRyzen 9 7900X3D – 12 cores, 24 threads, 5.6GHz max clock speed, 128Mb cache, 120W TDPRyzen 9 7900 – 12 cores, 24 threads, 5.4GHz max clock speed, 65W TDPRyzen 7 7800X3D – 8 cores, 16 threads, 5.0GHz max clock speed, 96Mb cache, 120W TDPRyzen 7 7700X – 8 cores, 16 threads, 5.4GHz max clock speed, 40Mb cache, 105W TDPRyzen 7 7700 – 8 cores, 16 threads, 5.3GHz max clock speed, 65W TDPRyzen 7 5800X3D – 8 cores, 16 threads, 4.5GHz max clock speed, 96Mb cache, 105W TDPRyzen 5 7600X – 6 cores, 12 threads, 5.3GHz max clock speed, 38Mb cache, 105W TDP
Of course, you’ll need a compatible motherboard – AMD has revealed four new AM5 ones, but the chips will still be compatible with the older AM4 platform. AMD says it expects them to “coexist for quite some time”.
Zen 4 laptop chips are now official, but they’re designed to be integrated into devices and not available as standalone components. The specific devices which use them will be down to individual laptop manufacturers to decide, but Ryzen 6000 Series laptops give you a rough idea what to expect.
AMD Zen 4 spec news
Zen 4 was always likely to be a big step for AMD, and it doesn’t look like the company has disappointed. The new architecture shifts to a 5nm process, while adding support for premium features such as DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 5. It allows for up to 16 cores and 32 threads, something which has already been utilised on the Ryzen 9 7950X and 7950X3D.
But AMD is specifically advertising the performance gains on the Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 Series, specifically highlighting gaming and content creation as scenarios which will benefit the most. While testing from the company suggests up to a 47% improvement compared to Intel Alder Lake, the latest 13th-gen Intel CPUs will have at least closed the gap.
Still, you can expect some big gains on CPUs that use Zen 4 architecture:
AMD is now even more confident in the IPC gains you can expect from Zen 4, suggesting it’s 13% higher than Zen 3. That’s up from the 8-10% improvement it said back at Computex in May 2022.
Despite not following Intel’s lead in introducing a hybrid architecture, AMD claims Zen 4 CPUs deliver significant gains in power efficiency. Not only should this ensure fewer problems with performance throttling and overheating, it’ll also benefit battery life on any portable devices. This will be more relevant once laptop-focused mobile CPUs are added to the Ryzen 7000 Series.
Zen 4 may be limited to 24 cores for now, but that might not always be the case. According to a leaked roadmap discovered by Videocardz highlights ‘Genoa 7004 CPUs’ with 32 cores and 64 threads.
That was expected to be the top-spec Zen 4 chip you could ever buy, but a subsequent rumour suggests it will be able to support many more than that. Prolific CPU leaker @Broly_X1 (whose account has since been deleted) appeared to confirm a 128-core CPU in June 2021, saying: “Wow, ZEN4 is really more than 96 cores. I was skeptical when I first saw this news in Chiphell. Now I can also confirm that ZEN4 is up to 128 cores”.
Our Ryzen 7000 Series article runs through everything you need to know about the new CPUs. There’s already news on its successor, too – check out our guide to the Zen 5 architecture.
CPUs and Processors