It looks like AMD is back, but this time, for real. The new line of Ryzen processors is receiving very good reviews online. Personally, I am keeping a close eye on these CPUs, and my next workstation build is very likely going to be Ryzen-based (a Ryzen 5 1600, probably, but I am still open to suggestions on this).
Now, AMD suffers from the same problem that Intel has, albeit a bit less pronounced: their naming scheme is atrocious. Unless you follow hardware updates closely, you will find it very difficult to differentiate between models just by looking at the model name. Understanding what your best choice is by looking at the product name alone is close to impossible (Intel 6900K vs 7700K anyone?).
The goal of this article is to make sense of AMD Ryzen’s naming scheme which, so far, makes way more sense than Intel’s in my opinion, but it still needs some clarification, especially since the technology is brand new.
Understanding the naming scheme
In the example image, I have chosen Ryzen’s current top-of-the-line CPU, the 1800X, although I could have chosen any other CPU in the lineup for this article.
The most important elements in the name have been colored in Red for easier recognition.
Let’s start with the easy stuff: Ryzen is the name of this CPU lineup. Ryzen has quite a broad target, including CPUs for mainstream use, all the way up to enthusiast builds (even professional builds with their Threadripper models).
The first number you see after the CPU name is the CPU segment. Currently, there are just three segments:
- 7 = Enthusiast/SemiPro
- 5 = High Performance
- 3 = Mainstream
The next number is a simple one and refers to the generation of Ryzen CPUs. Because these have just been released, we only have generation 1 for now.
The next is another important number in the CPU name, as it refers to the CPU’s overall performance level, which closely resembles the CPU segment mentioned above. We have multiple options here:
- 7/8 = Enthusiast/SemiPro
- 4/5/6 = High Performance
- 1/2/3 = Mainstream
The next two digits are currently not used (the all default to 00), but they will likely be used to differentiate future models.
The last letter serves as a suffix, which highlights a notable characteristic of the CPU, if any. Right now, only X is used, but there will be others as AMD releases new CPUs:
- X = XFR
- “” = Standard
- G = Integrated Graphics
- T = Low Power
- S = Low Power with Integrated Graphics
- H = Mobile with High Performance
- U = Mobile standard
- M = Mobile Low Power
With all this information, we can now look back at our example and understand that the Ryzen 7 1800X is an enthusiast CPU (7), first generation, high performance (8) model with XFR for increased clock speeds out of the box.
There you go, I hope now it will be easier to understand what type of Ryzen CPU you are dealing with just by looking at the model name :)