From AMD’s press conference at Computex last month, one thing is for certain. The tables have turned on Intel, a beautiful sight for all console gamers. AMD unveiled their latest Zen 2 processors in May, bringing a massive 15% increase in instructions per clock. Simply put, this means each core can now do 15% more “work” than their previous Zen processors. The original Zen processors had finally brought AMD toe-to-toe with Intel. With the development of the Zen 2, it is Intel that will need to go back to the drawing board, and fast.
So why does the release of the Zen 2 matter so much for us?
It has already been confirmed the PS5 will run off of a custom Zen 2 chip and there is no reason to believe the Xbox won’t do the same. It is the obvious choice. But what makes AMD’s Zen chips so game-changing is the fact that Intel no longer has a monopoly on gaming processors. The first Zen chips were released in 2017. On the budget end, where console chips are usually found was the Ryzen 3 1200. Comparing this to Intel’s i3-7100 paints the picture. Releasing for $109 it performed 8% faster that Intel’s i3 ($117) during gaming, but also had four cores rather than two in the i3-7100. This was AMD’s first real step out of entry levels chips and into the gaming ring. With their reveal of Zen 2 at Computex, things are looking even brighter for console gamers. We can now expect a 15% increase in single-core performance while still maintaining AMDs multi-core budget strategy. This combination is perfect for next-generation hardware.
Historically Intel has dominated the CPU market as AMD only managed to capture entry-level, or mobile scraps of the market. Take for example, the release of AMD’s Bulldozer series of processors released in 2011 to compete with Intel’s i3 chips in the gaming scene. The relatively pricey ($165) 6-core AMD FX-6100 compared to Intel’s ($117) 2-core i3-2100 was lackluster to say the least. The single core performance of the FX-6100 just couldn’t keep up with the i3. It performed poorly in benchmarks and gaming applications, and the rest is history. However, Sony and Microsoft still chose AMD to make their custom chips for the PS4 and Xbox One. Using an Intel CPU may seem like an no-brainer back then, but there are some other factors to consider. First off, multiple cores were needed to run their tasking UI. AMD also has lots more experience integrating their own processors with their own graphics cards which leads to a further bang for their buck. They were banking on developers optimizing games for multi-core processors rather than rely on the superior single core performance which Intel offered.
AMD is evidently now delivering truly powerful processors at entry-level prices and is something we just haven’t seen before. With Xbox and Playstation running on custom Zen 2 chips and powered by an even more powerful (and pricey) AMD Navi graphics card, the technological leap we will see is unmatched. This will lead to higher frame rates at larger resolutions and graphics we have never seen before on consoles. It is going to be in the developers hands to fully take advantage of what AMD has done to console gaming. With the video game industry booming like never before, the sky is truly the limit.
We look forward to getting our hands on next-gen hardware and can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us. It truly will be something revolutionary in the console world of gaming and entertainment as a whole.
By: Yousuf Shad, Edited: Assud Shad
Photo by downhilldom1984 on Foter.com / CC BY