A Breakthrough Year For AMD: 2019-2020

The last 12 months for AMD have been pretty explosive, to say the least, releasing a whole host of high-performance products that have narrowed the gap between themselves and Intel exponentially. For the first time in what feels like forever, AMD can boast evenly priced processors and GPUs that offer up similar performance to that of their Intel/Nvidia counterparts – all the while being much more effective when it comes to workstation and multi-tasking workflows. Pretty impressive. 

That being said, the following article will be a closer look at the last 12 months for AMD. We’ll be taking a look at what we feel are their stand out products, whilst explaining how they compete in the fierce battle for processing superiority. We’ll also take a quick look at the latest Threadripper offerings, some of the outstanding GPUs which were released, and a quick look at what we can expect from the future. 

So, with that being said, let’s waste no further time and dive straight into it! 

Ryzen 3000 Series

The release of AMD’s Ryzen 3000 series landed on the 7th of July, 2019. A well-planned release date that coincided nicely with the world’s first 7nm desktop processors AMD had created. The original lineup consisted of two APUs (3200G and 3400G) and five CPUs (3600, 3600x, 3700x, 3800x, and 3900x), all of which offered up excellent price-to-performance when compared to their Intel counterparts. AMD had also introduced its revolutionary and highly scalable chiplet design into the new Ryzen 3000 lineup, seeing 6, 8, 12, and 16-core processors come to life. 

Despite AMD still struggling to pip Intel on the single-core gaming performance front, they far outshone their bitter rivals when it came to workstation type workflows. With extremely high clock speeds, high overclocking potential, and ability to support older 400 series motherboards, AMD really landed a blow that Intel never saw coming. 

Ryzen 3400G

The 3400G was one of the first arrivals in the Ryzen 3000 series lineup. It was their flagship APU that came to the table at a very affordable price tag. Whilst it wasn’t a huge step up in class when compared to its predecessor (AMD Ryzen 5 2400G), the 3400G still offered plenty in the ways of performance for the budget PC builder

With clock speeds of 3.7GHz base/ 4.2GHz boost and paired with the impressive, newly-enhanced VEGA 11 graphics engine, AMD’s 3400G absolutely destroyed every other integrated graphics CPU out the water. It really was the only decent option when it came to a CPU/GPU partnership for under $150.

Ryzen 3600

Another hugely successful introduction to AMD’s latest Ryzen lineup was the 3600 – their midrange (yet still extremely affordable) Ryzen 5 3600. The 3600 became an instant hit amongst consumers as it boasted incredibly good price/performance, even outperforming Intel’s 9600K in certain gaming scenarios. The 3600 is a 6 core/12 thread processor which boasts 3.6GHz base and 4.2GHz boost clock speeds across all cores. Whilst AMD CPUs have historically been better known for their multithreaded performance, the 3600 was the first to show real promise in the single-core performance sector. AMD brought the chip to market at what felt like an extremely low price point, undercutting Intel quite dramatically. Furthermore, with the ability to pair the newer chip with older (soon to be outdated) motherboards, building an AMD PC was much more cost-effective than doing so with Intel. 

Ryzen 3900X

Potentially the most exciting piece of kit to come out of the original Ryzen 3000 series desktop CPU lineup was the 3900X. It was their flagship CPU, offering up fantastic performance thanks to its 12 core/24 thread design – the first of its kind when considering desktop CPUs, might I add. Whilst Intel seemed to have the ‘best CPU for gaming’ market sewn up, the 3900X definitely threw a spanner in consumer’s minds. 

The 3900X displayed excellent single-core performance and a high clock frequency to boot, meaning whilst it didn’t surpass Intel in many games, it certainly did in a few bespoke titles. Furthermore, like the rest of the range, the 3900X showcased staggering multitasking performance when compared to the 9900K from Intel. When you pair the performance with the extremely good value it was marketed with, you can really see why the global shift in CPU sales occurred. 

Ryzen 3950X

One of the more recent CPU arrivals to come out of the AMD closet – as it were – is the Ryzen 9 3950X – a 16 core/32 thread CPU that came to market on the 25th November that same year. Whilst it still didn’t quite pip Intel’s flagship when it came to gaming, it definitely closed the gap between the two to just a few percents – a huge leap forward when you consider the difference just 12 months previous. 

Despite this being the case, the 3950X further stretched the gap found in multitasking scenarios thanks to increased clock speed and core counts – a factor that could not be brushed aside lightly. 

Since the 3950X’s release, it’s become another consumer-favorite, showcasing all-round performance that, if truth be told, outshines the Intel counterpart. The 3950X offered up more features, better productivity performance, and greater value than its rival, without being too outperformed on the gaming front. 

Ryzen Threadripper

Alongside the long-awaited release of the hugely impressive Ryzen 9 3950X came two further additions to the AMD rankings – the Ryzen Threadripper 3960X & 3970X. Both were part of the new Threadripper range, offering up impressive core counts and frequencies that would see Intel slip even further behind them. Whilst the latest arrivals in the Threadripper lineup were popular, many were still holding out for the 3990X, AMD’s most powerful Threadripper CPU to date. 

Ryzen 3990X

The 3990X hit shelves in early February of 2020 and became an instant classic amongst consumers looking to build high-performance workstation style systems. Despite its price tag being valued at $3990 – extremely high for domestic PC builds – it was actually considered by many as extremely good value for money. It was AMD’s most powerful Threadripper CPU to date, equipped with 32 cores/64 threads and a 3.2GHz base clock across all cores. Whilst this level of performance would outshine Intel easily, AMD’s PBO (precision boost overdrive) could see the 3990X reach highs of 4.3GHz, landing it amongst Intel’s $20,000 premium enterprise CPUs when it came to performance. 

This was revolutionary for AMD, with the 3990X flying off shelves as fast as they were being virtually stocked. Fortunately for Intel, they weren’t far away from releasing their new 10th gen Comet Lake CPU lineup which would put them firmly back in the driver’s seat when it came to gaming. 


AMD’s graphics cards have always struggled to match Nvidia’s when it comes to the higher-end of the performance spectrum. Nvidia just had it well and truly locked down. They released the 1080TI which, at the time, was by far the most powerful GPU out there. Nothing AMD released could even come close to the gaming performance we saw from Nvidia. The trend continued with Nvidia’s latest 2080TI cards which, again, took center stage at most tech conventions. 

So, as AMD couldn’t reach the highs that Nvidia’s GPUs could, they decided to take a different approach in the GPU market – attacking the midrange price spectrum. 

The first of the 5000 series GPUs to be released was the RX 5700/5700XT, both hitting shelves on the same date as the Ryzen 3000 series CPU lineup. There was plenty of scandal surrounding the release of the 5000 series GPUs, with many claiming that AMD baited Nvidia into lowering their pricing after their launch of the SUPER cards. Whilst this was never confirmed, it was strange when AMD decided to drop the price of both the 5700 and 5700XT, theoretically outpricing the 2060/2070 SUPER cards. 


The 5700XT was the first to hit shelves back in July of 2019, bringing with it a new lease of life to the RADEON GPU lineup. The new GPU came equipped with the latest 7nm TSMC’s manufacturing process and RDNA architecture, making it primed to take on the mid-range GPU price range. 

Upon release, it marketed for around $500, however, shortly after the release of Nvidia’s SUPER GPUs (which had been waiting in the wing), AMD promptly dropped their pricing by $50 – portraying much greater value than their NVIDIA counterparts. 

The 5700XT, with its new pricing, went toe-to-toe with the Nvidia RTX 2060 SUPER, beating it on value and frames per second. This was pretty revolutionary as far as AMD was concerned, as their previous 500 series cards (570,580,590) couldn’t really get close to Nvidia’s.


A mere six months after the 5700 cards hit shelves, AMD released their lesser expensive 5600XT to the consuming market. For all intents and purposes, the 5600XT was a slightly cheaper, BIOS restricted version of the 8GB 5700. To many people’s surprise, the more affordable 5600XT actually showcased very good performance in a number of game titles – with numerous models providing GTX 1660/ RTX 2060 performance. Despite AMD still being miles away from Nvidia when it came to the higher-end of the GPU range, this was still a huge leap forward for them in graphics as a whole. 


So, there you have it guys, a brief look back over the last 12 months for AMD. It’s safe to say this last year has been one of the best for team red. That being said, what will the future hold for both AMD and its loyal followers. With the 4000 series of CPUs imminent, alongside a bunch of new Threadripper CPUs, it’s hard to see Intel getting anywhere close to them in terms of all-round performance. That being said, there are still few signs that AMD will ever get close to Intel when it comes to the high-end graphics card market.

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