AMD Zen 3 vs Zen 4 in 2024: Which is right for you?

Making the cost-effective choice

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AMD has come a long way since its first CPUs so that users can have a wide variety of options to choose from, thus selecting between Zen 3 vs. Zen 4 in 2024 is a difficult task. In this article, we will help you decide the best architecture for your needs. From budget choice to performance selection, both architectures can fit perfectly in your needs. So let’s analyze this.

How much faster Zen 4 is compared to Zen 3

As we look towards 2024, the advancement from AMD’s Zen 3 to Zen 4 architecture signifies a pivotal leap in desktop processor technology. With Zen 4’s launch, users are treated to a transition to an advanced 5 nm process, undertaken by TSMC.

This shift not only makes the chip design denser and more efficient, but also catapults performance and power efficiency to new heights.

Performance enhancements in Zen 4

Zen 4’s move to a 5 nm process results in an impressive increase in transistors — nearly 57% more, rising from 4.15 billion to 6.5 billion. This boost in transistor count, paired with a reduced die size (70 mm squared, down from 80.7 mm in Zen 3), underlines Zen 4’s efficiency and power. In terms of IPC, Zen 4’s improvements are substantial, leading to significant gains in processing speeds and multitasking capabilities. This translates to a noticeable enhancement in both gaming and productivity applications, offering a robust choice for users seeking peak performance.

Technological advancements in Zen 4

The chipset advancements in Zen 4 are noteworthy, particularly its support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 lanes. These features make Zen 4 an ideal choice for future-proof builds, catering to those who prioritize longevity in their tech investments. The integration of an integrated GPU in the Ryzen 7000 series brings additional versatility, especially for configurations where discrete graphics are not paramount.

For those contemplating a high-performance build in 2024, AMD Ryzen’s Zen 4 emerges as a forward-thinking option, offering a rich set of features and top-tier performance.

Zen 3: A viable alternative

However, Zen 3 continues to hold its ground as a viable option. Its 7 nm process and robust architecture ensure it remains competitive, delivering commendable performance for various computing tasks. For users who prioritize budget or do not require the ultra-modern features of Zen 4, Zen 3 offers a balanced and cost-effective solution. As Zen 4 enters the market, potential price adjustments on Zen 3 CPUs make them even more appealing for those balancing performance needs with budget considerations.

In conclusion, the choice between Zen 4 and Zen 3 will depend on individual needs. If you’re seeking the latest in desktop processor technology, complete with enhancements in IPC, energy efficiency, and future-proof features, Zen 4 is the clear choice.

However, for users looking for reliable performance without the need for the latest advancements, Zen 3 remains a strong contender, especially in the realms of desktops and laptops, including those with RDNA integrated graphics. Both AMD Zen CPUs offer compelling options, tailored to diverse user requirements, in 2024.

Zen 3 vs. Zen 4: Price

When deliberating between AMD’s Zen 3 and Zen 4 in 2024, the price is a pivotal factor, especially when considering the required technology and ecosystem for each.

Zen 4: A premium investment

Zen 4, representing the latest generation (gen) of AMD processors, often demands a higher investment due to its cutting-edge technology. Designed for the AM5 platform and optimized for DDR5 memory, Zen 4 CPUs cater to various budgets, but generally tilt towards the premium end of the spectrum.

Building a new PC or updating an outdated setup with Zen 4 involves more than just purchasing the CPU. The AM5 socket is a significant shift from the previous generation, necessitating a compatible motherboard.

Top manufacturers like ASUS and Lenovo are already rolling out AM5 motherboards, but they come at a premium. Additionally, DDR5 memory, which Zen 4 leverages for superior performance, currently carries a higher price tag compared to DDR4. This difference in memory cost is expected to persist, at least in the short term, adding to the overall expense of a Zen 4 setup.

Zen 3: An economical upgrade

In contrast, Zen 3 offers a more budget-friendly path, particularly appealing for users who aren’t planning a complete system overhaul. Zen 3 processors are compatible with the widespread AM4 platform, making them a practical choice for those looking to upgrade without incurring the costs associated with a new motherboard and memory type.

For gamers and general users who already have a DDR4 AM4 motherboard, opting for a Zen 3 CPU can be a savvy and economical decision. This choice enables significant performance enhancements without the need for a complete system rebuild. Thus, Zen 3 maintains its appeal, especially among budget-conscious users and those looking to maximize the value of their existing hardware.

Availability and future outlook

As of 2024, both Zen 3 and Zen 4 CPUs are readily available, with a broad spectrum of options to suit different needs and budgets. Zen 4, being the newer gen, commands a premium but offers cutting-edge performance and features. Zen 3, on the other hand, remains a compelling option for those seeking a balance between cost and performance.

In conclusion, if you’re seeking the latest technology with no expense spared, Zen 4 is the way to go. However, for users looking to maximize value and minimize costs, particularly those already invested in the AM4 platform, Zen 3 remains a highly viable and attractive choice. 

Ultimately, the decision between Zen 3 and Zen 4 in 2024 will depend on individual preferences, usage requirements, and budget constraints. For gamers, content creators, and general users alike, both generations offer compelling solutions, each with its unique advantages.

Zen 3 vs. Zen 4 in 2023: Integrated graphics

Zen 4: Advanced integrated graphics

In 2024, the integrated graphics in Zen 4 CPUs stand out for their enhanced performance, particularly for users who don’t plan to invest in a dedicated GPU. These integrated graphics are a step up from previous generations, offering improved clock speeds and efficiency. They are ideal for a range of tasks, from casual gaming to basic multimedia editing, and even light content creation.

For those building new PCs or upgrading older systems without a dedicated graphics card, the integrated graphics of Zen 4 chips offer a significant advantage. They provide a balanced mix of performance and power efficiency, suitable for everyday computing needs, without the added cost and power consumption of a separate GPU.

This makes Zen 4 a great choice for users who prioritize modern integrated graphics capabilities and are ready to embrace the latest advancements in AMD’s Zen CPU architecture.

Zen 3: Reliable for standard tasks

Zen 3 CPUs also feature integrated graphics, which, while not as advanced as Zen 4’s, are more than sufficient for standard computing tasks. These include everyday multimedia activities, casual gaming, and basic content creation tasks. The integrated graphics in Zen 3 chips, combined with their V-cache technology, provide a solid balance of performance and efficiency.

For users who already have an AM4 platform and are seeking a cost-effective upgrade, Zen 3 remains a practical and viable option. It offers reliable integrated graphics performance, suitable for a wide range of everyday tasks, without the need for the cutting-edge features of Zen 4. The clock speed and overall performance of Zen 3 integrated graphics are commendable, making it a wise choice for those looking for a balance between cost and capability.

Zen 3 vs. Zen 4 in 2023: Performance

In 2024, Zen 4 showcases notable performance advancements over Zen 3, particularly in CPU-intensive applications and tasks. Based on various public tests, including benchmarks from GeekBench and Cinebench, Zen 4 consistently outperforms its predecessor. For instance, in single-threaded tasks, Zen 4 exhibits a performance increase of approximately 30% to 36%, with even more significant gains in multithreaded scenarios.

Zen 4: Superior performance for specific tasks

For professionals involved in rendering or intensive computational work, such as using Blender, Zen 4’s improvements offer about a 31% increase in efficiency. This performance boost makes Zen 4 an ideal choice for users in fields like video production and 3D modeling, where processing speed directly correlates to productivity and time savings.

Regarding gaming, the performance difference between Zen 4 and Zen 3 is less dramatic, especially at higher resolutions like 4K. Most games don’t showcase substantial improvements on Zen 4, suggesting that for average gamers, upgrading to Zen 4 may not significantly enhance their gaming experience.

Zen 4’s performance benefits are most evident in scenarios that capitalize on its improved processing power. This includes heavy multitasking, professional-grade rendering, and certain CPU-intensive games. The higher clock speeds and advancements in the series desktop processors, thanks to the refined process node, contribute to this enhanced performance.

Zen 3: Robust and budget-friendly for general use

For general computing tasks and mainstream gaming, Zen 3 continues to be a potent and cost-effective option. Its strong performance in standard applications and games makes it a sensible choice for those not requiring the peak capabilities of Zen 4. The series processors in Zen 3, while not on the latest node, still deliver robust performance for a wide range of applications.

Conclusion

When deciding between Zen 3 and Zen 4 in 2024, the choice largely hinges on your specific computing needs and budget. Zen 4 is well-suited for demanding professional tasks and certain high-performance games, where its additional investment can be justified by the performance gains.

However, for more general computing and standard gaming, Zen 3 offers a more economical yet effective solution, especially considering its compatibility with the Radeon series and proven performance track record.

What are the key differences in core architecture between Zen 3 and Zen 4?

Zen 3 and Zen 4 feature distinct core architectures. Zen 3, built on a 7nm manufacturing process, offers robust performance for everyday tasks and gaming. In contrast, Zen 4 steps up to a 5nm process, providing enhanced efficiency and performance, especially in CPU-intensive tasks.

Will upgrading from Zen 3 to Zen 4 provide noticeable performance gains for everyday use?

For general computing tasks, the performance gains from upgrading to Zen 4 may not be significant. Zen 4’s advantages are more apparent in CPU-intensive tasks and scenarios requiring high processing power. Zen 3 still offers adequate performance for everyday use.

How does Zen 4’s integrated graphics compare to Zen 3’s?

Zen 4 introduces integrated graphics with enhanced capabilities, making it suitable for basic gaming and multimedia tasks without a dedicated GPU. Zen 3 also has integrated graphics, but they are less advanced than Zen 4’s.

Maria is a full-stack digital marketing strategist interested in productivity and AI tools.