The AMD Ryzen 7000 is more than just the latest batch of processors from AMD. The Ryzen 7950X, 7900X, 7700X and 7600X are AMD’s first Zen 4 chips, first produced in 5nm, the first to feature integrated graphics, and the first to usher in the new AM5 socket with debut PCIe 5 and DDR5 support.
As you’ll see in our Ryzen 9 7950X review, AMD has a lot to be proud of. Examine the many benchmarks and you’ll see the main CPU beating the competition and showing big improvements over the last-gen Ryzen 5000. The chips on the list also display some flashy numbers.
This adds up to a remarkable achievement for Team Red – albeit against the backdrop of tricky nuances. Here are the 6 essential things you need to know about AMD’s excellent Ryzen 7000 CPUs.
The Ryzen 9 7950X is a multithreaded monster
Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld
Have heavy rendering and/or coding workloads? The Ryzen 9 7950X is the chip for you. It outperforms Intel’s flagship Core i9-12900K in raw performance. In our multithreaded benchmarks, he won multiple times, with his lowest win at 37% and his highest at 60%. The 7950X also shows off its predecessor, with a 48% lead over the 5950X.
The weak point of this chip (if you can call it that) is in single-core, loosely threaded tasks and some specific areas like machine learning and cryptography. The battle with Intel is pretty even here, with Team Blue’s main chip sometimes coming out on top. Add in software optimization such as Adobe Premiere Pro’s use of QuickSync to boost video editing tasks, and the 12900K can outperform the 7950X in certain workloads. We’ll have to see if the Ryzen 7000’s integrated graphics result in similar support for Team Red and a more balanced playing field in the future.
But that doesn’t mean the Ryzen 7000 loses out to the 12th-gen Alder Lake outside of multithreaded tasks. No way. In fact, the least powerful chip at launch, the Ryzen 5 7600X, can beat the 12900K in a number of games. Ultimately, what matters is the software and games you use the most.
More power, more energy consumption
Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld
The impressive performance of the Ryzen 7000 is in part a result of AMD’s increased electricity consumption. The new AM5 socket allows more juice to flow to the processor, and this first batch of compatible chips takes advantage of that.
So, you can anticipate a higher energy bill when running one of these chips. The amount depends on how hard you push them in everyday use, but looking at the TDP gives you a general idea of the increase. The Ryzen 9 5950X is rated at 105 watts; the 7950X, 170 watts. This is the expected power consumption under load – and it can increase even more during a performance boost. The Ryzen 7000’s cap is 230W through its socket, while the Ryzen 5000 closes at 142W.
Why the change? Intel. It has already taken this same path before AMD. By changing its approach (and design), AMD neutralizes this potential advantage.
Even better energy efficiency
Gordon Mah Ung / PCWorld
When chips start using more power – as the Ryzen 7000 does – the performance squeezed out of every watt becomes important, especially given rising energy costs around the world.
Fortunately, the Zen 4 lives up to the company’s claims of greater energy efficiency. At least the Ryzen 9 7950X did this for multithreaded tasks. When compared to the Intel Core i9-12900K it does a lot more in the same amount of time or just finishes faster. The 7950X also uses less electricity.
It doesn’t win as clearly in single-core and light-threaded tasks – there, the 12900K generally outperforms the 7950X in power efficiency in our tests.
But AMD still has another trick up its sleeve, and it’s called Eco Mode. An easy change to AMD’s Ryzen Master software utility allows you to limit running power to Ryzen 7000 chips. For example, the 7950X and 7900X can drop from 170W to 105W or 65W. This tweaking of settings reduces electricity consumption, with surprisingly minimal impact on single-core, loosely-threaded performance.
This flexibility means AMD can have its cake and eat it too – and so can you. Need all the effort to encode huge files quickly? Or maybe you need to set a lower power cap due to heating or energy bill concerns? You are covered.
AM5 is not cheap
Adam Patrick Murray/IDG
The switch from the long-standing AM4 platform to AM5 is a big move that allows for incredible speed in every way – not just for the processor, but for memory, discrete GPUs and storage, now and in the future. The AM5 works on PCIe 5, DDR5, USB4 and other high-end features that can take well-equipped PCs to new frontiers of performance.
However, this upgrade comes at a literal cost – expect to pay a premium for an AM5 motherboard if you’re building a PC at launch. At the moment, only the more expensive X670 and X670 Extreme mobos are available, and they require a good investment. Take the MSI, for example:
MSI / YouTube
You see it right: a high-end MSI X670 Extreme motherboard costs $1,299. The cheapest X670 option is $329.
Other components will also be hit hard. DDR5 memory isn’t cheap – the Ryzen 7000’s sweet spot for RAM speed is twice that of the Ryzen 5000. Currently, you’ll pay around $230 for 32GB of DDR5-6000 memory, while 32GB of DDR4-3600 costs about $115. And when PCIe 5 SSDs arrive in November, they’ll no doubt be extravagantly priced.
To save at least some money, you have to wait until October – the more affordable B650 and B650 Extreme motherboards will be released at that time.
Running at 95C is good
Scroll through the internet forums and you’ll see post after post concerned about CPUs operating above a certain temperature. It’s true that if temperatures go too high, you may see stalled performance (known as thermal throttling). Some people also fear shortening the chip’s lifespan.
But when checking the temperature of your processor, don’t worry if you see the Ryzen 7000 launch chip at 95 degrees Celsius under heavy load. Those four X-class chips can go around without repercussions, according to AMD. It might be higher than what you’re used to seeing, and maybe you have other reasons for wanting to lower that temperature, but it’s within spec.
Intel’s 13th Gen Raptor Lake Approaches
Previous generations of Ryzen had plenty of breathing room to revel in their domain. (The 5950X had a full year, for example.)
Not the Ryzen 7000. Intel officially announced its 13th generation Core processors the same day it was released. In addition to revealing a 24-core, 32-thread main chip and extremely high clock speeds (including a 6GHz processor early next year), Team Blue claimed up to a 24% improvement in gaming performance over chips—12th generation. And the new Core i9-13900K will offer a 15% increase in single-thread and 41% multithread performance compared to the Core i9-12900K.
With these numbers, a 13900K probably goes toe-to-toe with a 7950X in multithreaded tasks, outperforming it by about 8-10% in single-threaded and lightly threaded tasks (aka games).
Intel is also talking about its power efficiency now, even though its power ratings will rise more than the Ryzen 7000’s. At 65 watts, the 13900K will be able to match the 241W turbo mode performance of the 12900K. That’s a big statement.
However, how the chips fall (ahem) won’t be clear until Raptor Lake launches on October 20. Until then, there’s a lot to love about the Ryzen 7000.