The end of summer and the beginning of autumn is the time when big players in the semiconductor industry showcase their new products and technologies. This time AMD presented its new AMD Ryzen 7000 series CPUs in the state of Texas, exactly where it showcased the Ryzen 5000 Renoir laptop processors two and a half years ago. So, the place remained the same, but the occasion is now slightly different – this time the main star of the show were desktop CPUs based on the new Zen 4 architecture, codenamed Raphael. The Raphael is the successor of the very successful Ryzen 5000 series, and many have very high expectations from it.
There is some symbolism here, as the favorite saying goes – “Everything is bigger in Texas”. Because keep in mind that the state of Texas is twice the size of Germany. Adhering to that, AMD clearly wanted to make an association with its new Ryzen processors and show how much better they are than anything seen before.
Products Used in This Review
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
- Base Core Clock: 4,500 MHz
- Turbo Core Clock: 5,700 MHz
- Socket: AM5
- Cores/Threads: 16/32
- L3 Cache: 64 MB
- TDP: 170 W
- MSRP: $699
AMD Zen 4 Key Features
So, what can we expect from the new Ryzen 7000 series CPUs? First of all, they are all based on a new Zen 4 architecture of processing cores built on a 5nm process node. Then there is a new AM5 socket, the adoption of PCIe 5.0 specification and finally the support for the faster DDR5 memory standard.
So, let’s start from the beginning. The Zen 4 architecture brings a 13% IPC uplift, meaning a higher number of executed instructions per cycle compared to the Zen 3 CPUs. That’s the official number AMD came up with, but don’t take this for granted because you’ll see later in our test results that the performance compared to the Zen 3 is noticeably better in most applications.
The maximum frequency of each single core has been increased to 5.7 GHz (for flagship 7950X model), which is a big jump compared to the previous generation that struggled to pass the 5 GHz limit. This means an uplift of 600-800 MHz, which is a serious jump for a new generation of processors. AMD seems to have rejected the manners of a cultured, calm guy and said: “Wait, if Intel is doing this with its two generations of its Core processors, we’ll show what Ryzen can do and hit the gas!” The result is impressive, to say the least, because the average operating frequency in the case of the most powerful Ryzen 9 7950X model is between 5.1 and 5.2 GHz. Keep in mind that this is achieved across all of its 16 cores, and not one core working in turbo mode! For comparison, its predecessor, the Ryzen 9 5950X, could only achieve clocks of 3,850 to 3,950 MHz across all cores.
How did AMD managed do it? First, AMD transitioned to the 5 nm processing node thanks to TSMC’s 4th generation FinFet technology. This allowed AMD to make transistors much smaller, more economical, and introduce a new TDP of 170 watts. The peak safe temperature limit remained the same (95 degrees Celsius), but the control algorithms now push the CPU towards that limit much more aggressively. In fact, Ryzen 7000 CPUs hit this limit quite often. In our tests, both the flagship Ryzen 9 7950X and the mainstream Ryzen 5 7600X ran in between 70 and 95 degrees, depending on the application which was being executed and their ability to employ all cores. In short, there is no doubt that you will need the absolute best cooling available to keep these bad boys running at their highest core clocks, let alone if you decide to overclock them.
Key Improvements In Architecture
In addition to very high core clocks, the main contributor to improved performance is the new optimized architecture. All the best from Zen 3 has been retained, and at the same time the work on the “front end” has been significantly improved, that is, the part of the processor in which instructions are copied from the memory and then decoded for execution. Another significant improvement at the architectural level concerns the Load/Store instruction management between the processor and the memory.
And finally the improved “branch prediction” which, in the simplest terms, is a technique used in CPU design that tries to guess the outcome of an operation and prepare for the most likely result. It is very important when it comes to processors based on the x86 architecture, because the faster the processor is at the instruction level, the more important the instruction control flow is for performance, since penalties are more expensive. So, these three techniques alone account for almost 80% of the performance improvement for the new Zen 4 processors, while the improved execution units and secondary cache memory account to only around 20 percent.
In addition to all that, the Zen 4 now supports AVX-512 instruction set which accelerates floating-point number operations as well as 8-bit integer operations and especially the execution of artificial intelligence algorithms. This, all together, results in 29% better single core performance compared to the previous Ryzen 5000 series.
The fact that the new Ryzen uses half as much silicon for each single core compared to its Intel Core counterparts is also quite notable. Its energy efficiency is also proven by the fact that when delivering the same level of performance, it consumes 62% less energy than previous Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, that is, at the same level of consumption, it delivers 49% better performance than its predecessors.
And here we come to another important thing. The Zen 4 is a beast, especially when you consider its TDP of 170 W. You might wonder how could you possibly cool it down without investing in a high-end liquid cooler? Well, the Ryzen 7000 actually comes with a very efficient cooling management system, called the ECO mode.
AMD Ryzen 7000 ECO Mode
With Zen 4, the new ECO mode enters the scene, which allows the user to set the processor to a lower TDP value, i.e. set the consumption limit, thus significantly modify its working behavior. With ECO mode the new processor actually shows how efficient it is in terms of energy use. You have three consumption limits, namely 65 W, 105 W and 170 W. This means that energy savings with ECO mode can be quite significant. ECO mode is set in the BIOS and for now it is not an option that you select with one click of the mouse. This will happen in future BIOS updates, but for now you can find it in the motherboard options where you manually adjust the Precision Boost Overdrive parameters.
Whether you are using the CPU for gaming, 3D modeling or video encoding, the impact of ECO is pretty significant. In more processor-intensive applications such as Cinema 4D, our Ryzen 9 7950X delivered twice as good results as the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, for a total power consumption of 134 W and while operating at temperature of only 45 degrees Celsius. After all, you will understand it best if you look at the table below.
|ECO Mode Profile||Cinema 4D Render Time|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (TDP 170 W)||5.43 min|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (TDP 105 W)||6.06 min|
|AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (TDP 65 W)||7.34 min|
In case of Borderlands 3, which is considered one of the more CPU-demanding games, you achieve practically identical performance at TDP 65 W with a 10-degree lower temperature, because the processor then performs an equally good job with several engaged cores and allows the graphics card to perform its scope of work with lower consumption of electricity.
So, Ryzen 7000 gives you an absolute freedom to adjust its performance characteristics and adapt them to the rest of the system, and thus achieve the best performance in terms of consumption, heating and speed.
RDNA 2 iGPU
When it comes to integrated graphics, the most powerful Ryzen 7950X still uses two CCDs (Core Chiplet Die) made in 5 nm with a maximum of 8 new RDNA 2 cores and one IoD system controller. Yes, this is the first time that an AMD processor in the high segment includes integrated graphics, and features support for HDMI 2.1 and Display Port 2.0 connections. It also provides support for the three USB 3.2 fast ports of the second generation. It is also worth saying that the audio codec is now directly connected to the system controller within the CPU chip, just like the Super I/O controller.
On the other hand, AMD learned a lesson from the previous AM4 platform and its chipset solution. The previous complex monolithic solutions consumed a lot of energy and generated so much heat that at first they required an active cooling on the chipset cooler. This time, AMD did not repeat the same mistake and is actually guided by the positive experiences of applying the “chiplet” topology, so the X670 Extreme actually has two chipsets covered by the cooler. The chipset is part of the IoD connected via a 4th generation PCIe x4 bus lane.
As for the graphics cores, they only provide basic support for the Windows working environment, meaning that they are only suitable for office work and watching movies. The new RDNA 2 cores support hardware encoding for H.264, H.265, and AV1 formats. When it comes to gaming, they are not very good.
New processors require a new socket, which in the case of AMD Raphael processors is AM5. After a long time the AM4 socket finally got a deserved retirement.
The new AM5 socket, also known as the LGA 1718 socket, supports processors with a TDP of up to 230-240W (at least in situations where all CPU resources are fully engaged). The new Ryzen 7000 CPUs have no pins. The tray is no longer a PGA (Pin Grid Array), but as with Intel, an LGA (Land Grid Array). Boards with the new socket feature native support for DDR5 memory, as well as PCIe 5.0 interface which will be slowly rolling out until 2025. The first wave of SSD drives supporting the PCIe 5.0 interface is expected to arrive in November this year. The good thing is that you will be able to use the existing coolers from the AM4 system on the new boards, which is certainly a very convenient detail if you have already invested in a better cooling system.
As for motherboards, the AMD X670 and X670 Extreme models will be released first, which will differ in the number and type of supported connections and as well as in terms of the design of the VRM unit and chipset coolers. The more affordable ones in the form of the B650 and B650 Extreme models will appear in October. The price of the new generation of AMD boards starts from $125 and up.
The new motherboards bring the arrival of AMD EXPO Profile Technology which allows overclocking of RAM modules in one click and delivering up to 11% better gaming performance in 1080p resolution. Currently, 15 memory sets from most famous RAM manufacturers already feature support for this tech, and are able to achieve DDR5-6400 speeds.
According to JEDEC standards, the Ryzen 7000 series natively supports DDR5-5200 modules, however, while using EXPO certified modules in overclocking mode, they can also run with DDR5-6000 memory modules. For comparison the AM4 could only run DDR4-3600 modules.
As for the memory settings and synchronization of the RAM modules, as well as memory controller and the Fabrik bus, from now on you no longer need to adjust the latter because its operation is practically locked at 2,000 MHz. So from now on you only have a 1:1 synchronization of the DDR5 module and the memory controller.
For purposes of this review, we benchmarked the two new AMD Ryzen CPUs that we were able to obtain. These were the already mentioned AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 5 7600X. Both CPUs were tested on the same system which included the following components.
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X|
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
|MOBO||ASRock X670E Taichi|
|RAM||32GB (2x16GB) G.Skill Trident Z5 DDR5-6000|
|GPU||ASUS TUF Gaming GeForce RTX 3080 OC 12GB|
|SSD||1TB AORUS 7000s PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2|
|Cooler||Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML240L RGB V2|
|PSU||EVGA SuperNOVA 1300 G+ 80 PLUS Gold|
|Driver||NVIDIA GeForce Experience 517.48 WHQL|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro x64 21H2E|
When we talk about the performance results in demanding content creation applications, the Ryzen 7000 series is more than convincing when compared to its Vermeer predecessor. The performance uplift ranges from 7% to almost 70% in favor of the Raphael, and averages around 30%, as AMD promised. The new Ryzen 7000 CPUs also beat the Intel Core i9-12900K, which lagged behind about 20 percent in most cases. In some extreme cases, the new Zen 4 CPUs turned out to be up to 150% faster (Blender) compared to their Intel Core i9 counterparts.
Gaming performance with Ryzen 7000 is also improved, but the difference is not nearly as big as with professional applications. The new Zen 4 CPUs are definitely faster than the Ryzen 5000 series processors, especially in CPU demanding games like Borderlands 3 and Far Cry 6. However, the most noticeable performance improvements can be seen in the latest titles, such as Forza Horizon 5 which feature better support for multi-threading.
The new Ryzen 7000 processor series starts with several different models. The strongest Ryzen 9 7950X has 16 physical cores and the ability to execute up to 32 instruction sets at the same time. Its core frequency defaults at 4.5 GHz and can reach a maximum value in the form of a single core 5.7 GHz boost. Next is the 12-core Ryzen 9 7900X, which operates in the range of 4.7 to 5.6 GHz and, like its predecessor, has a power consumption of 170 W. Down the line is the classic 8-core Ryzen 7 7700X with 16 threads and a core clock range of 4.5 to 5.4 GHz and TDP of 105 W. Finally, the most interesting six-core Ryzen 5 7600X comes in a 6C/12T configuration, consumes 105 W and features a core clock range of 4.7 to 5.3 GHz.
A word about prices. The fastest Ryzen 9 7950X arrives with a realistic price tag of $699 in most retail stores. The second is the Ryzen 9 7900X with 12 cores which will be offered at a price of $549, while the classic “V8” model in the form of the Ryzen 7 7700X will cost $399. In the end, you will have to spend $299 for the Ryzen 5 7600X.
Finally, it should be mentioned that over time, in addition to the classic line of Zen 4 models, AMD’s offer will include the Zen 4 V-Cache variant with more cache memory, as well as the Zen 4c server models with 128 cores, which will be built on an even more advanced 4nm processing node.
And that’s it. We hope you gained some new insights with our review of the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 5 7600X. From this moment on, AMD Ryzen Raphael and the X670 platform begin to evolve and receive improvements practically every day.
Ryzen 7000 is undoubtedly the best processor for desktop PCs today and we have absolutely no doubts about that. Unsurprisingly, these are the fastest CPUs currently available on the market, and we strongly recommend buying one of them if you are in search for a new CPU. We have to wait and see what the competition in the form of the 13th generation Intel Core Raptor Lake processor will have to show. Only then we will be able to say with certainty which one of these two series will win the flattering title of absolute champion in the desktop PC processor category.
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