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AMD Ryzen 7000: Everything we know about Zen 4 CPUs

AMD’s Ryzen 7000 CPUs are here, capping off a big 2022 for team red. First, the company launched its Ryzen 6000 mobile APUs, which featured improved power efficiency and powerful RDNA 2 graphics. On the desktop, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D was the company’s first chip to use V-Cache, which put this eight-core CPU on par with its 12- and 16-core brothers in games. But these are inconsequential in comparison to Ryzen 7000, and now that our Ryzen 9 7950X review is live, we can fill in the gaps of what we know about the new CPU line.

Here’s everything we know about Ryzen 7000.

Pricing and availability

A group shot of Ryzen 7000 CPUs.

At the Ryzen 7000 announcement, AMD confirmed Ryzen 7000 CPUs would be available at retail starting on September 27, a bit later than some rumors had predicted, which means there could have been a short delay on account of rumored motherboard issues. It’s also probably not a coincidence that September 27 is also the day Intel is expected to announce its upcoming 13th-generation Raptor Lake CPUs; perhaps AMD decided a delay wasn’t just necessary but also welcome.

The first wave of Ryzen 7000 CPUs will cost the following:

  • Ryzen 9 7950X: $699
  • Ryzen 9 7900X: $549
  • Ryzen 7 7700X: $399
  • Ryzen 5 7600X: $299

Pricing has actually improved for the eight- and 16-core models. The 7950X is cheaper than the original 16-core flagship 3950X was when it launched in 2019. The 7700X is also $50 cheaper than the 5800X, though it would have been nice to see the 7700X match the price of the $299 5700X. While many expected higher prices for most of these CPUs, we can be quite relieved that prices are either flat or lower than before.

Specs

Ryzen 9 7950X Ryzen 9 7900X Ryzen 7 7700X Ryzen 5 7600X
Cores/threads 16/32 12/24 8/16 6/12
Boost clock speed 5.7GHz 5.6GHz 5.4GHz 5.3GHz
Base clock speed 4.5GHz 4.7GHz 4.5GHz 4.7GHz
Cache (L2 + L3) 80MB 76MB 40MB 38MB
TDP 170W 170W 105W 105W
Price $700 $550 $400 $300

The big changes with this generation of CPUs come in the form of clock speed, cache boosts, and a higher TDP to account for it. Thanks to improvements to the Zen 4 architecture and a new, more-efficient 5nm process node, AMD has been able to take its Ryzen 7000 CPUs well north of 5GHz for the first time. That does come at the cost of TDP, however. Where the last-generation Ryzen 5950X had a TDP of just 105W, the 7950X with the same 16 cores is now rated for 170W TDP. It actually pulled around 200W when maxed out in our testing, but more on that below.

Architecture

AMD's Ryzen 7000 processor delidded.
AMD

The Ryzen 7000 chips are based on the new Zen 4 architecture. It continues the evolution of the chiplet design pioneered on Zen 2 and is built on TSMC’s new enhanced 5nm process node.

The 5nm node — known as N4 at chipmaker TSMC — is said to offer either a 15% boost in clock speed at the same power or a 30% reduction in power consumption at the same frequency, in addition to 1.8 times greater transistor density over N7.

As for the design improvements of the architecture itself, AMD promised an 8% to 10% instruction per clock (or IPC) boost at its Financial Analyst Day in June, but AMD has since revised that figure to 13%. That’s a smaller improvement compared to last-gen’s Zen 3, but we haven’t talked about clock speed.

AMD has targeted extremely high clock speeds with Ryzen 7000. AMD finally hit the 5GHz mark on its Zen CPUs with Ryzen 6000 mobile and Ryzen 5000 capped out at 4.9 GHz. But Ryzen 7000 blows right past last-generation chips and features clock speeds as high as 5.7 GHz, albeit in single-threaded workloads. At the same time, Ryzen 7000 is 25% more efficient than Ryzen 5000, thanks to the 5nm node and decent IPC improvements offsetting the increase in frequency.

Cache is also a focus for Ryzen 7000, as each Zen 4 core is now equipped with 1MB of L2 cache rather than the 512KB we saw on Zen 3. L3 cache was not increased within the CPU itself, but AMD did confirm that V-Cache will come to Ryzen 7000, albeit only on certain CPUs. Counting both L2 and L3 cache, the flagship Ryzen 9 7950X has 80MB total, and a theoretical Ryzen 7 7700X3D with V-Cache could have up to 104MB.

A render of AMD's Ryzen 7000 CPU.

Ryzen 7000 also features a TDP increase for its flagship parts, from 125 watts on Ryzen 3000 and 5000 to 170 watts. Prior 12- and 16-core models were constrained by the 125-watt limit, hence the increase. Another interesting change is the addition of integrated RDNA 2 graphics, but they aren’t very powerful. One might wonder why AMD would decide to add a weak iGPU to its desktop CPUs, but it’s likely because AMD wants to be able to sell this CPU in machines without discrete graphics and also in laptops such as Dragon Range. Fortunately, as you’ll see below, they might be limited, but the onboard graphics are more than enough to game on.

Those graphics are stored not on the CPU chipsets but on the I/O die, which is now on TSMC’s 6nm node, a more economical version of its 7nm node. Graphics aren’t the only new addition to the I/O die, though, as AI acceleration features are built in as well.

Performance

AMD CEO holding a Ryzen 7000 processor.

Higher IPC, higher clock speeds, and more cache are basically the perfect formula for great performance, and AMD delivered in style with Ryzen 7000. In our own testing of the 7950X, we found that it made major leaps over both the 5950X and its main competitor from Intel (for now), the Core i9-12900K.

Single core benchmarks for the Ryzen 9 7950X.

In single core performance, the 7950X shows an impressive 31% improvement over the 5950X — that’s greater than even its ambitious 29% claims made previously. That should deliver a big boost in general compute performance and in specific applications that really appreciate extra clock speed and cache, like Photoshop.

Games also love that kind of per-core enhancement, and in our testing, the 7950X was able to handily beat the 12900K and the previous AMD gaming-king, the 5800X3D.

Gaming benchmarks for the Ryzen 9 7950X.

CPUs aren’t the arbiter of gaming performance that they once were, but they still play a part, and faster CPUs can unlock additional GPU performance in CPU-bound games. In our spread of tested titles, we found the 7950X delivered around 13% higher frame rates in games on average, but some, like Forza Horizon 4, it jumped by as much as 28% over the 5950X. It was around 10% faster than the 5800X3D, but in some, it was as much as 18% quicker.

The 12900K offers stiffer competition in some games, but even then, the 7950X is the clear winner. Intel will have a tough fight to regain that ground with its next-generation designs.

PugetBench results for the Ryzen 9 7950X.

Real-world productivity applications showed impressive gains, too, giving the 7950X the multithreaded crown again after AMD lost it to the best Alder Lake designs. This makes Ryzen 7000 a very attractive buy for anyone using their PC for creative means.

We don’t have the rest of the Ryzen 7000 range to test just yet, but if the 7950X is anything to go by, Zen 4 should be very special indeed. AMD has claimed that the $300 7600X is a better gaming CPU than the 12900K, a claim we’ll definitely want to examine in detail.

Ryzen 7000’s main competition isn’t 12th-gen Alder Lake; it’s 13th-gen Raptor Lake. Conservative estimates based on AMD’s prior announcements made the fight look pretty even between the two CPUs, and it seemed like AMD could possibly squeeze out a slight win in multithread but lose the fight for single-thread.

New chipset and a new socket

Someone opening AMD's AM5 socket.
MSI/Tom's Hardware

With the next generation of CPUs, AMD is retiring the AM4 socket that it has used since the launch of first-generation Ryzen chips. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the socket is now 5 years old.

This new socket uses an LGA1718, Land Grid Array design, with the CPU pins on the motherboard instead of on the CPU. Intel has used LGA sockets for several generations, while AMD has stuck with the older Pin Grid Array (PGA) socket design for everything up to Ryzen 5000.

As the name suggests, LGA1718 features 1,718 pins on the motherboard. LGA designs can support a higher pin density, and that’s clear to see with AM4’s mere 1,331 pins. Those additional pins help open up support for DDR5 memory, as well as PCI-Express 5.0 and improved overall performance.

Those new AM5 sockets will be part of a new generation of 600 series motherboards. The X670E extreme motherboards offer the highest quality VRMs for enhanced overclocking and will have PCI-E 5 support on every M.2 and PCIe slot. X670 boards will feature mainstream overclocking potential, PCIe 5.0 on both the first x16 PCIe 5.0 slot, and at least one M.2 slot. B650 motherboards will have PCIe 5.0 for at least one M.2 slot and will feature PCIe 4.0 for the actual slots.

These new motherboards will bring with them support for up to 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes, 14 USB ports running up to 20Gbps, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2. Better yet, thanks to the new integrated graphics, AMD 600 motherboards will be able to support up to four HDMI 2.1 or DisplayPort 2 ports.

Although AMD is moving to a new socket design, Ryzen 7000 chips will use the same socket size and will fully support AM4 coolers.

Integrated graphics and APUs

The AMD RX 6700 XT sitting on a table.

By including the GPU on the I/O die instead of the main CPU chiplets, AMD isn’t having to make any sacrifices to add integrated graphics, so all Ryzen 7000 chips will have an onboard RDNA 2 GPU. Ryzen 7000 won’t replace APUs, though. Instead, the included graphics are meant to aid in troubleshooting as well, to enable AMD to sell its desktop CPUs in other machines that normally like having integrated graphics, like laptops and desktops for business.

Although AMD has said that the onboard GPUs aren’t designed with gaming in mind, we found the 7950X is perfectly capable of gaming using only its onboard GPU cores. It delivered playable frame rates at 1080p with medium settings in Forza Horizon 4, Rocket League, and Rainbow Six Siege

It’s not stellar, but it’s completely viable, opening up the door for low-level Zen 4 CPUs that can play games without a GPU at all and for anyone who wants to stagger buying their gaming PC components by starting with a Zen 4 CPU and adding a dedicated GPU later. It’s also great for troubleshooting if something goes wrong with your main card.

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