The best CPUs made by AMD represent excellent value for their money, offering high core counts and blistering clock speeds at reasonable prices. The most recent Ryzen 7000 range includes processors that can go toe to toe with the best from rival Intel. The question is: Which Ryzen CPU should you pick up?
The Ryzen family is broken down into four distinct branches, targeting the entry-level, mainstream, performance, and high-end enthusiast sectors of the market — otherwise known as Ryzen 3, Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9. They're all great chips in their own ways, but some certainly offer more value than others, and for many, the most powerful chips will be complete overkill. Then, there are also the top CPUs for gaming that belong to AMD's 3D V-Cache lineup.
Below, we'll explore all options and help you pick the chip that best fits your needs.
Ryzen 5 7600
The best value Zen 4 processor
- Great performance per dollar
- Suitable for gaming and productivity
- Impressive clock speed for the price
- AM5 platform can be pricey
- Doesn't come with a cooler
Why you should buy this: It's a reasonable processor that can suit both budget and midrange builds.
Who it's for: Gamers and day-to-day users who want a solid PC that'll last them for years.
What we thought of the Ryzen 5 7600:
The AMD Ryzen 5 7600 is a well-rounded CPU that comes with six cores and 12 threads. For a chip that costs just over $215, it also offers an impressive clock speed of 5.2GHz, making it an all-around decent deal. Sure, it's a lot pricier than its last-gen counterpart, but the generational upgrades that it brings make it an overall better pick if you're looking to build a PC that won't require upgrades for a few years.
Performance-wise, the Ryzen 5 7600 is extremely close to the Ryzen 5 7600X, although its clock speed is lower both at the base and at the maximum boost level. Aside from that, the specs are exactly the same, down to the 38MB of combined cache. However, buying the 7600 is helpful for extra savings, because it comes with a bundled CPU cooler – something that the 7600X does not provide.
Outside of the cost of the processor itself, you have to be ready to pay a premium for an AM5 motherboard, as the 7600 (alongside its other Ryzen 7000 siblings) is not backward-compatible with AMD's old AM4 platform. It also requires DDR5 RAM, so any old DDR4 memory won't work. However, the extra money gets you solid performance in gaming and productivity, and most of all, an easy upgrade path until – at the very least – 2025.
Ryzen 7 7800X3D
The best Ryzen CPU for gaming
- Chart-topping gaming performance
- Great value
- Solid multi-core and productivity performance
- AM5 is getting cheaper
- Weak single-core performance
Why you should buy this: It's the fastest gaming CPU by a mile.
Who it's for: Gamers who don't need a CPU for productivity and want superb gaming performance.
What we thought of the Ryzen 7 7800X3D:
When the Ryzen 7 5800X3D first came out, we were impressed by its boundless gaming potential, which made the Ryzen 7 7800X3D a highly anticipated follow-up. Walking in the footsteps of its predecessor, this CPU proceeds to tick all the boxes a gamer could ask for: It's reasonably priced, it's lightning-fast, and it can breeze through even the most demanding games.
Much like its older sibling, the 7800X3D sports eight cores and 16 threads. However, it boosts the clock speeds up to 5GHz, and the combined cache size to 104MB. Compared to the Ryzen 7 7700X, the clock speeds are lower, but the extra cache more than makes up for it in gaming scenarios.
At the time of writing, the 7800X3D costs around $400, which makes it somewhat expensive but still reasonable. The only CPU that's faster in (some, but not all) games is the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, but that processor also costs $660, making the 7800X3D superior in almost every way. If you're building a PC purely for gaming, the 7800X3D is the way to go. If your budget is limitless and you need a PC for productivity and gaming alike, the 7950X3D is a solid option, but be aware that you'll mostly be wasting money.
Ryzen 5 5500
The best Ryzen CPU under $100
- Six cores and 12 threads
- Super affordable
- Excellent gaming performance
- Relatively low default clock speed
- Less L3 cache than other Ryzen CPUs
Why you should buy this: The Ryzen 5 5500 is the cheapest Zen 3 desktop CPU and has good mid-range performance.
Who it's for: Gamers and hobbyists who want the best bang for their buck.
What we thought of the Ryzen 5 5500:
The Ryzen 5 5500 is the cheapest CPU in the last-gen Ryzen 5000 lineup, making it ideal for budget-oriented builds. Don't underestimate it based on its sub-$100 price tag, though. It's a decent CPU that can be used for all kinds of gaming as well as productivity, and although you shouldn't expect it to fit neatly into a monster PC build, it'll serve you well, and at a low cost.
This CPU sports six cores and 12 threads utilizing the Zen 3 architecture. On the surface, this is identical to the more expensive 5600X, as well as the Ryzen 5 5600, but the 5500 is actually quite different from its neighbors. The 5500 is based on the same silicon that Ryzen APUs use, but with the integrated graphics disabled. This means the 5500 only has 16 MB of L3 cache as opposed to the 32 MB of the 5600X and 5600.
In spite of this lack of cache, the 5500 performs well enough to be worth it. The 5500 can easily do 120-plus frames per second in esports games and has similar multi-threaded performance to the 5600 and 5600X. If you're looking for the best bang for your buck, it's just not worth it to pay more for the 5600X or the 5600.
Ryzen 9 7950X
The best high-end Ryzen CPU
- Off the charts CPU performance
- Solid gaming improvements
- Integrated graphics work for light games
- Works with most AM4 coolers
- DDR5 could bloat cost
Why you should buy this: It's AMD's best processor right now.
Who it's for: Users with huge budgets who want the best of the best.
What we thought of the Ryzen 9 7950X:
If you're aiming for the stars, this CPU should be your goal. The Ryzen 9 7950X sits atop AMD's non-3D lineup, and rightfully so. It's a powerful processor with a lot of potential both for productivity and for gaming, and although it isn't cheap, it is the chip you want to go for in a high-end PC build. However, there are some caveats.
The 7950X comes with 16 cores and 32 threads. It has an eye-watering clock speed that can be boosted up to 5.7GHz, and a mighty combined cache (80MB). It's also quite power-hungry, what with the 170W TDP, so be ready to invest in a top-notch power supply and an AIO cooler. Both of those things are the staples of a high-end build, though, so you're probably ready for it.
While this CPU retails for around $540, having already received significant price cuts from its initial list price of $700, it's still not cheap. It'll also force you to buy an AM5 motherboard, which are still mildly pricey, and DDR5 RAM. However, those upgrades are great for future-proofing, and once AMD comes out with next-gen processors, you'll be ready for an easy upgrade.
If you're looking for a productivity beast, this CPU is your best bet in the AMD lineup. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D is better for gaming purposes, but it also provides worse value and productivity performance, so it all comes down to what you need in your PC. Of course, Intel's Core i9-13900K is a viable alternative, too.
Ryzen 7 5700X
The best value Zen 3 CPU for productivity
- Eight cores and 16 threads
- Large L3 cache
- Cheapest eight-core Zen 3 desktop CPU
- Not much higher gaming performance compared to cheaper Zen 3 CPUs
- Uses old AM4 platform
Why you should buy this: The Ryzen 7 5700X provides both a good gaming experience and high performance in productivity tasks.
Who it's for: Users who want to game and work on the same PC.
What we thought of the Ryzen 7 5700X:
If you want more performance in the productivity department while maintaining great frame rates in games, but aren't quite ready to switch to the new Zen 4 processors, you'll want the Ryzen 7 5700X. The 7-series part comes with eight cores and 16 threads while featuring the same IPC and memory improvements as the Ryzen 5 5500 and the 5600G. It also requires a lot more power — 105 watts to 65 watts — and boosts higher, with a max boost clock of 4.6GHz.
The 5700X costs around $200 these days and is essentially a discounted Ryzen 7 5800X, which retails for $250 at the time of writing. The 5700X not only has a much, much more reasonable price tag but also has about the same performance in games and isn't far behind in multi-threaded applications and other software. Enabling Precision Boost Overdrive on the 5700X basically turns it into a 5800X with no discernible differences, making the more expensive 5800X almost pointless.
If you need integrated graphics, the Ryzen 7 5700G is basically the APU version of the 5700X. But just as the 5600 has less L3 cache than the 5600 and 5600X, the 5700G also has less cache than the 5700X: 16MB versus 32. The 5700G currently goes for around $200, so you're not saving any money other than not having to shell out extra cash on a discrete graphics card.
Ryzen 5 5600G
The best value Ryzen APU
- Six cores and 12 threads
- Fast integrated graphics
- Cheapest Zen 3 desktop APU
- Overclockable CPU and GPU cores
- Less L3 cache than other Ryzen CPUs
- Relies on high speed DDR4 RAM for good integrated graphics performance
Why you should buy this: The Ryzen 5 5600G is the cheapest Zen 3 desktop APU, providing both good CPU performance and decent integrated graphics.
Who it's for: Gamers who can't afford a discrete GPU at the moment and hobbyists who want to build a compact PC without discrete graphics.
What we thought of the Ryzen 5 5600G:
The Ryzen 5 5600G is basically the Ryzen 5 5500, but it has the six Zen 2 cores and 12 threads, though the same 16 MB L3 cache. It also has slightly higher clock speeds and working integrated graphics. At the time of writing, the 5600G can be found for around $130, and although this price isn't nearly as affordable as the venerable Ryzen 3 3200G (which often retails for well below $70), the 5600G is far more capable thanks to faster and more numerous CPU and GPU cores.
If you wanted to build a fast but budget-friendly PC without discrete graphics, the 5600G is the best Ryzen APU you can choose. Older and slower Ryzen APUs are either out of stock or are more expensive, which makes the 5600G really the only choice for this segment.
The 5600G is also decent for people who don't want or can't really afford a good discrete GPU now but plan on getting one later. Even though the 5600G is pretty mid-range, you could pair it with a fairly high-end GPU like the 3070 Ti as long as you're just aiming for 60 to 120 fps. The 16 MB L3 cache is particularly limiting for playing newer and more demanding games, but it's hard to not recommend a $130 APU with good gaming performance, good multi-threaded performance, and decent integrated graphics.
Ryzen 7 5800X3D
The fastest Zen 3 Ryzen CPU for gaming
- Fastest gaming CPU
- Massive amount of L3 cache
- Low productivity performance relative to price
- No upgrade path
Why you should buy this: It's the fastest gaming CPU from the Zen 3 generation.
Who it's for: Gamers who want the highest performance possible on an AMD platform but want to stick to a tighter budget.
What we thought of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D:
Thanks to AMD's 3D V-Cache technology, the 5800X3D has a whopping 96MB of L3 cache, way higher than anything we've ever seen on a consumer CPU back when it was released. However, it only has eight cores, the same eight cores you'll find in the 5700X (albeit running at a higher clock speed). This means that while the 5800X3D can go head to head with the Core i5-13600K and the Ryzen 7 7700X in games, it gets left in the dust in anything more multi-threaded.
The 5800X3D usually retails for around $330. While that's really affordable compared to the price it launched at, it still finds itself in an awkward position because there are CPUs that offer better performance at a similar price point. For instance, you'd be better off picking up the Core i7-13700K, which is on par with the 5800X3D in gaming but miles better in productivity. It all comes down to what you need the most.
The 5800X3D is the best choice for gamers who want the best or nearly the best gaming performance guaranteed while also saving some money. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D is a faster and better option, but it'll cost you an extra $80.
On the other hand, the 5800X3D remains a fan-favorite because it's locked to the AM4 platform, and this is both a blessing and a curse. It means you'll get cheaper motherboards and affordable DDR4 RAM to pair it with, but it also means you won't be able to upgrade it without swapping the motherboard – and that often means several other upgrades will be required, too.
It depends. For multi-thread performance, it's the Ryzen 9 7950X, which does very well in applications like Blender. For gaming, it's the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. However, all of these CPUs provide decent to great performance in both applications and games. You don't need a 7950X for work, nor do you need a 7800X3D to game, but those are the chips to go with if you want to do either at the highest possible level.
At the moment, AMD and Intel provide very similar performance, although AMD sometimes manages to offer similar performance at a lower price. Intel processors, in general, boast higher core counts, but their AMD counterparts may cost less or be faster in gaming scenarios. It all depends on the use case -- for pure productivity, Intel may be the better option, but comparable AMD chips might be cheaper.
Integrated graphics aren't as fast as discrete graphics, and Ryzen G processors (or APUs) have slightly worse CPU performance than non-G CPUs. We really only recommend Ryzen APUs for users who don't plan on using discrete graphics. Ryzen APUs are good for users on a budget who might not be able to afford a discrete GPU right now but plan on buying one later.
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