AMD Ryzen 7900X
$549 USD (~$796 AUD)
September 27, 2022
AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 Series of CPUs presents a major step forward for AMD in terms of architecture and setting the scene for PC use in the years to come. Built with cutting-edge 5nm Zen 4 technology, the new Ryzen range delivers performance and efficiency gains across the board. The Ryzen 7000 Series of CPUs also introduce the new AM5 standard, which in a roundabout way means the arrival of new sockets and motherboards for builds and rigs.
So, you’ll definitely need a new board if you plan on making the leap to Ryzen 7000 - no matter if that’s the top-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 7950X, the AMD Ryzen 7900X reviewed here, or the more budget-friendly AMD Ryzen 7600X. But, we’re not just talking about a new CPU size or different type of socket as the reason for the change from AM4 to AM5. AM5 paves the way for high-speed DDR5 memory, PCIe Gen 5 speeds, and room for more of everything - including power limits for those looking to overclock and push their system as far as it can go.
AMD’s new Ryzen 7000 Series of CPUs presents a major step forward for AMD in terms of architecture and setting the scene for PC use in the years to come.
In a very cool move, AMD has ensured that all AM4 coolers will work with the new AM5-based Ryzen 7000 series.
To highlight one of the biggest and most immediate benefits to gaming though comes with the 29% boost to single-core performance (based on AMD’s own testing) that has arrived with Zen 4. This presents a big uplift when it comes to 1080p performance and competitive titles, games where frame rates easily hit triple digits. The Ryzen series has always impressed when it came to multithreaded workloads, so the benefit of the new Zen 4 architecture’s 5nm process, AMD’s new tech, and clock speeds that comfortably sit in excess of 5+ GHz has resulted in the Ryzen 7000 series is truly impressive for straight up playing games. Both new and old.
But before we dig into our time with the AMD Ryzen 7900X, here’s a little summary of what Zen 4 brings to the table. Or, desktop.
A Zen Garden - An AMD Ryzen 7000 Series Primer
The following is applicable to all AMD Ryzen 700 series GPUs
Like with all things computing, desktop CPUs have made major strides over the past couple of decades. As things have shrunk, more complex bits of silicon have arrived on the scene and one of the most impressive in recent times has been AMD’s Ryzen range. Multi-core, multi-thread processors that have seen major architectural advances as node sizes shrunk from 14nm with the original Ryzen, down to 7nm with the Ryzen 5000 series. With the new Ryzen 7000 series featuring cutting-edge TSMC 5N, we’re now at George-Costanza-after-swimming-in-the-pool level of shrinkage
And all of this paves the way for gains that go beyond simply doing the same thing, but more. The new node and increased clock speeds of the new Zen 4 architecture lead to a double-digit gain in IPC, which is shorthand for instructions per cycle/clock. This isn’t something you really need to get a handle on or understand, it’s simply a measure of raw CPU power. Like how the Emperor views the Dark Side of the Force
. So a 13% bump (as per AMD’s testing), is pretty big. Zen 4 also improves the management of AI workloads as new computational advances have been brought into the picture.
For gamers though, it’s the increase in clock speeds (well over 5.0 GHz) with plenty of room for overclocking that adds a significant layer to the story. Even though high-speed multi-threaded Zen technology lies at the heart of both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles, not all games take full advantage of multi-core CPUs.
In the PC space, single core CPU performance can still be seen as the main driver for what a processor can bring. With Zen 4 increasing single-core performance by a whopping 29% compared to the still very-impressive previous generation of Ryzen CPUs, you can see how the Ryzen 7000 series makes a very convincing argument for being the
CPU range for PC gaming in 2022.
And even though the AMD Ryzen 7900X features a TDP rating of 170W compared to the Ryzen 5900X’s 105W, and the AMD Ryzen 7600X’s 105W is markedly higher than the Ryzen 5600X’s 65W, efficiency is still impressive. Those power ratings are mostly AMD flexing and pushing the technology to the point where the Ryzen 7600X can top the top-of-the-line competition in raw in-game performance across the entire range. With low idle power usage and specific ECO modes available, you can bring the power rating all the way down to previous generation Ryzen and still see sizable gains.
The Ryzen series has always impressed when it came to multithreaded workloads, so the benefit of the new Zen 4 architecture’s 5nm process, AMD’s new tech, and clock speeds that comfortably sit in excess of 5+ GHz has resulted in the Ryzen 7000 series is truly impressive for straight up playing games.
And with that AMD will be retiring its long-running AM4 Ryzen motherboards for the new AM5 standard that will support both PCIe Gen 5 for storage and graphics but also the latest in DDR5 memory. The later of which will be standard for AM5 and the Ryzen 7000 Series, as there won’t be support for DDR4. On the plus side DDR5 prices continue to drop and AMD has stated that all AM4 coolers (which have been around for several years now) will work with AM5.
Finally, the AMD Ryzen 7000 series also features RDNA 2-based graphics for those that don’t need discrete graphics. Though that scenario is mainly for businesses or users that don’t game, as the RDNA 2 is mainly here to offer up encode, decode, and troubleshooting – without the ray-tracing.
The Specs and Test System
AMD Ryzen 7900X
Max Boost: 5.6 GHz
Base Clock: 4.7 GHz
L2 Cache/L3 Cache: 16x1MB, 64MB
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7900X
Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT
Motherboard: ASRock X670E Taichi
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo DDR5-6000
Storage: Kingston FURY Renegade PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD
Graphics: GeForce RTX 3070
Cinebench R23 is a popular benchmarking tool that really pushes a CPU, testing its capabilities by rendering a complex 3D image. It’s basically the benchmarking equivalent of creating a single second of footage from the latest Pixar animated movie, so it doubles as a nice little reminder that it takes a lot of computing grunt to deliver modern entertainment. Cinebench R23 features two tests, one that renders using a single-core, and another that uses all cores. And it’s here where we get to see what it means for Ryzen to deliver single-core performance in addition to multi.
It was also at this point where it became clear that when AMD noted a new Ryzen 7000 series CPU pushing 90 degrees celsius when going full throttle wasn’t a joke. In fact, it’s somewhat normal unless you’re running in ECO Mode. In terms of other productivity tests, running 7-Zip the AMD Ryzen 7900X offered up 200.82 GIPS for decompression and 130.97 GIPS for compression. Of course, like with the Cinebench R23 numbers, they’re exactly that, numbers. To give them a little bit of context, this positions the AMD Ryzen 7900X as one of the most powerful CPUs currently available - and it’s not even the top-of-the-line model overclocked and liquid-cooled with the stuff that made the T-1000 freeze.
Presenting game-specific results for a CPU review is one of those footnote situations with the little star thing you see all over official press releases for anything tech related. One, in-game performance is a full-system deal, so the GPU, memory, and more factor into the equation. For the following in-game benchmarks and 3D Mark tests, it’s worth highlighting that the GPU utilised was a GeForce RTX 3070, which factors into the results. To ensure the CPU was a key factor all game tests were carried out in 1080p with settings set to High as opposed to Ultra.
Without a huge range of CPUs to compare results with, all I can really do is go back to tests carried out with the same GPU and my trusty AMD Ryzen 3800X. Let's just say that the bump in 1080p performance was not only noticeable but massive. Granted we’re talking a couple of CPU generations, but in 2022 the AMD Ryzen 7000 series is a gaming beast - on top of being great for productivity. It’s also worth mentioning that outside of Cinebench’s particular brand of stress-testing we didn’t see the AMD Ryzen 7900X regularly go above 80 degrees.
Finally, the non-benchmark stuff. That is seeing how the CPU behaves when idle or when you’re in the midst of doing basic PC tasks like responding to emails. Power draw and temps for the 7900X here were incredibly low - like 40 degrees and 15-20 Watts.
As mentioned above, performance in games is always something of a full-system deal, but at the heart of any PC build lies the CPU - and with that, the new AMD Ryzen 7000 series presents an impressive generational leap forward for the Ryzen line. Generational gains are one thing but pushing the performance and efficiency - alongside the usual gains you get from increased clock speeds and the move to a new node - really sells the shift to the new AM5 socket and chipset.
Performance in games is always something of a full-system deal, but at the heart of any PC build lies the CPU - and with that, the new AMD Ryzen 7000 series presents an impressive generational leap forward for the Ryzen line.
For gamers, 1080p gaming just about removes the need to even talk about CPU bottlenecks, on account of what the AMD Ryzen 7900X and even the AMD Ryzen 7600X can deliver. Compared to the top-of-the-line CPUs available today, single-thread and multi-thread game performance for the AMD Ryzen 7000 series is next-level. And that’s long before you factor in the benefit and forward-thinking shift to DDR and PCIe Gen 5 will bring to speed that goes beyond tracking things like frames-per-second.