There’s no denying that the Ryzen 7000 series processors have many technical improvements over their predecessors. The I/O matrix has finally received some much needed upgrades, both in terms of manufacturing process and features, which really take the platform a step further. And if we are to believe the communication from AMD about socket AM5 so far, then with such a motherboard you are again looking at long-term support for new generations of processors, just like with AM4. Still, it’s not all roses and moonlight.
The AM5 platform
After years with AM4, this time both a new motherboard and new memory must be purchased to be able to use a new generation of Ryzen processor. Of course, the AM5 socket with a completely different design than AM4 means you have to buy a new motherboard, but it is a little less easy to defend for the working memory. AMD itself has chosen not to provide DDR4 support with the Ryzen 7000 series, arguing that with this choice it actually accelerates the adoption of DDR5, because greater demand helps the (further) development and affordability of the new memory standard.
There is something to be said for that, although it is clear that at the end of 2022 we are dealing with a completely different AMD than at the start of AM4. The underdog position that the manufacturer was in back then is a thing of the past. AMD has since built a strong brand with Ryzen, which many users now associate with high performance. For a long time this was accompanied by a relatively competitive price, but with the latest Ryzens, the cost of a pre-built system looks very different down the line.
Ryzen 7950X and 7700X
The situation is slightly different for individual processors. The 7700X and 7950X are barely more expensive in euros than their predecessors and therefore much more advanced. Of the two models tested, the Ryzen 7 7700X is actually less impressive, although the processor does not show poor performance. Still, the flagship Ryzen 9 7950X is the processor that scores highly. The large number of fast Zen 4 cores with high clock speeds ensures that the cpu performs excellently in a reasonable number of workloads and in the rare cases where the AVX-512 support can be used, the processor takes off hard. In a number of ways, there is no reason to mourn the end of Threadripper for consumers; The Ryzen 9 7950X is, in a sense, a hot processor.
When it comes to gaming, the Ryzen 7950X and 7700X are not immediately the compelling options to go for. It is striking; AMD itself praises the processors as extremely suitable for gaming. Again, we can say that there is nothing wrong with the gaming performance of the new generation, but that Intel’s Alder Lake and AMD’s own 5800X3D are even more interesting options when it comes to gaming alone. With cheaper DDR4 memory and a more affordable motherboard, the 5800X3D is at least as fast as the new Ryzens and basically leaves more money for the video card, still the most crucial factor in a gaming system.
Too hot to handle
AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors get very hot under full load. This is clear from our own tests, and it is also what AMD has clearly communicated to the press. The manufacturer seems to say between the lines that the switch should be made for end users: CPU temperatures above 90 degrees are not high, but quite normal and suitable for long-term use. The thermal limit is where the Ryzen 7950X and 7700X run into first. This is already the case with the be quiet Dark Rock Pro 4 cooler and even with our biggest water coolers we don’t get below 80 degrees. That’s a huge difference from the Ryzen 5000 generation. It becomes so clear that the 5nm chiplets on the new Ryzen processors simply deliver too much power on too small a surface to be able to dissipate the heat properly with existing coolers.
AMD has also chosen to make more power available on AM5 than it did on AM4, all to boost clock speeds as much as possible. It provides the ultimate performance in many benchmarks that we’ve seen from the 7950X, and that result is a significant gain compared to the previous generation.