AMD released the first four of its new Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 processors on September 27: the Ryzen 9 7950X, the Ryzen 9 7900X, the Ryzen 7 7700X, and the Ryzen 5 7600X. Codenamed “Raphael,” these processors are built on AMD’s new Zen 4 architecture and deliver extraordinary performance and energy efficiency.
Having historically lagged behind Intel, AMD has recently surpassed them in some aspects and continues to be competitive in the gaming arena.
The flagship model, the 7950X, has shown particularly impressive stats, reportedly reaching clock speeds of 6.5GHz and 7.2GHz across all 16 cores and 1 core, respectively, under liquid nitrogen cooling. AMD even claims the 7950X to be the fastest CPU in the world.
But, how does this, and AMD’s other Zen 4 processors, stack up against the competition in reality? Read on to find out!
Zen 4 vs. Zen 3: How Do the 7000 Models Compare?
Enhanced Efficiency and Speed
Due to the new Zen 4 architecture and 5nm process, the 7000 processors boast an increased clock rate compared to their predecessors.
The largest frequency increases are seen with the Ryzen 9 7950X and the Ryzen 9 7900X, both exhibiting an increase of 800MHz over previous models, while the 7950X has a 16% higher clock rate than the 5950X. TDP ratings have also seen a boost, as the Ryzen 9 7000 models show a 65W increase while the Ryzen 5 sees a 45W increase.
Concerning power consumption and efficiency, the new 5nm process gives an expected improvement over the 7nm process used in AMD’s older processors -– a 20% lower power consumption is seen compared to the 5000 models. This, combined with the new architecture, is reported by AMD to give up to 40% better performance at standard TDP ratings.
Don’t Rely on the GPU
While the 7000 series do contain a Radeon RDNA 2 integrated GPU, even AMD has warned that these aren’t really designed for gaming performance. Supporting four display outputs, it seems these GPUs can’t handle much else than lighting up displays.
Some preliminary testing by Tom’s Hardware shows that Far Cry 6 wouldn’t even run, whereas Shadow of the Tomb Raider could render, but only at 1280 x 720p.
Testing with the RTX 3090 GPU, however, showed the Ryzen 9 7950X to be 17% faster than its Zen 3 counterpart, the Ryzen 9 5950X, while both contain the same number of cores. The Ryzen 5 7600X also shows improvements over the 5600X, being around 18% faster.
Better Memory at a Higher Cost
In terms of memory, the 7000 processors fit into a new AM5 socket, supporting both PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 memory. This is a difference compared to the 5000 series, which supported DDR4 memory. While DDR5 provides enhanced performance over DDR4, it’s more expensive due to its onboard power management and design and circuitry, which are more complex. We’re likely to see prices come down on DDR5 though, as supply increases while demand slows down.
Compared to the launch prices of the 5000 series, the 7700X is $100 more expensive than the 5700X, while the prices for the 7900X and 7600X are the same as the prior generation. Fortunately, the cost of the Ryzen 9 7950X is actually $100 less than the 5950X was at launch.
Ryzen vs. Intel: Who Comes Out on Top?
Intel is definitely no newcomer when it comes to CPUs, and has held the top spot in CPU benchmarks for a long time.
But, when the Ryzen 5000 series was released, they managed to beat out Intel’s Rocket Lake series of processors in every CPU benchmark. This only lasted until Intel came out with the Alder Lake processors, however, which again pushed Intel ahead on all aspects of performance, due to their powerful x86 hybrid architecture.
Not wanting to be outdone, the new Ryzen 7000 series took the race to new heights, competing with Alder Lake, and doing very well.
Overclocking and Performance
Regarding overclocking, as well as the previous results under liquid nitrogen, the 7950X processor has also set four new records under conventional cooling (using an AIO liquid cooler).
Hitting 5.4GHz on all 16 cores beat out the Core i9-12900KS, while it also outperformed the 5950X in Cinebench R20, reaching a speed of 5.35GHz compared to the 5950X’s 6 GHz, which was only attainable under liquid nitrogen. Similarly, the 7950X beat the 5950X in Cinebench R15 and in 7-Zip, scoring more points even when the 5950X was nitrogen-cooled. These tests are very promising when it comes to the 7950X’s power efficiency and performance.
In a 1080p gaming scenario, the Ryzen 9 7950X is 5% faster than Intel’s Core i9-12900K, while being a massive 44% faster in threaded applications. Although this is impressive, Intel will only have to gain 5% in performance to match the 7950X, which may very well be possible with the newer Raptor Lake processors.
While these results are impressive, Intel appears to ever so slightly win the race when it comes to performance. While the i5-13600K gives a relatively negligible performance increase over the 7950X, the i9-13900K outperforms both the 7900X and the 7950X. This is likely due to extra threads and extra cores available with the chip.
In a real-life setting, though, performances are still pretty level.
Intel is also more competitive when it comes to pricing, as both Alder Lake and Raptor Lake support DDR4 memory as well as DDR5. This may change soon, but currently, DDR5 still demands a higher price. The i9 also comes in at slightly cheaper than the 7950X by around $40, which is worth mentioning.
While both the Ryzen 7000 series and the Raptor Lake series support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5, Raptor Lake still supports DDR4 memory, though, so you won’t necessarily have to replace your existing motherboard to use the new processor.
The power draw for Raptor Lake is also lower, being around 125W while the Ryzen 9 7950X draws 170W. Both these factors will lead to a lower cost for Intel processors.
A Slight Disadvantage
One area where Intel is at a disadvantage is when it comes to AVX-512 functionality.
Whereas the Ryzen 7000 series support these instructions for AI acceleration, Intel’s Alder and Raptor Lake chips cannot make use of this due to their hybrid architecture. This could result in higher clock speeds for the Ryzen chips, but we will have to wait and see how this new technology is implemented.
Ryzen 7000 vs. Raptor Lake: Which Should You Choose?
Whether you go with a processor from the new Ryzen 7000 series or the Raptor Lake series largely depends on your individual needs.
In practicality, the differences in performances are minimal for most applications, so factors will likely boil down to motherboard and memory requirements, as well as energy consumption.
If having access to DDR5 memory for better performance is important to you, then the Ryzen 7000s might be your best bet, and likewise if power efficiency is a priority. On the other hand, if you want to hang onto your pre-existing motherboard, such as the Z690, you may want to go with Intel as Raptor Lake still supports DDR4 memory, which also saves costs by coming in slightly cheaper than the flagship Ryzen model.