AMD has unveiled the first of its Ryzen 7000 series desktop CPUs for high-performance gaming and enthusiast PC users. The company claims its top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 7950X will be the world’s fastest processor for gaming and content creation. These CPUs are based on the new ‘Zen 4’ architecture and feature a new platform called AM5, with support for DDR5 RAM and the PCIe 5.0 interconnect standard. The new CPUs will be available at retail worldwide starting September 27th. Pricing for India is yet to be announced, but in the US, the flagship 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X is priced at $699 (approximately Rs. 55,360 before taxes). The 12-core Ryzen 9 7900X will cost $549 (approximately Rs. 43,480), while the 8-core Ryzen 7 7700X has a sticker price of $399 (approximately Rs. 31,600) and the Ryzen 5 7600X will cost $299 (approximately Rs. 23,680).
The new ‘Zen 4’ architecture offers an average of 13 percent improved performance in instructions per clock cycle compared to the Zen 3 architecture. This is largely due to increased cache sizes and optimized branching prediction. Support for the AVX-512 instruction set means better performance for AI inference workloads.
The Ryzen 9 7950X has 16 cores and 32 threads on two “core complex” chiplets, a boost clock of 5.7GHz and base clock of 4.5GHz, and 80MB of total cache memory. The Ryzen 9 7900 scales down to 12 cores/24 threads and base/boost speeds of 4.7GHz and 5.6GHz respectively with 76MB of cache memory. Both have TDP ratings of 170W. The Ryzen 7 7700X with 8 multithreaded cores runs at 4.5GHz, but boosts to 5.4GHz, with a 40MB cache. The Ryzen 5 7600X with 6 cores / 12 threads runs at 4.7 GHz with a boost of up to 5.3 GHz and 38 MB of total cache memory. These two CPUs have TDP ratings of 105W.
More models from the Ryzen 7000 series are expected to be released in the future, fitting in between and also filling out the bottom end of the stack. Versions with additional stacked 3D cache are also expected to be released later. It’s likely that AMD will continue to use previous generation hardware to cater to more budget-conscious buyers, especially those upgrading and wanting to continue using their existing motherboards and RAM.
For the first time, enthusiast-class Ryzen CPUs will feature integrated graphics. Instead of a separate set of APUs, AMD has decided to integrate simple RDNA2-based GPUs into the four announced models. While a discrete GPU is still required for serious gaming, this should help with workloads and simple diagnostics.
Power management has also been improved, incorporating several efficiency improvements that were previously targeted at mobile CPUs, resulting in a 50% reduction in idle power consumption.
AMD used a 5nm TSMC manufacturing process and claims a competitive advantage over Intel’s 12th generation ‘Alder Lake’ offerings in terms of die area and performance per Watt. Single-threaded performance should be better, as AMD points out that Intel’s high core counts come from using multiple lower-powered ‘efficiency’ cores. However, Intel’s 13th generation ‘Raptor Lake’ should also be announced soon.
Compared to the previous generation, AMD claims 62% less power consumption to deliver the same performance or 49% better performance at the same power level. At a TDP of 65W, power scaling can be as high as 74%, although the number drops to 35% at 170W, which is the TDP of the Ryzen 9 7950X.
The new AM5 platform breaks the socket compatibility of the long-running AM4 platform, which dates back to the first generation Ryzen CPU series. This was required to support DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 and increase socket power delivery. AMD switches to an LGA-style package for the first time, with contact pads on the CPU and pins on the motherboard socket. However, the mounting of the cooler has not changed, so existing coolers can continue to be used without any adapters. AM5 will continue to be supported until at least 2025, according to AMD.
Enthusiast-class motherboards based on AMD’s X670 Extreme and X670 chipsets will be available at launch. The previously unannounced B650 Extreme and mid-range B650 will launch in October. They vary in terms of feature level, with only the top-end X670 Extreme supporting PCIe 5.0 for discrete graphics as well as storage.
The company also unveiled at AMD Expo, a new platform-level feature to optimize DDR5 RAM timings and latency, which is said to boost game performance and make overclocking easier. Finally, AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su, released a demo of an upcoming Radeon GPU based on the RDNA 3 graphics architecture. Performance per Watt was found to be 50% better than the current generation Radeon RX 6000, and these GPUs are expected to launch in late 2022.