AMD Zen 4 Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 9 7950X Review
Thanks to global shortages and the whole pandemic issue it has been a bit of a fallow year in hardware release terms. Thankfully the world has now got back up to speed and we’ll soon see a whole raft of releases. Today we’re starting off with the latest in a long line of extremely capable Ryzen processors from AMD.
AMD are famous for holding on to their socket for as long as possible, which is great news if you’re the type of person on a limited budget who wants a new processor without having to replace every other component in their system. However, any time there is a big change it means a new socket, so say goodbye to the Zen 3 and AM4 and hello to the AM5 socket upon which the Zen 4 architecture is based. AMD are releasing four new processors, two of which we have on hand and the other two we will be in the middle of testing by the time you read this. However, we believe that with the 8C16T Ryzen 7 7700X and 16C32T Ryzen 9 7950X we have the two that will prove to be the most popular. Certainly if the sales figures of the 5000 series are anything to go by.
So what is new? The big news is the move to the 5nm process, which has brought significant efficiency improvements when compared to the 5000 series. With the global energy crisis looming over everything that has to be the headline feature. The ability to either run faster at the same energy demands, or match the equivalent 5000 series without anything like the power draw we’ve already pricked up our ears. If you purely care about performance then the clock speed upgrade – about the only weakness in the previous iteration – is unquestionably of interest to the speed hungry reader. Across the board you can expect a near 800 MHz higher speed than the 5000 series, even if you’re running all cores on the Ryzen 9 7950X.
Lots of clock speed and power efficiency aren’t the only weapons in the AM5 armoury by any means. Like any new product the Zen 4 range supports all the latest technologies. We have PCI Express 5.0, DDR5, and even inbuilt video encode/decode for the popular H.264 and H.265 formats. Retaining the 40x40mm socket size, AMD have utilised that 5nm process to reduce the physical die size and yet massively increase the transistor count too. Lastly, before we get to the meat of the review, the new hardware has a built in Eco mode which reduces heat and energy without massively impacting the performance. Naturally there will be some trade-off, but that’s what we’re here to discover.
It’s worth taking a moment, before you cast your eye across the enormous numbers offered up below, to compare the 7000 series to the 5000 series. The major changes are found in the number of CCD transistors – 4.15billion vs 6.5 billion – despite the die shrinking from 80mm2 to 70mm2. Equally whilst the clock speed on the 7000 range has gone through the roof, thanks to that 5nm process the voltage range window has gone down from 0.8v – 1.55v on the 5000, to now sit at 0.65v – 1.475v. More efficient and, hopefully therefore, cooler.
|Â OC3D||Ryzen 9 7950X||Ryzen 9 7900X||Ryzen 7 7700X||Ryzen 5 7600X|
|Max Socket Power||230W||230W||142W||142W|
|Max Thermally-Limited Current||160A||160A||110A||110A|
|Boost Algorithm||Precision Boost 2||Precision Boost 2||Precision Boost 2||Precision Boost 2|
|CCD Die size||70mm2||70mm2||70mm2||70mm2|
|CCD Transistor Count||6.5 billion||6.5 billion||6.5 billion||6.5 billion|
We know you’re keen to see it in the flesh so let’s cast our eye over both the processor itself and our AM5 test system.