AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 5 7600X review: welcome to the future

AMD’s Ryzen 7000 processors are here, with a new 5nm process node and AM5 socket unlocking higher clock rates, greater power consumption and, in turn, better performance. The four new processors released on September 27 also include a new 6nm I/O die, integrated graphics, and support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 – this is a substantial feature upgrade that will recovers parity with 12th generation Intel processors.

Of course, features often come after fps, so benchmarks were the main focus of our efforts. So far, two chips have crossed our desks – the $549/£579 Ryzen 9 7900X and the $299/£319 Ryzen 5 7600X – and we pitted them against our hand-picked gaming assortment and a pinch of productivity benchmarks. The question we want to answer is simple: how do these Zen 4 designs compare to Intel’s 12th Gen Core counterparts and AMD’s older Ryzen 5000 line?

The move to DDR5 also raises a side question: what is the current price/performance sweet spot for RAM with Ryzen 7000? AMD suggests in their documentation that DDR5-6000 is ideal right now, so we’ve tested their processors – and Intel’s closest equivalents – at both 6000MT/s (AMD’s recommendation) and 5200MT/s. s (where we did our Intel 12th Gen test).

Before we get into our CPU benchmark results, let’s take a quick look under the hood to understand what AMD has done here.

First, AMD saw a 13% improvement in IPC, instructions per clock, thanks to a larger L2 cache, improved execution engine, better branch predictor, and other internal changes. This should result in a similar amount of improvement in single-core performance at the same clock, so combined with substantial frequency improvements and the move to higher clocked DDR5, Ryzen 7000 should deliver a better than average generational improvement.

The new AM5 platform is also fascinating. AMD has moved from a ‘PGA’ design to an ‘LGA’ design for its processors, which means that instead of having gold pins under the processor, these are now on the motherboard – so it’s now much harder to break a processor, but easier to break a motherboard. The pin count has also increased significantly, allowing more power to be delivered to the processor – up to 230W, with Ryzen 9 designs dropping from a default 105W last-gen TDP to this gen’s 170W.

CPU design Increase Base L3 cache PDT Recommended retail price
Ryzen 9 7950X Zen4 16C/32T 5.7GHz 4.5GHz 64 MB 170W $699/£739
Ryzen 9 7900X Zen 4 12C/24T 5.6GHz 4.7GHz 64 MB 170W $549/£579
Ryzen 7 7700X ZEN 4 8C/16T 5.4GHz 4.5GHz 32 MB 105W $399/£419
Ryzen5 7600X ZEN 4 6C/12T 5.3GHz 4.7GHz 32 MB 105W $299 / £319
Ryzen 9 5950X Zen 3 16C/32T 4.9GHz 3.4GHz 64 MB 105W $799/£750
Ryzen 9 5900X Zen 3 12C/24T 4.8GHz 3.7GHz 64 MB 105W $549/£509
Ryzen 7 5800X3D ZEN3 8C/16T 4.5GHz 3.4GHz 96 MB 105W $449/£429
Ryzen 7 5800X ZEN3 8C/16T 4.7GHz 3.8GHz 32 MB 105W $449/£419
Ryzen 5 5600X Zen 3 6C/12T 4.6GHz 3.7GHz 32 MB 65W $299/£279

This puts more emphasis on CPU cooling, but some existing AM4 CPU coolers should work on AM5 as well, which is nice for anyone investing in a high-end option. Basically any cooler that screws into the default AMD AM4 backplate can also screw into the new AM5, but designs that require a custom backplate to be installed are not compatible. Luckily, our test rig uses Alphacool’s AiO Eisbaer Aurora 240mm, which uses the default AMD backplate and so we can maintain cooler compatibility across generations – nice.

It’s also worth mentioning the rest of the test bed we use. AMD provided ASRock’s X670E Taichi motherboard, which provides a plethora of M.2 slots, powerful power delivery, and conveniences such as onboard power and reset buttons, as well as an LED display for codes error and the current processor temperature.

This is combined with G.Skill’s high spec Trident Z5 Neo DDR5-6000 CL30 RAM, Corsair’s Dominator Platinum DDR5-5200 CL40 for further testing and of course Asus’ RTX 3090 ROG Strix OC for the GPU side Very important. For storage, we use three NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs to hold all of our games: a 4TB Kingston KC3000, a 1TB PNY XLR8 CS3140, and a 1TB Crucial P5 Plus. 1000W Corsair RM1000x.

Elsewhere, we used an Asus ROG Crosshair 8 Hero for Ryzen 5000 testing, an Asus ROG Maximus Z590 Hero for 11th Gen Intel testing, and an Asus ROG Z690 Maximus Hero for 12th Gen testing; these are all high-end cards for their respective platforms. DDR4 motherboards used G.Skill 3600MT/s CL16 memory, the sweetspot for DDR4.

Before we dive into the gaming benchmarks that make up pages two through five, let’s whet our appetite with some quick and dirty content creation benchmarks: a Cinebench R20 3D renderer and Handbrake video transcoding.

CB R20 1T CB R20 MT HB h.264 HB HEVC Using HEVC Power
Core i9 12900K 760 10416 70.82fps 29.26fps 373W
Core i7 12700K 729 8683 57.64fps 25.67fps 318W
Core i5 12600K 716 6598 44.27fps 19.99fps 223W
Core i5 12400F 652 4736 31.77fps 14.70fps 190W
Core i9 11900K 588 5902 41.01fps 18.46fps 321W
Core i5 11600K 541 4086 29.00fps 13.12fps 250W
Ryzen 9 7900X 791 11324 79.38fps 33.77fps 288W
Ryzen 9 7600X 750 6063 44.35fps 20.28fps 236W
Ryzen 9 5950X 637 10165 70.28fps 30.14fps 237W
Ryzen 7 5800X3D 546 5746 42.71fps 19.10fps 221W
Ryzen 7 5800X 596 6118 44.18fps 19.50fps 229W
Ryzen 5 5600X 601 4502 31.75fps 14.43fps 160W

As with the last two generations of Ryzen, we’re getting a nice productivity performance boost that also spells out the maximum gains we could expect to see in gaming. There’s a healthy 25% jump in single-core speeds from the 5600X to the 7600X, as measured by Cinebench R20, and we’re seeing a similar margin at the high end as well. Impressively, this boost allows the 7900X to outperform the 5950X in the multi-threaded Cinebench test despite having four fewer cores and eight fewer threads; the 7950X should be an absolute titan. Moving on to the Handbrake transcoding results, the 7900X is 13% faster than the 5950X when it comes to H.264 encoding and just a bit slower for H.265. The 7600X, for its part, outperforms the 5800X and 5800X3D with an average transcoding frame rate of 20fps, compared to ~19 for the last-gen Ryzen 7 parts.

Power consumption, measured at the wall for a quick comparison, is increased for Ryzen 7000 over its predecessor – but that’s pretty modest, truth be told. The new 6900X + X670E system drew 288W at its peak, compared to 237W for the 5950X + X570 – a 21% increase that’s more or less in line with the increased speeds we’re getting here. It’ll be interesting to see if the gigantic coolers and extra horsepower unlock any significant performance gains; on Ryzen 5000, the chip seemed to offer full out-of-the-box use, but a switch to a new socket, higher power targets, etc. could mean that there is overclocking headroom to discover.

With those out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff: let’s check out how the 7600X and 7900X perform in a range of games. Click on the quick links below to skip to the titles that interest you most, or click the ‘next page’ button to read it all!

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 5 7600X review