AMD has announced the Ryzen 7000 series desktop processors along with the AM5 socket and the 600-series motherboard chipsets, all set to release on Sept. 27 starting at US$299.
Cores / Threads
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X
A closer look at the Ryzen 7000 series processors
AMD chief-executive officer Lisa Su said during the launch event that the Ryzen 9 7950X delivers 15 per cent higher performance than the previous generation Ryzen 9 5950X in popular games, thanks to improved single-threaded performance. For creators, Su said that the Ryzen 9 7950X delivers on average more than 40 per cent higher performance than the Ryzen 9 5950X.
Flipping to a comparison chart with current Intel processors, Su claimed that the Ryzen 9 7950X is “the fastest CPU in the world.” She highlighted that it is faster across game titles and that it delivers 62 per cent higher compute performance at 47 per cent better performance per watt.
With Intel’s 13th-generation processors set to debut later this year, the race is on for performance supremacy. AMD announced that the Ryzen 7000 series will be able to hit a peak frequency of 5.7GHz without overclocking, the industry’s highest. Intel’s Raptor Lake, on the other hand, is rumoured to be able to reach 6GHz out of the box.
But clock rate is just one variable in the performance equation. AMD says that compared to Zen 3, Zen 4 brings 13 per cent instruction per clock (IPC) uplift on average, resulting in a 29 per cent single-thread performance gain over the Ryzen 5000 series. On stage, AMD chief technology officer Mike Papermaster attributed the improvement to a more refined CPU front-end, specifically the branch prediction, which accounted for 60 per cent of the total IPC gain. Additionally, the OpCache has been increased by 1.5 times to increase the instruction hit rate.
AMD says that the Ryzen 7000 series processors are not only faster but also more power efficient. Thanks to a 20 per cent reduction in device capacitance along with other design improvements, Zen 4 brings 62 per cent lower power at the same performance and 49 per cent higher performance at the same power compared to Zen 3.
The Zen 4 core is built using TSMC’s N5 5nm node. According to AMD, the two companies collaborated to tweak the design of the processor to enable higher frequencies, optimizing the device scaling, capacitance, and metal stack to increase performance. Additionally, TSMC’s N5 node helped to reduce the die area by 18 per cent despite adding new features–including AVX-512 support.
Zen 4’s AVX-512 instruction support is a first for AMD processors. AVX-512 instructions use a very wide 512-bit vector, which can be more efficient in specific tasks like accelerated computing, deep learning, and cryptography. The decision to include support for AVX-512 is the opposite of Intel’s, which first created the instruction set but decided to exclude it from its 12th-gen consumer desktop processors.
Consumer use cases for AVX-512 are few and far between, but AMD promises 1.3 times higher performance in 32-bit precision floating point inference operations. Moreover, Zen 4 brings support for VNNI neural network instruction extensions. And in desktop applications, AMD says Zen 4’s VNNI support working with int-8 data is 2.5 times faster than the Ryzen 5000 series processors, which accelerates tasks like natural language processing.
Looking towards the future, AMD promises to bring out Ryzen 7000 series desktop processors with 3D V-Cache. The next generation Zen 5 processors are also on track for 2024.
New AM5 socket, 600-series chipset, and DDR5 memory
The Ryzen 7000 series processors use the new 1718-pin Land Grid Array (LGA) AM5 socket, which means that people looking to upgrade will have to commit to a new motherboard. Along with a new board purchase, users will also need to purchase a set of DDR5 memory, as there’s no backwards compatibility with DDR4.
Alongside the new memory, AMD is also introducing the EXPO memory profiles for one-click memory overclocking, similar to Intel’s XMP profiles. AMD says that EXPO can help drive up to 11 percent faster gaming performance while lowering latency to 63 nanoseconds. At launch, AMD expects more than 15 EXPO memory kits to hit the market at up to 6400MHz data rates.
Although memory isn’t backwards compatible, AMD promises that the socket will support AM4 coolers, so don’t toss those out just yet.
There are plenty of improvements to look forward to. The AM5 socket increases the socket power delivery to 230W, and opens support for future technologies, like PCIe 5 lanes.
The 600-series Motherboard chipsets are split into the enthusiast X series and mainstream B series, then further divided into the Enthusiast and non-Enthusiast versions as denoted by an “E” suffix.
Once again, their differentiating factor is in their number of connections. All X600-series boards offer PCIe 5 M.2 storage slots, while the X670 Extreme boards will also feature PCIe 5 lanes to graphics. The same hierarchy applies to the B-series boards. The B650E will have both PCIe 5 M.2 storage slots and a GPU slot, while B650 boards will only have a PCIe 5 M.2 storage slot.
Although they’re rare now, AMD says that PCIe 5 storage devices will hit shelves towards the end of the year, which coincides with the launch of its new processors.
The X600 series motherboards will be available on Sept. 27. B600 series motherboards will arrive in October.
What about competition from Intel?
Motherboards with the AM5 socket and 600-series chipset will start at US$125. Building upon its commitment to back its socket long-term, AMD has vowed to support the AM5 socket through at least 2025.
Leading the lineup is the Ryzen 9 7950X features 16 cores and 32 threads at US$699. As the most performant chip in the lineup so far, it features a 5.7GHz boost clock and 80MB of cache. It is followed by the US$549 Ryzen 9 7900X with 12 cores and 24 threads, 76MB of cache and the same 170W thermal design power (TDP).
The launch price of the Ryzen 9 7900 series processors is on par with the launch price of its Ryzen 9 5900 series. That said, the Ryzen 5000 series processors are now on sale for $200 off to clear inventory for the upcoming release. More importantly, however, is that the cost of the Ryzen 9 7900X is comparable to the 16-core, 24-thread Intel Core i9-12900K/KF. Although the Ryzen 9 7900X appears to have fewer cores, half of the cores on the Core i9-12900K are efficiency cores and do not support hyperthreading.
For the performance mainstream, AMD offers the 8-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 7700X at US$399 and the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 7600X at US$299. These Ryzen 7 processors are priced just above the current retail pricing of the 12-core Intel Core i7-12700K and the 10-core Core i5-12600K.
The comparison gets a bit interesting here as the Intel chips match the new Ryzen chips in performance core count, but also come with extra efficiency cores. Given its pricing, AMD appears to be confident that design improvements will outshine its Intel competitors despite a core count disadvantage.
Unfortunately, the real competitors from the blue team will only arrive when Intel releases its 13th-generation “Raptor Lake” desktop processors later this year. Raptor Lake is expected to be built using the Intel 7 node, previously called the 10nm Enhanced SuperFin. Like the AMD Zen 4 processors, Raptor Lake is also set to debut with PCIe 5 and DDR5 (both are already present on Intel’s 12th-gen “Alder Lake” desktop processors) and is rumoured to feature up to 24 cores, including the new “Raptor Cove” performance core (P-core) architecture. Intel hasn’t specified the exact release date yet, but expect a heated battle when it does arrive.
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