AMD has unveiled the first of its Ryzen 7000 series desktop CPUs for high-performance gaming and enthusiast PC users. The company claims that its top-end 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 introduce a new platform called AM5, with support for DDR5 RAM and the PCIe 5.0 interconnect standard. The new CPUs will be available in retail around the world starting from September 27. Pricing for India has not yet been 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 $399 sticker price (approximately Rs. 31,600) and the Ryzen 5 7600X will cost $299 (approximately Rs. 23,680).
The new ‘Zen 4’ architecture is claimed to deliver 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 optimised branch prediction. AVX-512 instruction set support means improved performance for AI inferencing workloads.
The Ryzen 9 7950X has 16 cores and 32 threads across two “core complex” chiplets, a 5.7GHz boost speed and 4.5GHz base speed, and 80MB total cache memory. The Ryzen 9 7900 steps down to 12 cores/ 24 threads and base/boost speeds of 4.7GHz and 5.6GHz respectively, with 76MB of cache memory. Both have 170W TDP ratings. The Ryzen 7 7700X with 8 multi-threaded 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 4.7GHz with a boost up to 5.3GHz and 38MB total cache memory. These two CPUs both have 105W TDP ratings.
More Ryzen 7000 series models should be launched in the future, slotting in between these and also filling out the lower end of the stack. Versions with additional stacked 3D cache are also expected to launch later. It is likely that AMD will continue to use previous-gen hardware to serve more budget-conscious buyers, especially those who are upgrading and want to continue using their existing motherboards and RAM.
For the first time, enthusiast-class Ryzen CPUs will all have Integrated graphics capabilities. Rather than a separate set of APUs, AMD has decided to integrate simple RDNA2-based GPUs into the four models that were announced. While a discrete GPU will still be needed for serious gaming, this should help with simple workloads and diagnostics.
Power management is also improved, incorporating several efficiency improvements that were previously targeted at mobile CPUs, resulting in a 50 percent reduction in idle power consumption.
AMD has used a 5nm TSMC manufacturing process and claims a competitive advantage over Intel’s 12th Gen ‘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 several lower-powered ‘efficiency’ cores. However, Intel’s 13th Gen ‘Raptor Lake’ is also expected to be announced soon.
Compared to the previous generation, AMD claims 62 percent lower power consumption to deliver the same performance, or 49 percent better performance at the same power level. At a 65W TDP, power scaling can go up to 74 percent although the figure drops to 35 percent at 170W which is the TDP for the Ryzen 9 7950X.
The new AM5 platform breaks the long-running AM4 platform’s socket compatibility, which goes back as far as the first-generation Ryzen CPU series. This was necessary to support DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 and increase socket power delivery. AMD moves to an LGA-style package for the first time, with contact pads on the CPU and pins within the motherboard socket. However, the cooler mount has not changed so existing coolers can continue to be used without any adapter. AM5 will continue to be supported till at least 2025, according to AMD.
Enthusiast-class motherboards based on AMD’s X670 Extreme and X670 chipsets will be available at launch time. The previously unannounced mid-range B650 Extreme and the B650 will follow in October. These will 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 AMD Expo, a new platform-level feature to optimise DDR5 RAM timings and latency, which is said to boost game performance and make overclocking easier. Finally AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su teased a demo of an upcoming Radeon GPU based on the RDNA 3 graphics architecture. Performance per Watt was said to be 50 percent better than the current Radeon RX 6000 generation, and these GPUs should launch later in 2022.