Windows Central Verdict
The AMD Ryzen 7000 series of processors offer excellent value and performance per watt, but the Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 9 7950X take all this to a whole different level. These are the best consumer processors out there.
Exceptionally good performance
DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support
Great gaming CPUs
Automated RAM timing optimization
Some early adopter stability issues
Requires new AM5 motherboard
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AMD went all out with its Ryzen 7000 series launch. The base AMD Ryzen 5 7600X has 6 cores and 12 threads, which isn't bad for an entry-level chip. Things became really exciting with the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and AMD Ryzen 9 7950X. These are some serious processors with up to 16 cores and 32 threads, allowing them to chomp through even the most demanding workloads.
As well as the new processors, AMD launched its new AM5 platform with new chipsets to boot. This was a major switch for AMD as the pins for making contact between the CPU and motherboard were previously on the CPU themselves with Ryzen 2000, 3000, and 5000 series processors. Now, with AM5, the pins are located on the motherboard socket itself.
While this does mean you will need a new motherboard to enjoy the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 processors, AMD has supported its platforms for many years and we don't expect to see anything different with AM5. So, how about the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and 7950X? Let's take a closer look at these two processors and see if they're worthy of a spot on the best CPU list.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & 7950X: Price & specs
AMD's Ryzen 7000 family of processors released on September 27. The series consists of the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X, Ryzen 7 7700X, Ryzen 9 7900X, and Ryzen 9 7950X. Being the top two processors, you can expect to pay a fair amount for the luxury of owning either the Ryzen 9 7900X or the Ryzen 9 7950X. The former costs $549, and the latter will set you back $699.
The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X has 12 cores and 24 threads that can boost up to 5.6GHz. The Ryzen 9 7950X takes this a step further with 16 cores and 32 threads, as well as a boost of 5.7GHz. DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 support are included with the new processors and AM5 platform from AMD, and we've got 76MB and 80MB of cache, respectively.
|Header Cell - Column 0||AMD Ryzen 9 7900X||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X|
|Integrated Graphics||AMD Radeon||AMD Radeon|
|PCIe||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0|
|Manufacturing Node||5nm TSMC||5nm TSMC|
It's safe to say these two processors are incredibly powerful on paper and should decimate anything available on the market right now (aside from select AMD Threadripper processors, of course). The power draw is impressive, with a TDP of 170W, though we'll note just how much electricity these monstrous chips pull in our benchmarks section of this review.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & 7950X: Zen 4
The latest architecture from AMD for its processors is Zen 4. Further developing Zen 3, AMD is wanting to tackle Intel's grip on the market with its 12th and upcoming 13th Gen CPUs. With AM4, AMD wanted to take full advantage of available thermal headroom, allowing the AMD Ryzen 7000 processors to run hotter but faster.
AMD states the temperature reading of 90 degrees Celcius (C) is perfectly fine for a typical workload. It's alarming at first, as when temperatures reach TjMax, the CPU's temperature threshold, one assumes either the cooler isn't attached properly to the motherboard or there's an issue with a fan. Since this is by design, it doesn't matter which cooler you use, the CPU will reach 90 degrees Celcius (C).
Clock speeds are where the thermal performance of a cooler makes a difference. The better the capacity of heat that can be effectively removed, the higher the clock speeds the CPU will be able to maintain. The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 9 7950X have many cores, and this can only result in additional heat being produced.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Ryzen 5 7600X||Ryzen 7 7700X||Ryzen 9 7900X||Ryzen 9 7950X|
|Integrated Graphics||AMD Radeon||AMD Radeon||AMD Radeon||AMD Radeon|
|PCIe||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0|
|Manufacturing Node||5nm TSMC||5nm TSMC||5nm TSMC||5nm TSMC|
The AMD Ryzen 5 7600X is the entry processor for this series of CPUs, and the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is the flagship. Every SKU in the table above could be considered a high-end processor, as even the Ryzen 5 7600X comes with six physical cores. Each CPU supports DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, is built on TSMC's 5nm manufacturing process, and has a TjMax of 95 degrees Celcius (C).
The bad news with switching to a new platform and socket is there's the requirement of a new motherboard to enjoy the latest and greatest from AMD. AM5 motherboards are available now, with more on the way, and you're going to need to swap out your current board in order to have full support for the new chips.
New X670, X670E, B650, and B650E (the E denotes "Extreme") motherboards will be available from September for the X670 series and October for the B650 series. The latter is more affordable and budget orientated with a weaker configuration of ports. Also, part of the launch is AMD's EXPO memory profiles.
These can be applied to certified DDR5 RAM for tighter timings and faster overclocking, allowing the memory to run considerably faster alongside the AMD Ryzen 7000 series CPU. Think of it as a similar solution to Intel XMP. Couple this with the processor's ability to tighten timings at boot, and you've got something truly magical.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & 7950X: Performance
The figures speak for themselves. We put both processors to the test using AM5 motherboards from Gigabyte and ASUS, DDR5-6000 RAM from G.SKILL, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090, because why not? Even the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is impressive with synthetic benchmarks, scoring more than 11,000 points in the CPU-Z multi-core test. The same goes for GeekBench 5.0, almost hitting 20,000.
Performance in Blender is excellent, and you won't have time to fetch a cup of tea while Corona runs. These processors are excellent for intensive workloads, and the improvements AMD has made to the AM5 platform with the latest round of processors are noticeable even when simply playing around in Windows 11 (or your favorite flavor of Linux). Everything ... seems faster.
Encoding a 4K movie was incredibly impressive too. The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X managed to encode Tears of Steel (with a file size of 6.3GB) using Blender in less than 1,000 seconds (approximately 17 minutes). Other synthetic test results are equally promising for the latest Zen 4 architecture and AMD Ryzen 9 processors.
Temperatures quickly hit TjMax in a matter of seconds at heavier loads. It's worth noting that this is by design and AMD is making full use of the thermal capacity of your cooler. Such high temperatures were only recorded in synthetic benchmark tests. Gaming and other tasks will not see the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X or Ryzen 9 7950X jump to 95 degrees Celsius (95C).
Gaming is excellent, as was the case with the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X and AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. Single-core performance is slightly weaker because we're talking 16 cores, but you'll see an improvement over the previous generation. As is always the case, it depends on the GPU you're using, and as such, I won't be including any data here.
Suffice it to say, pairing both processors with an NVIDIA RTX 4090 saw no performance issues outside what was expected from the graphics card.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & 7950X: Competition
The primary competition against both the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is the Intel Core i9-13900K. On paper, the Intel Core i9-1300K should perform well against what AMD has to offer here, but that depends largely on how Intel's hybrid core approach has matured since the 12th Gen launch. The Intel Core i9-12900K was a beastly CPU but wasn't terribly efficient.
|Header Cell - Column 0||AMD Ryzen 9 7900X||AMD Ryzen 9 7950X||Intel Core i9-13900K|
|Base Frequency||4.5GHz||4.5GHz||P: 3.0GHz|
|Row 2 - Cell 0||Row 2 - Cell 1||Row 2 - Cell 2||E: 2.2GHz|
|Boost Frequency||5.4GHz||5.7GHz||P: 5.4GHz (5.8GHz max)|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||Row 4 - Cell 1||Row 4 - Cell 2||E: 4.3GHz|
|Integrated Graphics||AMD Radeon||AMD Radeon||Inel UHD Graphics 770|
|PCIe||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0||PCIe 5.0|
|TDP||170W||170W||125W (max: 253W)|
|Manufacturing Node||5nm TSMC||5nm TSMC||Intel 7|
We've only had sufficient data to compare the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and Ryzen 9 7950X against the Intel Core i9-12900K, but the figures tell a promising story. The Core i9-12900K loses to the Ryzen 9 7900X on multi-core tests in GeekBench 5.0. The two processors are almost matched in CPU-Z tests, though the Ryzen 9 7950X has a comfortable lead.
We're expecting to see an uplift in performance with 13th Gen Intel, meaning the Core i9-1300K should perform about the same (if not better) in most tests and scenarios than the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X. Whether it's as good as the current AMD Ryzen flagship, the Ryzen 9 7950X, remains to be seen. We'll have a full review carried out soon and will update this review with new numbers.
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X & 7950X: Which should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You are set to upgrade your motherboard.
- You want the latest and greatest from AMD.
- You plan on playing games and working on the PC.
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You don't have adequate cooling available.
- You don't want to spend so much on a processor.
- You don't need extra performance on top of the Ryzen 5 or 7.
- You don't have an AM5 motherboard.
There's plenty to love with AMD's Ryzen 7000 range of processors, and the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and 7950X are incredible pieces of kit. If you're looking for unmatched multicore performance without going into Threadripper territory, these CPUs are about as good as you can get. Whether you're better off waiting to see how the Intel Core i9-13900K performs in our tests is down to how urgent you require the CPU.
You won't be disappointed with buying either the Ryzen 9 7900X or 7950X. Both processors are excellent for playing the latest (and most demanding) PC games, working with creative software, and doing plenty of other tasks. In fact, you could absolutely do everything simultaneously, thanks to the generous number of CPU cores available.
Provided you don't mind forking out for a new AM5 motherboard, and you really do require the performance offered by these two processors, they deliver stellar value.
With 12 cores and 24 threads, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is the best AMD CPU for those who require the best balance between performance and value. While not having as many cores as the Ryzen 9 7950X, it's more affordable and has slightly better per-core performance.
The most powerful processor available from AMD, this 16-core monster of a CPU is capable of smashing through even more intensive workloads. With a TDP of just 175W, it's possible to build a very powerful gaming PC.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.