AMD has a lot riding on its 5nm Ryzen 7000 CPUs. And so here begins the hype

You'll need a new motherboard, RAM, beefier PSU. But hey, at least GPUs are cheap again

AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series microprocessors will officially launch later this month during the company’s “together we advance PC” virtual event, where CEO Lisa Su and CTO Mark Papermaster will showcase the chipmaker’s Zen 4-based CPU cores.

Ryzen 7000, now slated to debut August 29, represents the end of an era for AMD as it retires its AM4 platform and pin-grid-array (PGA) socket.

The 7000-series processors see AMD employ an LGA socket for the first time in its mainstream PC lineup. The company already uses LGA sockets with its Epyc and Threadripper processor families, which sport up to 64 and soon 128 processor cores.

All of this means that for the first time since Ryzen’s debut, the latest chips won’t be pin compatible with their predecessors. In the past, customers could expect to get several generations of CPU support out of their motherboards with the help of BIOS updates.

A peek under the integrated heat spreader reveals why AMD likely chose to retire AM4 now. Ryzen 7000 is the first generation of AMD processors built on TSMC’s 5nm manufacturing process node, features an all-new Zen 4 microarchitecture, and supports DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0. And unlike Intel’s Alder Lake, AMD's new consumer chips aren’t expected to be backwards compatible with the older DDR4 standard.

Power delivery likely played into the decision as well with the upcoming chips reportedly consuming 65-plus watts of additional power compared to their 5000-series predecessors. Leaked specs show the top tier Ryzen 9 7900X and 7950X consuming up to 170 W of power compared to the 105 W of their predecessors.

Everything we know about Ryzen 7000 so far

If recent leaks are to believed, Ryzen 7000 will deliver a substantial performance uplift over the now nearly two-year-old Ryzen 5000 processor family.

Detailed specs obtained by Wccftech show the new chips boast base clocks at least 1 GHz higher than the chips they replace. And in many cases, the processors' base clocks now exceed their 5000-series equivalent's boost clocks.

For example, the leaks indicate AMD’s entry-level Ryzen 5 7600X will have a base clock of 4.7GHz, between 50-100 MHz higher than the the 5600X’s max boost clock.

As we mentioned before, the higher clock speeds, come at the cost of higher power consumption, with the upcoming chips expected to consume 40 to 65 W more power than their predecessors.

It doesn’t appear AMD will be boosting core counts with this generation, and will stick with its spread of six, eight, 12, and 16-core processors. While disappointing for those looking for even more threads to thrash, it also indicates AMD won’t be following Intel and Arm’s lead in moving to a big-little core architecture just yet.

The leaks did offer some insight into the chip’s Zen 4 microarchitecture and compute complex die (CCD) arrangements. AMD appears to be sticking with an eight-core CCD for the Zen 4 generation, but will see the chip designer double the L2 cache to 1MB per core, up from 512KB in Zen 3. Larger caches and instruction per clock tick (IPC) improvements often go hand in hand.

As to whether the new chips will support overclocking remains to be seen. AMD has a long-standing history of unlocking overclocking on even its lowest-end chips. However, especially with the 5000-series, the value of manual overclock has been called into question as AMD’s boost algorithm has improved.

What we don't know is whether AMD will stick with previous pricing conventions or if the House of Zen will juice prices to offset slumping demand.

AMD needs Ryzen 7000 to wow

This latest teaser, which comes just under two weeks before the launch, is hardly surprising given the trajectory of AMD’s PC sales.

On the company’s second quarter earnings call earlier this month, Su predicted the PC sales would slide to “let’s call it mid-teens” in Q3. The company also predicts a similar down turn for GPU sales during the quarter, with Su betting on the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 7000-series CPUs and RDNA3 GPUs to turn things around in Q4.

Speaking of AMD’s upcoming GPU launch, AMD’s teaser makes no mention of its next-gen GPU platform or the company’s Epyc-4 refresh also slated for release later this year. However, given the direction of its PC and gaming sales, it’s hardly surprising to see AMD space these announcements out.

The “together we advance PC” livestream will premiere at 1900 ET Monday, August 29 on AMD’s YouTube Channel. ®

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