AMD refreshes desktop CPUs with 5nm Ryzen 7000s that can reach 5.7GHz with 16 cores

Prices start at $300, you'll also need a new motherboard, RAM, etc

AMD has refreshed its desktop processors for the first time in nearly two years, revealing Ryzen 7000-series processors that boast clock speeds that can reach 5.7GHz and performance up to 29 percent greater than their predecessors.

"We wanted to make the Ryzen 7000 series the fastest CPU for gamers, while delivering the most compute for creators," AMD CEO Lisa Su said during a virtual launch event this week.

"The Ryzen 7000 series is the first 5nm CPU for desktop PCs. Ryzen 7000 is both extremely performant and also extremely power efficient, and it has an all new AM5 platform that supports the latest I/O and memory technologies, including PCIe Gen 5.0 as well as DDR5."

Joined by AMD CTO Mark Papermaster, Su detailed the chip designer's desktop processor refresh.

Competitive sniping is nearly always a feature of CPU launches and AMD claimed the new chips offer up to 62 percent better performance than Intel's Alder Lake CPUs in "compute-centric workloads," while achieving 47 percent better performance per watt. Internal benchmarks are AMD's source for those numbers, so make of them what you will.

All four of the chips announced today are based on TSMC's 5nm process. According to AMD, its all new Zen 4 microarchitecture delivers a 13 percent boost in instruction-per-clock (IPC) over Zen 3, and a roughly 30 percent increase in base clock speeds, which rise about 1GHz across the board.

"That leadership performance and energy efficiency really highlights why we're so excited for gamers, enthusiast, and creators to get their hands on our new Ryzen 7000 CPUs and AM5 platform," Su said.

The performance gains won't, however, come at a premium over the previous generation chips. AMD's Ryzen 7600X will retail for $299 while the top of the line 7950X will top out at $699, when they launch on September 27.

Here's a full breakdown of AMD's four latest Ryzen desktop processors announced Monday:

  • Ryzen 9 7950X: 16 core / 32 threads, with base clock of 4.5GHz, a boost clock of 5.7GHz, a TDP of 170W, and 80MB of total cache. $699
  • Ryzen 9 7900X: 12 core / 24 threads, with a base clock of 4.7GHz, a boost clock of 5.6GHz, a TDP of 170W, and 76MB of total cache. $459
  • Ryzen 7 7700X: 8 core / 16 threads, with a base clock of 4.5GHz, a boost clock of 5.4GHz, a TDP of 105W, and 40MB of total cache. $399
  • Ryzen 5 7600X: 6 core / 12 threads, with a base clock of 4.7GHz, a boost clock of 5.3GHz, a TDP of 105W, and 38MB of total cache. $299

Zen 4 arrives

According to Papermaster, Zen 4 delivers a number of performance improvements including native support for the AVX512 instruction set.

"Front end and branch prediction really makes up almost 60 percent of that IPC gain, increasing the capability of more instructions per cycle," Papermaster said.

Looking under the integrated heat spreader, it appears Ryzen 7000 will use a similar layout to AMD's previous-gen Ryzen processors: a chiplet architecture with one or two separate core-complex dies (CCDs), each with six or eight CPU cores. The IO die, within the processor package with the CCDs, is a 6nm TSMC affair that features a small GPU, hardware video decode and encode, and other electronics.

Digging deeper, it also appears AMD has doubled the L2 cache available to each core to 1MB. This means the top tier Ryzen 9 7950X now offers 16MB of L2 cache, 2MB more than Intel's 12900K. It doesn't appear AMD has boosted its already substantial L3 cache in this generation, and will stick with 32MB of L3 per CCD.

The performance gains aren't without compromise either. In order to eke out both an increase in IPC and frequency, AMD increased the TDP by 40W to 65W depending on the SKU.

This means the 7600X is rated to consume as much power as the outgoing 5800X at 105W. And because of the way AMD’s opportunistic boost algorithm works, given adequate thermal headroom, the chip will likely pull substantially more than the advertised TDP.

According to David McAfee, VP and GM of AMD's client channel business, the AM5 socket is capable of delivering up to 230W of power to the chips. That figure is hardly surprising given Intel also boosted its power consumption to achieve similar performance gains in last year's Alder Lake processor family.

AMD Preps X670, B650 chipset

In addition to needing new RAM and potentially a beefier power supply with these microprocessors, customers will also need to pick up a new motherboard as Ryzen 7000 ditches the venerable AM4 socket.

For its AM5 platform, AMD opted for a land-grid-array socket (LGA), which moves the pins from the CPU package itself to the motherboard. While AMD is no stranger to LGA sockets, it’s reserved the tech for its enthusiast Threadripper and datacenter Epyc processor families until now.

We're told the move to LGA allowed AMD to increase pin density on the processor package without increasing its physical footprint. The added pins service new features such as PCIe 5.0, DDR5 memory, and other capabilities.

Additionally, it enables AMD to maintain compatibility with older AM4 coolers, a pain point for those moving to the larger LGA 1700 socket used by Intel’s Alder Lake platform.

During the launch event AMD's McAfee shared additional details on its X670, X670 Extreme, B650, and B650 Extreme motherboard chipsets.

While both the normal B650 and X670 motherboards will offer PCIe 5.0 connectivity for NVMe devices, their extreme counterparts will extend this connectivity to standard PCIe lanes well.

According to AMD, the X670 motherboards are expected to launch alongside the Ryzen 7000 processors later next month, while the B650 boards will launch in October.

Overclocking lives on, maybe

PC enthusiasts will be disappointed to find that AMD offered no clarity as to whether the Ryzen 7000 series will support traditional overclocking. According to McAfee, the CPUs will, however, support memory overclocking.

To this end, the chip designer unveiled AMD Expo, which, similar to Intel's XMP profiles, is designed to provide optimized timings and frequencies for out-of-the-box memory overclocking.

AMD's decision not to enable overclocking on its Ryzen 7 5800X3D introduced last year led to concerns that the Ryzen 5000 family would be last generation of AMD chips to broadly support enthusiast overclocking.

It remains to be seen to what degree enthusiasts will be able to push the Ryzen 7000 collection, if at all. ®

Editor's note: Due to an error in the editing process, a version of this story was accidentally made public with some incorrect information. Notably, the IO die is a 6nm TSMC die, contrary to our previous reporting. Also, these latest Ryzen 7000 parts contain one or two CCDs, depending on their core count, and not always two.

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