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AMD's pricy cache-packed Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs ship this month

Who needs 6GHz when you can have 128MB of L3

To compete with Intel's fire-breathing 6GHz Core i9-13900KS desktop processors, AMD isn't shipping higher clocked Ryzens, but instead is throwing a boat load of cache at the problem.

On Wednesday AMD revealed pricing and availability for its second-generation X3D CPUs, announced back at CES last month. Like the company's first generation 5800-X3D launched last April, it features an additional layer of SRAM stacked atop one of its CPU dies.

The approach made for a formidable gaming CPU, which put Intel in the awkward position when launching its 13th-Gen processor family last year. Even according to Intel's own cherry-picked benchmarks, the company's 13900K couldn't topple AMD's cache-stacked Ryzen in everything.

As such, the 7000-series X3D refresh has been hotly anticipated by enthusiasts as AMD's real gaming CPU lineup. This time around AMD is offering X3D editions of all but its base model Ryzen 5 processors.

But, since this is the same fundamental technology used in AMD's X-series Epyc parts, which are tailored toward intense analytical and computational workloads like fluid dynamics, these chips should make excellent workstation parts as long as you can make do with the limited PCIe bandwidth.

Here's a quick breakdown of the chip's specs and pricing.

  • Ryzen 7800X3D: 8 cores / 16 threads, with a base clock of 4.2GHz, a boost clock of 5GHz, a 120W TDP, and 104MB of total cache. $449
  • Ryzen 7900X3D: 12 cores / 24 threads, with a base clock of 4.4GHz, a boost clock of 5.6GHz, a 120W TDP, and 140MB of total cache. $599
  • Ryzen 7950X3D: 16 cores / 32 threads, with a base clock of 4.2GHz, a boost clock of 5.7GHz, a 120W TDP, and 144MB of total cache. $699

Similar to AMD's first generation X3D parts, the additional cache — 64MB extra to be exact — comes at the expense of a roughly 300MHz lower base and boost clocks compared to the standard non-3D SKUs. You'll also pay a roughly $50 premium over the standard X-model's launch pricing, except for the top-SKU which is launching at the same $699 MSRP.

The pricing could be problematic for AMD, especially during a period when the chipmaker's PC revenues are already hurting. Intel's parts are less expensive and while the House of Zen's top specced Ryzen 9 is priced to compete with the 6GHz 13900KS, Intel's regular K-SKU parts are considerably cheaper with the 13900K and 13700K boasting an MSRP of $589 and $409, respectively.

AMD shipping also causes pricing pressure on existing its CPU lineup, since the company has reduced the cost of many of its 7000-series parts to compete with Intel's more aggressive pricing strategy this generation. At many retailers, AMD's parts are now selling for $100 under MSRP.

Another curious detail is the processor's stated TDPs, which are about 50W lower on the Ryzen 9 variants, but 16W higher on the Ryzen 7.

We suspect that AMD's stated TDP will have very little bearing on actual power consumption or thermal output. AMD's opportunistic boost algorithm allows these chips to pull well in excess of their rated TDPs as long as they can be kept cool.

Speaking of keeping these parts cool, AMD went out of its way to warn customers they're going to need a rather beefy cooling setup if they want to get optimal performance out of these chips. AMD recommends at minimum a 280MM all-in-one liquid cooler for these parts.

This, again, suggests that despite lower stated TDP may actually be deceptive and these parts may pull considerably more power than that under load, but it may be influenced by a lower 89C maximum operating temperature.

AMD's Ryzen 7900X3D and 7950X3D are slated to begin shipping to customers on February 28. But, if you're eager to get your hands on the 7800X3D, you'll have to wait a while longer as that chip won't begin shipping until April 4.

If you do pick one of these up, just know that you may have to update the bios on your board before it'll post. Most AMD motherboards today feature a bios flashback feature that updates the board even without a CPU in the socket. ®

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