Boost Frequencies, Power, and Thermals
As part of our normal test regimen, we tested performance in lightly-threaded work to record the peak boost speeds and thermals. We ran through our standard series of lightly-threaded tests (LAME, PCMark10, Geekbench, VRMark, and single-threaded Cinebench).
As with the previous-gen chips, some Ryzen 7000 chips can boost above their rated speeds if they have sufficient cooling and power. As always, the silicon lottery could apply. The Ryzen 9 7950X regularly peaked at 5.85 GHz, above the rated 5.7 GHz, showing that AMD is again being conservative with its peak boost clock estimates. The Ryzen 5 7600X also exceeded its spec with a solid 5.5 GHz.
We also ran through a spate of standard heavily threaded applications (Cinebench, HandBrake, POV-Ray, Blender, AVX-heavy y-cruncher) to measure power and thermals. We used a Corsair H115i 280mm AIO with the fans cranked to 100% to keep the chip as cool as possible during this test run.
The 7950X hovered around 5.2 GHz through some workloads but dropped to 5.0 GHz when all cores were fully loaded. Peak power consumption reached 231W, which naturally generates quite a bit of heat. The 7950X regularly hit 95C during the test run, which AMD assures us is expected behavior - the chip is designed to consume all available thermal headroom to provide faster performance. The 95C thermal threshold is within safe operating limits, so it won’t result in degradation.
It’s often forgotten, but the Ryzen 5000 processors also operate in a similar fashion - 95C is a normal operating condition, which we wrote about in our original Ryzen 5000 reviews. By design, Intel’s latest chips also often run at 100C for extended periods. Both vendors are locked in intense competition for performance leadership, so we can expect this trend to continue.
As a result of these aggressive tactics, more powerful coolers can often extract even more performance. We conducted an experiment to see if the 280mm AIO cooler resulted in constrained performance by employing our 720mm custom loop to test the Ryzen 9 7950X at both stock and PBO settings. As you can see in the slide, we received the same performance with the custom loop in our multi-threaded test suite as we did with our 280mm AIO, so its safe to say a 280mm is sufficient - at least if you're willing to live with the fans running at 100% during heavy work.
- MORE: Best CPUs for Gaming
- MORE: CPU Benchmark Hierarchy
- MORE: AMD vs Intel
- MORE: Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 All We Know
- MORE: Raptor Lake All We Know
Good to see more reaffirmation these CPUs don't have a performance problem, but a platform cost (or "cost of entry") problem with them. I hope AMD can alleviate it a bit so they become more of a mainstream crowd fav.
One small point that I won't really defend much, but buying into the AM5 platform, you buy into several years of support. The huge caveat is you have to trust not only AMD, but the partners to go with it and roll the BIOS updates down the line. This being said, after AM4, I'd imagine both AMD and partners have seen it does matter they do keep supporting newer CPUs and see that as a strength. Maybe partners would rather convince you to buy a new motherboard, but allowing this "mix and match" with generations does help overall sales; or so it is my impression. Plus, we all know which motherboard vendors actually followed through with the updates, so they'll get more sales once B650 launches. Could Tom's have the list of motherboards from the 300-series chipsets that do support Ry5K? That would actually help track which partners are indeed reliable and can be trusted with buying into AM5.
The reality: 5800X3D performs better in games than either of those.
You'd be correct if the title was something like "7950X is the new gaming overlord/king/champion*" or something that implies "the CPU is 1st in gaming", which as you clearly noticed, it is not.
Plus, it depends on the game anyway.
Another reason why I didn't read, is the title. When I see a CPU like 7900X/7950X (or Intel's pendant) in conjunction with "gaming", I can already imagine the content. I assume, such title should grab the attention... I'm not sure who's attention, though. Are you trying to convince "gamers" to shell out 800€ for CPU alone? Yes, there's always said, that for gaming alone, it's "wiser" to get 7600X (or 5800X3D) -but such title still imply that 7950X is simply "the right thing"... "if you wish to have it all..". -again, that's my impression, so feel free to diagree.
Ok, so you say (for example), 7950X is 15% faster (in whatever) than 5950X. Now, some of this performance increase happens thanks to faster new DDR5 memory. And quite a lot performance increase (in my opinion) goes to much higher clock speed -which in turn comes back as heat dissipation. There's also faster PCIe5.0, etc ... Now I wonder, how much has actual CPU improved (compared to 5950X)? I mean IPC. Because if IPC is the same, then I see 7950X as a "brute force" improvement. In sense: Make it faster, no matter the costs (power draw & heat dissipation).
Yes, I know: 7950X finishes work faster (than 5950X) and so at the end, electricity bill will be lower. That's true if we look strictly from CPU side. But, if we take the cooling (of whole PC) into account, then the total power draw doesn't look that appealing anymore -especially in summer. In short: CPU is more efficient, but whole PC probably isn't.
I can read many times in forums, that many are already running their PC in eco-mode (to save energy, to make PC more silent, having less heat in room, etc) -they're ready to sacrifice fps by few percent for that. So I assume, what they wish or hope for, is certain performance increase, without affecting power draw -at least not by much.
I don't blame AMD/Intel/Nvidia for going into high power consumption direction. They know we wish everything faster (than it was in previous generation), so they do it -and many will buy it.. and that's the whole idea,
However, I do blame media for not putting more investigation/research into efficiency and write about that.
Just sharing my thoughts (being aware I may be wrong)
If one wants to go for as cheap a build as possible e.g. just to play CS:GO, then yeah, the DDR5 requirement with AM5 may sure be off-putting. Myself, I will be upgrading in the near future from DDR3 anyhow, and (here) the extra cost for 32 GB DDR5-5200 (instead of DDR4-3200) is around 80 currently. At the same time, B650E has PCIe 5.0 both for GPU (16x) and NVMe at currently around 300-400 cheaper than what motherboards for Raptor Lake with the same connectivity cost (that is the few released so far). And only a handful of Alder Lake MBs have PCIe 5.0 for NVMe, while taking away 8 lanes from the GPU for that though.
So what I am currently looking at is around 250 for AM5 motherboard and 170 for 32 GB of DDR5 - which isn't as cheap as it can get, but should be plenty good for at least several years, giving me the option to upgrade individual parts later.
And to me that seems worth it to go for that, instead of saving perhaps 100 bucks with a Raptor Lake MB and DDR4 now, which likely won't support Meteor Lake already and would require me to get a lot of new parts then if I may want to boost performance in a year or two.
Of course, as you point out, not really a guarantee that even AMD directly may not push AM6 soon if Meteor Lake is taking it all to very new heights. But even if I upgrade the MB sooner than I was expecting, at least I will already have DDR5 to reuse, including having made use of it in the meantime.
Very strictly taken, sure, the cooling uses some power too. But then again, a case fan has a power consumption of up to 6W, and CPU coolers (air or liquid) usually don't consume more than that. So even if all the cooling would take 20W at full load, that is 50 hours of full load to get to 1 kWh. And e.g. in the U.S., it is less than $1 for 4 kWh, isn't it?
The electricity costs can add up quickly though. E.g. if someone is gaming 50 hours a week at 700W, that's possibly up to 35 kWh right there, coming to 140 kWh a month.
Myself, I wouldn't know how to have that much time for gaming. So even if my rig would consume 700W, perhaps every other week to play at full load for a total of 10 hours, at the U.S. electricity price that would be less than $2.
Which isn't to say that it wouldn't be nice if there would be more improvement for power efficiency. But the review mentions that the Ryzen 5 7600X is a very sound choice for gaming (unless one can wait a few months to check out the gaming specific CPU). And that one has quite less Watt than the top tier one. And coupled with perhaps not the top-tier GPU around, e.g. the RTX 3060, which has around 200W, one can have a solid build which comes in at under 500W at full load.
Many say, it's "only 10€/year more" (or whatever number).. but there are millions of PC's running. And if looking that way, we can see see how much energy is wasted.. and is really not about who can afford to pay electricity and who can't.
and now zen 4 its the 7800x missing...AMD ffs why do you do this?
and as said before...the cpu are great, but platform isnt worth it with 5800x3d existing.
(will likely change by time weg et 3d cache zen4 cpus)