AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 5 7600X deliver impressive performance gains that beat Alder Lake in most types of workloads, including gaming. The Ryzen 9 7950X stands out as the fastest productivity chip for mainstream systems on the market, while the Ryzen 5 7600X sets a new bar for gaming chips at the $300 price point.
Below, we have the geometric mean of our gaming test suite at 1080p and 1440p and a cumulative measure of performance in single- and multi-threaded applications. We conducted our gaming tests with an RTX 3090, so performance deltas will shrink with lesser cards and higher resolution and fidelity settings — and might grow if you're using a future next-gen RX 7900 XT or RTX 4090.
The $699 Ryzen 9 7950X is 5% faster in gaming than Intel’s Core i9-12900K, but this chip is really designed for the productivity-minded. The 7950X was 44% faster than the Core i9-12900K in our multi-threaded tests, making it the most powerful desktop PC chip currently available. The Zen 4 architecture also closes the gap with Alder Lake in single-threaded applications, addressing a particularly glaring deficiency against Alder Lake.
The Ryzen 5 7600X was 12% faster than the Core i5-12600K in our gaming tests, but even more impressively, it beat the Intel Core i9-12900K by 4%. That makes it an exceptional gaming chip at the $300 price point. The Core i5-12600K maintains a slight lead in multi-threaded work, but the deltas aren’t large enough to overlook the 7600X’s faster performance in gaming and lightly-threaded work.
AMD’s 600-series motherboards offer modern connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, and also bring other additives, like USB4, to bear. The Ryzen chips also now feature an iGPU that’s sufficient for a basic display out, which is an important step forward.
The Ryzen 7000 chips do have a few hang-ups, though. The Ryzen 7000 chips consume quite a bit more power than their predecessors, but AMD turns that into extra performance that cuts through work quicker. Intel’s high-end chips are also designed to run at higher levels of power consumption, and thus heat, so this tactic is becoming common.
AMD’s 600-series motherboards offer modern connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, and also bring other additives, like USB4. However, they're significantly more expensive than comparable DDR5 motherboards for Intel systems, which we chalk up to the dual-chipset design. However, the B-series motherboards also don't appear as price-competitive with Intel's comparables, which is an inexplicable bummer.
AMD’s decision to fully commit to DDR5 could also be a liability if pricing remains higher than DDR4. In contrast, Intel’s Alder Lake platform supports either DDR4 or DDR5, providing a less expensive path that’s particularly attractive in the $300 and under price range. Currently, you’ll pay roughly $50 to $70 more for 16GB of DDR5 than you would for DDR4, and that premium increases in lockstep with capacity, meaning you’ll pay even more for 32GB kits. However, be aware that DRAM pricing is volatile, so you’ll need to check current pricing. AMD expects DDR5 pricing to improve as we enter the last part of the year, but this market can be unpredictable – particularly if the Ryzen 7000 launch causes a sudden spike in DDR5 sales.
The DDR5 uncertainty looms large, but not as large as the uncertainty around Raptor Lake. Intel has made confident performance claims of a 15% improvement in single-threaded, 41% improvement in threaded, and a 40% ‘overall’ performance gain, which means that Raptor Lake and Ryzen 7000 could be closely matched. Raptor Lake is rumored to come to market in mid- to late-October, so it might be best to wait and see what Intel has to offer, especially on the pricing front, before pulling the trigger.
If you’re dead set on buying a chip now, the Ryzen 5 7600X is unquestionably the fastest gaming chip on the market for $300. It offers basically the same gaming performance as the 7950X that’s now the fastest ‘standard’ gaming chip on the market, but at less than half the cost. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 9 7950X is the reigning overall performance champ for mainstream PCs, delivering unprecedented levels of performance on a mainstream platform.
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