AMD’s 12-core Ryzen 9 7900X carries a $549 price tag that slots in between Intel’s flagship Core i9 and Core i7 chips, but its performance defies the middle ground placement. Given its price point and gaming performance that matches or exceeds Intel’s finest, paired with strong performance in desktop PC applications, the Ryzen 9 7900X appears to be a contender for our list of Best CPUs and our CPU Benchmark hierarchy. But there’s a lot more at play than just chip pricing.
Like the other Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ processors, the 7900X comes armed with the new Zen 4 architecture, which increases IPC by ~13%, etched on the TSMC 5nm process. That combo delivers incredible peak clocks of 5.6 GHz — a mere 100 MHz shy of the 5.7 GHz you’ll get with the 16-core flagship Ryzen 9 7950X. It’s also surprisingly a higher clock speed than we see with even Intel’s fastest chips, at least until the company’s 6 GHz Raptor Lake chips come to market.
|Price||Cores / Threads (P+E)||Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||Cache (L2+L3)||TDP / Max||Memory|
|Ryzen 9 7950X||$699||16 / 32||4.5 / 5.7||80MB||170W / 230W||DDR5-5200|
|Ryzen 9 7900X||$549||12 / 24||4.7 / 5.6||76MB||170W / 230W||DDR5-5200|
|Ryzen 7 7700X||$399||8 / 16||4.5 / 5.4||40MB||105W / 142W||DDR5-5200|
|Ryzen 5 7600X||$299||6 / 12||4.7 / 5.3||38MB||105W / 142W||DDR5-5200|
Other advances make the Ryzen 7000 chips compelling. AMD has even developed its own EXPO DDR5 memory profiles for overclocking, rivaling Intel’s XMP standard. The Ryzen 7000 chips also come loaded with other new tech, like a new Radeon RDNA 2 iGPU for basic display output and support for AVX-512 and AI instructions.
Paired with vastly improved power delivery, courtesy of a new platform, AMD’s process and architecture advances deliver truly explosive performance gains — but there are a few gotchas.
AMD’s Zen 4 chips drop into the new AM5 socket on 600-series motherboards. The platform supports the latest interfaces, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, largely matching Intel’s connectivity options. However, in contrast to Intel’s platform, which supports either pricey DDR5 or more affordable DDR4, the AM5 platform only supports DDR5 memory. That adds cost to your build.
AMD’s initial launch includes AM5 motherboards with the X670 and X670E chipsets, but they carry heavy premiums compared to similar Intel boards — and that’s with direct comparisons of DDR5 motherboards. The picture becomes even more lopsided when we compare DDR4 options. And it doesn’t look like the B-series motherboards will be as affordable as we’ve seen in the past, adding another layer of additional cost over similar Intel-powered systems.
Despite its impressive performance in a wide range of apps, these pricing factors conspire to make the Ryzen 9 7900X less appealing than the sticker price suggests — this chip is certainly ripe for a big price reduction.
Ryzen 9 7900X Specifications and Pricing
|Price||Cores / Threads (P+E)||P-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||E-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz)||Cache (L2/L3)||TDP / PBP / MTP||Memory|
|Core i9-13900K / KF||$589 (K) – $564 (KF)||24 / 32 (8+16)||3.0 / 5.8||2.2 / 4.3||68MB (32+36)||125W / 253W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600|
|Ryzen 9 7950X||$699||16 / 32||4.5 / 5.7||–||80MB (16+64)||170W / 230W||DDR5-5200|
|Core i9-12900K / KF||$589 (K) – $564 (KF)||16 / 24 (8+8)||3.2 / 5.2||2.4 / 3.9||44MB (14+30)||125W / 241W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Ryzen 9 7900X||$549||12 / 24||4.7 / 5.6||–||76MB (12+64)||170W / 230W||DDR5-5200|
|Ryzen 9 5900X||$398 ($549)||12 / 24||3.7 / 4.8||–||70MB (6+64)||105W||DDR5-5200|
|Core i7-13700K / KF||$409 (K) – $384 (KF)||16 / 24 (8+8)||3.4 / 5.4||2.5 / 4.2||54MB (24+30)||125W / 253W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600|
|Core i7-12700K / KF||$409 (K) – $384 (KF)||12 / 20 (8+4)||3.6 / 5.0||2.7 / 3.8||37MB (12+25)||125W / 190W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
|Ryzen 7 7700X||$399||8 / 16||4.5 / 5.4||–||40MB (8+32)||105W / 142W||DDR5-5200|
|Ryzen 5 7600X||$299||6 / 12||4.7 / 5.3||–||38MB (6+32)||105W / 142W||DDR5-5200|
|Core i5-13600K / KF||$319 (K) – $294 (KF)||14 / 20 (6+8)||3.5 / 5.1||2.6 / 3.9||44MB (20+24)||125W / 181W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-5600|
|Core i5-12600K / KF||$289 (K) – $264 (KF)||10 / 16 (6+4)||3.7 / 4.9||2.8 / 3.6||29.5MB (9.5+20)||125W / 150W||DDR4-3200 / DDR5-4800|
The 12-core 24-thread Ryzen 9 7900X lands at $549, the same launch price as its predecessor, positioning it to compete with both the $589 Core i9-12900K and the $409 Core i7-12700K that are already on the market. Intel has surprisingly kept its pricing for its new Raptor Lake Core i9 and i7 similar to the existing models, so the 7900X will also eventually compete with the Core i9-13900K and Core i7-13700K when they arrive this month.
The 7900X comes with four fewer cores than the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X flagship, but has a 4.7 GHz base clock and a 5.6 GHz boost. It also has 64MB of L3 cache, like the flagship model, and an identical 170W/230W TDP/peak power rating. That’s a 65W increase over the previous-gen Ryzen 9 5900X and a record for AMD’s Ryzen family. This increased power consumption is partially due to AMD’s drastically improved power delivery with the AM5 socket — it delivers much more power to keep the cores fully powered during heavy load — but it results in higher chip temperatures.
The Ryzen 9 7900X doesn’t come with a bundled cooler; instead, AMD recommends a 240-280mm liquid cooler or equivalent. Even if you use a powerful cooler, you should expect the highest-end Ryzen processors to run at higher temperatures than we’re accustomed to. Loaded temperatures regularly reach 90C to 95C, even with a powerful cooler. AMD says this 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. If you’re concerned about chip temperatures, AMD has an easily-activated ECO mode that reduces the TDP of any given processor to its most efficient point on the voltage/frequency curve. That significantly reduces temperatures, but it does reduce performance.
The Raphael processors drop into a new AM5 socket that supports the PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 interfaces, matching Alder Lake on the connectivity front. The Socket AM5 motherboards can expose up to 24 lanes of PCIe 5.0 to the user. We have an extensive roundup of twenty 600-series motherboards here.
Ryzen 7000 supports DDR5-5200 if you install one DIMM per channel (1DPC), but that drops to DDR5-3600 for 2DPC. AMD also introduced the new EXPO memory overclocking spec to compete with Intel’s XMP. EXPO profiles are designed for AMD processors to allow one-click memory overclocking to predefined speeds. You can find EXPO kits with speeds reaching up to DDR5-6400.
The Ryzen 7000 processors come with the N5 TSMC 5nm process node for the core compute die (CCD) and the TSMC 6nm process for the I/O Die (IOD). The Ryzen 9 7900X has two active CCDs, but AMD disables four cores to create the 12-core design. You can learn more about this design in our Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 all we know article.
The RDNA 2 iGPU is designed to provide basic display output capabilities only. The RDNA 2 iGPU comes with two compute units, 4 ACE, and 1 HWS, so gaming is off the table. You can see the iGPU gaming results in our Ryzen 9 7950X review, but the short version is that they’re the slowest integrated graphics on a modern processor that we’re aware of, but they work great for regular display duties.
The integrated graphics are appealling for troubleshooting and OEM systems, though, and it has other redeeming qualities. For example, the iGPU supports AV1 and VP9 decode, H.264 and HVEC encode and decode, USB Type-C with DisplayPort Alt Mode, DisplayPort 2.0, and HDMI 2.1. You also get support for 4K60 and hybrid graphics.