AMD Ryzen 7000 review: A generational leap with huge performance gains – 9to5Toys

Today, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series processors are officially available. Coming in with new Ryzen 75, 7, and 9 model CPUs, there’s a lot to like here. With Ryzen 7000, AMD is ditching its age-old pin-based processors and going for the more modern pad-based design, which allows them to eek out additional performance all around. We’ve been using the processors for the past week and through AMD’s improved 5nm architecture, use of DDR5 memory, and complete processor design overhaul, those hiccups are…gone. I expected Ryzen 7000 to be faster than previous generations, sure, but the performance leap here is one far beyond what I’ve expected. These all-new CPUs really do shake things up when it comes to performance, and after a week of testing, we’re excited to finally be able to share our results on how AMD’s all-new Ryzen 7000 processors perform in our hands-on review.
For the past two years, I’ve been using an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X gaming desktop for my setup. It’s been fantastic and I’ve enjoyed using it, but even since the beginning there have been little hiccups here and there. These hiccups weren’t new to Zen 3 but are things I’ve experienced in just about any Windows-powered computer over the course of many years. However, with AMD’s Ryzen 7000 lineup, the hiccups are gone. I’ll do my best to explain it, and the processors aren’t without a few flaws, but in our hands-on review of the AMD Ryzen 7000 processor lineup, the main thing we’re going to focus on is just how smooth the entire system is, start to finish.
We’ll get PC specs out of the way right up front. So far, we’ve spent the past week or so with the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and the Ryzen 9 7900X. We’ll have a more in-depth review comparing all four Ryzen 7000-series processors in a few weeks once we finish our testing, but today we’re going to be focusing on the Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 9 7900X.
The rest of the system is fairly typical. We have the ASRock Taichi X670E motherboard, 32GB of GSKILL Trident Z5 Neo DDR5 6000MHz memory, and are using both PCIe 3.0 and PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSDs for storage. Our boot volume is the 2TB SK Hynix P31 and our games storage is the 2TB SK Hynix P41. We’re also using a 1,000W NZXT power supply and the Sapphire 6750 XT Nitro+ graphics card. For cooling, we’re using the NZXT Kraken X73 360mm all-in-one liquid cooler, and for thermal paste, it’s Noctua NT-H1. The only variable in our testing is the processors themselves, as our BIOS stayed the same as did everything else with the systems.
In our intro, we talked about how smooth the entire system is – and that’s, I think, the hardest part to explain. You know that feeling of a fresh Windows install on a new desktop and everything just launches instantly, there’s no lag, and it just feels fast? But, after a while, that speed goes away? Well, it doesn’t (so far) with Ryzen 7000. Whether I was on the Ryzen 7 7700X or the Ryzen 9 7900X, the system felt blazing fast either way. When I clicked Chrome to open, it would immediately open back up as if I was just maximizing the window (with all the previous tabs still there since I didn’t close them out), even after a fresh reboot. Game launches? Buttery smooth. Opening Discord? Like it was always open.
Game performance was just as good, too. Menus were snappy and responsive, the system showed little to no lag even under heavy stress, and it was just a very pleasant experience.
This comes from a number of places. For starters, AMD is now leveraging DDR5 memory, which is faster and more responsive around the board. We didn’t push our memory past its built-in profile, and found no need to honestly. Also, with PCIe 5.0 in tow as well, our storage drives, and even graphics card, had headroom they couldn’t even tap into as they were both PCIe 4.0, meaning they weren’t bottlenecking either. Overall, the connectivity improvements really shine here and are some of the stars of the show with how powerful Ryzen 7000 is.
Another part of what makes this lineup so good is the improved heat spreader and smaller manufacturing process. With a 5nm manufacturing process, there’s a lot more to pack onto the same size die here, and AMD also moved away from a PGA (pin-based) socket to LGA (pad-based) socket. This allowed them to get more connectors on the motherboard for even more throughput, showing how much thought AMD put into Ryzen 7000. This is the first time, that I can find, where AMD has finally ditched PGA for LGA, and it was a very deliberate choice. AMD can now get more performance out of these processors, and it definitely shows in the day-to-day.
While we might still be building our our testing suite (any suggestions for your favorite benchmarks, do let us know down below), the tests that we ran both of these processors through show many similarities, and many differences.
The numbers do back it up: Both are quite powerful in their respective lanes. The Ryzen 7 7700X benchmarked in Cinebench R23 with a 1,988 single-core score, which is around 18-20% faster than the previous-generation Ryzen 7 5800X. The multi-core score went up around 20% as well, with our tests netting a score of 19,226. Moving over to the 7900X, the single-core score stayed fairly close to the 7700X at 1,991, which is only three points higher than the Ryzen 7. However, the multi-core score really jumped up and benchmarked 32% higher than the Ryzen 7 at 28,297. This goes to show that AMD’s single-core score is fairly steady across the board, though further testing with Ryzen 5 and the higher-tier Ryzen 9 will show us if this holds true on the entire lineup. Multi-core performance should really be your deciding factor when choosing a processor here.
Similarly, GeekBench 5 had a 14,366 multi-core score on the Ryzen 7 and 18,400 on the Ryzen 9, not quite highlighting as large of a difference as Cinebench, but showing performance improvements nonetheless. However, GeekBench 5 did agree that the single-core performance was basically the same with the Ryzen 7 clocking in a 2,151 score with Ryzen 9 coming in at 2,180. Close enough that I wouldn’t pick one over the other for the single-core performance.
But, what do these numbers really mean? In real-world applications, the higher the number, the better. But, a lot of programs, like many games, rely on better single-core scores and high multi-core scores really doesn’t make that much of a difference. This was evident in many games I tested, with most actually losing a few frames (read: 2-3 FPS) with the Ryzen 9 over the Ryzen 7, though other titles (like No Man’s Sky) saw improvement with the additional cores provided in the higher-end processor.
We’re working on testing both the Ryzen 7 and Ryzen 9 (as well as our incoming Ryzen 5 and other Ryzen 9) in practical workloads in Premiere Pro, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop to see how the performance scales there as well, but are currently experiencing some difficulties getting solid numbers from those programs. So, instead of including that here, we’ll have that in our in-depth review coming out in a few weeks that puts all four processors head-to-head to find the winner of this generation.
Another area that’s quite different for AMD is the inclusion of built-in Radeon graphics on its entire Ryzen 7000 lineup. Yep, all Ryzen 7000 processors being released today, including those tested in our review, have integrated graphics so you can get up and running without a dedicated GPU. This is something that really only Intel has offered up until recently for desktops, and it’s nice to see AMD getting in on the trend. I tried the integrated graphics in a few games, and for some, it’s pretty great – and others, don’t even try.
For those who are looking to just build a Minecraft (or similar game) rig, then the integrated graphics will be fine. At 1440p on fancy settings, I was running non-modded Minecraft with no shaders at over 100 FPS pretty easily. Add in mods and shaders? Well, you’ll slow to a crawl. But, vanilla Minecraft runs great all things considered. Fire up a next-generation title like Forza Horizon 5? Even at 1080p with all the settings cranked as low as they can go, I struggled to get over 10 FPS with the built-in benchmarking tool, and it wasn’t smooth enough to try and play at all.
However, the integrated graphics are perfect for those who only have processor-intensive workloads and who don’t need graphics to help out. If you’re only doing application compiling, then being able to put a few hundred dollars more into a better processor and leave the GPU out of the equation is quite nice. In fact, all of our Cinebench and GeekBench scores above are scores we got with integrated graphics, while adding a graphics card only changed the scores by a few points one way or the other.
If you do want to run games though, get a graphics card. Yes, these processors can play games without one, but if you want an enjoyable experience in anything modern, you’re going to need a GPU here.
Thats a question we’re going to try to answer here, but it’s really up to you. For me, the jump from Ryzen 5 5600X to the Ryzen 7 7700X or even the Ryzen 9 7900X is drastic. The system is far more responsive, there’s better performance in games, and I’ve noticed just a general speediness all around. My desktop gets used for all sorts of things, gaming being only one. I’ve noticed that the system performs better when running my CNC CAD software and 3D modeling software that I use for woodworking, and it’s just a far more powerful system point blank.
At first, I wasn’t sure this would be the case. I’ve had high-end desktops before and generally they weren’t that much more powerful than mid-tier systems, as graphics is really what made the most difference there. But, at least, in my review, the Ryzen 7000 upgrade is a marked one, even for those on Zen 3.
So, honestly, regardless of what modern processor platform you’re on, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll see performance gains by going with the Ryzen 7000 series processors. It’s going to be a change, for sure, as it’ll require a new motherboard and new RAM to upgrade, so it won’t be cheap. But, in the end, if you need more performance, then, in our opinion in this review, Ryzen 7000 delivers and doesn’t disappoint at all.
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