By Aditya Deshbandhu
The last week has been big for gamers, especially those of the PC kind with the announcement of AMD’s new line of microprocessors. Dubbed the 7000 series, the chips are expected to run faster and cooler owing to AMD’s Zen 4 architecture. Based on a 5 NM process, the 7000 series is expected to deliver a minimum performance boost of 13 per cent across a variety of applications.
Along with the improvement in performance, the microchips are also expected to natively support PCI express 5 and DDR5 memory, upgrades that are essential to gamers who wish to buy the latest graphic cards and RAM chips. For those who are not inclined to buy dedicated video cards, the 7000 series of processors should also offer RDNA2 level of graphics through the integrated chipset.
What do these developments mean?
It’s important for us as gamers to demystify and make sense of the corporate tech speak here and understand what these improvements mean to an everyday computer user who plays games. The performance boost while at 13 per cent can be larger across specific games and applications as not all of them will be impacted in the same way.
Similarly, the numbers may not be as high if your other hardware like RAM, hard drives, and PCIE are not up to date. The older hardware is very likely to end up creating bottlenecks to some degree. However, if you somehow do manage to have all of them working at the right bandwidth, performances could be higher than expected too.
With regards to the RDNA2 claim at the integrated chipset level, this is something I believe needs tempering. At a time when AMD has just announced RDNA3 (alongside the 7000 series), to expect the new processors’ integrated chipsets to deliver visual capabilities on par with the best AMD dedicated graphic cards from last generation seems a bit too much. I expect a bump in visual capabilities and the ability to offer raytracing to a certain limited degree but hoping for anything more would just be optimistic to the point of foolishness.
How much do they cost?
The pricing for the 7000 series is one of its strong points as AMD has bucked the trend of increasing prices all around and has decided to price this generation’s hardware at the same prices of last year or cheaper.
The top-end Ryzen 9 7950x which is expected to replace the 5950x is for example cheaper than the 5950x at USD 699. With all the processors likely to receive generous boosts in terms of Cache memory (due to the success of the 5950x) these chips should be incredible for gaming.
Model Cores/Threads Boost10/ Base Frequency Total Cache PCIe® TDP Price (USD)
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X 16C/32T Up to 5.7 / 4.5 GHZ 80MB Gen 5 170W $699
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X 12C/24T Up to 5.6 / 4.7 GHZ 76MB Gen 5 170W $549
AMD Ryzen 7 7700X 8C/16T Up to 5.4 / 4.5 GHZ 40MB Gen 5 105W $399
AMD Ryzen 5 7600X 6C/12T Up to 5.3 / 4.7 GHZ 38MB Gen 5 105W $299
The larger picture:
The launch of the 7000 series cements AMD’s willingness to extend its lead over Intel in the microprocessor game. The 5 NM architecture continues to yield greater efficiency and despite Intel offering greater clock speeds, AMD seems to be honing its multi-thread and multicore performances. As Intel figures out how to challenge Ryzen 7000 with its 13th gen – Raptor Lake, it now can’t do it at extremely high prices.
Also, AMD’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time as early usage patterns indicate that these chips are supposed to not just run cooler but also be more efficient in terms of energy consumption. At a time when the world struggles to meet its energy requirements, some restraint from gamers could go a long way.