AMD’s Ryzen 7950X3D CPU Pushes Even the RTX 3090 to Its Limits

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D in box

Photograph: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

Saying that it has been a busy launch season for AMD is an unimaginable understatement. Not solely did we see the discharge of the excessive powered, excessive performing Ryzen 7000X Sequence, however we additionally acquired a full stack of decrease powered, however nonetheless respectably performant processors within the Ryzen 7000 Non-X Sequence. And let’s not neglect a generational leap for Radeon GPUs!

In all of those releases, we now have been ready for AMD to juice up considered one of its Zen 4 juggernauts with that candy, candy game-changing 3D V-Cache we noticed within the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. For the specialists, the V-Cache stacks extra reminiscence on a chip vertically. For everybody else, quantity go up. What we’re getting is three choices – the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, Ryzen 9 7900X3D, and Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

Launching right now (February twenty eighth, 2023), the Ryzen 9 7900X3D and Ryzen 9 7950X3D are the primary Ryzen 9 CPUs to get the V-Cache therapy. These CPUs are aimed on the gamer who additionally occurs to be a content material creator. There’s a twist in that, however we’ll discuss it extra later.

For this overview, we acquired to take a look at the cream of the crop, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D–AMD’s 16-core, 32-thread monstrosity of a CPU.

What’s 3D V-cache?

Earlier than we are able to get into the efficiency, we now have to check out pricing, the CPU design, what 3D V-cache is, how further cache advantages gaming, and how on earth this factor even works! Let’s put the cache on the desk first.

AMD’s 3D V-cache know-how takes the prevailing Zen 4 cores, thins them down, and stacks an additional layer of L3 cache on prime of the chiplet with out growing the general Z (or vertical) peak of the CPU. This design permits for a extra dense connectivity between the CPU die and the cache, offering a quicker reminiscence useful resource than your backyard selection system RAM.

In gaming, the additional cache helps the CPU in moments the place fast entry to random information is crucial. For instance, in the event you’re enjoying a match of Gambit in Future 2, your CPU doesn’t know if you’re going to financial institution these motes like The Drifter is screaming about or if you’re going to flip round and Thundercrash into an invading participant. In different phrases, player-driven actions are random processes that require fast computation. In that second, your CPU known as upon to recall textures, animations, sport physics, character placement, and extra. When that occurs, cache is king.

(You’ll find AMD’s breakdown of the know-how right here for a extra detailed description.)

Shifting on to pricing, AMD did one thing fascinating right here. On the prime finish of the Ryzen 7000 Sequence product stack, the Ryzen 9 7950X and 7950X3D are priced identically at $699 USD. Each CPUs are 16-core, 32-thread processors, however the 7950X trades 3D V-cache for general quicker base clock frequencies and a better energy draw to match. As issues trickle down the stack, we begin seeing a $50 USD distinction between counterparts and a a lot slimmer margin of distinction. The place the massive distinction lies is within the design.

The 7950X, 7900X, 7950X3D, and 7900X3D every have a core advanced die (CCD) made up of two core complexes (CCX). The X3D processors even have two core complexes, however just one CCX is provided with the 3D V-cache. AMD’s official phrase on that is that, in its testing, the corporate didn’t see a noticeable sufficient uplift in efficiency to justify the additional value of placing it on each. Honest sufficient, however is Home windows good sufficient to know which cores to make use of for what?

Form of, however I can solely converse for the 7950X3D (whereas making some educated guesses on the 7900X3D). Due to this, the CPU relies on processes just like the Sport Bar to park the CCX with out the V-cache whereas “whitelisting” or permitting gaming processes to entry that CCX with the V-cache. The hit charge for the V-cache CCX could be negatively impacted when you have different background processes operating. Will probably be fascinating to see if this is similar with the 7800X3D as soon as it releases.

Similar Ryzen 7950X Hood, Barely Totally different {Hardware}

The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D is a 16-core, 32-thread (16C/32T) CPU with a base clock pace of 4.2 GHz and max enhance speeds as much as 5.7 GHz. Whereas the core and thread counts are the identical because the Ryzen 9 7950X, the bottom clock is barely (~300 MHz) slower. Base clock pace isn’t the one factor that’s decrease, although, because the 7950X3D drops 50W off of the TDP, dropping the Ryzen 9 down from 170W TDP to 120W TDP. Which means it attracts much less energy.

Now, in all of this, the comparability between the Ryzen 9s does get a bit trickier. Bear in mind, we now have two CCX modules–one with the 3D V-cache and one with out it.

There’s At all times a Cache 

Sadly, we’re going to be seeing the 7950X3D in isolation from the opposite X3D CPUs. For our functions, we’re going to present some comparisons with the present flagship CPUs from each side of the aisle.

In our productiveness assessments, we used information from the complete Ryzen 7000 Sequence stack in addition to Intel’s thirteenth Technology Core i5-13600K and Core i9-13900K. We additionally included information collected by Joanna Neilus from our Ryzen 9 5950X overview as a reminder of how far issues have superior throughout a single technology.

In gaming, nevertheless, we narrowed the comparability to the present kings – the Core i9-13900K and the Ryzen 9 7950X. This information was collected using as comparable a testing surroundings as doable, however, as all the time, your mileage might differ.

As all the time, we tried to maintain our methodology easy with the intention to give the clearest image of the efficiency that the common consumer can anticipate to get out of the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. In different phrases, these numbers symbolize box-to-build efficiency with no tweaks. The one benefit we gave them is that we enabled an AMD EXPO profile for low reminiscence latency and pace. We provided the identical consideration to our Intel platform by enabling XMP.

Right here is the {hardware} we used to gather our information from the Ryzen 7000 Sequence CPUs:

– Gigabyte X670E AORUS MASTER motherboard
– NVIDIA RTX 3090 Founders Version GPU
– AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPU
– 32 GB G.Talent Trident Z5 NEO DDR5-6000 RAM
– 2TB SK hynix Platinum M.2 NVMe SSD
– NZXT C1200 Gold 1200W energy provide
– NZXT Kraken Z73 360mm all-in-one liquid cooler with three 120mm followers
– NZXT H9 Elite mid-tower PC case with two 140mm followers in addition to three 120mm followers.

You could discover that we listed two GPUs in our take a look at bench–there’s a superb purpose for that: we bottlenecked our RTX 3090 in our 1080p gaming take a look at. We’re going to embrace these numbers for comparability, however we went again and ran the identical assessments on the 7950X and 13900K utilizing the Radeon RX 7900 XTX for a extra correct image of efficiency general. I do know that sounds wild, however wait till you see the distinction!

Does Extra Cache Equal Extra Productiveness?

In our productiveness assessments, we ran a collection of software program benchmarks to focus on single and multi thread efficiency in situations designed to check how every CPU carried out underneath varied computational hundreds.

Here’s what we discovered:

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

In Geekbench 5, we calculate the efficiency of single thread duties equivalent to picture and textual content compression, internet navigation, machine studying, and .PDF rendering. On this benchmark, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D did placed on a robust present, however barely underperformed when in comparison with the 7950X and the 7900X. Even so, it nonetheless managed to edge out the Core i9-13900K by a slim margin in single core efficiency. These numbers, nevertheless, are inside a detailed sufficient margin that I wouldn’t essentially declare considered one of them a winner.

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

In multi core efficiency, that is the place we see the 7950X3D lag a bit behind its counterpart from the Ryzen lineup whereas falling additional behind the Core i9. It’s doable the general frequency and parked CPU cores could possibly be inflicting this efficiency delta, or this could possibly be a situation the place the additional cache simply doesn’t maintain any energy. That being mentioned, the 7950X3D delivers on its skill to be a robust contender in multi core duties.

We see an identical story in Handbrake:

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

Whereas rendering a 4K video right down to 1080p30, the 7950X3D hangs intently with the 7950X whereas taking an 11 second lead forward of the 7900X. It nonetheless trails behind the 13900K, however whenever you look throughout the panorama, the 7950X3D does properly for itself.

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

That margin acquired a complete lot slimmer when rendering a picture of everybody’s favourite, shiny purple BMW in Blender. This picture took the 7950X3D simply over a minute to render, placing it inside 3 seconds of the Core i9’s ending time and 4 seconds away from the 7950X. Not too shabby in any respect!

Total, we didn’t see an uplift in efficiency in our productiveness benchmarks. Nevertheless, whether or not V-cache was leveraged or not, the 7950X3D nonetheless carried out properly general due to the highly effective Zen cores.

3D V-cache in gaming

I’m not going to mince phrases: that is the place issues get bizarre.

Once we began operating the 7950X3D by means of our gaming assessments, we wished to maintain our testing information much like our most up-to-date CPU evaluations. So we used NVIDIA’s RTX 3090 Founders Version in our testing bench, like earlier than.

As we acquired into our benchmarking, we weren’t noticing a distinction between it and the 7950X. Not solely that, there have been truly locations the place it underperformed. This was frankly disconcerting–particularly after seeing what AMD’s 3D V-cache did for the 5800X3D.

It is very important point out that these assessments have been run at 1080p. Whereas a GPU can impression efficiency at this decision, there may be rather more of a burden on the CPU. Going even decrease to 720p would have actually pushed the CPU, however this decision is basically irrelevant to the fashionable consumer exterior of handhelds.

After doing a little digging into the info and reaching out to AMD, we questioned if we have been hitting a wall someplace. Because it seems, we have been. So, we introduced within the Radeon RX 7900 XTX, and that is the distinction we noticed:

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

It might appear as if the 7950X and 7950X3D each benefited from a few of the further headroom that the 7900 XTX supplied. In some instances, we noticed a leap of 26% efficiency in frames per second after swapping GPUs! With that time found, we moved on to the remainder of our gaming benchmarks.

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

In quite a lot of our assessments, we noticed the Ryzen 9 7950X3D overshadow its non V-cache Ryzen counterpart. Nevertheless, it didn’t fairly beat out the Core i9-13900K in our assessments.

Once more, this was bizarre to me, so we did a bit extra digging, and we expect we now have a solution.

We talked about a number of issues earlier that must be taken under consideration when taking a look at these numbers. Bear in mind, the 7950X3D is a fancy chip made up of two chiplets–one with the 3D V-cache, and one with out. The V-cache may also help with faster computation of random player-driven actions, however efficiency using the V-cache outfitted core relies on the processes truly utilizing these cores. This implies some cores are parked whereas Home windows sends duties on to the V-cache outfitted cores.

Earlier than doing something, we made certain that each one the suitable software program and firmware have been updated. We additionally ensured that any further background duties have been killed or accomplished earlier than continuing with amassing our information. After spending time operating a number of benchmarks and monitoring the core efficiency, we noticed a number of benchmarks that both weren’t absolutely parking the non V-cache cores, or that wanted us to power Home windows Sport Bar to whitelist a sport.

Curiously, this was the case for Far Cry 6 – an AMD associate title. There was a ~10% distinction in efficiency after manually telling Home windows Sport Bar to recollect the title. Earlier than whitelisting, the common efficiency was ~181 frames per second, which, you might discover, falls shy of the 7950X. It was solely after poking at Sport Bar that we noticed that quantity improve to 200 frames per second.

This wasn’t the one oddity, although. In our Metro Exodus benchmarks, we noticed the non V-cache cores preventing to remain parked all through the take a look at. Once we tried to power them to park, we did see an general enhance in frames per second, however the sport’s efficiency was filled with stuttering.

That being mentioned, whereas operating the 7950X3D exterior of testing, I didn’t discover any stuttering in efficiency that I may attribute to the CPU. It carried out properly in tandem with each the RTX 3090 and Radeon RX 7900 XTX in on a regular basis use, together with gaming and lightweight video manufacturing.

Ryzen 7950X3D Vitality Effectivity and Thermal Efficiency

When the Ryzen 7000X3D CPUs have been introduced, one of many factors that we observed instantly on the product infographic was a decrease general TDP. Contemplating the leap we noticed in energy draw from each side of the aisle and the efficiency of the Ryzen 7000 Sequence non-X CPUs, we have been curious how a middle-of-the-road energy draw would impression these CPUs.

Here’s what we discovered:

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

In most of our benchmarks, the 7950X3D drew a considerably decrease quantity of general energy than the 7950X and the i9-13900K. On first look, these numbers are fairly spectacular, however these numbers won’t be telling the entire story.

Bear in mind: the 7950X3D parks a few of its CPU cores whereas they aren’t in use. We didn’t observe whether or not or not that was the case with the opposite CPUs, so it’s arduous to make a definitive assertion right here. Nevertheless, if the 7950X3D is acting at a considerably decrease energy draw and hitting the numbers it’s, I’d name that an general win.

In relation to thermal efficiency, issues are unfold out a bit.

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D benchmarks

Graphic: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

In our productiveness benchmarks, the 7950X3D stayed considerably cooler than the 7950X and the 13900K in some instances, however was nonetheless hotter than the Core i9. In gaming, there’s a honest diploma of competitors throughout the board, however, general, the 7950X3D stored the warmth underneath management, due to NZXT’s Kraken Z.

It is usually vital to notice that, whereas we attempt to preserve our take a look at surroundings as constant as doable, the local weather that I’m testing in is preventing between being within the bowels of third winter and what we’d name idiot’s spring. Strive as I’ll, holding our take a look at benches in an area that holds a snug 23.3C has been difficult.

AMD Ryzen 7950X3D

Photograph: Damien Gula / Gizmodo

A Cache-Acutely aware Conclusion

It is very important level out the aim of the Ryzen 9 7950X3D whereas drawing our conclusions about it. This CPU particularly is supposed for the gamer who additionally makes use of their rig for productiveness functions. Once you’re attempting to be a jack-of-all-trades, typically there are compromises or concessions you must make.

When speaking purely about efficiency, the 7950X3D hangs intently to its fellow Ryzen 9 in productiveness, however lags barely behind the competitors. In gaming, once we see the V-cache at work, the uplift is improbable. When it doesn’t fairly hit on these CPU cores, it isn’t horrible, however it isn’t as spectacular because it could possibly be. This, nevertheless, may change because the software program matures to assist it.

We additionally want to speak for a second concerning the GPU scenario we bumped into. Actually, I used to be fairly shocked by this discovery. From one viewpoint, you could possibly take a look at the 7950X3D as a robust taskmaster, pushing last-gen juggernauts to their fullest potential. On the opposite facet of this viewpoint, operating something lower than an RTX 3090 would imply that the 7950X3D just isn’t residing as much as its potential. The RTX 3090 is already extra highly effective than what most PC players on Steam are operating, that means that there’s a superb likelihood your system isn’t robust sufficient to totally make the most of the 7950X3D. If that’s the case, shopping for it’d go away you with comparable efficiency to a less expensive, lesser chip until you go for expensive upgrades to accompany it. Given how costly and up to date the RTX 3090 is, that’s asking loads.

So, at $699 USD, is the Ryzen 9 7950X3D a superb purchase?

That reply depends upon a number of components.

Are you on the lookout for behemoth-like efficiency with no concern for energy effectivity? The 7950X3D is highly effective, however in the event you’re taking a look at dollar-to-performance, you need to in all probability look elsewhere. Are you constructing a multipurpose rig with a high-end, present technology GPU and wish a CPU to maintain up with it? The 7950X3D would undoubtedly match that invoice. Do you need to get each ounce of efficiency out of a final gen GPU with headroom for future development? The 7950X3D could possibly be fairly interesting right here.

All of this comes with an enormous caveat: we now have but to see how the Ryzen 7 7800X3D performs. Sadly, we must wait till April to seek out that out.

It doesn’t matter what conclusion you draw from our testing and overview, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D is a reasonably spectacular feat in its personal proper. AMD created a unified CPU die with asymmetrical chiplets and a wholesome quantity of cache. There may be little doubt that it is a highly effective CPU with room to develop.

Like every new leap in know-how, there are going to be some hiccups alongside the way in which. Our hope is that, with a while and maturity, we are going to see the 7950X3D enhance as extra methods and software program benefit from the know-how.

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