The launch of AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series of CPUs, which was introduced in September, has been met with strong performance but high costs associated with migrating to the new AM5 platform. This has led to fewer adopters than anticipated. To address this issue, AMD has implemented significant price cuts for the entire launch lineup, including the 7600X, 7700X, 7900X and 7950X processors. However, the high costs of AM5 motherboards and DDR5 memory remain a significant obstacle for many potential buyers. Currently, a barebones B650 motherboard can cost $160, while basic X670 boards start at $260. Additionally, DDR5 memory kits can cost around $150 for a 32GB kit or $180 for lower latency CL30 modules.

The high costs associated with upgrading to the AM5 platform for gamers may be a significant obstacle. For example, purchasing a Ryzen 7 7700X processor, a motherboard, and memory would cost at least $660 for an existing AM4 owner. In comparison, a new system builder could purchase a Ryzen 7 5700X processor, a B550 motherboard, and a 32GB DDR4-3600 CL16 memory kit for a total of $430, which in many scenarios is not significantly slower. In light of this, it remains to be seen whether AMD will be able to attract more buyers to the AM5 platform by offering more affordable non-X Ryzen CPUs.

The new Ryzen 5 7600, starting at $230, features 6 cores and 12 threads with a maximum clock speed of 5.1 GHz and a TDP of 65w. It is similar to the 7600X, but comes with a lower clock speed and comes with a box cooler, the low-profile Wraith Stealth, which can save you some money on a separate cooler. The Ryzen 7 7700, at $330, has 8 cores and 16 threads and can clock as high as 5.3 GHz, and it comes with a high-quality Wraith Prism cooler. The Ryzen 9 7900, at $430, includes 12 cores and 24 threads with a maximum clock speed of 5.4 GHz and also comes with the Wraith Prism.

When compared to the current prices of Ryzen 7000 CPUs, the MSRP for the Ryzen 5 7600 is only $20 cheaper than the current lowest price of the Ryzen 7 7600X, which is $250, although most listings are around $300. This suggests that the temporary price cuts for Zen 4 CPUs are over and have been replaced by these new non-X models. The lowest price the Ryzen 7 7600X has reached in recent months is around $240, making the Ryzen 5 7600 at $230 with a cooler included the most affordable Zen 4 deal yet, with the potential to decrease in price over time.

The Ryzen 7 7700X, which was originally introduced at an MSRP of $400, has been selling for as low as $330 and currently can be purchased for $350. The new non-X model, the 7700, is set to cost $330, making it around $20 cheaper than the X version, but it also comes with a high-quality box cooler. Similarly, the 7900X, which was introduced at an MSRP of $550, had dropped to as low as $440 late last year, but currently is closer to $480. The new non-X model, at $430, comes with the Wraith Prism cooler, making it a significant improvement in terms of price.

The introduction of these new non-X models of Zen 4 CPUs allows for a re-evaluation of the processors at a more affordable price point, with slightly better prices for motherboards and memory. It will be interesting to see how they perform in comparison to the X models.
Usually, there would be a large number of application and gaming benchmarks, but in terms of performance, there is generally very little difference between non-X and X models. To save time, the testing will focus on fewer applications and will not go into individual game results, instead providing an average of 10 games. The testing will be conducted using a GeForce RTX 4090, Windows 11, and resizable BAR will be enabled for all configurations.
Before getting into the performance results, it’s worth noting that the 7600 runs at a core power of 65w and a package power of 90 watts, allowing for a typical all-core clock frequency of 4920 MHz. Using a be quiet! Pure Loop 2 FX 360mm liquid cooler, the peak die temperature was 78c. With AMD’s one-click Auto OC or PBO option enabled, the typical operating frequency for this workload only jumped up to 4995 MHz, a mere 75 MHz bump. This did increase the core power to 75 watts and the package power to 102 watts for a peak operating temperature of 83c.

Ryzen 5 7600 / PBO

Comparing the 7600 to the 7600X, the latter sustained an all-core frequency of 5240 MHz, which is 7% higher than the non-X version. This resulted in a core power of 85 watts and a package power of 115 watts, with an operating temperature of 89c. The Ryzen 7 7700, on the other hand, runs at 4880 MHz out of the box in this workload, resulting in a package power of 90w and an operating temperature of 67c. Enabling PBO increased the frequency by 3.5% to 5050 MHz, but also increased power usage by 39% to 125 watts, which also significantly increased the operating temperature to 87c. This is quite tame compared to the 7700X, which clocks just 5% higher than the stock 7700, resulting in an almost 60% increase in power usage and a temperature of 98c.

Ryzen 7 7700 / PBO

The non-X model of Ryzen 9, the 7900, operates its 12 cores at an average frequency of 4415 MHz, using just 90 watts of package power, resulting in a peak operating temperature of 70c.

Ryzen 9 7900 / PBO

Enabling PBO on the 7900 increased the operating frequency by 14% to 5050 MHz, but also resulted in a 91% increase in power usage to 172 watts for the package power, and a peak operating temperature of 92c. In comparison, the 7900X ran at 5200 MHz, using 186 watts for the package power, and a peak temperature of 95c.
The Cinebench R23 results align with the operating behavior of these CPUs in this workload. The 7600 scored 14344 pts, and enabling PBO increased the score by only 1.5%. Out of the box, the 7600 was 4% slower than the 7600X.

The Ryzen 7 7700 scored 18373 pts in the Cinebench R23 benchmark, and PBO was more effective, increasing performance by 7% and getting close to the performance of the 7700X. The Ryzen 9 7900 scored 25062 pts, which is slower than the 7900X, however, enabling PBO significantly reduced the performance gap, making it a more efficient version of the 7900X.

When comparing single core performance, the Ryzen 7 7600X is 5% faster than the 7600, the Ryzen 7 7700X is just 3% faster than the 7700, and the Ryzen 9 7900X is 4% faster than the 7900. These margins are fairly similar, with the original X models being only 3-5% faster, and PBO does a good job of closing that small gap in most cases.

To provide an example of the performance margins, the compression and decompression performance using 7-Zip was tested. In summary, the margins were similar to what was seen in Cinebench R23, with the 7600 being typically 3% slower than the 7600X, and the same being true for the 7700 vs 7700X, while the 7900 was up to 8% slower than the 7900X.

Adobe Photoshop 2022 primarily uses 1-2 cores, making it more of a single core benchmark. As such, there is little difference between the X and non-X CPUs in this benchmark, with a margin of around 3%.

In the Blender benchmark, the results align with those seen in Cinebench R23, where the 7600X demonstrated up to 5% faster performance than the 7600, the 7700X was 4% faster and the 7900X was 12% faster than the 7900.

Power Consumption

When looking at total system power consumption, the Ryzen 7 7600X consumed 12% more power than the 7600 for a minimal increase in performance, making the non-X model more power efficient. Similarly, the Ryzen 7 7700X consumed 21% more power than the 7700 for a 4% performance improvement.

The Ryzen 9 7900, thanks to its higher core count, can afford to run the cores at a lower frequency, allowing for lower voltages, and still achieve excellent productivity performance. As a result, it consumed the same amount of power as the 7600, but was 83% faster in this benchmark. This also meant that, when compared to the 7900X, the 7900 is much more power-efficient. The 7900X pushed total system usage 50% higher for a 12% performance increase.
In terms of gaming performance, the results are predictable and consistent across the 10 games tested. We’ll only show the results for 3 of the games, starting with Hitman 3 at 1080p. The 7600 was only 3 fps slower than the 7600X, the 7700 was 4 fps slower than the 7700X, and the 7900 was 10 fps slower than the 7900X. The same trend can be seen at 1440p, with the 7900X being the only one to offer a notable performance gain over its non-X counterpart, at a 4% increase.

Performance in Horizon Zero Dawn is even closer between the X and non-X models. The 7900 and 7900X delivered identical performance, while the 7600X was only 1% faster than the 7600. This trend also holds true at 1440p, where in this game, the performance is the same regardless of which model is used.

Cyberpunk 2077 is very demanding on CPU hardware, and as such, it is important to have the right components for optimal performance. While there is some variation in the results due to frequency sensitivity, the greatest difference in operating behavior is seen in the 7900 vs 7900X matchup, with a 7% performance delta. This margin is reduced to 3% for the 7700 vs 7700X matchup, and 5% for the 7600 vs 7600X.
We tested 10 games in total, and at 1080p resolution the 7600 was on average 4% slower than the 7600X, the 7700 just 5% slower than the 7700X, and the 7900 4% slower than the 7900X in games. These small margins make the non-X CPUs more attractive for those who prioritize productivity performance, as they are more efficient and operate at much lower temperatures.

It’s understandable why AMD went about things the way they did with their non-X parts. When compared to Intel’s 13th-gen range, the 7700X and 7700 look much less impressive on a graph. The 7700X is only a few frames slower than the 13900K and is in second place, while the 7700 is a few percent slower and trails the 13700K by a small margin. Despite this, AMD’s non-X parts still offer good performance and value for money.

When it comes to the 7600X and 7700X, both CPUs were tested with the Wraith Spire cooler. Under the same all-core Cinebench workload and the same conditions, the 7600X peaked at 84c, and the 7700X at 83c. Both of these temperatures are within AMD’s 95c target, and again we saw no evidence of throttling. For reference the 7600X peaked at 69c with a 360mm AIO cooler and the 7700X at 68c.
When it comes to gaming performance, the Ryzen 7 6-series CPUs are at most 4% slower than their X-series counterparts. Additionally, when it comes to cooling performance, both the 7600X and 7700X ran within AMD’s 95c target temperature when using the Wraith Spire cooler, while the 7600 peaked at 97c with the Wraith Stealth. For the best performance, a 360mm AIO cooler should be used with the 7600X and 7700X, with the 7600 needing one to stay within the 95c target temperature.

The 7700 also managed to hit 4.7GHz on all cores, a good result for a 65W part.
The 7700 with the Wraith Prism cooler proved to be an impressive combination. With this setup, the 7700 reached a peak temperature of 79 degrees Celsius, which is significantly lower than the 95 degree TjMAX. Additionally, the processor was able to reach 4.7GHz on all cores, an excellent result for a 65W part. The 360mm AIO cooler saw a peak temperature of 73 degrees Celsius. The Wraith Prism cooler proved to be an outstanding choice for the 7700, with impressive performance.

Finally, we have the 7900, which is equipped with the Wraith Prism. We observed a peak temperature of 79°C, which is another great result. For comparison, the 7900 peaked at 70°C when using a 360mm AIO.

Reevaluating AM4: Cost per Frame

AMD’s new non-X Zen 4 CPUs are a great choice for those who want to save money without sacrificing performance. The CPUs offer the same core and thread count as their X counterparts, but at a lower price. These CPUs are unlocked, allowing users to overclock them to achieve full performance, and they come with a box cooler, which can be sold on eBay if not needed. Additionally, the Wraith Prism sells for around $30-40, making it a great value. All in all, these CPUs are the perfect choice for users who want to save money without sacrificing performance.

If the price difference between the X and non-X models is at least $20, we would likely opt for the latter. These models are more efficient and perform better right out of the box. Plus, if you want to overclock them for maximum performance, you can still do that despite the consequences of reduced power efficiency. By selling the cooler, we can pocket the difference in price.

In light of our recent re-evaluation of Zen 4, we have decided to create an updated cost per frame analysis. However, before we begin, we would like to provide a list of disclaimers

If you’re currently using an AMD AM4 platform, you might consider upgrading to either a Ryzen 5 7600X or Ryzen 7 5800X processor. On the other hand, if you’re using an Intel LGA 1700 platform, you could upgrade to one of the 12th Gen CPUs or consider a 13th Gen upgrade for a more powerful processor.


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