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AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 7 7700X review: maximal design

What difference does RAM speed make?

After taking a closer look at DDR4 versus DDR5 in analyses past, it's now time to focus entirely on DDR5. We've actually done more RAM testing than normal for a CPU review, as our previous Intel 12th-gen results were based on a DDR5-5200 system but AMD recommended DDR5-6000 for our Ryzen 7000 testing... so we ended up testing both frequencies for our previous CPU reviews, adding quite a bit to the total runs required but hopefully providing some useful data in the process.

You've therefore seen the performance differential between 5200MT/s and 6000MT/s on all the games we've tested so far, so let's start this section with a new title: Ashes of the Singularity Escalation. This is a great DX12 game with a benchmark that greatly depends on CPU performance, with fast RAM typically offering a noticeable performance improvement. The 7700X turns in the best performance here, but all four Ryzen 7000 chips are in the 52-56fps range - slightly behind 13th-gen.

More interesting is the progression as RAM speeds are dialled back. If we take the 4800MT/s DDR5 JEDEC spec as a baseline, then we see around a four percent improvement switching to 5200MT/s or 10 percent going for DDR5-6000. There are faster DDR5 kits available, so I'd be curious to see how far that scaling continues - perhaps something to check in a future article. By contrast, Intel chips scale slightly less far with faster RAM, at least in Ashes of the Singularity.

Ashes of the Singularity: CPU Test

Far Cry 6 is a game that is quite single-threaded, with a lot of processing limited to a single thread, so it's a good test of how faster RAM affects performance in this sort of a more thread-naïve title. We see roughly similar scaling here, but there's more variation in the results - suggesting the benchmark itself is more variable perhaps. Regardless, there's a clear advantage to faster RAM, but the base DDR5-4800 spec offers the best value with only DDR5-6000 on the 7950X delivering a noticeable 10 percent performance improvement at 1080p.

Far Cry 6: Ultra, TAA

Crysis 3 Remastered's benchmark turns in very reliable and repeatable performance, making it a good choice for seeing even minor performance variations. Improvements here measurable, especially between 4800MT/s and 6000MT/s, but the three percent maximum performance gain observed means that faster RAM isn't worth the extra cash - at least in terms of running Crysis.

Crysis 3 Remastered: Very High, RTX, DLSS Perf

So again, DDR5-6000 as an upgrade path proves highly situational, with some games where it is nearly worthwhile (Cyberpunk 2077, Ashes of the Singularity, Flight Simulator 2020), but many others where it's more or less irrelevant (Crysis 3 Remastered, Hitman 3, Metro Exodus EE, CS:GO). For that reason, our recommendation remains the same: don't overpay for faster DDR5, put the money towards a better GPU or CPU instead as this will make a much bigger difference to your frame-rates.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 7 7700X analysis

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About the Author
Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.

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