So with our testing complete for now, both of these new Ryzen chips carve out credible niches for themselves - the Ryzen 9 7950X as a content creation powerhouse that also delivers some of the highest gaming frame-rates we've recorded, and the 7700X as a more straightforward gaming CPU that steals a few unlikely performance wins from the ostensible flagship.
The Ryzen 7950X is particularly impressive, a fitting flagship for AMD this generation that goes toe to toe with the 13900K while consuming less power. The asking price is high, especially with the cost of 600-series motherboards and DDR5 RAM, but the performance advantage over past Ryzen generations is considerable - and at least the CPU is cheaper in 2023 than it was at launch a few months ago.
In terms of gaming performance, the 7950X also impresses, with the higher asking price translating into some frame-rate wins - although there are more scenarios than expected where Intel's Core i9 13900K or even the Ryzen 7 7700X take the top spot.
The Ryzen 7700X is a little less flexible, as you'd probably want to consider the (now similarly-priced) 5950X for a work machine - due to its better performance in tasks that can saturate all available CPU cores. For most gaming use cases though, the 7700X is a superior choice to the 5950X, beasting through almost every game we threw at it while having enough cores to handle background tasks like streaming or recording or do the occasional video transcode with ease. With an identical core and thread count in current-gen consoles too, this CPU feels like a safe bet for a relatively long-lived gaming PC.
No matter which Ryzen 7000 CPU you're considering, sticking with DDR5-4800 RAM seems sensible unless you find an absolute steal on faster RAM. We did observe faster performance with DDR5-6000 in some scenarios, but investing in a higher tier GPU or CPU - or even a bigger SSD or more capable CPU cooler - should translate more easily into a better gaming experience.
Overall then, the 7700X and 7950X ensure that AMD remains competitive against Intel's latest chips and comfortably ahead of both companies' last-gen offerings. However, it's unlikely that we'll see major uptake of these parts while their prices remain high - to say nothing of their accompanying motherboards, RAM and CPU coolers. That state of affairs favours Intel, whose earlier launch and DDR4 compatibility means a lower cost of entry to the new generation. Of course, AMD still has room to manoeuvre with more CPUs in the lineup coming soon and room to be more aggressive on price - so it'll be fascinating to see how this fight continues to develop.
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 7 7700X analysis
- Introduction, test rig and content creation benchmarks
- Gaming benchmarks: Flight Simulator 2020, Hitman 3
- Gaming benchmarks: Counter-Strike: GO, Metro Exodus EE, Black Ops Cold War
- Gaming benchmarks: Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 6, Crysis 3 Remastered
- Gaming benchmarks: Memory bandwidth analysis
- AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and Ryzen 7 7700X: the Digital Foundry verdict [this page]
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