Examine the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D: Reducing Intel’s gaming deficit

AMD has returned to challenge Intel for PC gaming supremacy. The new Ryzen 9 7950X3D closes the performance gap for PC games after losing to the Core i9-13900K with its first Zen 4 chips. Due to a rather mixed bag of results in the selection of games we’ve tested, it doesn’t seem to replicate the huge leap we saw with the dominant Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

The price of this brand-new Ryzen 9 7950X3D chip, which has 16 cores, 32 threads, and 144MB of cache, is $699. It competes with Intel’s flagship Core i9-13900K, which costs about $589 and has 32 threads across eight performance cores and 16 efficiency cores. AMD must compete with Intel’s new $699 Core i9-13900KS processor, which breaks the 6GHz barrier at stock speeds for the first time, despite the fact that Intel’s main Core i9 is less expensive.

With its X3D chips, AMD has promised to surpass Intel’s gaming and productivity performance while using less power. To find out, we compared Intel’s Core i9-13900K and Core i9-13900KS chips to its flagship 7950X3D.

With MSI’s Meg X670E Ace motherboard, 32GB of G.Skill DDR5 6000 RAM, and Nvidia’s RTX 4090, I’ve been evaluating the AMD 7950X3D. One PCIe 5.0 M.2 slot and three PCIe 4.0 M2 slots are included on this AM5 motherboard. slots, providing ample space for the most recent storage.

Since The Verge doesn’t review processors in the traditional sense, we can’t provide all of the benchmarks and comparisons you’d find in CPU reviews because we don’t have dedicated hardware testing rigs or multiple CPUs and systems. For those, we will suggest Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry, Tom’s Hardware, and PC World.

I’ve put both AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X3D and Intel’s Core i9-13900K and 13900KS through their paces in a variety of workloads, artificial benchmarks, and games. On the most recent Windows 11 2022 Update, with VBS security disabled, Resizable BAR enabled, and 1080p resolution, all tests were carried out. The tests are carried out at 1080p for the purpose of evaluating the raw CPU performance and preventing any potential GPU bottlenecks.

In most of the games I tested, AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X3D outperforms Intel’s Core i9-13900K. The 7950X3D has frame rates that are nearly identical to those of the 13900K and 13900KS at 1080p in Metro Exodus, and it performs similarly in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Watch Dogs: Legion as well

The 7950X3D blows past Intel’s latest and greatest in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and F1 22, the two notable exceptions. In 1080p, Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran at 354 frames per second on the 7950X3D, 308 on the 13900K, and 313 on the 13900KS. In F1 22, AMD’s 7950X3D achieved 423 frames per second, with the 13900KS coming in behind at 389.

In the games we tested, Intel had the upper hand, with the 13900KS achieving an average frame rate of 237 fps, compared to the 7950X3D’s 213 fps, but AMD has closed the gap in this area.

Intel is still largely ahead in synthetics benchmarks and productivity. The 7950X3D fails PugetBench’s Photoshop test, but it does manage to catch up in Premiere Pro. In Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23, I discovered that the 7950X3D is also behind both of the most recent Core i9 chips from Intel. It also lags significantly behind in the strange 3DMark Time Spy CPU test.

Intel may outperform in some productivity tests and gaming tests, but it is doing so with a significantly larger power budget. AMD increased the TDP of its first flagship Zen 4 chips to 170-watts, but it has decreased the TDP of this Ryzen 9 7950X3D to 120 watts. On the other hand, Intel’s Core i9-13900K has a base power of 125 watts, and its 13900KS has a base power of 150 watts. Both of the most recent Intel chips reach slightly more than 250 watts at maximum turbo power and can go much higher if a motherboard is set to unlimited power. On identical multithread loads, the 7950X3D and 13900KS can differ by up to more than 200 watts. Digital Foundry also found that the 7950X3D uses a lot less power than the Core i9-13900K from Intel. AMD and Intel have also been using as much thermal headroom as possible lately. In our previous review, the Core i9-13900K reached 100C in similar workloads, while the 7950X ran at approximately 95C during heavy mutilthread loads. During the same test, I observed that the 7950X3D achieved 86C while the 13900KS reached 101C. The Corsair H150 Elite LCD cooler is utilized by both CPUs.

Here are some things to think about if you like the results of the performance. AMD’s impressive 3D V-Cache technology is used in the company’s most recent 3D Zen 4 processors. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D, AMD’s first desktop chip with this technology, outperformed its own Ryzen 5900X and Intel’s 12th Gen Core i9-12900K for PC gaming last year. It still holds its own against the 13900K.

We now have a better idea of how it performs in PC gaming and productivity and rendering applications at the flagship level. However, just like with the standard 7950, a new AM5 motherboard is required for the 7950X3D.

DDR5 memory and up to 24 PCIe 5.0 lanes are supported by motherboards that make use of AM5. Since we are still waiting for the first consumer SSDs with PCIe 5.0, you will probably pair any AM5 motherboard with PCIe 4.0 SSDs for the time being. Since Nvidia’s most recent RTX 40 series does not support this most recent standard, and we have not yet reached the limits of PCIe 4.0 for GPUs, the support for PCIe 5.0 is merely a safeguard for the GPU.

Similar to the 7950, I was able to use Corsair’s H150 Elite LCD without any modifications. Existing AM4 coolers should work just fine. To ensure that existing AM4 models can be utilized with these brand-new AM5 motherboards, you will need to inquire with the manufacturer of your cooler.

During my Ryzen 9 7900X evaluation, I discovered some early issues with the DDR5 memory training process, resulting in an additional 30 seconds of boot time. Although this has been addressed by new BIOS updates, I continue to experience delayed boot times in comparison to the Intel system I have been testing.

I’m happy to say that the sleep mode issues I had with the Ryzen 9 7900X review have been resolved. With the most recent BIOS updates for the MSI Meg X670E Ace, I can now wake up from sleep.

For PC gaming, AMD’s 7950X3D truly matches Intel’s most recent and greatest processors, but it doesn’t do much more than our limited selection of games. The 7950X3D seems like a great option for people who need performance for both gaming and productivity tasks because AMD has promised support for its new AM5 socket until 2025.

AMD might still have a cheaper option for PC gamers who just want to play games for fun that has better performance and uses less power. The 7900X3D, which costs $599, comes with the 7950X3D. The new Ryzen 7 7800X3D will go on sale on April 6 for $449, and both chips will start shipping on February 28. The 7800X3D may be a true successor to the 5800X3D, which became a popular choice for PC gamers, even though AMD only provided the 7950X3D for testing purposes.

The 7950X3D provides excellent PC gaming performance in a processor that won’t significantly increase your energy costs like Intel’s flagship CPUs, despite the fact that we haven’t been able to test the 7800X3D yet. AMD’s 7950X3D stands out as an exception to the rule in a time when chip manufacturers do not always prioritize efficiency.

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