The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is one of the most powerful processors in the Ryzen 7000 Series and offers up a lot of gaming power, even if it does fall a little short when compared to the Intel Core i9-13900K.
- Fantastic multi-core performance
- Great gaming performance
- Future-proofed with PCle 5.0 and DDR5
- Requires a very powerful cooling system
- More affordable gaming CPUs are available elsewhere
- Guzzles up a lot of power
- Zen 4 architecture The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X features the latest architecture, Zen 4, which offers a big performance jump over its predecessor
- 16 cores and 32 threads16 cores and 32 threads make this processor ideal for multi-core tasks, such as photo or video editing
- Support for DDR5 and PCle 5.0This CPU supports next-gen features like DDR5 and PCle 5.0, meaning it will raise the ceiling of your entire setup
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is a flagship processor from the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 Series, featuring brand new Zen 4 architecture as well as 16 cores and 32 threads.
This was originally the most powerful processor out of the latest AMD Ryzen 7000 Series, until the 3D V-Cache model, arrived.
With a launch price of £599/$699, the Ryzen 9 7950X is already a great rival to the latest 13th-generation Intel Raptor Lake processors, offering up incredible multi-core performance.
But is that enough to take on Intel? And does everyone really need such a high-end processor if they’re only looking to play games on their PC? Read on to find out how I got on with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X.
- Built on new Zen 4 architecture
- Supports both PCIe 5.0 and DDR5
- Max clock boost speed of 5.7GHz
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is built on the latest Zen 4 architecture that uses TSMC’s 5nm process node. This means that AMD can now cram 6.57 million transistors onto the latest chip, a massive upgrade when you consider Zen 3 was limited to 4.15 billion transistors.
Zen 4 has support for DDR5 RAM and PCIe 5.0 to ensure that these processors are future-proofed for at least a few years. Support for DDR5 RAM means that you can benefit from the latest memory standard, and PCle 5.0 support means you can utilise some of the fastest SSDs on the market.
This upgrade is not exactly affordable, as you will need to buy these new components as well as a motherboard with an AM5 socket. However, this investment should result in a significant performance upgrade. It is a shame that there’s no DDR4 support like with Intel though, as it would have allowed for a more incremental upgrade to keep costs lower.
AMD claims that the Ryzen 9 7950X has a max boost clock speed of 5.7GHz. This is groundbreaking when you consider that the company had trouble achieving 5GHz speeds in the past, and it puts these processors head and shoulders above the preceding 12th-generation Alder Lake Intel processors.
Despite the leap in performance, Intel’s latest 13th-generation Raptor Lake processors have already beaten out AMD, with the high-end Intel Core i9-13900KS processor having a max turbo frequency of 6GHz. Nevertheless, AMD should be praised for closing the gap, even if Intel has already jumped ahead.
AMD kept the same core and thread count as its last-generation counterpart, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, at 16 cores and 32 threads. That’s not to say you won’t see a major performance boost though, with the updated architecture improving efficiency.
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X features integrated graphics with RDNA 2 architecture. It’s worth noting that this will not provide enough power to play any modern game at a reasonable rate, but it’s still handy to have if your graphics card ever malfunctions or before you have it installed.
I put the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X through a series of benchmark tests to evaluate its performance. To keep this test consistent with our other CPU reviews, I made sure to use the same components where possible.
The build I used is listed below:
- AMD Motherboard: Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master
- Intel Motherboard: MSI MAG Z790 TOMAHAWK WIFI
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H150i PRO RGB 360mm liquid cooler
- OS: Windows 11
Unfortunately, I did not have access to a DDR5 motherboard for the Intel processors, so I’ve had to use DDR4 memory for the Intel processors, and DDR5 for the AMD chips. It’s worth bearing this in mind when looking at the performance results below, but as you can see, the Intel processors still performed very well.
I used industry-standard benchmark software, including PCMark 10, Geekbench 5 and Cinebench R23 to evaluate performance. And to see how this processor handles gaming, I also included several in-game benchmarks from some of the biggest games in recent years. Here is what I found out.
- Great multi-core performance to rival Intel
- Fantastic gaming speeds
- Can get similar frame rate performances from cheaper processors
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X offers up a fantastic performance, no matter how you slice it. It is the most powerful processor out of the Ryzen 7000 Series, and the most powerful AMD processor we’ve ever tested. As you will see from the results below, Intel’s Raptor Lake line provides fierce competition, but it’s still a fantastic processor for anyone looking for the most power possible.
Single-core performance was shown to be extremely competitive for most tests, although it did fall behind the Intel Core i9-13900K in the Cinebench R23 benchmark.
The multi-core performance is where the difference really shows, and emphasises where this AMD processor really shines. But once again, the Intel Core i9-13900K manages to remain in the lead, suggesting that the AMD chip is not quite as competent with heavy workloads such as 3D modelling and 4K video editing.
Here is a closer look at all of our benchmarks so you can see how the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X really stacks up.
I’m moving onto the gaming benchmarks now; these scores will give us a better idea of how this CPU handles the framerates of select games, although it’s important to note that the GPU will have a lot more impact on the performance of a game, so don’t expect to see massive gains in performance here.
The high clock speeds provided great gaming scores, hitting an average of 54fps in Horizon Zero Dawn, and 38fps in Borderlands 3 when set to a 4K resolution. You will notice that there is virtually no gap in gaming performance when compared to less powerful processors, like the Ryzen 7 7700X and Intel Core i5-13600K. So while the Ryzen 9 7950X is a great processor, there are more affordable options out there for those only interested in gaming.
The last gaming benchmark, Civilization VI, measures its metrics differently from the other benchmarks here. Instead of measuring the frame rate, this test measures how long it takes the AI to make calculations during loading times. For this test, a lowest number implies a better performance, as it means the AI needs less time to make calculations.
|AMD Ryzen 9 7950X
|AMD Ryzen 9 7900X
|AMD Ryzen 7 7700X
|Intel Core i9-13900K
|Intel Core i5-13600K
|Civ VI turn time (in seconds)
The slowest processor was actually the Intel Core i9-13900K, with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X beating out the rest with an impressive score of 6.84 seconds. But again, the difference is so minor that you probably won’t notice anything.
Power consumption and heat
- Consumes a lot of power
- Runs hot so will require a powerful cooling system
You need to consider how much power your processor will be using, both while it’s under stress and when it’s sitting idle, so you have an idea of how it may be driving up your energy bills.
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X consumes a lot of power, both while sitting idle and during use. It consumed the most power in my group test while sitting idle, hitting a huge 83W.
The same trend appeared while the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X was under stress, as it managed to hit 290W, more than the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X and AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. However, the Intel i9 and i5 cores did consume more power, going over 300W in both cases.
It’s also important to consider the temperature of the CPU during use, as that will determine how much headroom you have for overclocking as well as what type of cooling system you will need to invest in.
While idle, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X hit 43°C, which is higher than the AMD and Intel processors listed here.
In the same vein as the peak power draw, the peak temperature of the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X outmatches its AMD siblings but did not get as hot as the Intel solutions, with the Intel Core i9-13900K hitting 100°C. With the AMD chip reaching a peak of 95°C, you will need to invest in a high-end cooler to maximise performance and reduce the chance of the CPU getting damaged.
Should you buy it?
You want an all-around processor that’s packed with power:
This processor has great multi-core performance and is more than capable of running contemporary games at a high-frame rate thanks to the high single-core performance. The inclusion of DDR5 and PCle 5.0 also means that your setup will be future-proofed for at least a couple more years.
You want a processor solely for gaming:
If you are only looking to play games on your PC, you do not need to invest in the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X. More affordable processors, like the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and Intel Core i5-13600K offered up consistently similar performances and can be picked up for around $200/£200 less.
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X is one of the most powerful processors in the latest Ryzen 7000 Series, and it shows in its multi-core performance. It managed to hold its own against the Intel Core i9-13900K in most areas, even if its Intel rival did seem to have a better single-core performance overall.
This is a great chip if you’re after something that packs a lot of power, as it’s more than capable of running games, and its impressive multi-core performance proves that it will be able to take on intensive content creation workloads. The inclusion of DDR5 and PCle 5.0 will also raise the performance ceiling of your entire PC and keep it future-proofed for a few years.
However, if you’re only looking to game on your PC then we would recommend choosing a mid-range processor over the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X, like the AMD Ryzen 5 7600X or AMD Ryzen 7 7700X, since the gaming benchmark scores were very similar across the board.
How we test
We always review multiple CPUs at once to compare data, using consistent components for fair testing where possible.
We use a mix of both synthetic and in-game benchmarks to gauge performance, while also considering additional features and pricing.
Use the same components where possible for fair testing.
Use both synthetic and in-game benchmarks for testing
Test both CPU temperature and power consumption.
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