Our adventure with the new Ryzen-based Zen 4 architecture, codenamed Raphael, begins by reviewing the processor AMD Ryzen 9 7900X, vice-admiral of a family that represents an evolution of its predecessor, but does not lack important new features that include a marked improvement in both performance and the entire platform.
5-nanometer manufacturing process, AM5 socket with 230 W output but compatible with earlier series heatsinks, and new cores capable of up to 800 MHz higher frequencies in boost. All with standard GPUs built into every CPU, albeit at very low power, and compatibility with desktop Ryzen processors coming out between now and 2025 inclusive.
Heir to the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and sold at the same price as its predecessor, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X is a 12-core, 24-thread processor designed for those who want plenty of brute power and high frequencies. But as a vice-admiral, it is aimed at those who do not need the 16 cores and 32 threads of the top-of-the-line series and can therefore save a little money.
Of course, we are still talking about over €500, which is not a small amount, all the more so considering the need to buy both a heatsink that is not included in the package as with the previous model, new motherboards that cost more than those of the previous generation, and DDR5 memory banks that are also far from cheap. But we are also talking about a CPU that, thanks to new features, primarily the combination of a 13 percent IPC increase and 27 percent base frequencies, manages to pull out brute power not unlike that of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, the 16-core model at the top of the previous generation. And it is, of course, thanks to the new cores with doubled L2 cache, the always crucial improvement in latencies, and much, much higher frequencies.
The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X, in fact, starts at 4.7 GHz base clock and goes up to 5.6 GHz in single-core boost, outperforming its predecessor by 1 GHz in the former case and 800 MHz in the latter. This is all without considering the PBO that with proper dissipation promises over 100 Mhz more. And it is this leap, also enabled by the move to 5-nanometer FinFET transistors, that is responsible for the sharp performance increase, as we shall see evident in gaming as well. All this, by the way, with a platform that is an evolution of its predecessor and aims for a 25 percent increase in performance per watt that should weigh heavily in the case of mobile processors. In fact, with the decrease in power consumption to 65 W, we are talking about a performance increase of up to 74%, more than double that measured at full power.
It is not the case, in essence, to underestimate the importance of the evolution of the platform, which, as we know, includes standard support for DDR5 memories up to 6400 MHz with new EXPO profiles up to 6000 MHz optimized for latencies and a bigger push on the PCIe 5.0 interface. More importantly, the new motherboards, which break the streak of backward compatibility with previous series processors, mount a new 1718-pin AM5 socket that are now no longer on the processor, where they were prone to warping, but in the motherboard, in line with what we have already seen with Intel CPUs.
And then there is the increase in maximum current delivery, which goes up to 230 W. A factor that aims to ensure greater overclocking margins and allow the new motherboards to be compatible with future Ryzens, at least up to and including 2025 according to AMD. Thus, there will be no need to change motherboards for processors with 3D V- Cache, expected next year, and for all processors in subsequent families.