Monstrous multi-threaded power from this power-efficient chip, although there are better-value options for gamers.
Unbelievably, the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X costs well over $100 less than it did at the time of launch a few months ago, dropping from $699 to a much more palatable price of around $579. Unsurprisingly it now sits in line with the Intel Core i9-13900K, so both CPUs are ready for a scrap.
At Custom PC, we’ve been reviewing the latest CPUs since 2003, and we’ve tested and overclocked hundreds of CPUs, going right back to the Pentium 4 and Athlon XP era. We’ve developed an expert testing methodology that covers all the key areas of performance, which you can read more about in our How we test guide.
The Ryzen 9 7950X still has 16 cores and 32 threads, so there’s been no increase in the number of cores over its predecessor the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, unlike the Core i9-13900K, which has more E-Cores than the Core i9-12900K. However, like other Ryzen 7000-series CPUs, it’s received a hefty TDP bump to 170W compared to 105W for the Ryzen 9 5950X.
One of the benefits of all that thermal headroom, though, is that the Ryzen 9 7950X now has a 5.7GHz peak boost frequency, compared to 4.9GHz for the older CPU. The all-core boost increase is the star of the show, though, as it’s increased from around 4GHz all the way to 5.2GHz. This should offer a huge benefit in multi-threaded workloads, while the L2 cache has doubled in size to 16MB too.
The downside is that temperatures were right on their limits during testing, with the CPU sitting above 90°C with multi-threaded workloads, and that’s under our custom water-cooling loop. One option here is to use AMD’s Eco mode, which enables you to force the CPU to sit at 105W or 65W TDPs in the BIOS. The all-core boost fell to 4.7-4.9GHz at 105W and 3.6-3.8GHz at 65W.
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X application performance
Even at 65W, the Ryzen 9 7950X’s Cinebench multi-threaded score of 29,821 was still faster than that of the Core i9-12900KS and Ryzen 9 5950X, and with dramatically lower temperatures.
At the 105W profile, the 7950X scored 31,165, which is still far from matching the monstrous 38,422 achieved by the CPU at stock speed, but sadly the latter result is also beaten by the Core i9-13900K, which managed to top 40,000 points.
It was a close battle in the RealBench tests too, with the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X emerging victorious with a score of 495,461 compared to 486,267 for the Core i9-13900K, while the Intel CPU had a faster single-threaded Cinebench result
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X gaming performance
The Core i9-13900K also beat the Ryzen 9 7950X in our game tests, and the top-end AMD CPU failed to offer much of a benefit over cheaper Ryzen 7000-series processors in games too. The Ryzen 9 7950X was also noticeably slower than the Ryzen 7 7700X in Watch Dogs: Legion.
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X power draw
Anyone concerned about power draw during multi-threaded workloads may favor the Ryzen 9 7950X over the Core i9-13900K, however, as its peak draw of 376W for the whole test system was far lower than the 546W for the Intel CPU at load. In terms of performance per Watt, the Ryzen 9 7950X is the clear winner here.
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X pros and cons
- Fantastic multi-threaded performance
- Eco mode can drastically cut power draw and temperatures
- Great efficiency
- Gets hot in multi-threaded workloads
- Matched by Ryzen 7 7700X in games
- Still expensive
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X specs
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950X specs list is:
|Max boost frequency
|Number of cores
|Number of threads
|AMD Radeon Graphics
|Dual-channel DDR5, up to 5200MHz
|AMD Socket AM5
|Thermal design power (TDP)
|Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT)
|Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive 2, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX-512, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X price
The AMD Ryzen 9 7950 price is $579, making it expensive, but the price isn’t unreasonable for the huge amount of multi-threaded power on offer.
Price: Expect to pay $579 (£579)
AMD Ryzen 9 7950X review conclusion
There’s no doubt that the Ryzen 9 7950X now sits at a far more competitive price tag and offers some real competition to the Core i9-13900K. The two chips trade blows in content creation software, while the Intel CPU was slightly quicker in games.
Power consumption is significantly lower on the AMD chip too, plus it has the advantage of low-power Eco modes that reduce power further and offer fantastic performance per watt.
It’s still a CPU most of us can only dream of owning, but if you need a CPU for content creation first with a smattering of casual gaming on the side, and you’re also looking for power efficiency, the Ryzen 9 7950X is stunning example of the Zen 4 architectures capabilities. Check out our guide to the best gaming CPU for a range of CPUs to suit different needs and budgets.