AMD Ryzen 7 7700X: first contact with the AM5 platform

AMD released its new PC hardware platform, the AM4, and several processors for it this year. So far we haven’t had a chance to test the new hardware, but we recently received for testing a computer equipped with the new Ryzen 7 7700X processor, the mid-high end variant in AMD’s current offering, along with a top-of-the-line motherboard: AORUS ELITE AX, based on AMD’s newest chipset, the X670.

Test system

The system under test came assembled in an NZXT H7 enclosure, along with an NZXT 850W power supply and a white NZXT Kraken Z73 cooler. Initially, the system was configured with a single 32GB Crucial DDR5-4800 memory module, but we replaced these for testing with the new Kingston Fury Renegade 32GB (2 x 16GB) kit at 5,600 MT/s, and one of the first kits compatible with EXPO, the new memory configuration standard for AMD platforms.

EXPO is the equivalent of Intel’s XMP profiles, which AMD also previously used. Now, however, both appear in the BIOS. Basically, you can use these memories in either an Intel or AMD system, as they integrate both types of overclocking profiles. For testing we chose the EXPO 1 profile, which offered the maximum speed for this kit. There is also EXPO 2 at 5,200 MT/s, and the option to leave the memories at the base frequency of 4,800 MT/s.

Ryzen 7 7700X system

Finally, the setup is completed by a Crucial P3 Plus 500GB SSD, a very good SSD to accommodate Windows 11, and a mid-high-end Sapphire Radeon RX 6750 XT video card, which is a perfect match for this processor. Given that the newly launched Radeon 7000 series only offers high-end variants at the moment, this is one of AMD’s best value for money video cards today. Moreover, the fact that new 7000 series models will be released soon suggests that prices for the 6000 series will drop.

AM5 platform

AMD’s AM5 platform replaces the old AM4 and brings some significant changes. First, this is the first LGA slot for a “mainstream” platform from AMD. Previously, only the Threadripper benefited from such a design. This means that the pins are no longer on the processor, but on the motherboard, as they have been on Intel platforms for more than 10 years. This allows for a higher pin density, but also decreases the risk of damaging the processor in the event of an installation or handling accident.

Ryzen 7 7700X socket

However, at the same time, this means that motherboards are now much more fragile, with the slot being populated by many very small pins. Ideally, you should use a slot protector whenever you don’t have a CPU installed in it, to avoid accidents. It’s also less important that you damage the motherboard and not the processor, as modern motherboards are now about as expensive as processors.

AM5 also comes with two firsts for AMD, however. First, support for DDR5 memory, as mentioned earlier. AM4 did not get a DDR5 overhaul, and the move to AM5 means a complete platform change, including memory. Thus, upgrades to the Ryzen 7000 will be more expensive. Intel made the previous generation just a hybrid crossover, offering support for both memory standards.

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AM5 EXPO

AM5 also brings AMD support for the PCI-Express 5.0 standard, a standard that currently cannot be used due to a lack of compatible components. The first SSDs are expected on the market in the next few months. The motherboard tested offered only one PCI-E 5.0 slot, the one above the video card, connected directly to the processor. The one below the video card is PCI-E 4.0, but also connected directly to the CPU. There are two other PCI-E 4.0 slots, connected to the X670 chipset.

With memory there are still a few small bugs that should be fixed. Even on the latest BIOS for the AORUS ELITE AX X670 I was not able to boot with the EXPO Low Latency setting enabled, only High Bandwidth. Similar things happened with the launch of the first Ryzen models and the X370 platform.

Ryzen 7700X

The Ryzen 7 7700X processor is slightly more powerful than the “youngest” of the Zen4 family, the Ryzen 5 7600X, offering mid-high performance. It offers “only” 8 cores and 16 threads, just like the Ryzen 7 models of previous generations, but it comes with a number of advantages. First of all, it integrates Zen4 cores, performing about 20-30% better than previous Zen3 models in single core and about 15% better in gaming.

Ryzen 7 7700X handheld

It then offers a similar base frequency to what the Zen3 models previously offered in Boost, at 4.5 GHz, with a Boost frequency of up to 5.5 GHz. With a claimed power consumption of 105W, the Ryzen 7 7700X seems to be a good processor especially for gaming on a system with a more economical power profile. Ryzen 9 models with extra cores reach TDP of 170W in comparison. Thus, the Ryzen 7000 promises 27% improvements in performance-per-watt.

Performance

In “real life”, it turns out that the new Ryzen 7000s are quite power efficient, at least compared to Intel’s competing models, but they fail to deliver as much performance. In multi-core applications, the Intel variants simply have more cores, thanks to the big.LITTLE architecture with performance cores and efficient cores. However, as long as you’re not running professional multi-core tasks, you won’t notice this. Tests in CineBench, GeekBench and WinRar show that the Ryzen 7 7700X is a powerful processor, but also that it won’t break any performance records.

Benchmarks

Cinebench R23

  • Single-Core 1.955
  • Multi-Core 18,802

GeekBench 5

  • Single-Core: 2,211
  • Multi-Core: 14,197

WinRar

PCMark

PCMark

With Prime95 on, an extreme test that pushes the processor to the max, even 360mm radiator cooling wasn’t enough. The processor ramped up to 5.5GHz and a power consumption of over 120W, but quickly reached 100 degrees Celsius. After a few minutes it settled down to 95 degrees and a frequency of 4.8 GHz. This frequency is still higher than the base frequency of 4.5 GHz. All tests were performed with Precision Overboost on Auto mode. Given the temperatures, there doesn’t seem to be much room for manual overclocking. Perhaps a more powerful cooler, such as a Noctua NH-D15 cooler could support this processor’s frequencies better.

And because I also had a video card suitable for this processor, I also ran some gaming tests. We haven’t had the Radeon RX 6760 XT on test in any other desktop setup before, so we wanted to see what it had to offer. The card is recommended for 1080p gaming at high framerates or 1440p for those who want top-end graphics. We only tested these two resolutions in a selection of games that favor both AMD video cards and NVIDIA video cards. Many of them also offered support for AMD FSR, AMD’s alternative to DLSS so we also tested with these display modes turned on, including with and without ray-tracing.

The games were set to the highest profiles available (Very High/Ultra/Extreme, as appropriate). The fact that the card has 12GB of memory was especially helpful in titles like Watch Dogs Legion, which usually exceeds the limits of cards with 8GB of everything enabled. After seeing the final results, I kind of regretted not running them in 4K, as there’s potential for good framerates even at such high resolutions. Rainbow 6 Siege is listed separately because it runs at such high framerates, it would have made the rest of the games look like they weren’t running at hundreds of frames per second.

Considering that a Radeon RX 6750 XT currently sells for around 2,500 lei, or 500 euros, the performance is just beyond the limits we expected.

Gaming

3DMark

3DMark

Conclusions

The Ryzen 7 7700X and Radeon RX 6750 XT combination is one that suits many gamers who want a mid-range system with aspirations in the high-end area. Gaming up to 1440p resolution is no problem in most games, but performance with ray-tracing effects is a little behind the competition. The only downside for those looking to upgrade from the Ryzen 3000 or 5000 is having to buy DDR5 memory, which at the moment doesn’t offer a major performance boost, but costs significantly more than DDR4 memory of similar capacity.

Ryzen 7 7700X in socket

But the AM5 platform is only at the beginning. If AMD keeps its promises, it will be supported for a good few generations of processors. In time, memory will get cheaper, and PCI-Express 5.0 will really come into its own, with the release of new SSDs and probably next-generation video cards. Right now, the AM5 is a platform for AMD fans who want to keep up with new technologies, and what it offers is clearly better performance than on the AM4, as long as you’re willing to pay for it.

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