AMD officially presented the new Socket AM5 desktop platform and Ryzen 7000 series processors with Zen 4 architecture.
AMD Ryzen 7000 processors
The starting lineup includes four models: Ryzen 9 7950X, Ryzen 9 7900X, Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 5 7600X. The cost of the new CPUs varies from $299 for a 6-core 12-thread chip to $699 for a flagship 16-core processor. The chips will go on sale on September 27.
As you can see, the number of computers has not changed compared to the models of the previous generation. Recommended prices are also close to the Ryzen 5000 at launch. However, for the new Raphael family processors, the developer promises a significant increase in performance and improved energy efficiency, as well as expanded functionality.
Zen 4 architecture and CPU layout
Ryzen 7000 chips are based on the Zen 4 computing architecture. According to the manufacturer, a number of technical improvements and internal optimizations allowed to increase the performance per clock (IPC) by up to 13%.
Such a final integral indicator depends significantly on the applications used. The proposed slide shows the tasks in which, at the same operating frequency (4.0 GHz), the chips on Zen 4 are faster than their predecessors by 1-39%.
The increase in IPC was achieved using internal architectural optimizations, which primarily affected the front-end part of the design. In particular, the transition prediction module has been improved, the volumes of the microoperation cache and L1 BTB have been increased, as well as the capacity of the reorder buffer (ROB). The transition to a 5-nanometer technological process allowed developers to double the volume of cache memory of the second level. In Zen 4 chips, the L2 capacity has been increased from 512 KB to 1 MB for each core.
Another long-awaited option for specialized tasks was support for the AVX-512 instruction set to accelerate HPC calculations and AI algorithms.
We will remind that chiplet layout is still used for new CPUs. In the top versions of the processors, a pair of 8-core CCDs (Core Complex Die) are located on the same substrate, which are now manufactured by TSMC according to the standards of the most advanced 5 nm technological process, as well as a fundamentally new IOD crystal, which is also produced by a Taiwanese company, but already at 6 nm technology.
Despite the significant increase in the transistor budget (6.57 billion vs. 4.15 billion), the physical dimensions of the CCD crystals even decreased – 70.8 mm2 instead of 83.7 mm2 in Zen 3. Obviously, in this case, the heat flow increases, which means there will potentially be more questions about heat distribution and removal. Let’s see how AMD engineers coped with this.
As for the IOD crystal responsible for peripheral systems, its overall dimensions have practically not changed – 124.7 mm2 versus 124.9 mm2. However, their equipment differs radically. The IOD in Zen 4 processors includes an integrated video core with RDNA 2 architecture. Although this feature was not emphasized at the presentation of the Ryzen 7000, it is one of the important differences of the new generation processors.
All chips of the new series will get built-in graphics. In terms of performance, the iGPU will not be as fast as AMD’s APU, but this solution allows Ryzen 7000 owners to do without a discrete graphics card in certain situations.
The new IOD also includes DDR5 RAM controllers and PCI Express 5.0 buses, enabling future high-speed SSDs and graphics cards to be used with AMD’s new platform.
Productivity and energy efficiency
The transition to 5-nanometer crystals also made it possible to significantly increase the operating clock frequencies of the CPU – the flagship at its peak is capable of accelerating to 5.7 GHz. Therefore, AMD claims a final increase in single-threaded performance of up to ~29%.
In multi-threaded mode, AMD promises an even greater increase. For example, comparing the capabilities of the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X and the Ryzen 9 5950X, the results of the new CPU are 30-48% better. And even in games, the top representative Zen 4 had an advantage at the level of 6-35%.
Of course, the presentation did not do without a direct comparison with competing solutions from Intel. According to AMD, the same 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X can outperform the top Core i9-12900K by 35-62% in multi-threaded applications. The maximum advantage was recorded during V-Ray rendering. In games, the AMD chip also has an advantage, and in some projects it can be up to 25%.
First of all, this was achieved due to a noticeable increase in single-threaded performance. AMD assures that even the Ryzen 5 7600X can compete with the Core i9-12900K in this regard. As confirmation, the presentation showed a chart with GeekBench 5.4 results. Of course, the scale of the bars should not be taken literally – there were no marketing tricks here, but if the indicated figures are correct, then an advantage of 5-11% can be noted.
Again, trusting the information from the developer, we can assume that the 6-core model costing $299 in games is on average 5% ahead of the Core i9-12900K with a recommended price of $589. Probably, there will be nuances that need to be taken into account, but in general the results look very attractive.
Along with improving performance, AMD has focused on the energy efficiency of the new CPUs. Although the maximum thermal packages of the Ryzen 7000 will increase compared to those of the previous generation chips, the specific performance per watt of the Zen 4 models will be higher. With equal performance of 16-core chips, the power consumption of the novelty will be 62% lower, while in the mode with equal consumption, the Ryzen 9 7950X processor is 49% more productive than the Ryzen 9 5950X.
In this slightly veiled way, Raphael tries not to emphasize the fact that the declared TDP of the top chips is still noticeably higher than that of its predecessors – 170 W vs. 105 W. Therefore, the real energy efficiency of new products should be evaluated after practical tests.
There was also a comparison with a competitor, the Core i9-12900K. AMD developers assure that the Ryzen 9 7950X is 47% more energy efficient than its counterpart. Engineers refer to the features of the microarchitecture, a more advanced manufacturing process, and half the actual area of the CPU+L2 computer.
Socket AM5 platform
Along with the processors, a new desktop platform was also introduced. To work with Ryzen 7000, you will need motherboards with a Socket AM5 processor connector. The previous Socket AM4 platform lasted 5 years without changing the main connector, although during this time it was not without nuances regarding compatibility.
In the case of Ryzen 7000, there was no doubt that such drastic architectural and peripheral changes would require a thorough redesign of the entire platform. Here, first of all, it is worth noting a constructive change. Socket AM5 has an LGA1718 layout with pins, while instead of legs on the processor substrate, contact pads are provided. The main competitor has been using this format for a long time, and now AMD has turned to this option.
Considering the TDP of the new chips, it was also necessary to increase the power reserves of the power units. Motherboards should now be able to provide up to 230W on the processor socket. Well, and, of course, support for DDR5 standard RAM, as well as the PCI-E 5.0 bus, requires the appropriate schematic binding.
To simplify the transition to the new platform, the manufacturer has maintained compatibility with the attachment of coolers that were used for Socket AM4. A nice option, considering the huge park of COs, which are quite suitable for cooling Ryzen 7000 chips.
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At the start of sales, motherboards based on the top AMD X670/X670E chipsets will be presented on the market. It is obvious that a powerful power unit, PCI-E 5.0 binding, and extended functionality will affect the cost of such devices. Chipsets with the index E probably allow simultaneous use of connectors with the PCI-E 5.0 interface both for connecting discrete graphics and for M.2 storage devices. Whereas in the case of the classic versions, the bus of the highest speed standard can be used either for the video card or for the SSD.
In October, models on the more affordable AMD B650/B650E should appear. Initially, it was assumed that Extreme versions of chipsets would be offered only for top logic, but a similar approach is also relevant for mass solutions.
Probably, AMD B650 motherboards will also be offered for which PCI-E 5.0 support is not implemented. Obviously, it was about such devices when the most affordable models starting at $125 were mentioned in the presentation.
The launch of the Socket AM5 platform can become a kind of catalyst for the appearance of solid-state drives with PCI-E 5.0 support. AMD assures that such SSDs can start appearing on sale as early as November of this year.
As for RAM, there are no alternatives to DDR5. Ryzen 7000 processors simply do not support RAM of another standard. The typical mode for new CPUs will be DDR5-5200. At the same time, AMD plans to develop the AMD EXPO (EXTended Profile for Overclocking) technology, which involves creating profiles similar to XMP to go beyond the standard modes in one click.
AMD says it will support Socket AM5 until at least 2025. Given the company’s plans, this means that this platform can be used together with 4-nanometer chips based on Zen 5, as well as variations with an additional 3D V-Cache buffer. There is something to think about.
Closer to the start of Ryzen 7000 sales, there will probably be even more details about the technical nuances of chips and boards, as well as the results of independent performance tests. Let’s be patient.