AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D Review: Pros and Cons

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D Review: Pros and Cons

The Ryzen 9 7900X3D was introduced on 2 February 2023 as part of the AMD Ryzen 9 sub-brand of top-tier CPUs and the AMD Ryzen 7000 series. What sets this CPU apart from the rest of high-end processors from the 7000 series is that it is designed specifically for graphics-intensive tasks in mind. This article reviews the pros and cons of the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D.

Is the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D Worth It: A Review of the Pros and Cons

Pros of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Key Features and Performance Highlights

Results from synthetic benchmarks and real-world tests have revealed that the performance of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D aptly places it on the top list of high-performance CPUs for 2022 and 2023. It falls slightly below the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D but is above the more expensive Intel Core i9 13900KS and 13900K in terms of in-game frames-per-second performance. It is not as fast as the more expensive Intel Core i9 14900K but the performance difference is only 11 percent for general compute and about 14 percent for graphics processing based on UserBenchmark scores. The following are the notable selling points of this CPU:

1. High Core Count and Thread Number

The Ryzen 9 7900X3D is a performance-oriented CPU. It features a high core count and thread number. The specific number of cores is 12 and the particular thread number is 24. This specific speciation enables it to maximize specific hardware technologies and other relevant specifications for high-performance personal computing. Take note that processors with higher core counts and thread numbers are better suited for multitasking.

2. Other Notable Hardware Specifications

Note that this CPU is based on the 5nm process of TSMC. This translates to performance improvements than older-generation processes. It also has a base clock speed of 4.4 GHz and a maximum clock speed of 5.6 GHz. There is a 768KB L1 cache, a 12MB L2 cache, and a sizeable 128MB L3 cache. It also supports the newer DDR5 system memory type and PCI Express 5.0 with native support for up to 24 to 28 PCIe 5.0 lanes.

3. Gaming CPU Courtesy of 3D V-Cache

It is also worth noting that AMD has positioned this hardware as a gaming CPU. It has a two-core AMD Radeon Graphics at 2.2 GHz frequency. However, the gaming prowess of this processor does not come from its integrated graphics processor but from the AMD 3D V-Cache. This technology stacks an additional layer of cache on top of the cores to allow a large cache size and enable higher frame rates and more efficient performance.

4. Lower Power Draw and Power Efficiency

This CPU also has a lower default thermal power design or TDP of 120W. Take note that the Ryzen 7950X has a TDP of 170W. This means that it consumes less power under maximum load. The architecture and use of the 5nm process also make it more power-efficient. The large L3 cache enabled by the AMD 3D V-Cache allows it to process more instructions without needing to push more voltage compared to CPUs that depend on raw clock speed.

5. Considerable Decrease in Retail Price

Another advantage of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is its decreasing price tag. It was introduced in 2023 for USD 599.00. However, a year after, especially in March 2024, several retailers have been selling it for under USD 400.00. The price is expected to decline further following the release of the Ryzen 8000 series. This makes it a competitive option against top-tier 14th-generation Intel Core i9 processors such as the Intel Core i9-14900K.

Cons of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Main Drawbacks and Notable Limitations

It is important to highlight the fact that the Ryzen 9 7900X3D is not the fastest CPU out there for 2022 and 2023. There are other top-tier AMD CPUs from the Ryzen 7000 series and the newer CPUs from the 8000 series also have notable performance improvements. Some of the 14th-generation Intel Core i9 also have better performance. It is still one of the best processors among the entire CPUs in its generation. However, considering its capabilities, it also has some drawbacks and limitations that make it either unsuitable for certain users or an overkill for average users. The following are its main drawbacks and limitations:

1. Lower Single-Threaded Performance

One of the main disadvantages of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is that it tends to fall short when it comes to single-threaded performance compared to other high-end CPUs. It is true that it performs well in gaming and other multi-threaded tasks but this means that this is an overkill for use cases that involve mostly single-threaded workloads. This drawback comes from the power constraints and the multi-threaded focus of the 3D V-Cache technology.

2. Imperfect Productivity Performance

Furthermore, related to the aforementioned, even though it delivers significant performance gains in gaming, it has limited performance in certain productivity applications. This is still due to its power and thermal constraints. Examples of these applications include extensive and multi-tab web browsing, the use of large-sized spreadsheets and other data analytics programs, extensive photo and video editing, and high-resolution video encoding.

3. Restricted Headroom for Upgrades

It also has a limited upgrade potential or restricted upgrade headroom. This partly comes from the physical limitations of the AMD 3D V-Cache Technology that constrains the physical layout of the hardware components. The same technology also focuses on a pre-defined cache size. There is also limited overclocking potential because of the lower power draw. This prevents enthusiasts from maximizing the full potential of the performance cores.

4. Notable Hardware Incompatibilities

Another disadvantage of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is its compatibility issues. Take note that it uses the AM5 socket. This is a newer socket for mounting the chip on a motherboard but it might not be compatible with other socket implementations in other motherboards. It also does not support DDR4. Users would not be able to use older and less expensive DDR4 RAM. The dual chiplet design might also be incompatible with some software.

5. Specific Liquid Cooling Recommendation

Take note that AMD requires users to use liquid cooling as the main heat management and cooling system of a computer built based on this CPU. This processor might have a lower TDP rating or power draw compared to other top-tier CPUs but it still produces a lot of heat that requires a more efficient heat management. This can be a disadvantage because liquid cooling is more expensive and complex than traditional fan-based cooling systems.

Verdict: Advantages and Disadvantages of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D Processor

The aforementioned pros and cons of AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D point to the fact that this is one of the best CPUs that was introduced in 2023 and it will continue to do so in some years. The main selling point of this hardware is its decreasing price tag which makes it more accessible to users who want a high-performance CPU for PC gaming.

It is also worth mentioning that the AMD 3D V-Cache Technology provides it with a differentiating capability compared to other top-tier and high-end AMD processors within the Ryzen 7000 series. This technology delivers a very impressive gaming performance. This is especially true when paired with a capable discrete graphics processing unit.

However, considering the arrival of CPUs from the Ryzen 8000 series, and the 14th-generation Intel Core and Intel Core Ultra processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D would not be able to retain its spot as one of the top-most CPUs in the market. This is still understandable because it will remain a decent hardware for several years to come.