AMD have spilled a bunch of new details about their upcoming Ryzen 7000 CPUs, which were first teased at CES 2022 back in January. This time, AMD CEO Dr Lisa Su used a Computex 2022 keynote to reveal more about the gaming-focused chips, which are getting a major overhaul following the Ryzen 5000 and Ryzen 6000 laptop processor series.
Of all the internal gubbins, the biggest change is the use of new Zen 4 cores. Compared to the Zen 3 cores in the Ryzen 5000 series, these are up to 15% faster in single-core workloads – like those often imposed by games – and can hit boost clock speeds of up to 5.5GHz. That equals the new Intel Core i9-12900KS, and AMD’s current top-spec CPU, the Ryzen 9 5950X, maxes out at 4.9GHz. That’s a big gap closed with Intel, who've produced most of the best gaming CPUs recently. You can watch the full keynote below; the juicy Ryzen 7000 stuff starts around 19m 30s in.
Zen 4 chips will also come with twice the L2 cache size of Zen 3, possibly inspired by how the recent AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D uses a colossal L3 cache to boost performance rather than higher clock speeds. The Ryzen 7000 generation will evidently combine both the clock speed and cache size approaches, and although Dr Su didn’t offer any games benchmark results, she did show an unnamed 16-core Ryzen 7000 chip comfortably beating the Core i9-12900K in a Blender rendering speed test. Intel’s own 16-core CPU is a juggernaut in creative software, so that does at least bode well for this mysterious high-end model.
On that note, no specific chips were named, dated or priced, though we already knew the first Ryzen 7000s will release this autumn. Besides their own tuned-up speed credentials, they’ll also bring DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0 support to the Ryzen range for the first time, along with RDNA 2 integrated graphics as standard. I've never really missed onboard graphics on previous Ryzen generations - they're designed to pair with dedicated graphics cards anyway - but I guess it's handy if your main GPU suddenly dies or something.
The Ryzen 7000 family also finally retire Ryzen’s long-serving AM4 socket in favour of the new AM5 socket. AM4 coolers will remain compatible, though obviously you’ll need a new motherboard if you opt to upgrade. Three new mobo chipsets were also announced during the show: X670E, X670 and B650. X670E will fill the all-singing, all-dancing role for enthusiasts, with maximum overclocking headroom and support for all PCIe 5.0 devices possible. X670 is similar but limits PCIe 5.0 support to storage and graphics (which, to be fair, isn’t much of a limit for gaming systems). B650, lastly, will aim for “mainstream price points”, still supporting overclocking but keeping PCIe 5.0 functionality to storage only.
In other storage news, AMD also revealed an addition to its AMD Advantage suite of Smart utilities: little performance-boosting bonuses that are enabled when running both an AMD CPU and an AMD GPU. Smart Access Storage “supports” Microsoft DirectStorage, a soon-to-be-available bit of technical trickery that will help supported games dodge data transfer bottlenecks for faster load times. Smart Access Storage seems to only augment Microsoft’s system, not act as an alternative to it, but since DirectStorage is all about getting the SSD, graphics card and CPU to work together more efficiently, it makes sense that AMD could wrangle a way of enhancing how Ryzen and Radeon hardware works within it.
AMD Advantage features function on existing AMD parts, so you hopefully shouldn’t need a Ryzen 7000 CPU for Smart Access Storage once both are available. Though the new processor family is shaping up to be a fairly radical shake-up of the Ryzen line, even down to the funky new shape of the heat spreader. Of course, after the Intel’s own massive redesign of its 12th Gen Alder Lake chips, AMD going for merely incremental changes would have been a disappointment.