AMD Ryzen 7 5700X Review: A Price Cut Disguised as a New Chip

AMD Ryzen 7 5700X Review: A Price Cut Disguised as a New Chip
The eight-core 16-thread $299 AMD Ryzen 7 5700X comes to market as a slightly modified yet lower-cost version of its predecessor, the $335 Ryzen 7 5800X, but it offers nearly the same gaming and application performance after a bit of no-hassle tuning. The 5700X debuts as part of AMD's newest line of seven Ryzen 5000 models that are designed to shore up the company's rankings in CPU benchmarks and retake its position on the Best CPUs for gaming list. That's a critical need after Intel's Alder Lake upset the Ryzen lineup with a better blend of both pricing and performance.

The Ryzen 7 5700X leverages the same Zen 3 architecture and 7nm process as its counterparts and drops into the existing ecosystem of AM4 motherboards. Its predecessor, the 5800X, has always been an oddly-positioned chip, with its price point making it the lone Ryzen 5000 processor that didn't make much sense for just about anyone due to competing products from both Intel and AMD. In fact, the 5800X's positioning was so poor, and the Ryzen 7 5700X's absence so conspicuous, that we asked where the 5700X was right in the title box of our original review (seen below). It took AMD eighteen months, but it has now finally released the Ryzen 7 5700X. It's certainly late, though. As we explained in our 5800X review back in 2020, AMD really needed the 'missing' Ryzen 7 5700X to plug the big pricing gap in its product stack and make it easier for its customers to jump from Ryzen 5 to Ryzen 7 instead of buying an Intel processor.

However, that was back when AMD competed with Intel's 10th-Gen processors. The game has changed entirely since then — Intel's disruptive 12th-Gen x86 hybrid Alder Lake chips are now well established as the overall performance and value leader at every price point, and the company's 13th-Gen Raptor Lake chips are purportedly on track for release this year. AMD also has its 5nm Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ Zen 4 chips slated to arrive at the end of the year, but they'll arrive with the new AM5 platform. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 7 5700X drops into the long-lived Socket AM4 platforms that have shepherded the Ryzen chips from their infancy with the Ryzen 7 1800X in 2017 to the current day, but that cuts off any future upgrade path for adopters.

Naturally, AMD has a different pricing strategy today than we would have seen back in 2020: The 65W Ryzen 7 5700X is $150 less than the launch price of its full-fledged 105W sibling, the Ryzen 7 5800X. That isn't relevant to today's pricing situation, though — the 5700X is only $35 less than the 5800X's average pricing at retail. That isn't much of a discount.

Given the similarities we'll see throughout our benchmark suite, the Ryzen 7 5700X is really just a price cut for the Ryzen 7 5800X, but it comes disguised as a new product.

The Ryzen 7 5700X is a solid upgrade choice if you already have a system built around a Ryzen 1000- or 2000-series processor and need more threaded horsepower. However, if you're a Ryzen upgrader that's only interested in gaming, you could save some cash with the Ryzen 5 5600, which offers comparable gaming performance at a much friendlier $199 price point. For new builds, you should look to Intel chips, like the Core i5-12400 or Core i5-12600K, and their more modern accommodations.

Let's take a quick look at the specs, then get right to our full gaming and application test results. The Ryzen 7 5700X slots into the Ryzen stack with eight cores and 16 threads. At $299, the 5700X is the highest-priced 65W part from AMD, filling in the gap between the powerful 105W Ryzen 7 5800X that retails for $335 and the $225 Ryzen 5 5600X that also comes with a 65W TDP.

The Ryzen 7 5700X comes with a 3.4 GHz base, a 4.6 GHz boost clock, and the same chiplet-equipped 'Vermeer' design as the existing Ryzen 5000 models. As such, the 65W Ryzen 7 5700X's eight-core 16-thread design is identical to the 105W Ryzen 7 5800X — they both even have 32MB of L3 cache.

To differentiate the two, AMD merely trimmed the Ryzen 7 5700X's clock rates to accommodate its 40W lower TDP. As a result, the TDP ratings and clock rates are the only difference between the two chips. This is likely purely the result of artificial segmentation; given the maturity of the TSMC 7nm process, it is unlikely that AMD has many dies that couldn't reach the extra 100 MHz boost that would make them suitable for the 5800X. If so, the company could have simply used them for the higher-priced and higher-margin Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

Compared to the 5800X, the 5700X's 100 MHz lower boost clock rate will be nearly indistinguishable in most work, but the 400 MHz difference in base clocks will be more pronounced in heavily-threaded workloads at stock settings. However, as we'll demonstrate below, that's extremely simple to rectify with AMD's one-click Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) auto-overclocking feature. If you engage PBO and have a suitable cooler, there is little to no difference between the 5700X and 5800X in threaded workloads.

AMD broke with tradition at the Ryzen 5000 launch and scuttled one of its biggest value-adds; except for its 65W TDP models, AMD stopped providing 'free' bundled coolers with its Ryzen processors. Unfortunately, now AMD has inexplicably ditched that policy, too, so the 65W Ryzen 7 5700X also comes without a cooler.

The $299 Ryzen 7 5700X faces intense pressure from Intel's Alder Lake from both above and below: The less-expensive $175 Core i5-12400 offers slightly faster gaming performance but trails in threaded applications. However, it comes with a cooler, magnifying the value prop for gamers. Meanwhile, Intel’s $270 Core i5-12600K beats the Ryzen 7 5700X in every facet and also doesn't have a cooler, but it retails for $30 less to offset Intel's higher motherboard costs. This is to say that the Ryzen 7 5700X would have certainly been more compelling if it came with a bundled cooler.

The Ryzen 7 5700X fully supports overclocking, including core clocks, memory, and the Infinity Fabric, and will drop into existing 400- and 500-series motherboards (Socket AM4). AMD’s upcoming BIOS updates will also enable support on most older 300-series platforms. You'll need a BIOS with AGESA (or newer) for the Ryzen 7 5700X. AMD says that Ryzen 5000 support will vary by vendor, as will the timeline for new BIOS revisions. However, we should see them all by the end of May 2022. These BIOS revisions also fix AMD’s fTPM stuttering issues.

The 5700X also doesn't support the leading-edge connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, that you'll find with Alder Lake, but it does support up to DDR4-3200 and PCIe 4.0. AMD won't be able to match intel's connectivity tech until its 5nm Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ Zen 4 CPUs arrive later this year.
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