Will AMD’s Ryzen 7000 Price Affect Early ‘Zen 4’ CPUs?

On paper, AMD’s upcoming Ryzen 7000 series CPU family appears to be the company’s most robust desktop processor to date. At the same time, at first glance, its prices induce some concerns.

The four new Ryzen 7000 chips range from $699 for a top-of-the-line 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X to $299 for a mid-range six-core Ryzen 5 7600X. In fact, these chips largely match the launch prices of their predecessors. But the world has changed since the Ryzen 5000 debuted, because that world now contains Intel’s 12th generation “Alder Lake” silicon in its geography.

With these new chips, AMD’s Ryzen 7000 prices, in three out of four cases, seem higher than some competing Intel chips. And that premium could end up costing AMD, if the performance of these CPUs doesn’t make up for the difference in the long run.

Dr. Lisa Su at the Ryzen 7000 Launch

Of course, comparing processors based on price alone is difficult without knowing how these chips perform in controlled benchmark tests. AMD has teased the tech press with some numbers to suggest just how much faster its Ryzen 7000-series chips are. But until we train these processors for ourselves, we can’t know for sure. On pricing alone, though, it looks like AMD has a significant advantage with its higher-end chip, while its lower-end chips could face stiffer competition.

A summary: prices of the Ryzen 7000

Let’s take another look at the confirmed specs for the first Ryzen 7000 silicon quartet…

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X and AMD Ryzen 9 7900X come with 16 and 12 CPU cores, respectively. In a head-to-head comparison, Intel doesn’t really have anything for the consumer market that matches it perfectly. The Intel Core i9-12900K also has 16 cores, but half of these are the more power efficient cores that Intel refers to as E-Cores.

Again, we need to test to know how things will stack for sure. but amd should have an advantage here in terms of raw performance. AMD’s latest-gen Ryzen 9 5950X already comes close to matching the Core i9-12900K in many tests, and AMD’s claimed performance gains would be more than enough to put the Ryzen 9 7950X over the top. AMD also has an advantage here in terms of pricing, with the Core i9-12900K retailing for $739 versus the Ryzen 9 7950X’s $699. In fact, the 5950X debuted at a list price of $799, so the new flagship chip is cutting costs right out of the box. All the good news there, if you’re AMD.

The further down the line, the more worries

Now, let’s take a step down from the 7950X. The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X will likely face considerably more competition than the 7950X, based on the current lay of the land. (Of course, 13th Gen “Raptor Lake” Intel Core chips aren’t that far off, either.)

Take Intel’s Core i9-12900: This non-“K” chip can’t be overclocked, but it has the same number of cores as the Core i9-12900K and reaches clock speeds of up to 5.1GHz, to boot. It is priced at $489. Compare that to the Ryzen 9 7900X’s 12-core design and $549 list price, and the Core i9-12900 starts to look more appealing. The only saving aspect the Ryzen 9 7900X could have is its higher clock speed of 5.6 GHz, which could give it a performance advantage in certain conditions.

AMD performance claims

AMD’s Ryzen 7 7700X and Ryzen 5 7600X are in a similar situation as the Ryzen 9 7900X. They hold the high ground in terms of clock speed, but have fewer cores than their closest Intel counterparts. That is certainly a reversal of trends in recent years.

Their prices don’t do them any favors either. The Ryzen 7 7700X is priced just $10 below the Intel Core i7-12700K, which retails for $409. The Ryzen 5 7600X, meanwhile, is priced $10 higher than the Intel Core i5-12600K, which has an MSRP of $289.

At this point, we feel the need to reiterate: we can’t say anything definitive about the pricing dynamics at play here until we’ve tested these new Ryzens. But based solely on the number of cores, clock speeds, and price, we can’t help but feel that the bottom three chips will be a harder sell at their MSRPs than the Ryzen 9 7950X. Or at least, it will be a performance dogfight in those price zones.

Now, the prices AMD has set aren’t particularly surprising, as they are (with the exception of the 7950X’s $699) close to the prices AMD set on equivalent Ryzen 5000-series chips when they launched. The Ryzen 7 5800X, for example, launched at $449, making the Ryzen 7 7700X possibly a better buy at launch than its predecessor.

The problem, as far as AMD is concerned, is Intel’s resurgence and price aggression over the past year. Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake processors are quite competitively priced, and that’s definitely going to give AMD some trouble, even if the chipmaker can demonstrate noticeably better performance in some areas.

AMD will also have to worry about competition from its own self Latest generation Ryzen processors. AM4 chips and motherboards are going to be around for a while (there are no true low-end AM5 processors just yet), and many of those Ryzen 3000 to 5000 series processors are selling for remarkably low prices. And they might tempt some bargain-hunting tech enthusiasts who aren’t yet willing or able to make the big leap to AM5, especially if the AM5 launch pushes prices even further down on that older tech.

New Platform Premium: It’s AMD’s Turn to Weather Those

One thing to keep in mind with AMD’s latest lineup is the peripheral costs associated with adopting the new platform. Where Intel Alder Lake swept loyal Intel buyers and early adopters to new motherboards and possibly DDR5 memory (if they opted for a DDR5 motherboard over DDR4), AMD will do so with Ryzen 7000. The new chipset AM5 spells the end of the long honeymoon of socket AM4 compatibility, and Ryzen 7000 motherboards will require you to buy DDR5 DIMM RAM, full stop. (Maybe even one of the new AMD EXPO compatible kits.)

AMD AM5 platform

That is a key point. The AMD faithful would have no reason to own any DDR5 memory at this point. Bottom line: The cost of jumping on the Ryzen 7000 bandwagon goes way beyond the cost of the CPU alone. You are almost certainly thinking of buying a DIMM kit. And you are definitely buy a new motherboard, in the form of an AM5 board. And if you want to jump right in, that means a premium AM5 board based on the X670 or X670E; those will be released first, with the first step-down B650 and B650 Extreme plates arriving in October only.

We can only hope that the prices of the upcoming Radeon RX 7000 series graphics cards will be unequivocally better. Of course, stay tuned for our reviews of the first Ryzen 7000 chips ahead of the September 27 on-sale date. Hard numbers alone will define whether the MSRPs are truly cushioned or competitive. These new chips look promising, but AMD faces a remarkably bouncing back Intel and its own platform refresh challenges.

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