AMD Ryzen 7 9700X May Get A Big Power Bump To Compete With 7800X3D In Gaming

Front-facing render of an AMD Ryzen 9000 series CPU.
Earlier this month, AMD lifted the wraps on its upcoming Zen 5 desktop processor lineup at Computex, revealing four SKUs with specifications that, under normal circumstances, would be set in stone this late in the game. However, there's a rumor floating around suggesting that AMD might re-spec one of the upcoming chips, the Ryzen 7 9700X, to make it a more compelling option.

More to the point, the purported concern is that gamers may shy away from the Ryzen 7 9700X in favor of the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which is a monster gaming CPU in its own right. You can check out our full analysis with plenty of gaming benchmarks in our Ryzen 7 7800X3D review, but point blank, this remains one of the best gaming chips on the market, in terms of performance and overall value.

That's in large part due to its stacked 3D V-cache—it packs a generous 96MB of L3 cache (and 104MB cache in total), to go along with an 8-core/16-thread config with default clocks set at 4.2GHz (base) to 5GHz (max boost). At the time of this writing, you can find the Ryzen 7 7800X3D selling for $339.99 on Amazon, which is an excellent overall value if you're a gamer (it launched at $449).

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su on stage at Computex in front of a slide showing specs for the Ryzen 9000 series.

Meanwhile, the upcoming Ryzen 7 9700X is also an 8-core/16-thread part, with a 3.8GHz base clock, 5.5GHz max boost clock, and 32MB of L3 cache (40MB total cache). While the base clock is slower than the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, its top speed is 500MHz higher, plus it has the advantage of AMD's newest architecture underneath the hood (Zen 5).

To some extent, however, cache is king when it comes to gaming. For that reason, the Ryzen 7 9700X is expected to get beaten by the Ryzen 7 7800X3D in games, which is something AMD's Senior Technical Marketing Manager of Consumer Processors, Donny Woligroski, confirmed in a statement to Tom's Hardware a couple of weeks ago.

"Is it the fastest in gaming? It's faster than the competition in our tests. X3D is still the king of the hill, but by a much smaller margin than typically between X3D and non-X3D. So a 7800X3D would, yes, be faster than 9700X, but maybe not by as much as you would expect," Woligrowski stated.

AMD might be okay with that, given that the Ryzen 7 9700X should be faster than the Ryzen 7 7800X3D in non-gaming workloads, due to its clock speed and architectural advantages. But it also might be rethinking things. According to the folks at WCCFTech, AMD has put its hardware partners on notice that a specification change is being considered at the final hour.

Unofficial chatter is that AMD may nearly double the TDP from 65W as currently configured to 120W, the latter of which would match the Ryzen 9 SKUs (9900X and 9950X), as well the Ryzen 7 7800X3D. This could enable higher clocks. Assuming that gaming performance is relatively close, as Woligrowski suggested, a bump in clocks could potentially close or at least further narrow the gap between the two chips.

All that said, it's late in the game, considering that the Ryzen 9000 series is expected to hit retail next month. So whether a spec bump is in the cards or not, we'll find out soon.