AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Keeps Falling In Price Ahead Of Zen 5, Should You Pounce?

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The simple fact is that the main bottleneck in game smoothness is system memory performance. When we talk about games being "CPU-limited," we're actually talking about a memory performance limitation most of the time. That's why AMD's 3D V-Cache works so well: the extra 64MB of cache saves on a lot of accesses going out to main memory, reducing effective memory latency and increasing effective bandwidth.

The original 3D V-Cache CPU was the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, so if you wanted that bolt-on bodaciousness, you were limited to just eight cores. That's not the case with Zen 4, though. You can grab a full-on sixteen-core CPU with 3D V-Cache on half of its cores with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. "But Zak," you whine, "that CPU is so expensive!" Yeah, $700 is a lot. How about $492?

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AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D 16-Core Gaming Processor: $492.00 at Amazon

That's right: you can pick up a sixteen-core (or "hexadeca-core"; thanks AMD) CPU equipped with 96MB of L3 cache on half of its cores and a 5.7 GHz peak boost clock on the other half of its cores for just $492 at Amazon right now. This is a limited-time deal that sees the CPU marked down 30% from its SEP of $699 US dollars.

If you're feeling leery about picking up a Zen 4 processor on the eve of the launch of socket-compatible Zen 5 CPUs, you might feel better knowing that AMD has already admitted that the upcoming Ryzen 9000 Zen 5 CPUs will not outperform the extant Zen 4 CPUs equipped with 3D V-Cache in games. In other words, Zen 4 X3D beats Zen 5 non-X3D in games, which isn't a surprise to anyone who paid attention to the launch of the original Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 processors, when the Ryzen 7 5800X3D matched or beat the new chips in most games.

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AMD's initial Zen 5 lineup won't include X3D CPUs, of course.

Of course, AMD will eventually launch Zen 5 processors with 3D V-Cache too, but the company hasn't said when that will happen. It could be as soon as September of this year, or possibly at CES 2025, or even later next year. In any case, you will still be well-served by the Ryzen 9 7950X3D's sixteen full-fat Zen 4 CPU cores and 96MB 3D V-Cache—especially picking it up for 30% off of the original price. If you really don't have any use for the extra eight cores, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D offers equivalent gaming performance and is $150 cheaper at $339.

Alternatively, if you're on a Socket AM4 system with an older CPU and could use a very easy bump in game performance, the Ryzen 7 5700X3D is only $199 right now at Amazon. That's an eight-core chip that runs a relatively low 4.1 GHz clock rate, yet benchmarks from around the web show it nearly matching the 4.5 GHz 5800X3D in games. Like we said before: it's more about memory performance than CPU compute throughput.
Tags:  deals, AMD, CPUs, (nasdaq:amd)