AMD's High-End Ryzen 9 7000 Zen 4 CPUs Are Allegedly Due For A Big Power Jump

hero AMD Zen 4 News
Back at Computex, AMD announced some extra details about the AM5 socket that its Zen 4 processors will slot into. In case you missed that information, Socket AM5 will be a Landing Grid Array (LGA) like Threadripper and competitor Intel's processors, and it will bring support for DDR5 memory and PCIe 5.0. It'll also be compatible with Socket AM4 CPU coolers, as long as they use the "two clips" mechanism for the included plastic frame (through-board mounting mechanisms will need a new backplate).

next frontier of ryzen motherboards
One of the details that AMD announced at that time was that Socket AM5 would support power delivery for CPUs up to 170 watts. That's quite a bit of power, but it's not as much as Socket AM4 chips could suck down when Precision Boost Overdrive is enabled. Enthusiasts were concerned about the performance ramifications, but AMD came back around to clarify that "Native support for up to 170W" meant that Socket AM5 would support processors with TDPs of up to 170W, while the actual max power was much higher.

While not the highest TDP that AMD has ever offered in a desktop CPU—that honor goes to the 220W "Centurion" FX-9000-series processors released on Socket AM3+ back in 2013—it's still higher than any Socket AM4 CPU. It would have been a reasonable guess at that time that the first 170 W Ryzen CPUs would be from the "Ryzen 9" tier, but now we have corroboration of that thinking from regular leaker kopite7kimi.

leaked socket am5 tdp specs chart
You see, way back in August of last year, Gigabyte had a data breach and certain information leaked, including about AMD's upcoming processors. One of the leaks was the chart above, titled "Socket AM5 Processor Heat Sink Design Requirements/Parameters". The chart describes thermal solution design requirements for Socket AM5 desktop processors with TDP specifications ranging between a modest 45 W all the way up to 170 W.

r9 7000 tdp tweet kopite7kimi
Hardware-head HerbieHSSO was going over the aforementioned leak again while openly theorizing about the TDP and PPT limits of Zen 5 CPUs when kopite7kimi replied to him, stating that "All R9 SKUs with a normal voltage are based on 170W TDP." In other words, assuming AMD doesn't release a low-voltage Ryzen 9 CPU, all of the Ryzen 9 7000-series processors will be released with 170W TDP specs.

It would be easy to bemoan the ever-rising power demands of computer processors, but remember that AMD has affirmatively stated its commitment to efficiency, and that the company seems quite confident in Zen 4. It's possible that the new chips are fast enough to the point that they are still more power-efficient than Zen 3 despite drawing quite a bit more power. With the architecture refinements, new socket, and die shrink, we're certainly expecting big things from Zen 4.