It’s hard to recommend the Ryzen 7000 after Raptor Lake’s launch

AMD’s Ryzen 9 7950X is the best processor I’ve tested—and it’s not even close. It might surprise you to learn that I don’t recommend upgrading right now.

Although the Ryzen 7000 is a big boost for AMD, the high prices, limited options for gamers, and Intel’s emerging Raptor Lake launch make it the worst time for an upgrade right now. Team Red may win the decades-old battle between AMD and Intel this generation, but it’s too early to tell. And now there’s no rush to upgrade.

Raptor Lake Looms

Intel CEO has Raptor Lake processor.

AMD made the decision to release the Ryzen 7000 on the same day that Intel revealed its 13th-gen Raptor Lake processors — and it may not have been a great decision. Although the Raptor Lake is mostly a refresh to the previous generation, it offers promising performance that’s at or even above the Ryzen 7000’s level in many respects—and for a low price.

This is a strange change; Intel is looking like the new AMD for this generation. The Core i9-13900K is $110 cheaper than the Ryzen 9 7950X, and figures from Intel show that both processors will be highly competitive. On top of that, Raptor Lake supports most Z690 motherboards, and you still have the choice between DDR4 and DDR5 (if you have a compatible motherboard). This saves even more money for a total upgrade.

At least, Raptor Lake shows a reason to wait until the end of October to upgrade. The Ryzen 7000 is the fastest CPU generation we’ve seen so far, but we’ll be taking a closer look at a new CPU generation within a few weeks.

The Ryzen 7000 isn’t selling out right away, which is a good sign that supply will remain good over the next few months. The worst thing that can happen than waiting is that you have some cheap motherboard options. Had the supply been cut off, or Raptor Lake was just a few months away, we would have been in a different situation.

more than one cpu

The Ryzen 9 7950X is socketed into the motherboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

AMD slashed prices on the Ryzen 7000 compared to the previous generation, but for the time being, those lower prices do little to offset the price of the upgrade right now. You read the reviews – DDR5 and a new motherboard make the upgrade a lot more expensive than the CPU price. But it’s important to understand how much more the motherboard and DDR5 will drive you.

At launch, the cheapest X670 motherboard I could find is $260. The cheapest DDR5-6000 memory with AMD EXPO—which AMD recommends for the Ryzen 7000 CPU—is $190. Right now, if you buy anything near AMD’s two Ryzen 9 offerings, you’ll be spending more on the motherboard and RAM than the CPU.

Prices will fall. AMD is confident that the Ryzen 7000 will drive down DDR5 prices, and cheaper B650 boards are coming in October. It’s an awkward situation where prices will drop so quickly that upgrading right now is effectively wasting money.

The 3D V-Cash Cog Has a Wrench

Someone is holding a Ryzen 7 5800X3D at a red light.
I should upgrade my 5700X to it, right? It will be totally worth it. Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If you’re a gamer, the Ryzen 7000 is a bad upgrade right now. Sure, the Ryzen 9 7950X is the best gaming CPU based on our current testing, but the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is only a hair behind. And it’s $300 cheaper. Also, 3D V-Cache works wonders for gamers, but unfortunately for AMD, it’s great. No To join the latest generation.

Even if the Ryzen 7000 can offer a slight edge – and in some games, it doesn’t even offer it – the 3D V-Cache version will almost certainly take the gaming performance crown. AMD has confirmed that it will release Ryzen 7000 CPUs with V-Cache, so at this point, it’s just a matter of how long gamers have to wait for them to arrive.

If you’re in need of a CPU upgrade today, and you’re a gamer, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is your best bet. Not only is it cheaper based on the gaming performance you can get, but it also represents a lower overall platform cost when you take into account the cost of the motherboard and RAM. You’re not going to get the latest and greatest like DDR5, but it doesn’t provide a huge boost in gaming anyway.

a hard place

Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Ryzen 7000 offers the best performance we’ve seen out of a CPU so far, but the best option is to wait for now. Generations with new memory standards, a new socket, and a slew of new technology have always represented an expensive upgrade. But considering how close we are to other launches as well as current prices, an early adopter for the Ryzen 7000 doesn’t look like it will pay off.

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