December 6, 2023


Enhance your play

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Review: AMD Retakes Gaming Crown with 3D V-Cache

AMD’s $699 Ryzen 9 7950X3D is geared specifically for gamers looking to blast through CPU-limited games while still having the threaded heft of 16 cores that can handle the heaviest of productivity workloads. The new chip comes packing sixteen Zen 4 cores and the company’s second-gen 3D V-Cache tech that unlocks 128MB of L3 cache, a combo that delivers the fastest gaming performance available on the market. In our tests, the 7950X3D beats Intel’s fastest chip, the 6 GHz Core i9-13900KS, by 13% on average and up to 40%+ in some games, taking the top spot on our list of the best CPUs for gaming.

The 7950X3D uses AMD’s cutting-edge 3D chip-stacking technology, called 3D V-Cache, to enable an incredible 128MB of L3 cache. Like AMD’s inaugural X3D chip, the Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5800X3D, the extra L3 cache comes courtesy of a 3D-stacked SRAM chiplet fused atop the processor with hybrid bonding, which accelerates gaming to new heights in many titles. AMD also has a new thread-targeting technique designed to help apply the gains more evenly across a broad range of games.

The first-gen 3D V-Cache chip gave AMD a lead over Intel’s competing processors, cementing it as the go-to chip for gamers, but it suffered in some productivity apps due to a limit of eight cores and its relatively low boost frequency. AMD’s new 16-core 7950X3D is the first 3D V-Cache chip to employ two compute chiplets, boosting productivity apps and enabling a higher boost frequency of 5.7 GHz, a big improvement over the previous-gen’s 4.5 GHz peak.   

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  Price Cores / Threads (P+E) P-Core Base / Boost Clock (GHz) Cache (L2/L3) TDP / PBP / MTP
Ryzen 9 7950X3D $699 16 / 32 4.2 / 5.7 144MB (16+128) 120W / 162W
Ryzen 9 7900X3D $599 12 / 24 4.4 / 5.6 140MB (12+128) 120W / 162W
Ryzen 7 7800X3D $449 8 /16 4.2 / 5.0 104MB (8+96) 120W / 162W
Ryzen 7 5800X3D $348 8 /16 3.4 / 4.5 104MB (8+96) 105W

Intel’s Raptor Lake recently took the gaming performance crown from AMD’s Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 chips, but AMD has now broadened its X3D attack with three chips that come in 8-, 12- and 16-core flavors spanning from $449 to $699, all of which come with the company’s newest Zen 4 architecture etched on the 5nm process. These chips drop into AM5 motherboards that support the latest connectivity tech, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, addressing another shortcoming of the first-gen model. AMD has also unlocked the chip for basic overclocking and undervolting.

The 7950X3D is the highest-end model, but we haven’t tested the 12-core $599 Ryzen 9 7900X3D that also comes to market tomorrow — AMD doesn’t plan to sample that chip to press. However, if history is any indication, the 7900X3D should deliver nearly identical gaming performance to the pricier 7950X3D. The $449 eight-core Ryzen 7 7800X3D arrives later in April, and that will undoubtedly be the chip to beat: AMD tells us it will offer the lion’s share of 3D V-Cache’s gaming performance, but it comes at a much more affordable price point.