REVIEW: AMD Ryzen 5 7600X – the smallest Zen4 in the test – Introducing the processor and test platform

Many readers will know that the new Ryzen 7000 series have been on the market for almost a week now. I had test pieces available in advance, but unfortunately I missed the release as I was in the middle of moving and had absolutely no time to finish the review. The only positive thing about it is that I tested the next tested Ryzen 9 7900X with a newer production BIOS and drivers.

Probably the biggest change in Zen4 desktop processors is the new socket. AMD boards will no longer have the good old PGA socket, but an LGA socket, which is also used by Intel, however, AMD itself has been using LGA for many years for server EPYCs. Personally, I expect damaged AM5 boards from some people to start wandering around the world, as LGA pins can sometimes be bent if you look at them wrong.

Overall, the AM5 platform has undergone many changes, for example DDR5 support is expected and through the new AMD EXPO profiles for memory (something like XMP basically, for the end user it’s more or less the same) even a speed of 6000 MT/s is supported through the EXPO profile and AMD itself like this memory recommended to run for better performance. Another change is PCIe fifth generation support, a little better than Intel, because all AM5 boards primarily provide PCIe 5.0 lines from the processor and some PCIe Gen4 lines from the chipset, but it depends on the specific chipset.

Another great news that I am personally very happy about is the integrated graphics core based on the AMD RDNA2 architecture. This miniGPU is literally mini, as it only has two computing blocks, so don’t expect any high performance. But on the other hand, it’s good, it’s basically a basic display that can fit four monitors, supports HEVC acceleration, AV1 video and doesn’t consume much power. This little Radeon sits in a central IO chiplet and doesn’t take up a lot of silicon. I’m glad that AMD decided not to install some giant iGPU, but on the contrary, it’s something basic, but still capable of some common non-3D work. Of course, I tested the gaming performance of this iGPU, as I was interested in how the two RDNA2 cores fare against the older integrated Vega.

AMD claims that it will support the AM5 socket at least until 2025, more precisely it states 2025+, maybe we will see a high lifespan of the boards like it was with the AM4 socket, which is something that is a big plus of the AM4 platform, because even on boards from 2017 more modern Zen3 processors can be installed.

It’s also great that we can use the existing AM4 coolers on the AM5 platform, because the boards have the same pitches and the same cooler mounts as on the AM4 boards, which is again great news. However, if you want to use a cooler that has its own backplate, you will have a problem. On AM5 boards, the cover around the socket is screwed into the metal backplate. Usable coolers must therefore use the original backplate or plastic beaks. So this is something to be careful about, but a lot of AM4 coolers use the original metal backplate that was mounted on the board, if there is some plastic backplate for the cooler, I see it as a downgrade. Anyway, this means that compatibility with AM4 coolers is not 100%.

There are currently four different processors for the AM5 socket on the market, today we start from the bottom with the six-core Ryzen 5 7600X. The processor has kept the same number of cores and the same price as the Ryzen 5 5600X, which is a positive thing, it doesn’t really go up in price that way and we get something extra. However, the higher price of X670/X670E motherboards and DDR5 RAM should be considered.

Compared to Zen3 processors, Zen4 processors are manufactured using a more modern process, traditionally from TSMC. The processor chiplets are 5nm and the central IO chiplet is 6nm technology. The six- and eight-core Ryzens for AM5 have only one processor chiplet, while the 12-16C models have two processor chiplets and thus more L3 cache. One minor novelty is support for AVX512 instructions, which is something that Intel has kind of abandoned. AMD also boasts that their Zen4 core takes up less space than a single Intel Alder Lake core.

Now to the Ryzen 5 7600X itself, the processor arrived in a box together with the Ryzen 9 7900X, the GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER motherboard and the G.Skill TridentZ 5 NEO memory kit – 2x16GB DDR5-6000 CL38. The processor itself was in its sales package, while we don’t get a cooler for the Ryzen 5 7600X.

The AMD Ryzen 5 7600X processor has six physical cores and supports SMT, giving us a total of twelve threads. There is no trolling in the form of small and even smaller kernels. On the positive side, Windows 10 is also supported and everything there works without problems, including Ryzen Master.

The basic frequency of the processor is set to a high 4.7 GHz, the boost reaches up to 5.3 GHz, but in reality it is even more. At AMD, they decided to push the power limit a bit more. The TDP is set at 105 Watts, but the PPT limit is set at 142 Watts for the Ryzen 5 7600X, which is quite high. Most of the time, the processor gets by with some 90 Watts, we only get over a hundred in AVX2/AVX512 load.

Personally, the 105/142 W limit for the six cores seems a bit “Intelian” to me, because the processor gives great performance even at lower limits, I assume that it is for the reason to reach the highest possible frequencies, since Zen4 processors tick on average 600- 800 MHz higher than Zen3 processors.

I was also interested in the fact that the Ryzen 5 7600X very often boosted up to a frequency of 5450 MHz, which is slightly more than what AMD promises. Traditionally, it is possible to tune various parameters through the Ryzen Master program.

I tested the processor with a GIGABYTE X670E AORUS MASTER motherboard, together with 32GB DDR5-6000 RAM. I more or less left everything at factory settings, at the time of testing I only had BIOS version 813b available for journalists, I then tested the Ryzen 9 7900X with the production BIOS, which contains the newer AGESA microcode. I installed only one Kingston KC3000 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD, a GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti XTREME Edition 11GB graphics card (drivers in version 516.94) into the board. The good old Corsair HX12000 served as a source. For testing in Windows, I used the classic in the form of Windows 10 Pro v21H2.

A fairly common Arctic Freezer 34 eSports DUO served as a cooler.

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