REVIEW: AMD Ryzen 7 7700X and ASUS ROG STRIX B650-A GAMING WIFI – Introducing the CPU and Motherboard

The last released Zen4 processor for socket AM5 is the AMD Ryzen 7 7700X. So it’s not the last, all four processors were released at the same time, but the eight-core Ryzen 7 7700X was the last to arrive. The review was also delayed for the reason that I devoted some time to extra tests with the help of ffmpeg, now I am trying more instances at once and a slightly more demanding conversion using the SVT-AV1 library in a newer version of ffmpeg.

Now to the processor itself, like the three previous pieces, this piece also arrived directly from AMD and in more or less retail packaging. The processor has one processor chiplet and a central IO hub in which there is an iGPU, a memory controller, PCIe lines, SATA ports, USB ports and a security co-processor that also includes a firmware TPM.

The processor chiplet is fully active and thus offers eight cores with SMT support. The base frequency is again set to a high 4.5 GHz, the turbo boost reaches a frequency of up to 5.4 GHz, but the processor has no problem boosting up to 100-150 MHz higher, if cooling and the power limit allow it. The base TDP is set to 105 Watts and the PPT limit is set to 142 Watts.

The processor currently sells for around 11,000 CZK including VAT (+/- a few hundred CZK depending on where we buy the CPU), which is a similar price to what the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 7 3800 XT were sold for. Of course, the prices have changed over time, but the amounts are quite similar. Personally, I see the Ryzen 7 7700X as such a successor to the Ryzen 7 5800X, albeit with a higher power limit and greater difficulties with cooling (a fully active chiplet produces a little more heat on a small surface than a partially deactivated one, regardless of higher frequencies and core voltage).

The Noctua NH-D15 SE-AM4 surprisingly had trouble cooling the processor, a fully active chiplet generates too much heat on a small surface at higher frequencies. For this reason, I decided to tweak the power settings. The processor never used the full PPT limit of 142 Watts under load, just like other Zen4 processors. In addition, ASUS introduced an interesting gadget on its AM5 boards, namely the temperature limit, which is tied to the PBO, frequency and voltage of the processor. Basically, this option will reduce the temperature limit from the factory 95°C to some lower temperature. At the same time, there will also be a slight reduction in the processor’s supply voltage, and theoretically we may lose some performance, but it depends on what temperature limit we set.

So I tested the processor with PBO adjusted in this way and a temperature limit of 90°C, the processor consumed a maximum of 125 Watts and the performance was practically the same as in the factory setting.

This of course brings me to the tested motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX B650-A GAMING WIFI. This motherboard is one of the models with a cheaper AMD B650 chipset and thus offers fifth generation PCIe only in the first M.2 slot. However, like many other B650 boards, this one seems more like hi-end and is typically sold for around 7400-7500 CZK including VAT.

Inside the package, apart from the boards themselves, we find a manual, a thank-you card, stickers, zip ties, a key ring, a heat-conducting pad for the M.2 SSD, two SATA 6Gb/s cables and WiFi antennas with RSMA terminals.

The board itself has fairly standard FullATX dimensions and has an integrated IO shield, so you don’t have to worry about losing it. As for the connectors on the IO shield, we can find DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.1 and a total of seven USB-A ports, three provide 10Gb/s throughput and four are USB 2.0. There are two USB-C ports, one supports up to 20Gb/s and the other only 10Gb/s. The board has a total of five 3.5mm audio jacks connected to the Realtek ALC4080 audio codec. The RJ45 connector is connected to a 2.5 Gb/s Intel I-225V network card, two RSMA connectors are then connected to the AMD RZ616 WiFi 6E chipset.

Of course, the board has a bunch of PCIe slots, the primary slot is connected directly to the processor and provides sixteen PCIe lines of the fourth generation, for the fifth generation the board would have to have an AMD B650E chipset. The remaining three PCIe slots are connected to the AMD B650 chipset, the two x1 slots provide one fourth-generation PCIe line each. The second x16 slot provides only four Gen4 PCIe lanes electrically and shares connectivity with one M.2 slot, so the user has to choose between a third M.2 slot or a PCIe slot.

The board has a total of three M.2 slots, the one closest to the processor provides four PCIe lanes of the fifth generation, the second M.2 slot is also connected to the processor and provides four PCIe lanes of the fourth generation. The third slot also provides four PCIe Gen4 lines, but it is connected to the AMD B650 chipset, while it shares connectivity with one x16 slot on the board, so if we install an SSD here as well, we will lose the last PCIe slot.

On the right side of the board we also find four SATA 6Gb/s ports, all four are connected to the AMD B650 chipset.

The AMD B650 chipset itself does not heat up in any way and has a fairly large cooler.

As for the connectors, we will walk around the board, in the upper part near the coolers of the power cascade we will find the additional power supply for the processor, there is one eight-pin and one four-pin. However, you only need to connect an eight-pin, even the new Zen4 processors do not have such crazy consumption that one eight-pin is not enough.

In the upper right corner of the board, we can also find one four-pin for the CPU fan, two four-pin for RGB LEDs, an ATX 24-pin and two USB pins, one is for USB-C at the front of the case and provides 10Gb/s connectivity. The second pinout provides connectivity for two 5Gb/s ports.

Next to the 19-pin connector, we also find a plastic button that unlocks the primary PCIe x16 slot, ASUS calls this button Q-RELEASE.

In the lower part there are several other pin locations, there are standard pins for connecting LEDs, buttons, a 4-pin connector for the fan and two USB 2.0 pin locations.

This line of pins continues, we find here the pins for the external temperature sensor, two pin locations for RGB LEDs, CMOS reset pins, a pin location for the ThunderBolt card, four pin for the fan, pins for the optical audio output and the front 3.5 mm jacks on the case.

As for the power supply cascade, it is sized reasonably, ASUS installed a configuration of 12+2 smart 60A phases, so there will be no problem with powering even the sixteen-core Ryzen 9 7950X.

The rest of the test setup was very similar to the other Zen4 CPUs, meaning a Kingston KC3000 1TB SSD, a Corsair HX1200 PSU, a GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Xtreme Edition 11GB graphics card, and Windows 10 Pro v21H2 with the latest drivers.

BIOS

The BIOS/UEFI looks the same as other ASUS boards, ASUS allows to reset the appearance to a kind of Se7en, thanks to which you can enjoy a different appearance in the screenshots below.


Source: Diit.cz by diit.cz.

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