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AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review: a fantastic premium performer, but its price holds it back

 The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D in an AM5 motherboard
The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D in an AM5 motherboard

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: One-minute review

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is the middle child of the current 3D V-Cache processors from Team Red alongside the 7800X3D and the 7950X3D. It launched alongside the rest of the line back in February of this year and offers heightened gaming performance, but comes at a price.

Without a doubt, it is one of the best processors for gaming on the market. But even as gamers are going to be able to get the most out of this chip, it's productivity performance isn't too bad either.

Armed with a significantly lower TDP than the rest of the current AMD Zen 4 lineup, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D packs in 12 cores and 24 threads on a 120W TDP with a base clock speed of 4.4 GHz out of the box, and that's honestly the core appeal of this chip.

It's more power efficient and offers better raw gaming performance than its non-3D counterpart, but the addition of AMD's 3D V-cache means it can hold up with far pricier processors as well.

It should be stated that overall, you're falling into one of two camps with the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D, as it is impressive for gaming, but won't necessarily set the world on fire with the creativity or productivity side of things at the higher end of the spectrum.

The raw gaming performance at its $599 / £479.99 / AU$859.99 price point is decent, but chances are if you're spending this much on a CPU purely for gaming, you could argue that an extra $100 / £130 / AU$279 for the top-end 7950X3D could be a better bet instead.

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Price and availability

  • Comparable price to the Intel Core i9-13900K

  • $50 /  £50 / AU$64 more than base 7900X

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D was released on February 28, 2023, and currently retails for $599 / £479.99 / AU$859.99.

That's around $100 / £130 / AU$279 less than the flagship AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D which features 16 cores and 32 threads. As a point of comparison, this AMD processor comes in a little cheaper than the Intel Core i9-13900K in the UK and Australia, where it currently sells at £699 / AU$929, and is just $10 more expensive in the US.

That is only one side of the story, though. That's because the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D requires an upgrade to the latest AM5 socket, which means an entirely new motherboard as well as the exclusive use of DDR5 RAM, and the best DDR5 RAM isn't cheap (even if it has come down in price).

Essentially, you'll be building an entirely new system around the chip as there's no more backward compatibility with AM4 as we saw with the two previous Ryzen processor generations (though the best CPU coolers for AM4 processors will still work with the new AMD chips).

This is owing to AMD's transition from a PGA to LGA socket, which just means that the processor no longer has pins the way previous generations did, much like with the best Intel processors.

  • Price score: 3.5 / 5

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Chipset & features

Close up on the Ryzen 9 7900X3D
Close up on the Ryzen 9 7900X3D
  • Improved power efficiency 

  • Zen 4 3D V-cache for under $600 / £500 / AU$900

The AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D features a lot of the same broad strokes as its non-3D variant. You're getting the same 12 cores and 24 threads on the AM5 socket with a total boost clock of up to 5.6GHz. The core difference here, however, is the 3D V-Cache which doubles the stock version's 64MB L3 Cache for a total of 128MB.

The higher the L3 cache is, the better gaming or intensive processing workloads can perform, that's because it's the largest level of cache available on a processor.

Added cache aside, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is also significantly more power-efficient than any current non-3D Zen 4 processors available, as it clocks in with a Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 120W, which is much lower than the substantially higher 170W of its stock variant.

While a higher TDP usually relates to higher performance, the inclusion of the added 3D V-cache means that the processor can access a larger pool of superfast cache memory, which is even more useful when gaming than just throwing raw power at the problem. With its own dedicated extra cache, there are fewer fetch operations to the PC's main memory, so the chip runs more efficiently, and potentially cooler under load.

This is reflected when contrasted against the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X's core clock speed of 4.7 GHz to the 3D variant's 4.4 GHz. It's a little slower out of the box despite the overclocking potential being the same, however, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is still far faster than any of the current Alder Lake or Raptor Lake processors in terms of the raw speed.

Ultimately, the reduced memory latency means that you're getting a chip that runs cooler, draws less power, and performs better thanks to the addition of the second generation of AMD's V-cache.

  • Design & features score: 4 / 5

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D: Performance

AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D up close
AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D up close

You won't be shocked to hear that the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is one of the most capable CPUs for gaming that I've ever used, holding its own against the flagship 7950X and the Intel Core i9-13900K.

This is evidenced by some of the most impressive synthetic scores to date in industry-standard programs such as GeekBench 6, PCMark10, and Cinebench R23, among others, and you can see how the Ryzen 9 7900X3D compares to competing high-end processors below.

Where the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D falls behind the Intel Core i9-13900K and the 7950X3D in terms of the productivity benchmarks, the gap is greatly closed with the raw gaming performance. Turning to the gaming benchmarks, this chip's 3D V-cache makes all the difference in demanding titles such as F1 2022, Returnal, and Total War: Warhammer 3.

As with our other CPU reviews, the games tested in the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review are tested at 1080p at the lowest graphics settings in order to isolate the processor's contribution to gaming performance. Below, you can see how this chipset compares to the best AMD processor and best Intel processor respectively.

Compared to the more expensive chipsets, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D absolutely holds its own with the 7950X3D and the 13900K, with the largest gap visible seen with how AMD's flagship handles Returnal. This is likely due to the fact that the 7950X3D utilizes an additional four cores and eight threads, and Total War series has always been Intel's strongest gaming benchmark, which remains the case here.

Still, with the Ryzen 9 7900X3D, we're still talking about an absolute powerhouse of a CPU, with framerates well above 100fps in demanding games, and upwards of 400fps in tamer titles. Realistically, you can expect this chip to be an absolute behemoth for 1080p, though you'll get diminishing returns at 1440p and 4K if you don't have the beefiest video card in your rig that can keep up with the processor.

Overall, the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D is an impressive processor for the money which is definitely geared more toward gaming than productivity or creativity tasks. If you're purely interested in playing games then this processor offers strong price-to-performance at the $600 / £480 / AU$860 mark, but with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D so close in price, a lot of buyers out there are likely to be torn.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

Also Consider

If my AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D review has you considering other options, here are two more processors to consider.

Intel Core i9-13900K
There's very little that we can fault the Raptor Lake flagship on with its performance. That's due to the excellent Raptor Cove and Gracemont cores with its hybrid architecture that makes it a processor that's difficult to beat outside of its expensive price point.

Read the full 5-star Intel Core i9-13900K review

How I tested the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D

  • Used in main gaming PC rig for almost a month 

  • Played a variety of titles including those benchmarked 

  • Industry standard synthetic benchmark tests 

Test system specs

CPU cooler: NZXT Kraken Elite 360
GPU: Nvidia RTX 4090
DDR5 RAM: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Kingston Fury Beast RGB @ 6,000 MHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte X670 Aorus Elite AX
SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB
PSU: Corsair RM1000x
Case: NZXT H9 Flow

I tested the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D inside of a newly built machine utilizing Kingston Fury Beast DDR5 RAM, an Nvidia RTX 4090, and a brand new RM1000X PSU. The chip was utilized heavily for gaming in the benchmarked titles as well as in games such as Mortal Kombat 11, Cyberpunk 2077, and Tekken 7.

I've also been using the machine as my main computer for both work and play and have racked up dozens of hours word processing as well as with media playback. Through the real-world testing, the benchmarking, and the stress testing, I came to my four-star conclusion on the AMD Ryzen 9 7900X3D as a recommended CPU for gaming.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

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First reviewed September 2023