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Is the Ryzen 9 7900X overkill for gaming?

Is the Ryzen 9 7900X overkill for just gaming? Should you consider another CPU?

Updated: Jan 16, 2023 11:52 am
Is the 7900x overkill for gaming

AMD’s 2022 Raphael lineup brought us the Ryzen 9 7900X late last year. The CPU is the second best of its series, falling behind the Ryzen 9 7950X – but not by much. So, Is the Ryzen 9 7900X overkill for gaming?

Now read: Best CPU cooler for Ryzen 9 7900X.

The 7900X boasts impressive specs and stands toe-to-toe with many of the more advanced chipsets from Intel’s Alder and Raptor Lake. 

We’ve been seeing rising thread counts and clock speeds from both sides lately. But you have to ask: at what point are the performance benefits no longer worth the extra cost?


The Ryzen 9 7900X: Specifications

Here are the official specifications for AMD’s recently launched CPU. 

  • Core Count: 12 (Multithreading Enabled)
  • Thread Count: 24
  • Base Clock: 4.7GHz
  • Boost Clock: 5.6GHz
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 170 Watts
  • iGPU: AMD Radeon Graphics (RDNA 2)
  • Socket: AM5

The stats speak for themselves – the Ryzen 9 7900X is a beast of a processor. With 12 cores and 24 threads, you won’t be running into any CPU bottlenecks with this processor anytime soon.


Gaming performance

Because of the way clock speed boosting works, the processor can boost a single core up to 5.6GHz – which is great for gaming. Games benefit more from faster clock speeds compared to higher thread counts.

The new Ryzen 9 can hold its own in multitasking, too, with all 12 cores having the ability to peak at a 5.1GHz clock simultaneously. 

Suffice it to say that this processor will serve you very well in gaming and any related activities. You can pair it up with a high-end card from Nvidia’s 4000 or AMD’s 7000 series for triple-A gaming at 4K, 60 FPS. 

Pricing and value

Now, not everything I have to say about this CPU is positive. The Ryzen 9 7900X’s price point is hard to justify, given the release of Intel’s extremely competitive Raptor Lake processors. 

AMD released the CPU at an MSRP of $549 – definitely high-end territory. You can find it today for closer to $500 at multiple online retailers. 

Thermals

The Ryzen 9 7900X is a relatively power-hungry processor, drawing in 170 watts of power while under full load.

This aggressive power usage means the CPU tends to run really hot. You’ll likely need a high-end thermal solution to go with the processor to prevent throttling. 

While this CPU is backward compatible with AM4 coolers, they likely won’t provide sufficient cooling. 

Compatibility

The Ryzen 9 7900X uses the new AM5 socket. It’s not compatible with the older AM4 sockets, so you’ll need a newer motherboard to upgrade. You will also need DDR5 memory. 

Coupled with the CPU’s high MSRP, this can end up costing you a fair dollar. 


Is the Ryzen 9 7900X overkill for gaming?

So, what’s the final verdict?

The Ryzen 9 7900X is a great CPU for gaming. However, if you aren’t looking to pair it up with a top-of-the-line GPU, it’s probably a little overkill – especially at a ~$500 price point.

It’s also not the most power-efficient processor, so if you’re looking for something more economical, you may want to go for the non-X version. The standard Ryzen 9 7900 is expected to address the price and efficiency complaints suffered by its namesake. Learn more about it here.

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