AMD 7950X3D: Performance, current buying tips and CPU basic knowledge

Here is a Ryzen 7 2700X in a mainboard socket.

A new AMD processor has been on the market since the middle of the week, which, like the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, has a slightly different structure in which the components of the CPU can communicate three-dimensionally in the truest sense of the word. This provides a small boost in efficiency and the suffix 3D after the X of the model numbers for the already mentioned Ryzen 7 5800X3D (socket AM4) and the new socket AM5-CPU Ryzen 9 7950X3D that has now been released. There is also the new Ryzen 9 7900X3D, for which there are hardly any tests. For the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, on the other hand, there are already some tests of the processor, also with regard to games. We classify the performance of the new CPU, trying to derive the performance of the Ryzen 9 7900X3D, which has not yet been tested. Of course, we also recommend other CPUs in the end, from all classes starting at 105 euros. Because we have subjected all relevant gaming CPUs from the Core i3-12100F to the Ryzen 9 7950X3D to a current price-performance check.

Sockets and CPU families

We start with some knowledge tips that should make it easier for you to choose a CPU. The first topic is the sockets of or rather for CPUs. Each CPU has a number of pins on the underside for communication with the mainboard, which also determine which mainboards it fits on. Mainboards have a socket as a holder into which the CPU is inserted and then fixed.

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One speaks (as with the mainboard) of the fact that a CPU “has” a socket. So that you only install CPUs that technically fit the mainboard, there are different sockets that also have different numbers of contact points for the CPU.

From a purely mechanical point of view, wrong CPUs don’t fit into unsuitable mainboards unless you use force. So even a bad buy would not be a broken leg.

Here is a Ryzen 7 2700X in a mainboard socket.
Source: gigabytes

If you have a specific CPU in mind, select a motherboard that has the same socket type. CPUs and mainboards are sorted accordingly on price comparison websites and in shops. AMD sockets AM4 and AM5 and Intel sockets 1200 and 1700 are currently the measure of all things for gaming PCs.

The recommended Ryzen 5000 CPUs have the AM4 socket, the newer 7000 CPUs have the AM5 socket. At Intel, the Core i CPUs of the 10000 and 11000 series for Socket 1200 are suitable for price-conscious gamers, and the Core i 12000 and 13000 CPUs for Socket 1700 are suitable for more ambitious gamers.

At Intel, there are important abbreviations for the CPUs: an F means that the CPU has no IGP (internal graphics unit), for example the Core i5-11400F. This is irrelevant for gaming PCs, since a separate graphics card is used. In addition, K (as well as a KS for two special models) stands for a freely adjustable multiplier – only these models can be overclocked in a meaningful way.

So a KF means that it is an overclockable CPU without IGP. An example: the Core i7-12700K with IGP and the Core i7-12700KF without IGP.

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motherboards and chipsets

Mainboard chipsets are chips and components that represent a kind of basic equipment and at the same time determine compatibility with CPUs. Each chipset is only available for a specific socket type.

For AMD Socket AM4, these are the chipsets with the letters A, B, and X, as well as 300, 400, and 500 model numbers like the B550 or X570. The newer AM5 socket has so far had the four chipsets B650, B650E, X670 and X670E. It’s similar with Intel, which is why there is a risk of confusion and you should pay even more attention to the socket.

With Socket 1200 there are 400 and 500 chipsets, for example B560 or Z490. With Socket 1700, there are 600 and 700 chipsets such as the H670, B660, Z690 or Z790. Especially with Intel, only the Z chipsets are suitable for sensible overclocking of CPUs, whereby the CPU must also be a K model. In general, the higher the model number, the newer the chipset family.