AM5 Is Finally Becoming Affordable

AMD’s much anticipated Ryzen 7000 series was released on 27 September 2022, followed by the non-X chips at the beginning of 2023. We also saw the launch of the gaming-focused 7000X3D series. Despite a slow start, things are beginning to look promising for Team Green’s AM5 platform.

Ryzen 7000 offered impressive generational performance gains, but consumers weren’t particularly happy with pricing, exacerbated by the fact that it required a full-fledged platform upgrade to AM5, meaning a new motherboard and DDR5 RAM was mandatory. Pricing on the X670 and X670E chipsets was brutal with the majority of boards on the wrong side of $300, and DDR5 still carried some early-adopters tax. It probably wasn’t the greatest time for a release either, as consumers were still generally disgruntled by inflated GPU prices and corporate greed.

Also read: Best Gaming PC Builds 2023

Since then the situation has improved. AMD are offering meaty discounts on Ryzen 7000 and the more affordable non-X Ryzen 7000 chips have been released. Additionally, DDR5 prices have steadily declined and B650 motherboards are finally becoming (somewhat) affordable.

The current pricing on Ryzen 7000 looks very healthy, softening the blow of a full platform upgrade (MSRP vs current price).

AMD Ryzen 7000
Ryzen 9 7950X: $699 $581
Ryzen 9 7900X: $549 $419
Ryzen 7 7700X: $399 $344
Ryzen 5 7600X: $299 $249

The non-X chips should look better once AMD start offering bigger discounts.

AMD Ryzen 7000 non-X
Ryzen 9 7900: $429 $419
Ryzen 7 7700: $329 $319
Ryzen 5 7600: $229 $219

The 7800X3D is the standout offering in the 3D series, offering cutting edge gaming performance.

AMD Ryzen 7000X3D
Ryzen 9 7950X3D: $699
Ryzen 9 7900X3D: $599 $579
Ryzen 7 7800X3D: $449

With that in mind, let’s look at a few AM5 combos.

Budget AM5 combo: $594
Ryzen 5 7600X ($249) + Gigabyte B650 Aorus Elite ($220) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C36 ($125)

Mid-End AM5 combo: $859
Ryzen 7 7800X3D ($449) + ASRock X670E PG Lightning ($260) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($150)

High-End AM5 Combo: $1066
Ryzen 9 7950X ($581) + Asus Prime X670E-Pro Wifi ($335) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($150)

The biggest culprit here is motherboard prices, but the overall cost looks a lot better than when Ryzen 7000 was released. Considering the platform is supported until 2025, it makes a strong case for new PC builders, but what about AM4 users considering an upgrade?

At current prices, a platform upgrade still seems like overkill–even more so when you look at users running the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. This beastly CPU isn’t much slower than Zen 4 in gaming, although it is comfortably beaten by the 7000X3D chips. Nonetheless it remains a very strong gaming chip in 2023, and upgrading to something like a 7800X3D would be more of a luxury than a necessity. The Ryzen 9 7950X does make a strong case for productivity-focused users, offering a chunky performance increase of 30% over the 5950X (at the expense of higher power draw), however the 5950X is still a capable CPU and most users don’t need the extra performance yet.

Upgrading to something like a 7800X3D would be more of a luxury than a necessity

With AMD frantically trying to clear old inventory, even new PC builders will be tempted by AM4. The 5600X is available at only $153 and the 5800X can be had for $242, while the 5800X3D is an absolute steal at $326. Add in the fact that 500 Series motherboards are super affordable, and an AM4 combo looks very attractive. The main caveat is you’re building on a retired platform so upgrade options will be limited down the road: no drop-in CPU upgrades and no DDR5. With that said, AM4 is still very capable in modern-day gaming and productivity workloads, and will remain viable for years to come. We come to the same conclusion: Ryzen 7000 is more of a luxury than a necessity, with the exception of very–and I mean very–demanding users.

These AM4 combos make for better reading:

Budget AM4 combo: $328
Ryzen 5 5600X ($153) + MSI B550 Gaming Gen3 ($110) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 3200MHz C16 ($65)

Mid-End AM4 combo: $600
Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($326) + MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk ($170) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600MHz C18 ($104)

High-End AM4 Combo: $755
Ryzen 9 5950X ($481) + Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus ($170) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600MHz C18 ($104)

Then of course there is Raptor Lake. AMD’s price cuts have made some Ryzen 7000 SKUs more competitive, but Intel still has the edge in most matchups.

Despite the economic slowdown, things look promising from a consumer perspective: Intel and AMD are trying to undercut each other, while most GPUs are back at MSRP and DDR5 prices are steadily declining. AM5 is becoming more and more affordable, and it’s not the worst time ever to pull the trigger, but it would be wise to wait just a little longer. We could see some terrific specials on Black Friday 2023.

*All prices valid on 21 April 2023


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