AMD’s much anticipated Ryzen 7000 series was released on 27 September 2022, and although the new chips offer impressive performance gains, it’s been a slow start, with multiple retailers reporting underwhelming sales in the first few weeks. This isn’t hugely surprising, as there are a few things holding Zen 4 back–for now at least.
The current economic climate is hardly promising, with interest rates on the rise as the Federal Reserve remains aggressive in fighting record inflation levels. The demand for PCs has weakened considerably, which is bad news for AMD and Intel’s PC-chip sales
Also read: Best Gaming PC Builds 2022
Apart from the grim economic outlook, there is also the entry cost of AM5 to consider. AMD has finally retired AM4, so the Ryzen 7000 chips require a platform upgrade to AM5, which means a new 600 Series motherboard and DDR5 memory. Pricing on the X670 and X670E chipsets has been brutal, with the majority of boards on the wrong side of $300. But it’s not all doom and gloom, as the B650 and B650E chipsets have been released, and some of the lower-end models can be had for under $200 (if only just). On top of that, DDR5 is more affordable than ever and prices are expected to reach DDR4 levels in 2023. There are already some 32GB kits available for under $200, however the lower latency kits are still on the expensive side.
This brings us to the pricing on the actual Ryzen 7000 CPUs. Even though the MSRPs were more or less in line with Ryzen 5000, consumers were unimpressed with the overall AM5 platform cost. The release of Raptor Lake made things even worse, as Intel undercut AMD by a big margin. It didn’t take long for AMD to cut prices, and some of the Ryzen 7000 chips were marked down by over 30%.
With that in mind, let’s look at a few AM5 combos.
Budget AM5 combo: $669
Ryzen 5 7600X ($249) + Gigabyte B650 Aorus Elite ($230) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB 6000MHz C36 ($190)
Mid-End AM5 combo: $922
Ryzen 9 7900X ($440) + ASRock X670E PG Lightning ($292) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB 6000MHz C36 ($209)
High-End AM5 Combo: $1121
Ryzen 9 7950X ($550) + ASRock X670E Steel Legend ($300) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB 6000MHz C30 ($267)
*Amazon prices valid on 2022/11/25
Even with the Ryzen 7000 discounts, the list doesn’t make for pretty reading and explains why AM5 has been so slow out of the blocks. The Ryzen 9 7950X has been the highest selling Zen 4 part, and it’s been mainly high-end consumers jumping on the early AM5 bandwagon.
For most AM4 users, a platform upgrade is overkill–even more so when you look at the Ryzen 7 5800X3D as an alternative. This beastly CPU will slot into existing AM4 motherboards and is highly competitive with the new Zen 4 chips in gaming, even hitting higher FPS in some titles. The Ryzen 9 7950X does make a strong case for productivity-focused users, but for gamers the 5800X3D is a much more enticing prospect, and AMD has cut the price to $329 on their official US store. Even though AM4 is a bit long in the tooth, it will remain relevant for some time to come as DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 adoption will take time.
New PC builders will also be tempted by AM4, as Ryzen 5000 prices have dropped considerably. Apart from the 5800X3D, the 5600X is available at only $160 and the 5800X can be had for $234. Add in the fact that the 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.
These AM4 combos make for better reading:
*Amazon and Newegg prices valid on 2022/11/25
Then of course there is Raptor Lake. Even though AMD’s price cuts have made it more competitive, Intel still has the edge in most matchups.
Despite the economic slowdown, things look promising from a consumer perspective: most GPUs are back at MSRP, and DDR5 and SSD prices are steadily declining. But you may just want to wait a little bit longer, as AM5 is still dealing with some early-adoption tax. Unless you have cash to burn, early to mid-2023 might be a good time to pull the trigger on AM5. We should eventually see widespread adoption of AM5–just not yet.