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. 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 the effects of COVID-19 still lingering. We’ve seen record inflation levels around the world, forcing central banks like the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank to hike interest rates. The Fed’s latest 50-basis-point increase has pushed the lending rate to its highest level in 15 years. AMD and Intel’s PC-chip sales have suffered due to falling demand and consumers having less disposable income.
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.
That brings us to the pricing on the actual Ryzen 7000 CPUs. Although the MSRPs were comparable to Ryzen 5000, the AM5 platform cost remained high. 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 respond, and some of the Ryzen 7000 chips were marked down by over 30% during the 2022 festive season. Looking at current prices, the Ryzen 9 7950X is the standout deal at $569.
AMD Ryzen 7000
–Ryzen 9 7950X:
–Ryzen 9 7900X:
–Ryzen 7 7700X:
–Ryzen 5 7600X:
With that in mind, let’s look at a few AM5 combos.
Budget AM5 combo: $691
Ryzen 5 7600X ($288) + Gigabyte B650 Aorus Elite ($230) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C36 ($173)
Mid-End AM5 combo: $995
Ryzen 9 7900X ($530) + ASRock X670E PG Lightning ($260) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($205)
High-End AM5 Combo: $1124
Ryzen 9 7950X ($569) + Asus Prime X670E-Pro Wifi ($350) + G.Skill Trident Z5 Neo RGB Series 32GB DDR5 6000MHz C30 ($205)
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 we’ve seen 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 cut the price to $329 on their official US store. Retailers like Amazon and Newegg followed suit with markdowns of their own.
It’s not only the 5800X3D; all Ryzen 5000 CPUs are dirt cheap as AMD tries to clear inventory. This means even new PC builders will be tempted by AM4. The 5600X is available at only $194 and the 5800X can be had for $295. 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.
Even though Ryzen 7000 offers an impressive generational uplift of over 30%, the upgrade cost from AM4 to AM5 is just too steep at the moment.
These AM4 combos make for better reading:
Budget AM4 combo: $377
Ryzen 5 5600X ($194) + MSI B550 Gaming Gen3 ($120) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 16GB DDR4 3200MHz C16 ($63)
Mid-End AM4 combo: $642
Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($357) + MSI MAG B550 Tomahawk ($170) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600MHz C18 ($115)
High-End AM4 Combo: $811
Ryzen 9 5950X ($552) + Asus AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus ($210) + Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 32GB DDR4 3600MHz C18 ($115)
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. But you may just want to wait a little bit longer, and early to mid-2023 might be a good time to pull the trigger on AM5.
*All prices in the article were valid on 2022/01/09
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