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AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Review: V-Cache Attack

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D is installed in the motherboard.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D

MSRP $700.00

“Gaming and Productivity – The Ryzen 9 7950X3D does it all, assuming you can afford its high price.”


  • The gaming performance tops the chart

  • More efficient than the basic Ryzen 9 7950X

  • Keep up with productivity performance

  • Open for overclocking


  • beloved

  • AM5 is still an expensive upgrade

After achieving a small victory, AMD took a back seat to the Intel Core i9-13900K in the list of the best processors. But AMD is looking to gain some ground on Team Blue, and it’s bringing in an extra cache this time around.

The Ryzen 9 7950X3D is a processor that wouldn’t have been possible just a year ago, as it promises to deliver not only excellent productivity performance, but also gaming performance thanks to AMD’s 3D V-Cache technology. It’s making progress on both fronts, but it’s also entering a market that has moved into lower prices, bringing the value ball back into Intel’s court.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Specifications

AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X3D inside its packaging.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The main difference between the Ryzen 9 7950X and its 3D stack counterpart is AMD’s 3D V-Cache. This processor comes with 128MB of L3 cache and 144MB of total cache – a whopping 80% jump over the base processor.

AMD stacks this cache on top of its Core Chiplet Die (CCD), like the earlier Ryzen 7 5800X3D, but this is where the Ryzen 9 7950X3D gets interesting. It has two CCDs, each with eight cores, and only one of them has an additional cache layer.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D Ryzen 9 7950X Ryzen 9 7900X3D Ryzen 9 7900X
cores/threads 16/32 16/32 12/24 12/24
Increase clock speed 5.7 GHz 5.7 GHz 5.6 GHz 5.6 GHz
Base clock speed 4.2 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.7 GHz
Cache (L2 + L3) 144 MB 80 MB 140 MB 76 MB
TDP 120 watts 170 watts 120 watts 170 watts
price $700 $590 (lowest) $600 $450 (lowest)

This hardware design is what makes the Ryzen 9 7950X3D possible in the first place. The processor communicates with the operating system to focus on the cache CCD for cache-sensitive tasks, and the non-cache CCD for frequency-sensitive tasks. It’s like a different approach to the Intel Core i9-12900K’s hybrid architecture and how it works with Thread Director.

It’s not free. You must have the latest chipset driver installed on your motherboard, as well as an updated version of the Xbox Game Bar. Optimization services rely on the Xbox Game Bar to notify the processor when you are playing a game through a global database. I didn’t run into any games not in the database during testing, but there’s still a counterintuitive problem here. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D may experience performance hitches in some games that are not in the database, as well as with other operating systems that don’t come with the necessary services to optimize their unique architecture.

Outside of the cache, AMD also lowered the base clock speed (but not the boost block speed), in addition to lowering the power. The latest revision comes on the heels of AMD’s non-X Ryzen 7000 chips like the Ryzen 5 7600, which showed much better efficiency with lower power limits.

test configurations

RTX 4080 in a running test rig.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

There is nothing very special about my test configurations. I benchmarked the Core i9-13900K, Ryzen 9 7950X, and of course the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, all with Nvidia’s RTX 4080 and 32B of DDR5-6000 memory. I’ve used different brands of memory – Corsair Vengeance for the Intel build and Gigabyte Aorus for the AMD – but they came with the same specs.

AMD Zen4 Intel thirteenth generation
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 7950X / AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Intel Core i9-12900 k
GPU Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition
RAM 32 GB Aorus DDR5-6000 32 GB Corsair Vengeance DDR5-6000
Motherboard Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master MSI MPG Z690 Edge
CPU cooler Corsair H150i Elite Capellix Corsair H150i Elite LCD
power supply Gigabyte Aorus P1200W Gigabyte Aorus P1200W
storage Corsair MP400 1TB SSD MSI M450 1TB

All three platforms were running the latest Windows 11 22H2 Update. The Ryzen 9 7950X3D got a few specific BIOS tweaks to ensure AMD’s 3D V-Cache optimizations were running, but other than that, ReBAR was running on all platforms, and XMP was tuned. or EXPO on the default profile, and overclocking is not enabled in the BIOS. AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) has been left off, but automatic overclocking is available on AMD chips if you want a hair’s worth of extra performance.

productivity performance

The big problem with AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D was that it was Just Good for games. I’ve struggled with standard productivity tasks, but the Ryzen 9 7950X3D’s unique design helps solve that problem. AMD wants to offer the best of both worlds, and in most cases, it does.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D AMD Ryzen 9 7950X Intel Core i9-13900 k
Cinebench R23 is multi-core 36335 38116 40191
Cinebench R23 single core 2,045 2,030 2,259
7-zip 224,446 MIPS 224,581 MIPS 175477
monster mixer 271.9 283.2 267.8
Junkshop mixer 172.1 175.4 139.9
Classroom mixer 133.4 139.9 125.7
Handbrake (seconds, less is better) 38 38 37
Jetstream 2 353.9 357.2 344.2
PugetBench for Photoshop 1,590 1,574 1,634
Multi-core Y-Cruncher (seconds, less is better) 8.87 9.26 9.93
Single-core Y-Cruncher (seconds, less is better) 77.19 77.11 89.19

It’s not one-on-one with the base Ryzen 9 7950X, though. Single-core speed is the same as in Cinebench, but multi-core processes such as Blender and a variety of Web applications tested through JetStream 2 are a little behind. Intel is still the leader in transcoding, as well as raw single-core speed, but the boosted cache in the Ryzen 9 7950X3D helps with tasks like computing the Pi through Y-Cruncher.

The biggest hope for the Ryzen 9 7950X3D is that it will hold up to the base Ryzen 9 7950X. And despite some small downgrades, it’s still a very powerful productivity processor. The main problem it has is the Core i9-13900K. AMD has claimed anywhere from a 4% to 52% lead in the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, but my benchmarks show most tasks closer to the 4% mark.

gaming performance

The bottom of the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Ryzen 9 7950X3D’s gaming performance proves more than ever that not all games are built equal. In cache-sensitive addresses such as Far Cry 6, The chip steps forward, but in more GPU-intensive games like Red Dead Redemption 2, The updated chip provides little benefit. The synthetic benchmarks actually show slight regressions.

I don’t want to distract from the point here; The Ryzen 9 7950X3D is the best gaming CPU you can buy right now, sometimes by a huge margin. But my results below are 1080p with high graphics settings, and most people who spend $700 on a CPU want to play in 4K with graphics overdone. Your GPU becomes the bottleneck in the vast majority of games at this high of a resolution, so keep that in mind when you look at my results.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D AMD Ryzen 9 7950X Intel Core i9-13900 k
F1 2022 379.8 fps 363.7 fps 368.2 fps
Far Cry 6 196.1 fps 156.8 fps 145.7 fps
Gears Tactics 273.5 fps 244.9 fps 255.3 fps
Hitman 3 (Dartmoor) 234.6 fps 197.4 fps 203.8 fps
Read Dead Redemption 2 164.8 fps 163.5 fps 162.7 fps
Time Spy CPU 16116 15,831 18,516
LeelaChessZero 643 643 652

There are still some big upsides to AMD’s latest 1080p processor. The Ryzen 9 7950X was a little behind Intel’s Core i9-13900K, but the updated version brings a solid 3% lead for AMD. Likewise, the Intel processor won in Gears Tactics And Hitman 3 Before, but now AMD has returned to first place with a difference of 7% and 15%, respectively.

Far Cry 6 is a very good example of how much 3D V-Cache can perform for the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. AMD has held the lead in this game before, but now the updated processor requires a 25% jump over the base Ryzen 9 7950X.

However, not everything is definitively a win-win. In the Time Spy synthetic CPU benchmark, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D shows only a slight gain over the base version, while Intel still holds the lead. In addition, Leela Chess Zero’s AI chess engine favored an Intel processor with a slightly increased clock speed.

Still, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D puts AMD back in the lead in gaming, even if the advantages would fall at higher resolutions. The big problem is that it’s at least $100 more expensive than the Core i9-13900K. While some titles show 15% lead to justify that price, there are plenty of games that are limited on the GPU (especially at 4K) where there are minimal differences, such as Red Dead Redemption 2.

Is the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D worth the candle?

AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X3D sitting in the box.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Between the AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D, Ryzen 9 7950X, and Intel’s Core i9-13900K, there isn’t a bad choice. All are excellent processors that excel in both gaming and productivity, but the Ryzen 9 7950X3D clearly takes the lead in gaming.

The trade-off comes in throughput performance, where the trade-off is the Ryzen 9 7950X and Core i9-13900K excel but the Ryzen 9 7950X3D lags a bit. For those willing to sacrifice a hair of gaming performance, the Core i9-13900K and Ryzen 9 7950X still offer a much better value, and are more powerful processors outside of gaming.

For the handful that need the best of both worlds, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D delivers. It is the fastest gaming processor on the market. It’s not quite as strong as its direct competition in productivity apps, but the regressions are small considering how powerful the chip is overall.

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