There’s a problem with those amazing Ryzen 7000 benchmarks

New benchmarks of the upcoming AMD Ryzen 9 7950X have just popped up, and to say they put the processor in a good light would be an understatement. The CPU absolutely smashed its predecessor and gained more than 40%.

While that sounds pretty amazing, it may not be entirely true. This is why it’s too early to get too excited.

[GB5 CPU] Unknown CPU
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 7950X (16C 32T)
Min/Max/Avg: 5640/5759/5733MHz
Code name: Raphael
CPUID: A60F12 (Authentic AMD)
Scores, vs AMD 5800X
Single: 2217, +28.3%
Multiple: 24396, +127.1%

— Benchleaks (@BenchLeaks) August 30, 2022

The score appeared on Benchleaks, teasing the performance of the Ryzen 9 7950X in Geekbench 5. The Zen 4 flagship CPU will arrive on September 27 with healthy 16 cores and 32 threads, as well as a 4.5GHz base clock that can be bumped up. as high as 5.7GHz. This clock speed is confirmed by the benchmark, where the processor reaches a maximum of 5.759 MHz. It was paired with 32GB of 6000MT/s DDR5 RAM and a high-end Asus ROG Crosshair X670 Extreme motherboard.

Geekbench 5’s scores are nothing short of impressive – the new Zen 4 processor scored 2,217 points in single-core operations and 24,396 in multi-core. Benchleaks compared these scores to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, and the multi-threaded gains are staggering: the Ryzen 9 7950X beats the Ryzen 7 5800X by 127%. But perhaps more telling are the scores Tom’s Hardware dug up that pits the Zen 4 CPU against its Zen 3 counterpart.

Comparing the Ryzen 9 7950X to the Ryzen 9 5950X also reveals huge gains. The Ryzen 7000 CPU beat its predecessor by 29% in single-core tasks and 43% in multi-core operations. These scores are undoubtedly impressive, but it’s too early to trust them completely. The reason behind that caution isn’t just the fact that this is a single early benchmark and we need to see a larger sample – the reason lies with Geekbench itself.

Geekbench 5 covers three different types of workloads in the total of 21 benchmarks it tests. These include integer, floating point, and cryptographic workloads. The latter are famously AVX intensive, and this is where Zen 4 gets an unexpected edge over Zen 3, as AMD equipped it with AVX-512. This is a fairly new instruction set added to modern CPUs, and it can have a big positive impact on cryptographic tasks. The Zen 3 processor does not have access to AVX-512, so its cryptographic performance was rated much lower.

Breaking down the scores into the three different types of workload reveals more reasonable profits. The Ryzen 9 7950X beat the 5950X in integer and floating point tests by 23% and 22% in single-core and 45% and 38% in multi-core, respectively. However, the cryptographic boost is much larger, reaching 70.5% in the single-threaded test and 55.7% in the multi-threaded test.

image: Nathan Drescher

What does this really mean? It means that the Geekbench 5 score may have gone too high due to the great performance of the AVX-512 instruction set. This in itself wouldn’t be a bad thing, as AMD added this as a new feature to the Ryzen 7000, but the problem is the adoption rate of this instruction set. It is not used by many apps, so only very specific software will benefit from this addition. On the other hand, integer and floating point workloads are much more widespread and will affect the performance of most users.

It’s too early to fully assess the performance of the upcoming AMD Ryzen 9 7950X. While this particular benchmark may not tell the full story, it still shows a huge boost compared to its predecessor; those integer and floating point scores need not be contested, and even on their own they are impressive. We’ve also seen similar results from another benchmark. As we get closer to the launch date, we’ll see more accurate benchmarks that tell us more.

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