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AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D review: the new fastest gaming CPU

What difference does RAM speed make?

After taking a closer look at DDR4 versus DDR5 in analyses past, it's now time to focus entirely on DDR5. As with previous Ryzen 7000 and Intel 13th-gen reviews, we've tested all games at both 5200MT/s and 6000MT/s speeds, so you've already seen some examples of games that noticeably benefit from faster RAM (eg Cyberpunk 2077) and those that do not (eg Counter-Strike). However, it still makes sense to test a wider range of frequencies - plus one game that often shows the biggest gains from faster RAM.

So let's start with that new title: Ashes of the Singularity Escalation. This strategy title isn't a popular one these days, but it's still a well-architected DX12 game with a benchmark that greatly depends on CPU performance, with fast RAM typically offering a noticeable performance improvement.

And indeed, as on other Ryzen 7000 processors, we see a steady performance lead from using DDR5-6000 over DDR5-4800. It's an eight percent improvement for the 7950X3D, which is just a bit less than we saw on the 7950X - which grew 10 percent in the same comparison.

Ashes of the Singularity: CPU Test

Far Cry 6 is a game that is quite single-threaded, with a lot of processing limited to a single thread, so it's a good test of how faster RAM affects performance in this sort of a more thread-naïve title. And the results here are quite fascinating - we see a very small variation in average frame-rate, with the 5200MT/s run actually outperforming the 6000MT/s run by a tiny margin, but there's a noticeable improvement in worst-five-percent frame-rate as RAM speed increases.

Far Cry 6: Ultra, TAA

Crysis 3 Remastered's benchmark turns in very reliable and repeatable performance, making it a good choice for seeing even minor performance variations. Here, we get an extra 1.5 percent extra performance as we go from DDR5-4800 to DDR5-5200, and the same again as we go from DDR5-5200 to DDR5-6000. It's only a three percent advantage overall, but the worst-one-percent times improve a little faster, with a six percent edge from our lowest to highest RAM configuration.

Crysis 3 Remastered: Very High, RTX, DLSS Perf

So again, DDR5-6000 as an upgrade path proves highly situational, with some games where it is nearly worthwhile (Cyberpunk 2077, Ashes of the Singularity, Flight Simulator 2020), but many others where it's more or less irrelevant (Crysis 3 Remastered, Hitman 3, Metro Exodus EE, CS:GO). For that reason, our recommendation remains as it has been for our other Ryzen 7000 content: don't overpay for faster DDR5, put the money towards a better GPU or CPU instead as this will make a much bigger difference to your frame-rates. If you're already on flagship-grade hardware for CPU and GPU though, then you will see an additional performance edge from higher-spec DDR5.

AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D analysis

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About the Author
Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.

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