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AMD is apparently considering increasing the thermal design power (TDP) of its upcoming Ryzen 7 9700X Zen 5 CPU from 65W to 120W, in order to ensure it can outperform the Ryzen 7 7800X3D in games. This significant jump in peak power consumption could allow the chip to increase its clock speed further, potentially pushing its performance just that little bit ahead of the older chip.

With the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D continuing to be the single best gaming CPU you can buy right now, thanks to its extra L3 cache chip (the X3D bit), AMD had previously stated that it expects this chip to remain the champion for gaming until an X3D version of the 9700X is produced. However, this latest rumor suggests the company is suddenly a bit paranoid that this situation will put people off buying its new 9000-series CPUs.

According to tech site WCCFTech, via an unspecified source, AMD has apparently talked to its motherboard and other product partners about this possible spec change, with the swap from a 65W to 120W TDP mentioned but no further specifics about the situation detailed.

As such, we can only speculate on exactly how this might change the new chip. As the situation currently stands, the 9700X is an eight-core chip (able to process 16 threads at once) that sits in the middle of AMD’s Zen 5 CPU stack, with the 16-core, Ryzen 9 9950X at the top and the six-core, Ryzen 5 9600X at the bottom. The 9700X is the most direct upgrade to the 7700X and Ryzen 7 7800X3D in terms of core count.

The chip is currently set to run with a base clock speed of 3.8GHz and boost up to 5.5GHz. This compares to a base clock of 4.5GHz and boost clock of 5.4GHz for the 7700X, and a base clock of 4.2GHz and boost clock of just 5GHz for the 7800X3D. As such, the 9700X is already scheduled to run at a higher peak clock speed than the older chips, but if AMD can squeeze a few more 100MHz out of it then this could make all the difference.

Alternatively, AMD could be concerned about the relatively low base clock. If AMD has been conservative with how the CPU boosts its clock speed in certain workloads, the CPU may not hit its peak boost clock speed in games. By upping the TDP, it could open up more room for the whole chip to run at clock speeds closer to that peak boost clock.

Whatever the situation, it could make for a very interesting time ahead for AMD CPU buyers. Ultimately, the 7800X3D simply remains an excellent CPU for gaming but if the 9700X does even just match it then it should be a tempting option as it will likely have better performance in other areas.

Meanwhile, we’re also expecting AMD to release its Ryzen 9000X3D series later this year, which would push gaming performance to a new level. Either way, it looks as though there will be multiple great gaming CPU options coming your way over the next six months.

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