The Ryzen 9700X is a key mid-range CPU for AMD’s next-gen chips – and it might be getting a lot more powerful for PC gaming

(Image credit: MSI)

If the rumor mill is correct, AMD might just pep up its Ryzen 7 9700X, which will be a workhorse mid-range processor for the next-gen Zen 5 range.

With this one you need to understand a brief bit of background, namely that recently, AMD admitted that Ryzen 9000 models won’t be the fastest gaming chips around, as while they’ll outperform Intel, they’ll still lag behind current-gen 7000X3D – at least for gaming. And specifically, the 9700X was mentioned by the AMD exec who gave the interview, in terms of the Ryzen 7800X3D being faster than the 9700X.

According to information from sources that Wccftech has spoken to (sprinkle that seasoning, and don’t be stingy either) AMD has issued an update to partners – presumably based, at least partly, on some of the disappointed reactions to the above statement – to the effect that the 9700X could have its power usage cranked up considerably.

We’re apparently talking about the TDP being set at 120W, rather than 65W (as announced earlier this month), which is almost double. And, of course, the power usage is directly related to performance (clock speeds), so this would mean a considerably faster 9700X than we were expecting – and doubtless a chip that leaves the aforementioned current-gen 7800X3D in its rearview mirror.

Analysis: Late game gamble from Team Red?

Such a drastic change seems unlikely at this stage of the game, with the release of AMD’s Ryzen 9000 processors coming next month – the rumor mill believes they’ll land at the end of July.

With just a month to go, a near doubling of TDP seems like quite the risk to run. Remember, a much greater level of power usage won’t just affect performance, but also the processor’s thermals and other design considerations which have – you’d very much hope – been finely balanced and tuned throughout the lengthy development process of Zen 5 desktop silicon.

A sudden declaration, in the face of some negative reaction, amounting to, “Oh wait, let’s just double the TDP,” makes AMD look kind of desperate, let’s be honest, or even clueless arguably.

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Still, we can entertain the possibility that AMD is considering ramping up the TDP of this mid-range CPU to some extent, certainly. After all, the 9700X has been considerably tamed by AMD, dropping to that 65W TDP from the 105W of its predecessor, the 7700X – and to achieve that the base clock has been reduced by a rather large 700MHz (from 4.5GHz with its predecessor to 3.8GHz).

So, for Team Red to readjust so the picture looks more like the 7700X in terms of power chugged and clock speed seems more reasonable, to mitigate any PR damage caused by the previous admission relating to the 9700X’s gaming chops.

We won’t have long to find out, and it’ll be interesting to see if AMD does indeed move to boost TDP with a key mid-range part here.

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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel – ‘I Know What You Did Last Supper’ – was published by Hachette UK in 2013).

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