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AMD Ryzen 7 7700X vs Intel Core i7-12700K: Which is the Better CPU?

After being ignored last gen, AMD has brought back the budget Ryzen 7 SKU for the budget CPU market with Zen 4. The Ryzen 7 7700X features eight cores (sixteen threads) with a base clock of 4.5GHz and a boost of 5.4GHz. It comes with 40MB of L3 cache and a TDP of 105W paired with a price tag of $399. That is $50 less than the 5800X but substantially higher than the 3700X’s launch price of $329.

Test Bench

  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 3080 Ti | Radeon RX 6800 XT.
  • Motherboard: MSI MEG X670E ACE | ASUS TUF Z690 Plus D4.
  • Memory: Kingston Fury Beast 16GB x2 @ 6000MT/s.
  • Fabric Clock: 3000MT/s.
  • PSU: ROG Thor 1000W Platinum II.
  • CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X72.

Ryzen 7 7700X vs. Core i7-12700K: Gaming Benchmarks

The Ryzen 7 7700X is a capable gaming chip, courtesy of its high boost clocks and potent single-threaded performance. The tests were usually conducted at 1080p with all graphics settings, including ray-tracing maxed out. To remove any possible CPU bottlenecks, FSR 1.0 (Performance Mode) was enabled wherever available:

Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla produces strange results. With the Radeon RX 6800 XT, the Ryzen 7 7700X and the Core i7-12700K offer roughly the same performance. However, when paired with the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti, the Ryzen 7 7700X is over 30% faster than the 12700K despite both exhibiting lower performance overall.

As seen with the Ryzen 9 7900X, the performance uplifts are primarily localized to ray-traced titles with excess CPU draw calls. The Ryzen 7 7700X still ends up being the fastest chip on the block with an average lead of around 20-25% in ray-traced games.

Hitman 3 favors the Raphael lineup through and through, as indicated by the above graph. I’m guessing this results from the heavy load on the ray-tracing pipeline, which usually limits the performance. Zen 4 alleviates this CPU bottleneck if not eliminates it, explaining the unusual gains.

Content Creation and Productivity

The Intel Core i7-12700K, despite being a 12-core part (8P + 4E), faces a complete defeat even in heavily threaded workloads like rendering, encoding, compression, and decompression:

In Blender and V-Ray, the Ryzen 7 7700X registers a narrow but decisive win over the Core i7-12700K.

POV-Ray is one of the only benchmarks out of twenty-something we conducted where the Core i7-12700K ekes out a win.

Everyday workloads like 7-Zip compression/decompression and x265 encoding (not-so-mundane) heavily favor the Ryzen 7 7700X. In 7-Zip LZMA compression, it beats the Core i7-12700K by a massive lead of almost 3x. Decompression leads to a less depressing result for the Intel part, with a deficit of over 30%. Media encoding (x265) using Handbrake produces similar results as the 7700X finishing nearly a minute earlier.

Conclusion: Not All Cores Are Made Equal

The AMD Ryzen 7 7700X wins in every game we tested (not a surprise) and in most content creation and productivity workloads, something I didn’t expect. The lower core count on the Zen 4 part doesn’t hinder its performance even in multi-threaded workloads, effectively neutering Alder Lake’s Gracemont cores. However, the premise may change soon enough. With Raptor Lake on the horizon with twice as many E-cores, Raphael will almost certainly fall behind in this department.

Areej

Computer hardware enthusiast, PC gamer, and almost an engineer. Former co-founder of Techquila (2017-2019), a fairly successful tech outlet. Been working on Hardware Times since 2019, an outlet dedicated to computer hardware and its applications.