AMD Ryzen 7000 is off to a slow start, Zen 4 sales are not good

Scorpus

Posts: 2,103   +236
Staff member
The big picture: As you know, AMD launched their new Zen 4, Ryzen 7000 processors about two weeks ago now and hopefully you've all seen our reviews of the four models. There are a number of strengths to these new parts, including performance -- however, AMD is facing a bit of a hurdle since their introduction, and that is convincing people to actually buy them.

We've heard from multiple sources that sales for Zen 4 processors are weaker than expected, even factoring in current market conditions, so let's talk about that and why this might be occurring.

AMD processors remain very popular and continue to outsell Intel equivalents in the enthusiast DIY market. It's estimated AMD currently has a ~70% share of desktop CPU sales with some variation depending on the source you look at, however the vast majority of these parts, even in the days after AMD's Zen 4 launch are for older AM4 processors.

One excellent source is TechEpiphany on Twitter, who catalogues the sales volumes of AMD parts from Mindfactory, and while the data is strong for AMD as a whole, it's not great for AM5. In launch week, 78% of AMD sales were for AM4 parts, and in the week following, that increased to 94%. While these figures for AM5 are better than what Intel achieved for their Alder Lake launch last year, AM5 sales are slow compared to the previous Zen launches.

One retailer that we spoke to said that comparing 7000 series to 5000 series, it feels like it will take them months to sell the volumes of Zen 4 chips they sold in just a few hours at the Zen 3 launch.

Across all the retailers, we've been told the Ryzen 9 7950X is comfortably the highest selling part, followed by the 7700X, with much weaker sales for the other two models. We've been told the launch is "top heavy," meaning that buyers of AM5 are largely interested in premium high-end builds rather than budget models. This contrasts to a typical launch and typical CPU sales, where budget and mainstream offerings are usually the most popular by a substantial margin. Words we heard to describe the launch include things like "disappointing" and "slow."

Another reliable indicator for CPU sales is Amazon's best selling processors list where we observe the same theme: a domination by AMD, but unimpressive results for Zen 4. The top selling Zen 4 part right now is the 7950X in 18th position, behind the 5950X and several Intel parts including the 12700KF and 12900K. No other Zen 4 part ranks in the top 30. For a period last week Microcenter were offering free DDR5 memory kits with the purchase of some Zen 4 CPUs.

But why are sales worse than expected?

Global recession and strong AM4

One key factor is the economic climate worldwide. We are in a recession, which is weakening demand for PC hardware substantially. One retailer we spoke to was keen to stress that while Zen 4 CPU sales are weaker than expected, even in the current climate, the entire business right now was slower than normal for this time of year.

AMD was feeling the pinch before the launch of Zen 4. They missed their revenue guidance for Q3 by $1 billion, a big number, as client revenue was down 40% year on year. This was a standout number in their report given that datacenter sales and gaming sales were both up year on year, and at worst flat compared to last quarter. There isn't a strong demand for consumer CPUs at the moment.

But that's not the entire story. Another factor to consider is the strength of the AM4 platform and its longevity. A significant portion of desktop PC owners have an AM4 system, so after years of strong sales for Zen processors, many of these owners have built systems primarily with gaming in mind.

As discussed in our Zen 4 reviews, these new Ryzen 7000 parts don't present a strong value proposition to existing AM4 owners – the cost to switch platforms is high, and the level of performance on offer for gaming isn't all that different to the AM4-compatible Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

Unless you wanted to future proof your system for some reason, there's no compelling reason to buy Zen 4 over the 5800X3D that would be drop-in compatible with any AM4 motherboard you might already own.

This leads to a situation where Zen 4 is targeting a smaller potential customer base than with previous Zen releases. Gamers would only consider Zen 4 if they were coming from an older platform, largely Intel platforms in that case, or possibly first or second gen Ryzen if they wanted to go super high end and ensure future proofing. The other main target is people building an entirely new system where you're not thinking about what hardware you have right now. And then, of course, there's the small market of premium shoppers that must have the best hardware -- or are interested in a system that's primarily for productivity workloads, in which case the Ryzen 9 7950X is an excellent choice.

With AMD targeting high-end shoppers, it's not a huge surprise that Zen 4 hasn't captured the attention of those that would normally spend ~$200 on their CPU -- even without factoring in the AM5 platform upgrade costs. The Ryzen 5 7600X doesn't come close to tickling the interest of budget builders, it's worse value than the Ryzen 5 5600X right now, which can be had for less than $200, not to mention the 5600 non-X chip which is just $160. Put simply, the Ryzen 5 7600X is too expensive for a typical "mainstream" Ryzen 5 option. Pretty much the entire line-up is too expensive to consider for a typical gamer, which are most DIY PC builders.

Motherboard pricing is insane

A bigger issue than the price of the CPUs and perhaps a driving factor to poor AM5 sales is the cost of the motherboards. In my opinion, the pricing for X670 series motherboards is pretty outrageous. The cheapest board available and the only board below $250 after factoring in rebates is the ASRock X670E PG Lightning, and there are only four other boards priced below $300 (one from each main motherboard brand).

Out of 23 boards listed on Newegg, only five are priced below $300. The majority of motherboard sales -- and pretty much all the top sellers on Amazon -- are motherboards priced below $200. There isn't a single board right now in that price category for Zen 4 buyers, which is a big barrier of entry. This means the absolute cheapest AM5 CPU plus motherboard combination costs $550, not including DDR5 memory. That's a tough ask for someone with an existing gaming PC, when the 5800X3D (a potential drop-in upgrade) is just $420.

The average asking price for an AM5 motherboard on Newegg is $506, with a median of $470. Crazy stuff. We know there are a few "whale" motherboards in there for stupidly expensive builds (e.g. the MSI Godlike and Asus Crosshair Extreme), but the obsession with motherboards above $450 is concerning. Asus has seven boards priced at or above $450, compared to just four below that. MSI has three above $450, and one below. Gigabyte two above and one below. Only Asrock has more boards in the lower price segment.

A CPU launch requiring a new platform simply isn't going to be successful when most available motherboards are that expensive. AMD B650 and B650E boards can't arrive fast enough, with many models just hitting store shelves as we are writing this, hopefully offering great options below $200, and let's be honest the features of these boards will be more than sufficient for most buyers.

X670 does offer more I/O connectivity, including more PCIe lanes, more USB ports and more SATA ports, however B650 in particular B650E still offers PCIe 5.0 support and plenty of connectivity for the average user. In many ways, these X670 boards are designed as workstation, near-HEDT replacement boards that are overkill for most users, so we think if AMD wanted a better initial reception for AM5 then they probably needed to make the B series available simultaneously with the X series to cater for a wider variety of buyers.

Intel 13th-gen Core is coming

We should note, what we've heard from board partners is that AM5 is simply an expensive platform and Intel will have the price advantage for motherboards this generation, even when talking about Z790 options. In fact, Intel's Z790 is available to pre-order ahead of its October 20th launch, and what we find in comparison to AM5 is interesting.

Of the 29 listed Intel Z790 boards, the average price is $323 with a median of $290, including 16 boards priced below $300 and 11 below $250 -- although Asrock dominates with 7 options. Intel has the advantage of offering a DDR4 platform, so typically the cheaper boards are DDR4, but even when directly comparing DDR5 models to AM5, on five occasions we spotted an equivalent Z790 board that was $30 cheaper or more. On another six occasions pricing was similar, though five of these were priced above $450 for either. This doesn't factor in the availability of Z690 either, which is compatible with upcoming Raptor Lake CPUs.

There doesn't appear to be a good reason why X670 is more expensive, at least that we could uncover. Both X670 and Z790 have big VRMs, support PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 plus heaps of enthusiast-grade features, so there's no obvious extra that makes the AM5 platform more costly. New standards like PCIe 5.0 do require better signalling, which in turn make them more expensive to make, but that applies to both motherboard types, and it seems on the AMD side they're just charging more.

It's also hard to gauge how many prospective buyers are waiting to see how Intel's 13th-gen CPUs perform before making a purchase. This is the sensible move, but not everyone chooses to do so and I would imagine some buyers jumped on the 5800X3D after seeing our Zen 4 results if they already had an AM4 motherboard.

For those who are waiting, when Intel announced Raptor Lake a week or so ago, they claimed a 15% gain in single-thread applications and a 41% gain in multi-thread performance compared to their previous-gen Alder Lake processors. This comes from an increase in frequency, up to 5.8 GHz with the Core i9-13900K and 6.0 GHz on the way with a future processor, plus more cache and more E cores across the line.

The top model now has 24 cores, 8 P and 16 E, so double the E cores, while the Core i7 and Core i5 models go from 4 to 8 E cores. Pricing for these K models should be a little more expensive than some of AMD's line-up, with the Core i5-13600KF tray price starting at $294, retail price will probably be a tad above $300. The 13700KF should come in around $400, and the flagship Core i9 should end up around $600, slotting between the 7900X and 7950X.

While these are first-party benchmarks that should be taken with a grain of salt, Intel is claiming a modest gaming performance uplift over the 12900K, which is already quite competitive with Zen 4. Intel then showed a bizarre chart with misleading lines instead of bars for AMD's fastest chip, the 5800X3D, but either way Intel is suggesting the 13900K will come on top, mostly.

We'll have to wait and see how that plays out in real-world benchmarks, but there's a good reason to wait on buying Zen 4 until we see those results in a few weeks' time.

The question at the end of the day is whether AMD had a successful Zen 4 launch or a poor one, or maybe something in-between. It appears AMD's strategy was to aim for the high-end considering CPU pricing and X670-only platform availability. Considering sales of Ryzen 5000 parts are still strong, we don't think AMD should be too annoyed. Zen 4 sales do appear to be weaker than expected though, and some of the decisions AMD made to focus on the high-end seem to have contributed to that.

If Zen 4 is to be successful, it's clear that motherboard pricing needs to improve. Few people are going to want to jump into an all-new platform while spending $300+ on a motherboard. AM5 desperately needs sub-$200 options, so we're glad B650 is now arriving and not months later as we've seen with a few previous releases. DDR5 pricing is still higher than DDR4, but that's not as significant of an issue in my opinion.

Eventually, more affordable Zen 4 options will help and that's something we've mentioned in both Zen 4 and Zen 3 launch reviews as the cheapest option at $300 is not ideal. If AMD needs to convince buyers to transition over to AM5, the way to do that is to make people think hard about going for the 5800X3D or jump over to Zen 4 -- right now that decision is very easy in favor of Zen 3 V-Cache, or budget Zen 3 parts.

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nodfor

Posts: 333   +607
That was to be expected. Like I said in an older article about this launch, raising pricing during a recession, well that will go well :D

The prices of the cpu themselves were already high and the new motherboard +ddr5 cost, well excessive.

I really don't know what they are thinking over there - maybe both AMD and AIBs got a good taste of profits during the mining season and know they just want a last sip from early adopters? Prices for the cpu at least here (GR) are already below MSRP though

Maybe AIBs are just trying to cope with running the new cpus at stock, which is a bit harder with the way these cpus boost (which was a correct change IMO)
You reviewers as well shouldn't judge too harshly a board that will throttle 7950X if the price for the board is decent.
 

takaozo

Posts: 501   +802
This will be the case with all new stuff this time: Intel Arc and 13 gen, AMD 7000 both CPU and GPU and Nvidia 4000 . All will have low sales for new gen no matter what they do. The market it's saturated and feed up with last two years. Also last gen it's not garbage compared to new one, people will hold them longer.

We all should wait buying new stuff for at least 5-6 months, after 3-4 quarters of low sales they would reconsider their strategy and adjust prices accordingly.

This winter will be a bad time for Europe with energy prices.
 

inhility

Posts: 34   +56
I had been using very old Intel 6600K, waiting for Zen 4 before upgrading but once all the news and then reviews were out, I changed my mind and grabbed 5600 + some cheap AM4 mobo along with fastest NVME currently available and a new GPU.

I game at 1440p and the new setup more than fulfills my need while costing like 1/3 of what it would have taken me to 'upgrade' to AM5 platform. I'm probably only upgrading again near the end of AM5 life now and only if they're cheap enough.

Also 5600 Eco Mode at 45W has some stupid good efficiency.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,320   +2,149
Very expensive for most people to change mobo and memory. Bad decisions in AMD, specially the DDR5 only condition. Even I myself with deep pockets don't want to go through the hassle of changing mobo and memory to get 25% more performance. A lot of effort for so little.
 

fps4ever

Posts: 1,105   +1,799
I haven't been following the Zen 4 launch closely. Is it because the cpu prices are to high, or the combo price of the new setups? I know they run hot but that is the new norm for all high end cpu's now.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,932   +6,923
I haven't been following the Zen 4 launch closely. Is it because the cpu prices are to high, or the combo price of the new setups? I know they run hot but that is the new norm for all high end cpu's now.
There's a new article on Techspot that explains it:

https://www.techspot.com/news/96289-amd-ryzen-7000-off-slow-start-zen-4.html

I had been using very old Intel 6600K, waiting for Zen 4 before upgrading but once all the news and then reviews were out, I changed my mind and grabbed 5600 + some cheap AM4 mobo along with fastest NVME currently available and a new GPU.

I game at 1440p and the new setup more than fulfills my need while costing like 1/3 of what it would have taken me to 'upgrade' to AM5 platform. I'm probably only upgrading again near the end of AM5 life now and only if they're cheap enough.

Also 5600 Eco Mode at 45W has some stupid good efficiency.
After seeing the prices of the 7000 series, and the 600 series boards, I'm tempted to do the same, grab an A520 board for my media PC, and just upgrade it with older parts. I dont really want to pay $1000 for entry level AM5.
 

Arcmanov

Posts: 11   +15
The gains just aren't there (especially at 1440p) to justify the ludicrous pricing, combined with the maturity of the AM4 platform being so good.....so it isn't that surprising that AM5 parts just aren't selling.

Gamers on a solid AM4 setup have zero incentive to spend that kind of money...it's just that simple.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,949   +4,993
TechSpot Elite
The gains just aren't there (especially at 1440p) to justify the ludicrous pricing, combined with the maturity of the AM4 platform being so good.....so it isn't that surprising that AM5 parts just aren't selling.

Gamers on a solid AM4 setup have zero incentive to spend that kind of money...it's just that simple.
More like gamers have the cheaper 5800X3D as an alternative until the new 3D chips or Zen5 comes out.
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 451   +1,019
AM5 simply isn't good enough yet for the platform cost. It's no surprise that the 7950X is the biggest mover - some people need that CPU muscle (or think they do), and will pay for it. A huge chunk of the DIY market are gamers, and AM4 has the 5800X3D. AMD can't decisively beat AM4 yet.

We also know the X3D chips are coming for AM5, so why buy X670 and plain Zen 5 now? B650 will give the majority everything they need in a mobo. Pair that with X3D and you have your AMD gaming champ for the next 2 years.

Edit: I also think AMD could have handled the dual chip design of X670 better. It needs faster interconnects between the Promontory chips and to the CPU.
 

flee2020

Posts: 42   +39
I haven't been following the Zen 4 launch closely. Is it because the cpu prices are to high, or the combo price of the new setups? I know they run hot but that is the new norm for all high end cpu's now.
It is the motherboard and DDR5 prices that have gone crazy. The 7600X is expensive but it is to be expected for a new tech CPU - it should be sold at a more realistic price in about 6-12 months. It is not surprising that the 7950X is the top seller at launch. It is the "value" CPU here - it has great price-performance.
 

MyIOnU

Posts: 135   +295
Maybe they should focus more on less power and heat. That is the thing that stops me from buying them.
 

MyIOnU

Posts: 135   +295
AM5 simply isn't good enough yet for the platform cost. It's no surprise that the 7950X is the biggest mover - some people need that CPU muscle (or think they do), and will pay for it. A huge chunk of the DIY market are gamers, and AM4 has the 5800X3D. AMD can't decisively beat AM4 yet.

We also know the X3D chips are coming for AM5, so why buy X670 and plain Zen 5 now? B650 will give the majority everything they need in a mobo. Pair that with X3D and you have your AMD gaming champ for the next 2 years.

Edit: I also think AMD could have handled the dual chip design of X670 better. It needs faster interconnects between the Promontory chips and to the CPU.

Remember that the reason that they could not push the 5800X3D with higher frequency due to the heat. With the current heat that 7000 series having, I'm not sure how much hotter 7000X3D will be.
 

Tuxie

Posts: 46   +43
Of course it hasn't sold well yet.

I'm looking to replace my 3800XT+1080Ti PC with a new 7900X system later when there is a reasonably priced B670E Mini-ITX board available, and an RDNA3 GPU to match, possibly 7800XT.

I may also build a HTPC/Steambox when they release a good new APU.
 

Thatsdisgusting

Posts: 102   +147
The gains just aren't there (especially at 1440p)

Looks like green team just've made a shrink, but haven't upgraded shaders themselves, it's not only about being CPU bottlenecked. Especially with the case of 5800X3D (cmon).
Makes me think if AMD would make solid gains in 1080p and 1440p with RDNA3, like they did it with RDNA2 and 6900XT - completely losing at 4K and raytracing, but anihilating Ampere in 1080p. And considering that this price gouging all-around for the last 5 years made affordable 4K120 permanent unobtanium, AMD might do a huge win taking a crown at a lower resolutions.
 

GoldenGoat

Posts: 115   +181
I had planned to get a 7700x at launch and decided to not to. I was disappointed with the default TDP and could not find a motherboard I liked that wasn't scalper priced. At this point, I'm going to wait and see what Intel is going to offer before I decide what to buy for my new build.

 

Moochy

Posts: 29   +63
The gains just aren't there (especially at 1440p) to justify the ludicrous pricing, combined with the maturity of the AM4 platform being so good.....so it isn't that surprising that AM5 parts just aren't selling.

Gamers on a solid AM4 setup have zero incentive to spend that kind of money...it's just that simple.
I have a 5800x, 3070ti 32gb 3600 ram and 1440 monitor. I don't think I will upgrade for three or four years.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,400   +7,820
As I see it
Motherboard pricing is insane
succinctly sums it up.
Hopefully, when Intel releases their next gen parts, AM5 mobos will find pricing sanity.

I plan on building 4 new systems to replace various systems in my home built with much older procs/parts. IvyBridge-E, Phenom II, Kabini, A12-7850 APU, but there is no way I am going to jump into AM5 with mobo prices in insanity territory, nor am I willing to build a new system on an AM4 platform, nor am I willing to do another Intel build.

On the bright side, it would seem that AMD priced the Zen4 CPUs reasonably, however, AMD and mobo manufacturers seem to be riding that "preferred by enthusiasts" and 70% market share with far too much hubris for my tastes. The good thing, as I see it, is that AM5 platform sales are slow, and given "free market economics" along with Intel's pending launch of cheaper, yet unlikely lived longer than one CPU generation mobos, the price for getting into even the high-end AM5 systems will drop - assuming, of course, AMD wants to sell the AM5 platform.