There has been a bit of concern going around the SFF community about how new CPUs are too power hungry and too hot. It’s not entirely unjustified. The AMD Ryzen 7000 series defaults to 95C, and then throttles clock speeds to maintain that temperaturr. Because of this behavior, the more cooling performance you have the more clock speed potential you have. Put simply, a 360mm AIO is going to boost the CPU clock much higher and longer than 37mm heatsink. Additionally, a 360mm AIO at 95C may have three fans spinning at relatively low RPMs compared to smaller cooling units that have a faster spinning single fan, greatly improving the noise profile of your system.
But it’s not all doom and gloom.
AMD has seen fit to include an ECO mode with their latest BIOS updates that can substantially reduce heat and power usage at a minor to modest cost of performance. Make no mistake, you are loosing some performance, but you might no be loosing as much as you think.
For example; Gamer’s Nexus conducted tests of the 7950X in ECO mode with a 105 watt TDP limit. This is substantially less power than the stock settings, and allows for a far smaller and more SFF friendly cooling solution. Despite cutting the power, The ECO mode 7950X was still performing the same as a stock I9-13900K in Blender, and within spitting distance of the full speed 7950X. This was combined with a core temperature reduction from nearly 95C to about 62C albeit on their standard 360mm AIO.
Gamer’s Nexus had similar results in their Adobe Premier and Photoshop tests, as well as their gaming tests.
So what does this mean? Well for people who where already familiar with the PBO and ECO modes of previous generation Ryzen chips, pretty much more of the same. For newcomers looking to build a very small high-end Ryzen 7000 system, it means you have far more options then you might have thought.Yes, you can build a sub-10L 7950X system and still get great performance.
Personally, I have a Ryzen 5950X on a Noctua L12S 70mm single 120mm fan cooler in a CCD MI-6 case, and it runs very well with a minor undervolt. Upgrading to the a 7950X would give me a nice boost of performance for the same power usage. I won’t be doing that because I’m not made of money, but it’s doable.
Here are several videos exploring the Ryzen 7000 ECO mode.