AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Two minute review
There were several times while testing the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D processor that I had to look over my notes and mutter under my breath that "this can't be right," as I ran the benchmarks again. The numbers held up, and after days of grueling testing it's indisputable that AMD has delivered one of the best gaming processors we've ever tested.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is, in many ways, a rearguard action against a strongly resurgent Intel, which has powered itself back onto the field with the incredible performance of its new Alder Lake architecture. This is especially true with the Core i9-12900K, which is aimed right at the lizard brain of PC enthusiasts and gamers who measure the passage of time in FPS.
This is the chip that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is trying to take down, and while it doesn't land a decisive knockout blow, that it is even in contention at all is a remarkable feat. The fact that it manages, at times, to outperform the best processor on the consumer market is genuinely shocking, and the fact that it is consistently as fast as the best AMD processors around, despite being an entire performance rung down from the Ryzen 9s, pretty much makes every other processor in AMD's lineup irrelevant – if you're a gamer, that is.
If you're a content creator, developer, or general PC hardware enthusiast, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D isn't going to have a whole lot for you above what you'd find with other Ryzen chips, and while the performance improvements provided by 3D V-Cache are impressive in synthetic testing, diving into actual gaming on the highest settings only really brings the Ryzen 7 5800X3D to rough parity with competing processors.
And given the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D's relatively weak non-gaming performance, this becomes less of a gaming processor that you'd built a new rig around and more like giving your gaming PC a bottle of nitrous oxide for an extra boost of performance for a relatively low cost.
If you're a gamer who already has an AM4 motherboard and system set up around a recent Ryzen chip, then upgrading to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D at the first possible opportunity is a no-brainer. The performance gains while gaming are tangible in ways few other upgrades can really match, second only to making the move from 8GB RAM to 16GB or 32GB.
If you're not already set up with an AM4 system, however, buying new hardware just for this chip is hard to justify when spending a little more can get you an Intel Alder Lake chip, which will have competitive gaming performance, but brings a whole lot more to the table than just 3D V-Cache.
Still, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a vital life raft for AMD post-Alder Lake that will likely keep AMD gamers on board for a little while longer until we can move into the Zen 4 era. And given how impressive 3D V-Cache is, seeing how AMD integrates this new technology into its next gen processors will be something to watch for in the months ahead.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: price & availability
- When is it available? April 20, 2022 in the US
- How much will it cost? MSRP is $449 in the US, which is about £345 / AU$605.
- Will I need to buy a new motherboard, too? It will fit most AM4 motherboards from X470 and B450 onward.
The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is available as of April 20, 2022, with an MSRP of $449 in the US, which is about £345 / AU$605. This is the same MSRP as the Ryzen 7 5800X, so the additional 3D V-Cache hasn't contributed to the cost at all. We've reached out to AMD about UK and Australia pricing and availability and will update this review when we hear back.
It's hard to separate the price of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D from its performance, since it's simply the best value out there right now for gamers with AMD systems, but we'll touch on the performance in a bit. If you have been wanting to upgrade your rig for ages but you don't have the money to drop on the best Intel has to offer – which requires a new motherboard, at least – then you really need to look at the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.
Base frequency: 3.8GHz
Boost frequency: 4.7GHz
L3 cache: 32MB + 64MB (3D V-Cache) for 100MB total
Max RAM: 128GB Dual-Channel DDR4-3200
Besides getting Ryzen 9 gaming performance at a Ryzen 7 price, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D slots right into the AM4 motherboard you likely already have, saving you from costly new component purchases. What's more, because the 5800X3D has a thinner die to accommodate the stacked 3D V-Cache, it all fits in the same package size as the past couple Ryzen generations, so whatever cooling solution you were using previously will work with the new chip.
All in all, you simply won't have to spend much money on this processor, and between the new motherboard, cooling, and more, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D can easily come out to almost half the price of making the jump to a Core i9-12900K.
All of that, of course, is in a vacuum where world events and supply shortages don't affect inventories, pricing, and all the rest. Whether you can get this chip at launch for MSRP remains to be seen, and if past is prologue, the price is likely to shoot up due to pent-up demand.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Chipset & features
- Built on the same Zen 3 architecture as the Ryzen 7 5800X
- First processor to feature 3D V-Cache technology
- Does not support DDR5 or PCIe 5.0
For all intents and purposes, the underlying Zen 3 architecture for the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the same as in the eight-core, 16-thread AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, so much of what is in that review will apply to this chip as well. If you want to read up on Zen 3, you should definitely check out Jackie's review for an excellent breakdown of this architecture.
What makes the Ryzen 7 5800X3D different, though, is the introduction of AMD's new 3D stacked cache, which it calls 3D V-Cache. This additional die is bonded to the underlying Core Complex Die (CCD) of the 5800X (though the die itself has been chemically shaved down to make room for the new cache die).
The additional cache chiplet sits above the processing cores and is connected to the CCD's L3 cache, which triples the amount of available cache for the processing cores to use. This is an extension though, so the additional distance traveled (even if it is just vertically) does introduce a tiny bit of extra latency above what you'd get with the standard L3 cache pool.
But, this additional cache does save the CPU from having to make substantially longer fetches to main memory for data, so even with the additional latency, you're saving a lot of time on balance.
The other major advantage of the 3D stacking process that AMD developed with TSMC is that bonding this additional cache chiplet (opens in new tab) onto the processing cores and L3 cache keeps its footprint small enough for all of this to fit in the same package as the Ryzen 5800X.
That means it will easily slot into any AM4 socket motherboard, making upgrading from earlier Ryzen chips as simple as swapping out the chips and doing a bios update. Officially, only X470 and B450 motherboards and later are fully compatible with the 5800X3D, but AMD is working with manufacturers of earlier AM4 boards on compatibility.
This also means that existing cooling solutions are fully compatible, and swapping in the new processor into your existing system is as simply as slotting it into the socket, dabbing some thermal paste, and seating the cooling unit securely to the chip. With a quick update to the BIOS, your system should be up and running with the new chip in only a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately, overclocking enthusiasts will have to sit this one out. The way AMD's 3D V-Cache works is intrinsically tied to how its voltage is managed, so it can't be changed to give the CPU's frequency more umph. You are free to overclock the system memory and Infinity Fabric, though, so you're not completely locked in to the stock settings.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Performance
- Ryzen 9 performance at a Ryzen 7 price
- Non-gaming performance does not benefit from 3D V-Cache at all
- Not great for creative content work
So the performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D is definitely a mixed bag, at least when compared to its peers. If you are looking to upgrade from an old Zen 2 processor, than there's nothing but upside here, but the problem gets trickier when you compare it to the most recent releases from both AMD and Intel.
Consistently, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the standard Ryzen 7 5800X scored about the same in our benchmarks, and in some cases performed close enough to each other as to be indistinguishable, especially during non-gaming tasks.
But even AMD will tell you that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is meant to be a gaming processor, and it is in this context that the chip really puts that 3D V-Cache to good use.
For nearly all the computing work out there, cache really doesn't factor all that much into things. The processor's controller will fetch some data from RAM and put it in cache and use it as needed. When this data is a spreadsheet or lines of code, very few fetches to RAM will need to be made, as most of the work is reading and writing to the same data in cache.
All that changes with gaming, however. Gaming is especially chaotic and unpredictable, with player actions triggering all kinds of asset loads from memory like animations and sound effects. Loading this all into cache can easily eat up a processing core's allotted cache addresses before a scene is even rendered fully, so you end up with constant fetching to RAM nearly every frame. With a whopping 100MB of available cache, though, multiple textures, 3D models, and other large asset files can be loaded up quickly, which lets the computer process gameplay quicker, resulting in faster fps.
We tested several games using the fastest, most powerful hardware we had handy, including an RTX 3090 Ti, 32GB RAM, and a Samsung 980 Pro M.2 SSD to give the processors we tested the most freedom to operate without constraints from data bottlenecks elsewhere. We also ran our tests on low quality settings, which takes GPU intensive tasks off the table so that CPU performance can be better measured.
In this environment, the performance of the 3D V-Cache is incredible, easily blowing past the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and Intel Core i9-12900K on every game we tested it on.
The numbers were so unexpected, honestly, that I really did have to rerun a lot of tests just to make sure I hadn't screwed up some settings. The results were consistent across the board in the end, and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D simply ran away with it at every opportunity.
But if you're investing this much money into gaming hardware, you likely aren't doing so to just run every game on Low Quality at 1080p. So, we also ran these same gaming benchmarks at 4K and max settings, cranking everything from ray tracing to texture quality to the highest it would go.
This definitely brought things down from the lofty heights of 400 fps, but even in this, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D stands out.
In the Total War: Warhammer III battle benchmark, the Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X pushed 57 fps with every setting cranked to max at 4K. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D, meanwhile, also hit 57 fps.
Likewise with Dirt 5, where all three processors ran at 94 fps at 4K and Ultra settings across the board. And while the 5950X and 5900X ran at 134 and 133 fps in Hitman 3's Dubai benchmark at 4K and Ultra settings, the 5800X3D actually pushed out 141 fps on those same settings.
What about Alder Lake though? In the Total War: Warhammer III battle benchmark, it pushed 53 fps on the above settings, compared to 57 fps for the 5800X3D. Four fps isn't a whole lot, but the 5800X3D also scored four fps higher on the Hitman 3 Dubai benchmark, and just 1 fps behind the i9-12900K in Dirt 5. The 5800X3D also scored about 150 points higher in the Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker benchmark, 19163 to 19019, respectively.
It was a similar case with the Intel Core i5-12600K, with both Alder Lake chips running about even with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, and the Alder Lake chips had the benefit of 32GB of DDR5-4,800MHz RAM, compared to the 32GB of DDR4-3,200MHz for the Ryzen 7 5800X.
The addition of 3D V-Cache essentially turns a Ryzen 7 into the best Ryzen 9 chip out there, and even goes pound for pound with Intel's next-gen processor, at least as far as gaming is concerned. In short, if you're in the market for a new AMD processor for your gaming PC, this is it. This is the chip you're looking for, and it's doesn't cost a penny more in MSRP than the standard Ryzen 7 5800X.
Should you buy an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D?
Buy it if...
You want the best gaming processor for your money
The price-for-performance ratio on the 5800X3D is the best you're going to get with an AMD build.
You don't want to upgrade your whole rig
Thanks to AM4 socket compatibility, the 5800X3D will drop right into the motherboard you might already have without requiring extra adapters and such to make what you already have work with it.
You want to have some cutting edge hardware
The innovation behind AMD's 3D V-Cache is truly remarkable, and we're only beginning to see what this technology can do.
Don't buy it if...
You want it for something other than gaming
While its gaming performance is phenomenal, the 5800X3D underperforms Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X processors in every other category, and let's not even talk about Alder Lake.
You want DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 support
Unfortunately, Zen 3 doesn't support DDR5 or PCIe 5.0, which for now is limited to Intel's Alder Lake chips.
You need to buy a whole new setup anyway
If you need to upgrade your motherboard, cooler, power supply and all the rest, this really isn't the chip to build a new rig around. You'd be better off with an i9-12900K or a Ryzen 9 5900X.
- First reviewed April 2022