The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X should be the most interesting processor from AMD's new Zen 3 line up for most normal gamers, by dint of the fact that it hits the sweet spot in terms of the core configuration from a gaming perspective. Eight cores and 16-threads is pretty much what you want for a decent gaming experience for the next few years, thanks partly to the fact it's what you'll find in the likes of the Xbox Series X and the Playstation 5.
That's the theory at least, although right out of the gate there's a potential problem here when it comes to the pricing. In case you missed it, AMD has increased the pricing of this series of chips by $50/£50 over their predecessors, meaning the 5800X rolls in at $450/£450. That's a pretty big chunk of cash, especially when you consider the comparable chip from Intel is the Core i7 10700K, which you can generally pick up for $375.
The Ryzen 7 5800X has its work cut out.
This is the third chip in AMD's stack of Zen 3 processors at launch, sitting above the 6-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600X and below the 12-core, 24-thread Ryzen 9 5900X and the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 5950X. There may only be four chips at launch, but that's undoubtedly going to be bolstered by the non-X variants as well as making room for follow ups to the more affordable ranges as well potentially the 5700X. While we haven't seen anything about that chip so far, we can't help but hope that a more-affordable, slightly slower spin of the 5800X exists that offers better value for money.
Ryzen 7 5800X specifcations
Ryzen 7 5800X specs
In our review of the Ryzen 9 5900X we covered off what's new and awesome in the Zen 3 architecture, and there's no point going over it again here (click the link for what's so good about it though). Suffice to say that Zen 3 is one of the most impressive CPU architecture upgrades in recent memory.
Cores - 8
Threads - 16
Lithography - TSMC 7nm
Base clock - 3.8GHz
Boost clock - 4.7GHz
L3 Cache - 32MB
Memory support - DDR4 3200MHz
Socket - AM4
TDP - 105W
Cooler - None
Launch price - $449 |£449
When it comes to the Ryzen 7 5800X you have an eight-core, 16-thread chip with a base clock speed of 3.8GHz capable of hitting a turbo of 4.7GHz. This is a single CCX configuration with all eight cores having access to 32MB of L3 cache, which means there's no possibilities of slow downs between the chiplets that can happen on the CPUs with higher core counts.
As with the 5900X, the effect Precision Boost 2 has on 5800X's frequencies can be profound, and during testing we saw the single core performance surpass the quoted turbo to 4.8GHz. Multi-threaded frequencies really do depend on what you are doing, and can vary across applications significantly, although we did see 4.5–4.6GHz across all cores in a number of tests, which is a healthy clock speed.
Just as with the previous generation, the 5800X brings support for PCIe 4.0 to the table. This is currently only really relevant when it comes to storage, although it will be potentially more useful when we start using technologies like DirectStorage to improve game load times. Official memory support stays at DDR4 3,200MHz, although faster kits are supported, and there's also the potential of running the Infinity Fabric at 2,000MHz and using a set of 4,000MHz memory, although this isn't fully supported at launch.
Ryzen 7 5800X performance
Ryzen 7 5800X performance
When it comes to the performance of the Ryzen 7 5800X, there's a lot to like here. Serious applications that are more thread aware benefit from the thread count and the IPC improvements.
The likes of Cinebench R20 sees it dominate AMD's previous generation chips as well as Intel's latest 10th gen Core i7 10700K. If you have any intention of doing some rendering, then this is simply the better option. This is true in the video encoding stakes as well, with the 5800X managing 54fps against the 10700K's 43fps.
Gaming performance is also very healthy, with AMD managing some impressive boosts over the previous generation chips and taking the fight to Intel as well. F1 2019 sees the healthiest lead for AMD, with the 5800X posting a 7fps advantage against the 10700K at 1080p. Total War: Three Kingdoms has the pair neck and neck, while Metro Exodus has a slight deficit.
The big takeaway though is that there is really nothing between the two platforms now. If you want the best gaming performance it's no longer true that automatically equates to going with team Intel. Both are as good as each other, and as the resolutions scale, the differences between them can be as low as a couple of frames or so.
As for overclocking, we did manage to get a reasonable boost out of this chip with an all-core overclocking up to 4.7GHz at 1.3V, although as ever this had no positive impact on gaming, and single-core performance can suffer because of it too.
Ryzen 7 5800X verdict
Ryzen 7 5800X verdict
Overall, it's a very healthy performance picture for AMD's latest mainstream chip. The fact that AMD now matches Intel in the gaming stakes means that AMD is every bit as viable an option for us gamers as Intel is. It's still got the lead in more serious workloads as well, so gets the nod for anyone that is interested in more than just games, but doesn't need to bring out the big guns like the 5900X and 5950X.
At the outset we did highlight a problem though, and despite the performance on offer, there's no getting away from the fact that Intel's Core i7 10700K produces pretty much identical gaming performance, and does so for less money. If you're only interested in gaming it's hard to justify the $75 for PCIe 4.0 alone (not impossible, but tricky). Had AMD kept the pricing the same as the previous generation, this would have been a much easier call. As it is, AMD has gifted Intel something of a life line.
If you're in the market for a new build, and have an eye on the future, then the Ryzen 7 5800X is a phenomenal chip. It matches Intel in gaming, and pulls ahead in more serious work loads. Support for PCIe 4.0 means that it should last you longer as a platform, and it means you have access to faster storage right now regardless. It's great. I just wish it was a bit cheaper, you know by about $50.