AMD's new Ryzen 7 5800X3D prioritises gaming above all else

Render of AMD 3D V-Cache technology
(Image credit: AMD)

As of today, we can now talk about AMD's newest chip, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. You can check out the full review for what will probably be the last hurrah for its AM4 socket, but it's worth highlighting one thing about AMD's new chip: it's a CPU so focused on gaming above all else, that it's slower than its predecessors when it comes to more serious applications. 

It's not just a touch slower either, it's as much as 10% slower. 

Take Cinebench R23 as an example, you're looking at a single-core result of 1428, which puts it behind not only the Ryzen 7 5800X but the Ryzen 5 5600X as well. For comparison against Intel's Alder Lake line-up, this is lower than even the budget Core i5 12400, which manages a single-core result of 1,672. That's a $200 chip, whereas the 5800X3D costs more than double that at $449. The higher up Intel's stack you get, the worst it reads for AMD.

For comparisons sakes, I've also run Cinebench R20 on the 5800X3D, and the results are just as surprising. You're looking at a single-core result of 554 points, compared to the 626 points for the Ryzen 7 5800X. This is using the same motherboard, the same memory, and the same cooler, so it's nothing to do changes elsewhere.

Importantly, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D has a base clock of 3.4GHz with a top turbo clock of 4.5GHz whereas the older Ryzen 7 5800X has a 400MHz higher base clock of 3.8GHz and a 200MHz higher turbo at 4.7GHz. Even so, that turbo is less than 5% lower, and when running the single-core benchmark, Cinebench R20 is pretty much hitting that turbo clock all the time. 

The X264 video encoding benchmark shows similar results, with the 5800X3D encoding video at 49fps against its predecessor's 54fps. The Ryzen 9 5900X, which retails for roughly the same as the new chip at $450, hits a far more impressive 75fps thanks to its 12-core makeup.

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It's fair to say that not everyone needs top performance in 3D rendering and video encoding, and AMD has been pretty clear that this is a gaming chip first and foremost. The extra L3 cache is all about boosting games, and depending on the title, AMD can be the go-to chip now. Even so, the pricing of Zen 3 only really made sense when factoring in gaming performance and serious applications. By focusing so much on gaming, AMD has lost some of what made such chips make sense in the first place. At least it is as far as the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is concerned.

If you do want to justify a big CPU upgrade to yourself still, then the 5900X is a better option as an all-around performer. 

It may not top the gaming charts, but it isn't far off, and when it comes to serious gaming at 4K, you'd be hard pushed to spot the difference anyway. Alternatively, Intel's Alder Lake chips are impressive too, and solid gaming chips can be had for a lot less than this.

Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.