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AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D review: cache money

An incredible gaming CPU that stokes the fires for Ryzen 7000.

Despite its high price tag and the prospect of a new generation of AMD processors just months away, the $449/£429 Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a surprisingly persuasive potential upgrade. It offers incredible gaming performance in many games, with substantial upticks to frame-rates that eclipse anything AMD has achieved before.

The 5800X3D is more than capable of giving the 12900K a run for its money too. In games like Flight Simulator 2020, Hitman 3 and Metro Exodus Enhanced Edition, the 5800X3D is by far the better value result, especially given that we tested it with cheap DDR4-3600 memory versus expensive DDR5-5200 with the Intel CPU. We've yet to evaluate the Intel 12900KS, which ought to be a bit faster than the original Intel 12th-gen flagship, but regardless of which is the faster processor, you have to admit that the 5800X3D is certainly the most interesting.

However, there are also games that don't show an advantage for the 5800X3D. For example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive results don't appear in this review (due to inconsistencies at 1440p and 4K) but at 1080p the 5800X3D was outperformed by the standard 5800X. Similarly, the 5800X and 5800X3D performed nearly identically in Crysis 3 Remastered, making the X3D's premium hardly worthwhile. Both games were updated recently but were originally architected a long time ago, so it's possible that the larger cache size is more useful in modern games - something to consider if you largely play older or esports titles.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is also a much more focused product than its Ryzen 5000 brothers and sisters. These chips are great all-rounders suited for a wide range of tasks, both gaming and content creation, while the 5800X3D is demonstrably worse than the standard 5800X - and the similarly-priced Ryzen 5900X - in tasks that don't take advantage of its singular superpower. That means that research here is critical; ensure that the X3D provides a big boost to the games that you play before plunking down your hard-earned cash.

Beyond its status as AMD's fastest gaming processor, and quite possibly the fastest gaming processor, the 5800X3D also has me exited for Team Red's next offering. Their Ryzen CPUs have gone from strength to strength over the generations, from a tepid start with Ryzen 1000 to outright dominance with Ryzen 5000, and I can't wait to see what eventual Zen 4 designs with 3D cache are capable of.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D analysis

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Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DealsFoundry.

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