One of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about a future system is your primary use. It’s probably fair to say that we all use ours for browsing the internet and some gaming, but how much time you spend gaming will affect your build. Additionally are you the type of creative person who uses your rig for some 3D modelling, perhaps for game modding, or do you share your gaming exploits regularly enough that being able to render videos quickly is important? These are all things to take into account.What has that to do with today’s comparison? Well as we’ve seen from our review of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D it is a processor that has been designed specifically with the 3D V-Cache on top of the CPU die, to give the fastest possible response in random requests. Random requests, things that cannot be predicted, are the cornerstone of gaming responsiveness and the all-important frames per second. This design, however, has meant that AMD have had to limit what you can do with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and how high it will boost of its own accord.
Enter the Ryzen 7 5800X, the CPU upon which the 5800X3D has been based, but without the limitations of the 3D V-Cache it is able to run faster and thus is a better all-rounder. Although that probably leads to the rather obvious conclusion that if you’re the type who does many things with their PC then the OG Ryzen 7 5800X will be your choice, or if you’re a gamer the new 5800X3D is the way to go, we were curious as to how they compare to each other. How much do you give up for that extra gaming performance, and can the extra clock speed of the vanilla Ryzen 7 be enough to counteract the faster Cache of the X3D?
When we were recently testing the PCSpecialist Topaz Exige we thought it would be the perfect chance to compare the two. On the same day, with the same patches and OS updates, the same games, the same weather, the same system. Everything. We do our best to keep as many things identical as possible, but obviously even tiny OS updates, drivers, or game patches can make a difference so this is the ultimate apples to apples comparison. Let’s see how they stack up.
Both processors are basically the same, being Zen 3 CPUs, 8C16T, 105W TDP. The differences are to be found in the L3 Cache, where the Ryzen 7 5800X has 32MB and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D with it’s V-Cache has 96MB. The other change is the aforementioned boost speed, where the Ryzen 7 5800X3D only hits 4.5 GHz when compared to the 4.7 GHz of the Ryzen 7 5800X.
Beyond those we’re using the PCSpecialist Topaz Exige which has a Strix X570-F and XFX RX 6800 XT alongside 16GB of 3600MHz Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR4. We’ll be running through our usual suite of system benchmarks to give a likely use case, so that’s gaming with all the detail up @ 1440P, rather the 1080 we stick to when testing processors. We want to find out how most people would use it and which they should opt for, rather than synthetically testing the processors as separated from the rest of the rig as possible.
Ryzen 7 5800X
Ryzen 7 5800X3D
In all of our following graphs we’ll have the Ryzen 7 5800X3D at the top and the Ryzen 7 5800X at the bottom. Starting off with AIDA64 and the extra CPU clock speed available on the vanilla Ryzen makes a hair of difference, as we’d expect.
One of the main reasons we love Sandra is how well it can test the component you’re investigating, as if it exists in a vacuum, and therefore it is no surprise that Ryzen 7 5800X can use the extra 400 MHz to outperform the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.
The older of the three versions of Cinebench we run, but by now means the oldest we’ve ever used, is perhaps closer than we might have expected it to be. The faster boost speed does what you’d hope, but it shows that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is still a speedy processor, only 90 points behind.
Being based upon a newer rendering engine it is perhaps to be expected that Cinebench R20 is better able to make use of the 400 MHz advantage the Ryzen 7 5800X has on its 16 threads.
The most up-to-date version of Maxon’s famous rendering engine provides our first surprise. The lower latency and larger capacity of the L3 Cache on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D makes itself felt, stretching ahead of its faster clockspeed sibling. As we said, just because the Ryzen 7 5800X is faster on paper, doesn’t mean it will be faster in the real world everywhere. This result is exactly the type of thing we’re here to discover.
Whilst things return somewhat towards our expectations here, it’s tough to claim that 0.5 FPS faster rendering speed is a massive advantage in favour of the older of the two processors we’re testing today.
Before we reach the tests which should tend towards giving the edge to the newer Ryzen 7 5800X3D, PCMARK is a good all-rounder, testing spreadsheets, video conferencing, image editing and the like. The sort of daily stuff we do without thinking. The edge goes just to the Ryzen 7 5800X, but it’s so tight between the two that we’d be loath to put a flag in one camp or the other.
3DMARK: Fire Strike
It might be a 3D benchmark, indicative of the type of image quality one would get from a modern game, but Fire Strike hasn’t quite got that random request element that would be emphasised by the design of the 3D V-Cache. The 5800X3D still just edges ahead though, despite giving up 400 MHz in clock speed.
3DMARK: Time Spy
Time Spy is, by contrast, a benchmark that is significantly heavier in the physics department than Fire Strike, and thus leans much harder on absolute clock speed instead of any architectural improvements. Like Cinebench R23 before it, this is a bit of a surprising result to us, particularly given what we’ve just seen in Fire Strike. We thought the Ryzen 7 5800X might just shade things, not romp away.
Gaming – Average FPS
There are so many games around that we didn’t just want to test all the most glitzy ones as we would with GPU reviews, nor the lowest detail ones as we do with CPU reviews. Instead this is a reasonable cross section of titles, all run at the kind of resolution most people use who haven’t sold a Picasso to pay for a rig. Control, Borderlands 3 and Horizon Zero Dawn all make the most of the faster 3D V-Cache on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. However, even the much lighter Wolfenstein Youngblood, or the more CPU intensive Total Warhammer II, all make light of the clock speed differential between the two processors to prefer the design of the newest AMD offering. Impressive showing.
If you’ve been around the hardware world for any length of time you’ll know that clock speed can only take you so far, but equally architectural improvements can only take you so far too. There is always going to be a crossover where the last generation being faster can keep up with the new tech that might, for heat or power reasons, not be quite as quick as the one that was before. After all, processors – either central or graphic – get refined through their lifespan so that the last edition is probably close to the first version of the newest.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D straddles the line between both of these, being based upon a refined existing processor, the Ryzen 7 5800X, but with a new design that has meant that the clock speed has had to be tempered. As we mentioned in our full review of the X3D we expect the next iteration to really push the boat out, and currently it’s more of a proof of concept that works rather than a revolution. However, 400 MHz clock speed deficit to the vanilla Ryzen 7 5800X is hardly nothing, yet the 3D V-Cache design and huge increase in the amount of L3 Cache has, as our testing showed, just about been enough to bridge that clock speed gap. Certainly if you use your system for a variety of tasks as well as gaming then you won’t be left twiddling your thumbs whilst it renders, but you’ll still get to enjoy the benefits it brings to gaming.
Naturally there is a caveat to all this, and it is largely to do with our testing methodology. We know that you can overclock processors, and we know that the majority of people don’t, so to give the fairest comparison as a ‘drop in’ solution we tested both processors at their stock settings. As far as the Ryzen 7 5800X is concerned this is actually crippling it somewhat, as overclocking it is still available to you as an option, something removed from the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. As a processor that has the same thermal profile as the Ryzen 7 5950X you haven’t got loads of headroom, but you can easily get all cores running at 4.8 GHz, and that will have an effect upon your rendering scores. Or you could push a core or two higher for gaming. Again, this isn’t something everyone does, and the Ryzen 7 5800X isn’t the best to do it with, but it is an option for extra performance that is denied to you on the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.
Then we come to price, the 5800X is actually a solid £100 cheaper than the 3D cache version. As with most new technology their is always a price premium, its just a shame the price premium only matches the processor its based on though.
All in all the Ryzen 7 5800X3D manages to utilise it’s new 3D V-Cache design to almost wholly eliminate the clock speed differential between it and the regular Ryzen 7 5800X, and also gives you the benefits of higher FPS in your games. We can’t wait to see what the next iteration brings, particularly if AMD manage to free up the tweaking options or they manage to narrow the price gap to take the sting out of the tail on cost. It was particularly nice to have the stars align with the PCSpecialist system being available along with both processors so that we could provide the ultimate A/B comparison.