AMD Ryzen 7 3800X Review: Core i7 Has a New Challenger

Power Consumption

Our power measurements, which we recently migrated towards a more efficiency-focused approach, revealed some interesting tidbits. Particularly in regards to both Precision Boost Overdrive and manual overclocking.

Power consumption measurements are always a bit tricky. But as long as your 12V supply (EPS) readings, motherboard power supply sensor values, and voltage transformer losses plausibly coincide, everything is fine. Therefore, we're using pure package power to avoid possible influences from our motherboard. Results from the PWM controller are very reliable if you take them as averages over a few minutes.

AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) is an adaptive overclocking approach that allows the processor to communicate with the platform to modulate performance based on the motherboard's power delivery subsystem and thermal dissipation capabilities. The processor monitors Package Power Tracking (PPT), which is total socket power, and the Thermal Design Current (TDC) variable, which is the motherboard's maximum available sustained current. Electrical Design Current (EDC) also indicates the maximum current possible from the VRMs during peak/transient conditions.

105W CPU Limits
PPT


AMD IPM
142W
95A
140A
MSI X570 Godlike
1000W
490A
630A

AMD enables two options for PBO: IPM is AMD's default PBO setting, which is activated if you leave the PBO setting to 'Auto' in the Godlike's UEFI. But you can select 'Enabled' to activate a profile that's dictated by the maximum limits of the motherboard's power delivery subsystem. These limits vary by motherboard and are defined by the vendor. We chose the latter to unlock the full potential of PBO. As you can see in the table, this enables the most robust power delivery options available, kicking the socket's maximum power delivery up to 1000W, and is designed to offer the best of increased multi-core boost clocks while retaining the high single-core boost clocks.

You can also further tune the power delivery options with an Auto OC (AOC) feature. This new feature grants you some control over the maximum attainable boost clocks by allowing you to add up to an extra 200MHz to the maximum boost clock, but it isn't guaranteed that the processor will reach those speeds at all times, or under all conditions. Instead, the processor will still respect the limits imposed by the motherboard maker.

Unfortunately, we've found that the PBO+AOC feature often comes at the expense of performance in single-threaded workloads even though it is billed as retaining, and even heightening, single-core boost clocks. From a performance and power consumption standpoint, it is more comparable to our all-core 4.3 GHz overclock. This might be an issue with early AGESA versions, but for now, the feature actually results in less performance in single-threaded workloads with MSI's X570 Godlike motherboard.

We chose to go with the limits of the motherboard, noted on the charts below as PBO, and the all-core 4.3 GHz overclock we outlined on the prior page. It's noteworthy that our all-core overclock comes at the expense of the single-core 4.5 GHz boost, which was a relatively rare occurrence during our testing in both stock and PBO trim.

We began with the non-AVX stress test in AIDA64 and found that the Ryzen 7 3800X draws very little power at stock settings, nearly matching the stock Ryzen 7 3700X's power draw. We activated Precision Boost Overdrive, and the processor's power draw only increased marginally to 95W. Our all-core overclock, however, sucked down 126W on average, but hit 163W peaks during the test.

You'll notice the Ryzen 7 3700X draws more power with PBO+AOC active than the 3800X's PBO configuration, but that's due to its all-core overclock-like nature. As such, our PBO+AOC results for the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3700X are more comparable to the 3800X's all-core overclock.

The y-cruncher benchmark computes pi using a heavy multi-threaded AVX workload and also generates a performance measurement that we can use for efficiency metrics. We're also adding in HandBrake in x264 and x265 flavors. The latter uses a heavier distribution of AVX instructions than the former, but both transcoders are great for stressing the processor with a real-world workload.

We see muted increases in the 3800X's power consumption from the PBO option, and as a result, we also see minor performance improvements. Conversely, the all-core overclock consumes much more power but doesn't yield big performance benefits over the PBO settings. It appears that, for stock operation, AMD has tuned the processors right at the point of the voltage/frequency curve that provides the maximum frequency possible that can still provide great efficiency metrics. This PBO configuration also seems to retain some of those same characteristics, but that doesn't leave much headroom for explosive performance gains.

Plotting power consumption over our performance measurements highlights some of the gains we recorded with both overclocked settings. Here we can see the 3800X's 4.3 GHz all-core overclock regularly outperform the stock and PBO configurations, but its performance is very similar to the Ryzen 7 3700X with PBO. The overclocked 3800X's wins over the tuned 3700X weighed in at 1.91% for y-cruncher, 2.6% for x265, and 3.2% with x264 encoding. That shows that the Ryzen 7 3700X, while slower than the 3800X at stock settings by a larger margin, is competitive in threaded workloads after we tune both processors. Let's see how they compare in games.

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28 comments
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  • Math Geek
    pretty much what i expected from all the Ryzen 3000 series so far. i am not disappointed at all in what i am seeing.

    it does look like the 3700x is the better buy. use that $70 savings for better cooling and you got a winner on your hands it looks like. i personally don't care about a few fps at 1080p when both AMD and Intel hit some nice numbers. 140 fps vs 150 fps is pretty much the same thing to me.

    but those extra cores/threads from AMD will go a long way with VM's, production software and the other non-game stuff i do regularly. AMD FTW :geek:
  • TJ Hooker
    In light of the 3700X, the 3800X doesn't seem to have much reason to exist to be honest. Not unless boost/OC behavior somehow changes significantly in the future.
  • nitrium
    Given you can get just about the same performance by OCing a 3700X (and the 3800X doesn't OC really at all), I don't really see why AMD even released this chip - especially considering how much more they are asking for it. The value just isn't there.
  • mattkiss
    What command rate are you running your memory kits at? Also, is the memory write speed nerfed like it is on the 3700X?
  • JamesSneed
    Im curious why the 3700x with PBO is pulling considerably more wattage versus the 3800x with PBO. Is binning really making that large of a difference?
  • JamesSneed
    Quote:
    Given you can get just about the same performance by OCing a 3700X (and the 3800X doesn't OC really at all), I don't really see why AMD even released this chip - especially considering how much more they are asking for it. The value just isn't there.


    If you are going to OC then I mostly agree however the binning looks like it impacts power draw a lot. However you are not guaranteed 3800x performance out of a 3700x. If you do not intend to OC then there are many valid reasons for the 3800x. The 3800x makes a good case for non overclockers especially because it pulls less power than the stock 3700x. However for me I would much rather they had one more tier like a 3850x that was say 4-4.1Ghz base and 4.8 to 4.9 Ghz boost. A higher binned version I would step up for over the 3700x.
  • xcomp666
    I was waiting for a decent review.

    My conclusion:

    • I am not planning to OC ( I am using an Asrock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX ) with 105W TDP, I don't think my motherboard's VRM can handle properly ;:coldsweat:
    • Performance It is just about ~2% over 3700x that has TDP of 65W ;:mad:
    • PBO is not hitting 4.4 GHz easily ( depends on silicon lottery);:ouimaitre:
    • 70 USD (92 CAD ) over 3700X;
    • Single Core performance is not that great;

    So, I am going to buy a Rysen 7 3700X
    🤘
  • Makaveli
    Does the 3800x have the same memory write limitation as the 3700x

    32b vs 16b ??
  • TJ Hooker
    Quote:
    Does the 3800x have the same memory write limitation as the 3700x 32b vs 16b ??

    From what I can find that applies to all Ryzen 3K chips with a single compute die, in which case yes it'd be the same for the 3800X.
  • jclaine
    I just did a 3700x Asrock x470 itx build. I imagine that I will need to use the wifi on it at some point in it's life, that's why I went with the x470 (Intel (1733) ) version over the b450 (Intel 3168 (433) ). I really didn't want a chipset fan because in 8 years I don't want to have to think about that failing in an old abused system, so I passed on x570.

  • 13thmonkey
    Is that the stock cooler? It's huge!
  • cryoburner
    I have to agree with the sentiment that this seems like kind of a pointless product due to the existence of the 3700X, which offers nearly the same performance and an identical cooler for $70 less. There just doesn't seem to be much to differentiate them, and unlike the 3700X, the 3800X is priced higher than an i7-9700K, and within reach of an i9-9900, making it much less impressive than the 3700X in terms of value.

    As I've said before, I would have liked to see them stick to launch pricing that was more similar to the 2000-series. Keep the 3700X where it is, as the performance 8-core option, and position a lower-clocked 3700 at around $300 with the medium-sized Wrath Spire cooler.

    The 3900X seems fine where it is, as it's offering HEDT-level core counts on a consumer platform, making it unique for the time being, and positioning it well above the i9-9900K in heavily multithreaded workloads, and close to that processor in lightly-threaded ones.

    The pricing of the 3600 also seems fine, but the 3600X appears to be a bit questionable. It at least offers a better cooler than the 3600, but the minimal performance gains in the reviews I've seen so far make one question whether its worth paying an extra $50 for. $230 would have probably made it more enticing.
  • Phaaze88
    TLDR:
    3600: best overall value, but it has some competition via the 3700x, if you need those extra threads.
    3600x: skip
    3700x: good value, but only if the 3600 wasn't enough for your needs.
    3800x: skip
    3900x: kick-butt HCC mainstream offering, much cheaper than HEDT. Poor Threadripper... it only has pcie lanes going for it.
    3950x: same as 3900x, if you really need the extra threads.

    While the stock coolers are good, I see most people replacing them anyway, due to noise. This does reduce their value a little. Still better than most of Intel's offerings.
  • xcomp666
    Quote:
    I just did a 3700x Asrock x470 itx build. I imagine that I will need to use the wifi on it at some point in it's life, that's why I went with the x470 (Intel (1733) ) version over the b450 (Intel 3168 (433) ). I really didn't want a chipset fan because in 8 years I don't want to have to think about that failing in an old abused system, so I passed on x570.

    Hey ! your motherboard's VRMs are the same than mine ( Asrock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX ). What temperatures and Maximo PBO are you getting?
  • jclaine
    Quote:
    Hey ! your motherboard's VRMs are the same than mine ( Asrock Fatal1ty B450 Gaming-ITX ). What temperatures and Maximo PBO are you getting?


    At 70f ambient with stock cooling in a thermaltake core v1 itx case has me at ~70c under Prime95 load and idling ~36c. I hit the full 4.4 in synthetics but haven't tested a real world premiere encode yet.

    Quote:
    Is that the stock cooler? It's huge!

    haha yes. It looks larger because of the itx case but it's not a small stock cooler.
  • CountMike
    Quote:
    In light of the 3700X, the 3800X doesn't seem to have much reason to exist to be honest. Not unless boost/OC behavior somehow changes significantly in the future.

    I consider it being opposite, highest binned processor has more reason to exist compared with lower binned one. Might as well go for best of series and be done with it. With such good auto boost, OC is certainly going the way of Dodo. It's such big deal for some hard nosed OC fan like me. I have feeling that best PBO is still coming with better optimize BIOS versions.
    It took a while but latest BIOS for my MB only now reached it's peak with PBO2. it's now 100MHz higher than before.
  • TJ Hooker
    Quote:
    I consider it being opposite, highest binned processor has more reason to exist compared with lower binned one. Might as well go for best of series and be done with it. With such good auto boost, OC is certainly going the way of Dodo. It's such big deal for some hard nosed OC fan like me. I have feeling that best PBO is still coming with better optimize BIOS versions. It took a while but latest BIOS for my MB only now reached it's peak with PBO2. it's now 100MHz higher than before.

    I'm not sure if we're really disagreeing. I was saying that the 3800X could make sense if we see changes to boost behaviour (from FW improvements and/or binning improvements) such that we actually see significantly higher performance as a result of the 3800X's higher TDP allowance and supposedly superior binning. As it stands now neither of those things seem to amount to much so you get a CPU that costs 20% more for maybe 3% extra performance.
  • CountMike
    Quote:
    I'm not sure if we're really disagreeing. I was saying that the 3800X could make sense if we see changes to boost behaviour (from FW improvements and/or binning improvements) such that we actually see significantly higher performance as a result of the 3800X's higher TDP and supposedly superior binning. As it stands now neither of those things seem to amount to much so you get a CPU that costs 20% more for maybe 3% extra performance.

    Not really disagreeing , just noticing that there is much room for improvement BIOS wise just like it was with 2nd gen. Remember 1700x and 1800x ?
    Coming from relatively good CPU like my 2700x, 3700x is not that much of an upgrade while 3800x should be.
  • TJ Hooker
    Quote:
    Coming from relatively good CPU like my 2700x, 3700x is not that much of an upgrade while 3800x should be.

    Err, what? There is virtually no performance difference between the 3800X and the 3700X. If the 3700X doesn't make sense as an upgrade from a 2700X (which I would generally agree with), how does a 3800X that performs little to no better for $70 extra make sense?

    Quote:
    Not really disagreeing , just noticing that there is much room for improvement BIOS wise just like it was with 2nd gen. Remember 1700x and 1800x ?

    Not sure what you're alluding to. What sort of BIOS improvement did we see with 2nd gen? And what are you referring to with 1700X and 1800X?
  • CountMike
    Quote:
    Err, what? There is virtually no performance difference between the 3800X and the 3700X. If the 3700X doesn't make sense as an upgrade from a 2700X (which I would generally agree with), how does a 3800X that performs little to no better for $70 extra make sense? Not sure what you're alluding to. What sort of BIOS improvement did we see with 2nd gen? And what are you referring to with 1700X and 1800X?

    They were also close and BIOS improvement I'm talking about is that only last BIOS for my MB brought PBO improvements of 100MHz over one before it.
    What I'm saying is that there's still room for improvement which should bring promised 100MHz.
  • cryoburner
    When you're around 4.5GHz, an increase of 100MHz only amounts to about a 2% difference. Even if a performance improvement like that happened, it isn't going to suddenly make the processor worth significantly more. And aside from clock rates, any optimizations that improve performance on the 3800X should improve performance on the 3700X as well.
  • hftvhftv
    3800X doesn't really make sense when the 3700X exists.
  • Finsternis
    Hi, I see this table which says that if you use 4 pcs. of single rank memory modules they can work only at 2933 MHz (or less) , but is it possible to make 4 pcs. single rank 3200 MHz memory modules work at full speed? Is it necessary to up some voltage or is it not possible at all?
  • Math Geek
    like anything else, if you have a strong enough board that can provide the power and cooling, then you might be able to oc the sticks like anything else.

    but i suspect this won't happen on a budget bottom of the barrel board. it's a matter of not being designed to handle the faster speeds since it was not designed to. but you'll need to do some research since this is all so new. i'd wait for some folks to try it out first and see what happens before spending the money.