AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Review: The Pricing Conundrum

Where's muh Ryzen 7 5700X?

Ryzen 7 5800X
(Image: © Tom's Hardware)

Tom's Hardware Verdict

AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X offers great performance in applications, but the same gaming performance as its less-expensive counterpart, the Ryzen 5 5600X.


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    Strong gaming performance

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    Solid single- and multi-threaded

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    IPC gain, boost frequencies

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    Power efficiency

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    PCIe Gen4 support

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    400/500-series compatible


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    No bundled cooler

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    No integrated graphics

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AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X slots into AMD's Zen 3-powered product stack with eight cores and sixteen threads, serving as the mainstream workhorse of the Ryzen 5000 series processors that have taken our list of Best CPUs by storm and realigned our CPU Benchmarks Hierarchy. Powered by the Zen 3 architecture that delivers a ~19% increase in instruction per cycle (IPC) throughput, the Ryzen 7 5800X delivers the impressive gains over the previous-gen models that we've come to expect, resetting our performance expectations for an eight-core processor. 

However, balancing a product stack is all about selecting the right price point for any given chip, and the Ryzen 7 5800X's relatively high price point ($50 more than the previous-gen model) not only puts it into contention with bruising competition from within AMD's own product stack, it also allows Intel's $374 Core i7-10700K to slot in as a value alternative. 

The $449 Ryzen 7 5800X is the next step up the ladder from the $299 six-core 12-thread Ryzen 5 5600X, the best gaming CPU for the money, but the 5800X provides roughly the same gaming performance for $150 more. AMD also stopped bundling air coolers with its chips with a TDP rating that exceeds 65W, so the 105W Ryzen 7 5800X comes without what used to be one of AMD's most prized value-adds for the Ryzen 7 series – the Wraith Prism RGB cooler. 

AMD's cooler-less Ryzen 5000 series models require a 280mm AIO cooler (or equivalent air cooler), adding plenty of cost into the equation. That will likely dissuade gaming-focused enthusiasts from dropping the extra cash for the 5800X's two additional cores that don't deliver meaningful gaming performance gains over the Ryzen 5 5600X. 

Conversely, the $549 Ryzen 9 5900X is an alluring chip for the productivity-minded. The 5900X comes armed with 12 cores and 24 threads for $100 more than the 5800X, and the extra four cores and eight threads equate to ~37% more performance in threaded workloads for 22% more cash. The Ryzen 9 5900X is also the fastest gaming chip in the Zen-3 powered stack, so there aren't any tradeoffs from moving up to the competitively-priced 12-core model.

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AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processor Competition
Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 Series ProcessorsRCP (MSRP)Cores/ThreadsBase/Boost Freq.TDPL3 Cache
Ryzen 9 5950X$79916 / 323.4 / 4.9105W64MB (2x32)
Core i9-10980XE$815 (retail) 18 / 363.0 / 4.8165W24.75MB
Ryzen 9 3950X$74916 / 323.5 / 4.7105W64MB (4x16)
Ryzen 9 5900X$54912 / 243.7 / 4.8 105W64MB (2x32)
Core i9-10900K / F$488 - $47210 / 203.7 / 5.3125W20MB
Ryzen 9 3900XT$49912 / 243.9 / 4.7105W64MB (4x16)
Ryzen 7 5800X$4498 / 163.8 / 4.7 105W32MB (2x16)
Core i9-10850K$45310 / 203.6 / 5.295W20MB
Core i7-10700K / F$374 - $3498 / 163.8 / 5.1125W16MB
Ryzen 7 3800XT$3998 / 163.9 / 4.7105W32MB (2x16)
Ryzen 5 5600X$2996 / 123.7 / 4.6 65W32MB (1x32)
Core i5-10600K / F$262 - $2376 / 124.1 / 4.8125W12MB
Ryzen 5 3600XT$2496 / 123.8 / 4.595W32MB (1x32)

Intel's $440 Core i9-10850K comes into the picture with ten cores and 20 threads. This chip serves as the gaming equivalent to the $490 Core i9-10900K and is $10 cheaper than the Ryzen 7 5800X. The aging Skylake microarchitecture doesn't have enough gas left in the tank to match the Ryzen 7 5800X's stellar performance in gaming or lightly-threaded work, but it does offer roughly 3% more performance in threaded performance. Given its other deficiencies, we don't see Core i9's extra threaded horsepower wooing away many Ryzen 7 5800X shoppers. 

AMD's Zen 3 suffers from a noticeable gap in its product stack: Based upon product naming alone, it appears there is a missing Ryzen 7 5700X to plug the $150 hole in the stack, but we aren't sure if AMD will actually bring a 5700X to market. For now, that gap allows the $374 Core i7-10700K to weigh in as a cheaper alternative to the 5800X, but you'll make plenty of tradeoffs for the lower price point. Given the 10700K's low price point, it makes a solid value alternative - just be aware that you'll sacrifice performance.

AMD's premium could be a disadvantage if Intel becomes more aggressive on pricing, but AMD's suggested selling prices rarely manifest at retail, and continuing shortages have found Ryzen 5000 chips selling far over recommended pricing. History indicates that, given sufficient supply, AMD's processors typically retail for far less than the official price points. That makes it hard to predict how pricing will shake out over the next months as supply normalizes.

Meanwhile, Intel's response won't come until the first quarter of 2021 when its Rocket Lake chips blast off. These new chips bring a back-ported Cypress Cove architecture that grants a “double-digit” IPC increase paired with Intel's never-ending line of 14nm chips. Early indicators point to these chips flaunting their own impressive gains in per-core performance. 

Intel's Rocket Lake tops out at eight cores, so while those chips won't be able to challenge AMD's core-heavy Ryzen 9 processors, they could be worthy rivals for AMD's Ryzen 7 and 5 models. For now, Zen 3 has caught Intel flat-footed with its Comet Lake chips, so you should only consider them as alternatives if they're retailing below the official MSRPs.  

Ryzen 7 5800X Specifications and Pricing

The Ryzen 5000 series processors come as four models that span from six cores and twelve threads up to 16 cores and 32 threads. With the exception of the Ryzen 7 5800X, AMD increased its Precision Boost clock rates across the board. However, the Ryzen 7 5800X has the same 4.7 GHz boost clock as its predecessor, the Ryzen 7 3800XT. 

As before, AMD only guarantees its boost frequencies on a single core, and all-core boosts will vary based on the cooling solution, power delivery, and motherboard firmware. Given sufficient accommodations, the chips could exceed their specified boost clocks - our Ryzen 7 5800X sample frequently boosted to 4.85 GHz on a single core, which is well above the rated 4.7 GHz boost. It's clear that AMD has spec'd the Ryzen 5000 processors conservatively. 

AMD also reduced Zen 3's base frequencies compared to the previous-gen processors. For instance, the Ryzen 7 5800X comes with a 3.8 GHz base frequency compared to the previous-gen 3800XT's 3.9 GHz, but in practice, that isn't a meaningful distinction. AMD says that if you top the chip with an adequate cooler, it will rarely (if ever) drop to the base frequency. We recorded many cases of a 4.5 GHz all-core boost with the Ryzen 7 5800X, which certainly wasn't possible with the previous-gen chips. We'll cover that more in-depth below.

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AMD Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs
Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 Series ProcessorsRCP (MSRP) Cores/ThreadsBase/Boost Freq. TDPL3 Cache
Ryzen 9 5950X$79916 / 323.4 / 4.9 GHz105W64MB (2x32)
Ryzen 9 5900X$54912 / 243.7 / 4.8 GHz105W64MB (2x32)
Ryzen 7 5800X$4498 / 163.8 / 4.7 GHz105W32MB (1x32)
Ryzen 5 5600X$2996 / 123.7 / 4.6 GHz65W32MB (1x32)

The Ryzen chips continue to expose 20 lanes of PCIe 4.0 to the user and stick with DDR4-3200 memory as the base spec. However, if the silicon lottery shines upon you, we found that the chips offer much better memory overclocking due to improved fabric overclocking capabilities. We achieved DDR4-3800 with a 1:1 memory/fabric clock ratio, which wasn't possible with the previous-gen Ryzen 7 3800XT, but still short of the DDR4-4000 we achieved with the Ryzen 9 5900X. Overall the 500-series motherboard firmwares are mature, but there is continuing development on the memory and fabric overclocking front. That means we could see further improvements here with newer BIOS updates. 

The Ryzen 5000 chips drop into existing AM4 motherboards with 500-series chipsets, like X570, B550, and A520 models. AMD is adding support for 400-series motherboards starting in Q1, 2021, but that comes with a few restrictions. Regardless, some motherboard vendors have jumped ahead and already offer support on 400-series motherboards, so that initiative is well underway. Just remember that you'll lose support for the PCIe 4.0 interface on those older motherboards. 

We've covered AMD's Zen 3 microarchitecture more in-depth in our Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X review. The highlight reel is that AMD has unified its L3 cache into one 32MB contiguous cluster, which vastly reduces memory latency, thus boosting performance in latency-sensitive workloads, like gaming. AMD also made a number of fine-grained optimizations to the microarchitecture. 

Ryzen 5000 SoC

(Image credit: AMD)

AMD leverages its existing Ryzen SoC for the 5000 series chips. Zen 3 uses the same 12nm I/O Die (IOD) paired with either one or two 8-core chiplets (CCD) in an MCM (Multi-Chip Module) configuration. For the Ryzen 7 5800X, the chip comes with one CCD with all eight cores enabled, while CPUs with 12 or 16 cores come with two chiplets. 

The IOD still contains the same memory controllers, PCIe, and other interfaces that connect the SoC to the outside world. Just like with the Matisse chips, the IOD measures ~125mm^2 and has 2.09 billion transistors. 

The chiplets have been redesigned, however, and now measure ~80.7mm^2 and have 4.15 billion transistors. That's slightly larger than Zen 2's CCDs with ~74mm^2 of silicon and 3.9 billion transistors.  For more details of the magic behind the 19% increase in IPC, head here


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Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.