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AMD Ryzen 7 5800X Review: The Pricing Conundrum

Where's muh Ryzen 7 5700X?

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

Here we'll take a closer look at the Ryzen 7 5800X's boost clock mechanisms. Our testing shows that the chip exceeds its advertised clock speeds within the power limits of the AM4 socket, but it generates quite a bit of heat in the process.

As per our normal routine, we put AMD's boost clocks to the test in both single- and multi-threaded workloads (methodology here). The lightly-threaded test regimen is designed to extract the highest boost clock rates possible as we step through ten iterations of the LAME encoder, then single-threaded POV-Ray and Cinebench runs, PCMark 10, and GeekBench. To keep the charts 'clean,' we only plot the maximum and minimum frequency recorded on any one core during the test. 

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Ryzen 7 5800X Boost Frequency, Power, and Thermal Testing

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Ryzen 7 5800X Boost Frequency, Power, and Thermal Testing

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Ryzen 7 5800X Boost Frequency, Power, and Thermal Testing

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)
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Ryzen 7 5800X Boost Frequency, Power, and Thermal Testing

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

There really isn't too much to cover in the lightly-threaded series of tests; the big takeaway is that the Ryzen 7 5800X regularly exceeded its 4.7 GHz boost clock spec, albeit with our 280mm Corsair H115i cranking away at full speed, and hit 4.85 GHz very regularly during our test sequence. 

Unlike with the Ryzen 3000 series processors, the unused cores (plotted in black) dropped as low as 2.2 GHz during the test (previous-gen chips tended to bottom out at 3.8 GHz). With Zen 3, AMD added the ability for individual idle cores to drop into sleep states quickly to reduce overall chip power consumption and heat generation. That technique allows the active cores can boost to higher frequencies, and they can boost more frequently and for longer durations. 

The second series of tests plots our custom multi-threaded stress test that consists of multiple iterations of HandBrake, POV-Ray, Cinebench, v-ray, y-cruncher, and Blender renders. This is basically throwing the heaviest real-world workloads we have in our arsenal at the chip to see if we can push any active cores below the 5600X's 3.7 GHz base clock. It's important to note that all-core workloads that fully stress all the cores are represented in the areas where the red (maximum) and black (minimum) frequencies converge.

We recorded all-core boosts that generally landed in the 4.5 to 4.55 GHz range, and temperatures peaked (albeit for a short period) right at 90C, the maximum allowed temperature for AMD's 105W processors. Power consumption peaked at 140W, which is close enough to the 142W PPT limit (given expected variance) to say the processor, at stock settings, has the capability to extract the utmost power potential from the socket. That comes with the caveat that thermal conditions have to allow the chip to operate within that range - temperatures peaked at 90C, the limit, during the same time frame, indicating the chip was constrained by both thermal and power limits. 

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AMD Ryzen 5000 Temperature and Voltage Guidelines

(Image credit: AMD)
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AMD Ryzen 5000 Temperature and Voltage Guidelines

(Image credit: AMD)

We recorded higher temperatures during our tests than we've seen with previous-gen Ryzen chips, but don't get too excited about the higher stock temperatures. AMD tuned its boost algorithms to fully leverage every last bit of the thermal headroom available, resulting in higher chip temperatures – even during comparatively lighter workloads. This doesn't pose any danger to chip longevity and ultimately results in better performance.  

To help align expectations, AMD issued the above guidelines for expected temperatures for various kinds of coolers and the expected voltage ranges for various workloads. Naturally, lesser coolers at more mundane settings will peak at higher temperatures. 

Test Setup and Ryzen 7 5800X Overclocking

We've included our test system breakdown at the end of the article, and we also have the frequency, boost, and thermal testing following the gaming and application testing below.

Much like their previous-gen counterparts, the Ryzen 5000 series processors rarely achieve all-core overclocks that exceed the single-core boost frequency, so manual all-core overclocking results in less performance in lightly-threaded tasks. As such, we stuck with AMD's Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO), which boosts performance in multi-core workloads while maintaining the high single-core boost clocks. AMD has also announced its new Precision Boost Overdrive 2, which confers a slight performance boost in single-threaded work while also improving multi-threaded performance. Final BIOS revisions with the new feature roll out later this month, so be aware that our testing below leverages the standard Precision Boost Overdrive feature.

We've had great results with memory overclocking with the Ryzen 5000 series. However, while motherboard firmware is solid for stock and general overclocking use, it is still very much a work in progress for fabric overclocking. That impacts the peak memory frequencies you can attain while still using the 1:1:1 fclk/uclk/mclk ratio that provides the best results. 

We've reached DDR4-4000 with a 2000 MHz fabric with other Ryzen 5000 processors, but we're limited to a 1900 MHz fabric speed for the Ryzen 7 5800X. As such, we dialed in DDR4-3800 at 16-16-16-36 timings for our 5800X PBO configuration. We had to dial the CCD and IOD voltage to 1.15V to stabilize the fabric frequency. 

We conducted our testing with Windows 10 Pro (2004 build 19041.450) with the newest versions of each benchmark - with the exception of Cinebench R23 and v-ray 5, both of which recently launched. We'll add those tests in future reviews. 

Ryzen 5 5600X Test System Configurations
Intel Socket 1200 (Z490)Core i5-10600K, Core i7-10700K, Core i9-10900K
Gigabyte Aorus Z490 Master
2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 - Stock: DDR4-2933, OC: DDR4-4000
AMD Socket AM4 (X570)AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 5 5600X, 3600XT, 3600X, 2600X, 1600X

MSI MEG X570 Godlike
2x 8GB Trident Z Royal DDR4-3600 - Stock: DDR4-3200, OC: DDR4-4000, DDR4-3600
All SystemsGigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Eagle - Gaming and ProViz applications
Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti FE - Application tests

2TB Intel DC4510 SSD

EVGA Supernova 1600 T2, 1600W
Open Benchtable

Windows 10 Pro version 2004 (build 19041.450)
CoolingWraith Stealth, Corsair H115i, Custom loop

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Paul Alcorn

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