The $449 Ryzen 7 5800X3D's 3D V-Cache tech represents an innovative engineering effort that conquered the technical challenges associated with bringing the first desktop PC chip with 3D-stacked SRAM to market, and to great effect. The end result is a comparatively low-power chip that delivers incredible gaming performance, dethroning Intel's $589 Alder Lake Core i9-12900K and $739 Core i9-12900KS from the top of our gaming charts.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a special chip optimized specifically for gaming, but it can't keep pace with similarly-priced chips in productivity applications. The 5800X3D also doesn't support Alder Lake's leading-edge connectivity options, like DDR5 and PCIe 5.0. AMD won't have comparable connectivity until its 5nm Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ Zen 4 CPUs launch later this year.
Below, we have the geometric mean of our gaming test suite at 1080p and 1440p and a cumulative measure of performance in single- and multi-threaded applications. Remember that we conducted the gaming tests with an RTX 3090, so performance deltas will shrink with lesser cards and higher resolution and fidelity settings. However, it is noteworthy that a few of our tested titles are approaching a GPU bottleneck at 1080p, so we might see bigger performance deltas when new, more powerful GPUs arrive later this year.
The 3D V-Cache doesn't accelerate all games, so your mileage will vary. On average in our test suite at 1080p, the 5800X3D is ~9% faster than the 12900K which costs 30% more, and ~7% faster than the Core i9-12900KS which costs a whopping 64% more. The 5800X3D even manages to carve out a 3% lead in the face of the heavily-overclocked 12900KS, making it both the fastest gaming chip in our test suite and a better value for gaming than the Core i9 and Core i7 models.
The 5800X3D also beat AMD's previous-fastest gaming chip, the Ryzen 9 5900X, by 21% in gaming. The 5800X3D does command a sizeable $100 upcharge over the 5800X, but it was 28% faster in our test suite. In fact, despite its lower clock speeds, we didn't see any regressions in gaming with the 5800X3D.
Overall, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a great high-performance gaming chip, but its performance characteristics are bipolar when it comes to standard desktop PC applications: The Core i9-12900K is 29% faster in single-threaded work and 62% faster in threaded applications, and the 12900KS is even faster still. Additionally, the Ryzen 7 5800X is 7% faster in single-threaded work, but only 1% faster in multi-threaded applications.
If you're looking for a more balanced chip that does well at both gaming and applications, the $409 Core i7-12700K is a solid choice. The Core i7-12700K is 28.8% faster in single-threaded work and 40% faster in multi-threaded work than the 5800X3D, showing that it is the best all-rounder in this price range. For AMD fans, the $450 Ryzen 9 5900X is also a competent all-arounder, but the 12700K remains a better value.
The 5800X3D drops into existing socket AM4 motherboards dating all the way back to the 300-series that debuted in 2017, so it will make a great high-performance drop-in upgrade for Ryzen owners, provided they have a decent motherboard with solid power delivery and the right supporting components. That upgrade path is even more important given the recent shortages and price hikes we've seen, but it will likely be the last upgrade for socket AM4 platforms. Be aware that AM4 is on the way out to make room for the 5nm Ryzen 7000 ‘Raphael’ Zen 4 chips in the AM5 socket. Should you upgrade or wait for Zen 4? Unfortunately, we can't answer that question yet.
AMD hasn't enabled overclocking the 5800X3D's core frequencies, probably for the reasons we outlined in our thermal throttling tests above, but you can tune the memory and Infinity Fabric. Given the 5800X3D's exceptionally high performance in gaming at stock settings, it might be easy for some to forgive this limitation. It's still a bummer, but not a deal-breaker. Also, be aware that memory overclocking for the 5800X3D is of limited to no utility — the gains aren't slim enough to justify the expense of a higher-end memory kit.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D has much lower power consumption than the Core i9-12900KS and 12900K, making it a far cooler processor that won't require as expensive accommodations, like a beefy cooler, motherboard, and power supply. We are talking about a chip that peaked at 130W compared to the 12900KS that topped out at over 300W, after all. That means the 5800X3D delivers top-notch gaming performance along with a cooler, quieter, and less expensive system than you'll get with a Core i9.
If you're willing to accept the lower but still competent performance in desktop PC applications, and also do your homework to make sure the Ryzen 7 5800X3D accelerates the types of games you play frequently, it's hard to go wrong with this chip — especially for upgraders. Stepping up from a Ryzen 7 1800X to a drop-in Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a no-brainer, for instance. We're sure that will keep plenty of folks from jumping ship to Intel's Alder Lake or upcoming Raptor Lake processors.
Some will balk at the 5800X3D's price tag, and we still recommend that most gamers shop for Core i5 or Ryzen 5 processors for new dedicated gaming rigs. Still, if you have a taste for higher-end fare and a good understanding of the strengths and weaknesses, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is an impressive chip that delivers leading-edge gaming performance and leaves room for future GPU upgrades, joining our list of the Best CPUs for gaming as the best high-end value for gaming.