The Ryzen 7 5800X is yet another compelling piece of AMD's Zen 3-powered 7nm silicon, delivering the types of generational performance gains that we've come to expect from Ryzen 5000 and easily outclassing Intel's price-comparable chips with a better balance of single-threaded and multi-threaded performance.
However, AMD increased the price for its eight-core Ryzen 5000 chips by $50 over the previous-gen processors, leaving the Ryzen 7 5800X susceptible to competition from within AMD's own product stack. AMD's excessively-large $150 gap between the Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 families also opens the door for the Core i7-10700K to slide in as a lower-priced and lower-performance alternative.
As we can see in the cumulative numbers above, the Ryzen 7 5800X offers the same level of gaming performance as the Ryzen 5 5600X. If gaming is your primary intention, the Ryzen 5 5600X is a much better value and remains our top pick for gaming. That said, as we've noted with previous AMD CPU reviews, many of those gains won’t be noticeable to users with lesser graphics cards. The tables have turned, and now Intel CPUs are the ones that are "basically just as fast as AMD" with anything short of the RTX 3080. But if you're looking for longevity, the Ryzen 5 5600X has plenty of horsepower to push future generations of graphics cards. As usual, if you need a powerful high-end chip with integrated graphics, Intel's Comet Lake is the only modern option.
Turning to our single-threaded performance measurements, the Ryzen 7 5800X easily tops the field of Intel contenders and provides a slight gain over the Ryzen 5 5600X. The 5800X is plenty snappy but there is a point of diminishing returns here, so expect to 'feel' a similar level of performance compared to other Zen 3 chips.
Obviously, Intel's Comet Lake processors can't match the Zen 3 chips in lightly-threaded work. Still, the Core i9-10900K and 10850K, which are very similar, are slightly faster in threaded applications, potentially making them a viable alternative for the productivity-minded. However, Core i9's deficiencies in single-threaded work take some of the shine off of the gains in multi-threaded performance. Given Core i9's price points, most users are better served with the Ryzen 7 5800X's better blend of performance, not to mention its more amenable power consumption.
The Ryzen 9 5900X slots in as an attractive upgrade to the Ryzen 7 5800X, though. An extra $100 scores four more cores and ~37% more performance in threaded workloads, but for 22% more cash. That relatively slim $100 pricing delta blurs the lines for creativity-focused users that do a lot of threaded work. The 5900X is actually slightly faster in gaming than the 5800X, so you won't sacrifice if you go with the 5900X's heavier core counts.
The Ryzen 7 5800X suffers from a precarious pricing position, and the $150 no-mans-land between Ryzen 7 and 5 series leaves the door open for the Core i7-10700K to slot in as a value alternative between the 5800X and 5600X. The $374 Core i7-10700K brings solid gaming performance, you probably won't notice the difference between it and the 5600X if you have anything short of an RTX 3080, but the 10700K also adds a bit more threaded horsepower. The 10700K isn't as potent in threaded applications as the 5800X, but the $75 savings makes it a compelling value alternative if you're interested in more than just gaming.
AMD has redefined the market's mainstream segment to chips with 6 or 8 cores, but it has left little wiggle room for enthusiasts to step up to eight cores without a much higher price tag. AMD really needs the 'missing' Ryzen 7 5700X to plug the big pricing gap in its product stack. Such a chip would likely remove the Core i7-10700K from the conversation, not to mention make it more palatable to step up from Ryzen 5 to Ryzen 7.
Overall, we're impressed with the Ryzen 7 5800X's performance, but its price tag leaves a lot to be desired. Given the ongoing shortages, AMD can continue to charge a premium and sell every chip nearly immediately. However, as supply improves, the Ryzen 7 5800X's pricing could prove to be the Achilles heel for an otherwise stellar processor.
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