A welcome price cut makes the 5800X a great AM4 upgrade, although Zen 3 is now showing its age.
When we last reviewed the Ryzen 7 5800X a year ago it cost over $400, but like the rest of AMD’s first line of Zen 3 CPUs, it has recently received a price cut, shaving over $100 off this price. If you’re in the market for an upgrade and aren’t fussed about holding out for Zen 4, there are some good deals to be found now, but is AMD’s fastest eight-core CPU still your best bet for around $300?
Its competition comes from within, as well as from Intel, with the new Ryzen 7 5700X snapping at its heels for just $20 less, while the Intel Core i5-12600K goes for a similar price, but has a newer, more powerful architecture.
Like all of AMD’s Zen 3 CPUs, the Ryzen 7 5800X is now also backwards-compatible with B350 and X370 motherboards, so the Ryzen 7 5800X isn’t only worth considering if you’re building a new system, but also as an upgrade for an old Ryzen system. Since we published this review, we’ve also started seeing rumors of a new 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D CPU equipped with 3D V-Cache, which could potentially be a much better gaming CPU for a similar price.
The 5800X gives you eight cores able to process 16 threads, but its higher 105W TDP than the cheaper 65W Ryzen 7 5700X enables it to hit higher frequencies out of the box. For instance, its peak boost frequency is 4.7GHz compared to 4.6GHz for its cheaper sibling, and it can run all its cores up to 500MHz faster than the 5700X in heavily multi-threaded scenarios too.
The downside is that our test system drew 60W more power under full load with the 5800X compared with the Ryzen 7 5700X, and the 5800X ran noticeably warmer too, so will need a pricier cooling arrangement.
The extra frequency certainly helped the 5800X’s performance, with it producing noticeably higher scores than the 5700X in our RealBench image editing, video encoding, and multi-tasking tests, as well as Cinebench’s multi-threaded test. It’s quicker in games too. The Ryzen 7 5700X posted a 99th percentile frame rate of 88fps in Far Cry 6, which rose to 91fps with the Ryzen 7 5800X, while 3fps were added to the frame rate of the cheaper CPU in Watch Dogs: Legion too.
The bigger problem for the 5800X, of course, is the Core i5-12600K, which it matched on the RealBench system score, thanks to a decent multi-tasking result, but the 5800X was slower in our image editing and video encoding tests, and it was a long way behind in Cinebench. It wasn’t far off the pace in games, but it was a little slower than the Intel CPU in Watch Dogs: Legion, and the Core i5-12600K also managed a higher average frame rate in Far Cry 6.
Overclocking saw us hit an all-core speed of 4.6GHz on the 5800X, but this meant we lost 100MHz of stock speed boost frequency, gaining only 200MHz of all-core frequency, so you may wish to play with Precision Boost Overdrive 2 to edge out more multi-threaded performance, but keep that peak 4.7GHz boost. Overclocking saw it fail to close the gap to the Core i5-12600K, though.
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X pros and cons
- Decent multi-threaded performance
- Fast out of the box
- Backwards compatible
- Core i5-12600K faster
- Cheaper Ryzen 7 5700X is cooler and more power frugal
- Limited benefits to manual overclocking
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X specs
The Ryzen 7 5800X specs list is:
|Max boost frequency
|Number of cores
|8 x physical (16 threads)
|Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT)
|32MB L3 cache, 4MB L2 cache
|Dual-channel DDR4, up to 3200MHz
|AMD Socket AM4
|Thermal design power (TDP)
|Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost Overdrive, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, AVX2, AVX, AES, SSE4a, SSE4, SSSE3, SSE3, SSE2, SSE
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X price
The 5800X is competitively priced, making it a great option for those seeking an upgrade to older Ryzen AM4 systems. However, for a brand new system, the similarly-priced Core i5-12600K offers better overall performance.
Price: Expect to pay $300 (£300).
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X review conclusion
While the Ryzen 7 5800X represents a decent upgrade if you’re tied to AMD’s AM4 ecosystem, the Core i5-12600K is better overall, with higher frame rates in games and better performance in the majority of content creation tasks, while costing a little less money. Motherboard pricing may ultimately influence your decision too, especially with the Ryzen 7 5800X’s excellent backwards compatibility, but Intel still has a performance advantage, despite AMD’s price cuts.
For more CPU options, check out our guide to the best gaming CPU, which details a range of different CPUs to suit different needs and budgets.