Jack has been interested in computers and tech since 10 years old when he decided to dismantle his PC to see how it worked. Ever since Jack has had a passion for IT and gaming beyond any other. He loves the data and testing process and allowing himself to take an analytical and technical approach to PC hardware. He's even gone as far as getting educated in cyber security.
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AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs Ryzen 9 5900X. Which is better? It’s a question I’m sure you’ve asked yourself on the approach to the 5800X3D release date. AMD announced its rehash of Zen 3 desktop CPUs last year and knowing that the new Ryzen 7000 series would fall under AM5 there was some confusion around what exactly the Zen 3 rehash was until AMD announced the 5800X3D later on in the year.
The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is a brand new 5000 series CPU and likely the last to support the AM4 platform. AMD recently added the full specifications of the 5800X3D to its website so we can take an in-depth look at the on-paper specifications. With AMD claiming the 5800X3D is capable of outperforming the 5900X and the 12900K from team blue, and with a price confirmation yet to be seen, it leaves one question – will it be worth the upgrade?
Cache and 3D v-cache
The most notable difference between the 5800X3D and the 5900X is the cache type.
What is Cache?
Briefly, cache serves as a system memory extension and is constructed close to CPU cores for speed and efficiency. Cache in today’s modern CPUs comes in three levels.
Level one cache is the fastest but also the smallest, and is reserved for integral operations. Level two cache is a middle ground between L1 and L3 cache, with the second-fastest speed and second fastest storage. Finally, level three cache is the largest but also the slowest cache type, reserved for frequently accessed file paths to speed up the usage of regular programs.
Note that when we say slow we still mean magnitudes faster than general RAM, just much slower than L1 cache.
5800X3D vs 5900X: 3D cache vs 2D cache
The new 5800X3D offers a new 3D cache while the 5900X reserves the 2D cache structure.
3D cache dies are stacked vertically instead of laterally. This is beneficial and allows for a much larger capacity in the exact same footprint. Since the 2D cache inside the 5900X is stacked laterally, the dies require much more space and are therefore limited by the space they occupy.
To put it very simply, stacking cache vertically allows for much faster access speeds and aids the acquisition of instructions, allowing the CPU to be fed more quickly.
We have far more detail on the new cache type of the 5800X3D in our ‘5800X vs 5800X3D’ article if you want to know more.
Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs Ryzen 9 5900X: specifications
When comparing two components it’s important to outline the specifications to determine how good they are, how they might perform and how they stack up against each other on paper. Some examples of CPU specifications would be core count, cache size and core speed. We will compare the specifications of both the AMD 5800X3D and the 5900X.
The Ryxen 7 5800X3D is a brand new CPU on the new Zen 3 rehash. The 5800X3D will be bringing with it a brand new 3D cache to help vastly improve the cache capacity whilst retaining access speeds. We have seen projections against AMD and Intel’s current flagship CPUs (5900X and 12900K) and from where we sit it looks like a favourable contender.
The specs of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D are as follows:
- 8 cores
- 16 threads
- Boost clock 4.5GHz
- Base clock 3.4GHz
- L1 cache 512KB
- L2 cache 4MB
- L3 cache 96MB
- Default TDP 105W
- Socket AM4
The Ryzen 9 5900x belongs to the Ryzen 9 family of AMD CPUs, and are among the most powerful desktop processors AMD has to offer (besides the Threadripper line of CPUs which is a different beast entirely). The 5900x blew away its predecessor, the 3900x, in many ways, including clock speed, cache and support.
The specs of the Ryzen 9 5900x are as follows:
- 12 cores
- 24 threads
- Boost clock 4.8GHz
- Base clock 3.7GHz
- L1 cache 768KB
- L2 cache 6MB
- L3 cache 64MB
- Default TDP 105W
- Socket AM4
5800X3D vs 5900X: specification comparison
Here we will compare the on-paper specifications of the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and the Ryzen 9 5900X and pit them head-to-head. This should help us make an informed decision when deciding on our next CPU upgrade.
The AMD 5900X has a higher core count than the 5800X3D.
A higher core count means the CPU will be superior at multitasking natively as more of the day-to-day processes can be handled by the CPU at any given time. However, it all depends on whether the software you are using has multicore support baked in. Some older applications and games do not have this support and are unable to leverage the CPU’s extra cores.
Not to worry though, most modern games or programs utilize at least four cores, with workstation and rendering applications able to utilize many more. So if you’re building a server or a workstation, cores are the way to go.
The 5900X has more threads than the 5800X3D.
Threads can be thought of as cores, only they occupy no physical space and are forced to share resources with physical cores, making them slightly slower as a result. What do we mean by physical cores?
Physical cores are cores that occupy a physical space on the CPU die, hence the name. Threads are the CPU core’s ability to process two instructions at once through a process AMD dubbed SMT (Simultaneous Multithreading).
This means that each CPU core is now able to process two instructions simultaneously, through one physical core and one virtual thread. So, for workstation purposes much like core count, it’s better to have more.
This was an incredibly summarised version of SMT and you can explore our ‘What is SMT’ article to learn more.
The 5900X has a higher core speed than the 5800X3D. The Ryzen 9 5900x boasts a boost speed of 4.8GHz and the Ryzen 7 5800X3D gives us a boost speed of 4.5GHz.
Core speed is important for instructions and IPC (instructions per cycle). This is the number of instructions a CPU can execute every CPU cycle. This refers to the instruction cycle that consists of fetch, decode and execute actions.
A CPU clock speed is how many instruction cycles a CPU can perform every second and since it’s measured in gigahertz we’re talking about billions of instructions. Not all core speed was created equal, however. If a CPU belongs to an architecture with a smaller nm process like 10 vs 12, the 10 nm process will have a higher IPC as the transistors used in its composition are smaller, meaning more are present.
This suggests that CPUs with smaller transistors allow the CPU to fit more into one space, meaning the CPU with a 10nm process is capable of more computations per cycle. This means that one of the 10nm process CPUs cycles is worth more than one of the 12nm process CPU cycles.
So, even if both CPUs had the exact same clock speed, the CPU with the 10nm process would be more powerful as it has a higher IPC.
There’s a lot to take in here – IPC, core speed, CPU cycle. We explain these subjects in far more detail in our ‘5800X vs 5800X3D’ article.
Surprisingly, the 5800X3D has a larger total cache of 94MB than the 5900X despite it’s fewer cores.
Cache, as we outlined earlier, is the extension of a system’s memory and comes in three levels on today’s CPUs – L1, L2 and L3 cache.
Besides the differences between 2D and 3D cache, both types serve the same purpose and that is to improve instruction access and execution speeds. Doing so increases CPU performance overall. A CPU cache is constructed close to CPU cores and reliably improves access speeds as a result.
Compared to RAM, the three levels of CPU cache are blisteringly fast, and each level has different applications and plays a different role in the CPU cycle.
Level one cache is the smallest capacity and has the fastest speeds. This is where crucial CPU instructions are stored for faster access speeds.
Level two is a nice middle ground between L1 and L3, with medium capacity and medium speeds. This is where less crucial CPU instructions are stored but will still benefit from fast access speeds.
Level three has the highest capacity and is much slower in comparison to the other levels (but still fast compared to RAM). This is where frequently used paths like application paths are stored to give your CPU a boost when accessing frequently used data.
Both CPUs on our list have the same TDP of 105W.
TDP or thermal design power is the maximum amount of heat energy a component can output under normal operating conditions. All you need do is pair this CPU with a cooler that can comfortably dissipate more than 105W of thermal energy.
This is the energy transferred under normal conditions, though, we aren’t speaking about overclocking. Overclocking drastically increases a component’s TDP due to the presence of extra voltage or more strenuous operating conditions. For this reason, if you plan on overclocking either of these components, you should consider getting a cooler that drastically exceeds the 105W TDP requirement.
Both of our CPUs fit into the same AM4 socket.
AM4 is currently the socket of choice for AMD gamers, but not for long. With AM5 on the horizon, that’s one of the factors you need to take into consideration. As we mentioned previously in this article, this Zen 3 rehash is likely to be the last to see the AM4 platform.
AM4 currently is based on PGA (pin grid array) and AMD has managed to keep this socket running for over five years. However, it’s now starting to show its technical limitations based on the claims of advanced AM5 specification showcases.
5800X3D vs 5900X: results
The Ryzen 9 5900X takes the win here on paper. It beats the 5800X3D in almost every aspect, but that’s not all she wrote. The 3D v-cache creates a substantial 15% performance benefit whilst gaming, but it remains to be seen whether the increase is consistent outside of gaming.
AMD even claims that inside of gaming applications the 5800X3D is better than the Intel Core i9 12900k in some cases, and ties in others, boasting up to a 1.4X increase in performance in Watch Dogs Legion.
These benefits are great within gaming, but you tend to find that gaming and workstation processes tend to be quite opposite, so how does the 5800X3D perform day-to-day?
Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs Ryzen 9 5900X: Benchmarks
Be on the lookout for our in-house benchmarks when the Ryzen 7 5800X3D releases, which should be at the end of March, according to Ryzen 5800X3D release date leaks.
The Ryzen 9 5900X has the core speed, core count, and thread count under its belt, and that’s mostly what matters. When working day-to-day and in workstation applications, the extra cores and threads will help you chew through any workstation application with little effort, and the increased core speed will only aid that.
Having said that, the 5800X3D is looking like it could be the better choice if you’re an avid gamer, and won’t be performing many workstation tasks. The increase in performance that the 64MB of 3D v-cache brings, could be the deciding factor if gaming is your primary use case, and don’t mind potentially suffering some performance losses in other applications.
This however remains to be seen until we get our hands on the 5800X3D and put it through its paces. Stay tuned for that in our AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D vs Ryzen 9 5900X article.