Expect a deep dive on latency and clock speeds and how they translate to real-life performance. It’s a Zen 2 vs Zen 3 showdown, so we discuss the core differences between the generations and whether it’s worth the jump in performance matches up to the jump in cost.
Before concluding, we run over where you can expect to find these CPUs in the present and in the coming months, giving you the best chance to snatch one up should you like what you see.
There’s no doubt about it. AMD has managed to win the hearts and wallets of a vast majority of PC gamers, skillfully siphoning customers out from under Intel’s nose. But then how does a new convert, fresh from the AMD vs Intel debate, decide on a particular Ryzen CPU?
It’s tough. There are a lot of iterations still available at the minute, and as we all know, sometimes older technology still gives newer models a run for their (your) money. Well, in this article we’re going to be comparing one of the most popular Ryzen 7 CPUs, the 3700X to their new 5800X to help you make your decision.
We’ll run over the raw SKUs, some of the features and components, then we’ll dive into performance and see how those specs translate to real-life applications. Once all is considered, we’ll discuss their overall value for money and availability.
Let’s have a quick glance over the technical defining features of these two CPUs. Sometimes performance proves specs to be a little deceiving, but it’s always a great place to start when comparing similar CPUs.
The more cores a CPU has, the better it tends to be for parallelling workflows. While more cores are generally better, some of the speed they facilitate is already designated to their intercommunication, so for gaming, a ton of cores may not actually be the fastest option.
Both the 3700X and the 5800X have 8 cores, so they should be equally matched in terms of general processing power. Though there are sure to be some in the future, there aren’t any games that require more than 8 cores to run. There are probably a few that root out commands to as many cores as there are available to maximize performance, but they don’t necessarily need to.
What may cause some problems is running a demanding game, having loads of tabs open, playing music, downloading media, or streaming simultaneously. If you’re a big multitasker, extra cores are really going to help you out here.
Multi-thread cores are essential to the demands of the modern computer gamer. They allow for twice as many commands to be processed simultaneously. Luckily, the 3700X and 5800X have multi-thread core designs, with a total of 16 threads apiece.
More threads mean more information can be processed at once, but it also slows cores down. Threaded cores are much better than single cores for applications that are perfectly threaded such as video editing, but for gaming, performance will vary from game to game.
Clock speed, alongside other things like cores and memory, defines how fast your CPU can run, and it’s here we begin to see some divergence between the Ryzen 7 CPUs.
The 3700X has a base clock speed of 3.6GHz and a maximum boost frequency of up to 4.4GHz. That’s certainly fast enough to provide an enjoyable lag-free (internet permitting) gaming experience.
When it comes to the 5800X you get a base clock speed of 3.8GHz and a maximum frequency of up to 4.7GHz. Obviously, that’s more impressive than the 3700X, but what does that mean for your gaming?
Depending on the game you’re playing, there’s roughly 30fps added for each 1GHz of clock speed. That works out as around 3fps for every 0.1GHz, so hypothetically, you can expect around 6 more frames per second from the 5800X than the 3700X while they run at their base speeds and around 9fps when boosted.
If you’re into overclocking, both Ryzen 7s are unlocked, but AMD CPUs aren’t exactly renowned for their headroom. The 3700X reaches a fairly stable 4.3GHz overclocked. You can expect to hit 4.7GHz when overclocking the 5800X which is slightly more impressive, but neither is going to really bolster gameplay. It’s also good to note that the 5800X has a 90-degree max heat bearing capacity, 5 degrees cooler than the 3700X, so unless you’ve got a great liquid cooling system, it’s probably not even worth trying to overclock it.
AMD doesn’t hide behind any excuses when it comes to shallow headroom in their CPUs. They openly admit it, claiming it’s due to an already peaked standard functioning thanks to processes like their proprietary Precision Boosts, but more on those later.
Cache memory is normally split into three zones: L1, the smallest yet quickest to access zone; L2, middling in size and speed; and L3 the largest and slowest zone to retrieve information from. Picture a workman. His hands are like L1 memory. His tool belt is like L2 memory. His van is like L3.
Here we see the Ryzen 7 CPUs attain parity again, both featuring an L1 cache of 512KB, an L2 of 5MB, and L3 of 32MB. Both systems are supported by the same DDR4 3200 memory types.
What does this mean in gaming terms? Well, basically, it means you’re completely set for some high-quality gaming, whichever of these CPUs you choose. Gaming really only requires around 16MB of total cache memory for a solid performance. You can even get by with 8 for some, so with just over 37MB in total, both CPUs are sufficiently future-proofed, primed to tackle more demanding games as and when they’re released. AMD is amazing when it comes to futureproofing their CPUs. It’s the very reason we’re still comparing their newer products with Zen 2.
Zen 2 vs Zen 3
The most significant difference between these two CPUs is their micro-architecture. The 3700X is a Zen 2 build, while the 5800X is a Zen 3 build, so what does that mean?
The 8500X’s cores are still made of the same 7nm chiplet silicon process nodes. What has been changed are the engineering approaches to cache hierarchies, infinity fabric, and clock mesh. If you’re not a computer scientist, don’t stress yourself out trying to figure out what those things are, just know that it translates to at least an 8% increase in IPC or interprocess communication, reduced cache latency, and faster clock speeds.
So, at this juncture, it does appear that the Ryzen 7 5800X is going to provide a more impressive performance, but is it going to be noticeable enough?
Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive
Both Ryzen CPUs have these abilities. Precision Boost 2 is a really smart scaler style process that effectively reallocates clock speed to the threads that need it most.
Precision Boost Overdrive has the amazing ability to boost your clock speed between 100 and 200MHz beyond what the chip is officially rated to achieve. We know that sounds kind of dangerous. No one enjoys the smell of fried CPU in the morning, but PBD doesn’t actually supercharge a source – or anything for that matter. What it does do is remove the barriers in place that limit the normal power of the CPU, the TDC, EDC, and PPT. PBO then replaces them with your motherboard’s maximum speed capacity. The mind boggles.
Onboard Thermal Solutions
If you don’t currently have a cooling system, or yours isn’t so efficient, this might make your decision for you. The Ryzen 7 3700X comes with the very slick Wraith Prism fan cooling system. It’s a pretty good bit of gear, and the LED lighting makes it look super cool, and Ryzen 7 5800X doesn’t include any form of thermal solution.
While this does seem like a feather in the 3700X’s cap, most gamers are likely going to already have something equal to or better than Wraith Prism to cover their cooling needs.
If you plan on pushing the 3700X to its limits with challenging applications and overclocking, you’re going to need something more efficient in the fan department anyway, or better still, liquid.
DDR4 3200 is a really advanced memory type that functions at speeds up to 3200MHz. This is going to boost frames per second ever so slightly, and with a higher bandwidth transfer rate and clock speed cycle than other DDR4 units, allows your computer to work super fast. It’s one of the best memory types available, so again, you’re seeing evidence of AMD’s attention to future-proofing their CPUs.
PCI Express 4.0
PCI-e 4 is cutting edge technology even though it’s been around since Zen 2, partly because it’s AMD’s proprietary technology. You won’t find PCI-e 4 in Intel CPU’s for a while. Put simply, it allows for unparalleled communication speeds between peripheral hardware such as video cards to the rest of your computer. Both Ryzen 7s in question come with PCI-e 4.
We can discuss the cold hard specs and components until the cows come home, but how they all work together in these Ryzen units in real life, in real-time, for real games is what matters most of all. Let’s start by observing the results of some real-world speed benchmark tests.
Pitting these two Ryzen 7 beasts against one another in a latency test saw the older 3700X score a stock total of 79.1 points and 88.2 points overclocked. Pretty impressive if you ask us, but the 5800 wasn’t about to be defeated, scoring 88.2 points stock and 95.4 overclocked. Overall we have a 12% stock victory and an 8% overclocked victory for the 5800X.
Starting with single-core performance, the 3700X got stuck in with 135 points with a stock setup and 142 overclocked, but again it wasn’t enough to dethrone the 5800X. The new killer in town scored 161 and 167 respectively. That’s a 19% and 18% win.
Moving on to dual-core performance, the 3700X mustered a stock score of 266 points, and an overclocked score of 282. The 5800X, not to be outdone, scored 318 – stock, and 332 – overclocked, a victory of 19% and 18% – same as the single-core results.
Quad-core mixed speeds followed suit with the 5800X outperforming the 3500X by 17% both stock and overclocked.
The 5800X cleaned up in octa-core mixed speeds, winning by a stock 17% and 14% overclocked.
Real World Speed
Let’s translate these results into an overall real-world, effective speed rating. The Ryzen 3700X performance rounds up to an 87.1% speed score, but the clear winner is the 5800X with a dominant 99.7% effective speed rating, 15% quicker than the 3700X.
Let’s get down to brass tax with a side by side gameplay comparison. These comparisons were done in 1080p using an RTX 3080 graphics card.
During COD Modern Warfare, the 5800X came out on top with an average of 287fps over the 3700X’s 274fps. The 3700X closed the gap to an unnoticeable 7fps differential, during Battlefield V.
The 5800X took a clean 10fps victory in Metro Exodus, with an average of 134fps, and an 11fps Fortnite win.
Red Dead 2 was a hell of a shoot out, but the 5800X won out again by a hairline 5fps. Keeping the Rockstar thing going, GTA V really pushed these CPUs, both scoring an average of over 200fps, but the 5800X was 12fps ahead of the 3700X
The 5800X took Assassins Creed Odyssey with relative ease as well, garnering an average of 137fps as opposed to the 3700X’s 124fps.
So, is there a real-world gaming difference between these two CPUs? Definitely. Is it really all that noticeable? To watch, not really, but the improvements may present themselves as more of a feeling as you play.
Even though it’s a relatively old CPU by tech standards, The Ryzen 7 3700X is still a hugely popular system. We think that’s because it really does provide the majority of gamers with everything they need to fully immerse themselves in their games, and thanks to AMD’s futureproofing ethos, a little extra as well.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see why 3700X prices are still relatively high. They’re cheaper than the newer 5800X – as you’d expect – but there’s usually less than $100 between them.
It’s been a fairly popular opinion among gaming communities that the 8% increase in IPC and slightly faster clock speeds aren’t worth the jump in price to switch up your high-end Zen 2 CPUs, but this cult following the 3700X has developed, keeping costs high, has unwittingly increased the 5800X’s value for money for new buyers. They inhabit such similar price ranges, it almost seems silly to opt for the older CPU.
As far as availability is concerned, the 5800X should be well-stocked by all the bigger tech retailers over the coming months. They’ll also be coming to larger online marketplaces such as Amazon any second now, so keep your peepers peeled. Why not check now?
We’ve read reports that there’s a chance some of the larger retailers will cut costs ever so slightly to ride the hype and boost sales, so you should shop around a bit to see where has the best deal.
3700X is still widely available across small and large tech outlets as well as larger conglomerate enterprises like Amazon. There’s also a pretty wide second-hand market for 3700X at this point.
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
PCIe 4.0 x16
Total L2 Cache
Total L3 Cache
TSMC 7nm FinFET
Superb value for money
Solid for gaming and excellent for multi tasking
Bundles with cooler
Intel equivalent is slightly better for gaming
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
Total L2 Cache
Total L3 Cache
TSMC 7nm FinFET
Very good gaming performance
Excellent value for money
More expensive than Intel alternative
Requires CPU cooler
The 5800X is better both a lot and seemingly very little. That sounds nonsensical, but it’s kind of true. Yes, it is objectively better. Must you absolutely have it to keep up with others that do? No, not necessarily.
If you already have the 3700X and you’re happy with it, the jump’s probably not worth the effort even if it is worth the money, but if you’re someone who likes to keep up with the gaming times, why not sell your 3K CPU and fork out the extra dollars for 5800X?
Either way, as the gaming climate stands, both of these CPUs are fantastic, and thanks to some heads up future-proofing, they’re likely to remain as such for a long while yet.