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AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D review: so fast it looks like a mistake

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D held between fingertips.
AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D
MSRP $450.00
“The fastest gaming CPU you can buy, even beating out much more expensive options.”
Pros
  • Chart-topping gaming performance
  • Great value
  • Solid multi-core and productivity performance
  • AM5 is getting cheaper
Cons
  • Weak single-core performance

I thought it might have been a mistake.

Sure, I assumed the Ryzen 7 7800X3D would be fast, given the proven track record of Zen 4 when combined with 3D V-Cache. In fact, I assumed it would be among the best gaming processors you can buy, especially delivered in this midrange, eight-core package.

But when I saw that it sometimes beat out the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, its much more expensive bigger siblings, I did a double take. But the amount of gaming performance here is the real deal, and that makes the Ryzen 7 7800X3D a go-to choice for a wide swath of PC gamers.

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D specs

Pads on the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Of all the specs you need to know about on the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, cache is the most important. It features AMD’s 3D V-Cache tech, stacking additional cache on top of the chip to boost gaming performance. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D comes with a total of 104MB of cache. Compare that to the eight-core Ryzen 7 7700X, which comes with just 40MB.

That extra cache doesn’t come free, though. Compared to the Ryzen 7 7700X, the 3D V-Cache chip comes with a lower 5GHz clock speed (the Ryzen 7 7700X boosts to 5.4GHz) and a higher 120-watt power limit. That’s the opposite of what we saw with the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which came with a power reduction and showcased AMD’s headway in efficiency.

Ryzen 9 7950X3D Ryzen 9 7900X3D Ryzen 7 7800X3D
Cores/Threads 16/32 12/24 8/16
Boost clock speed 5.7GHz 5.6GHz 5GHz
Base clock speed 4.2GHz 4.4GHz 4.2GHz
Cache (L2 + L3) 144MB 140MB 104MB
TDP 120W 120W 120W
Price $700 $600 $450

The good news is that the Ryzen 7 7800X3D doesn’t come with a price increase, clocking in at the same $450 that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D launched at. However, it’s not releasing in a new market.

At the time of publication, Intel’s 13th-gen chips have come down significantly in price, and you can find the Core i9-13900K for around $500 and the Core i7-13700K for around $400. AMD’s processors have come down in price, as well, with the 12-core Ryzen 9 7900X going for slightly less than the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.

Outside of what the spec sheet says, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is notable for using a single-core complex (CCX). The Ryzen 9 7950X3D and Ryzen 9 7900X3D both used a dual CCX design, forcing AMD to focus the cache on a single CCX. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D doesn’t have that problem, which allows for faster transfers. Ultimately, that translates into higher gaming performance in some titles, which I’ll dig into later.

Test configurations

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D installed in a motherboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For this review, I built three test beds and tried to balance them as evenly as possible. All three test benches used the RTX 4080 along with a 1TB MP400 NVMe SSD from Corsair. For both the Ryzen 7000 and Intel 13th-gen platforms, I used DDR5-6000 memory, but for Ryzen 5000, I was stuck with DDR4-3200. Otherwise, the platforms were identical from the power supply to the cooler.

  AMD Zen 4 Intel 13th-gen
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 7950X / AMD Ryzen 9 7950X3D Intel Core i9-13900K
GPU Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition Nvidia RTX 4080 Founders Edition
RAM 32GB Gigabyte Aorus DDR5-6000 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR5-6000
Motherboard Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master MSI MPG Z690 Edge
CPU cooler Corsair H150i Elite Capellix  Corsair H150i Elite LCD
Power supply Gigabyte Aorus P1200W Gigabyte Aorus P1200W
Storage Corsair MP400 1TB SSD MSI M450 1TB

In addition to the hardware, I left ReBar turned on, as well as enabled EXPO or XMP for the memory. Just like the Ryzen 9 7950X3D required, there were a few BIOS tweaks to make sure the Ryzen 7 7800X3D was running properly, but otherwise, I left BIOS settings default.

I also left AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO) turned off, but keep in mind that the Ryzen 7 7800X3D can automatically overclock with PBO. Unfortunately, traditional multiplier-based overclock is disabled, similar to the Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

Productivity performance

Cinebench benchmark results for the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D struggled outside of gaming in the previous generation, and AMD focused on improving that area with its new 3D V-Cache processors. The Ryzen 7 7800X3D shows some gains, though it still falls short of the competition. Here, I’m comparing the Ryzen 7 7800X3D to the Core i9-13900K due to Intel’s recent drops in price. You can find Core i9-13900K for around $500 now, putting AMD’s new processor in direct competition with Intel’s flagship.

For a broad look at performance, Cinebench shows the core disparity between the Ryzen 7 7800X3D and flagship chips in action. It also shows much slower single-core speeds compared to the Ryzen 9 7950X, which we didn’t see with the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

Other tasks that scale to higher core counts show big gaps, as well, including Blender, 7-Zip, and Handbrake. Even with the extra cache boosting gaming performance, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is still limited to eight cores. If productivity performance is your main concern, a processor like the Ryzen 9 7900X or Core i9-13900K will serve you better for around the same price.

That’s not to say the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is slow because it’s not. It still shows massive gains over the previous generation in the web-based Jetstream benchmark, and it managed to match the Ryzen 9 7950X in Photoshop (though, Intel still claims the lead in Adobe benchmarks).

Gaming performance

Overall gaming performance for the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

There was some speculation that AMD released the Ryzen 9 7950X3D first because the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, which is about half the price, is just as fast in games. My testing lends some credibility to that assumption. In nearly all games, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is just as fast, and in some games, it’s even faster.

Synthetic benchmarks still favor a higher core count, which is why the Ryzen 9 7950X3D appears around 20% faster in Time Spy’s CPU test. I wouldn’t put too much stock in this test, though. It also shows that the Core i9-13900K is 15% faster than the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, which is flat-out false.

Time Spy benchmark results for the Ryzen 7 7800X3D.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Time Spy isn’t a good representation of performance here, but the 16-core Ryzen 9 7950X3D does have a few advantages over its eight-core sibling. In Gears Tactics, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D was around 13% faster. On the other end, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D showed an 18% lead over the Ryzen 7 5800X3D and was within a few points of the Core i9-13900K.

Similarly, the Ryzen 9 7950X3D squeezed out a win in Hitman 3, but the cheaper eight-core part was within a few frames. This game is a great showcase of Zen 4 and 3D V-Cache at work, with the Ryzen 7 7800X3D outpacing the previous generation by a whopping 26%.

Beyond that, things get weird. In both F1 2022 and Far Cry 6, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D was actually faster than the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. They aren’t negligible leads, either. In Far Cry 6, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D led by 4%, and in F1 22, by nearly 6%.

This isn’t a fluke. I reran my test several times and finally reached out to AMD to sanity check. And sure enough, there are games where the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is simply faster than the more expensive Ryzen 9 7950X3D. AMD says that, overall, it expects the eight-core part to be about 1% slower on average compared to the Ryzen 9 7950X3D.

Why? Well, it’s the same reason we saw the Ryzen 7 7700X outperforming the Ryzen 9 7950X when Zen 4 first launched. AMD says this is due to faster cache-to-cache transfers with a single CCX. The Ryzen 9 parts use two CCXs, while the Ryzen 7 parts only use a single one, which speeds up performance in some games.

If you look at my suite of tests, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is a decimal point away from the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, and that’s just due to rounding. Outside of that, it blows past the previous generation and competition from Intel. Over the Core i9-13900K, it’s 13% faster, and over last-gen’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D, it’s 20% faster. No question, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is the gaming CPU to buy right now.

Should you buy the AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D?

AMD Ryzen 7 7800X3D sitting on a motherboard.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Ryzen 7 7800X3D is a gaming-focused processor, and there’s no contest in that regard. It’s the fastest gaming CPU you can buy, matching and sometimes even outperforming the more expensive Ryzen 9 7950X3D. You lose a lot in productivity performance, but for gamers, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D is still plenty fast.

It’s a much easier upgrade to recommend now, too. Months past the release of the Ryzen 7000, prices on AM5 motherboards have gone down significantly, and you can find a B650 motherboard for around $150. Similarly, DDR5 prices have nearly halved since late last year, so the overall cost of a platform upgrade is much less.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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