The Ryzen 5800X3D is a final celebration of AM4’s upgradability

Five years ago you would have been considered an early adopter if you had bought the humble Ryzen 1600X and placed it in your AM4 socket. None of us knew how successful AMD’s Ryzen line of processors would become, culminating in the newly released Ryzen 7 5800X3D.

But this last chip is more than just another powerful AMD processor or an innovative piece of technology. It’s also a fitting swan song for the AM4 socket, the platform that has represented AMD’s resurgence in the high-end CPU space, and a chip that could very well see AM4 end up at the top of the gaming performance stack. More than that, coming from an older Ryzen chip, you don’t need to do much more than update the BIOS and pop this into your board to get it going.

That’s an almost unheard of level of upgradability, and a stark reminder of how far AM4 and Ryzen have come in just a few years.

The long way to V-Cache

AMD 3D VCache 5800X3D chip design.

When AMD first introduced its AM4 socket in 2017, the CPU landscape was drastically different from what it is today. AMD hadn’t had a top-tier gaming processor in over a decade, and Intel was still pushing quad-cores as the best solution for gamers. The first-generation Ryzen blew the doors of the industry, offering a massive 52% increase in IPC over the best Bulldozer AMD FX chips, with up to eight cores for its high-end models, incredibly affordable six-core options and impressive efficiency across the board.

AMD wasn’t quite ready to steal the gaming crown, but it offered core counts that Intel didn’t, against a power requirement that Intel couldn’t, and impressive automated overclocking features that ensured anyone could get the most performance out of their CPU right off the bat. the box – without the need to pay for the privilege in dollars or overclocking expertise.

AMD architecture roadmap.

Taking full advantage of Intel’s lack of ambition and struggling to shrink back to more efficient process nodes, Ryzen came back with a vengeance; And that only continued in the years that followed.

Over several die-shrinks, a move to a chiplet core design, and some architectural and clock speed improvements, AMD has made huge strides in gaming and productivity performance, to the point where Ryzen 5000 eventually became the fastest CPUs in just about everything. Better yet, it forced Intel incredible responses, which remained at least somewhat relevant with its aging 14nm process until the 2021 release of Alder Lake, where it then became the disrupter in turn.

While it’s unlikely AMD will do that in such a dramatic way until Zen 4 and AM5 later this year, the 5800X3D could be an incredibly exciting stopgap that stands the test of time.

Halos can last forever, even if they usually don’t

A pair of hands with an Intel Core i9-9900KS CPU in the box.
The Intel Core i9-9900KS was a real halo, where the 5800X3D may be much more than that.

The 5800X3D has all the markings of a halo product, so named because they weren’t really designed to be bought in bulk, but are more of a showcase of what the company is working on. The 5800X3D isn’t a mid-gen refresh — it’s a single product run designed to give AMD a credible competitor to Intel’s best Alder Lake gaming CPUs while we wait for Zen 4 later this year.

It’s AMD’s answer to the Core i9-9900KS (or maybe more aptly, the new 12900KS) – a CPU to show that while AMD may not have a whole new line of hardware to launch, it’s still doing some cool stuff behind the scenes.

But the 5800X3D is not your typical halo product. AMD confirmed to Digital Trends that it intends to provide “significant amounts” of the CPU near release, without intending to “limit it to a thin swath of our enthusiast community.”

That’s great news for those looking to buy the 5800X3D when it debuts, as there’s likely to be a lot of interest in what one of — if not the – the best gaming CPUs money can buy – especially at the launch price of $450. But it’s just as important for the lasting legacy of the 5800X3D and AM4, which could be incredibly long.

When it hits store shelves, the 5800X3D will be the best AM4 processor ever made, especially for gaming. Unless AMD has more surprises in store, that won’t change anytime soon either. All this means that next year, when Zen 4 is the new and exciting platform for early adopters, the 5800X3D will still be the best AM4 CPU. In five years’ time, when AMD moves to AM6, or whatever it’s planned, the 5800X3D still are the best AM4 CPU you can buy.

However, it can cost you. Even then.

Because even with AMD’s plans for “significant amounts” of 5800X3D CPUs, if there’s one thing that’s consistent with the best CPU of any generation of motherboards, especially if those motherboards span multiple generations of processors, it’s that they’re harder to find and fix. to keep. where the. The Intel 4790K is nearly eight years old and could easily be beaten by just about any CPU in recent years, and yet it still has a second prize of over $100. That’s because if you have an outdated PC with an Intel 4000 series CPU and want to upgrade it, the 4790K is the best chip you can buy without replacing just about everything else.

That’s where the 5800X3D will be in a few years. Anyone with a Ryzen-based gaming PC, be it a Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000, or even 5000 CPU, could see a major performance benefit from upgrading to a 5800X3D. It will also be super simple. They can just drop it right into their gaming PC and see an immediate improvement in performance. No next-generation memory to buy, no motherboard to replace, not even a new operating system to install.

That makes it a tempting upgrade for everyone for a long time to come, and it will be a common scenario if AM4 gaming PCs start flooding the second-hand market in the next few years.

That would be even more true if this kind of extra L3 cache becomes commonplace in future CPUs from both AMD and Intel. Game developers will optimize for it better, and while the 5800X3D may one day look outdated with nothing but eight cores, that probably won’t happen until a new generation of consoles comes out. In the short term, if cache becomes king, the 5800X3D will have a worthy crown much longer than the more core-heavy chips of the Ryzen 5000 generation, like the 5900X and 5950X.

Zen 4 looms, but it doesn’t really matter

AMD CEO Lisa Su with a Zen 4 CPU.

There are many exciting options for new CPUs in 2022, from Alder Lake, to the 5800X3D, to the next-generation chips from both AMD and Intel that are just over the horizon: the looming Zen 4 and Raptor Lake.

As exciting as the 5800X3D is, there’s a big argument for putting off your upgrade for a few more months. If you can wait, Zen 4 and Raptor Lake will almost certainly offer the best performance of all four options, and there are now the new features promised by Alder Lake: improved multi-threaded performance in productivity, as well as PCIe 5 and DDR5. support, which are nothing to rummage around. There’s also no denying that the 5800X3D has a true Radeon VII vibe: it’s a test run for future V-cache CPUs that can also enjoy higher clock speeds, and have more games optimized for this kind of cache size to better run. take advantage of its strengths.

But none of that matters, because the greatest strength of the 5800X3D is that it is already old. It fits right into AM4 motherboards from years ago and will provide advanced gaming performance for the next six months and excellent CPU performance for years to come. That aside, it will still give AM4 platforms a useful upgrade path to much better performance than could have been expected when any of those earlier Ryzen generations were released, and well beyond anything first-, second-, or third-generation pre-owned Ryzen PCs can provide.

The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is the latest in a great line of processors that have seen AMD return to the competition in a way that has pushed the boundaries, and better yet, pushed Intel to respond in kind. The 5800X3D will see an AM4 platform located in a drastically different place than it was when it launched, and it will do so in grand style by fighting for the gaming crown.

The 5800X3D will see AM4 come out on top, or close enough. That’s a fitting end to one of the most important platforms in AMD’s history.

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