AMD RYZEN 7 SERIES

Having reviewed Ryzen 5000 12-core and 16-core models, today we’re testing the Ryzen 7 5800X, AMD’s latest 8-core CPU. So far we’ve been impressed by the Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X, so let’s continue to work our way down the product stack.

Probably this won’t be the best way to start the review, but we’ve got to say the 5800X looks like the least compelling processor in the new series. There’s certainly nothing wrong with an 8-core, 16-thread processor clocked at up to 4.7 GHz with high IPC. In fact, you could argue that’s the sweet spot for gamers. The problem is price. At $450, it’s just $100 cheaper than the 5900X, and while that nets you almost 20% in savings, you’re also getting 33% fewer cores.

Whereas the 5900X costs $46 per core, the 5800X costs 22% more at $56 per core — and even 12% more than the 5950X flagship. If you’re wondering why AMD has positioned the 5800X so poorly, the answer is simple: it doesn’t make sense for them to sell it any cheaper.

As you’re likely aware, Ryzen processors consist of multiple chiplets or smaller dies, rather than a single monolithic die like what we see with Intel processors. In the case of Zen 3, a CCD or ‘Core Complex Die’ packs 8 cores, so a CPU like the 5950X features two CCDs with all cores enabled for an 8+8 core configuration. Then there’s a third die, called the I/O die which houses the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller, PCIe 4.0 root-complex, and a number of SoC features such as SATA and USB ports.

Making up a CPU like the 5950X are two CCDs and a single I/O die, and the same configuration is used by the 5900X, but the 12-core version doesn’t require fully working CCDs, rather detective silicon with one or two failed cores can be used. Each CCD only has 6 of the possible 8 cores enabled, resulting in a 6+6 core configuration. That makes these 6-core CCDs less valuable as they can’t be used in the more expensive 5950X. So you see where this is going…

The Ryzen 7 5800X and R5 5600X only use a single CCD, but the 5800X requires top shelf silicon with all cores enabled whereas the 6-core 5600X receives the same lower binned silicon used by the 5900X.

If the 5800X was to come in at roughly the same cost per core as the 5900X, it would cost just $370. But for the sake of this comparison, let’s bump it up to $400 to price match the 3800X, which is also half the price of the 5950X. At that price, AMD is making less profit on the highest quality silicon, so rather than sell it at a lower margin in a $400 5800X, they’re better off saving it for the $800 5950X, or alternatively selling the 5800X at an increased price, which is what they’ve been forced to do. It appears as though these 8-core chiplets are very valuable to AMD and we suspect they’re also wanting to save as many as possible for Epyc 3 server processors, where the margins are even greater.

All of this leaves the 5800X in an unfortunate position where it ends up costing more per core than any other Ryzen 5000 series processor. For that reason we feel most will either end up being upsold to the 5900X, or opt to save some money and go for the cheaper 6-core 5600X.

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