The level of competition in the desktop CPU market has rarely been as intensive as it has been over the last couple of years. When AMD brought its Ryzen processors to market, it forced Intel to reply, and both have consistently battled in multiple areas, including core count, IPC performance, frequency, and ultimate performance. The constant race to improve products, stay ahead of the competition, and meet customers' changing needs has also sent the two companies off of the beaten paths at times, developing even wilder technologies in search of that competitive edge.

In the case of AMD, one such development effort has culminated with 3D V-Cache packaging technology, which stacks a layer of L3 cache on top of the existing CCD's L3 cache. Owing to the fact that while additional cache is beneficial to performance, large quantities of SRAM are, well, large, AMD has been working on how to place more L3 cache on a CPU chiplet without blowing out the die size altogether. The end result of that has been the stacked V-Cache technology, which allows the additional cache to be separately fabbed and then carefully placed on top of a chip to be used as part of a processor.

For the consumer market, AMD's first V-Cache equipped product is the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. Pitched as the fastest gaming processor on the market today, AMD's unique chip offers eight cores/sixteen threads of processing power, and a whopping 96 MB of L3 cache onboard. Essentially building on top of the already established Ryzen 7 5800X processor, the aim from AMD is that the additional L3 cache on the 5800X3D will take gaming performance to the next level – all for around $100 more than the 5800X.

With AMD's new gaming chip in hand, we've put the Ryzen 7 5800X3D through CPU suite and gaming tests to see if it is as good as AMD claims it is.

AMD Ryzen 7 58003XD: Now With 3D V-Cache

Previously announced at CES 2022, the Ryzen 7 58003XD is probably the most interesting of all of its Ryzen based chips to launch since Zen debuted in 2017. The reason is that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D uses AMD's own 3D V-Cache packaging technology that essentially plants a 64 MB layer of L3 cache on top of the existing 32 MB of L3 cache that the Ryzen 7 5800X has.

To outline the framework of the 3D V-Cache, AMD is using a direct copper-to-copper bonding process, with the additional layer of 64 MB L3 cache stacked on top of the existing 32 MB L3 cache on the die. AMD claims this increases gaming performance by 15% on average when comparing the Ryzen 9 5900X (12c/16t) to a 12-core 3D chiplet prototype chip. Whether AMD's claim is based solely on the 12-core design or if this level of performance increase is linear when using fewer cores is hard to determine.

It is clear that 3D V-Cache and its innovative bonding technique, which fuses additional L3 cache on top of existing L3 cache, is an interesting way to deliver solid performance gains, given how crucial L3 cache levels can be for specific game titles. AMD also claims that the large levels of L3 cache improve performance in multi-threaded workloads such as video encoding. 

The design of the Vertical (V) Cache is based on the same TSMC 7 nm manufacturing process as the CCD, with a thinning process that is part of TSMC's technologies designed to negate any thermal complications that would arise. Bridging the gap between the 32 MB of on-die L3 cache and the vertically stacked 64 MB of L3 Cache is a base of structural silicon, with the direct copper to copper bonding and connected by silicon VIAs and TSVs. 

Looking at where it positions itself in the stack, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is unequivocally the same price as the Ryzen 9 5900X, which benefits from four additional Zen 3 cores, as well as eight additional threads. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D does have a lower base frequency than the Ryzen 7 5800X by 400 MHz, with a 200 MHz lower turbo frequency. This will likely be a power limiting factor as the additional L3 cache will generate power.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for Desktop (>$200)
Zen 3 Microarchitecture (Non-Pro, 65W+)
AnandTech Core/
Thread
Base
Freq
1T
Freq
L3
Cache
iGPU PCIe TDP SEP
Ryzen 9 5950X 16 32 3400 4900 64 MB - 4.0 105 W $590
Ryzen 9 5900X 12 24 3700 4800 64 MB - 4.0 105 W $450
Ryzen 9 5900 12 24 3000 4700 64 MB - 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5800X3D 8 16 3400 4500 96 MB - 4.0 105 W $449
Ryzen 7 5800X 8 16 3800 4700 32 MB - 4.0 105 W $350
Ryzen 7 5800 8 16 3400 4600 32 MB - 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5700X 8 16 3400 4600 32 MB - 4.0 65 W $299
Ryzen 5 5600X 6 12 3700 4600 32 MB - 4.0 65 W $230

As the 3D V-Cache is primarily designed to improve performance in game titles, the new chip isn't too far from the Ryzen 7 5800X in regards to raw compute throughput. There will be a slight advantage to the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X in this area with higher core frequencies on both models. Still, as I've previously mentioned, the real bread and butter will be in gaming performance or at least games that will benefit and utilize the extra levels of L3 cache.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Overclocking Support for Memory, But not the Core

Although the Ryzen 7 5800X3D supports memory overclocking and allows users to overclock the Infinity Fabric interconnect to supplement this, AMD has disabled core overclocking, which makes it incompatible with AMD's Precision Boost Overclocking feature. This has disappointed a lot of users, but it is a trade-off associated with the 3D V-Cache.

Specifically, the limitations in overclocking come down to voltage limitations ( 1.35 V VCore) through the use of its packaging technology. The dense V-cache dies, it would seem, can't handle extra juice as well as the L3 cache already built into the Zen 3 chiplets.

As a result, in lieu of CPU overclocking, the biggest thing a user can do to influence higher performance with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is to use faster DDR4 memory with lower latencies, such as a good DDR4-3600 kit. These settings are also the known sweet spot for AMD's Infinity Fabric Interconnect as set out by AMD.

Looking at the state of the desktop processor market as it is now, and by the end of the year, things look promising for users with plenty of choices available. The primary battle right now in gaming performance comes down to AMD's Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($450) and Intel's 12th Gen Core series options, with the Core i9-12900K leading the charge for team Intel. 

Perhaps the most interesting debate is when it comes to buying a new processor, as both the current generational offerings from both AMD and Intel offer superb gaming performance on the whole. It's tough to select a mainstream desktop processor that doesn't work well with most graphics cards, and outside pairing up a flagship chip with a flagship video card, it will most likely come down to performance in compute, productivity, and content creation applications. We know that AMD is releasing its latest Zen 4 core later on this year, and we have come to expect advancements and progression in IPC performance.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D with its 3D V-Cache is new and exciting, and specifically for gaming performance, the battle for the title of 'fastest gaming processor' is ever-changing. Based on the existing AM4 platform, AMD has given users a leading-edge design in a familiar platform, but the biggest challenge will be in making true of AMD's claims, and that's what we aim to do in this review.

Finally, regardless of how the 5800X3D does today, AMD's stacked V-cache technology is not a one-and-done offering. AMD recently announced there will be a Zen 4 variation with 3D V-Cache at some point during the cycle, as well as announcing the same for Zen 5, which is expected in 2024.

For our testing, we are using the following:

Ryzen Test System (DDR4)
CPU Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($450)
8 Cores, 16 Threads
105W TDP, 3.4 GHz Base, 4.5 GHz Turbo
Motherboard ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme (X570)
Memory ADATA
2x32 GB DDR4-3200
Cooling MSI Coreliquid 360mm AIO
Storage Crucial MX300 1TB
Power Supply Corsair HX850 
GPUs NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti, Driver 496.49
Operating Systems Windows 11 Up to Date

For comparison, all other chips were run as tests listed in our benchmark database, Bench, on Windows 10 and 11 (for the more recent processors).

Gaming Performance: 720p and Lower
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  • GeoffreyA - Friday, July 8, 2022 - link

    "BTW, 24 fps movies look horrible to me. 24 fps is something they settled on way back when film was heavy, bulky, and expensive."

    I can't help commenting that, for my part, movies look unsightly over 24 fps, giving them a low-quality TV-like appearance. Then again, that's me, a person who can't stand digital cameras to begin with and laments the phasing out of film.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Friday, July 8, 2022 - link

    > for my part, movies look unsightly over 24 fps, giving them a low-quality TV-like appearance.

    I know some people say that, but when you get accustomed to watching good quality motion interpolation, it's hard to go back.

    Even famous Hollywood actors and directors have complained about motion interpolation, but I think the main thing they're worried about is that it reveals subtleties in their facial expressions that can reveal sub-par acting. For things like camera pans and action sequences, it's pretty much without a downside.

    BTW, movies were originally shown with a strobed backlight. CRT TVs had a similar effect (which is apparent if you ever look at a fast-exposure photograph of a CRT display). When you start playing them on a display with continuous illumination, motion blur becomes much more apparent. That's why I think plasma and LCD TVs started going out of their way to add motion interpolation - it wasn't a trivial or inexpensive feature to add!
    Reply
  • GeoffreyA - Saturday, July 9, 2022 - link

    It may seem I'm coming from the Middle Ages, but too smooth motion is the thing that strikes me as ugly in movies. Of course, I don't want a choppy frame rate, but there's a noticeable difference when departing from 24/25. When I think of Jackson with his slick, 48-fps Hobbit, I feel the man was out of his mind. My opinion is that the taste of the industry has gone down: it's all about "vibrant" colours and details now, an obsession with ever-increasing resolution, HDR, smooth motion, and fake-looking CGI. I contend, today's movies can try all they want but will never match the excellence of the past. (Say, will today's stuff ever beat the realism of Ben-Hur's chariot chase? I doubt it.)

    Hollywood feels that infinite detail is the future, but the truth is, our minds fill in the blanks and far more effectively. Indeed, one can dispense with motion altogether: 1962's La jetée, a succession of photos and sound, demonstrates this well.
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Sunday, July 10, 2022 - link

    There's good stuff getting made, today. It just might not be the top Hollywood block busters. With streaming being so pervasive and the tech & tools of movie making now being so accessible, the door is wide open to just about anyone with ideas.

    Far be it from me to convince you, though. Watch whatever you like. 24 Hz, if you prefer. Just don't try to tell me that low-framerate adds to the experience rather than detracts. We'll just have to disagree on that.

    P.S. If you want to talk about letting your mind fill in the blanks, it's hard to beat reading, radio, and podcasts. I'm so glad I read Dune before watching it, because I got the chance to conjure all my own imagery and that made it so much more fun to see what the different film versions came up with.
    Reply
  • GeoffreyA - Sunday, July 10, 2022 - link

    You're right, reading, radio, and podcasts are far better than gazing at video; and I admit I feel impoverished because I read so little these days. Time was, all I did was read, nothing else.

    Radio dramas are enjoyable and stimulating. Last year, I heard a few episodes of "Suspense" from the '40s/'50s. Fantastic and of a high quality, the top actors of the time participating. I remember one with Ava Gardner and another with James Stewart. Reminds me, I must return to "Suspense" again!
    Reply
  • mode_13h - Wednesday, July 13, 2022 - link

    I used to listen to audio books when I had a long commute. I still listen to stuff while doing chores, but most of it is spent just keeping up on the news. So much crazy stuff going on in the world... Reply
  • GeoffreyA - Thursday, July 14, 2022 - link

    Exactly, and with no end in sight. Reply
  • bji - Thursday, June 30, 2022 - link

    The Ryzen 7 5800X is listed at $350 in your first page chart but $449 in every one of your benchmark charts (or at least, the ones I've seen thus far, on the first page). Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Thursday, June 30, 2022 - link

    Typo: "...when comparing the Ryzen 9 5900X (12c/16t)" should be ".../24t)". Reply
  • spaceship9876 - Thursday, June 30, 2022 - link

    Did you guys forget to post an article about the new cpu and gpu cores announced by ARM a few days ago? Reply

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