AMD Ryzen 7 3800X Review
We often speak about having a preconceived notion of what a product will do before you test it. No matter how impartial we are when we're writing the review wherein we rely almost solely upon the actual performance figures, nonetheless we will always have an idea of what a product should do based upon where it fits in a manufacturers range, or the price tag, or just knowing comparable products.
With the Ryzen 7 3800X we very much felt it would be the ideal choice for someone who wanted the slight clock speed increase at stock it has over the Ryzen 7 3700X, but that when overclocked the two models would be inseparable thanks to having identical hardware beneath the cover. After all, both are eight core, sixteen thread offerings and if we overclock it then it should hit the same point and thus only at stock will any difference be apparent.
In actuality our testing revealed almost the exact opposite of that. For what we beleive to be newer AGESA code in the boards BIOS the cheaper, theoretically slightly slower, Ryzen 7 3700X usually just about had the edge at stock whilst the slightly better silicon of our review sample Ryzen 7 3800X led to a higher overclock and, generally, ended up ahead in our tests. Maybe this is because the 3800X is speed binned to achieve the higher factory speeds, which means they are slightly better when manually fettled. We know the AGESA code affects boost speeds aswell as memory support and there have been a lot of rumors about online. Its not even been that long in between testing so may be something for us to keep an eye on over the next few months.
All of which meant that this review was a serious case of deja vu for anyone who read our Ryzen 7 3700X review and definitely for us on the testing side of things. We already knew what an eight core 3rd Generation Ryzen CPU was capable of and the Ryzen 7 3800X did nothing to change that, being exactly as fast as you would expect it to be. It unquestionably has a lot of performance built in as you would expect a sixteen thread CPU running well north of 4 GHz to do. Equally the benefits of PCI Express 4.0 let our storage drive run at ludicrous speeds, which bring a snappy response to your system that never gets old. Add in all the other parts of the Zen 2 architecture that we are enjoying such as greatly improved memory bandwidth and you have a processor which continues the outstanding showing from all the 3rd Generation Ryzen CPUs.
About the only negative we have is the existence of the Ryzen 7 3700X, which is cheaper and - as our testing showed - pretty much identical in performance. So yes, the Ryzen 7 3800X is an excellent buy, but only because the Ryzen 7 3700X already is, and because of that we can't recommend it to anyone who was looking to invest in an eight core 3rd Gen Ryzen CPU. Get the 3700X and put the savings towards some faster memory or something. Only if the extra few seconds you save in video rendering absolutely matter to you is the Ryzen 7 3800X worth buying over its brother, but equally if that's the case then save for the outstanding Ryzen 9 3900X. The Ryzen 7 3800X is a great CPU, but not significantly different enough from the 3700X to justify the extra expense.