AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT Review: Do you need 8 cores for gaming?

The middle child of the XT processors is the Ryzen 7 3800XT. It features 8 cores and 16 threads as its non-XT counterpart while operating at higher speeds thanks to it’s 200MHz boost frequency increase.

While it does come with two more cores and operate at higher frequencies compared to the Ryzen 5 3600XT, is it worth the PHP 8K price hike? Do gamers and content creators alike feel a noticeable difference between the two?
Specifications, Price, Unboxing
While the Ryzen 7 3800XT has the same 3900MHz base frequency as the non-XT variant, its boost speed has been increased by 200MHz. However, its TDP, L2, and L3 cache and RAM specifications are similar.

As for pricing, AMD Philippines has set its suggested retailer’s price at PHP 23,185, which is over PHP 8K more expensive than the Ryzen 5 3600XT. Do note, however, that the Ryzen 7 3800XT does not come with an included cooler. Take this into consideration when computing for your budget.

In our sample unit, the box is bare, save for the processor, and sticker.
Test Setup and Overclocking
Testing the Ryzen 7 3800XT, we used the following setup:

Test System 

ProcessorRyzen 7 3800XT

CPU CoolerNZXT Kraken X62

RAM16GB G.Skill Trident Z Royal 3600MHz
CL16-16-16-36

Graphics CardAMD RX 5700

Power SupplySilverStone Strider 850W Gold

Windows VersionWindows 10 Professional 64 bit
Build 09041.388

Graphics Driver VersionRadeon Software 20.5.1

Bios Version1.40

Author’s Note: We downgraded the BIOS from the latest version 3.20 to 1.40, as we experienced instability with anything but the stock configuration. The problems persisted with the RAM’s XMP profile, Precision Boost Overdrive, and Overclocking. 
Again, while we wanted to test with a higher tiered card, our NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti is currently stuck in the studio. Thankfully, AMD Philippines has sent us an RX 5700 for our testing.
We also did a manual overclock to see how well the chip performs when set at a higher speed. Our sample managed to achieve a stable 4.4GHz at 1.35V, with the Load Line Calibration set to 3. Setting the speed to 4.5GHz was stable for games and light-threaded workloads, but crashed when all cores were stressed.
Testing Methodology
All testing was performed at a 30° ambient temperature, with the NZXT Kraken X62 set to performance mode. Our stock results are based on the processor’s out-of-the-box performance, with the RAM’s XMP turned on, Precision Boost Overdrive set to Auto, and Windows Power Plan set to Balanced.
We wanted to test sustained performance during our benchmarking. Hence, we ran synthetic benchmarks thrice in quick succession and recorded the third result.
As for games, we tested at 1080p at the minimum preset to help limit GPU bottlenecking and showcase the processor’s full capabilities when using a better GPU. For games with in-game benchmarks, we ran the benchmark in succession and recorded the result to show sustained performance.
For Battlefield V and Control, we ran the same mission over and over for 10 minutes to help limit variance. Meanwhile, for Valorant, note that opening the scoreboard and the buy menu significantly reduces the frame rate and may skew the result.
CPU Tests: Synthetic Benchmarks
First on our list of synthetic benchmarks is Maxon’s 4D rendering software Cinebench R20. Comparing to the hexacore counterpart, the Ryzen 7 3800XT sees a 32.28% performance increase when using all cores. The gap does narrow to around 28.85% when looking at the overclocked results. However, 3800XT chips that can match the 4.5GHz speed on our 3600XT will take the same lead. As for the single-core results, since the 3800XT can reach a higher 4.7GHz when only stressing one core, the stock results are higher compared to our overclocked score.

The same trend goes for the older Cinebench R15, with the Ryzen 7 3800XT having a 31.45% improvement at stock, and 29.84% when overclocked.

Next is Corona 1.3, a photorealistic renderer available for Autodesk 3ds Max and MAXON Cinema 4D. It computes for the rays the processor can render per second. The Ryzen 7 3800XT was 31.98% better at stock, and overclocking both systems reduces the gap to 25.67%.

Our last rendering benchmark is V-Ray, a standalone benchmarking tool developed by Chaos Group that tests how fast the processor renders. Getting the more expensive Ryzen 7 3800XT nets a 31.68% performance improvement while overclocking both systems reduces the gap to 29.67%.
We ran Primate Labs’ cross-platform benchmark, GeekBench 5, which runs the processor through multiple workloads, from emailing, playing music to Machine Learning. In this test, getting the more expensive Ryzen 7 does not net a huge improvement compared to the earlier tests, only getting an additional 19.18% performance boost.

Moving over to UL’s PCMark 10, which covers tasks performed in the workplace, the Ryzen 7 3800XT did not get any noticeable improvements over its 6-core counterpart. When using only office applications, video conferencing, emailing, and browsing the web, users are better off getting the cheaper Ryzen 5 3600XT.

Our last synthetic benchmarks are 3DMark’s DX11 and DX12 tests Fire Strike and Time Spy. As expected, the Physics and CPU score was significantly higher thanks to the additional cores, but the overall score is still limited by the GPU.

Depending on your workload, the Ryzen 7 3800XT may be a worthy purchase, seeing as high as 32% improvements over the Ryzen 5 3600XT
CPU Tests: Gaming Benchmarks
Next up are gaming benchmarks. We ran several AAA games as well as two popular shooters that stress only a few cores. Here are the results:
First up is Electronic Arts’ Battlefield V. Here, the Ryzen 7 3800XT did not show any meaningful gains compared to the Ryzen 5 3600XT, as the 2 FPS delta could be considered within the margin of error in testing. That being said, in both systems, we constantly hit the 200 FPS cap.

Multiple the Game Award winner Control, on the other hand, sees a small 4% gain at stock. We are, however, GPU limited in both scenarios.

Like in Battlefield V, GTA V did not show any meaningful difference in performance when it comes to the average frame rate. Despite having a 4 FPS delta, it only equates to a 2% increase, which could also be put off as part of the margin of error.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, however, the Ryzen 7 3800XT showed respectable gains as the stock performance of the Ryzen 7 3800XT was able to match the overclocked performance of the Ryzen 5 3600XT. However, overclocking the system did not show any significant improvement to the system.

Moving over to our popular shooters starting with CS: GO, the Ryzen 7 3800XT was able to match the overclocked performance of the Ryzen 5 3600XT. Once overclocked, we saw a 19 FPS or 4.18% difference.

In Valorant, however, both systems performed relatively the same even when overclocked.

When it comes to gaming, the Ryzen 7 3800XT did not show a huge improvement over the Ryzen 5 3600XT. Do note, however, that we were mostly GPU bottlenecked in our AAA tests as we were only using a mid-tier GPU.
Power Draw, Efficiency, Price-to-Performance
We measured the power draw using a digital wattmeter while the system was both idle and under full load. Do note that this takes into consideration the total power draw and not just the CPU power draw. The GPU was consistently operating below 3% during testing, and should not contribute to the results significantly. We ran Cinebench R20 to test the system draw at full load, and recorded the following results:

Surprisingly, overclocking the system only increased the power consumption by 9.4 watts or 3.74% when under full load. However, the idle power consumption did increase by almost 8 watts.
Computing for the Ryzen 7 3800XT’s efficiency under rendering workloads, we divided the multi-core score from Cinebench R20 by the total power draw.

Despite the higher power consumption, the Ryzen 7 3800XT is more efficient compared to the Ryzen 5 3600XT, getting almost 20 Cinebench R 20 points per watt consumed.
Measuring the price to performance, we divided the Ryzen 7 3800XT’s PHP 23,185 SRP by the average FPS of the six games tested.

Due to the little to no performance increase in FPS, gamers are better off purchasing the Ryzen 5 3600XT as the Ryzen 7 3800XT costs 53.74% more per frame. Again, do remember that these figures are only true when building with a mid-tiered card.
Conclusion
The Ryzen 7 3800XT offers huge improvements on multithreaded workload over the Ryzen 5 3600XT, offering up to 32% more performance in rendering tasks. That being said, users will not gain significantly more frames on games as most of our results show only up to 5% more FPS compared to the hexacore processor.

Another thing to consider is its price. Just from the price of the processor alone, the Ryzen 7 3800XT is PHP 8,346 (56.24%) more expensive than the Ryzen 5 3600XT. On top of that, the Ryzen 7 3800XT does not have a cooler included in the box. While 105 Watts isn’t that high a TDP, meaning you could get away with a cheap cooler, getting a higher-end Dark Rock Pro 4, Noctua D15, or a 240mm AIO would allow the chip to get higher boost frequencies especially when under full load. This means you’d need to shell out an additional PHP 4K or more on top of the PHP 23,185 SRP.
Stay tuned for our Ryzen 9 3900XT review, as we check out the best consumer chip AMD has to offer, whether it’s worth the hefty price tag, and what type of consumer it was made for.
AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT specs:
Cores/Threads: 8/16
Base/Boost Clock: 3.9GHz/4.7GHz
Total L2 Cache: 4MB
Total L3 Cache: 32MB
TDP: 105W
Unlocked
CMOS: TSMC 7nm FinFET
Socket: AM4
PCIe Version: PCIe 4.0

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