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AMD just admitted the Ryzen 7800X3D will beat its new CPUs in games

When it comes to gaming performance, AMD's X3D tech looks set to still reign supreme, beating its upcoming Zen 5 Ryzen 9700X CPU for frame rate.

amd ryzen 7 7800x3d vs 9700x zen 5

In something of a shocking turn of events, the upcoming Zen 5 AMD CPUs, such as the Ryzen 9 9700X won’t actually be faster in games than AMD’s existing X3D processors. That’s despite AMD claiming that Zen 5 provides a significant 16% improvement in instructions per clock compared to its older Ryzen 7000 series CPUs based on the Zen 4 architecture.

The revelation comes only weeks ahead of the expected Ryzen 9000 release date in July 2024, and puts a dampener on our expectations when it comes to the new AMD Zen 5 chips earning a spot on our best gaming CPU guide. They still look likely to be great CPUs, even for gaming PCs, but it looks like we’ll have to wait for the first Ryzen 9000 X3D CPUs before gaming performance takes a significant leap.

It was none other than AMD’s Senior technical marketing manager, Dan Woligroski, that confirmed the situation in an interview with Tom’s Hardware.

After being asked if the new Zen 5 chips would take the gaming CPU crown, Woligroski replied, “Is it the fastest in gaming? It’s faster than the competition in our tests. X3D is still the king of the hill, but by a much smaller margin than typically between X3D and non-X3D.” Woligroski also went on to confirm that “a 7800X3D would, yes, be faster than 9700X, but maybe not by as much as you would expect.”

This may come as a disappointment for those who have been holding out for a new AMD AM5 CPU, but equally you could view it as a net positive. Those who have just bought a 7800X3D or similar won’t suddenly feel their purchase is behind the times, while those who have been holding out for an upgrade get the choice of either great gaming performance for an increasingly generous price with the 7800X3D, or improved efficiency and general performance with the 9000 series.

Meanwhile, the Ryzen 9000X3D series is expected to be released sooner than it has with previous generations. Current expectations are that these chips will arrive in September, so if you can hold out a little longer, we would expect these chips to be the ultimate gaming CPUs.

In further discussions with Tom’s Hardware, AMD also confirmed that it is working on improving its X3D implementation, though it didn’t go into specifics. There are plenty of areas for potential improvement, though.

For a start, the current cache chips that sit on top of the CPU dies (as illustrated by the image below) and provide the crucial X3D L3 cache boost to improve gaming performance, are manufactured using an older 7nm process. Were AMD to move this chip to a newer 5nm or 6nm process, it could potentially reduce its footprint, allow for a thinner die, improve thermal performance, or even just add more L3 cache to the chip.

amd x3d

Another potential area of improvement would be to add a second L3 cache die to the higher-end X3D chips. Currently, the likes of the 7900X3D that use two CPU dies only have a 3D V-cache stack on one of these dies, meaning only six of its 12 cores have access to the extra cache, compared with eight cores on the cheaper Ryzen 7 7800X3D. Providing a shared L3 cache boost across both dies would be more efficient.

We’ll just have to wait and see for now, though. AMD is expected to reveal more of the inner workings of its Zen 5 architecture at the Hot Chips tech conference in August, so we could get an update on 9000X3D then.

In the meantime, check out our Ryzen 7 7800X3D review for the full lowdown on why it remains the ultimate gaming CPU.