Both Intel and AMD have forthcoming boosted versions of existing boxed processors — for desktop upgrades and new DIY builds — to compete for your please-moar-faster-gaming bucks. Intel has the rumored Core i9-12900KS and AMD has the Ryzen 7 5800X3D it previewed at CES 2022.
AMD says its processor is “the world’s fastest gaming CPU” — you know Intel will say the same when its turn rolls around — saying it delivers an average of roughly 15% better 1080p performance than the higher-end Ryzen 9 5900X. The big deal is that it will do so at the same $449 price as the standard 5800X when it ships on April 20, and within the same power envelope, making it a drop-in replacement.
AMD attributes the improvement to its new 3D-stacked L3 cache using its 3D V-Cache technology. This basically allows for adding cache memory upward from the die (vertically) rather than outward, which means it can keep the same footprint.
The company has been highlighting for years how the cache — temporary data storage for more efficient memory access — is a key component to improving performance as the number of processor cores grows. If AMD’s performance claims for the chip manifest then it’s a good example of what it can do. The 3D version has three times the L3 cache of the non 3D version, 96MB compared to 32MB.
Probably to compensate for either power or heat increases, AMD had to drop the clock frequencies a bit, and it’s not clear if you’ll be able to overclock the processor. Otherwise, the specs are identical.
AMD also announced its latest crop of $99 to $299 boxed processors, which range from a quad-core Zen 2 (Ryzen 4000 series) through an eight-core Zen 3 (Ryzen 5000 series). And if you’ve been yearning to drop a Zen 3-architecture CPU into a Zen 2, Ryzen 3000-era motherboard, AMD is answering your upgrade dreams. A new BIOS update for some X370, B350 and A320-based motherboards will let you do so. It’s slated to become available in April.