It's been exactly a year since AMD debuted the Ryzen 3000 "Zen 2" processors, and the company hence decided to refresh their lineup with three new product additions as part of the Ryzen 3000 "XT" series. The company's "Zen 3" architecture will be out later this year, probably near the end of it, and AMD is facing competition from the recently launched 10th Gen Core "Comet Lake" processor family by Intel. Still, the Ryzen 3000 desktop processor family is one of many firsts for AMD, including first to market with 7 nm and PCI-Express gen 4.0, and it is the first core IPC parity with Intel in over 15 years.
AMD's third-generation Ryzen has had a free reign over the market until Intel launched its 10th Gen Core desktop processor family. In the past, AMD based its competitiveness on offering more cores/threads to the dollar. Intel's 9th generation chips still had a slight edge with gaming performance on account of higher clock speeds. With "Comet Lake," Intel decided to unleash the "Skylake" microarchitecture by enabling HyperThreading across the board, increasing clock speeds, introducing new boosting algorithms for its Core i7 and Core i9 processor families, and greatly relaxing power limits for these chips, including giving motherboard designers the freedom to tweak power and thermal values better. These helped Intel restore performance parity with AMD across segments, while increasing its edge in gaming performance.
Intel's heavily marketed performance leadership, particularly in gaming performance, rest on just single-digit percentages, which AMD feels it can easily narrow with its existing "Zen 2" IP, without having to cede the market to Intel for the next few months until "Zen 3" relieves the product stack. This is the sole design goal of the Ryzen 3000XT product family.
Our Ryzen 7 3800XT review takes a look at this 8-core/16-thread processor being launched today at $399—the launch price of the 3800X. The Core i7-10700K has largely eroded the performance leadership of the 3800X, forcing AMD to sell it at prices under $340. The 3800XT is then an attempt by AMD to sell an 8-core part at $399 again. It comes with increased frequencies, featuring the same 3.90 GHz nominal clocks as the 3800X, but maximum boost frequency that have been increased by 200 MHz—now at 4.70 GHz compared to the 4.50 GHz of the 3800X and 4.40 GHz of the 3700X. There is more to the Ryzen 3000XT series than just speed bumps, as we'll explain on the Architecture page.
An interesting product design decision by AMD has been to exclude the box cooler with the Ryzen 3800XT—something that's included on the 3800X and even the 3900X. In their briefings, AMD explained that the target audience of the 3800XT will be using the chip with aftermarket cooling solutions anyway, although we believe the motive to be cost-cutting (a straight $25–$30 saving with no Wraith Prism RGB cooler included). Skipping the cooler puts the onus of having good enough cooling for the processor to hit the maximum boost and overclock well on the user.
In this Ryzen 7 3800XT review, we'll compare it with its "predecessors" and the Intel Core i7-10700K across our entire selection of CPU and gaming benchmarks to see if AMD deserves to sell the processor at its price.