96MB L3 3D V-Cache designed for gamers

The level of competition in the desktop CPU market has rarely been as intense as it has been in years past. When AMD launched its Ryzen processors, it forced Intel to respond, and both have consistently fought in multiple areas, including core count, IPC performance, frequency, and ultimate performance. The constant race to improve products, stay ahead of the competition and meet the changing needs of customers has also taken the two companies off the beaten track at times, developing even wilder technologies in search of that competitive advantage.

In AMD’s case, such a development effort has culminated with 3D V-Cache packaging technology, which stacks a layer of L3 cache on top of the existing L3 cache of the existing CCD. Due to the fact that while extra cache is beneficial for performance, large amounts of SRAM, well, bigAMD has been working on how to put more L3 cache on a CPU chiplet without completely blowing the die. The end result of that is the stacked V-Cache technology, which allows the extra cache to be created individually and then carefully placed on a chip to be used as part of a processor.

For the consumer market, AMD’s first V-Cache equipped product is the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. AMD’s unique chip is the fastest gaming processor on the market today, offering eight cores/sixteen threads of processing power and a whopping 96MB of onboard L3 cache. Essentially building on the already established Ryzen 7 5800X processor, AMD’s goal is that the extra L3 cache on the 5800X3D will take gaming performance to the next level – all for about $100 more than the 5800X.

With AMD’s new gaming chip in hand, we’ve put the Ryzen 7 5800X3D through CPU suite and gaming tests to see if it’s as good as AMD claims it is.

AMD Ryzen 7 58003XD: Now with 3D V-Cache

Previously announced at CES 2022, the Ryzen 7 58003XD is probably the most interesting of all its Ryzen-based chips that have launched since Zen debuted in 2017. The reason is that the Ryzen 7 5800X3D uses AMD’s proprietary 3D V-Cache packaging technology that is used in essentially plants a 64MB L3 cache on top of the existing 32MB L3 cache that the Ryzen 7 5800X has.

To outline the framework of the 3D V-Cache, AMD uses a direct copper-to-copper bonding process, with the additional layer of 64MB L3 cache on top of the existing 32MB L3 cache on the chip. AMD claims this increases gaming performance by an average of 15% when comparing the Ryzen 9 5900X (12c/16t) to a 12-core 3D chiplet prototype chip. Whether AMD’s claim is based solely on the 12-core design or whether this level of performance is linear when using fewer cores is difficult to determine.

It’s clear that 3D V-Cache and its innovative binding technique, which combines additional L3 cache with existing L3 cache, is an interesting way to deliver solid performance gains, given how crucial L3 cache levels can be for specific game titles. AMD also claims that the large levels of L3 cache improve performance in multi-threaded workloads such as video encoding.

The Vertical (V) Cache design is based on the same TSMC 7nm manufacturing process as the CCD, with a dilution process that is part of TSMC’s technologies and designed to eliminate any thermal complications. Bridging the gap between the 32MB on-die L3 cache and the vertically stacked 64MB L3 cache is a structural silicon base, with the direct copper-to-copper bonding and connected by silicon VIAs and TSVs.

Looking at where it positions itself in the stack, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is unequivocally the same price as the Ryzen 9 5900X, which benefits from four additional Zen 3 cores, as well as eight additional threads. The Ryzen 7 5800X3D does have a lower base frequency than the Ryzen 7 5800X at 400MHz, with a 200MHz lower turbo frequency. This will likely be a power limiting factor as the extra L3 cache will generate power.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for Desktop (>$200)
Zen 3 microarchitecture (non-pro, 65W+)
AnandTech Core/
wire
base
frequency
1T
frequency
L3
cache
iGPU PCIe TDP September
Ryzen 9 5950X 16 32 3400 4900 64MB 4.0 105 W $590
Ryzen 9 5900X 12 24 3700 4800 64MB 4.0 105 W $450
Ryzen 9 5900 12 24 3000 4700 64MB 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5800X3D 8 16 3400 4500 96MB 4.0 105 W $449
Ryzen 7 5800X 8 16 3800 4700 32MB 4.0 105 W $350
Ryzen 7 5800 8 16 3400 4600 32MB 4.0 65 W OEM
Ryzen 7 5700X 8 16 3400 4600 32MB 4.0 65 W $299
Ryzen 5 5600X 6 12 3700 4600 32MB 4.0 65 W $230

Since the 3D V-Cache is primarily designed to improve the performance of game titles, the new chip is not far from the Ryzen 7 5800X in terms of raw computer throughput. There will be a slight edge to the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X in this area with higher core frequencies on both models. Still, as I mentioned before, it will be real bread and butter in game performance or at least games that will take advantage and make use of the extra levels of L3 cache.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D: Memory Overclocking Support, But Not Core

While the Ryzen 7 supports 5800X3D memory overclocking and allows users to overclock the Infinity Fabric interconnect to complement it, AMD has disabled core overclocking, making it incompatible with AMD’s Precision Boost Overclocking feature. This has disappointed many users, but it is a trade-off associated with the 3D V-Cache.

In particular, the limitations in overclocking come down to voltage limitations (1.35 V VCore) due to the use of the packaging technology. It seems that the dense V cache doesn’t handle extra juice as well as the L3 cache already built into the Zen 3 chiplets.

As a result, rather than CPU overclocking, the biggest thing a user can do to impact higher performance with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D is to use faster DDR4 memory with lower latencies, like a good DDR4-3600 kit. These settings are also the well-known sweet spot for AMD’s Infinity Fabric Interconnect as laid out by AMD.

Looking at the state of the desktop processor market as it is now, and towards the end of the year, it looks promising for users with many choices. The main battle right now in terms of gaming performance comes down to AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($450) and Intel’s 12th Gen Core Series options, with the Core i9-12900K leading the way ahead of team Intel.

Perhaps the most interesting debate is when it comes to buying a new processor, as both the current generation offerings from both AMD and Intel generally offer excellent gaming performance. It’s hard to select a regular desktop processor that won’t work well with most graphics cards, and outside of pairing a flagship chip with a flagship video card, it will most likely come down to performance in computing, productivity, and content creation applications. We know AMD will release its latest Zen 4 core later this year, and we expect advancements and advancements in IPC performance.

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D with its 3D V-Cache is new and exciting, and specifically for gaming performance, the battle for the title of ‘fastest gaming processor’ is constantly changing. Based on the existing AM4 platform, AMD has given users an industry-leading design in a well-known platform, but the biggest challenge will be to deliver on AMD’s claims, which is what we aim to do in this review.

Finally, no matter how the 5800X3D fares today, AMD’s stacked V-cache technology isn’t a one-time offering. AMD recently announced that there will be a Zen 4 variant with 3D V-Cache at some point during the cycle, as well as the same for Zen 5, which is expected in 2024.

For our tests we use the following:

Ryzen Test System (DDR4)
Processor Ryzen 7 5800X3D ($450)
8 cores, 16 wires
105W TDP, 3.4GHz base, 4.5GHz turbo
Motherboard ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Extreme (X570)
Memory ADATA
2x32GB DDR4-3200
Cooling MSI Core Liquid 360mm AIO
Storage Critical MX300 1TB
Power supply Corsair HX850
GPUs NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti, driver 496.49
Operating systems Windows 11 up to date

In comparison, all other chips were run as tests listed in our benchmark database, Bench, on Windows 10 and 11 (for the more recent processors).