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Speedy new 5800X3D is AMD’s first non-overclockable Ryzen processor

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AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800X3D promises to be one of the company’s fastest gaming CPUs, and it’s one of the last high-end chips that will grace the AM4 socket before Ryzen 7000 CPUs come out later this year. But the company’s experimental new 3D V-Cache stacking technology comes with one negative side effect: This will be the first Ryzen CPU that’s incapable of overclocking.

According to PCWorld, AMD Director of Technical Marketing Robert Hallock says that this change is because the processor’s voltage limit is locked to 1.35 volts, a bit lower than other Ryzen 5000 chips. A lower voltage for the CPU cores means they’ll generate less heat, presumably creating a bit more thermal headroom for the 64MB of additional L3 cache memory that the 5800X3D uses. A lower voltage would also explain why the 5800X3D’s clock speeds are a hair lower than the standard Ryzen 7 5800X.

Hallock said this won’t be true of future 3D V-Cache CPUs. So if we do see this technology reused in Ryzen 7000 chips, those chips should still be overclockable, as most other Ryzen processors have been. You can also try to squeeze some extra speed from the 5800X3D with memory and Infinity Fabric overclocks.

Overclocking isn’t exactly a common use case for processors these days, and the additional gains you can get out of most chips aren’t nearly as impressive as they could be a decade or two ago. Still, AMD’s Zen CPUs have been notable for supporting unlocked multipliers and overclocking on every single desktop CPU model and motherboard chipset (up until now, that is). Overclocking Intel CPUs still requires an expensive K-series processor and a high-end Z-series motherboard, though you can still get additional performance out of some Intel CPUs by raising their power limits.

The 5800X3D will launch for $449 on April 20, and AMD is promising up to 15 percent higher gaming performance compared to a Ryzen 5900X. The chip will be accompanied by AMD’s first significant new budget processors in two years, a range of Ryzen 4000 and Ryzen 5000-series CPUs priced between $99 and $299.

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