AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Which CPU is best for you?

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X (Image credit: Windows Central)

When it comes down to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, the choice is pretty simple. If you're looking to build a solid, modern PC with the ability to play the latest games at solid frame rates, get the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. If you want to spend a bit more for only a little more oomph for rendering and for multi-core-based applications, get the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Gaming performance

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Header Cell - Column 0 Ryzen 5800XRyzen 5600X
Cores8 (3.8GHz)6 (3.7GHz)
L3 cache32MB32MB

The biggest differentiator when it comes to the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is gaming performance. It's what makes the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X stand out. The 5600X has the right speeds and core count for any modern game right now. It should perform well with any modern graphics card. For its $299 price (which is inconsistent at the moment), it's really the best option for most people.

On the other hand, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X is overkill for gaming. If you're someone hoping for increased performance from its extra two cores, you'll be disappointed. That's not how a lot of modern games work, so you'll be left with a little more money out of your pocket for no real reward. It's not a bad CPU, but it sits so close to the 5600X in price, that it starts to lose its allure, especially since it's not even the best choice for non-gaming projects either.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Rendering performance

AMD Ryzen 7 5800x

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

There's no doubt that the extra cores in the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X put it above the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X in terms of performance. It's going to do better on multi-core workloads like video rendering. But the issue comes with the fact that it's not that much cheaper than a 5950X and pales in comparison to it too. It sits in a weird middle ground where it's not necessarily a great CPU for anyone who has to do more intensive processing.

On the plus side, the 5800X can be overclocked, but the variability of that makes it hard to recommend. You never know whether your CPU will crank up to solid speeds or not. And even then, the speed increase might not amount to much in real world situations.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Cooling

Amd Ryzen 5000 Series Specs

Source: AMD (Image credit: Source: AMD)

The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X comes with a Wraith Stealth cooler in the box. It might not seem like much, but that could save you a chunk of money if you need to spend the rest of your cash on other PC components. That said, overclockers will find liquid cooling to be the best option to get anything worth talking about out of the processor.

In comparison, the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X doesn't come with a cooler at all. When you factor in its lack of performance and price, it's a big knock to the value of the CPU. Even the tiniest of benefits over the 5600X don't mean anything if the actual price difference is even wider than the price tag itself.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. AMD Ryzen 5 5600X: Which should you buy?

The answer is pretty clear when you compare the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs. the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is the only choice if you want a processor that can keep up with the latest games and perform well enough in rendering and streaming. It fits into almost any build with a solid GPU, motherboard, and cooling. The fact that it comes with a cooler and sits at a super affordable price, makes it a much better choice than the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X.

That said, the 5800X isn't a horrible choice if you think the extra cores could help out your multi-core tasks. But you should consider upgrading to a 5950X if that kind of performance is necessary. Otherwise, the 5800X's price keeps it from looking that enticing.

Tyler Colp is a freelance writer for Windows Central. He's written about tech, games, and the culture around them across the internet. Ask him anything about Dark Souls or just follow him on Twitter.