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

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series may well now be previous generation CPUs, but that doesn't mean they're not still worth considering when building a PC. Now the newer chips are here, the older ones are more affordable, and they're still extremely good performers. 

When it comes down specifically to choosing between the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and the AMD Ryzen 5 5600X, the best of the range, the choice is pretty simple. If you're looking to build a solid, modern PC with the ability to play the latest games at good 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 7 5800XRyzen 5 5600X
Cores8 (3.8GHz)6 (3.7GHz)
L3 cache32MB32MB

The biggest differentiator 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 will perform well with any modern graphics card, and thanks to the lower price makes the most sense for a gaming-centric build. 

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 most modern games work, so you'll be left with less money in 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 in its box

The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X. (Image credit: 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, with two more cores and four more threads.

But the issue arises with the fact that it's not that much cheaper than a Ryzen 9 5950X and pales in comparison to it too. It sits in a weird middle ground where it's not necessarily the best CPU for anyone, even those who have 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 7 5800X sitting in a motherboard

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

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. And you will be pleasantly surprised at just how good it is. 

That said, overclockers will find liquid cooling to be the best option to get anything worth talking about out of the processor, but given the limited scope here for the 5600X, the in-box option is probably enough. 

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. 

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

The answer is clear when you compare the AMD Ryzen 7 5800X and 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 also comes with a cooler and sits at a super affordable price, makes it a much better value 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 also consider upgrading to a Ryzen 9 5950X if that kind of performance is necessary.

Tyler Colp

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.

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