CPU

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Intel Core i7-11700K: The Eight-Core Faceoff

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The Intel Core i7-11700K vs AMD Ryzen 7 5800X rivalry is a heated battle for supremacy at the ~$400 price point. These two chips jockey for positioning on our CPU Benchmark hierarchy to score a spot on the list of Best CPUs, but they both come with their own eccentricities.

With the emergence of the Ryzen 5000 family, AMD shifted to premium pricing for its admittedly premium products. That’s a sound business decision, but it hasn’t been particularly popular with enthusiasts. AMD also left a glaring gap in its product stack that exacerbates the issue — there’s a massive $150 gulf between the six-core $299 Ryzen 5 5600X and the eight-core 16-thread $449 Ryzen 7 5800X. As a result, you either have to settle for a six-core or pay up big time to jump to an eight-core. Odder still, you can step up to the 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X for a mere $100 more.

To make matters worse, the global pandemic and unprecedented demand conspired to create chip shortages that led to unavailability and scalper pricing for the 5800X, making an otherwise stellar processor, well, not so stellar.

Luckily some of these issues have subsided over time, and the Ryzen 7 5800X is now widely available and often sells for $30 below its recommended pricing. At $420, the Ryzen 7 5800X is hard to beat if you need an eight-core chip, but there’s still room for a cheaper competitor.

Enter Intel’s Core i7-11700K. Intel’s new chip strides into the ring with eight cores and 16 threads, the Cypress Cove architecture that grants a 19% increase in IPC,  a friendlier $399 price tag, and broad availability. However, Intel’s Rocket Lake family remains on the 14nm process, which means the 11700K consumes far more power than the 5800X, requiring a more expensive cooler and robust motherboard power circuitry to extract the best the silicon has to offer.

However, the 11700K can more than hold its own where the rubber meets the road in our benchmarks, setting up a pitched battle in the $400 price range.

We put the Core i7-11700K up against the Ryzen 7 5800X in a six-round faceoff to see which chip takes the crown in our gaming and application benchmarks, along with other key criteria like power consumption and pricing. Let’s see how the chips stack up. 

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X vs Core i7-11700K Features and Specifications

Intel Rocket Lake Core i7-11700K vs AMD Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5800X Specifications and Pricing
Suggested Price Cores / Threads Base (GHz) Peak Boost (Dual/All Core) TDP Architecture iGPU L3
RKL-S Core i7-11700K (KF) $399 (K) – $374 (KF) 8 / 16 3.6 5.0 / 4.6 125W Cypress Cove UHD Graphics 750 Xe 32EU 16MB
Ryzen 7 5800X $449 8 / 16 3.8 4.7 105W Zen 3 N/A 32MB (1×32

The eight-core 16-thread Ryzen 7 5800X comes with a 3.8 GHz base and 4.7 GHz boost clock paired with a beefy 32MB of L3 cache. AMD specs the chip with a 105W TDP, but bear in mind that it isn’t comparable to the 11700K’s TDP rating because both chipmakers use different measurement criteria.

Intel’s Core i7-11700K also arrives with eight cores and 16-threads, but Intel etches those cores on the 14nm process. That means this chip undoubtedly consumes far more power than its peak 125W rating, especially if you allow the motherboard to ignore the power limits (which most do by default). We’ll have power testing below to suss out the most efficient chip, but it’s a given that AMD’s Zen 3-powered 7nm chips hold the advantage over Intel’s competing chips.

Neither chip comes with a cooler and both support PCIe 4.0, though it is noteworthy that Intel’s chipset doesn’t support the speedier interface. Instead, devices connected to Intel’s chipset operate at PCIe 3.0 speeds. Unfortunately, that means you’ll only have support for one PCIe 4.0 m.2 SSD port on your motherboard. In contrast, AMD’s chipset is fully PCIe 4.0-enabled, providing you with more connectivity options for faster devices.

Both chips support two channels of DDR4-3200 memory, but Intel’s new Gear memory feature does involve a few tradeoffs. The Core i7-11700K supports DDR4-2933 in Gear 1 mode at stock settings, which provides the best latency and performance for most tasks, like gaming. On the other hand, you’ll have to operate the chip in Gear 2 mode for warrantied DDR4-3200 support. That results in performance penalties in some latency-sensitive apps, like gaming, which you can read about here.

For some users, the 11700K does have an insurmountable advantage over the Ryzen 7 5800X: The 11700K comes with the UHD Graphics 750 engine that comes armed with 32 EUs based on the Xe graphics engine, while all Ryzen 5000 processors come without integrated graphics. That means Intel wins by default if you don’t plan on using a discrete GPU.

Notably, you could also buy Intel’s i7-11700KF to save some cash. This chip comes with disabled integrated graphics, saving you $25 off the suggested price. That’s a decent discount if you plan on using a discrete graphics card and don’t need Intel’s Quick Sync functionality. 

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