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AMD Announces Ryzen 7 5800X3D Will Not Allow Overclocking

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It’s a sad day for overclockers the world over, as AMD has announced it will not allow overclocking on its newest gaming CPU, the Ryzen 7 5800X3D. This was rumored to be the case pre-launch, but now it’s official. The news could mark the end of overclocking on AMD CPUs as we know it, at least in the traditional sense where clock speeds and voltages are involved. AMD says it will still allow overclocking of the chip’s infinity fabric and memory, however.

The disappointing news comes via Hothardware, who talked to Robert Hallock, AMD’s director of technical marketing. In the interview Hallock spilled the beans on the 5800X3D’s limitations, saying it will be voltage locked at 1.35V. He said the reason is that as the company’s first V-cache CPU, they are still figuring out how to fine tune it. Referring to the 5800X3D, Hallock stated, “That packaging technology…has different voltage and frequency scaling than people may be accustomed to.” He goes on to say that although they’ve shipped CPUs that scale up to 1.45V or 1.5V, that is not the limit for the V-cache part. Instead, “it’s more like 1.3V to 1.35V.” He then drops the hammer, “We are not going to allow overclocking, CPU core frequency overclocking or core voltage adjustment.”

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As a fig leaf to the OGs, he added that fabric and memory overclocking are still enabled, and that “our parts get the most benefit from that anyway.” Ultimately, he said, they would have been able to figure out how to allow overclocking eventually. However, they faced a choice: wait for the technology to mature a bit, or ship it. They obviously chose the latter. “The technology just doesn’t scale yet,” he said. “In time it will, and when it does, we’ll bring overclocking back.” This seems to leave the door open for a future 3D-stacked CPU that allows overclocking.

As we wrote previously on this topic, L2 and L3 caches are notorious for not playing nice with overclocking. And that was in the past with small caches, which are not in the same ballpark as what AMD has done here. It’s stuffed 64MB of cache vertically above the die, in addition to the 32MB already included in the 8-core chiplet. It’s the most cache to ever be shipped with a consumer CPU, so as AMD notes, we’re entering new territory. Still, it remains to be seen if the technology will ever allow overclocking. It’s an important issue as AMD is rumored to be mulling over using it on its upcoming Zen 4 chips.

AMD is positioning the 5800X3D as its top gaming CPU, and hoping it’ll reclaim the “fastest gaming CPU” crown from Intel’s Alder Lake. In response, Intel’s is preparing a new flagship CPU: the Core i9-12900KS Special Edition. It’ll be a battle of clocks vs. cache, as Intel’s chip is binned to overclock. Out of the box it’ll reportedly offer a crazy 5.5Ghz single core clock speed, and 5.2GHz on all cores. This compares to the 5800X3D’s modest base/boost clocks of 3.4GHz and 4.5GHz. It might not be a fair fight, however, as Intel’s chip is rumored to be rather pricey. This isn’t a surprise as the current 12900K is a $600 CPU, whereas the 5800X3D will go on sale April 20th for $449.

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