The Ryzen 7 5800X3D is an enthusiast CPU through and through. So if you tell a bunch of PC gamers that they can’t overclock their $450, octo-core, 4.5Ghz, polygon-pushing machine, they’re going to be upset. But that’s just what AMD has done. The company’s Director of Technical Marketing, Robert Hallock, recently confirmed that the processor won’t support any kind of CPU voltage or frequency overclocking, with the option locked out in UEFI motherboard firmware. It is, in technical terms, a bummer.
This makes the new 5800X3D the first Ryzen CPU that doesn’t support primary core overclocking. The news came from a live interview with HotHardware, where Hallock explained that it’s because of the chip’s 3D V-Cache, another first that gives the chip its “3D” moniker and amped-up gaming performance. Vertically stacking the cache memory on the processor allows AMD to increase memory capacity without building a bigger die, allowing a significant performance boost while sticking to the Zen 3 architecture and keeping compatibility with the AM4 platform. Unfortunately that super-special cache means the voltage limit needs to be hard-coded at 1.35 volts, a step down from other Ryzen chips and a hard limit on clock core expansion.
Hallock said that the company understands the enthusiast market, and that this is a one-time limitation for the Ryzen 7 5800X3D, which still allows overclocking on the Infinity Fabric and memory bus. Future iterations of Ryzen chips featuring 3D V-Cache will overcome this technical hurdle.
All that being said, the lack of options for overclocking on one CPU isn’t the end of the world for the enthusiast market. Intel and AMD have been optimizing their chips so completely that there’s little overhead room left for overclockers, at least at the enthusiast level without unlimited budgets and easy access to liquid nitrogen. The performance boost from the ultra-low latency cache should more than make up for the lack of overclocking options for the vast majority of users.