It’s time to take an updated look at the gaming performance of the Core i9-14900K and Ryzen 7 7800X3D, comparing head-to-head AMD and Intel’s best gaming processors to see which one you should buy. We’ve got a range of new games to test with, some of which have received performance patches that we’ve yet to test such as Starfield, so we’re keen to see how these two compare.
As it stands now, you can purchase the i9-14900K for $580, while the 13900K, which is the same CPU, costs $550. Then there’s the 13900KF for $520. On the other side of the table, the Ryzen 7 7800X3D has an MSRP of $450, but these days you can find it for as low as $360, making it considerably cheaper than the Core i9.
It’s worth noting that the Core i9 is a much more powerful productivity CPU. So, if you are getting into some core-heavy work as well as gaming, then the Intel processor might be a better choice. AMD’s counteroffer there is the 7950X3D for ~$600, which is often faster for productivity workloads and can technically match the gaming performance of the 7800X3D – if the thread scheduling is working – which isn’t always the case.
So, the 7950X3D isn’t a perfect solution, though its performance is generally very good. Today’s focus is on gaming, and for that, the 7800X3D is a much better fit in our opinion.
For testing, the 7800X3D was installed on the Gigabyte X670E Aorus Master using BIOS version F20a, along with DDR5-6000 CL30 memory. Meanwhile, the 14900K was benchmarked on the MSI MPG Z790 Carbon Wi-Fi using BIOS version 7D89v19 (we must wonder, MSI, why do your BIOS revisions have to sound like they could be a 32″ 4K 144Hz monitor?)…
The Intel system is also using DDR5-7200 memory, and for graphics, we have the Asus ROG Strix RTX 4090 OC Edition used for benchmarking at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
Starting with Assassin’s Creed Mirage, this game has seen quite a few patches since our last test. There have also been a few GeForce driver updates. Compared to our 14900K review data, the Intel processor’s performance has improved slightly, while the 7800X3D sees a 9% reduction. We’re not sure why that is, but as usual, we triple-checked the data, and it now seems AMD and Intel processors are more evenly matched in this title.
Another parameter that’s changed here is the BIOS revision, so it would be very difficult to pinpoint the cause of Ryzen’s performance regression. At the end of the day, both processors are pushing the RTX 4090 to over 190 fps at 1440p, which is probably good enough.
The 7800X3D’s performance in Cyberpunk 2077 improved with the Phantom Liberty update – well, it was really the 2.0 update, but they happened at about the same time. Anyway, the 7800X3D now performs really well in this title, beating the 14900K by a 12% margin at 1080p, though both were GPU limited to 150 fps at 1440p and then 77 fps at 4K.
Next up, we have Horizon Zero Dawn, where the 7800X3D was again able to beat the i9, delivering 12% more performance at 1080p and 10% more at 1440p. Interestingly, even at 4K, the AMD processor had a slight performance advantage, though we’re only talking about a 4% margin here.
Moving on to the Far Cry 6 results, we again find the 7800X3D out in front, offering 12% more frames at 1080p and 8% more at 1440p. Truth be told, though, both CPUs are excellent here, as you’d expect.
Performance in F1 23 is excellent, and this one is close enough to call a tie as the 7800X3D was just 3% faster at 1080p, so a negligible difference there.
ACC is a game where the 3D V-Cache makes a massive difference, dramatically boosting frame rates. So much so that the 14900K can’t really compete, despite delivering very good gaming performance. Still, the 7800X3D is around 27% faster at 1080p and 1440p, which is a massive performance uplift, and even at 4K, the Ryzen processor is still offering 13% more performance.
The 7800X3D remains dominant in Watch Dogs: Legion, allowing the RTX 4090 to render up to 15% more frames at 1080p. The 1440p results quickly became GPU limited, resulting in a mere 4% uplift for the Ryzen processor and then, of course, no difference at 4K.
Testing with A Plague Tale: Requiem, we see that the 7800X3D is offering a 9% performance bump at 1080p and 6% at 1440p before the game becomes heavily GPU bound at 4K. Again, both CPUs are delivering exceptionally good performance here, so although the 7800X3D is faster, for this particular title, both are more than fast enough.
Next up, we have Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, and both CPUs again perform incredibly well in this title, delivering strong 1% lows of over 150 fps at 1080p. Performance overall is near enough to call identical, so no clear winner here.
Do you need 170 fps to play Baldur’s Gate 3? We don’t think so, but with the 7800X3D you can achieve it, or 160 fps with the 14900K. Both seem pretty good to us, but the Ryzen processor was 7% faster, so another win here for AMD.
Moving on to the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III results, and here we are using the built-in benchmark. Oddly, while the 14900K and 7800X3D are very evenly matched for the average frame rate, the Ryzen processor provided much better 1% lows, up to 31% better in fact.
Even when maxed out, Resident Evil 4 is CPU limited at 1080p and probably 1440p. The 7800X3D was 7% faster, so a minor improvement with the AMD processor. But again, with both rendering over 160 fps, performance was excellent.
Next, we have Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which isn’t exactly a new game, but it’s still one of the most CPU demanding games we’ve come across. Testing in the village section of the game, we found that the 7800X3D was 8% faster when comparing the average frame rate and 12% faster for the 1% lows. However, at 1440p, the 1% low margin increased to 19%, as the 14900K drops off more than the 7800X3D does at the higher resolution.
The Callisto Protocol provides us with a rare example of the 14900K beating the 7800X3D, where the Intel processor is up to 13% faster, seen when comparing 1% lows at 1080p. Even at 4K, the Intel CPU reclaimed a slight lead, so a win across the board here for the i9.
Total War: Warhammer III doesn’t appear to favor either CPU, with performance being identical at all three tested resolutions. Therefore, there isn’t much to discuss here, and we will swiftly move along.
Hogwarts Legacy with ray tracing enabled is brutal, as we’re looking at less than 80 fps at 1080p using an RTX 4090. The 7800X3D was up to 8% faster, but we’re talking about a 4 fps difference, so overall performance was very similar using either CPU.
Upon release, the 13900K was 20% faster than the 7800X3D in Starfield, which seemed unexpected, but that was the initial performance. Thankfully, Ryzen’s weak performance in this title was addressed with a game update, and now the 7800X3D roughly matches the 14900K, trailing by a few frames when comparing the average frame rate but also delivering slightly better 1% lows. Competitive performance overall.
The 14900K also nudged ahead by a small margin in The Last of Us Part I, with 1% lows being 8% stronger at 1080p, which is a reasonable margin. Interestingly, the 7800X3D nudged ahead by a few frames at 1440p and even 4K, but overall, we’re looking at the same gaming experience using either CPU.
Like many of the games we’ve looked at, performance in Halo Infinite is very similar using either processor. The 7800X3D nudged ahead at 1080p with better 1% lows, but overall, we’re looking at a similar experience in this one.
Hitman 3 has always delivered the best results with an Intel processor, and nothing has changed here, with the 14900K rendering 6% more frames at 1080p before the results become heavily GPU limited at 1440p and, of course, 4K.
Last up, we have Spider-Man Remastered, where the 7800X3D is 7% faster than the 14900K, rendering 167 fps on average as opposed to 156 fps. With ray tracing enabled, this game is extremely CPU limited, which is why we’re looking at very similar frame rates at all three tested resolutions.
We’ve taken a look at the 21 games tested, and it seems the 7800X3D did get the better of the 14900K, though overall, the difference wasn’t substantial.
To find out exactly how they compare, we’ll examine the margins on a per-game basis and average it out. Don’t worry, we know what we’re doing…
At the 1080p resolution, as expected, the 7800X3D and 14900K are very evenly matched, with the Ryzen processor faster by just 5% on average. There were a few examples of double-digit margins and one extreme example in ACC, but as the 5% average indicates, typically we’re looking at single-digit margins.
At the slightly more GPU-limited 1440p resolution, the overall margin is even smaller, just 4% here.
Then, we have the 4K data, which, in our opinion, is not very valuable for CPU testing. It’s often heavily requested, but when benchmarking the GPU, the CPU doesn’t really matter in almost all games, because you’re typically GPU limited.
Now, we need to discuss power consumption. While the gaming performance between the 7800X3D and 14900K is very similar, and frankly not worth worrying about, power usage does differ considerably.
When measuring total system power consumption while gaming, the Core i9 consumed 30% more power, despite being slightly slower overall.
We’re talking about an extra 130 watts on average here, which is a substantial difference for the CPU to make. One concern could be the power bill, which isn’t a big deal everywhere, at least not for people buying high-end CPUs and GPUs.
A bigger concern though for those of us living in warmer climates, is heat output. Dumping an extra 130 watts into your room for the same or slightly lower gaming performance is less than ideal. At the very least, your air conditioner will feel the impact.
And the Fastest Gaming CPU is…
Let’s now weigh the pros and cons of each option, and we’ll start with the Ryzen 7 7800X3D, looking at this from the perspective of a gamer seeking high-end performance.
The pros for the 7800X3D include excellent gaming performance, arguably class-leading, extremely good power efficiency – it’s a no-fuss solution – delivering out-of-the-box performance without the need to worry about memory timings. It’s easy to keep cool, never throttles even with a basic cooler, and AM5 motherboards are now generally very affordable. The AM5 platform offers an upgrade path, and it’s now very cost-effective for a high-end gaming CPU, dropping as low as $360.
As for the cons, what are some of the drawbacks of the 7800X3D as a gaming CPU, especially relative to the 14900K? We admit, we sat at our desk trying to come up with one real drawback, and nothing came to mind.
The best answer we could come up with was platform compatibility. If you’re on AM4, for example, you’ll need to buy a new motherboard and memory to upgrade to the 7800X3D. However, most buyers of the 14900K will face the same issue. So, the biggest disadvantage of the 7800X3D is its lack of compatibility with older platforms.
We’re not saying the 7800X3D is perfect. If you’re also tackling core-heavy workloads, the 14900K will outperform it, and for that on AM5, you’re better served by the 7950X3D, which has its own set of scheduling issues. But for gaming, the 7800X3D is nearly flawless.
What about Intel’s Core i9-14900K? The obvious pro is that it’s very fast for both gaming and productivity. Overclocking headroom is basically non-existent but you do have a greater degree of memory tuning available which can improve performance, though you’ll often spend more time tuning the memory than you will actually gaming, and validating stability is a real pain.
Other than that, we’re not sure what the 14900K does better than the 7800X3D. The cons include poor power usage, with undervolting still falling short of Ryzen’s efficiency. Ideally, a 360mm AIO or better is required to avoid throttling, especially for productivity, as it’s a very hot unit. The LGA 1700 platform is also dead, so your next upgrade will without question require a new motherboard, and even if you don’t care about the financial investment, it’s more of a pain to upgrade.
To make the 14900K viable, it needs undervolting, memory tuning, and good silicon quality. Getting the 14900K to regularly beat the 7800X3D in games is a job, it’s a lifestyle choice, so if you want to spend more time in the BIOS than you do gaming, it can be a lot of fun.