AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review: The world’s best gaming processor?

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The Zen 3 family of processors is available on the market, bringing significant improvements to the already impressive Zen 2 architecture. One of the best new processors is the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, which comes second only after the Ryzen 9 5950X. This CPU features a massive amount of 12 cores and 24 threads and is dubbed by AMD as the world’s best gaming processor. Is it true? We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is one heck of a processor, both in gaming and in any other kind of workload. Do you want to know more about it? Here it is:

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X: Who is it good for?

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is an excellent choice if:

  • You are a gamer and desire the best gaming processor that you can get today
  • You’re a content creator, and you need the excellent multi-threading performance
  • You want to be prepared for the future and want to have at least a few CPU extra cores always available

Pros and cons

There are a lot of good things to say about the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, as it:

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  • Is one of the fastest desktop processors on the market right now, second only after the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
  • Has 12 physical cores and 24 threads, which means extraordinary multi-threading performance
  • Can sustain a high boost clock (4.8 GHz) and a fantastic single-thread speed
  • The Zen 3 architecture delivers better performance and significantly improved IPC (instructions per clock/cycle) compared to Zen 2
  • Supports PCI Express 4.0 and fast DDR4 RAM
  • Has a low TDP, which translates into low temperatures and power consumption
  • Uses the AM4 socket and is compatible with many AMD chipsets (500 series and soon, also 400 series chipsets)
  • Is at least as good and often faster and more powerful than Intel’s similar processors from the Core i9 family

The only downsides of the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X are these:

  • AMD doesn’t bundle a cooler for this processor
  • It is expensive and costs about 50 USD more than the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X from the previous Zen 2 generation
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Verdict

When writing this review, AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is indeed the “world’s best gaming processor.” The company did a fantastic job with the Zen 3 architecture, and the Ryzen 9 5900X is probably the best way to showcase it. This processor axes all its competition, offering fantastic performance in multi-thread and single-thread while keeping both its temperatures and power consumption low. There’s nothing out there that can stop it, as it performs magnificently both in games, as well as in digital content creation software, and in productivity apps. In our opinion, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a monster that defeats every other processor on the market right now, except for the Ryzen 9 5950X. If you want all that power and have the budget for it, buy it without hesitation.

Hardware specifications

The Ryzen 9 5900X is one of the high-end desktop processors from AMD’s latest generation of Zen 3 based CPUs. All the Ryzen 5000 series processors are built on the same 7nm manufacturing process that AMD uses starting with the Zen 2 architecture. However, the new lineup brings some significant improvements. The Ryzen 5000 processors have been redesigned and optimized in many aspects, and the most crucial change is how they access the Level 3 cache memory. In Zen 2, Ryzen 3000 processors used a 4-core design that allowed all cores to access 16 MB of L3 cache simultaneously. In comparison, Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 CPUs use an 8-core design that lets all eight cores access 32 MB of L3 cache directly. This change means that the new processors have a faster communication line between their cores and cache memory and lower memory latency, which leads to better overall performance, but especially in gaming.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X desktop processor

The Ryzen 9 5900X comes with 12 cores and 24 threads running at a base clock of 3.7 GHz and a boost frequency of 4.8 GHz. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is second in line only after the Ryzen 9 5950X, which has 16 cores and 32 threads. The total amount of Level 3 cache memory available on the Ryzen 9 5900X is 64 MB. Regarding RAM specs, the processor officially supports DDR4 running at 3200 MHz in dual-channel mode, although the sweet spot is still DDR4-3600 MHz, just like on Zen 2 CPUs.

Although the boost frequency is slightly higher than its predecessor – Ryzen 9 3900X – AMD Ryzen 9 5900X has the same TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 105 Watts. That’s an excellent value considering the number of cores, threads, and running frequencies of the CPU. Unfortunately for some, AMD decided to no longer bundle stock coolers with this processor. The reasoning is that people who buy such a high-end component usually prefer to use their cooling solutions instead of stock air coolers.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X: Specifications shown by CPU-Z

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X supports PCI Express 4.0 and works on the same AM4 socket as the previous AMD processors series. However, although you might be tempted to assume that you can use it on any AM4 motherboard, that’s not entirely true. Zen 3 CPUs are currently supported only by motherboards that use a 500-series chipset (such as X570, B550, and A520) and only if your motherboard manufacturer released a BIOS update that supports the new CPUs. Some motherboard manufacturers are also adding support for 400 series chipsets such as X470 or B450.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is a processor built on AMD’s latest Zen 3 architecture and looks like it should be one of the most powerful desktop CPUs on the market right now. Packing twelve cores and 24 threads that run at high frequencies, it’s probably able to ace any competition. Not only is it fast and powerful, but also non-demanding in terms of power and cooling solutions. While it looks great on paper, let’s see whether benchmarks confirm the fact that this is one of the best CPUs you can get.

Performance in benchmarks and games

We tested the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processor on a PC with the following hardware and software:

To get a clearer idea about the performance offered by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, we compared it with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600X (Zen 3 architecture, six cores, 12 threads) and with an AMD Ryzen 7 3700X (Zen 2 architecture, eight cores, 16 threads).

We started with running CPU-Z to benchmark the processor’s single-thread performance. We got an impressive score of 650 points. The Ryzen 5 5600X is close, but the previous generation Ryzen 7 3700X with its lower frequencies is far behind, by 23.07%.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: CPU-Z Single Thread

In CPU-Z’s Multi-Thread benchmark, the Ryzen 9 3900X managed a massive score of 9391 points. That’s almost double the score of the Ryzen 5 5600X, but so is the number of cores and threads. Compared to the Ryzen 7 3700X, the increase of performance offered by the additional four cores and eight threads of the Ryzen 9 5900X is 72.12%!

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: CPU-Z Multi Thread

Next, we ran some rendering benchmarks. In Cinebench R23, AMD Ryzen 9 5900X obtained 20487 points using all its processor cores. It’s obvious just by looking at the chart below that its twenty-four threads make a difference. The Ryzen 5 5600X with its 12 threads can offer only 55.34% of the performance of a Ryzen 9 5900X, and the Zen 2-based Ryzen 7 3700X with its 16 threads is not far either (offers just 59% of what the Ryzen 9 5900X does).

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: Cinebench R23

In Blender, which counts the rendering time of various scenes, the faster CPUs get lower results. As usual, we chose to render the bmw27 and classroom scenes, and the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X required only 5.1 minutes to finalize them. That’s less than half the time the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X or the Ryzen 5 5600X need! This kind of workload shows where the high number of cores and threads make a difference in real life. If you’re a videographer and need to render video content, an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X makes a considerable difference in terms of the time required to finish your job.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: Blender

The following benchmark we ran was PCMark 10. We use it because we always want to know how fast and powerful a processor is in regular activities like browsing the web, participating in video conferences, working with Office apps, and creating digital content. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X managed another excellent score of 7606 points. Although the differences between it and the other two CPUs in our charts are not as high as in other benchmarks, the Ryzen 9 5900X is still better by a significant margin. We’re looking at a performance increase of 3.80% from a Ryzen 5 5600X and 15.01% from a Ryzen 7 3700X.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: PCMark 10

Similarly, web browsing is the most common thing we all do on our computers. That’s why we also run the JetStream 2 browsing benchmark using the latest version of Google Chrome available. In this benchmark, the higher the score you get, the better your processor is at opening web pages. The Ryzen 9 5900X managed a score of 196 points, impressive on its own. It’s on par with the Ryzen 5 5600X, even if the latter only has half the number of cores and threads of the Ryzen 9 5900X. However, the rise in performance compared to the Zen 2 Ryzen 7 3700X is close to 25%.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: JetStream 2

7-Zip, a file compression app, is useful if you want to get a clearer picture of how fast a processor is. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X managed a compression rate of 76 MB/s. Thanks to its additional cores, it’s faster than both the Ryzen 5 5600X (by 34.21%) and Ryzen 7 3700X (by 28.95%).

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: 7-Zip Compression

The decompression speed in 7-Zip was what impressed us: 1841 MB/s. With double the cores and threads of the Ryzen 5 5600X, the Ryzen 9 5900X manages more than double decompression speed.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: 7-Zip Decompression

Next, we wanted to check whether the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X really is “The World’s Best Gaming Processor,” as AMD claims. We also tried to avoid possible GPU bottlenecks from our AMD Radeon RX 5700 video card by running games in 1080p resolution and with the lowest graphics quality set.

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, using the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, we measured a framerate of 199 fps. It’s only slightly more than what we got with Ryzen 5 5600X, but it’s a significant increase from Ryzen 7 3700X (29.22%).

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: Shadow of the Tomb Raider

In Metro Exodus, one of the most demanding games in recent years, we were in for a surprise. With all the three processors we tested, we got the same number of frames per second. That’s because, even if we set the lowest graphics quality for the game, these processors are all so fast that our graphics card bottlenecked each one. Thus, if you have any of these CPUs, you might want to pair it with a high-end graphics card to get the most out of it in games. AMD Radeon RX 5700 is just not enough to unlock the full power of these processors.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: Metro Exodus

Using the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, we measured a framerate of 295 fps in World War Z. Similarly to Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Ryzen 9 5900X offers slightly the same performance as a Ryzen 5 5600X but outperforms the previous generation AMD Ryzen 7 3700X by a significant margin (40.47% increase).

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: World War Z

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is one of the best games at the moment and one that gamers talk about on practically every gaming and hardware website. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most hardware demanding games. The earlier surprise we had in Metro Exodus was no longer a surprise in Valhalla. 🙂 Our graphics card, the Radeon RX 5700, couldn’t render more than 105 frames per second, regardless of the CPU we used, effectively becoming a bottleneck. To put it simply, either of these processors is great in games. Still, for the latest titles, a mid-range graphics card from the previous generations is not enough. If you intend to buy an AMD Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, and you’re a gamer, you should also consider purchasing a high-end Nvidia 3000 series or Radeon 6000 series graphics card.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X benchmark results: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

To test the temperatures reached by the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, we ran AIDA64’s stability test. The maximum temperature we saw was 81 degrees Celsius (178 Fahrenheit). It’s a lower temperature than we expected and that’s great!

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X temperatures

Finally, again using AIDA64, we also checked how much power the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X needs in demanding workloads. We saw a maximum power consumption of 135 Watts, which is a small value considering how many cores and threads this CPU has. It’s even more impressive if you’re looking at Intel’s latest 6-core CPUs, which draw similar amounts of electricity.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X power consumption

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is incredibly fast, and its large number of cores allow it to offer extraordinary performance in any kind of workload or game. Right now, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the Hercules of the desktop processors world, and nothing is stopping it.

What’s your opinion about the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X?

Now you know that the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the best desktop processor you can buy, maybe except for the Ryzen 9 5950X, but we didn’t test that yet. 🙂 Are you considering purchasing it, or will you settle for a Ryzen 5000 processor with fewer cores but a lower price? Let us know in the comments section below.