AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

The Intel Core i9-10900K took the title of “fastest gaming CPU ever” in May. When AMD released the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, it had a big goal: beat the Intel Core i9-10900K in speed and do it for less money. Only one of those goals was met, but that was enough.

In our tests, the $549 AMD Ryzen 9 5900X with its 12 cores was the fastest mainstream game CPU we’ve seen so far. It also beat Intel’s competing chips at creating content and getting work done. AMD’s Zen 2 launch didn’t leave any loose ends, but the new Zen 3 architecture shows that a little bit of process and design improvement can go a long way in the world of desktop CPUs.

Go through our epic guide on Best AM4 CPU

At the end of 2020, you can’t settle if you want the fastest processor around $500 for almost everything. AMD is the way to go, and the Ryzen 9 5900X, which won Editors’ Choice, will please both serious gamers and motivated content makers. If it cost $500, I’d give it five stars.


thumbs up regular


  • Now, it can play games as well as or better than Intel Core i9
  • Content creation results in its price range that set records
  • Socket AM4 compatible
  • Compared to Intel’s choices, it has a low TDP.
thumbs down regular


  • No wrapped-up cooler
  • Pricey if only bought for games
  • Little room to go faster


Core Count12
Thread Count24
Base Clock Frequency3.7 GHz
Maximum Boost Clock4.8 GHz
Unlocked Multiplier?Right
Socket CompatibilityAMD AM4
Lithography7 nm
L3 Cache Amount64 MB
Thermal Design Power (TDP) Rating105 watts
Integrated GraphicsNone
Bundled CoolerNone

With the Intel Core i9-10900K being the “fastest gaming CPU ever” in May, AMD’s Ryzen 9 5900X had to dethrone it and do it for less. The corporation met one aim, but that was plenty.

The 12-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900X ($549) is the fastest mainstream-platform gaming CPU we’ve tested, outperforming Intel’s CPUs for content production and productivity. AMD’s Zen 2 launch is over, and the Zen 3 architecture shows how process and design improvement may improve desktop processors.

Also, check out our separate post on AMD Ryzen 9 5950X

At the end of 2020, compromise is out if you want the quickest $500 CPU for almost everything. AMD’s Editors’ Choice-winning Ryzen 9 5900X will thrill gamers and multimedia makers—five stars for $500.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Specs: A Legacy to Uphold

AMD’s Zen 2 chip announcement on July 7 last year was historic. Then, the company revealed some new CPUs based on TSMC’s 7nm lithography process and a “chiplet” architecture that didn’t include every I/O device on one die.

They were also high-value chips. AMD won content-creation activities due to its cheaper cores and threads, while the original Zen 2 design’s increased chipset latency slowed gaming. This performance lag was very noticeable at 1,920 by 1,080 pixels (1080p), the most common gaming resolution. Only it prevented AMD’s Zen 2 Ryzens from dominating.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

In the year and a half since, Intel, still using 14nm++ lithography, has exploited this tiny gaming opening. The business has been promoting its “Comet Lake-H” Core processors as the fastest gaming CPUs, and until today, it was right.

Zen 3 is crippling Intel’s last leg. Look at AMD’s 5900X superiority claims against the Core i9-10900K. (Our numbers will follow.)

Informational Article template 6 1

AMD’s late-2020 Zen 3 stack’s second-most powerful CPU is the 12-core/24-thread Ryzen 9 5900X ($549). The eight-core/16-thread Ryzen 7 5800X ($449, tested with the 5900X) and six-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 5600X ($299) complete the original four Zen 3-based CPUs. In the interim, ExtremeTech(Opens in a new window) reviewed the 5900X and 5950X. This new Origin Chronos PC’s Ryzen 9 5950X was also examined.

AMD Zen 3 Spec and Pricing Breakout

Ryzen 9 5950XRyzen 9 5900XRyzen 7 5800XRyzen 5 5600X
List Price$799$549$449$299
Threads Supported32241612
L3 Cache64MB64MB32MB32MB
Base Clock3.4GHz3.7GHz3.8GHz3.7GHz
Boost Clock4.9GHz4.8GHz4.7GHz4.6GHz
TDP Rating105 watts105 watts105 watts65 watts

AMD claims it improved practically every aspect of Zen 2 to Zen 3 to boost IPC by 19%. The branch prediction, cache prefetching, size, and more have been adjusted.

Informational Article template 7 1

AMD claims it improved practically every aspect of Zen 2 to Zen 3 to boost IPC by 19%. The branch prediction, cache prefetching, size, and more have been adjusted.

Let’s compare the Ryzen 9 5900X to its Zen 2 counterparts and to what Intel has to offer…

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X: Specs Compared

AMD Ryzen 9 5900XAMD Ryzen 7 5800XAMD Ryzen 9 3900XAMD Ryzen 7 3800X
List Price$549$449$499$399
Threads Supported24162416
L3 Cache64MB32MB64MB32MB
Base Clock3.7GHz3.8GHz3.8GHz3.9GHz
Boost Clock4.8GHz4.7GHz4.6GHz4.5GHz
TDP Rating105 watts105 watts105 watts105 watts

Since the street prices are so close, comparing the two straight on a level playing field is more accessible. It’s like the central league team vacationing to the AAA minor league team to get some practice at-bats. The Ryzen 9 5900X is a better deal in almost every way, including the number of cores, the TDP, and the size of the L3 cache. We haven’t even looked at speed numbers (yet).

In a hurry? Check out my new post on AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

The engineers at AMD have again given Intel a hard time about power efficiency and speed per watt. They did this by improving the same methods that worked to keep TDP low in Zen 2. AMD says the chips are up to 24 per cent more efficient than their Zen 2 counterparts.

This doesn’t mean that the TDP is lower, since both the Ryzen 9 5900X and its predecessor, the Ryzen 9 3900X, have a TDP of 105 watts, but it does mean that the first generation of Ryzen chips is 2.4 times faster per watt.

Zen 3: It’s All About the CCXs These Days

When it comes to gaming performance, it’s no secret that AMD hasn’t been able to consistently beat Intel’s Core chips as the clear leader in frame rates, whether it was with the first Zen 2 chips like the Ryzen 9 3900X or with the improved versions like the Ryzen 9 3900XT.

Informational Article template 8 1

This was because of how the CCX was set up in Zen 2 and the first Zen chips. CCD stands for “core chiplet die,” in the Ryzen 7 3700X, two four-core CCXs were joined together to make a single eight-core CCD. This split put more distance between the clusters of cores, which made games and other jobs that are sensitive to latency take longer to finish. AMD’s method to Zen 3 has been to make small changes repeatedly.

Informational Article template 9

Under the Ryzen 9 5900X hood is now a single CCD with one eight-core CCX and one four-core CCX. This is how the Ryzen 9 5900X is set up, with four of the cores of the second CCD turned off. Instead of just four, centralizing eight cores at once helps the processor lead the pack in games with few threads, like Counter-Strike and League of Legends.

The same thing happened with the four-core Ryzen 3 3300X, where moving the cores closer together on the I/O die helped cut down on delay. This is because of how the CPUs reach the L3 cache that is built in. For example, the Ryzen 9 5900X has 64MB of L3 cache, split into 32MB units and given to each CCD.

Each eight-core complex has direct access to 32MB of L3 cache. In the 5900X, four cores are turned off in one of the eight-core complexes. AMD said that between the Zen 2 and Zen 3 eras, its engineers had to rethink how the design could be used. But these are incomplete rebuilds from the ground up. It’s more like putting new tools in an old kitchen and moving the island in the middle a few inches to the left.

Regarding socket compatibility, AMD has kept up its tradition of grandfathering in as many AM4-based motherboard users as possible by making all of the Zen 3 family (so far) compatible with Socket AM4. This is still a plus for AMD, especially since Intel’s 10th Generation chips are now available on a brand-new LGA 1200 socket.

Buying a new motherboard and your CPU adds a significant cost, but people who already have AM4 boards may be able to keep using what they have. (Note that this isn’t a firm recommendation to put a Ryzen 9 5950X on a B450-chipset processor, but the point is that it will be possible in some way.)

Informational Article template 10

The only catch this time is that Zen 3 CPUs will only work with boards that start at X470 and B450 or higher. This is different from Zen 2, which worked with all AM4 platforms. Not only that, but support has only been officially announced for MSI-based X470 or B450 boards so far, but we expect other board makers to follow.

Lastly, to make things even more complicated, these earlier boards won’t be compatible until early 2021, when a beta BIOS update will be released.

Testing the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

We placed the Ryzen 9 5900X into an MSI MEG X570 Godlike AM4 motherboard for our test configuration and filled two DIMM slots with 16GB of 3,000MHz RAM. CPU tests used an Nvidia GeForce GTX 2080 Ti for video output. These first four Zen 3-based Ryzens, like other Ryzen desktop processors not ending in “G,” require a video card because they lack on-chip graphics.

We used an NZXT Kraken Z63 280mm closed-loop liquid cooling solution with fan profiles set to our Godlike’s BIOS default to cool the chip during all benchmark runs. Note: Like the Core i9 chips, the Ryzen 9 5900X has no in-box cooler. AMD suggests BYO coolers for most CPU consumers at this level.

We analyze CPUs using proprietary synthetic benchmarks, consumer software like 7-Zip, and 3D games like Far Cry 5. Below are several comparable Intel and AMD CPUs.

CPU-Centric Tests

Fans of Intel might want to turn around here, or… give up hope, all you who come this far.

Informational Article template 11

The Core i9-10900K beat the Ryzen 7 5800X—the Ryzen 7, to be precise—in several tests, but it was a complete blowout everywhere else. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X beats Core i9-10900K in every multithreaded test. The Ryzen 9 5900X wins every single-core test, including our legacy iTunes conversion test, despite the i9-10900K’s better boost clock rates. It roughly doubles the Core i9-10900K’s 7-Zip benchmark result.

After that, let’s discuss the eight-core Ryzen 7 5800X, our benchmarks’ surprise hero. That processor, which costs $449, outperforms Intel’s flagship desktop CPU in 7-Zip and Cinebench R15 single-core by 40% and 20%, respectively.

The Zen 2-based Ryzen Threadripper line remains the top choice for high-end desktops, but the Ryzen 9 5900X establishes a new bar for price-range performance. As you can see, it even hurts Intel’s high-end Core X-Series, including the $1,000 Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition, whose only reason for staying in the game is the PCI Express lane factor for extreme extremists.

A Brief Look at Overclocking and Thermals

The Ryzen 9 5900X never reached 71 degrees C with our Kraken liquid cooler, even when overclocked. The Ryzen 9 3900XT’s top temperature of 83 degrees C shows the Zen 2 to Zen 3 advancements even further. Compare this to Intel’s Core i9-10900K, which peaked at 79 degrees C, yet AMD has added two cores and lowered its temperature profile. Is this chip unbeatable?

Informational Article template 12

Overclocking was AMD’s Zen 2 stack’s biggest issue. Zen 2 mega-core monsters like the Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 9 3950X had little overclocking headroom from stock because the CPUs were pushed to their boundaries. AMD Ryzen 9 5900X was similar. The CPU’s steady overclocks ranged from 1% to 14%, depending on the number of cores and the scenario, but they didn’t increase performance in real life.

I overclocked the chip six ways to Sunday and couldn’t get a better result than at default settings. Whether it was a slight push on all cores or a more aggressive clock on any combination of the front six during gaming benchmarks (the most cores that typical games can handle), any CPU overclock would either keep the results the same or worse.

I won’t blame AMD. AMD appears to have closely crafted Zen 3. Every AMD Zen launch has shown that the highest-end CPUs overclock the worst. Thus, without radical changes, most consumers should achieve practically all of this chip’s capability. That’s good.


After digging deep into the world of high-performance processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X stands out as a true wonder, shattering the limits of processing power and redefining the landscape of computational performance. In a world where speed and accuracy are most important, the 5900X is a shining example of innovation, proudly showing off its Zen 3 design.

As the scores go on, it becomes clear that the 5900X is more than just a processor; it’s a symphony of technology that was put together with the skill of a maestro. Its 12-core, 24-thread configuration handles complex jobs like a virtuoso, and its 7nm manufacturing process makes it as efficient as a well-oiled machine.

But it’s not all about strength. With the help of Precision Boost 2 and XFR technologies, the 5900X strikes a careful balance between brute force and finesse. This makes sure that each core works to its fullest potential. This symmetrical performance makes everything run smoothly, from high-speed games to artistic projects that use many resources.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review leads to a clear conclusion: this processor pushes the limits and makes working into an art form. It’s more than silicon and transistors; it’s a sign of how creative people can be and a door to a world of options. The 5900X doesn’t just do work; it does a brilliant symphony of work.


Is a Ryzen 9 5900X good?

Due to its high core count and efficient Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 9 5900X excels in gaming and productivity. Due to its high price, this processor may be overkill for most gaming scenarios.

Which is better Ryzen 9 5900X or i9?

The new architecture’s quicker single core speeds and lower latency made the 5900X 26% better for gaming than the Ryzen 9 3900XT. AMD said the 5900X outperforms Intel’s 10-core i9-10900K in gaming by 6.8%.

Is AMD Ryzen 9 5900X good for graphic design?

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X delivers high-performance gaming, video editing, graphic design, and advanced rendering with 12 cores and 24 threads.

Is Ryzen 9 5900HX good for gaming?

The average 5900HX in our database trades blows with Intel’s Core i9-11980HK, as far as multi-thread performance is concerned. While not much faster than the less power-hungry Ryzen 9 5900HS, this is still a great CPU for quality gaming laptops as well as DTRs and high-performance mini-PCs.

Is the 5900X a high end CPU?

AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series’ flagship CPU was the Ryzen 9 5900X. Ryzen 5000 CPUs reintroduced Intel to competitiveness with their high-performance, low-cost chips.


Scroll to Top