AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review

Enthusiast Desktop processor released in 2020 with 12 cores and 24 threads. With base clock at 3.8GHz, max speed at 4.8GHz, and a 105W power rating. Ryzen 9 5900X is based on the Vermeer 7nm family and part of the Ryzen 9 series.
Price 79.5%
Speed 91%
Productivity 97%
Gaming 96%
Category Desktop
Target enthusiast
Socket Compatibility AM4
Integrated Graphics None
Cooler Included Yes
Overclock Potential 1 %
Year 2020 Model
Price 499 USD
Number of Cores 12 Cores
Number of Threads 24 Threads
Core Frequency 3.8 GHz
Boost Frequency 4.8 GHz
Max Stable Overclock 4.9 GHz
Power Consumption 105 W
Manufacturing Process 7 nm
L3 Cache 64 MB
Maximum Supported Memory 128 GB
Price-Value Score 79.5 %
Speed Score 91 %
Productivity Score 97 %
Gaming Score 96 %
Max 1080p Bottleneck 8.7 %
Max 1440p Bottleneck 4.3 %
Max 4K Bottleneck 2.2 %
Overall Score 63/100

The Ryzen 9 5900X is one of AMD's enthusiast Desktop processors. It was released in 2020 with 12 cores and 24 threads. With base clock at 3.8GHz, max speed at 4.8GHz, and a 105W power rating. The Ryzen 9 5900X is based on the Vermeer 7nm family and is part of the Ryzen 9 series.

Ryzen 9 5900X is also the successor of AMD's last gen Ryzen 9 3900X processor that was based on the Zen 2 and 7nm process and was released in 2019.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X marks yet another blast from Team AMD, ramping up the intensity of the AMD vs Intel processor war. Still, though, there’s more than just core counts when it comes to a mainstream processor, as single-core performance needs to be on point, especially if you’re hoping to play the best PC games.

Now, we're asking ourselves whether or not the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X finally dethrones the Core i9-10900K as the de facto ruler of the mainstream processors. Ultimately, it depends: the Ryzen 9 5900X doesn't reach the same single-core performance as Intel, but we're starting to see more games adopt multi-threaded CPUs, so that doesn't matter as much.

Increased IPC improvements, along with the massive turbo boost of 4.8GHz mean that even in single core performance – long a weak link of AMD’s processors – comes within reaching distance of rival chips.

One thing that the switch to 7nm silicon has allowed for however, is an increase in cache size. AMD is now describing its L3 and L2 cache in a combined spec of 12 x 512 kB and 64. But, because the 7nm CPU cores are contained within their own chiplets, AMD was able to pack much more in – with a whopping 12 x 512 kB and 64. This is a really big deal, as it allows for much faster performance, especially when you’re shooting for high framerates in 1080p games, and will be especially effective in old esports titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive.

Finally, the shrink down to 7nm allows for much better energy efficiency. Because of the Zen 3 architecture, AMD Ryzen 9 4 Generation processors like the Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 7 5800X should be up to 58% more efficient than comparable Intel processors. This isn’t the most noteworthy feature here, but, hey, it should translate to lower electricity bills, and in today’s economy every little bit helps, right?

It shouldn’t be too terribly surprising that a 12-core, 24-thread processor with a 4.8GHz boost clock performs like an absolute monster. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is straight up the fastest piece of silicon you can buy without wading into the HEDT scene – at least until moving to the Ryzen 9 5950X.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is an absolute behemoth of a processor, as it absolutely should be with its 12 cores, 24 threads and high price tag. If you’re looking for the absolute best processor money can buy on a mainstream processor, then look no further. Whether you’re playing PC games or even doing hardcore video and 3D work, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X can handle them with ease.

However, you should be aware that there are some workloads where the Core i9-10900K will still perform a little better. Old games that are completely single threaded, like World of Warcraft, will still run better on an Intel processor – but that gap is definitely starting to narrow.

Over the last couple years, AMD has been reaching for dominance in the desktop CPU world, and with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, it's finally there.

AMD's Zen 3 series has landed, upping the ante with Intel in its high-stakes game for desktop PC market dominance with a well-rounded lineup of new chips that push mainstream platforms to higher core counts and more raw compute than we've ever seen. As a result, Intel's commanding presence in the enthusiast space is threatened in a way we haven't seen in over a decade.

The Ryzen 9 5900X slots in beneath the Ryzen 9 5950X, which comes with 7nm compute die to yield a 16-core 32-thread part. AMD has worked wonders to reduce the impact of this sort of multi-chip arrangement, but it's fair to assume that the Ryzen 9 5900Xs single-compute-die design, paired with a higher TDP rating that facilitates more aggressive boost clocks, could actually rival the Ryzen 9 5950X in some applications – games included.

But we've also found that, after simple push-button overclocking, the Ryzen 7 5800X offers similar performance to the Ryzen 9 5900X, even when it is also overclocked. But for $70 less. The Ryzen 9 5900X is an impressive chip and offers a better mixture of performance than Intel's Core i7-10700K, no doubt, but in this case, value seekers might opt for its less expensive sibling.

We covered the deep dive details of the Zen 3 chip design in our AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and Ryzen 7 5800X review, so head there for more information on the Ryzen 9 5900X's architecture, which is identical to the Ryzen 7 5800X.

As we've seen, gaming remains an advantage for Intel, so if squeezing out every last frame is all you care about, Intel's processors are a good choice. Much of that performance advantage will be less noticeable when gaming at higher resolutions, or if you pair the processors with a lesser graphics card.

Value seekers who aren't afraid to press the Precision Boost Overdrive button and have sufficient cooling should look to the Ryzen 7 5800X for roughly equivalent performance to the Ryzen 9 5900X, particularly if gaming factors heavily into the buying decision. That could save you money, reinforcing our decision to give the Ryzen 7 5800X an Editor's Choice award.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X, like the rest of AMD's Vermeer processors, is built on a 7nm manufacturing node – the smallest in a commercially available CPU. What this means for most people is lower power consumption and much improved performance at the same time.

What this all means is that the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is an absolute beast when it comes to multi-threaded workloads, especially at this price point. If you're counting on doing some video editing or compiling one hell of an Excel spreadsheet, you're going to see firsthand a performance boost with the Ryzen 9 5900X.

If you're mostly playing games on your PC, you will be happy buying either processor. Both proved to be solid options and are evenly matched with a slight advantage to the Intel chip if you don't tune up the Core i9 processor. The base performance we showed for the Ryzen 9 5900X can be achieved with $90 memory, while the Core i9-10900K will require $110 - $120 memory in order to enable the frame rates shown here. It’s not a big cost difference and right now with anything less than an RTX 2070 or Vega 64 you’ll more than likely become GPU limited.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look at the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12-core desktop processor that was released in Oct 2020. AMD offers the Ryzen 9 5900X without integrated graphics. It runs $499 shipped and is ideal for those that plan on using it a system with a dedicated graphics card.

One of the nice things about the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X processors is that the retail boxed models come with a CPU cooler. So, you can pick something like the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X up for $499 and don’t need to spend any extra money on CPU cooling.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X retail boxed processor comes with the traditional ‘pancake’ CPU cooler. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done on this processor which is rated at 105W TDP. You do not need to have an aftermarket cooling solution unless you want to.

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X seems to be a decent performing chip that is readily available for $499 at your favorite retailer. The main competition for this processor is the Core i9-10900K 10-Core unlocked desktop processor with Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics ($488 shipped).

With Ryzen 9, AMD continues to innovate on its new architecture and 7nm process. Like Ryzen 9, AMD has engineered Ryzen 9 to operate on a AM4 chipset with all the modern amenities of computing. This includes support for DDR4 RAM, the fastest NVMe SSDs and Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Now the biggest question is can AMD’s Ryzen 9 processor play games? The answer is simply yes as it got a respectable gaming score of 96% in our benchmarks.

Regardless of those external factors, the Ryzen 9 5900X proves it has the chops to be your main gaming system and a just as effective media creation platform – two things that are becoming intrinsically connected in this age of live-streaming, eSports and uploading gameplay videos.

The Ryzen 9 5900X clocks up to 4.8Ghz just as it promises on the box, and with AMD’s software you can take one of the cores all the way up to 4.9GHz. However, don’t expect to get much beyond that without seriously upgrading your cooling solution and manually tweaking voltages behind the operating system level.

There’s a saying that two heads are better than one and, well, 12-cores are better than 10. The extra processing power of the Ryzen 9 5900X puts Intel’s processors to shame, including both its closest competitor and a much higher-spec part.

That said, to squeeze out all the potential of this surprisingly potent enthusiast chip, you’ll want (and need) to splurge on an enthusiast-grade X470, B550, X570 motherboard.

Fresh from a successful roll-out of mainstream Ryzen 9 CPUs, AMD's attack on Intel now extends down into the enthusiast with its Ryzen 9 5900X processors, which the company is making available as of Oct 2020.

Right out of the gate, Ryzen 9 should sell for $499, going up against Intel's almost-$488 Core i9-10900K. In threaded workloads, the 12-core Ryzen 9 should enjoy an advantage against Intel's 10-core models. Of course, AMD doesn't give you integrated graphics like Intel does, but for enthusiasts building cheap gaming PCs, it isn't much of a draw anyway.

Although the 105W-rated cooler doesn't feature a copper base or the LEDs found on AMD's higher-end thermal solutions, it does handle Ryzen 9's heat output deftly enough to facilitate XFR-triggered frequencies. This gives you an extra 200 MHz. We were even able to overclock the Ryzen 9 5900X to 5 GHz within a reasonable temperature range. The fan also blows down onto the motherboard, which provide additional cooling around the socket. If you need more bling, AMD recently announced that it now offers the LED-equipped cooler separately.

Like all other Vermeer chips, the Ryzen 9-series CPUs drop into any Socket AM4 motherboard. But most will find a home on boards equipped with the B450 chipset, which has provisions for overclocking and offers plenty of connectivity options. Unlike Intel, AMD plans to utilize its current socket until 2020, so upgrading to future models shouldn't require a new motherboard.

Which GPU to Pick for AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Below is a comparison of all graphics cards average FPS performance (using an average of 80+ games at ultra quality settings), combined with the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.

Graphics Card Price Cost Per Frame Avg 1080p Avg 1440p Avg 4K
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB $ 1,499 $ 5.3 281.4 FPS
217.7 FPS
132.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB $ 699 $ 2.9 245.2 FPS
189.7 FPS
115.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB $ 499 $ 2.7 187.6 FPS
145.1 FPS
88.5 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN RTX 24GB $ 2,499 $ 14.5 172.3 FPS
137.6 FPS
84.4 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB $ 1,299 $ 7.7 167.7 FPS
134 FPS
82.2 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB $ 699 $ 4.6 152.2 FPS
120.4 FPS
73.5 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN V 12GB $ 2,999 $ 20.6 145.9 FPS
116.5 FPS
72.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB $ 699 $ 4.9 143.8 FPS
112.6 FPS
68.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB $ 759 $ 5.6 134.8 FPS
107.4 FPS
65.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB $ 499 $ 3.7 134 FPS
103.7 FPS
63.1 FPS
NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB $ 1,199 $ 9.1 132.2 FPS
103.7 FPS
64.7 FPS
AMD Radeon VII 16GB $ 699 $ 5.3 132.2 FPS
102.9 FPS
61.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB $ 399 $ 3.1 128.7 FPS
100.2 FPS
60 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB $ 499 $ 3.9 127 FPS
96.9 FPS
59.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB $ 400 $ 3.3 120.2 FPS
90.2 FPS
54.7 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5700 8GB $ 349 $ 3 118 FPS
91.9 FPS
55 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB $ 499 $ 4.4 114.5 FPS
87.8 FPS
52.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 6GB $ 350 $ 3.1 113.1 FPS
82.9 FPS
49.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5600 XT 6GB $ 279 $ 2.5 111.3 FPS
85.9 FPS
51.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 295X2 4GB $ 1,499 $ 14 107.3 FPS
81.1 FPS
51.8 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB $ 499 $ 4.7 107 FPS
83.4 FPS
49.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB $ 409 $ 3.9 106.1 FPS
81.3 FPS
48.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12GB $ 999 $ 9.7 103.2 FPS
78.2 FPS
46.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB $ 279 $ 2.8 100.9 FPS
77.4 FPS
46.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB $ 399 $ 4 100.3 FPS
77.9 FPS
46.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB $ 399 $ 4.1 97.7 FPS
74.2 FPS
44.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 SUPER 6GB $ 229 $ 2.4 95.2 FPS
73.1 FPS
43.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB $ 649 $ 7.2 89.8 FPS
68.5 FPS
41 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 6GB $ 220 $ 2.5 89.6 FPS
68.7 FPS
41.1 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 590 8GB $ 279 $ 3.3 85 FPS
63.3 FPS
37.1 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY X 4GB $ 649 $ 8 81.6 FPS
65.1 FPS
40 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 SUPER 4GB $ 160 $ 2.1 78 FPS
59.7 FPS
35.6 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 8GB 8GB $ 199 $ 2.6 77.3 FPS
57.5 FPS
33.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 4GB $ 549 $ 7.1 77 FPS
58.1 FPS
35 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB $ 229 $ 3 75.4 FPS
56 FPS
32.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 Nano 4GB $ 649 $ 8.7 74.2 FPS
58.2 FPS
35.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN BLACK 6GB $ 999 $ 13.9 71.9 FPS
53.8 FPS
33.8 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 FURY 4GB $ 549 $ 7.8 70.1 FPS
54.8 FPS
33 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB $ 254 $ 3.6 69.9 FPS
52.4 FPS
31.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT 4GB 4GB $ 169 $ 2.4 69.3 FPS
51.7 FPS
30.1 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390X 8GB $ 429 $ 6.4 67.5 FPS
52.5 FPS
31.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB 3GB $ 170 $ 2.6 66.3 FPS
49.9 FPS
29.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 4GB $ 329 $ 5 65.2 FPS
48.5 FPS
30.2 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 480 8GB $ 400 $ 6.3 63.4 FPS
48.9 FPS
30 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 390 8GB $ 329 $ 5.2 63 FPS
48 FPS
27.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB $ 169 $ 2.7 62.2 FPS
47.3 FPS
27.7 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB $ 149 $ 2.5 59.4 FPS
45.2 FPS
26.9 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 470 4GB $ 179 $ 3.2 55.5 FPS
42.4 FPS
25.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380X 4GB $ 229 $ 4.9 46.7 FPS
35.3 FPS
21.5 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 285 2GB $ 249 $ 5.9 41.9 FPS
31.8 FPS
18.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 380 2GB $ 199 $ 4.8 41.6 FPS
31.5 FPS
18.3 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB $ 169 $ 4.1 41 FPS
31.2 FPS
18.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R9 280 3GB $ 279 $ 6.9 40.6 FPS
31 FPS
17.5 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 2GB $ 199 $ 5 40.1 FPS
30.2 FPS
17.8 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 3GB $ 169 $ 4.8 34.9 FPS
26.3 FPS
15.4 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 560 4GB $ 99 $ 3.1 32.3 FPS
24 FPS
14.1 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950 2GB $ 159 $ 5 31.7 FPS
23.5 FPS
14.3 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 370 2GB $ 149 $ 4.8 31 FPS
22.1 FPS
13.6 FPS
AMD Radeon R7 265 2GB $ 149 $ 4.8 30.8 FPS
21.4 FPS
13.1 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 460 4GB $ 140 $ 4.9 28.5 FPS
21.3 FPS
12.6 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 Ti 2GB $ 149 $ 5.4 27.5 FPS
18.3 FPS
11.3 FPS
AMD Radeon RX 550 2GB $ 79 $ 3.5 22.5 FPS
16.9 FPS
9.9 FPS
NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 2GB $ 79 $ 3.7 21.5 FPS
16.1 FPS
9.1 FPS
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