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AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X: The best gaming processors are here

By Aaron Yip - 22 Nov 2020

Performance Benchmarks

Performance Benchmarks

As mentioned earlier, the new Ryzen 9 CPUs works with current and even one-generation older motherboards. There won’t be a new chipset launched for Zen 3 Ryzen 9. This is good news, as this means we can also use the same MSI MEG X570 Godlike to test past and present Ryzen 9 processors. For gamers, this means you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new motherboard again. Just for the sake of comparisons, I’ve also included the Zen 2’s flagship Ryzen 9 3900XT into the ring to give us insights on the performance gap between it and Zen 3’s flagships.

The sole Intel processor that we are putting to pace here with the Ryzen lots is obviously the Core i9-10900K, with the board used being the ROG Maximus XII Formula that’s based on the Z490 chipset. For the sake of parity, we have used the following components across both Intel and AMD’s platforms in our benchmarks:

  • Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ RGB DD4 3200 32GB (4x8GB)
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition 10GB
  • SSD: Samsung 980 Pro 1TB
  • HSF: Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML120R ARGB

It’s also worth noting that both GPU and SSD supports PCIe 4.0 and run as so on the Ryzen 9 platform but at PCIe 3.0 on Intel’s. For memory, both platforms run it with XMP turned on in the BIOS.


Gaming Benchmarks

My game list includes a mixture of old and recent games new test processor performance. The focus will be on CPU performance, where possible, like Ashes of Singularity: Escalation and Horizon Zero Dawn. The list isn’t exhaustive by any measure but there are enough different game engines and APIs variety to give us an idea of broader performance trends.

  • Horizon Zero Dawn
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider
  • Total War: Three Kingdoms (Battle)
  • Ashes of the Singularity: Escalations (CPU Focused)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
  • Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey
  • Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands


1080p Performance (Max Settings)

1080p benchmarking is a great measure of a CPU’s prowess, no thanks in part to high-performance gaming cards such as the GeForce RTX 3080 used in the benchmarks here. You see, at lower resolutions, the GPU can process and transfer data much quicker than at higher resolutions. A CPU bottleneck happens here because the processor cannot keep up with the processing speed of the graphics card. The CPU, after all, is responsible for processing real-time game actions, physics, UI, audio and other complex CPU-bound processes.

The results here are a little interesting because it shows the Core i9-10900K just barely holding up against the 5900X and 5950X – despite besting both processors in Horizon Zero Dawn. The gap may not be as wide as you have expected, after all the hype surrounding the Zen 3 CPUs. But the hype is quite real if you consider the fact that the Zen 3 CPUs bested the Core i9-10900K with a slower boost clock, lower TDP and lower SRP. It’s actually a huge strategic and tactical win for AMD here.


1440p and 4K Performance (Max Settings)

Conversely, the opposite happens at higher resolutions when the GPU takes more time to process the higher data load (more textures, etc..) and becomes the bottleneck. With 1440p, we start to see this happening, where the difference in performances pared down. Then in the 4K benchmark results, we can see how all four processors achieved performance parity because, at such high-resolution, it’s what graphics card you use that matters. That said, it's interesting to see how the Ryzen 9 5900X stands out most of the time just enough to claim pole position.

It will also be interesting to see if the Ryzen 9 5900X/5950X truly works better with the upcoming Radeon 6000 Series graphics card via the exclusive Smart Access Memory feature.


Productivity Benchmarks

The new Ryzen 9 processors are clearly targeted at gamers, but games aren’t always a true measure of a CPU's capabilities – especially when it comes to sizing up the processors’ core performance. For non-gaming benchmarks, I’ve used CineBench R20 and CPU Mark to measure all four processors single-core and multi-core theoretical throughput standings. SYSmark 25 is a great benchmark as it runs real-world applications and mimics workloads.

I can’t think of any better description: the 5900X and 5950X literally butchered the i9-10900K in both single-core and multi-core performance in CineBench R20 with the latter even lagging behind the Ryzen 9 3900XT. SYSmark 25 also shows this to be the case with the 5900X outperforming Intel’s top processor in all verticals. Results for the 5950X is a little bit more interesting, where its lower base clock of 3.4GHz no doubt gave it a lower score – but only just behind the i9-10900K - in Productivity but it more than makes up for it in Creativity where its superior core count puts it head and shoulders above everyone else.  

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  • Performance 9.5
  • Features 9
  • Value 9
The Good
Great single-core and multi-core performance
Excellent options for gamers and content creators
Compatible with B400, B500, X400 and X500-series motherboards
Smart Memory Access feature allows for performance boost with upcoming Radeon 6000-series cards
The Bad
Most expensive AMD chips yet
Stock availability might be a challenge at launch
No bundled cooler
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