AMD Ryzen 9 5900x

AMD RYZEN 9 5900X Zen 3 CPU Review

It wasn’t that long ago that the price of 5900X would read $600, but this 12-core Zen 3 CPU has seen a monumental price cut recently. That’s all thanks to the likes of Intel’s Core i7-12700K and Core i9-12900K retailing for well south of the AMD CPU’s launch price and offering compelling performance for the cash.

With 12 cores and 24 threads, this is still a mighty CPU, of course, even if it’s based on the now aging Zen 3 architecture. However, while it was once one of the most powerful gaming CPUs and multi-threaded monsters in one potent chip, there are plenty of new kids on the block looking to usurp the Ryzen 9 5900X as both gaming CPUs and perfect premium all-rounders.

With two core complex dies (CCDs), the CPU has much the same setup as the 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X, and it still has access to the full 64MB L3 cache these dies offer, despite having four of its cores disabled. That figure still pales compared to the 96MB on offer AMD RYZEN 9 5900X with the Ryzen 7 5800X3D courtesy of its 3D V-Cache, but there are also some seriously high frequencies on offer with the 5900X, with single cores able to hit 4.8GHz, and all 12 cores can sit at 4.1GHz when they’re churning through multi-threaded workloads.

We managed to overclock it to 4.6GHz across all 12 of its cores too, with a vcore of 1.25V, bringing a 500MHz benefit to all-core multi-threaded loads, but you’ll lose 200MHz of peak boost speed for lightly threaded software if you do this.

As a result, depending on your priorities, it might be better to spend some time playing with AMD’s Precision Boost Overdrive 2 instead of going for an all-core overclock, unless you’re gunning for maximum multi-threaded performance.

In terms of performance, the Ryzen 9 5900X was the second fastest AMD CPU on test in our RealBench image editing test, which stresses single-threaded performance, although it was pipped to the post by the Core i5-12600K.

Benchmarks - RYZEN 9 5900X Zen 3 CPU

The Core i7-12700K was faster still, bettering the AMD CPU in our heavily multi[1]threaded Handbrake video encoding test and in Cinebench, although not by huge margins, and the 5900X clawed back some ground when it was overclocked too.

Our gaming tests saw the 5900X offer a much slower average frame rate than the Intel CPU in Far Cry 6, but a slightly higher 99th percentile result., Meanwhile, in Watch Dogs: Legion, the 5900X was soundly beaten and didn’t offer a significant improvement in power consumption either, with our 5900X test system only drawing 20W less under load than our Core i7-12700K test setup.


Base frequency 3.7GHz
Max boost frequency 4.8GHz
Core Zen 3
Manufacturing process 7nm
Number of cores 12 x physical (24 threads)
IGP None
Simultaneous Multithreading Yes
Cache 64MB L3, 6MB L2
Memory controller Dual-channel DDR4, up to 
Packaging AMD Socket AM4
Thermal design power (TDP) 105W
Features Precision Boost 2, Precision Boost 
Overdrive, FMA3, F16C, SHA, BMI / BMI1 + BMI2, 


Despite a massive price cut, the Ryzen 9 5900X isn’t able to topple the cheaper Core i7-12700K, which is faster in most tests and sometimes noticeably so. Of course, buying a new Intel CPU will involve buying a new motherboard too, so the 5900X is still worth considering if you own an older Ryzen CPU and fancy an upgrade. Ultimately, however, the Intel CPU is a better buy, and if you’re only interested in gaming performance and don’t mind sticking with Socket AM4 for a while, the Ryzen 7 5800X can offer higher frame rates.

+ Decent multi-threaded performance 
+ Compatible with 1st-gen AM4 motherboards 
+ Manual overclock benefits multi-threaded speed 

- Cheaper CPUs are faster 
- Ryzen 7 5800X3D is much faster in games 
- Manual overclock cuts lightly threaded performance

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