AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review: Technical knockout in the fifth round

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AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review: Technical knockout in the fifth round

The AMD Ryzen R9 5900X hardly leaves a good hair on the competition in the test. The 12-core CPU does an excellent job in the performance categories “Professional”, “Office” and “Gaming”.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review

In multi-core applications, it is clearly ahead of Intel’s best desktop CPUs, and AMD has also tightened the performance per clock with the Zen 3 architecture with the result that Intel is currently defeated in its favorite video games category.

With the new generation, AMD is also adopting a different tone in its pricing policy and is asking for a whopping 550 euros for the CPU.

Specification AMD Ryzen 9 5900X test data

Product: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X
Core code name: Vermeer
Manufacturing process: 7 nm
Base type: AT 4
Processor clock: 3.70 GHz
Maximum processor clock: 4.80 GHz
Maximum power dissipation (TDP): 105 watts
Number of CPU cores: 12th
Number of threads: 24
Level 2 cache: 12 x 512 KB
Level 3 cache: 2 x 32 KByte
Benchmark: Cinebench R20, max. CPUs: 8,506 points
Benchmark: PCMark 10 Gaming: 9,857 points
Benchmark: 3DMark Firestrike with RTX 2080 Ti: 30,523 points
Benchmark: 3DMark Time Spy with RTX 2080 Ti: 14,593 points
Benchmark: PassMark Rating: 7,011 points
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, Blender: classroom: 436.30 seconds
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, Blender: BMW27: 52.97 seconds
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, FSI: Monte Carlo: 20.03 seconds
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, FSI: Black Scholes: 75.72 seconds
Benchmark: HandBrake High Quality – 4K: 45.51 seconds
Benchmark: HandBrake Default – 1080p: 191.08 seconds
Benchmark: 7-Zip compress: 164.49 seconds
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, LuxRender: CPU test: 9,475 points
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, namd: apoa1: 22.86 seconds
Benchmark: SPECworkstation 3, python36: Multithreaded Matrix: 61.03 seconds
Benchmark: PCMark 10 Essentials: 9,356 points
Benchmark: PCMark 10 Digital Content Creation: 9,937 points
Benchmark: PCMark 10 Productivity: 10.184 points
Benchmark: VeraCrypt: Serpent-Twofish-AES: 2,100 MB / s
Benchmark: PovRay, 1920 x 1080, AA 0.3: 7,443.3 pixels / s
Integrated graphics unit: no onboard GPU
Graphics benchmark: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive: No measurement
Graphics benchmark: World of Tanks: No measurement
Graphics benchmark: 3DMark Cloud Gate: No measurement
Graphics benchmark: 3DMark Firestrike: No measurement
Graphics benchmark: 3DMark Time Spy: No measurement
Test date: 28.10.2020

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Review: Zen 3 provides increased performance

The Ryzen 9 5900X offers twelve cores with multithreading, i.e. twenty-four threads for parallel task management. It clocks from 3.7 to 4.8 gigahertz and supports DDR4-3200 RAM.

The L1 and L2 caches have not grown compared to the previous generation, but something has changed with the large L3 cache: In the case of the 5900X, six cores now access them at the same time.

This new cache model, which supports up to eight cores per cache block (5800X & 5950X), is intended to reduce latencies, which should help with gaming. Incidentally, the “previous generation” is the 3000 and not the 4000 chip series. The latter was reserved exclusively for mobile products and desktop OEM manufacturers.

The CPU should also be compatible with AM4 mainboards of the 400 and 500 chipset series via BIOS updates. You should check on the manufacturer’s website whether your old mainboard is supported before buying the processor.

Ryzen 9 5900X in the benchmark test

With Zen 3, AMD remains with a similar manufacturing process with a structure width of seven nanometers as with the previous generation. But although the manufacturer TSMC is not downsizing the components here, AMD creates a pretty insane increase in performance that raised our eyebrows.

In order to avoid any doubts about the results, we tested the direct competitor Intel Core i9-10900K for around 530 euros in parallel. You can see the result in the following table. The following applies to the values: higher is better for values given in points, MB/s, fps and pps. Lower is better for values that are specified in seconds.


AMD R9 5900X Intel Core i9-10900K
PCMark 10 (Applications) 12,411 points 11,830 points
PCMark 10 (Extended) 7,665 points 7,413 points
PassMark (total) 7,011 points 7,319 points
PassMark (CPU Mark) 35,344 points 24,737 points
PassMark (2D Graphics) 1,026 points 1,142 points
PassMark (3D Graphics) 11,033 points 11,238 points
PassMark (Memory Mark) 3,399 points 3,728 points
PassMark (Disk Mark) 4,536 points 5,048 points
Cinebench R20 (n-thread) 8,506 points 6,306 points
Cinebench R20 (1-thread) 628 points 530 points
x265 encoding 18.2 fps 11.3 fps
POV-Ray (1,920×1,080, AA 0.3) 7,443 pps 4,990 pps
VeraCrypt (Kuznyechik-Serpent-Camellia) 1,200 MB / s 1,200 MB / s
Blender (“Classroom”) 436 s 619 s
Blender (“BMW27”) 53 p 74 p
FSI (“Monte Carlo”) 20 s 27 p
FSI (“Black Scholes”) 76 s 109 s
Handbrake (HQ, 4K) 46 s 64 s
Handbrake (default, 1080p) 191 s 279 s
LuxRender 9,475 points 7,681 points
namd: apoa1 22.9 s 31.3 s
python36 (multithreaded matrix) 61 s 95 s
Total War: Warhammer II (DX12; Full-HD; Ultra; vsync off) 107.8 fps 88.1 fps
Anno 1800 (DX12; Full-HD; Ultra, vsync off) 144.3 fps 124.2 fps
The Division 2 (DX12; Full-HD; Ultra, vsync off) 146 fps 142 fps
3DMark Fire Strike 30,523 points 23,527 points
3DMark Time Spy 14,593 points 13,577 points

To summarize it briefly: Apart from the overall result of the benchmark suite “PassMark” and the encryption software VeraCrypt in a complex scenario, the 5900X always achieves small to gigantic advantages.

The results in the 3D rendering software Blender, where the Ryzen 5900X is around 40 percent more powerful, but also Cinebench (1-thread), which measures the performance of a single core, are particularly impressive.

Here the raw computing power of a core is 18 percent higher than that of Intel’s fastest desktop processor. Even video games run significantly faster with the Ryzen 5900X, from almost 20 fps more in the CPU-intensive Total War: Warhammer II to at least 4 fps more in The Division 2. Intel is clearly having trouble justifying the similarly high price point of the 10900K .


Economical, but the packaging is empty

Despite the strong performance, the Ryzen 9 5900X is inconspicuous when it comes to power consumption. The maximum power consumption of the system is 207 watts. The same system with its predecessor, the 3900X, still produced 231 watts.

At this point, we would like to specify the power consumption directly on the cores and on the package, but our tool cannot currently read these values from the 5900X and the smaller 5600X. We will add the results in a future update.

It is a little unfortunate that a fan is still missing in the packaging for 550 euros. AMD rightly says that most users in this price range prefer their own solution instead of the cooler supplied. But that doesn’t change the fact that the CPU appears a bit more expensive. We also liked the light spectacle of the past Wraith fans.

Ryzen 9 5900X Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • Good system power consumption

Ryzen 9 5900X Cons:

  • Fan is not included
  • A bit expensive

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