AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Desktop Processor  Review: Right in the shins

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Desktop Processor Review: Right in the shins

AMD processors have made huge improvements every year, be it increasing the number of cores or improving power efficiency. Although the Ryzen processors made huge IPC improvements over the older Bulldozer and Piledriver microarchitectures in the early years, Intel still had the leadership in that area. With Zen 3 aka Vermeer aka Ryzen 5000 series, AMD is finally taking the lead in the last remaining bastion of performance stats. Team Red claims a 19 percent IPC improvement with Zen 3 over Zen 2, which is a remarkable achievement considering AMD hasn’t moved to a smaller node, but has managed to incorporate improvements in energy efficiency and performance that normally be obtained with a node change. In this review we look at the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and the Ryzen 9 5900X, the two best processors from the new Ryzen 5000 series. The former is a 16-Core/32-Thread processor priced at INR 60,990 (SEP) + 18% GST, which equates to INR 71,968 and the Ryzen 9 5900X is a 12-Core/24-Thread processor with a price of INR 49,548 including VAT. The initial launch will also include the Ryzen 7 5800X with a price of INR 34,490 (SEP) + GST, which will eventually become INR 40,698, and there is also the Ryzen 5 5600X with a SEP of 22,990 + GST. The retail price for the Ryzen 5 5600X is INR 27,128. AMD has stated that they are taking additional steps to monitor prices in India and that all retailer pricing SKUs above SEP+GST are doing so themselves.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

Zen 3 Microarchitecture

AMD revised several aspects of the Zen 2 microarchitecture to arrive at Zen 3. For starters, there’s the way the cores are arranged and connected in the die. With Zen 2, each compute die (CCD) would have two core complexes (CCX) and each CCX would have four cores/eight threads given a 16MB L3 cache to work with. In Zen 3, each CCD has a single unified CCX with eight cores / 16 threads and 32 MB of L3 cache. Each pack is also limited to 2 CCDs, so the maximum number of cores you’ll see with Zen 3 is 16, which is the same as Zen 2, meaning we can’t expect a higher number of cores this generation. AMD has switched to a ring architecture to allow the cores to communicate with each other. Another popular architecture is the use of a mesh interconnect for the cores, which helps reduce core-to-core latencies and is usually used in processors with a high number of cores. This does not necessarily mean that AMD would have to deal with higher latencies with the ring architecture, the CCX unification provides much higher latency reductions than what a mesh architecture alone would have achieved.

AMD Vermeer Ryzen 5000 CCX CCD Lineup

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

We can see that within a CCX Core-to-Core latency has increased as we are looking at a much longer path for certain cores to talk to each other. However, across all CCXs, we see an overall reduction in latencies thanks to the consolidation. AMD states that these improved core-to-core and core-to-cache access times (read lower latencies) are quite effective at improving performance in certain video games. For example, Dota 2 benefits from reduced inter-core latencies and from reduced latency between the CPU cores to the GPU. AMD says the average gaming performance between Zen 2 and Zen 3 is 26 percent as a result of this transition.

AMD 4th Gen RYZEN 9/7/5 Vermeer (Ryzen 5000) Lineup and Specs

The new AMD Ryzen 5000 processor family consists of four SKUs: Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 5 5600X. Compared to their Ryzen 3000 series counterparts, the Ryzen 5000 processors have slightly lower base clocks but higher boost clocks. Since applications tend to run on base clocks for extended periods of time, this is an interesting shift and also hints at the kind of performance boost that has been achieved.

Ryzen 5 Ryzen 7 Ryzen 9
Processor 3600XT 5600X 3800XT 5800X 5950X 5900X
Basic clock 3.8GHz 3.7GHz 3.9GHz 3.8GHz 3.4GHz 3.7GHz
Boost clock 4.5GHz 4.6GHz 4.7GHz 4.7GHz 4.9GHz 4.8GHz
Process node TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm
cores 6 6 8 8 16 12
wires 12 12 16 16 32 24
L3 cache 32MB 32MB 32MB 32MB 64MB 64MB
TDP 95 W 65 W 105 W 105 W 105 W 105 W
Price (USD) $249 $299 $399 $449 $799 $549
Price (rupees) Rs.23,588 €26.125 € 36,568 €39,233 €72,000 €50,000
DRAM Freq. support 3200MHz 3200MHz 3200MHz 3200MHz 3200MHz 3200MHz
Bundled cooler Wraith Spire V2 Wraith Stealth No No No No

One of the most popular processors worldwide right now is the Ryzen 5 3600X and its Ryzen 5000 counterpart is the Ryzen 5 5600X, which has a 100MHz reduction in the base block and a 200MHz increase in the boost clock. However, the Ryzen 5 5600X is a 65W TDP CPU, while the Ryzen 5 3600X is a 95W CPU. Combined with the IPC increase, this would be a significant performance boost.

AMD RYZEN 9 5950X and 5900X Performance

The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X do very little to be considered better than the competition, so the following results shouldn’t come as a surprise. There is still room for improvement with core clock speeds and we may see the “XT” processors if AMD wants to bring them out. Intel’s Rocket Lake is also on the way, so that’s another reason for us to expect more from Zen 3 in the coming months. But for now, let’s see how the new Ryzen 5000 processors perform.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X desktop processor

We tested the device on the following configuration:
AMD RYZEN TEST RIG
Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X
Motherboard: ASRock X570 Taichi
SSD: Samsung 970 PRO 1TB
HDD: Seagate FireCuda 2TB ST2000DX002
RAM: Corsair Dominator PRO 16GB (2x 8GB) @3200MHz
cooler: Corsair H115i Pro
PSU: Corsair HX1050

As always, we’ll start with Cinebench 20 to see how the processor stacks up in single-threaded and multi-threaded performance. In the single-threaded benchmark, the AMD Ryzen 9 5900XT finishes with a huge lead over its own Zen 2 processors and Intel Core processors. These scores are in the 630-640 range, which is the first time we’ve ever seen anything go that high. The multithreaded run obviously scales very well and we can see the same in the results.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 5900X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Cinebench R20

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X Cinebench R20 1T

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 5900X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Cinebench R20 nT

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X Cinebench R20 nT

Because POV-Ray is a multi-threaded benchmark, the Ryzen 9 sees 5950X scale very well and maintains a healthy lead over the 5900X and the 10900K.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT Desktop Processor Review Motherboard POV-Ray 1T

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X POV Ray 1T

AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT Desktop Processor Review Motherboard POV-Ray nT

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X POV Ray nT

Our Handbrake run basically consists of transcoding a 4K video clip from one CODEC to another without changing the resolution. Handbrake quickly integrates new CPU encoding engines and is favored by the creator community. The 5950X shows a 17 percent reduction in encoding time compared to the Ryzen 9 3900X and about 10 percent compared to the 10900K.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Handbrake

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X Handbrake

Blender is a fairly well-known open-source rendering software. In this benchmark, we look at the time it takes for a run to complete the rendering. So the lower the score in this test, the better the CPU. The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X scores a significant lead over the 3900X and the 10900K. However, this difference only becomes apparent when multiple iterations of the same workload are run. In a single run, the difference is barely there.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 5950X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Blender

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X Blender

The 7-zip decompression benchmark puts the Ryzen 9 5950X at the top of the list, along with the Ryzen 9 5900X. It scales pretty well and we see a significant lead over the 3900XT and the 10900K.

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 5900X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard 7-Zip

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X 7-Zip

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 5950X Desktop Processor Review Motherboard Gaming

AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X Gaming

In our gaming benchmarks, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X and 5900X perform equal or better in most benchmarks. Essentially, we’re looking at the best performing gaming processors here.

verdict

This is voodoo magic at work. AMD has managed to improve performance in the last few areas where it has lagged behind Intel in gaming and content creation. Essentially, we’re looking at much better gaming performance and equally notable improvements in content creation applications. All that remains is to see how Indian retailers will price the new Ryzen 9 5900X and 5950X. The Intel Core i9-10900K costs INR 52,000 on Amazon of all places and the AMD processors we reviewed are priced at INR 50,000 (5900X) and INR 72,000 (5950X). You can see there’s little reason to buy the Intel desktop flagships anymore. There are still applications that use proprietary Intel technology where Team Blue continues to shine, but for all other applications under the sun, AMD is the clear winner.

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