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Is the Ryzen 9 5900X good for gaming? Or is it overkill?

The 5900X has been out for a couple of years now, is it still good for gaming?

Updated: Nov 25, 2022 8:10 pm
Is the Ryzen 9 5900X good for gaming? Or is it overkill?

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AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series hit the market in late 2020, and the all-new Zen 3 architecture was at the heart of the new processors. The Ryzen 9 5900X was released to compete directly with the competition’s Core i9 variants on both gaming and productivity fronts. In AMD’s own lineup, the Ryzen 9 5900X was positioned as the “reasonable” flagship, coming in at $549 at launch.

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The Ryzen 9 5900X is a supremely powerful processor for both gaming and productivity tasks, thanks to its high core count and efficient Zen 3 architecture. However, it is not the ideal processor for everyone due to its high price tag, and may even be considered overkill for most gaming scenarios. 

So is the Ryzen 9 5900X overkill for gaming? Let’s explore that in a bit more detail.

Ryzen 9 5900X Specs

While the “Ryzen 9” designation is generally used for AMD’s top-tier desktop CPUs, there are still multiple SKUs within that sub-category. The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X falls just below the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X in the Zen 3 lineup of CPUs, and this difference is reflected in both the price and performance of both the CPUs respectively.

On paper, the Ryzen 9 5900X has all the numbers to compete for the very top spot when it comes to gaming performance among consumer desktop CPUs.

  • Architecture: Zen 3
  • Cores: 12
  • Threads: 24
  • Base Clock: 3.7 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 4.8 GHz
  • L3 Cache: 64 MB
  • TDP: 105W
  • Overclockable: Yes

As evidenced by the spec sheet, the Ryzen 9 5900X is the meeting point of some of the most impressive numbers in the CPU space. Not only does the 5900X have lots of cores and even more threads, but the cores themselves are clocked very high (up to 4.8 GHz), which is crucial for single-threaded performance.

Moreover, it is important to note that the Ryzen 9 5900X has 64MB of L3 cache for the CPU, which is a lot when compared to other options on the market in a similar price bracket. Having quick access to a large amount of L3 cache is ideal for gaming since it drastically reduces latency.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 1


3.7GHz/ 4.8GHz

Core (Threads)






Is the Ryzen 9 5900X overkill?

As a result of the impressive specs and the much-improved Zen 3 architecture, the Ryzen 9 5900X is hands down one of the fastest gaming processors on the market. It even goes head-to-head with the much more expensive Ryzen 9 5950X in most games, thus making it a better value for the money.

With the 5900X, you can expect buttery-smooth framerates in even the most challenging of gaming scenarios, provided that you pair a high-end GPU with it. On that front, the Ryzen 9 5900X can handle pretty much any GPU available at the time of writing, without producing significant bottlenecks at 1440p or 4K.

With the launch MSRP of $549, the question of value becomes a bit more complicated. Sure, the Ryzen 9 5900X is incredibly fast, but it is not the best value for gaming. There are cheaper options in AMD’s own lineup (Ryzen 5 5600X and Ryzen 7 5800X) that can provide around 80-90% of the 5900X’s gaming performance, at a fraction of the cost.

Moreover, the Ryzen 9 5900X runs quite hot and draws a lot of power thanks to its expanded power budget, which can be an additional point of concern when purchasing this CPU for gaming. Therefore, the Ryzen 9 5900X can be considered a bit overkill if you are just planning to play games on this CPU.

Is the Ryzen 9 5900X good for streaming?

So if the 5900X is overkill for gaming, is it good for productivity tasks such as streaming? In a word, yes! The 12 cores and 24 threads of the 5900X take flight in a strenuous CPU-intensive task such as streaming. In fact, the Ryzen 9 5900X is the perfect sweet spot between gaming CPUs and productivity-focused CPUs in AMD’s own Ryzen lineup.

5800x vs 5900x
Ryzen 5800x vs 5900x

If you are using traditional encoders such as h.264, the Ryzen 9 5900X is really allowed to stretch its wings. The 5900X offers more than satisfactory performance in streaming at 1080p, while the game is running on the same system. You can even use high-quality streaming settings without any appreciable frame drops or loss in quality.

Of course, it does struggle a bit if you crank up all the streaming settings to the maximum, but that is not particular to this specific CPU. The gaming performance of the system while streaming also remains within a reasonable margin of the original performance without the additional streaming burden.

In a nutshell, the streaming performance of the Ryzen 9 5900X can be labeled as a solid A-.

Final Words

While the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is not quite as expensive as the flagship Ryzen 9 5950X, it is still not a value-oriented processor by any stretch of the word. Despite its incredible gaming performance, it can be considered a bit overkill for gaming due to the presence of affordable alternatives. On the other hand, it is a really solid option for streamers, and should definitely be considered by users who want incredible gaming performance as well as solid productivity performance.

Jack is a Tech and News Writer who has a vast and proficient knowledge of CPUs, Motherboards, and Computer technology.

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