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AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review – the best $250 CPU in 2024?

Could the Ryzen 9 5900X still be one of the best CPUs you can get right now?

Updated: Mar 6, 2024 12:13 pm
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review – the best $250 CPU in 2024?

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AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series was released some time ago, all the way back in November 2020 to be exact. Since then, the Ryzen 9 5900X has pretty much dominated the CPU market, being the go-to CPU for the most value in both single and multi-core performance. But does that still hold up today? Here’s our AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review.

If you don’t have time to read the full review, we love the Ryzen 9 5900X and certainly think it holds up in today’s market. that’s if you pair it with the best GPU, to pick up the slack where the 5900X needs it. You can still have a very good gaming experience with the 5900X on the AM4 platform in 2024. But will that last?

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 1


3.7GHz/ 4.8GHz

Core (Threads)






  • Rivals the Intel i9-10900K in gaming performance
  • High multicore performance
  • Unlocked overclocking
  • More expensive than the Intel alternative
  • Requires CPU cooler

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Specifications

Let’s start with the big one, the CPU specifications, you might be surprised to see such a capable CPU on paper come out in 2020. This was back when AMD dominated the multi-core performance space and the 5900X showcased against its generational rival, the Core i9-10900K, is a great example of that.

  • Cores 12
  • Threads 24
  • Max Boost Clock Up to 4.8GHz
  • Base Clock 3.7GHz
  • L2 Cache 6MB
  • L3 Cache 64MB
  • Default TDP 105W
  • Processor Technology TSMC 7nm FinFET
  • Unlocked for Overclocking Yes
  • CPU Socket AM4

The Ryzen 9 5900X comes with an impressive array of specifications when you consider that the CPU has been around for almost 4 years now. AMD’s AM4 platform has redefined our expectations, surpassing any previous benchmarks and achieving nothing short of extraordinary results. This CPU has played a pivotal role in AMD’s ascent to the forefront of multi-core performance.

Ryzen 9 5900X performance

We tested the Ryzen 9 5900X with an AMD RX 7900 XT, which we also reviewed, it’s a little overkill, but we wanted to give the Ryzen 9 a chance to not be GPU bottlenecked. After all, we’re only interested in the performance of the CPU.

With that being said, it’s pretty clear that the Ryzen 9 5900X is still exceptionally capable of playing most games in 2024. No matter how demanding they may be. We tested this CPU in Low settings (not about the GPU, remember) in games such as Farcry 6, Starfield, and CS2. We also tested the CPU on some synthetic testing suites such as Cinebench, CPUZ, and Geekbench.

Synthetic performance

The Ryzne 9 5900X coped well and produced some impressive numbers considering this CPU came out of 2020. First up on the chopping block, we have Geekbench.

5900x Synthetic
An AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review infographic presenting benchmark scores for the Ryzen 9 5900X CPU, paired with an RX 7900 XT GPU and 32GB RAM,

In Geekbench the Ryzen 9 5900X gave a Single-core score of 2,163, and a Multi-core score of 11,803. This score is comparable to some of Intel’s 12th generation CPUs, but you have to bear in mind, that, at the time, Intel’s 12th generation was technically one generation ahead of the 5000 series Ryzen CPUs. So the fact that the Ryzen 5000 series was able to keep up was extraordinary.

The AMD Ryzen 5000 series CPUs were strong in the multi-core department, but less so in the Single-core aspect of processing. This means that for pure gaming purposes, Intel looks like a better way to go, but AMD has more to say than that.

In CPUZ, the 5900X scored 645 in the Single-core benchmark and 9,470 in the Multi-core benchmark. Thanks to Intel’s introduction of LITTLE.big, and the efficiency of packing more lower power cores onto a single die, Intel managed to get ahead of the 5900X with the 12th generation processors. Don’t let that deter you, however, the Ryzen 9 5900X only outputs a TDP of 105W, whereas the comparable 12700K outputs a staggering 20W more.

In Cinebench, everyone’s favorite table and chair, the Ryzen 9 5900X managed a Single-core score of 1523 and a Multi-core score of 20,479. This is significant considering the i7-12700F only managed a 20,525, despite all of the tweaking and efficiency, Intel can barely get ahead of AMD in this benchmark. But what about real-world performance?

In-game performance

We tested three popular but diverse titles with the Ryzen 9 5900X, these included Farcry 6, Starfield, and CS2. The Ryzen 9 5900X was paired with the RX 7900 XT and 32GB of 3000MHz DDR4 memory. The graphical settings were set to low, and the 1080p resolution was used to make sure we didn’t top out our GPU before we could make the 5900X sweat.

5900x RealWorld
An AMD Ryzen 9 5900X review graphic for the processor, showcasing its performance benchmarks with averages of 147 fps in Far Cry 6 and 158 fps in Counter-Strike 2,

In Farcry 6, the average FPS was 147, pretty good considering the game isn’t the best optimized in the world. There were a few stutters present, but we think that has more to do with the game being unoptimized rather than the CPU struggling. Farcry 6 is fairly graphically intensive, and requires a lot from your GPU, so as long as you have a GPU that can handle the game, the 5900X won’t struggle too much in this title.

In Starfield we see a similar story. We get an average FPS of 154 in Starfield. Although, this benchmark was conducted running along a planet with not much going on. Starfield is a Bethesda game, so you’d better believe it has its issues, however, the 5900X seems to skate fine through the galaxy, on a quest to discover the star-born – and it does so with minimal stutters.

Finally, we have everyone’s favorite rage simulator, CS2. CS2 is a highly competitive FPS shooter and is the pinnacle of e-sports shooters, so maximum FPS is a must. We managed to squeeze the 383 FPS average out of the Ryzen 9 5900X, and we got barely any stutters, even in the most intense of firefights. There was a slight stutter once when a Molotov smashed on the floor on screen, but it only happened once so we’re confident in saying it was a one-off event.

Overall, the 5900X looks like it can hold its own, even in modern AAA titles. We purposefully chose titles that are poorly optimized and are fairly intensive on your hardware for good reason, to show that the 5900X still has plenty of fight left in it.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900X Pros and Cons

Here we will delve into the pros and cons of the Ryzen 9 5900X, so you can deduce whether this CPU is the best choice for you.

  • Rivals the Intel i9-10900K in gaming performance
  • High multicore performance
  • Unlocked overclocking
  • More expensive than the Intel alternative
  • Requires CPU cooler

The Ryzen 9 5900X rivals some 12th generation CPUs up to the 12700K, while the Intel CPU costs slightly more, it also costs more – so its value against the 5900X quickly deteriorates. Not only that but more value can be extracted from the 5900X thanks to its high susceptibility to overclocking. It’s easy to increase the performance of the 5900X with a simple manual, or automatic overclock.

You will have to pick up a CPU cooler with the 5900X as it does not come with one as standard, however, you don’t need to buy a top-of-the-range CPU cooler to cool 105W, although it is recommended that you get a decent aftermarket CPU cooler if you want to overclock the CPU.

If you go the route of the Ryzen 9 5900X you are committing to AM4, the socket. There’s not much room to grow on AM4, maybe you go up one to the 5950X, or the 5800X3D for better gaming performance, but that’s about all you have. You’ll be stuck on DDR4 and outdated PCIe Generations in terms of both GPU and storage.

With that being said though, AM4 is still incredibly viable for gaming and productivity and will continue to be for many years. More than enough time for you to save for an AM5 upgrade.

Why choose the Ryzen 5000 series over the 7000 series?

A good question. You can expect better performance out of the Ryzen 7000 series than the 5000 series, but is that always the most important factor? If you don’t need the best of the best and want to save a buck or two, the 5000 series is a fantastic option. Not to mention, you save money on the other components that support the CPU, such as Motherboard and Memory.

DDR5 and AM5 motherboards are obviously far more expensive than hardware that has existed for years now, but they offer several benefits. These include speed, PCIe 5 support, and of course, better CPU support. It’s up to you to decide whether the transition to AM5 would be worth your time and money. Nut from what we have seen from the 5900X, AM4 still has plenty to give.

Ryzen 9 5900X price

The Ryzen 9 5900X retailed at $549, however, since the 5900X has been out for just under 4 years, you can pick one up for relatively cheap. It is now available for around $250 all in, even less in the second-hand market. Considering this CPU is still (although barely) only one generation behind, it’s hard to see why the masses aren’t flocking toward this absolute unit of a processor.

Remember, if you are going to shop second-hand, you are not going to receive any kind of manufacturer warranty. While CPUs are fine to buy on the secondhand market, be sure to ask for proof of work, or better yet, test yourself to make sure.

Final word

If you’re looking for a budget performance beast in 2024, and quite possibly the best value $250 CPU, then you can’t go wrong with the Ryzen 9 5900X. This CPU still holds up today in both synthetic and gaming scenarios. It’s 12-cores and 24 threads still pack a relevant punch in today’s gaming climate.

This CPU is versatile enough to be used for heavy gaming workloads on the weekends and be subjected to heavy simulation and number-crunching workloads during the week. We wouldn’t be surprised if this CPU was the go-to for data science students. As much of a testament to this CPUs fertility that is, we do have to say that there is better out there. AM5 or even a high-end 12th gen CPU does offer more performance, but good luck getting one of those on this slim budget.

AM4 is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, that much is true, and it’s something that AMD deserves commending on. The 5900X is a testament to the fact that you don’t have to be brand new and on the latest platform to perform well or extract a decent value for money. AM4 was going for years and spanned 3 generations of Ryzen CPUs, all the while Intel had to change sockets every other CPU generation because it simply could not match the efficient might of AMD’s 5000 series. This is one heck of a CPU, even by today’s standards.

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

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