Should I Wait And Buy A Ryzen 5000 Series Zen 3 CPU?

With AMD's Ryzen 5000 series imminent, we thought we'd take a closer look at their flagship CPU to see whether it was really worth the upgrade!

SHould i wait

After months of anticipation, AMD finally unveiled release dates for their impressive new Zen 3 5000 series CPU lineup – promising performance that will finally bridge the gap with Intel for the first time in around 15 years. With only a few short weeks until the new CPUs launch, many people are starting to consider whether or not upgrading to Ryzen 5000 is a wise move. 

I suppose the answer to that question comes down to a whole host of independent factors. That said, this article will be a closer look at the Ryzen 9 5900X, answering some of the big questions that surround its launch and potential value. 

We’ll be concluding the article by answering whether or not we think you should upgrade to the Ryzen 9 5900X and why.

So, with a bunch to get through, let’s dive straight into it!

Ryzen 9 5900X Specifications

Before we dive into it, let’s take an initial look at the Ryzen 9 5900X specifications. We’ll use the Ryzen 9 3900XT for a generation-on-generation comparison.

Things to Consider Before Upgrading To A Ryzen 5000 Series CPU

Like any new hardware release, determining whether or not the Ryzen 9 5900X is right for your needs comes with a whole host of secondary considerations.

To make your lives a little easier, we’ll be outlining some of the most important factors to consider before upgrading to a new Ryzen 5000 series CPU.

Motherboard Compatibility

The first, and potentially most important factor to consider, is whether or not your current PC build can actually accommodate the new Zen 3 CPUs. 

Luckily, if your build utilizes an AM4 motherboard dated within the last couple of years, chances are, you’ll be able to buy a Ryzen 5000 series CPU and slot it straight into your PC. That being said, anything older may require a motherboard upgrade in order to utilize the new chips.

Ryzen 5000 series compatibility

As you can see from the graphic above, AMD has stuck to their word, enabling backward compatibility with 400 series motherboards – something Intel has, historically, never done.

That said, 400 series motherboard users will have to perform a BIOS update to enable compatibility with the new CPUs. AMD also recommends 500 series motherboard users to update to the latest BIOS version – ensuring higher levels of efficiency. 

Either way, it won’t be a massive chore getting a 5000 series CPU working on a 400/500 series AM4 motherboard.

Will I Need To Upgrade My PSU?

One of the big questions we’ve seen cropping up quite a lot recently is, do I need to upgrade my PSU to accommodate the new Ryzen 5000 series motherboards? The quick answer is, probably not. However, there is more to it. 

If you plan on doing a straight generational upgrade, meaning, from a 3600 to a 5600, you will not have to upgrade your PSU. New 5000 series CPUs will require the same power consumption as the previous generation. However, if you decide to go from a 3600 to a 5900, you may well need to upgrade your PSU. 

That being said, if you only plan on upgrading the CPU and no other components, chances are you’ll only need to increase the PSU wattage by 50-100 watts. 

3000 vs 5000 series: Gaming Performance?

There’s a lot of speculation around whether or not the Ryzen 5000 series showcases good value for money when compared to the 3000 series. With the recent increase in pricing, many are asking whether or not it’s actually worth the upgrade?

Well, again, that all depends on a number of individual factors and circumstances. 

That said, from a performance standpoint, on average across the range of CPUs in the 5000 series lineup, we can expect anywhere between 10 and 50% improvement over the predecessor. That’s a pretty impressive leap from last generation’s offerings. 

With a new architecture to leverage, the 5000 series far exceeds the 3000 series in pretty much every avenue – including gaming, workstation tasks, and general use as well.

Ryzen 9 5900X Performance

So, sticking with performance, let’s take a closer look and see what we can expect from the Ryzen 9 5900X, AMD’s flagship gaming CPU.  

In the following sections, we’ll be looking at gaming and workstation performance, comparing the Ryzen 9 5900X against the Intel i9 10900K where we can. 

We’re still very much in the early stages of the Ryzen 5000 series CPU launch, meaning very little is known regarding the physical performance across gaming and workstation type tasks. However, there have been some recent leaks that would suggest big things are to come. 

During the live announcement, Dr. Su boasted gaming performance that could see AMD not only challenge, but actually overtake Intel in the gaming performance sector for the first time in 15 years. AMD posted slides that displayed an increase in gaming performance when comparing the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X and Intel i9-10900K.

Intel i9 vs Ryzen 9

This particular slide depicted claims of a 21% performance increase over team blue in titles that include CS:GO and League of Legends – two CPU heavy titles. Whilst more recent titles are less apparent, the performance increase is clear to see – with up to 6% being seen across a number of other popular AAA titles.

AMD weren’t finished there though, they wanted to cement their claims of raw single-core performance, showcasing a Cinebench 1T run that had the Ryzen 5900X dominating the i9 by almost 100 points. As impressive as that is, it is known that AMD does run better than Intel on this particular benchmark. 

Gaming aside, productivity performance should be even more impressive – especially when you consider previous generations of Ryzen. There isn’t a ton of data to go off when referencing productivity type tasks, however, leaked data suggests that a 20% increase over the previous generation comparable CPU is expected. AMD were kind enough to show a Ryzen 9 5950X comparison with its last-gen alternative, with the 5950X coming out on top by up to 27%.

Should You Wait And Buy A Ryzen 5000 Series CPU?

The only question left to answer is, should you wait and upgrade to a Ryzen 5000 series CPU – maybe. 

If you have a 400/500 series motherboard and are looking to increase your gaming/productivity performance exponentially, chances are, purchasing a Ryzen 5000 series CPU will do that. However, whether or not you can class the jump from 3000 series to 5000 series as ‘good value’ is yet to be fully established. 

If you’re in the market for your first gaming PC, I’d probably recommend waiting for the launch of Ryzen 5000 and seeing how much the Ryzen 3000 series CPUs drop in price. The 3000 series CPUs still offer excellent performance, especially in the productivity department – and will likely be slashed in price exponentially. 

Whatever you decide to do, one thing is for sure, AMD is moving in the right direction and is looking more menacing than ever. If I was Intel, I’d start to be a little concerned.