AMD‘s Ryzen 5000 series processors, based on the new Zen 3 architecture, have taken the CPU market by storm since their launch in November 2020. Two of the most popular options in this lineup are the 8-core Ryzen 7 5800X and the 12-core Ryzen 9 5900X. But which one is better for gaming, streaming, productivity, and content creation? Let‘s dive into a detailed comparison.
Overview of Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X
The Ryzen 7 5800X features 8 cores, 16 threads, 36MB of L3 cache, a base clock of 3.8GHz, and a max boost clock of up to 4.7GHz. It has a 105W TDP and supports dual-channel DDR4 RAM up to 3200MHz.
The Ryzen 9 5900X increases the core count to 12 cores and 24 threads, with a whopping 70MB of L3 cache. It has a slightly higher base clock of 3.7GHz but the same max boost clock of 4.7GHz. The TDP remains 105W, and it also supports dual-channel DDR4 RAM up to 3200MHz.
Both CPUs use the AM4 socket and PCIe 4.0. Key differences come down to core count, cache size, and pricing. The 5800X launched at $449, while the 5900X cost $549.
For pure gaming, the extra cores and cache of the 5900X don‘t make a huge impact. The 5800X already provides outstanding frame rates, even at 1440p and 4K resolutions.
In tests by Tom‘s Hardware, the 5800X averaged 201 fps in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive at 1080p, while the 5900X managed 204 fps. At 1440p, the gap was even smaller: 155 fps vs. 157 fps.
Guru3D‘s testing showed a similar story. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 1080p, the 5800X achieved 162 fps versus the 5900X‘s 167 fps. At 1440p it was 129 fps vs. 132 fps.
The extra cores in the 5900X come into play mainly when live streaming gameplay while gaming. The 24 threads can better handle encoding the stream while also running the game smoothly.
But for gaming alone, the 5800X is the better value choice. It delivers outstanding 1080p and 1440p performance with high refresh rates above 100fps for buttery smooth gameplay.
For CPU-intensive productivity apps like video editing, 3D modeling, compiling code, the 5900X pulls ahead thanks to its higher core count.
In Puget Systems Premiere Pro benchmark, the 5900X scored 154% higher than the 5800X. It rendered videos much faster by leveraging more cores.
The 5900X also excelled in Blender benchmarks, scoring 29% higher than the 5800X in the BMW render test. The extra cores enabled faster 3D rendering.
For heavy multitasking, the doubling of threads in the 5900X makes a big difference too. Users can run more applications smoothly at once without slowdowns.
So for productivity apps, especially video editing, 3D modeling and heavy multitasking, the 5900X is worth the extra cost over the 5800X. The time savings add up for professional users.
Both the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X have unlocked multipliers, allowing you to overclock them further.
Most 5800X chips can hit 4.8-4.9GHz across all cores with proper cooling and motherboard power delivery. The 5900X can typically overclock to around 4.6-4.7GHz due to having more cores to stabilize.
In Tom‘s Hardware overclocking tests, they hit 4.85GHz on the 5800X and 4.7GHz on the 5900X, both at 1.2875 volts. Temperatures peaked at 78°C and 83°C respectively.
So with overclocking, the 5800X has more headroom to push clocks speeds higher. But the 5900X still maintains a lead in multicore workloads due to having 50% more cores.
AMD‘s 7nm Zen 3 architecture provides significant improvements in power efficiency over previous generations. The 5800X and 5900X are both 105W TDP processors, even while delivering much higher performance.
In tests by Anandtech, the 5800X system power consumption peaked at 165W during Cinebench R20 multi-core testing. The 5900X peaked at 183W with its extra cores.
Both CPUs deliver excellent performance-per-watt when compared to Intel‘s 10th gen processors. This results in lower power bills, less cooling required, and more environmentally friendly operation.
A benefit of AMD‘s AM4 platform is that Ryzen 5000 series processors work with a wide range of motherboards. The only requirement is a BIOS update to support the new Zen 3 chips.
Both the 5800X and 5900X are compatible with:
- X570 and B550 chipsets for PCIe 4.0 support
- B450 and X470 boards for PCIe 3.0 support
- A520 chipset budget boards
So you can potentially drop in a 5800X or 5900X as an upgrade if you already own a previous generation AMD board. Just make sure to update to the latest BIOS beforehand.
X570 and B550 motherboards can provide the very best performance though by taking full advantage of PCIe 4.0 GPUs and NVMe SSDs. They also offer robust power delivery for overclocking.
Zen 3 Architecture Advantages
Besides just increasing core counts and clocks, AMD‘s Zen 3 architecture brings several other optimizations:
- A unified 8-core CCX complex allows lower latency and better efficiency
- Increased L3 cache improves gaming performance
- Higher IPC (instructions per cycle) delivers more performance per clock
- Precision Boost Overdrive auto-overclocking gains 200-300MHz
- Supports PCIe 4.0 for next-gen GPUs and storage
These enhancements result in significant generational gains in both single and multi-threaded workloads for the 5800X and 5900X over previous Ryzen 3000 processors.
Should You Upgrade from Ryzen 3000?
For those currently using a Ryzen 3000 series processor like the 3700X or 3900X, is it worth upgrading?
If you primarily use your PC for gaming, there‘s not a huge difference. Average FPS gains are in the range of 10-15% at 1080p and 1440p resolutions. Unless you play very competitively at 1080p with a 2080 Ti or better, your Ryzen 3000 CPU won‘t bottleneck the latest GPUs.
However, for productivity tasks like video editing, 3D modeling and software compilation, the 5000 series is a very worthy upgrade. Zen 3 provides around a 20% boost to IPC and higher clocks, translating to big time savings. Upgrading from something like a 3700X to 5800X or 3900X to 5900X makes sense.
Just make sure your motherboard BIOS supports Ryzen 5000 to avoid any compatibility issues. Overall, Zen 3 is an evolution that builds on the strengths of previous Ryzen generations, rather than a revolutionary redesign.
While the Ryzen 9 5900X is AMD‘s top mainstream gaming CPU, the Ryzen 7 5800X is the better value for most gamers. It provides outstanding frame rates even at 1440p and 4K, able to handle the latest GPUs without bottlenecking.
But for hardcore gamers who also want to stream or record gameplay, the 5900X provides the extra cores to run OBS encoding smoothly alongside games. And it dominates productivity workloads like video editing, 3D modeling, programming, and heavy multitasking.
So in summary:
- For pure gaming – Ryzen 7 5800X
- For gaming + streaming – Ryzen 9 5900X
- For maximum productivity – Ryzen 9 5900X
AMD has two winners with excellent performance, efficiency, and multi-threading capabilities. Considering the generational leap over previous Ryzen chips, both the 5800X and 5900X are worthy upgrades for the right use cases. They continue the tradition of AMD disrupting the high-end CPU space with more cores, higher clocks, and competitive pricing compared to Intel‘s offerings.