AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Review: Unparalleled Desktop Performance

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Today we are going to take a look at the vanguard of the Ryzen 5000 series processors, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. As the current AMD flagship, the 5950X is a 16-core, 32-thread beast that also promises top notch single threaded performance thanks to the IPC uplift brought by its Zen 3 architecture. But is it only impressive on paper or does it bring near-unparalleled performance in the mainstream CPU field?

The Ryzen 5000 Series and Zen 3 Architecture

AMD will not be introducing any additional SKUs this generation and will be sticking to their traditional Ryzen 5, Ryzen 7, and Ryzen 9 naming schemes that connotes the number of cores and thread each of the processors have.

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The four new processors – the Ryzen 9 5950X, Ryzen 9 5900X, Ryzen 7 5800X, and Ryzen 5 5600X – will have largely the same price points as the ones from the previous generation.

All the improvements that AMD has made with the Ryzen 5000 series lies in the Zen 3 architecture. They are promising up to 19% IPC increase on their new processors, which will deliver better overall performance especially in gaming. This growth in IPC can be further divided to several categories of improvements:

  • Cache Prefetching – +2.7%
  • Execution Engine – +3.3%
  • Branch Predictor – +1.3%
  • Micro-op Cache – +2.7%
  • Front End – +4.6%
  • Load/Store – +4.6%

The Zen 3 architecture has overhauled the core complex (CCX) design found on previous Zen iterations. Instead of two four-core CCXes with two 16MB L3 cache for each one, Zen 3 unifies the design into a single eight-core CCX with a 32MB L3 cache to reduce memory latency and to double the L3 cache available for each core to access.

This implementation reduces core-to-core communication between CCXes for processors like the 5950X and 5900X. Meanwhile, core-to-core communication for single CCX designs as with the 5800X and 5600X is completely eliminated.  This reduction in traffic between the CCXes allows the Infinity Fabric to have more bandwidth dedicated for other tasks.

Thankfully, the improved performance brought by the Zen 3 architecture on the Ryzen 5000 series won’t need a new platform. These processors only need the minimum AGESA 1.0.8.0 BIOS installed on an X570 or B550 motherboard. Those who are upgrading from older 400 series motherboards will be pleased to know that AIBs are now rolling out new BIOS updates in order for the boards to be compatible with the Ryzen 5000 series.

System, Overclocking, and Benchmarks

The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X was tested in a room with an ambient temperature of 24°c on our open test bed comprised of the following components:

The Ryzen 9 5950X does not come with an included cooler like most of AMD’s high-end CPU offerings. The Cryorig R1 Universal was used to cool it for both its stock and overclocked tests.

Out of the box, the CPU can clock up to 4.9GHz on a single core boost. All-core boost is at around 4.0 – 4.1GHz depending on the conditions, which is relatively high given that it does have 16 cores and 32 threads.

As far as overclocking goes, the 5950X shares the same story as the 5900X. We were able to raise the clock speeds on all cores to 4.5GHz at around 1.375v. It seems that this was the most stable we are able to achieve as the system will encounter crashes at higher frequencies and voltages or at lower voltages at the same 4.5GHz speed.

Synthetic Benchmarks

CPU-Z Benchmark 17.01.64

7-Zip 16.04

wPrime v2.10

Cinebench R15

Cinebench R20

Blender 2.82a

The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X absolutely tops the benchmark charts when it comes to multi-threaded tests thanks to its 16-core, 32-thread configuration regardless of the workload. It seems that it has been designed to cater more to creatives that require tons of cores and threads when it comes to rendering, compression and decompression, and general workload.

The CPU is even competent at single-threaded loads thanks to its high single-core boost clocks. When overclocked, however, it will lag a bit behind compared to its lesser core brethren because of the lower multiplier.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark Fire Strike

3DMark Time Spy

Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation

Rainbow Six Siege

Far Cry New Dawn

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Gaming performance of the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is top notch as well. Triple A titles such as Far Cry New Dawn and Shadow of the Tomb Raider easily breaches the 120Hz mark at 1080p using the RTX 3080 on the test bench.

Numbers produced by the CPU test of Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation remains at a stable 50fps+ on all resolutions, which means that the CPU can pump out the same number of frames regardless of rendering size.

Even competitive tiles like Rainbow Six Siege easily achieves more than 450fps on the 5950X. This allows the RTX 3080 to be left on its own devices rendering the game without worrying any kind of slowdowns because of the CPU.

Temperature and Power Consumption

The flagship of the Ryzen 5000 series comes with the same 105W TDP like its peers. Stock operations puts the 5950X at around the 105W mark only reaching higher wattages with Fire Strike at 124W.

When overclocked to 4.5GHz at 1.375W, power consumption significantly shoots up to a measured peak of around 216W while rendering using Blender 2.82a. Fire Strike loop and also receives a raise in wattage but not as high compared with our CPU rendering tests.

The 5950X poses no problem to our Cryorig R1 Universal at its default settings. The highest temperature it reached was only around nice and manageable 69°c. Temperature does shoot up to a maximum of 94°c when raising clock speeds and voltages. High-end coolers will definitely be needed if you want to run the CPU while overclocked.

Conclusion

The Zen 3 architecture puts all of AMDs offerings in a strong position in the CPU market and that is true with their flagship entry. At this time, the Ryzen 9 5950X is nearly unparalleled in multi-core performance and a top-of-the-line contender when it comes to single-core capabilities.

Despite the sheer speed it brings to the table, there are a few caveats. The 5950X can achieve a slight overclock on all cores but it will result in a significant rise in temperature and power consumption that might be too much on some systems. You might also see some loss in single core potency once overclocked since single core boosts can jump higher at its default settings.

With an asking price of PhP 44,900, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is definitely the current king of the hill in the mainstream CPU space thanks to the sheer number of cores on offer as well as the performance improvements brought on by the Zen 3 architecture. If money is not an issue for your build and you are a absolute gaming enthusiast or a content creator that need the extra oomph that more cores offer, then the 5950X is a definite buy.