Thanks to more-than-powerful processors like the outstanding 16-core Ryzen 9 5950X ($749), AMD is blurring the distinction between standard desktop CPUs and so-called high-end desktop (HEDT) ones. The bargain competition isn’t even close when compared to Intel’s closest alternatives, such as the Core i9-10980XE Extreme Edition and others in the unmistakably expensive, unquestionably HEDT Core X-Series.
By the end of 2020, AMD will unquestionably be the leader in the core wars. Look no further if you need a workhorse CPU to tackle the rigors of heavy-load, highly multithreaded productivity activities day in and day out or if you deal with demanding content-creation programs.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X, AMD’s newest and finest top-of-the-stack Zen 3 CPU, outperforms an Intel chip designed to compete with AMD’s own “true HEDT” platform, Ryzen Threadripper, in terms of core-crushing power. Most people don’t require the Ryzen 9 5950X’s full power, but few wouldn’t desire it.
The top-of-the-line processor in AMD’s Zen 3-based portfolio, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is made for high-end desktop customers and professionals who want excellent performance. This processor strives to provide unmatched power and efficiency with its remarkable specs and cutting-edge architecture. We will examine the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X’s features, functionality, and overall user experience in great detail in this review.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Specifications & Overview
Let’s start by delving into the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X specifications and seeing how it compares to the Ryzen 9 3950X, a chip from the Zen 2 generation, and the $979 (RCP) Intel Core i9-10980XE, the HEDT option from Intel.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X has 16 cores and 32 threads, which puts it on the edge of AMD’s HEDT possibilities but still falls short of other of the company’s even threadier components, including the 24-core/48-thread Ryzen Threadripper 3960X.
However, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is compatible with the well-known Socket AM4, unlike Threadripper CPUs, which need their own unique TRX40 chipset and oversized motherboard socket. That indicates that it will function with a variety of specific motherboards, ranging from the B350 chipset up to the X570. (You’ll still need to supply a cooler; the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X doesn’t come with one in the package.)
Because of this, it is a better option for inexperienced content producers who want a lot of processing power for their productivity duties but may not want to take the more financial risk required of Threadripper owners. (Motherboards for Threadrippers are expensive, and they essentially require liquid cooling.) With the same 7-nanometer lithography and 105-watt TDP as the Ryzen 9 3950X, there aren’t many differences to discuss. The base and boost clocks are where the specifications have changed the most.
AMD increased the top boost clock speed from 4.7GHz (Ryzen 9 3950X) to 4.9GHz (Ryzen 9 5950X), but the base clock dropped from 3.5GHz in the Ryzen 9 3950X to 3.4GHz in the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. But like the other Zen 3 CPUs we’ve examined, AMD increased the cost by $50 above the same model from the previous generation.
The Intel faithful will find it difficult to compare the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X with the Intel Core i9-10980XE (on the Core X platform). In addition to costing around $250 less, the AMD CPU consumes a lot less power (105 watts as opposed to 165 watts). The Core i9-10980XE’s two more processor cores (18 vs 16) would give you reason to believe that its greater price is justified, but once we conducted our performance test, those dreams were all but destroyed.
A 16-core, 32-thread CPU, the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X has a base clock speed of 3.4 GHz and a maximum boost clock speed of 4.9 GHz. It supports PCIe 4.0 and has a sizable 64 MB L3 cache, giving it enough of bandwidth for fast data transfers. The 7nm manufacturing technique used to create the CPU ensures efficiency and enhanced thermal performance.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Overclocking & Thermals
Thermal Performance and Power economy: The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X maintains exceptional thermal performance and power economy despite its remarkable performance. Precision Boost technology from AMD and the 7nm architecture enable effective power management, leading in lower power use and less heat emission. However, to maintain ideal temperatures, particularly during periods of intense workloads, it’s crucial to combine this CPU with a top-notch cooling system.
The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X has a lot of room for overclocking, which is fantastic for enthusiasts who want to push the CPU to its absolute limits. Users may attain higher clock speeds, further boosting performance, with the right cooling and tinkering. Precision Boost Overdrive (PBO), an AMD innovation, enables automatic overclocking by dynamically altering frequencies in response to workload and environmental factors. It offers a practical method to boost performance without calling for a lot of human tinkering.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X General Information
|# of CPU Cores
|AMD Ryzen™ Processors
|# of Threads
|Processor Technology for CPU Cores
|TSMC 7nm FinFET
|Thermal Solution (PIB)
|Windows 10 – 64-Bit EditionRHEL x86 64-BitUbuntu x86 64-Bit
|AMD Ryzen™ 9 Desktop Processors
|Max. Boost Clock
|Up to 4.9GHz
|Unlocked for Overclocking
|Max. Operating Temperature (Tjmax)
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X Conclusion
If you currently have a Ryzen 9 3950X, there is no reason to upgrade to the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X. With a high-end GPU, you’ll probably be GPU-bound most of the time if you’re playing games at a high resolution. For instance, there won’t be much of a difference between the 3950X and 5950X with an RTX 3090 at 1440p, and there won’t be much difference at 4K either. The advantages also don’t justify the expense when it comes to productivity performance.
However, if you’re upgrading from a 2nd-gen Ryzen processor, you’ll see a significant improvement in both productivity and gaming. If you don’t mind spending $800, the 5950X will be a terrific alternative for genuinely good productivity performance. In light of this, it will be fascinating to observe how the 3950X’s price develops over the coming months since it may wind up being the best bargain for high-end CPU performance.
Here’s an extensive list of potential pros and cons for the AMD Ryzen 9 5950X processor. Keep in mind that the actual performance and user experience can depend on various factors, including the specific use case and the overall system configuration.
1. High Core and Thread Count
- The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X features 16 cores and 32 threads, making it a powerful processor for multitasking, content creation, and demanding applications.
2. Industry-Leading Performance
- Known for providing exceptional performance in both single-threaded and multi-threaded workloads, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
3. 7nm Zen 3 Architecture
- Built on the 7nm Zen 3 architecture, offering improvements in efficiency, power consumption, and overall performance compared to previous generations.
4. Impressive Clock Speeds
- High base and boost clock speeds contribute to quick and responsive performance, particularly in tasks that benefit from high clock frequencies.
5. Cache Size
- Comes with a large 72MB combined cache (L2 + L3), aiding in quicker access to frequently used data and enhancing overall system responsiveness.
6. Energy Efficiency
- The 7nm process technology and architecture improvements contribute to better energy efficiency, providing robust performance without excessive power consumption.
7. Support for PCIe 4.0
- PCIe 4.0 support allows for faster data transfer rates between the processor and compatible devices, such as high-speed NVMe SSDs and GPUs.
8. Compatibility with AM4 Socket
- Compatible with the AM4 socket, providing users with the option to upgrade their existing systems without changing the motherboard.
9. Precision Boost 2 and Precision Boost Overdrive
- Advanced boosting technologies dynamically optimize clock speeds based on workload and cooling solutions, maximizing performance when needed.
10. Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT)
- SMT support enables each core to handle two threads simultaneously, enhancing overall multitasking capabilities.
11. Excellent for Content Creation
- Ideal for content creators, video editors, 3D rendering, and other creative tasks that benefit from high core counts and parallel processing.
12. Overclocking Potential
- Users can potentially overclock the processor to achieve even higher performance levels, although this depends on individual chip variations.
13. Wraith Prism Cooler Included
- Comes with a Wraith Prism cooler in the box, offering a decent cooling solution for users who do not plan to invest in an aftermarket cooler.
14. AMD Ryzen Master Software
- The AMD Ryzen Master software provides users with advanced control over the processor, allowing for manual overclocking and performance tuning.
15. Support for Fast Memory
- Compatible with high-speed DDR4 memory, supporting fast memory configurations for improved overall system performance.
1. High Price Tag
- The AMD Ryzen 9 5950X is positioned as a high-end processor, and its premium performance is reflected in a relatively higher price compared to mid-range and entry-level CPUs.
2. May Require High-End Cooling
- Given its high core count and potential for overclocking, users may need a robust cooling solution to maintain optimal temperatures, which could incur additional costs.
3. GPU Performance Dependent
- In gaming scenarios, performance can be somewhat dependent on the capabilities of the accompanying GPU, and in some cases, a less powerful CPU might offer similar gaming performance.
4. Limited Gaming Improvement
- In certain gaming scenarios, the performance improvement over slightly less expensive CPUs may not be substantial, making it a less cost-effective choice for primarily gaming-focused builds.
- High-demand products like the Ryzen 9 5950X may face availability challenges, and users might encounter difficulty purchasing the processor at or near its launch date.
6. Integrated Graphics
- Like many high-end CPUs, the Ryzen 9 5950X does not feature integrated graphics. Users who do not plan to use a discrete GPU will need a separate graphics solution.
7. Power Consumption
- While energy-efficient, the processor’s high core count and performance capabilities result in a relatively high power consumption, which may be a consideration for users aiming for energy efficiency.
8. Compatibility with Older Motherboards
- Users upgrading to the Ryzen 9 5950X may need to ensure that their motherboard’s BIOS is updated to support the Zen 3 architecture, potentially requiring a compatible CPU for the update.
9. Not Ideal for Budget Builds
- The Ryzen 9 5950X is overkill for many users who do not require its high core count and might be better served by more budget-friendly options for everyday tasks and light gaming.
10. Dependency on Software Optimization
- The full potential of the processor may be realized with optimized software, and not all applications may be optimized to take advantage of its high core and thread count.
11. Cooler Aesthetics
- While the Wraith Prism cooler included is functional, some users may prefer aftermarket coolers for both performance and aesthetic reasons.
12. Potential for Overheating with Overclocking
- Aggressive overclocking might result in higher temperatures, requiring advanced cooling solutions and potentially impacting system stability.
13. Limited Improvement for Some Workloads
- In certain workloads that are not heavily multi-threaded
, the Ryzen 9 5950X might not exhibit a significant performance advantage over CPUs with fewer cores at a lower price point.
14. Limited Availability of PCIe 4.0 Devices
- While PCIe 4.0 support is a pro, users may find a limited selection of PCIe 4.0 devices on the market, potentially limiting the immediate benefits of this feature.
15. Learning Curve for Overclocking
- Overclocking the processor requires knowledge and understanding of system stability, potentially presenting a learning curve for users new to overclocking.
Please note that the pros and cons listed here are based on general expectations and trends in the industry. The actual user experience may vary depending on factors such as the specific use case, system configuration, and individual preferences. Always refer to the latest reviews and user feedback for the most accurate and up-to-date information on product performance.
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X