Brand-new CPUs look so pretty before you put the thermal paste on and hide them under a cooler.
Enlarge / Model-new CPUs look so fairly earlier than you set the thermal paste on and conceal them beneath a cooler.

Jim Salter

Specs at a look: Ryzen 5000XT CPUs, as examined
OS Home windows 10 Skilled
CPU Ryzen 9 5950X (16c/32t)
Ryzen 9 5900X (12c/24t)
Ryzen 9 3900XT (12c/24t)—$455 at Amazon
RAM 2x 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR4 3200—$180 ea at Amazon
GPU MSI GeForce 2060 RTX Tremendous—previously $450 at Amazon
HDD Samsung 860 Professional 1TB SSD—$200 at Amazon
Motherboard ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi)—$380 at Amazon
Cooling NZXT Kraken X63 fluid cooler with 280mm radiator—$150 at Newegg
PSU EVGA 850Ga Modular PSU—$140 at Amazon
Chassis  Primochill Praxis Wetbench check chassis—$200 at Amazon
Value as examined ≈$1,500 as examined, excluding CPU

A month in the past, AMD introduced the arrival of the Zen 3 desktop CPU structure. The announcement included new AMD inner benchmarks that implied Intel had misplaced its final desktop efficiency trophy—pure single-threaded efficiency.

Final week, Ars bought samples of the 2 highest-end fashions within the new CPU lineup—the $800, 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 9 5950X, and the $550 12-core/24-thread Ryzen 9 5900X. And we will affirm most of AMD’s benchmark claims—IPC has improved, together with each single and multi-threaded efficiency, throughout the board, beating Intel soundly on almost all fronts.

The one quibble now we have with AMD’s claims regards energy consumption, not efficiency—and to be truthful, it is virtually actually not AMD’s fault. The system’s desktop idle energy consumption elevated about 10W—however the improve affected our older Ryzen 9 3900XT CPU, in addition to the 2 new Zen 3 elements. Realizing that, we anticipate the rise comes from the necessary BIOS improve we needed to carry out on the ROG Crosshair VIII Hero motherboard, slightly than the brand new CPUs themselves.

Multi-threaded benchmarks

Regardless which multi-threaded benchmark you select, you may see a well-known relationship between these elements—AMD packs on a large efficiency increase from era to era, and Intel languishes behind considerably.

As common, these variations are magnified probably the most in Passmark, and the least in Geekbench—however they’re inconceivable to disregard, and Intel’s more and more aged i9-10900K is beginning to look downright embarrassing. Intel might want to pull a fairly spectacular rabbit out of its hat with its subsequent era of gaming CPUs if it does not need to hemorrhage marketshare, as AMD continues to each launch sooner CPUs, and launch new iterations extra often.

Single-threaded benchmarks

Our single-threaded exams solidly affirm AMD’s claims from the Zen 3 launch—Intel’s days of dominating single-threaded benchmarks are over, at the least for now. All three of our single-threaded benchmarks present a wholesome lead for the 2 new Zen 3 CPUs over Intel’s top-performing single-threaded i9-10900K CPU.

As at all times, we warning most individuals to not get too enthusiastic about pure single-threaded outcomes—multi-threaded efficiency shouldn’t be equal to single-threaded multiplied by the variety of lively threads, and vital exercise on different threads will scale back efficiency from the degrees you see right here.

That stated, single-threaded efficiency could be extra vital in a gaming console setting, the place CPU exercise could be extra tightly managed than it sometimes is in a desktop PC. Zen 3’s massive beneficial properties right here will not assist Ps 5 or Xbox Sequence X—each of which can function CPUs primarily based on the older Zen 2 structure—however we suspect neither Sony nor Microsoft is regretting its determination to again Workforce Crimson, all the identical.

Gaming benchmarks

3DMark’s extra gaming-specific CPU exams affirm what we already noticed from general-purpose benchmarks—AMD’s Zen 3 structure is not giving something as much as Intel. Time Spy Excessive—which fashions 4k gaming efficiency and might benefit from extra cores and extra superior CPU directions than Time Spy—delivers a wholesome lead for 5900X and 5950X over each the older 3900XT and Intel’s i9-10900K.

The easier, non-Excessive Time Spy benchmark is probably going a greater match for gaming as much as 1440p, and Intel does significantly better there, operating a mainly lifeless warmth with the 5950X and 5900X and barely outperforming the older 3900XT. You are not prone to see higher gaming efficiency out of the i9-10900K than the AMD elements, even at decrease resolutions—however in case you’re budget-constrained, discover a actually nice deal on the Intel elements, and do not care about 4K gaming, it will not harm your framerates.

Energy and warmth

Desktop idle power consumption bumped up about 10W, but that appears to be due to the motherboard BIOS—when we re-tested the 3900XT on the new BIOS, its idle consumption jumped up as well.
Enlarge / Desktop idle energy consumption bumped up about 10W, however that seems to be because of the motherboard BIOS—after we re-tested the 3900XT on the brand new BIOS, its idle consumption jumped up as effectively.

Jim Salter

The place the i9-10900K will harm you, sadly, is in warmth era and energy consumption. The Intel CPU pulls 100W extra energy—and generates 100W extra warmth—than both the previous or new Ryzen 9 CPUs.

Our check outcomes largely affirm AMD’s claims of elevated energy effectivity with Zen 3—regardless of having a 200MHz increased clockrate and 25-percent extra cores and threads, Ryzen 9 5950X consumed a little bit much less energy beneath load than final era’s Ryzen 3900XT. We really noticed barely decrease energy consumption from the 5950X than the smaller 5900X, however we suspect that is a quirk of particular person CPUs slightly than an overarching distinction between fashions.

We noticed a fairly vital improve in desktop idle energy consumption, from 53W to 64W—however the improve does not look like a results of the CPUs themselves. We would have liked to flash our ROG Crosshair VIII Hero motherboard with a brand-new BIOS that wasn’t but publicly obtainable with a view to assist the 2 new CPUs. After noticing the rise in desktop idle energy consumption, we swapped again to the Ryzen 9 3900XT and noticed a good bigger improve in energy draw on that processor.

We suspect that the rise in idle energy consumption will probably be addressed in future publicly obtainable BIOS variations. We additionally suspect that only a few of the individuals who desire a Ryzen 9 or Core i9 CPU are going to let the distinction between 53W and 64W trouble them a lot.


AMD’s new desktop processor lineup is a fairly easy story—the corporate promised increased multi-threaded and single-threaded efficiency with out a corresponding sacrifice in effectivity after which delivered on these guarantees.

Starting with the 3900XT, AMD determined to not present OEM coolers with Ryzen 9 elements—and the corporate caught with that call with the brand new 5900X and 5950X. Though some readers have complained concerning the lack right here, AMD justifies it with claims that information exhibits only a few prospects at this processor stage follow the OEM cooler anyway. We see no purpose to doubt AMD there.

With the discharge of those new Zen 3 processors, Intel followers lose their final massive bragging proper—single-threaded efficiency. Intel is now behind AMD on efficiency, energy effectivity, and even launch depend on desktop CPUs—its final gaming CPU was the i9-10900K, launched in Could. AMD is now two releases forward, with the 3900X and 3900XT in July, and 5900X and 5950X right now.

In the meantime, Intel’s next-gen Rocket Lake is not anticipated till someday in 2021—and it is extensively anticipated to stay on Intel’s 14nm course of, though utilizing options backported from the 10nm Sunny Cove structure. We’re additionally anticipating Rocket Lake to prime out at solely eight cores, in comparison with Comet Lake’s ten.

Intel’s latest Tiger Lake cell CPUs are nice performers regardless of their equally low core depend, and it is attainable that Rocket Lake will get pleasure from related success subsequent 12 months—however we aren’t betting on it. We suspect that Intel’s troublesome instances on the desktop aren’t going to be over any time quickly.

The nice

  • 200MHz increased clockrate in 5950X over 3900XT
  • Increased IPC to go together with the upper clockrates
  • Vital single-threaded efficiency enchancment
  • Largely unchanged energy profiles, effectively under Intel’s
  • Higher Time Spy Excessive CPU check outcomes than Intel’s
  • Supported on B550 motherboards with BIOS improve

The unhealthy

  • “Solely” equal Time Spy (non-Excessive) CPU outcomes with Core i9-10900K
  • Will probably nonetheless be tougher to search out in pre-built OEM PCs

The ugly

  • Intel’s present place on the desktop


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