There's A New King - AMD Ryzen 9 5900X vs Intel i9-10900KAMD is finally competitive against Intel’s i9-10900K. Their new Ryzen 9 5900X is available at the same price point, so let’s compare them in games and applications to help you decide which to get.
The new 5900X has more cores and more cache, though the 10900K has higher boost clock speeds. Both are $550 USD, the 10900K is meant to be less, but this is what it’s currently sold for on Newegg.
Test PC details
Both processors were tested in the same system, but I’ve had to change motherboards. For the Intel i9-10900K I’m testing with the MSI Z490 ACE motherboard, and for the AMD Ryzen 9 5900X I’m using the ASRock X570 Taichi.
The rest of the components were otherwise the same, I’ve tested with 32gb of DDR4-3200 memory running in dual channel at CL14 and with MSI’s GeForce RTX 3090 Gaming X Trio graphics card to minimize bottlenecks. Neither processor comes with a cooler, so I’ve used the same Fractal S36 AIO with Noctua NT-H2 thermal paste for a fair comparison.
I’ve tested both CPUs at stock and manually overclocked. I was able to run my 10900K at 5.2GHz over all 10 cores, and the 5900X at 4.65GHz over all 12 cores. With that in mind we’ll first check out the differences in various applications, as well as power draw and thermals, followed by gaming tests afterwards, then finish up by comparing some performance per dollar metrics.
Starting with Cinebench R20, I want to draw your attention to the single core results. Intel has traditionally had the lead in this area, but at stock the 5900X was scoring 17% higher than the 10900K. The 5900X is scoring 32% higher when it comes to multicore though, but that’s expected due to the higher core count. With both processors overclocked, the single core scores were down a little, as the all core overlcocks prevent them hitting max single core boost clock, but we do see decent improvements to the multicore results.
I’ve also tested the older Cinebench R15 as a lot of people still use it so you can compare my results, the margins were quite similar to R20 so let’s move on. I’ve tested the Blender BMW and Classroom benchmarks, and as a test that works better with more threads it’s an easy win for the 5900X, which was 27% faster in the classroom test at stock, then 28% faster once both are overclocked. The V-Ray benchmark is another rendering workload that benefits from more cores, the 5900X was scoring 38% higher than the 10900K both at stock and overclocked. The Corona benchmark also uses the processor to render out a scene, and the 5900X was around 30% faster than the 10900K.Handbrake was used to convert one of my 4K laptop review videos to 1080p. This test is able to utilize more cores, so it’s no surprise that the 5900X is completing the export 19% faster. Adobe Premiere was used to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K. I’ve tested with both VBR 1 pass, which should make use of Intel’s quicksync on the 10900K, and 2 pass which shouldn’t. At stock the 5900X was completing the 1 pass export just 7% faster than the 10900K, but the 2 pass test was 16% faster, so despite possible quicksync advantages the Ryzen chip is still doing better.
I’ve also tested Adobe Premiere but with the Puget Systems benchmark tool, as this tests for more things like live playback and more rather than just raw video export times. The 5900X was scoring 11% higher than the 10900K at stock in this test, and 10% faster with both overclocked. Adobe Photoshop was also tested with the Puget Systems benchmark tool. The difference was less pronounced here, but still a win for the 5900X, which was scoring 9% higher than the 10900K at stock. I’ve used 7-Zip to test compression and decompression speeds, and Ryzen chips have always had a huge advantage over Intel in this test which continues here. At stock the 5900X was 37% faster in compression, and then 51% faster in decompression, the biggest difference out of all applications tested. On the other hand, VeraCrypt was used to test AES encryption and decryption, and this was the only workload where the Intel chip was winning, though the test may just favour Intel processors as other encryption tests don’t see this result. Microsoft Excel was tested using the Hardware Unboxed large number crunch test, and the 5900X was completing the task over 44% faster than the 10900K, which I suspect is due to the 5900X having more than 3 times the cache. The differences in geekbench were similar to what was noted in Cinebench, at stock the 5900X was scoring 17% higher in single core and 28% higher in multicore. The percentage difference to multicore is about the same with both chips overclocked, however the 5900X is now just 8% higher in single core owing to the higher overclock on the 10900K.
Here’s how the 5900X stacks up against the 10900K in all of these application tests with both processors running at stock. The 5900X was winning in all but the VeraCrypt tests. This was to be expected in the multicore workloads, as the 5900X has two extra cores, however even in the single core tests the 5900X was still seeing double digit performance gains. With both processors now overclocked, the gap between them does narrow in a bit, as the 10900K is able to overclock further than the 5900X, but regardless at the end of the day, the stock 5900X is still beating an overclocked 10900K in most cases.
Power draw, thermals, clock speeds
Despite performing better, the 5900X also requires less power to run. It’s worth remembering that the 5900X is completing the blender workload 26% faster than the 10900K, and it’s performing this more efficiently than the 10900K too. Higher power draw typically results in more heat, and that was the case here where the 10900K was running hotter too, 9 degrees Celsius warmer at stock, and 10 degrees warmer with both overclocked - again with the same AIO cooler and thermal paste. Although not exactly directly comparable, the 10900K was running at higher clock speeds during this same test, though as we just saw it was drawing more power and creating more heat to sustain this.
Next let’s get into the gaming results, I’ve tested games at 1080p, 1440p and 4K resolutions.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider was tested with the games built in benchmark tool. There’s no difference at 4K, and at 1440p the 5900x was just 1 FPS ahead, but at 1080p where the processor matters more the 5900X was reaching 7% higher average frame rates. Could this be the end of Intel’s “best gaming chip”? Let’s not get too carried away. In Battlefield 5 tested in campaign mode there’s basically no noticeable difference between the two, granted at 1080p both were hitting the 200 FPS frame cap, then at higher resolutions there’s only a 1 FPS or so difference. Microsoft Flight Simulator was tested in the Sydney landing challenge. At 1080p the 5900X was reaching 5% higher average FPS, then at higher resolutions there’s only 1 FPS or so difference, so again not something you’re really going to notice in practice, and within margin of error realistically. Red Dead Redemption 2 was tested using the game’s benchmark. The 5900X was nearly 4% higher in average FPS at 1080p, then again much smaller differences at higher resolutions, which I’ve only included to illustrate how little the processor matters compared to 1080p. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey was also tested using the games benchmark tool. This was a test where the 10900K was coming out in front, both in average FPS and 1% lows regardless of the resolution in use, but again it’s only a small gap and not one you’re likely to notice. Death Stranding had some decent improvements with the 5900X, particularly in terms of 1% low performance, which was seeing a bigger difference compared to average FPS at 1440p and 4K resolutions. At 1080p, the 5900X was 5.5% higher in average FPS over the 10900K, but 14% higher in the 1% low. I just had to test out CS:GO as AMD were claiming some pretty wild performance improvements in a game that has traditionally favoured higher clocked Intel chips, and well, they weren’t lying. At 1080p the 5900X was hitting 17% higher average frame rates, then only 4% higher at 1440p and 4K. Rainbow Six Siege was tested using Vulkan with the games benchmark tool, and this was another of the few titles tested where the 10900K had the edge at all resolutions, both in terms of average FPS and 1% lows, but either way the differences weren’t that big. Call of Duty Modern Warfare was tested playing in campaign mode. Basically no differences at 4K or 1080p, though the i9 was a little ahead at 1080p with a 3% lead in average FPS. Far Cry New Dawn was tested with the games benchmark tool. The 10900K was always a little ahead in 1% low regardless of resolution, but the average frame rates were always within just a couple of FPS difference one way or the other.
When we take the average results of all 10 games at 1080p, the Ryzen 9 5900X processor is around 2.6% faster on average in terms of average FPS. Of course this is being skewed by CS:GO at the top, but even without that result the 5900X is still 1% faster than the 10900K.
I think this is seriously impressive as Intel are always banging on about the 10900K being the best processor for gaming, of course it is still better in many titles, but the margins are close, and the fact that the 5900X is winning more than it’s losing at 1080p for the same price is an excellent result from AMD.
When we step up to 1440p they’re much closer together, basically no major differences one way or the other. This is expected as the processor tends to matter less at higher resolutions, as the GPU is able to stretch its legs and get to work.
Cost per frame value
At 1080p, the 5900X is offering better value in terms of cost per frame. This is because it costs the same as the 10900K, but as we saw was more often than not also offering higher average frame rates. The cost per frame values are then basically the same at 1440p or 4K, as the frame rates become closer together regardless of processor in use. The 10900K is meant to be available for less money, but that hasn’t been the reality since launch.
So the 5900X is quite similar to the 10900K in terms of gaming, with a little edge at 1080p in the titles I’ve tested here. It’s not all just about gaming though, when we also take into consideration that the 5900X basically steamrolls the 10900K in non gaming workloads, well, for the same money the conclusion is basically that the 5900X appears to be the way to go.
If you’re just gaming then it doesn’t really matter which you pick, but if you are gaming and ever doing anything else then the 5900X is what I’d be spending my money on, unless the 10900K sees a nice price cut.