Introduction and Pricing
Each CPU in AMD's Zen 3 launch has its target audience. For the 5950X, we are looking for consumers typically in a professional capacity needing the ability to handle large multi-core workloads efficiently. These tasks usually involve large video workloads or a large number of tasks that run simultaneously.
Traditionally, this was a task handled by HEDT systems in the past, but since the launch of Zen 2+ and the 3950X, AMD has brought the ability to the mainstream platforms and continues it with the Ryzen 9 5950X.
As many of you know, the Ryzen 9 5950X is a 2x CCD 1x IOD chiplet design, the full Zen 3. It offers 16 cores and 32 threads with SMT supporting a base clock of 3.4GHz and a boost clock of 4.9GHz. 64MB of L3 cache is shared across all cores with 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes for support.
Above, we have the launch day product stack for Zen 3. This includes the Ryzen 5 5600X 6C12T part at the mainstream $299 price point and Ryzen 7 5800X 8C16T in the mid-range $449 slot. Ryzen 9 5900X takes the flagship position behind only the Ryzen 9 5950X in the enthusiast slot; $549 and $799, respectively.
You can read more on the AMD Zen 3 architecture in our Ryzen 9 5900X review here, since it won't be covered here.
Packaging and Test System
Ryzen 9 5950X
Like our last two processors, 5950X packaging offers the Ryzen logo centered, 9 in the bottom right, and 5000 series across the bottom.
The back offers information about the processor in several languages.
The CPU was packaged in a locked plastic retainer, sticker alongside for your chassis.
A closer look at the 5950X, the model number is etched across the top while down below we have the diffused in USA and Taiwan for each Fab respectively.
The bottom of the CPU offers the 1331 pin arrangement designed for the AM4 socket.
- Motherboard: ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Hero Wi-Fi (buy from Amazon)
- GPU: ASUS TUF RTX 3080 10GB (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Crucial Ballistix Max 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: NZXT X73 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Sabrent Rocket NVMe 4.0 500GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM750 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
WPrime, Cinebench, RealBench and AIDA64
WPrime, Cinebench,RealBench and AIDA64
WPrime is a leading multi-threaded benchmark. In our setup, we will manually set the number of cores for the CPU under test.
Kicking off our testing with WPrime, we find the 5950X at the top of our charts with a time of 1.994 seconds in 32m.
Moving over to 1024m, we again find the 5950X at the top with a time of 36.29 seconds.
Cinebench is a long-standing render benchmark that has been heavily relied upon by both Intel and AMD to showcase their newest platforms during unveils. The benchmark has two tests, a single-core workload that will utilize one thread or 1T. There is also a multi-threaded test which uses all threads or nT of a tested CPU
Single thread for our 5950X came in at 623, likely due to heat keeping the boost clock down.
nT or 32 threads for the 5950X rendered a score of 10023.
This is our test with Zen 3 straight up against Comet Lake from Intel, both normalized to 4GHz. I was able to test our 3900X to add Matisse to the chart above too.
Heavy Multitasking runs both the image and encoding workloads alongside each other within Realbench. In this scenario, the 5950X only narrowly beats out the 5900X by three tenths of a second.
Tasks using AES will see a boost from the 5950X, top score 147K in AIDA64.
SHA3 still isn't quite as good as the 10900K from Intel, coming in at 4424.
Adding in both FP32 and FP64, the 5950X wins this scenario, scoring over 27K.
Unigine and UL Benchmarks
Superposition from Unigine is a DX12 based benchmark. We test with the 720p LOW preset as this removes all but the most basic GPU loading, with all of the FPS coming from the CPU.
With Superposition, the 5800X is our chart leader while 5950X lands in third behind the 5600X.
PCMark is a benchmark from UL and tests various workload types to represent typical workloads for a PC. Everything from video conferencing, image import, and editing, along with 3D rendering, are tested.
Overall score lands the 5950X at the top of the charts with PCMark, our first CPU to score over 8K.
Looking at the workloads, you can get a better idea of the breakdown - Digital Content a huge win for 5950X.
Overall score in 3DMark Firestrike nods to the 5950X with a 36197 score.
If we isolate CPU score only in Firestrike, we see 37812 with the 5950X, nearly 10K points more than the quickest Intel CPU.
Overclocking and Gaming
In our testing, 4K and 1440p show almost no advantage with Tomb Raider. 1080p nods and extra 15FPS to the 5950X over the 10900K from Intel.
Far Cry New Dawn is quite similar, too, though we see the advantage of going to the 10900K across all resolutions.
AC:Origins shows 92-94FPS for 4K testing, 1440p has some variance again towards the 1900K, while 1080p has the 5950X and 10900K showing identical frame rates.
I decided to get away from Ubisoft games and move into a more recent title with Flight Simulator. I used FRAPS to log frame rates over a 4-minute flight from Portland Intl USA towards a local airport called Skyport. This benchmark was run at 1080p on the High-end setting with auto-pilot engaged from start to finish.
Throwing the 5950X at the 10900K, we again find the Intel chip is the better solution for gaming in this scenario with a 5-10FPS advantage throughout testing.
Heat is a huge issue with the 5950X, and even with our NZXT X73, when overclocking, we weren't able to tame this beast. That said, we do have upgraded cooling coming soon, but that will be another article. That said, with our current setup, I was able to get 4650 stable at 1.33v and pull off just over 12K in R20.
Another thing to mention here is, on several occasions, I did see this CPU boost itself past 5GHz for a short period.
Power, Thermals and Final Thoughts
Power consumption at idle sits a touch over 300 watts for the 5950X. CPU load with Cinebench gives us just under 500 watts, and gaming with Tomb Raider peaked at 780 watts.
Thermals with our NZXT X73 reached 35c IDLE and 81c LOAD.
Price v Performance
Taking all of the results we have received over the past few weeks testing Zen 3, we built a formula for calculating price v performance using the given MSRP.
We can see the 5900X takes the top spot with the 10850K right behind with this info. Our 5950X landed in the middle of the pack behind our two other Zen 3 parts.
AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X is an absolute beast of a CPU and will be a solid upgrade for creative professionals who need extra horsepower in IPC and multi-core workloads.
The biggest indicator here is the Realbench Heavy Multitasking that takes a Handbrake encoding job and runs it alongside photo editing. The 5950X absolutely crushes this workload in about 26 seconds.
PCMark 10, too, showed solid results from the 5950X being our first CPU to score over 8K, with Digital Content being a huge part of that.
What We Like
IPC Gains: The force is strong with this one, the 5950X delivers with impressive IPC gains.
In Socket Upgrade: This may be the biggest selling feature of Zen 3!
What Could Be Better
Heat: Zen 3 is hot, and the 5950X is the worst offender, so make sure you invest in proper cooling unless you want to be bouncing off the thermal ceiling, leaving you with reduced clocks and unwanted performance penalties.
Price: At $799 MSRP, AMD has bumped the 5950X up another $50 over the Zen 2-based 3950X.
The Bottom Line
AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X is a niche part for those needing huge performance for multicore workloads, and boy does it deliver!