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AMD's powerful Ryzen 9 5900X CPU is down to £445 (was £500)

12 cores and 24 threads should be enough for Crysis, right?

The AMD Ryzen 9 5900X is the company's second-fastest consumer processor, behind only the ludicrously expensive 5950X, and today it's been discounted substantially - from £500 to £445. That's an excellent value for a CPU that's great for games, but also has a ton of fast cores and threads to handle creative applications like video rendering, code compiling and 3D modelling.

The CPU has actually been discounted at both Amazon and Currys, to a list price of £450, but Currys offers free next-day shipping and an extra £5 off when you use the code FNDDGAMING at the checkout.

In Katharine's review of the 5900X, she recognised its better-than-10900K gaming performance, the result of a big generational leap in single-core performance from the Zen 2 cores in Ryzen 3000 to the Zen 3 cores in Ryzen 5000. This was achieved in a few ways, but most notably through upping the amount of L3 cache available to each processor, while also changing the 'base unit' of the CPU from four to eight cores, allowing more cores to share the same physical cache and therefore reduce the time spent sending data from core to core.

You don't need to know that, of course - the main thing is that this CPU absolutely flies compared to its predecessors, being up to 20% faster than the old Ryzen 9 3900X, which itself was significantly faster than the first two Ryzen generations.

With 12 cores, the 5900X is best used in a system where gaming isn't the only thing you'll be doing as the 5600X is fairly close in raw gaming performance and much cheaper - we spotted it at £240 a few weeks back. Instead, the 5900X sets itself apart in tasks like transcoding video, where having double the number of the cores as the 5600X more or less halves the amount of time it takes to run a given job.

Thankfully, AMD's ecosystem for the Ryzen 9 5900X is quite generous - you can use most 400-series (e.g. B450 or X470) boards or any 500-series motherboard (e.g. B550 and X570), so you don't need to spend a lot to get an incredibly fast CPU. RAM overclocking is available even on cheap B-series motherboards, something that Intel introduced only on their very latest generation, so commonly available 3200MHz or 3600MHz sticks will provide some nice extra performance. You will need to pick up a CPU cooler, as the 5900X doesn't come with one, but AMD's relatively efficient design means that you can get by with a simple air or AiO cooler and still get great performance.

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In any case, the 5900X at £445 is a great price that makes me wish I'd gone for it instead of the 5800X at £425 at the beginning of this year - I could have gotten an extra four cores for £20! I guess you live and you learn - or at the very least, you live.

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Will Judd avatar

Will Judd


Will Judd is a journeyman from the forges of Digital Foundry, here to spread the good word about hardware deals and StarCraft.