AMD's Ryzen 5000 processors launched to universally positive reviews, so it's perhaps no surprise that these CPUs were like hen's teeth for months afterwards. Now availability seems to be gradually improving, and we've even started to see discounts on the less in-demand 5600X and 5800X. Today, we've hit another milestone: the Ryzen 9 5900X, the flagship model that faces off against Intel's Core i9 11900K, is finally in stock below its launch price.
Now, this isn't the biggest discount in the world - it's only £10 below the Ryzen 5900X's recommended retail price of £510 - but it's worth knowing about because this CPU has been nearly impossible to find even at £20 above RRP. In fact, the 5900X has routinely appeared in stock at £550, £600 or even more, and has still sold out within minutes or seconds. So if you've been patiently waiting - congratulations, you've done it! You can now get the 5900X at a fair price, without the stress of buying one at the same time as a thousand other people.
If you haven't checked out Katharine's review of the 5900X, it's well worth a look. A short summary is that the 5900X's 12 Zen 3 cores perform excellently in a wide range of games, often outperforming Intel's last two flagship parts (the 10900K and 11900K). There are the odd titles where Intel still holds a lead, but you can feel confident going with an AMD system that you won't be leaving much performance on the table against a hypothetical Intel build. And when it comes to content creation, AMD tends to absolutely bulldoze the competition, making Ryzen 5000 (and the 5900X in particular) one of the very best options on the market.
One important factor in the Intel versus AMD debate is the ecosystem. Intel has made steps in the right direction in recent months with the release of its 500-series platform, which finally allows budget B-series motherboards access to features like memory overclocking and PCIe 4.0 slots that AMD has offered for years. Regardless, AMD's cheap motherboard offerings have been out for longer, so they're generally more affordable, which makes their ecosytem a little more appealing from my point of view.
Finally, if you're picking up the 5900X you'll need to provide your own cooler. This isn't a significant expense - something like the Hyper 212 Evo will do a passable job at around £30 - but for best results, you may want something more substantial like a Fuma 2, Noctua NH-D15 or a 240mm AiO liquid cooler from the likes of Alphacool, Corsair, NZXT et al. AMD's desktop chips are generally more power-efficient than Intel's, but the 5900X is a 12-core part so it does produce a fair amount of heat!
In any case, I hope this deals post proves useful. If you do spring for the 5900X, do let me know how you find it! I'm sure you'll be impressed with the level of performance on offer.